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About me

I was born in Sydney, Australia. I was a professional musician and music teacher, and am now a photographer, writer, conservationist and spiritual guide.

 

I completed a Bachelor of Music at Sydney University and performed extensively throughout Australia in all arenas of music. I moved to Adelaide to work with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. In 2003 I had a music book for children - Flute with a Twist - published by Bushfire Press. I have also sold numerous art works, several of which are distributed through this site. My book Seventeen Voices: Life and wisdom from inside "mental illness" is available from Wakefield Press. My book on my journey out of suffering and to the peace of lived awakening, is called Suffering, Spirituality and the Inner Journey Home. 

 

After a lifetime of spiritual seeking, I spontaneously awoke to true nature in 2008. From the time I was a child I had questioned 'reality' and the consensus view of life. Something felt amiss but I didn't know what it was; it seemed everyone was playacting in a strange drama with strange rules. With awakening I realised that the truth I had been seeking for much of my life, was in fact, closer than close. It was a radical shift in identity. However, rather than an ending, awakening was just a beginning. It was necessary to understand, integrate and deepen into that Truth. At times this was disorienting, confusing and disruptive. I intimately understand the landscape of pre- and post-awakening life, and help others to navigate this terrain while still attending to their everyday activities and life.

 

In 2021, my book What's Awakening Really Like? Twenty ordinary people speak about life beyond the spiritual search was published.
 

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I have written extensively about my pre-awakening (and some of my post-awakening) journey in my book Suffering, Spirituality and the Inner Journey Home: walking the path from desperation and fear to the peace of lived awakening published in 2017. Details are included on this website ...
 

About Awakening

I use the word awakening very specifically to describe the shift in identity and perception, from the individual and mind-created sense of self, to our true nature or natural state.

 

This natural state has variously been described as Life, Consciousness, Source, Spirit, Silence, Emptiness, Self, God ... This.

Awakening, is not an experience that comes and then goes. Awakening, when it happens, is unmistakable.

Awakening is NOT any of the following, even if experienced as profound or life-altering: becoming interested in spirituality, having an ecstatic experience of great love or compassion, being interested in crystals, having psychic or visionary experiences, having a mystical experience, being deeply moved by a teacher or teaching, a drug-induced experience, the state of samadhi, or a moment of satori.  Kundalini activitation, (for which I provide support) is also frequently described as awakening. Although the movement of Kundalini may bring about changes in consciousness and a clearing of identification with the small self, for clarity, I prefer not to refer to it as awakening.

Although in one sense awakening may answer many questions the ‘seeker’ may have had about the nature of our true identity, in another it is just the very beginning. Even many of the great sages took years to integrate, understand and deepen into abiding (24/7) realization or enlightenment. On our own, with little or no support or understanding from family, friends or society, this process can be disorienting, and fraught with potholes, confusion, loneliness and doubt. Additionally, the layers and subtleties of the 'egoic' contraction can take may years to be seen through and wind down. A guide can be invaluable.

Leaf Wreath

Life as it is now lived ...

When we set out on a spiritual quest, whether that be for Truth, or for happiness, or for an end to our suffering, we imagine that one day we will lay down our swords, our wounded hearts, our flaws and our desires, and cross the finish line. We assume that from that point on we’ll live happily ever after: we’ll be bathed in peace or bliss or harmony, we’ll have everything we ever wanted, we’ll have perfect relationships, we’ll have enough money and a job as a wise spiritual teacher. Perhaps we might even imagine some sort of enlightened superiority or specialness for ourselves … the ultimate prize for all our hard work.

But these are all the ego’s stories, and the ego doesn’t come along for this bit of the ride. The ego or mind knows nothing of Truth or Reality. Ever.

 

So what does life look like now?

 

The best word I can come up with in this moment is Emptiness. Or Life. Or Silence. Certainly I could also use True Nature or Source or Truth or Essential Nature ... I know myself as clear, clear, radiant Emptiness. This Emptiness is what I directly and unequivocally know I am. It is what we all are. It is what the sky, and the sun, and the litter on the street, and all the politicians of this world, are.

 

I know that when the ego hears the word ‘emptiness’ it recoils. For the ego, ‘emptiness’ signifies lack or deficiency, destruction or nihilism. The ego wants something real, something tangible, something to hang onto, something from which it can claim a stance. What can the ego do with emptiness? Nothing. Emptiness spells doom for the ego.

 

But in lived reality, Emptiness is none of those things … and in a way I could never explain and never find words for or articulate, Emptiness is the saving grace of everything. It truly is. But we can only ever find that out for ourselves …

 

Emptiness knows itself intuitively as what it is. It recognizes itself as our True Home. As our deepest rest. As our deepest breath. As our Ground, our Source …

 

Emptiness sees itself in and as everything and everyone without limitation. There is no center, no edge, no definition, no boundary, no bits and pieces all stuck together, nothing to grab onto, nothing to claim, nothing to jar or grate against … only its infinite glorious enormity speaking through each speck of dust, each earthworm, each flower …

 

In Emptiness the mind is seen, and its opinions and ideals, dreams and grasping can dissolve because there is nothing to fight and no-one to say that this moment is not the most extraordinary moment in all of Creation …

 

This Emptiness, simply by virtue of what it is, has an intelligence far far beyond anything the mind could ever conceive of. It is an intelligence that is forever opening into wordless insight upon insight, depth upon depth, mystery upon mystery. Here is the wisdom that is Reality, Humanity and Truth flowing through us in each moment. And there is no end to it …

 

This Emptiness is a vivid and radiant aliveness … my hand and fingers moving as I am typing these words, the sunlight shining through the leaves of a tree, the footsteps of my partner …

 

And yes, there is a peace I never thought possible for my life, there is simple simple joy, there is a sense that all is deeply well …

 

But I also know that there is no final and fantastic finish line here … there is no over-and-done-with, no end of the story, no ‘happily ever after’. I’m not off the hook. Ever.

 

The ego is still there from time to time, wanting to have its say about something, wanting to feel its own existence simply by virtue of the never-ending loop of its own storytelling. Occasionally, in barely perceptible undertones it whispers to me its well-worn tale of self-doubt. And I know that if a particularly difficult life situation arose I would most probably feel the sharp sting of its contraction and separation once more.

 

But I also know that the ego doesn’t have its own inbuilt on/off switch … egos do what egos do, and so I’m not as surprised or concerned by its meanderings as I once was.

 

I will continue to meet everything that arises with uncompromising honesty, love and compassion as I have always done. I will continue to allow the gaze of Truth to see through everything that still needs to be seen through. Everything.  I will continue to allow all separation to surrender back into the infinite Emptiness … over and over and over if that is what’s necessary. I will continue to let go of any notion or any belief that I know what’s going on … because I don’t. I will continue to be lived by life moment by moment by moment … knowing that the deepening into this glorious humanity and its extraordinary Mystery has no end.

 

I will continue to be humbled, awed, filled with wonder … and oh-so-very-grateful …

(Quoted from my book, Suffering, Spirituality and the Inner Journey Home.)

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Leaf Wreath