I have been reflecting upon what drove my own quest for meaning and the desire to explore consciousness. I was not one of those children that had a natural curiosity, rather I was often afraid of the world and simply craved to be accepted. The result was I usually never questioned what I was being told or challenged myself. So when I consider what led to my journey of self-discovery there is no one thing (no bolt of electricity – no Road to Damascus experience – a topic I will explore in future posts) rather a history of events or experiences which only in hindsight do I see as all moving me in a particular direction. I went to Catholic schools until I was 14 and perhaps the ideology would have been stronger if it was not for my first holy communion – I was expecting some sort of spiritual experience, as best as a young boy can conceptualise – I discovered that the communion wafer tasted like cardboard and almost gagged on it and just managed instead of spitting it out, to swallow it. Maybe there was a message in that experience! A few years later when at high school a teacher discussed a period in the history of the church where there were two popes I realised that the church was also about power and politics. A slow awareness of sexuality-related issues led me to drift further and further away from church teachings (not that they had ever really been strong), and into student politics during the time of the feminist and gay movements of the ’70-’80s.
I trained as a psychologist, spent a lot of time on personal development, and learned a variety of meditative techniques and found that Buddhist concepts most closely matched some of my psychology beliefs. I was open to the concept of alternative realities and well aware of concepts that demonstrate how we perceive the world is socially constructed. During the 90’s I discovered Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnosis, technologies that alter states of consciousness, drugs, and dance parties – it was a time of experimenting with many things. During a trip to the USA in the 90’s I experienced a therapy session with a person who practiced healing based on methods broadly called Huna. For the first time in my life, I experienced the resolution of psychological matters, without the therapist using words rather they utilised “energy”. I was impressed and did not have any concept of what had happened, or why it resolved my concern. It was this quest to understand my own experience that drove much of my subsequent explorations of energetic systems, and other aspects of spiritual and personal development. Ultimately, the ideologies associated with different approaches interested me less, and my focus became on the subjective experiences people have while undergoing spiritual journeys and the commonality between the experiences.
I will discuss in future posts more on my own journey and also what I have observed as I have come across others on similar journeys.