In 1993, I began to dabble in Eastern religions. This was a singularly courageous thing for me to do, because despite my rather liberal Episcopalian upbringing, and knowing next to nothing about the East, I suspected that I might go crazy or that demons might possess me. My former Christian beliefs, of which I might speak, but which I never really knew how to put into practice, no longer worked for me. I would tell people that I didn't believe in God, but the truth was that I was inwardly terrified. I was absolutely sure that I had gone too far, in hurting both myself and others, in my insane addictive-codependent lifestyle, and that God was definitely going to punish me for my sins. Combined with the fact that, nothing inside me believed that I could in any way change, this made it extremely difficult for me to believe that I could be forgiven through Christ Jesus. In my self-judgement and condemnation, I felt that it was much too easy, for me to have lived the way that I had lived, and then to simply believe that I could hit my knees and ask for forgiveness. For many years after beginning spiritual recovery, I would regularly peruse the psychology and self-help sections of bookstores, seeking a proper understanding of anger, guilt, shame, loneliness and pain. However, if I saw a single bible verse quoted or even alluded to in a book, that book went straight back on the shelf.
Somewhere along the way, I discovered the writings of Alan Watts, and was particularly affected by his first book, The Wisdom of Insecurity. The reality of the bleak picture he painted --- that nowhere in this world is there any real security --- rocked the very foundation of my universe. I was absolutely terrified! Yet, it proved to be a godsend in that, I somehow saw and rose to the opportunity to go inside my own self, and attempt to seek the Truth. This would prove to be one of few great decisions that I had ever made. Being raised in a very sick alcoholic family, I was completely out of touch with my feelings. I had never had any compass with which to navigate through life. Although I did not realize it, I did not even know how to truly think for myself, I only knew how to react. However, something had always bothered me about simply accepting the beliefs of others with 'blind faith.' Somehow I sensed, that if I was going to live and recover, then within myself I would have to completely clear the field, of everything anyone had ever told me about God. And so I began, what has become an incredible journey in knowledge and faith, to discover the Truth, come what may.
Looking back years later, I could see that I am naturally the sort of person, that sooner or later was destined to get to the bottom of things. Because of the prevalence of Christian influence in my American society, I also knew that, if I was to remain unbiased in my search, that I would absolutely have to forego the wisdom of my Western fathers. This left me with nothing to hang on to --- not even the hope of a comfortable albeit false security --- and I was terrified! For the foreseeable future, in a painful yet profound inner lonliness, I would learn to ride the wild dark horse of my soul's destiny. Since that time, I have intellectually and experientially gone to 'the four corners of the earth' searching for the answers that I have needed just to stay alive. In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell spoke of the few that have had to encounter "original experience." Many have accused me of being too deep, but the only reason that I can claim to have witnessed any change or recovery in my life and personality, is by my sticking to my own guns in following the admonition: To Thyself Own Self Be True. And it is also my belief that having dared to begin and continue this work is my only claim that I may have real healing knowledge or experience with which to help another.