There is no way I can talk about soulcraft or practice therapy without acknowledging God, Christ and the Great Mystery of Life. It has taken my until my 38th year to admit what i always knew, I am a man of God.
I grew up in a household that did not practice religion. Perhaps rightly so because of hypocrisies in the Churches they encountered, my parents steered away from religion in their own lives. They were however open and supportive of me and my sister participating in church youth groups. something in me from an early age was drawn to Christ at the same time as I felt repelled by the something in the actual churches themselves. Looking back, I’d say I felt like i was in a tomb. A shell of something real but that had had the life force drained out of it long before i ever arrived. Churches in Australia that i encountered seemed sterile places to me. Worship seemed stale or moralistic and the living pulse of life did not seem to be part of the churches reality. It was as if church was separate to life and as much as i loved God and Christ, I knew i needed to choose life.
Earth is my greatest teacher
So I left spirituality behind and sunk my teeth into lived existence. I did what many normal teenagers and young adults did – follow the script of media-soaked cultural norms and led a materially conventional life. I went to school, had fun, played sport, went to university, discovered sex, graduated, traveled, worked and planned to get married. All along the way I had a curiosity and fascination with the natural world, science, the paranormal, psychology and human behavior. I also carried a darkness. Despair, pain, anger, hurt, confusion, hate. I both loved and hated the world i was living in. My parents and their generation seemed to have let me down – injustice ruled the world, war was rife and financial success was the measuring stick of social value.
I can see now that my love for this world, and the pain of this world were two ruling, unresolved energies operating in tension and oscillation with each other. I would swing from elation to despair over a period of months and could not trust or find any psychological stability in myself.
Eventually, something happened to initiate a shift in this dynamic. I went on a holiday to South America suicidally depressed. Of course, I didn’t admit that – even to myself because part of my way of functioning was to think things weren’t as bad as they were. I was protecting myself from the shock and horror of facing and feeling indigestible feelings and overwhelming my system. Of course i was also ashamed because I believed I had to be happy and successful.
It all came to a head during a multi day hike in southern Chile. I was carrying about 30kg on my back, the weather was windy and cold and I was miserable. I decided at the end of that walk that I would not go on. I told my travelling partner that I couldn’t go through with our plans to hike and mountain climb our way around the continent for 6 months and that only 2 weeks in, I would return home.
to my eternal gratitude, he was supportive and understanding. He counselled me to take each day at a time, to come with him to Argentina, put hiking off the agenda and stay open to what else might be possible. After all, I had traveled many km and invested thousands of dollars just to get there. I took his advice and bit by bit, destination by destination, stayed and experienced the life of a tourist.
During this phase of travel we visited several natural environments. Today it might be called eco-tourism. We visited the great waterfalls of Iguazu, we traveled through salt flats of Bolivia and many other places. All these places shifted, stirred and supported something in me. The force of the cataracas, the vastness of the white salt plains, the colours in the rock. The accumulation of natural wonders affected my psyche in a profound way. I remember as clearly as if i am still there, looking out the bus window at mountains coloured in rainbow for 45 minutes and arriving at our destination a changed man. The sheer beauty and magnificence of that seemingly never ending passage through frozen colour transformed my mind. I was speechless, thoughtless and for the first time i could remember, content.
This contentment was a revelation to me. I had never been content. I was never at peace. Inner turmoil, mental agitation had been a constant companions for me. I was always seeking some next moment, some next pleasure, some next salvation. I would sink into depressive funks and stay there. To feel content, at peace in myself was a gift from God.
All this is to say that I first met God through the Earth, through the natural world. since then, I know my heart belongs to the Earth. She is my bride and always has been.
Now my Father is God. The metaphysics of Life. the Law of creation. The ineffable One. I feel that now. But back then, I was still neck deep in seeking spirit through science. I took a detour through science and sought the source of spirit through the scriptures of science popularism. I was working at the time at CSIRO education NSW and was masterful at weaving inspiring stories and educational inquiries of the natural world. I loved but something was missing. Coming back from South America my focus shifted from the external world to the internal. I knew I wanted more inner peace after that experience on the bus and the first place I thought to look for it was in meditation. A 9 week adult education course marked the beginning of my next phase of education – the exploration of my psyche.
I probably spent almost $50 000 dollars on courses, seminars, retreats, and materials – not to mention travel costs – on all manner of spiritual, psychological and personal development education over a 10 year period. As wonderful as an investment as that was, it was something very simple operating through this period that I can see now was of most value. Not discounting the value of the array of interesting, powerful and novel modalities of growth out there, one factor runs through all of them. This factor is simple: expressing the truth of one’s experience in the presence of love. I learnt time after time through horrible, messy, ugly and painful experience that exposing a truth to someone who can hear with ears of love and care for the one suffering to tell it is the primary factor in psychological healing. (Important note: ‘expressing’ in this context is not limited to speech: movement, sound and action are all powerful mediums for expressing the truth of our experience)
Time and time again, from random encounters in coffee shops, heated arguments with friends, tear-soaked confessions to lovers, strong-willed expressions of clarity, cathartic benders, momentary softenings, spontaneous comments, expressions of gratitude, prayers of desire and need, and confession of shame, I learnt to trust the love of the human heart.
I had found God in the heart of humanity.
At the end of 2018, I had come to the end of two years of higher education in Gestalt psychotherapy. I had earned a graduate diploma and was a third of the way toward completing a masters degree. I had some time at the end of the year to take rest and refocus my energy for 2019. Inside however, I knew through my body that something was off. I could not imagine a scenario in which i would successfully apply my therapy skills upon graduation from my Masters degree. I realised therapy had no compelling sense of ‘why’ for me. I remember an old work colleague told me when i was first exploring the idea of working in this field, ‘have a strong why’ . It always stuck with me and to be honest, I could not feel a strong why for psychotherapy.
I focused on two goals for 2019 and put study on hold. the first was to heal my back (I’ve battled chronic lower back pain for years). and the second was to deepen my walk with God. It’s really odd to write this now and realise that back then, i didn’t even use that sort of language. And yet it was so clear to me. I sought God. you see, I had reached the end of the road of human-based intervention. As powerful as psychotherapy can be in reworking the psyche and soma, it was not addressing my primary relationship to Life. I knew it was time once again to let go of safe and predictable structure, trust in life and leave formal study.
I can’t say too much about what happened next. It’s still happening. Also, there are the mysterious elements of time, will and providence that combine to create the miraculous. I can tell you I bought a bible. I can tell you I started singing Amazing Grace. I can tell you I started work with a consulting spiritual philosopher and esotericist. I can tell you I listened to hours of Owen Benjamin, Veritas radio and Neil Kramer. I can tell you I kept up my own therapy practice – supporting myself to meet, feel and be moved some powerful dark forces within me. I allowed despair to move me, depression to sedate me, rage to wield me, prayer to guide me and held it all with the presence of trust. I gave myself the freedom to be as I am. I allowed myself to indulge my addictions. I reached the end of many habitual patterns by simply letting myself do them and be done by them. Eventually something ended and something new emerged. I spent time alone in the bush, fearful of the night, hearing and feeling spirits, waiting for sunlight and learning to have faith. Throughout these many intitiations, discardings and purifications something happened. I found a place of rest in myself deeper and more profound than even that experience on the bus in South America. I had forged/found my Soul. Through this portal i know my connection with life.
I had found God through my own being.
As much as i can acknowledge and take pride in how I’ve unfolded over this life, my story of my journey toward God would not be complete without acknowledging the inspiration I’ve recieved through all the people who in their own way keep the flame of love, truth and being alive and point the way God in their work, words and wisdom. This world is a special place and there are forces at work here for good and for evil. The mainstream media, politicians, kabals of secret societies, power hungry demons and agents of chaos, Lucifer, charmers and charlatans all seek to deceive and poison the minds and hearts of humanity. For me, finding my path to God through my soul is just a beginning. The greater cause is to walk this plane as a living testament to love, truth and being. There is a fire within those words. They may be pretty to look at but inside they burn with passion, devotion and the light of creation.
In no small way i am indebted to the teachings of Christ and the faith of all those men and women of God who have shared their faith and knowing vocally or through the written word.