Since I can remember, even as a child of five, I was preoccupied and curious about what laid behind and beyond the appearance of things. I have vivid memories of lucid dreaming, flying over my home city of Sydney and meeting other people. Of lying awake for hours in bed feeling as if I was floating, watching a swirling mass of lights and colours in the darkness of my bedroom, and feeling the sensations that would arise inside me as they emerged and faded, moved and swirled. I would look at other people, and find it deeply confusing and curious that there could be such a thing as ‘another’ person, looking through different eyes. It seemed almost arbitrary that there could be a me singled out and differentiated who was ‘the one looking through these eyes’. I thought experiencing and wondering about all of this was normal. Until I started mentioning it to people. I subsequently learnt to keep it to myself.
I have been a practitioner of meditation and related practices for 16 years, starting at the age of 20 with a year of full-time meditation and spiritual practice in 1996. I took the year off from university and dived head-long into a meditation training that was profoundly oriented towards direct experience and direct ‘vision’ of inner-spaces, consciousness, and spiritual realities. Things progressed very quickly that year, the middle of which consisted of several months in retreat meditating up to 10-12 hours a day. Needless to say it changed my life, and for better or worse set me on a course in which seeking the Self (or Non-Self if you prefer), became the unceasing motivation and driving force. Despite whatever deviations and detours I have made (and likely will make!) since then, always within, it has remained.
After six years in training, while working as a journalist for a technology magazine, feeling that the job was starting to overtake my life and meditation practice, I handed in my resignation and went to live in London to teach courses in meditation and spiritual practices throughout Europe. In subsequent years I also taught in Asia and the US, before entering a second phase of intensive practices, during which time I had several peak Transcendental experiences, and a couple in particular that lasted for months, leaving an indelible mark on my being, and changing my inner landscape and life forever. The work continues.
It could be said that my training has been very ‘Tantric’ in nature. Many of the techniques were designed to awaken direct perception and awareness of all aspects of inner phenomena, and great care was taken to develop a language that could help ‘map’ out what arose in our field of inner awareness. Helping to clarify and objectify states and experiences that might otherwise remain as vague subjective impressions, too difficult to discuss meaningfully or share. Hence, what I like to call ‘Inner Cartography’. Some of the techniques and meditations bare many similarities to the Pranayama and Bandas of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, to Kundalini and Kriya Yoga, or even the Tibetan yogas that act directly on the internal ‘winds’. Yet, the training is also powerfully unique in its emphasis on ‘Vision’. Some, while retaining in essence their traditional origins, or somehow enhancing ones appreciation and understanding of traditional practices, are radically new, powerful, revolutionary and inventive. For instance, various meditations held in eye-contact, exchanging impressions with a partner, were already a highly refined and developed art by the time I had joined the trainings.
Through this process the ‘model’ of consciousness was constantly under review and modified according to experiences, and also painstakingly cross-referenced to the models and language used by many of the great traditions. In particular the Sanskrit of the Indian traditions, but also thoroughly grounded in the approach of Western traditions and Alchemy. Moreover, central to the ‘work’ was not only the possibility of Liberation that is understood by most meditators as the general common goal of spiritual endeavour, but also the possibility of an Evolutionary path, that the Transcendent (however you wish to characterise it), is not the only aim or end. The Beyond Within.
For this reason, it’s quite likely that you’ll see my posts regularly peppered with references to Sri Aurobindo who’s work I regard as revolutionary, still before its time, and still little understood, but more relevant to us now than ever. For the next evolutionary leap requires that we gradually leave behind our mental life as humanity has lived and experienced it so far, and grown up within it since before we started recording history.
I am forever indebted to my teacher Samuel Sagan MD. Profoundly unique. Visionary. A Polymath. All Glory to the Teacher.