So You’ve Discovered All This Wonderful Stuff, And Now It’s Time To Tell Your Friends… Or Is It…?
So You’ve Discovered All This Wonderful Stuff, And Now It’s Time To Tell Your Friends… Or Is It…?
The other day an old friend of mine shared with me on Facebook the above picture borrowed from the “I Fucking Love Science” page with the caption, “One for you on so many levels…” Yes, okay, I used to keep snakes, and when we were at school we were great fishing buddies, but that’s not the main reason he sent it. My friend fell into the category of one of those unfortunates whom I have pestered about paleo diet changes, and this was his creative way of reminding me. I laughed out loud when I got this, as it was totally timely and highlighted a subject I had been addressing at the time.
I have always been one for discovering new stuff – researching into alternatives in all areas of my life. I recently looked up the various “enneagram” personalities, and without a doubt I am “the enthusiast”, always trying to convince somebody of something… and it suggests gluttony as that personality’s vice… Guilty.
Back in the late 80s I was sitting around a table with a few friends and an eminent jyotishi (Indian Vedic astrologer). He was looking at our charts and described my personality thus: “See this candlestick in the middle of the table? You would move it to the edge, put forward an eloquent argument that it should be at the edge, and when everyone was convinced, you’d get up, move it back to the middle and walk out.”
There have been many clues in my life that I should stop going on and on about my discoveries. When I learned Transcendental Meditation in the early 80s I pestered my father so much to learn that he clearly got sick of me. Eventually I shut up, and one day soon after, he came to me and asked how he could go about learning. He told me that now I had shut up about it, he could see how much calmer I had become because of meditation and he wanted a bit of that. That was my first lesson in how we should lead by example. Did it sink in? Did it bollocks.
I went on over the decades to get massive crazes on this and that, and always dragged a load of people into them with me. Was there much harm in it? Not really for the people dragged along. They could always say no, and often did… No, it was hard for me because it was so bloody exhausting worrying about everyone else!
In 2006 I had a very profound “spiritual” awakening. It was nothing like I had ever imagined it would be from my meditator’s background where you are led to believe that there is some sort of “enlightenment” possible at some point in the future if you meditate enough. In fact it didn’t seem like it had anything to do with my years of meditating at all. It came at a time when I let go of meditating, and in that surrender, something “popped through”. Of course, with my personality, all I wanted to do was tell people about it, especially as I lived in Skelmersdale, a TM community. I wanted to “save” them all from decades of “useless” meditating. In fact my girlfriend got the brunt of it as I hammered on about how meditating can never actually lead to “waking up”, as the real answer is in the “now”, not in some future “enlightenment”… blah blah blah. Some very good friends who I shared it with were fascinated, but most were disbelieving and a few were even actively hostile. In hindsight I am not surprised. Often these basic awakenings into non-duality, powerful as they seem, can be totally devoid of heart and can turn the person into a complete nightmare to be around. I believe that the huge disparity between the glimpse I’d been given and the desperate need to tell everyone and “change” them was a big part of getting ill.
As I’ve mentioned many times, by 2010 I was in pure agony with arthritis. Even from the first day it hit me full-on, I knew I’d find a way out, because I have such an enquiring mind that I knew if there was an answer out there I’d discover it… or them… as there is never one answer to these problems. I took a lot of “wrong” turns, which I will cover in great length in my next book, and eventually landed on my first major breakthrough, the paleo diet. It reduced inflammation and the relief was immense. So what did I do? Yep, you guessed it – I badgered everyone. It was even more intense for me as in the TM community a big percentage of people are vegetarian, living on grain and pulse based diets and thinking that it’s healthy while still coming down with many illnesses that are rooted in inflammation. They needed to be told.
I was sure that my intentions were good, as there was nothing in it for me; I just couldn’t bear the thought of anyone else coming down with anything as agonising as I had, particularly these dear people I’d known for decades. Okay, some people took some of the principles on board, and they had fantastic results, which spurred me on even more in my evangelism towards the unconverted, but most were either disinterested, unbelieving, or actually got pissed off with me. “Oh well,” I thought. “That’s just an occupational hazard… After all, I’m helping people.” My toes curl when I think back to my zeal.
After I had pretty much exhausted the benefits of diet in my own healing, I started to look at the emotions. This led me to meet my now good friend Meidi Goodson (see resources section), who helped me enormously in uncovering so many paths to clearing the dodgy beliefs and unbalanced emotions that hold us all back and affect our health. Of course, I spent a lot of the time banging on to her about diet, but thankfully she was interested and ready for that knowledge, so we had a great trade off, educating each other about our respective areas of expertise. One day Meidi and I were discussing the business of evangelising, and she said something very important, which I only half took on board: “There’s one way to tell if you should be talking about any knowledge you have – has the person asked? If not, and you ignore that gazed look, you risk alienating them. Be careful.”
So, fast forward a year or so, and after maintaining a great diet and learning EFT to “tap” away my issues about family and friends, I had got my joints almost completely back to normal… so why did I have a stuborn bout of iritis, a nasty inflammatory condition affecting the eye that anyone with autoimmune tendency can get? I was positive that I’d got beyond such things… After all, I was a master of healing now, wasn’t I? I’d even headed off iritis in the other eye a few months before by identifying the correct emotional issue (it’s supposed to be impossible to clear iritis without steroid drops, but so is healing arthritis). So, it was back to my ailment bible, Inna Segal’s wonderful book “The Secret Language of the Body”, and a glance at problems with the left eye revealed, among other things, “trying to make people happy then feeling frustrated when they won’t change.” As usual, she’d nailed it.
Just around that time I discovered “The Work” of Byron Katie. Only a day spent on it seemed to rattle loose so many sticky issues that I was left in a howling gale of bliss. It’s a very powerful technique. I felt a massive shift in all my frustrations about having to change people. A great freedom ensued, and I was so thankful to my eye for telling me what was needed.
So there I was sitting in the emergency eye department, waiting to go in to see the doctor about the results of a scan of my macula. I knew that it had gone beyond the usual iritis as my central vision was suffering, so I had gone down to get it checked out. In the waiting room with me was a mother and her son. The boy was about ten or twelve, and clearly had behavioural issues. He was behaving like a five-year-old and the mother was clearly angry, frustrated and embarrassed. My mind started ticking… “If only she knew about The Work, she wouldn’t be upset by her son any more…” and since she clearly enjoyed a, let’s say, carb-based diet, “if I could only get a scrap of paper and write down that wonderful YouTube talk by Natasha Campbell McBride on healing the gut and children’s behaviour, perhaps I could change their lives…” (Yes, I have approached complete strangers in the past!).
In an instant I realised that although my mind was still programmed to go down those paths, it didn’t affect me any more, and I didn’t need to follow. I had no stress, and the thought of “saving” them suddenly seemed hilarious. Byron Katie puts it very well that there are three types of business – other people’s, God’s and yours – only concern yourself with yours and problems tend to clear up. What the mother feeds herself and her child was her business and the outcome was God’s business (not in the sense of a bearded old man on a cloud, but the universe’s business). My business was purely my eye and what it was telling me – to leave them alone and let go! If I ever feel the need to “save” somebody from illness, all I have to do is look at the incredible health benefits, insights, knowledge and wisdom that illness has brought me. Who am I to deny somebody that intense evolutionary experience? (Presuming, arrogantly, that I even could).
I’d already seen on the scan that there was probably a little macular edema to go with the iritis, which isn’t great, but there was no panic, just bliss and gratitude, and some excitement that here was another ailment I was going to get to the bottom of, learn from and cure. But even if I didn’t, was that revelation worth an eye? Damn right it was! Fighting against “what is” is probably the thing that got me ill in the first place, and perhaps at the root of all autoimmune problems, as the body follows the tendencies of the mind. When the lovely eye doc doc called me in, I was beaming with joy, and she might well have wondered why I was so happy. Did I tell her all about it? Well, to be honest, it occurred to me fleetingly… but that thought just amused me more.
So, was banging on at people a completely bad thing for me? No, it gave me practice for when people actually do ask, and to be honest, the friends that it alienated turned out not to be real friends at all; I have made many new ones and deepened some special friendships, so all is cool and no regrets. But my time of banging on is over and I’m at peace. This blog gives me the chance to air my ideas and then let go of them, and if anyone wants to chat further with me, they are welcome to ask, and I would be delighted to oblige. The main thing is, they will have asked first.
Finally, I’d like this to go out there as an apology to all the friends I’ve “punished” with my diatribes. Actually, to them it might seem like I still do exactly the same thing now, and now, some time after I wrote the rest of this piece, yes, I do the same thing in posts and articles and videos (but I don’t pester people in person so they can scroll past if they want)…
However, there is another layer to this… As long as you know you are doing no harm and it’s with a good heart, there is nothing wrong with sharing, even if people do get a little upset sometimes. What is the difference between me now and me then? Two things really – I have no problem if somebody doesn’t take up my ideas, as they have their own path, and secondly, even if I do push it a little far by some standards, I love myself fully for just being me and feel no embarrassment or remorse, which was crippling me… We should never apologise for being ourselves.