The words in the following chapters are my reflections on what is often described as a spiritual journey (apply whatever label works for you), towards a rather ill-defined goal referred to with names like enlightenment, awakening or self-realisation, although I prefer the more neutral description of the Truth.
The inspiration for these words only happened more recently as for much of the last 38 years since I started this quest I didn’t think there was anything I could contribute to the subject. That changed about two years ago when I began to edit and publish a book my mother Amy had written called A Journey to Truth containing the observations and discoveries made on her path of self-discovery. I had previously taken no interest in the recorded insights of this journey (i.e. I am not a great consumer of books on the subject) so it came as a surprise to read parts of Amy’s book to which I could relate. Some of these matched periods in my life that were especially difficult, though I hadn’t equated them to anything spiritual at the time, while others applied to more recent changes.
I particularly connected to words by Bernadette Roberts, an author Amy quotes a lot in her book, who describes her own journey in a way that I find more comprehensible/relatable than many others who write on the subject. I have therefore followed in Amy’s footsteps and used Bernadette’s insights extensively in this document, mostly extracted from her book ‘The Experience of No-Self’.
I have four reasons for writing this manuscript. Firstly, in a purely selfish way, I have found the process of writing has been useful to evaluate my current state and views of the world, which has altered substantially over time. This has come about despite not having a strong urge to undertake a personal-development path, unlike Amy who spent decades researching and exploring the subject of the Truth.
Secondly having reached an identifiable milestone that I describe later, I have spent some time looking back on how this has happened. In particular, I wanted to examine my total misconceptions about what discovering the Truth might look like (not that I have I hasten to add) and the massive changes that need to happen to strip away the illusion of what we think is normal and reveal what actually Is.
Thirdly I thought it might be useful to describe my journey to this point in everyday language rather than the often-obscure accounts about the subject. I find they frequently share experiences and teachings using words full of obscure symbolic meaning and distracting side-tracks seemingly with the intention of obscuring the Truth from the reader rather than guiding them to it.
I have also written this document largely without reference to any religious, spiritual or other disciplines. In contrast, Bernadette writes about her journey from a Christian point of view, which although I find distracting, her core words are invaluable, whereas Amy incorporates a broad range of disciplines into her book dipping into both eastern and western philosophies. Others are Buddhist centric and there is a whole range of alternative mainstream choices such as Byron Katie’s “The Work” or the words of Eckhart Tolle both of whom claim to have reached some form of enlightenment.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly for some reading this book, there are aspects of the transformation required to move through the stages I describe that can be either termed spiritual progress or mental breakdown. I came upon these transformative changes totally uninformed and unknowing and as a result, spent years on medication as well as sessions working with psychologists. I had “normal” life stresses that contributed to my mental state, as we all do, but looking back as I write this book there were also some aspects that clearly involved a shift in my perception and a breaking down of the affective system (‘affect’ is a concept used in psychology to describe the experience of feeling or emotion) associated with the entity we label the self. If only I understood what I do now that transition might not have been any easier to live with myself but I would have coped better and maybe it would have been a more positively viewed process.
It is my belief that there are people in a similar circumstance who are being treated for or think they have some unique psychological symptoms, particularly around disassociation, when in fact they are in the process of moving into a new phase of life as intended. My expectation is that someone reading this who could be thinking they’re a lost cause might realise that they are in personal development terms a chrysalis on the verge of becoming a butterfly in one of the most mysterious transformations of life.
Finally, this manuscript is my tribute to Amy for reaching out to me through her words and continuing to be my inspiration even after her death. As my mother stated in her book in 1999:
I really started this diary of quotes and thoughts and intuitions both so that I could look back on the subtle transformations that have and do occur day by day, but also so that perhaps it might be a guide and help for others who are passing through the same uncharted waters.
However, this journey is described, with hidden meanings or not, this has been and continues to be an extraordinary journey that has changed my life. Yet this trip started in a very casual way. This is my story.
If what you have read so far is a complete mystery and of no interest then don’t waste your time clicking on the following link. Otherwise please join me on an unusual journey.
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