A Gradual Awakening Through The Grace of Relationship.
My awakening has been a slow emergence. It has been interspersed with many profound moments, insights and epiphanies, but the real solid, abiding state of being that has become entirely natural to me, has been a 'slow cook.'
My relationship with Amoda has been the fundamental driver of this awakening. You don't get to live an intimate life with one who has experienced the truth, who has become established in surrender and openness, but also ruthless love, without it dragging you (sometimes screaming) into the fire.
And so it has been. Since we met it has been the same. No games, no projections, no co-dependence, no stories. She would never allow me to shift anything onto her, so I was forced to take responsibility for everything and I had to make choices. It has been like living with a tantric master.
Of course I have done the work. My life has been a wild ride.
Let me give you a glimpse into my world as it used to be:
From an early age I read about existence. One of my first reads was the Dhamappada. Then came Siddhartha and The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hess.
The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test had a serious effect on me, as did the work of Ken Kesey.
I devoured the beat generation authors, of course my favorite was Kerouac. Then I moved on to the French existentialists, Camus and Sartre.
I was using psychedelics extremely frequently, and I had all but completely dropped out of life by this time, approximately 17 years old.
Nothing prepared me for my first psychedelic experience. It totally tore me apart, and tore my reality apart. It wasn't a good experience and it left me traumatized for years. But it didn't stop me from taking lots more.
My music was late 60's early 70's psychedelic and folk, the US and English finest, from Floyd to Zappa, the Doors, Nick Drake, CSNY, Steely Dan, and on and on.
I had no ambition to be anything or anybody.
I was ‘out there.’ I was a freak.
My parents went through a very destructive and toxic divorce at exactly that time. My mother had a breakdown and was admitted to mental hospital in my 16th year, and I left home a few weeks later, just before it totally disintegrated.
That set me on course for a life of hedonism, escapism and dysfunctional relationships. I was very good at that.
Life began to change by my mid to late 30s.
My then partner gave me an ultimatum about my drinking, which was out of control and wild. I was alcoholic by that time. I sought therapy and began to develop insight into the deeper motives for my behavior. I gave up drinking, which took time and patience and persistence.
And then I was invited to go to a Shamanic Camp in Wales, UK. That was where I met my first teacher. An Irish warrior poet mystic by the name of Shivam O'Brien. This man, and his female counterpart Erica Indra (A Hungarian Priestess) tore open my life for two years. Through fire ceremony, sweat lodge, poetry, ancient myths and stories, vision quests and blinding magic, I can now look back at those two years as being primary in my transformation. http://www.spirithorse.co.uk/
Spirit Horse certainly liberated the wild one within me. It unleashed the poet, the mystic and the musician. I learned about the power of ceremony and that played a bigger and bigger part in my life. There was an 'Enlightenment Intensive' I took part in, in the vast and beautiful valley in Mid Wales, in about 1996. What happened to me during this rich time was probably my second big transcendent experience.
The idea of 'Enlightenment Intensive' is thus.
"On Enlightenment Intensives "ordinary" people achieve the most profound states of consciousness. These states are not the property of monks or saints or robed lamas or holy men of the east or west. They are completely natural - but easily lost to view - unless you are deeply questioning, observing and open. You will be carefully guided in a simple technique of inquiry that produces astonishing and deeply satisfying life changing results in days." http://www.spirithorse.co.uk/enlightenment-intensive.html
At some point in this experience I fell backwards from my sitting position and as I did I found myself falling into eternity, exploded as love itself and completely wide open. I saw, with my inner eye, how time came into being, dripping precious moment by precious moment from the pool of the eternal. It was like watching the formless come into form in un-seeable, un-perceivable ways, made sense of only by the mind. The experience lasted probably a minute. I have never forgotten it.
And yet, despite all the revelations and authenticity, all the inner wisdom and seeking of power, there was something missing.
Love was missing.
In 2001/2 I started working with Amoda as a musician for her transformational body based workshops. That began what has become our relationship, our work, our adventure and our shared dream.
Nothing is as powerful as intimate relationship when it comes to awakening. The fire is inescapable and the invitation constant.
When the commitment is present anything can happen.
Love can change anyone, even the stubborn and lost. It just needs the willingness.
My relationship demanded that I show up all the time, not just when I felt like it. I had to deal with being triggered back into old patterns and beliefs, hidden when things are good and easy, but alive like wild spirits when I felt rejected or abandoned.
But love is more powerful than triggers or traumas or stories.
And I have been blessed to have Amoda by my side for the last 17 years.
And slowly the dawn arrived. The dawn of awakened presence wasn't sudden or dramatic. It was natural and entirely normal. It was integrated and whole. It was, to use the popular phrase, 'embodied.' I don't think of it as awakened. To me it is the truth of being, innate wisdom that lies at the core of all humans, but is covered over by layers of conditioning and erroneous beliefs. For sure it is a very different state from most people.
Things you might want to know about me:
I have been very sick and recovered. In 2005 I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the form of Ulcerative Colitis. I decided not to medicate but to see if I could heal it naturally. That experience took me on a journey that lasted 10 years. It has also been my 'teacher,' and has been ruthless and unrelenting. It took me to every unresolved emotion that lay inside me causing stress and heat. It meant dealing with every remnant of addiction still playing itself out. And the most profound thing was that I finally had to meet 'God' or divine intelligence and make peace. From being a guy who was seriously cut off from his body, life has blessed me with these extraordinary invitations to come back to himself. As Amoda has said so wonderfully,' The end of resistance if the beginning of grace.'
This powerful and visceral physical experience (I even spent two years 90% housebound) taught me that life is more than spiritual. It is holistic. It is not enough to have a disconnected spirituality, one that doesn't include the body or relationships. When everything gets included in awakening it becomes so much more than 'spiritual.'
I run. I love running, it brings me closer to God and to stillness.
I look after my body.
I am unconventional.
I do not fit the mold of 'spirituality.'
The power of an awakened relationship. It resonates with everyone. It inspires others. It prods and it pokes you into surrender. But it offers you such a sweet joy.
I live with my astonishing wife Amoda Maa here in California.
We moved here to follow our dream. It took guts and perseverance to do it. But we did it, and we are so delighted to be here.
Each day we give thanks for all this. And it is not always easy, but that's the journey, to embrace all aspects of life no matter what.