I think the utter craziness of my life can be summed up via the events of the two trips to Copenhagen I made back in 2004. It first came about because I was working one night at a spiritualist church in Oxfordshire; this was during July 2003 before I moved to Wales. There was a Danish lady, Annie, in the congregation whose company had an office in Oxford and she was temporarily assigned to that office. She approached me after the event and asked if I could go to her house and do some private work. We arranged a date, and one Saturday morning I ventured over to Oxford. We ended up doing meditation and healing, as well as the private reading. She asked if I could do the same for a friend who would be visiting, and we arranged that I would go back within the coming weeks. The ladies explained that they had engaged the services, on many occasions, of a lady medium from England to go to Copenhagen and carry out private readings etc. At the time this sort of thing wasn’t very common in Denmark. They went on to explain that the lady was now getting older and she found it quite difficult to make the trip, so would I be interested in going. I didn’t need asking twice, and it was arranged that I would go to Copenhagen during the first week of March 2004; you may recall my snow shenanigans? Well, I made the second journey roughly six weeks later. Annie was back in Denmark by this time and I stayed in the basement flat of her amazing house for the duration of both trips.
The crazy thing was that I was just a bloke who was technically homeless (I had to leave the Court of Circles and at this point there was no caravan in place at Keith’s mum and step-dad’s place) and I virtually didn’t have a bean to my name. Many of my clients in Copenhagen however, lived in a world that I could only dream of. One man owned a management training company and a publishing company. Annie’s friend, who I did the reading for, had some sort of high-powered job and another lady was a director of one of the largest recruitment consultancies in Denmark. During a break in the workshop I ran during my first trip, I was chatting to a lady who casually informed me that she was a lawyer at the EU Headquarters in Brussels, and her day job was as a lobbyist at the Court of Human Rights AND, she had come home specially for the weekend so that she could attend my workshop with her mother. Annie herself was a director of a big company and has extensive experience in clinical Oncology. She has since changed jobs, but to give you an idea of the kind of work she does, during my second trip, she got up one morning at “silly o’clock”, drove to Copenhagen Airport and caught a flight to London Heathrow. She then got a taxi to Oxford and attended a two-hour meeting; after which, she took a taxi back to Heathrow and caught a flight to Copenhagen. She got back home at 11:00pm that night; and these people were coming to ME for guidance? You most certainly couldn’t make it up. To quote Madness, it was..well.. “Madness”.
It is said that at the final stage of Self-realisation the ego merges into the Self and disappears. However, this would imply that the ego actually exists in the first place. The ultimate reality is that nothing exists except consciousness in its blissful infinite state of pure being; therefore the separate self (ego) only exists from the standpoint of duality, which is an illusion.
The concept of a single, infinite and indivisible whole is not easy for everyone to grasp, so it is perfectly acceptable to approach spiritual practice from a dualistic perspective. However, all of our spiritual practices; meditation, yoga, chanting and the study of spiritual texts, to name but a few, are nothing more than stepping-stones to finding what is already there. I have come to the conclusion that the simplest way to spiritual evolution is to do nothing in order to achieve nothing.
There is a Zen saying that says, “allow yourself to be as a hollow bamboo”, or words to that effect. What it means is to simply allow that higher power, which is your true nature, to operate through you. It is only the ego, the small “I” that needs to “do”. It knows that it ultimately does not exist and is on borrowed time, so it will do all it can to trick us into believing that we are the separate self. The individual soul was formed out of the nothing of the silent and blissful wilderness of Self, but there is never a time when it is not the Self. The trick, for want of a better word, is to understand that it is the individual soul as an ego/body/mind that is the illusion, the individual soul as Self is very real.
So allow yourself to be as a hollow bamboo and let your true nature work through you(do nothing), in order to experience your true nature of nothingness (achieve nothing). Rupert Spira explains this beautifully as, “being aware of being aware”.
My room was upstairs in the main house, which was an old farmhouse. There was a tiny attached cottage and a separate wooden cabin where the landlady lived. There had been a female tenant in the cottage, but things had gone to the dogs between the tenant and the landlady. There was a clash of personalities, but the tenant continued to live in the cottage for months amidst the awful atmosphere, until eventually moving on. I said to the landlady before I moved in, that if things didn’t work out I wouldn’t hang around like the previous tenant, I would move out immediately. Little did I know that the scenario would rear its head so quickly! However, an amusing little story for you, which demonstrates the strange ways in which spirit work.
Soon after I moved in the landlady placed an ad for another tenant to occupy one of the other rooms in the house. Enter Keith… She had advertised for a non-smoking vegetarian, however, Keith smoked like a trooper and ate meat like it was going out of fashion. He came up to the house to have a look, and for reasons known only to the Gods, he was offered the room. The first night he was there, he went out into Lampeter and came back with a kebab. You couldn’t make it up; I don’t think the retreat ever once saw a morsel of meat until Keith moved in.
I wasn’t really happy at first, having to share with another bloke, but me and Keith hit it off. He was about 17 years younger than me, and thanks to my experience with having the entities attached to me, I was able to see that he was a troubled soul. He’d had quite a chequered life, having once been a squatter in Hackney, London and having gone through his drug period. We were chatting in the kitchen one night and he told me he was getting voices in the head, and they were telling him that his ex-girlfriend was from outer space and that she had killed herself. I knew straight away what it was and I was able to explain to Keith that I could help him. Thankfully, he was open to what I was saying and at the first opportunity I contacted Sue and John in Gloucester. They told me to tell Keith to be in the house at a certain time on a certain day and they would perform the rescue work absently. Just as we did when I used to sit with them, they did the work in one of the development groups. Keith never looked back after that. Over the years he obtained a couple of university degrees, which enabled him to become a social worker and mental health worker. I was really pleased for him, but I haven’t seen him in years. However, I digress…
It wasn’t long before I realised the harshness of what I’d let myself in for. That winter seemed endless and the nights up in the hills were long and dark. Of course, I’d visited during winter before, but only for a few days at a time. To now be actually living here was a different barrel of monkeys. I thought that all I needed to do would be to put up a few posters here and there and place a few ads, and the work would come flying in. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. I made contact with the few spiritualist churches in the area, and so I was reaching a wider audience, however, you cannot earn a living by serving spiritualist churches, and for practical reasons you cannot have the same medium serving every week. Ironically, the bulk of my work was still in South West England. So, I’d moved to West Wales, but I was constantly backwards and forwards to the South West of England.
Another thing that I eventually found out was that even though this area above Lampeter was an area of outstanding beauty, it was also rife with negative Ley lines. It was no wonder that most of the people I encountered living up there had deep-rooted psychological problems; and that included my landlady. Ironically, most of them also worked professionally on a one-to-one or group basis with people who had problems of one sort or another, and yes, my landlady was an NLP practitioner, amongst other things! I will be the first to admit that I was not entirely innocent in things turning sour at the Court of Circles, but there was an incident that occurred one Saturday afternoon. I had a bit of a run-in with the next door neighbour who lived about 100 yards away. I’d gone out onto the quite narrow road outside and collected some twigs for kindling. After I got back inside the neighbour came to the door and accused me of stealing her twigs. She said I’d collected them from a stretch of road that was owned by her (this wasn’t true, it was a public road). She also accused me of climbing on her wall; this was also not true. I’m afraid I was less than polite, although I refrained from using bad language.
About a month later the neighbour crossed paths with my landlady and related this ridiculous story to her. My landlady believed the neighbour and that was the end of my stay at the Court of Circles. I decided I couldn’t live under these conditions and gave one month’s notice. She wasn’t happy, and there was an incident a few days after I gave her my notice of leaving, where she was screaming at me from across the kitchen table. It was all pretty dark stuff, but things were rolling in my favour. I’d got to know Keith’s mum and stepdad, and there was a music venue in Tregaron where we would sometimes go on Friday nights. This was before the smoking ban, but it was a non-smoking venue, which was really good. I went there this particular evening; it was only a matter of two hours after I’d been confronted by my landlady over “the mysterious incident of the stolen twigs”. I was telling Carol and Bruce what had happened. Bruce said they were thinking of installing a caravan on their land, and if I wanted I could rent it from them. I didn’t need asking twice.
In the meantime I’d been booked at what was a new venue for me, near Banbury, and I’d also been asked to go to Copenhagen to run a weekend meditation workshop, and do some private readings and healing. I’d taken to teaching like a duck to water, and my development group in Trowbridge had been very successful; in a way it was a shame that I had to leave it. But the feedback I got from the people who sat with me was great and I know they missed working with me. So things were looking up. Now, I will just say, that this period is going to run into yet another post because it will be much too long otherwise. So, I think part 27 is going to tie up all the loose ends bringing us up to April 2005. The roller coaster is about to gather speed!
When the fertilizer hit the fan at work I found that I still had a job, but not the one I’d been doing. It is not relevant to go into too much detail here so many years after the event, instead I will simply relate the main points. The marketing division was unrecognisable from that day in mid December 1998, when the “Swindon crew” rocked up in Reading for the first time. There had been many comings and goings, new jobs, but mainly for people with specific qualifications and young graduates. It was apparent that I was a fish out of water; at one point I was turning up for work in the knowledge that I didn’t really have a job. It was clear to me that I did not fit into the model of the division and that I was on borrowed time. Things got quite intense when I put up resistance to what was happening to me. It didn’t go down well that I was fighting my corner. I remember it being a terrible feeling, working in a place where I didn’t actually have a job. It was also obvious to all my workmates as well, but in the corporate world there is no room for sentiment and it was all about self-preservation. I could see that Gary and Huw were not comfortable with what was happening to me, but Gary had a position of great responsibility and had to get on with his own stuff. Huw as well; his job changed drastically and he was flying, but I will always respect that through that difficult time they remained friends.
Things eventually came to a head when my stubbornness won me a battle. However, it did not win me the war, because I turned up for work one day and the stress of everything had finally taken its toll. I sat down at my desk and had a pain above my eyes. I had not been myself for months; I’d not been sleeping well, drinking every night and with the realisation that I was now a “dead man walking”, having irritated management even more by winning my little battle against them, I had nothing more to give. I was spent. I was told to go home and I would spend six months off work with an acute stress related illness…. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me! Meanwhile…
The open circle became very frustrating. I was like a caged lion, hungry for knowledge of the spirit, and I wasn’t going to get it in a spiritualist church. But, while I was off sick I encountered Sue and John Geis; they ran a spiritual development centre in Gloucester. I got chatting to John at a charity clairvoyant night at Swindon Town Football Club in September 2000. I’d met him before when he’d been working at the church. John’s wife Sue was one of three mediums working that night and I, along with my friend (also called Sue) were helping out with the teas. We were chatting and out of the blue John asked me if I would be interested in developing spiritually. I didn’t need asking twice and I gave him my number. Hold that thought…
We were now into the new millennium and me and Sue, the graphic designer, were history; we had split for good around April 2000. I was off work from early September 2000 to March 2001, and that was a crazy time for me. I was full of anger and hatred towards those at work who I considered were responsible for my plight. The negative emotions festered within me and I became more bitter with each passing day. At first Huw kept in touch, and when Gary was in town we would meet up. But I became a very difficult and negative person to be around and eventually the phone stopped ringing.
It was just me, in my flat above the hairdressers, with my booze, my hatred and my anger. I hadn’t felt like this for a few years, but in that time of misery, every now and then, out of the blue, the phone would ring and it would be Sue. It was probably at this time that I realised what I’d lost. It was apparent that Sue Crewe was an exceptional human being with a heart of gold. She was genuinely concerned about me; even though she was now in a new relationship with a man she would eventually marry and have two lovely children with. She still thought about me and made the time to get in touch. I am eternally grateful for that. meanwhile….
It was around 1999 that I started having strange experiences in the early hours of the morning. Hold that thought because I’m going to elaborate in the next post.
There were some very significant events during my time in the grip of my self-made hell. I’d started trying to meditate. It was my own version but it suited where I was on my journey. I’d also got to know of a book called, “Discover Your Psychic Powers”, by an author called Tara Ward. Not the sort of book I would read today, but very significant indeed back then. It was one of those books that gives you exercises to do. I remember one day I was reading a particular chapter, and there was an exercise that was about forgiving those who you perceive to have done you wrong. The hackles went up and I put the book down in disgust. I wasn’t going to forgive anyone! It must have been a few months later (as I’m quite a slow reader) that I came to a passage that said, “please refer to the exercise on page …”. I leafed back through the book and to my disgust I saw it was the exercise about forgiving people. Once again I shut the book in a defiant mood; there was no way I was going to forgive those b*#*##*!!!!!!!
A few days later something inside me felt that if I was encountering this exercise twice, there must be something in it. I felt that someone, somewhere was trying to tell me something. I decided I was going to give it a go, but it took me a couple of days to psyche myself up, such was the depth of my anger and hatred. The time came and I sat down to do the exercise. I remember that I kind of put my own spin on it. I did a meditation, in which I divided all my “enemies” from work into two groups, men and women. I visualised that I encountered all the men one by one in the street. I greeted them, shook them by the hand and wished them well on their way. I then visualised encountering the women, greeting them with a friendly hug, producing a bunch of flowers from behind my back and giving them the flowers as I wished them well on their way. It wasn’t that difficult. When I’d finished I stood up from my seat and to my amazement I had the tangible experience of feeling something rising up inside my stomach. I realised years later that this was my kundalini rising after so many years of being stuck.
The next significant thing to happen was that in between the Christmas and New Year of 2000/01 I got a phone call out of the blue from John Geis. He said he was starting up a new closed circle in January and would I like to participate. It was manna from heaven for me and I snapped up the chance. But that wasn’t all! He said that before the circle begins there is a chance, if I want, to attend a meditation workshop at their centre. I jumped at the chance to do this as well, and what a choice it was. In all the time I’d been going to the spiritualist church I’d never had any proper guidance with regard to meditation. But in the space of a few hours on this particular Saturday I experienced an explosion within my being of epic proportions. I’d never experienced anything like it in my life and my new adventure had begun.
I’m so glad to have been able to write two blog posts in such quick succession, as my chronic fatigue has not been very kind to me since my return from Nepal. Thanks for your patience!
You cannot force peace on yourself. Once we start making an effort to be peaceful we are facing an uphill battle. “Battle”, being the appropriate word; because effort creates strain (a battle). The best result we can hope for will be agitation disguised as peace. In other words it will be temporary. Trying to force the mind to be still in meditation is a non-starter. Peace can only be experienced through understanding. By devoting more time to sitting in the silence and simply allowing ourselves to be, we become more attuned with our authentic Self. Thoughts are bound to arise when we sit in the silence, but don’t try to force them to go away; just allow them to flow by.
With a bit of practice we can all find that silent garden of the soul. This helps to increase our understanding of who we are; our true nature. Once we find that “peace that passes all understanding”, we realise that there was no need to go looking for it; it was there all the time. It was just a case of not being able to see it because we have been conditioned to be the “agitated self”, and not who we really are.