Status: Trainee Wisdom Counsellor
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Can you remember the first time you suspected there was a bigger truth to life, and that this was something you could participate in?
I had a spontaneous kundalini experience when I was 18. I had no previous interest in spirituality beforehand and identified as an atheist.
I was lying in bed and had chanced upon a book on meditation in our living room. I decided to meditate for the first time, but immediately experienced more than I bargained for. A shaft of immense energy rose upwards through my spine, engulfing me in its embrace where I shared in an experience that offered all the love, security and fulfilment I could ever know.
I remained in that expanded state for somewhere around twenty minutes. Once my awareness reasserted itself, I lay there with the feeling that what had happened was of profound significance. In some shape or form I have been seeking for that truth that I shared in ever since.
What traditions/teachers/practices were you involved with previously?
I dabbled in a few traditions before I came to the Fountainhead. I read everything I could get my hands on - Buddhist teachings, New Thought philosophy, western esotericism. I tried meditation practices, creative visualization techniques and various magical traditions.
The experience of my practice appeared to be in complete opposition from what I had known in those brief moments previously. Nothing I engaged in made any sense, there seemed no way to integrate anything I did with my everyday life, and I knew only failure.
What brought you to the Fountainhead?
I had been making a number of positive changes in my life before I reached out to Alan at the Fountainhead. I left my career in finance to work in the tech industry. I toned down the alcohol-fueled life I had been leading as an expat in Amsterdam. I decided to reinvigorate my spiritual practice that I had discarded for a few years previously.
I had chanced upon a book from Alan that I immediately identified with. It felt that I finally had material that could make sense of what I had been struggling with. I contacted Alan soon after and began practicing together with him since late 2013.
What have been the most significant wisdom/awakening events in your life?
The benefits from working together at the Fountainhead were immediate. It turned out the process of awakening was really very simple. All that was required was an honest engagement with my own experience, and a mentor to guide me who could meet me at my own level.
Initially meditation appeared to be a practice of dealing with interruptions that arose without rhyme or reason. I would learn how to make sense of these interruptions and find the hidden beliefs that lay at the root of them. A need to appear as someone of value was an example of such a belief. It was a problem I fooled myself into believing I needed to resolve before I could achieve satisfaction. Uncovering the root of such beliefs allowed me to see that what I was seeking I already possessed, and such realizations culminated in various degrees of awakening. An abiding non-dual awareness of the unconditional arose within me upon awakening. I later experienced a further awakening where I understood that my actions are unconditionally accepted in this world.
What is more is that this growth in understanding would manifest in the circumstances of my everyday life. Before I started with the Fountainhead, it felt that nothing could work out the way I wanted in my professional and personal life. An increased understanding bought about the end to the cycles of struggle I was engaged in that allowed this misfortune to continue. My relationship and professional life have continued to flower, and I credit this to my work with the Fountainhead.
What practices are you currently doing?
I sit regularly around 3-4 times a week for half an hour a day. If a daydream arises during my sit, or a dream stays with me upon awakening, I will write it down. Typically it will take around half an hour to uncover the hidden beliefs that lay at the heart of these dreams.
The desire to engage in this practice arises naturally as it becomes quite enjoyable. There is never a need to struggle to do more than I feel like doing. There is no set schedule, occasionally I might go a week or more without sitting and not be particularly concerned about it. If I am concerned about any reluctance I am feeling, it is simply another subject for the dialectic to examine to explore why I’m behaving that way.
Can you remember the first time you really grasped the implications of dialectic contemplation?
After working with the dialectic for a couple of months it was one particular dream that really highlighted its value for me. The dream began at my childhood home. I’d been excited for a family holiday until my mother came in and verbally attacked me, saying we were not leaving after all because she was disappointed in me. I felt a sense of pride as I stood up for myself, and asserted that I would not stand for this, I would not play this role any longer.
I was so convinced of the surface appearance of the dream – that I was learning to assert myself in the world. Through this dream it finally dawned on me how the dramas we explore through the dialectic are always opposite to how they appear. A belief that I need to assert myself and overcome adversity will always create the conditions necessary to do so. It dawned on me these dramas arose in my life because I did not believe that growth without struggle was possible. Upon realizing this, I felt the thrill of realization. I was starting to see that true understanding and growth never involves struggle or effort at all – once we understand the falsehood that underlies our behavior, we will see its real nature and cease engaging in it, ensuring it will be gone forever.
Do you find it easy to do a dialectic?
The dialectic has been a skill that has developed with my level of understanding. Initially I found them impossible without guidance. It appeared I had no control over the dramas that arose in my life. Emotional repression, forgetfulness, passivity – these were traits that defined who I was, and lay at the root of the dreams and dramas that would become the subjects of my dialectics. As they defined me, it seemed they were a fate that I had to come to terms with and endure.
With time I found that all confusion can be replaced with understanding through the application of reason. I gradually engaged with the truth of who I really am through the dialectic, free of the false beliefs I held about myself. In shedding these beliefs I have found my place in the world, that I now share in a world that makes complete sense to me, and that my ability to follow my heart’s desire proceeds effortlessly. Most of all, engaging with the dialectic has become a joyful process as there is now an unshakeable faith that all adversity that arises can be made sense of, and that engaging with the truth of who I am is one and the same with the pursuit of professional and personal excellence in this world.