Status: Founder, Wisdom Counsellor Zero
Location: Gwynedd, Wales
Can you remember the first time you suspected there was a bigger truth to life, and that this was something you could participate in?
Growing up I went to a Christian school, and I remember from about the age of 6 I found the idea of Christ sharing his nature with God to be very compelling. Of course, the next best thing in Christianity is to be a saint, but once I learnt they don’t exist anymore, I became obsessed with the figure of the magician in fantasy stories as an alternative. Standing in the playground one day, I opened a book of ghost stories to find a bad caricature of Aleister Crowley staring back at me; this was confirmation that at least magicians were real!
What set you off on the course of awakening?
The materialism of my early teenage years almost ground out of me any hope of a bigger truth to reality, but then I chanced upon a book by Crowley in a wholesale bookshop when I was 15. Crowley was back in my life with everything I needed to embark upon ‘the path of the wise’. I spent the next couple of years reading everything he ever wrote and practicing the curriculum he outlined for attaining wisdom.
Very much keeping in vein with Crowley’s approach to wisdom during his time, I would go on to explore everything available, from the various forms of Buddhism to Advaita to Gurdjeiff, as well as more recent forms of western esotericism.
What brought you to create Fountainhead?
After 7 years of guiding students through the process of awakening as my full time job, the teaching and how it is organised finally reached a degree of maturation in the form you currently see. I wrote a brief outline of the problems I saw with our current cultural approach to awakening, and how we might change that for the better. Professional regulation, best practice and scientific research are all key, but the bedrock of the new approach is addressing psychophobia (fear of the mind) - ironically prevalent in many wisdom traditions and research programs - by returning to the original rationalism at the heart of western culture. This will not only cure our culture of its current sickness, but help it to mature into a bone fide wisdom culture.
Why do you call yourself 'Wisdom Counsellor Zero'?
Although I work as - and hold myself to the standard of - a professional wisdom counsellor, technically I can't be the first professional wisdom counsellor because there is no official oversight, regulation or best practice established through a governing body. With no institutional accountability, I can't be a 'professional' in the most important sense. And so I think 'Wisdom Counsellor Zero' captures my position nicely: I'm the original wisdom counsellor, but I'm not the world's first professional wisdom counsellor.
I can't help wondering who will have that honour, but it's likely to be one (or more) of the current trainees.
What have been the most significant wisdom/awakening events in your life?
In terms of the work, the biggest changes happened in 2009 (when I sat with a guru in India and through transmission classically ‘woke up’) and 2014 (when Fountainhead was born, so to speak).
With these kinds of stories everyone entertains questions concerned with how many awakenings there are, where the process leads, the point of it all, and how we know when we’ve had an awakening or when we have reached completion; these are all best left answered through participating in the practice (and the specific resources concerned with these things on the site).
You don’t hear this much - and I know there are other teachers out there who remain silent for the same reasons - but I could describe many profound things concerned with what actually happened during these events (and others), but - to be frank - we are culturally too ignorant, naive and/or hysterical to hear them. [Fountainhead is working on it. ;)]
Do you still sit?
I love being asked this, because the logic goes, ‘If the point of sitting is awakening, once you are awake there is no point in sitting, is there?’. This is due to believing both awakening and reality is the opposite in nature to how they actually are. Sadly we see supposed masters of meditation perpetuating this myth.
But consider: What kind of a master of a practice no longer does the practice in question?
How easy is it for you to do a dialectic contemplation?
Like everyone, at first I had to struggle with sabotaging the process; however, having clocked up hundreds of hours of dialectic with students, it has reached the point where the structure (how something is) and purpose (what something actually does) of reality revealed through the dialectic is all I see. Helping others is much easier as a result, although it always remains more difficult to see my own problems for what they are.
Once familiarity is achieved in this way, dialectic contemplation becomes an art form; questions can be tailored to the specific details of a problem for a student or client, and the path taken can deviate as appropriate from the universal dialectic provided on the site. The more we stick to the nucleus of the Fountainhead wisdom practice, the greater the liberation we achieve from it!