When I was a child growing up in Peckham, London in the 1950’s/60s (yes I’m 71!) I always instinctively believed in God. There was no internet, no computers, no complementary therapies, no religion other than going to church (which we didn’t do) and we were living in the aftermath of the war surrounded by vast areas of cleared bombsites.
At the age of 11, my primary school teacher, Mr Lavender, was teaching us about Charles Darwin and evolution (there was no curriculum in those days!). Mr Lavender, told the class that there was no such thing as God and that when we die we just go back in to the ground and that is that. Of course I believed him – he was my teacher and I was very young! I cried myself to sleep every night afraid that my parents might suddenly die and that would be that!
Then at the age of 16 after years of angst, I was talking to an older girl who was studying religion at ‘A’ Level. She was telling me how she would argue with the local vicar when he tried to convince her that there was a God. She was a self confessed atheist. I listened to her rendition of the arguments and thought I believe what the vicar is saying. It makes sense to me. So I decided there and then that I didn’t care what anyone said, that I believed in God and that was that! I quickly rejected Christianity however, because I found the priest at the local church very unhelpful and it didn’t touch my heart or feel right for me. It didn’t feel true.
So I went to the library and found some books in the religion section, such as Aldous Huxleys book “The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell” and was interested in his account of what happened to him during a controlled experiment in which he took mind-expanding drugs. I remember telling my Mum all about it in the kitchen while she was cooking dinner – she didn’t seem to know what to say! I would peruse the religion section at the library and found books such as “Gnani Yoga” and “Raja Yoga” to name a few and I greedily read them. They opened my mind to a sense of continuity in life and showed me a much broader perspective than Christianity ever could in those days. In my early twenties, there were a series of books about a Tibetan monk called Lobsang Rampa which revealed a life in the Tibetan plateau that really resonated with me. The titles included “The Third Eye” and “Living with the Lama” – these books are still available today! I was very psychic and also a vegetarian at the time and in those days, you didn’t tell anyone as you could be sent to the ‘loony bin’. I was very withdrawn and closed.
Those books changed my life and sent me on a long spiritual path of self discovery. In my early twenties, I was still growing up in the post war era and in a society where men were regarded as superior to women. I felt suffocated, stifled and my then partner (who I didn’t love but who I believed was the only man who would ever have me, such was my lack of self belief) would tell me that I was not right in the head all the time, which of course I had to endure hearing and which sent me spiralling into deep depression and anxiety. I felt completely shut down and closed off and totally alone. Nothing seemed real any more. Everything was dark, there was nothing to look forward to, I was so very afraid of the world and all that I saw in it. So what changed you may well ask?
What changed was that whilst I was in this dark place, there was only ‘me’ to think about. When I started work I fell in love with one of the bosses. I literally felt cupids arrows fly into my heart and the attraction was immediate. It was unhealthy because we were both married, but fantasising about him took me out of myself. However it fed my over active imagination and although I was never brave enough to admit the attraction and get off with him, it gave me something else to occupy my mind.
Eventually in my late twenties, having left the abusive controlling relationship, I got into an even worse controlling abusive relationship and I fell pregnant. Before finding out I was pregnant, I left him and moved back in with my parents and it was there that my first daughter was born. I was 29 years old. My parents had started attending a local Christian Spiritualist Church and I so I would go along with them. The ‘service’ consisted of prayers, then a visiting medium would give a spiritual talk followed by a demonstration of mediumship. I was very inspired as it resonated with my own psychic and mediumistic tendencies.
But you guessed it, I met someone at the Church and moved in with him very quickly with my 4 month old daughter, and yes, he was controlling and abusive too. After we stopped going to the Spiritualist church, we found other spiritual paths. We read and went to talks by Krishnamurti. We were both meditators and latterly became members of the local Self Realisation Fellowship group. I had read/devoured books (there was still no internet in those days!) by its founder Guru Paramahansa Yogananda which I had found very inspiring and beautiful and really spoke to my soul.
Eventually after 3 more children and being totally exhausted as I was doing a lot of psychic, tarot and astrology and mediumship readings and running meditation and psychic development groups from home, mainly to bring in some extra money. I had encouraged my husband to study Homeopathy and after the first year of the 3 year course, he started seeing patients. He was still controlling and abusive towards the children and me and eventually I could take no more. I was so exhausted and depleted mentally, emotionally and physically that I felt almost suicidal and had spiralled into another deep depression.
At my lowest point I met a saviour! A wonderful Yogi, psychotherapist, positive and full of light older man who became my friend and therapist. We had no money so he supported my journey for free. He selflessly helped and guided me to find my inner divine feminine power and strength to such an extent that I was able to kick my controlling husband out – there were three attempts, the first two I caved in and took him back. But finally, after living with him for 15 years, I was strong enough and confident enough to stick to my guns and not have him back.
Since then I have not looked back. Before my ‘saviour’ died, I met a lovely man and am now in a very happy supportive marriage. We have just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary and he has always supported me when I have gone off on retreat and never tried to tell me I’m stupid for what I believe in and has been the father to my family that their own father could never and still never be.
So this is my story in brief. I have spent the past 40/50 years on a spiritual journey through various disciplines of yoga and Buddhism, different Gurus and teachers and groups and learned to meditate. I am a serial knowledge seeker and most of my reading is non fiction and has been to do with finding out more about the different spiritual approaches to the teachings of Buddhism. I have attended many retreats, been the a very active member of Shambhala Meditation Centre in Bristol and gradually have come right out of my shell. I have learned so much about myself and there is no turning back for me now. I feel strong, confident, and in control of myself.
The Peaceful Abiding UK website and Facebook Page are my way of showing my gratitude for all the help and support I’ve received on my spiritual journey. It is my way of giving back to a society that seems to me to be spiralling into a very dark place where there is little hope for many and not much to sustain or nurture peoples’ hearts and minds. It is my feeling and because of my own personal life experience that we all need some kind of a spiritual path to sustain us. Without the cushion of spirituality there is only, to quote Mr Lavender, extinction at the end and I just don’t believe that. I believe that our consciousness continues through lifetimes and that we meet circumstances in our lives both good and not so good that are the result of previous lives. There is no extinction and likewise no eternal place that our ego personality goes to. It is a wonderful mystery of the ground of reality that can only be experienced, not verbalised.
It is my deep hope that people who are looking for a spiritual path, particularly beginners thinking about meditation and looking for a way out of their own dark place, can find something to start them on their journey of self discovery and healing. The courses and meditation sessions I offer are designed specifically for those people. Please reach out to me and let me know how I can be of help!
With blessings and much love to all who read this blog!
I am currently writing a book of my lifelong spiritual journey. This blog is a brief introduction of my journey.
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