Early Intimations of the Divine
Aspects of my early development which have a relevance to the story of my later development and spiritual evolution.
As far back as I can remember I recall that I have always had a lively and enquiring mind. I thought a lot as a child and existed a lot in my head. I wanted to know and understand everything. A fast learner I was very curious and asked a lot of questions. I was also a little neurotic and emotionally sensitive. I recall that from a very early age, perhaps 5 or 6, I knew that I was in this world for a purpose.
As a small child I had my own religion, my own religious rituals and my own conception of God. Looking back on it, it seems remarkable to me now, how peculiar and unusual this is. To me back then it was just the world and head space I lived in. My religion had an all power God and I called this ultimate power 'Future', for the simple reason that one of the things this ultimate power could do, was to dictate what was going to happen in the future. Within this religion of mine I had special rituals and objects that I could evoke in order to petition 'Future' for future outcomes that I desired. Also within my little religion I had a secret mantra which I would repeat often, and sometimes obsessively. To this day I still sometimes repeat this mantra and even now I keep this mantra secret. It is interesting to note that as a child there was no way that I could have known about the idea of secret mantras in 'real world' religious systems.
Generally speaking my religion was a synthesis of bits and pieces from all over the place, i.e. ideas from sci-fi, world religions particularly Christianity and Buddhism, TV shows and Films and there was also a strong nature component. The festivals in my religion were borrowed in adapted form from the real world. For example, one of the most important dates of the year in my childhood religion, coincided with the Chinese Harvest Moon Festival. One of the reasons for this is that fire was involved in one of the rituals of my religion, and the only time of the year I was allowed to play with fire as a child was on this night. This full moon night was to me an important time of meditation and prayer. Also the Moon and also the Sun generally played important roles in my religion and were imbued with secret meanings. Other festivals that became incorporated into my religion were Christmas and the Chinese new year.
Within my religious system I was an agent and representative of God on Earth. 'Future', the name of God in my religion had a special role for me to play. I had a way of directly communicating with my God. This involved closing my eyes, focusing on the future and/or saying my secret mantra in my head a certain number of times. Also I was given a secret name by my God. This name is associated with a certain persona or entity which inhabits the realm of grief, sadness and despair but is itself a bringer of hope and comfort. I remember I derived a lot of strength and comfort from my self synthesized religion. This spontaneous spirituality that naturally emerged from within myself as a small child really gave me a sense of purpose and a feeling of being chosen.
This photograph (circa 1977) of me was taken in the backyard of one of the houses we lived in while I was growing up in Ipswich, UK, when I was about 8 years old. At this age I recall my mind was really alive and I existed very much in a magical and supernatural headspace.
When I was growing up and in my pre-teens, my knowledge of the World's proper religions came mainly from television and documentaries like the 70s BBC spirituality focus show called 'Everyman'. I remember watching it avidly as long as there was nothing better on the other channels. All the religious sights and sounds I found very interesting and utterly relevant. The things I saw and learnt would stimulate a lot of thought. I remember around the age of 9 or 10, seeing a TV show about Islam and learning that pork and dogs were considered things to avoid within that religion. This led me to think that the reason for this was that pork would give people tape worm and that dogs may infect people with rabies. It doesn't matter whether or not these two conclusions were correct or not, these examples are only meant to illustrate the way I thought about religion even from quite an early age. I particularly remember seeing a documentary about the Gnostics in or around 1980 when I was 10 years old. The programme explained that the Gnostics 'knew in God' as opposed to people of other religions who have 'faith in God'. Though I was still a junior, I quickly decided that this was what I was and I remember explaining this belief I had of myself, that I was a Gnostic, to my best friend at the time who was from a Christian family and went to church every Sunday. It seems uncanny to me now, as this minor childhood musing seems now like a mysterious foretelling of events and circumstances that would affect me in powerful ways, decades later in my adult life. I would truly become in adulthood the Gnostic that I believed myself to be as a child.
It is of relevance to an understanding of my adult mentality that from a very early age I thought a lot about philosophic issues. A lot of this was inspired by science fiction comics particular the 70s comic 2000AD. Together with science fiction films and TV programs which I and my two older Brothers were heavily into. I would think about things like the nature of time and time travel, the nature of existence, space and the universe, the nature of life and also life after death. I can now appreciate on reflection that having older brothers who were significantly older, by 4 and 8 years, provided me with an enriched learning environment. I would read the same literature and watch the same media that they did. Also having two older male siblings provided me with intellectual challenge and stimulation. I believe that this accelerated my mental development. Later on from the age of about 11 onwards I started to become very interested in science although even before this time I had a love of the natural world. In the Summer of 1981 I was very inspired by the television series called 'Cosmos', which was presented and written by the late Carl Sagan. It really stirred my imagination and encouraged my interest in things scientific and cosmic.
However around the time when I entered my teens something changed, I became more worldly and to a large degree lost my sense of the magical and mystical. My religion faded more into the background and I entered more into the mundane and 'normal' everyday world. In this general mindset I would mostly stay throughout the rest my teens. I saw my purpose less as an agent of God. Slowly as I got older and into my late teens I became rather selfish and self centred. I desired power, money and status. The way to achieve these aims I decided was two fold. Firstly I ambitiously set myself the task of working out how the brain worked and providing for humanity the definitive theory of the mind. Secondly, partly inspired by an intense interest in computers I had as a teenager, I also set myself the goal of creating and commercializing artificial intelligence. This was the way in which I would change the world. And so these aims became my lifes obsession. And so from the age of about 17 onwards I started to devote most of my time to learning about the brain and thinking about how the mind worked. This activity took me furthur away from the spiritual and religious world. By the time I was in university in my early 20s, my mindset and my view of the reality, were very different from that which I had as a child. I became almost totally scientific and materialistic.
Much of the story of my adult life is about how I changed from a scientific materialist who had very little sense of religion and a low awareness of God; to becoming a spiritual idealist whose life is centered around religion and who believes himself and everyone else to be GOD! I didn't know it at the time but my childhood had really set the basic foundations for what I would see as my ultimate purpose in adulthood. That is the revelation and communication of the central truths behind the world's religions, the final unification of all world religion and also the unification of religion and science.
Here I include a photograph of the view from my bedroom window in the house where I spent my teenage years before leaving home. It should give an idea of the kind of small town, Ipswich UK, in which I grew up. I had a desk by this window and I remember that I would sit and stare out upon this scene. I would day dream and imagine all the wonderful things I'd be able to do when I would finally manage to leave my quiet backwater of a home town.