This is one of those deeply personal blog posts that happen about.. once every two years or so ;) Maybe I should put more of myself out there but, you know, I tend to think there's too much of that these days and nobody really needs to hear the minutiae of my personal/spiritual journey.
Besides which, some of it may be a bit 'out there', and I'm not quite ready to be labelled a crack-pot just yet (maybe next month, huh?).
Today I'm going to talk a little about this guy, I'm sure some of you have heard of him.
This is Stuart Wilde (www.stuartwilde.com). His book 'Affirmations' was the first thing I ever read that made me realise life could be both spiritual and completely down to earth. You don't need to live on a mountain to gain enlightenment; just start where you are. This is where you are supposed to be.
Do what you do, but do it impeccably. Connect with people and honour the divine spark in them. Honour yourself. Don't take anything too seriously. Infiltrate everything with love. These ideas resonated with me, echoed what I had already been studying (such as the Anthroposophical works of Rudolf Steiner) and so I commenced reading everything he had written. I also took up spiritual exercises and personal disciplines like meditation and viewing my fellow humans with compassion and without judgement (20 years later, I'm not even half-way there with the non-judgement thing... I'm a bit thick sometimes).
From his books I learned the most important skill of my life, which is to question my own thoughts and automatic actions/reactions and to see the thoughts and actions of others in a different light. Just because I think it, even if I "believe it", that doesn't mean it's true, and doesn't mean it originates from me. I may have done things a certain way all my life, but that doesn't mean I can't wake up today and do something completely different. He taught me how to handle my mind and emotions through the discipline of detachment. Very useful.
I did some training with 'Stuie' in the early 90's when he came to NZ and we had some drinks in the First Edition Bar (the old Park Royal, which is now a pile of earthquake rubble). I can't remember anything about that except laughing so hard my face ached. Once the internet came along, I kept in touch with fellow 'fringe dwellers' via forums, most of which didn't last long due to the annoyance of internet trolls, something Stuie had no tolerance for. Over the past decade I wandered away from Stuie's ideas, as his direction and mine diverged - I'm not interested in Ayahuasca and couldn't make up my mind about the focus on ghoulls, darkness and trinkets. However, in the middle of last year I picked up 'The Sixth Sense' and started reading again, feeling like it was time for me to re-establish my connection to what I suppose is my inner self after many years attention to external things. Shortly after that I accidentally reconnected with Anthroposophy also.
Over the last few months, it has been my happy habit to log on to the Stuart Wilde blog every morning and see what he'd come up with. Often it would be just the thing to set me right, like this gem: Emotional Techniques for Healing Yourself, or something touching and lovely: Bullfighter Quits from Compassion.
This one, In Quest of the Spotless Mind, alarmed me. A lot. I thought 'that's angina', googled the symptoms to confirm my suspicions, and wondered if I should send a bossy email telling him to get to a doctor. I wish I'd done it, even though I doubt he would have paid attention, and even though I'm sure I wasn't the only one concerned about his health, because 6 days later he suffered a fatal heart attack and the blogging stopped forever.
So now he's gone. No more writing, no more funny videos. Of course, the man himself would consider death a big adventure, but there is still some sadness over here in '3-D'. We will miss his presence, it was big and warm, irreverent, fierce and irreplaceable.
Here are some links:
Getting What you Want (probably my favourite video of his, very to the point)
My Friend Stuart by Soren Dreier (also that site, zen-haven.com has a lot of good stuff on it).
If you find any more, please feel free to link them up in the comments.