Like many young people I forgot the great insights I had at an early age, and it would be another 20 years before I returned to fulfil the promise I made at the age of 12.
In the meantime I was seeing clues that our lives are being subtly influenced and controlled from behind the scenes, and that people whom we would have expected to know better, actually don’t.
While I was still living at home in the early 1960s, that is, before the age of 18, I was regularly attending the local Church of England early evening Sunday Services. I was confirmed into the Church at the age of 13 though I had never particularly ‘bought’ the teachings, but the hymns were nice and my friends were there, and it was the ‘done thing’ to do, so I went. However, a book newly-published at that time, ‘Chariots of the Gods’ by archaeologist Erik von Daniken, showing rock drawings and other discoveries from the ancient Americas, suggested that Earth has been visited by ‘gods’ from space, or space-men, in the pre-historical past. Von Daniken even suggested that humanity is the product of seeding or genetic engineering by these extra-terrestrial ‘gods’ or men and women.
Frankly, to me, von Daniken’s theories seemed much more likely than Adam and Eve, and the Book of Genesis. I began to feel that the teachings of the church were more inspired by man than by God, and were intended to control rather than liberate us. I began to feel that I was not becoming spiritually enlightened, that I was not having spiritual experiences. And, to judge by the grey faces of the congregation, nor was anyone else. So at that time I left the church behind.
The second thing that gave me serious doubts about the judgment of people whom you would think knew better followed a feature article in the American ‘Life’ magazine, a big glossy monthly magazine. This was in 1965 if I remember correctly. The article concerned Teilhard de Chardin and his ideas on existentialism. Without fully understanding the article, I wrote a ‘letter to the editor’ about it, and lo and behold, a few weeks later my letter appeared as the ‘letter of the month’. I just can’t imagine why the editor thought my letter was worth publishing. Even today I don’t understand what existentialism is.
Then, late in 1973, the British Prime Minister at the time, Edward Heath, fell out with the coal miners once again and electricity supplies were rationed. This had a devastating effect on the business of which I was co-owner and director, the Caiystane Park Hotel in Edinburgh, and our weakened financial position eventually forced us into liquidation some couple of years later. It was clear to me that even Prime Ministers had serious trouble with their judgment.
I began to wonder what it would take to be able to make decisions that are always right. I felt sure there must be some level one could attain at which one’s decisions were somehow so in tune with life itself that they would be spontaneously right. Most people, I imagined, would say that one’s hard-won experience of making decisions eventually enables more decisions to be right, and this is why people work to gain experience. But somehow I felt there must be more to it. At some higher level, I mused to myself, such as ‘the angels’, or the laws of nature, spontaneously right decision-making must be possible. Does God make mistakes? I thought probably not. Therefore, how far down the hierarchy of life would right decision-making come into play?
I had an experience in 1975 which answered my question. Whilst running the hotel-restaurant in Edinburgh, my co-director and I began to operate ‘outside catering’ of various kinds. We were asked to provide the catering for an event taking place over several sites in Edinburgh. This was a prestige, 3-day event, a Radiology Congress. We were asked by three large companies, namely the British firm G.E.C., the German firm Siemens and the Belgian firm Agfa-Gevaert, to provide catering for their hospitality suites. This included a no-expense-spared wine-buffet reception for 1000 guests at the Assembly Rooms in George Street, as well as all-day catering on exhibition stands and hospitality suites, and barbecues. For us, it was a big affair. I did most of the prior organising and on-site management whilst my co-director looked after our hotel-restaurant.
At the time of the event itself something strange happened. Everything started to go really smoothly! This was not exactly the first time things had gone smoothly, but there was a quality of effortlessness that I had not experienced before. As I travelled repeatedly across Edinburgh, between the various sites at which we were catering, it was as if the traffic lights were turning green for me, and I had the curious feeling that everything was happening all by itself. It was a blissful feeling, extremely pleasant, like a ‘peak experience’ of some sort, like being ‘in the zone’.
This feeling persisted through the three days of the Congress, including the wine-buffet reception for 1000 which was a glorious success, and at the end of the week I said to my co-director, “I don’t know what happened this week, but whatever it was, I want it to be like this all the time. And I’m not going to do anything more until I find out what it was.” What I felt I had seen was an example of things being ‘right’.
Well, it took me almost three years to find an answer which led me somewhere. I had a thought that, if I were ever to align myself with some level at which my decision-making would be spontaneously right, I would need to be living what was right for me, being truly myself, being all that I could be.
Very shortly after having that thought, which turned out to be more correct than I felt justified in believing, I met an Australian chap named Mike Halthorpe, a student parapsychologist living in Edinburgh. Mike was practising Transcendental Meditation. I asked him what that was, and of all the things he could have said, he said the exact words I wanted to hear. “It’s to do with unfolding your full potential.” I took the course of instruction that very weekend. That was in October 1978.