Thinking back, my spiritual journey began at a very early age… but it would only be much later in my life that I realised how significant some of those moments were. My parents weren’t particularly spiritual, and apart from a couple of weeks at Sunday School (I hated it!) I used to get dragged along to church once a year on Remembrance Sunday. My uncle had been killed in the war so my father used to take us along in memory of him. It was cold, it was uncomfortable, and it was boring.
The earliest event I can recall that had some sense of the magical to it was when I was left in my pram outside the local post office. Now they had a milk machine there (this was before the days of Coke vending, guys) and I just started to press the buttons. Incredibly, milk cartons started landing in my pram. It wasn’t until much later in my life that I realised the link with how interconnected I was with machines – a kind of modern day shaman, if you like – someone who has such a tight affinity with technology and machinery that it responds almost magically to me.
Another event I didn’t understand the significance of was at junior school. Every year at the Christmas party, we would have a fancy dress parade. I chose to go as Mercury, the messenger of the Gods, with my winged hat, my winged boots, and a toga. Probably best that you don’t try to imagine it. Now, local kids being who they are, they simply didn’t ‘get’ it and laughed me out of the parade. It took me a long, long time to lose the story of being laughed at because I’d tried to be different, because I had tried to stand out.. because I had tried to be true to my identity. I suspect that somewhere in my being I decided never to stand out in the same way again – never to risk being the subject of people’s jokes, never to risk ridicule… and so, like so many of us, I began the journey towards shrinking down and settling for second best.. of not letting my true awesomeness out.
But somewhere in my heart I knew who I was. I knew the job I had to do. I knew, deep down inside, that part of my role on this planet was to be a bridge, to be someone who would look to stand in the gap and help to bring God’s presence into people’s lives – someone who would, eventually, seek to be a man who wanted to bring one simple message… “Remember Who You truly Are”.
You know, it actually doesn’t matter whether you believe any of this stuff. In fact, it doesn’t matter to me whether this stuff is real either. When I was doing my NLP training, my trainer said something that really made me stop and think. You see, we as humans seem obsessed with ‘truth’. We want to seek out the genuine ‘truth’ behind something. And maybe that’s important and maybe it isn’t – and here’s why.
In NLP, we learn a whole series of ‘Presuppositions’ – principles on which NLP is founded, the core precepts of you like that lay the foundations for everything else. Things like ‘the meaning of communication is the result you get’ and ‘there is no failure, only feedback’. (There are some truly lifechanging presuppositions that are the core of NLP, and if you want to know more, book on an NLP course – in fact, I’m considering running one myself, probably called “It’s NLP, but not as you know it”).
Anyway, what my trainer said was “I don’t know if this is true or not, but what I do know is the effects that believing it produce in my life”.
So, I have no real way of knowing if God exists or not. I have no real way of knowing if the things I do in pursuit of God are the best or not. But what I do is to look and see if I like the effects they are having. Does believing this make me more positive (yes). Does believing this make me more loving (yes). Does believing this give me more hope (yes). Do other people like the person that I am (yes).
So, in the end, if my beliefs, and my values, and my behaviours produce these sort of results in my life, it doesn’t really matter if it’s true or not, does it? And, sure, I believe that God is real. I believe that we are all ‘God’. I believe that there is no ‘death’. I believe that we can change the world around us. I believe so much – and in so much magic and wonder, power and freedom – and much of it we will explore in the coming weeks and months in this blog.
And yet, provided that what I believe is helping me be more loving, more able to help people, more able to help myself, making me more confident, more capable, more full of hope, and life, and joy, and freedom – then, in a sense, whether or not it is ‘true’ isn’t the important thing. Because I like the effects that it produces.