I am a difficult person to categorize, since I have led a very varied life, but one of the phrases I have used to describe myself is ‘marvelling mystic’ (or marveling mystic if you insist on American English). What does this mean?
I grew up in Scotland, and lived for twenty years in California, where I built my house from recycled lumber. I consider that one of my greatest achievements. An inveterate traveler and a prolific writer, most at home in the wilderness, I’ve had adventures all over the world. I’ve been a waitress, a hippy, a political activist, a pig farmer, a car mechanic, a tree feller, and an organic market gardener. My favorite activities are kiteboarding and horse-riding, which have both left me with scars. Eight years ago, at the age of fifty, I had an epiphany and sold everything to take off on a life of travel. I’m ready to stop for a month or three or four, though I can’t quite work out where.
I have several published books, I’m ordained as a Minister of Holistic Health with the Awakenings Institute, and I have had many unusual adventures. I’ve been held up at gunpoint five times.
Within the above words lie many exciting and fascinating tales, some of which I will post here. In fact a couple of them are already available for your entertainment. They’re all true. The title usually includes the name of the country where they occurred. Feedback is welcome.
But I hear you ask – what is a marvelling mystic?
Perhaps the first thing I would say about a marvelling mystic is that she (or he) is indefine-able. Hence the strangely mystical label. I don’t really relate to the word ‘god,’ since the only definition of god must include everything and everyone, but sometimes it’s useful, so I am going to use it here. I have heard a mystic defined as someone who sees the actions of god. Most people only see the consequences of the actions of god – people dying in an earthquake, a fire consuming a house. I tend to perceive the world in general from a much broader perspective. Therefore I usually perceive that all is well, even when unpleasant things are occurring. Occasionally I forget, and get caught up in dismal doom-saying and fearful anticipation of the future, which motivates so many people. I’m most certainly not perfect.
Anyway, about the marvelling bit – yes, I do marvel fairly constantly about this extraordinary and delightful Earth. What a remarkable and wonderful opportunity to experience limitation – having a physical body, and forgetting that we are god. We have really set ourselves up to play an extremely complex and varied game. We would congratulate ourselves constantly except that we must carry on forgetting that we invented it because that would spoil it. Imagine if the football players, the referees and the audience all knew that they could get together, change the rules whenever they wanted, and orchestrate exactly who would win! In fact we are doing that all the time, only we don’t remember, and if we did, it would be a very different kind of life – exciting, yes, but different. The way we’ve set it up creates much more of an opportunity for the experience of being an individual with the ability to develop personal empowerment – which necessitates the awareness of oneself as connected to all-that-is. Personal discovery of the ability to choose (the ultimate empowerment) is perhaps the art of being human. I want to teach workshops about that sometime. Life is so much easier and more relaxed when you’ve worked out how to choose. It can be difficult, of course, especially to begin with – because you can’t do it unless you are already relaxed and at ease. Ah, the paradox of being in human form . . . the most marvellous and terrifying choice of all.