|“Be strong, but always gentle. Allow aggression, arrogance and ego to disappear from your life completely, leaving only peace, love and humility.” – Alexander Bell|
I am 40 years old now, and a father of four children. From the age of 17, when I first discovered Zen Buddhism and meditation, I was very much involved in the spiritual new age. At the age of 21, I met my wife-to-be at an an Osho (Rajneesh) commune in the south of England, where I lived for a short while, becoming more and more interested in the teachings of this Indian teacher. I then moved to Totnes, followed by Glastonbury, where I got very interested in the ‘Satsang’ scene, listening to various spiritual teachers and reading many, many books about new age topics, ascended masters and so on. I was interested in anything which i felt had grains of truth running through it, including Hindu devotional (Hari Krishna) spirituality, which I enjoyed whilst living in an ashram in Glastonbury. From Glastonbury, I got involved in raw food, detoxification, juicing, and nutritional healing. I met a shamanic spiritual teacher there, and I moved to Portugal to work more closely with him, where I remained for 2 or 3 years. My time there involved a lot of heart-based meditation, visualisations, shamanic dreamwork, and healing ceremonies. My work with this teacher culminated in 6 week detoxification retreat in the Sinai desert in Egypt, after which I returned to the UK to start a family.
In the U.K., I began teaching heart-based meditation and ecstatic dance to small groups in local yoga centres. After a period of moving location several times and devoting my time and energy to my expanding family, we eventually ended up in the meditation-based Findhorn spiritual in community in Northern Scotland. This community was founded upon the spiritual teachings received by the founder, who spoke to God, and wrote down the communications she received. There was very much a pure ‘Christ-like’ energy contained within a lot of these communications, as well as in the beautiful location of the community itself. At this point, I was still teaching my heart-based meditation among small groups in the community.
It was in Findhorn that I one day came home to find a book about Jesus on my kitchen table. It was related to A Course in Miracles, which I was already familiar with, and I had already been recently reading a book about Christ Consciousness, but this book took my understanding to another level. It was a fascinating book.
At the same time this book appeared, I felt very clearly that life was nudging me to dramatically change direction in my life. All our previous house moves had been guided by synchronous circumstances, and by a clear sense of it being the next step on our journey. But now it was clear to me that there was something quite radical I had to do: go to Australia. I couldn’t believe it at first, as I never wanted to go so far away, so I kept asking God / the Universe for guidance and confirmation, and over and over again the message was re-iterated: just go to Australia. So, after scraping together the airfare, booking the flight and with only $20 left to my name, I jumped on a plane to Australia (with my Jesus / Course in Miracles book in my bag).
I found myself in Byron Bay, penniless, homeless and hungry, but thankfully I found out that the Salvation Army gave out free lunches every week day. I went there and ended up volunteering, serving food and making friends with the large amount of homeless and hungry people who gravitated to Byron. On the weekends, there were several churches who also gave out free food, so the homeless and hungry crowd would always go to these places at the specific time to eat and get warm, and I always went too, because I was in the same boat as them.
I was still sleeping rough, with no money or food, so I ended frequenting the different churches a lot, meeting a diverse variety of Christian people; all good, kind people. Also, strangely, every time I hitched for a ride anyway, it would be a Christian who picked me up. I was actually enjoying socialising and mixing with a lot of intelligent and warm Christian people, and I actually found them to have a great deal more spiritual depth and maturity than a lot of the new age people I had been surrounded by in places like Glastonbury. Also, because I have never fostered any resistance to religious people (I would always invite Jehovah’s Witnesses in for a chat whenever they knocked on my door in the UK!) then I enjoyed the spiritual and celebratory atmosphere that was present in all their different churches.
Growing up, I had always felt an affinity with Jesus, due to his compassionate attitude towards the downtrodden, and his message of healing, forgiveness and peace, so I had no resistance to celebrating him with these Christian people, even though I myself was not a Christian. In one celebration, I chose to accept Christ into my heart. ‘Why not?’ I thought. After all, if love, truth, compassion and forgiveness were such important qualities to me, then Christ was a spiritual force which represented all these qualities in their purest form. It was not even a big issue, a big leap or a big debate in my mind. It was just a natural step in my path to be intimate with the Divine.
I very much felt Christ was surrounding me, by immersing me in the love of his followers, and offering his healing balm to my heart, offering what only Christ can offer. There was no reason to reject it, because i never had a fear of Christ or a fear of Christianity. As I have always done, I just wanted to remain open to whichever way God / the Universe was presenting the divine truth to me. At some point in my life, it was through Buddha and his teachings, and now it was through Christ. It didn’t matter to me; all I was interested in was accepting the light and wisdom that God / the Universe was offering to me in whatever form it was presented. I have learnt not to resist spiritual progress out of fear, because to listen to the voice of fear essentially means the end of your spiritual growth. We have to move beyond fear to be truly free.
Shortly after accepting Christ into my heart, it was very clear that my mission was completed and I had to return to Scotland, to my wife and children. With literally no money, I hitched to Brisbane airport and tried to get myself deported, hoping to get a free trip home. This was not a wise or successful idea, and I became stranded in the departures lounge for many hours with no options. It was here that I was again blessed with divine company, in the form of an elderly Jesus-loving Christian man who was in a very similar situation as me – stranded and at the mercy of the authorities. We spoke deeply and at length; he was a beautiful man, and he was my last contact on Australian soil before my incredibly caring mother miraculously agreed to pay the airfare to help me get home.
48 hours later I arrived back in the Findhorn community, delighted to see my wife and children once again, as a man who was now touched in a very deep way by Christ, with a tangible and profound added dimension to my being. I now knew that Christ was with me, in my heart. I knew that this was the vital missing piece of my inner spiritual jigsaw puzzle after the many years of spiritual progress and evolution. Shortly after returning to the UK, we were called as a family to move to Portugal, which is where we have resided for nearly 6 years now, living as simply as possible, close to nature, in joy and gratitude.
“We are but children, innocently longing to find our way back
to the world of joy, freedom and happiness we once knew..”