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My Journey

My Legacy

Why 42? People familiar with "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", a four-part trilogy by Douglas Adams, know 42 is "The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything". This was calculated by an enormous supercomputer over a period of 7.5 million years but unfortunately no one remembered what the question was.

My Spiritual Journey

My search for the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything began in 1968, my first year of high school. At that time we were forced to attend the local St Patrick's Church at 9 am each Wednesday morning of school. 1968 was memorable for being a particularly wet year. It rained on all but two of those Wednesday mornings as we walked to/from the Church. I figured it was God telling me not to go to Church. I enjoyed these with as little relish as I did the religious education of my primary school; or the occasional attendance at the Presbyterian Church during my childhood in Busselton. Church and hence Christianity was not for me.

At the time, Lobsang Rampa, the British plumber turned Tibetan Lama was running rampant on the spiritual circuit. I was introduced to his books by one of the many Jews at Mount Lawley Senior High School, my friend Tony Kohn (not 100% sure of the spelling of his surname). I read several books on Tibet and Buddhism and felt is a much better religion than Christianity.

What was there to like about Christianity? The Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of fellow men in the name of Christianity, the wealth of the Catholic Church and the poverty of many of its constituents, ... Yes, Christianity carried with it a mountain of unpleasant baggage.

With the passing of high school (end of 1972), my interest in religion was waning. My last recollection on spirituality in my teens was fleeting, memorable and poignant. I was 17 and attending a Yoga festival at Perry Lakes. Some Indian stranger needed a lift back into the city so I gave him a lift in my hand-painted white Valiant ute. Yeah, my Dad was such a scrooge that we hand-painted my car with a brush (smoothed off with lots of wet 'n' dry sand paper and elbow grease). I was the only person I know who had a hand-painted car but I eventually grew to love it and understand more the value of money. Anyway I gave my rant against Christianity (as per the previous paragraph). After listening to me, he gave me some sage advice that took a couple of decades to sink in. Don't condemn Christianity because of the Christians.

My hedonist twenties was spent in the Pursuit of Happiness. It was important enough to enshrine in the United States Declaration of Independence and it was more than good enough for me. And there was much happiness to be had. Shortly after I turned 21, I essentially gave up alcohol. Along with other drugs it is a great inhibitor of happiness. Not that my friends noticed since they were still mostly raging drunkards. I didn't need alcohol to rage. But party we did. There were some grand ones. Transvestite parties, costume parties, Ol' 55 parties, bus trip parties (not around town but like several hundred kilometres), rooftop parties. And camping, hiking, canoeing, sports (basketball, squash, tennis, cycling, snorkelling, rugby, volleyball, even netball...). I'll not deny there were some things I should also not have done but I will not wear them as a badge of honour.

It was all a whirlwind that blew away my first marriage (sorry Jen) when I was about 31.

Then at 33 I also quit my wonderful job at the Ralph Sarich's Orbital Engine Company (G'Day Ralph et all) to work in the golf course industry. It took me to tropical Cairns for 22 months where I really learnt about sex, love, jealousy and hate (thanks Georgia).

1991 took me to Singapore. This was another whirlwind of mainly working 100-hour+ weeks. While working in Indonesia I met my darling Erida and we were married at the Australian High Commission on 1992-10-19 (and again in Indonesia on 1992-12-02). But before we could marry, I had to re-embark on my spiritual journey. Erida, who I first met outside her church was a devout Seventh-Day Adventist. So I did bible studies with Pastor John Griswell in Singapore. John Griswell and his wife Billy were people who I felt lived their lives as Christians should. So began my journey back to Christianity.

With my marriage in 1992 and regular church attendance, my understanding of Jesus Christ has evolved. I am now a practising Christian.

Who would have believed it? From my early days as an agnostic believer in the objectivity, logic and absolute truth of science to being a follower of Christ! It is a transformation that very few would have seen coming, especially me.

Why the change? I guess I have always believed that there is something more to us that just a petri dish of chemicals; more than just a chain reaction occurring to the immutable physical laws (ie. a belief in fate but confused by the chaos theory created in the image of God). Inherently I have always known that there is a spiritual dimension to life. Uniquely amongst the animals, we have choice, a knowledge of good and evil. I now know that science is based on sets of unprovable assumptions. How could anyone question the validity of Euclidian Geometry? In fact it is based on a set of 5 axioms which, while intuitively obvious, are accepted in faith as being true.

So Science is a leap of faith in a similar fashion that my faith in God is.

My journey from a belief in God to a follower of Christ is a little longer and I will leave it to another day.

More to come...

Posted on 2015-07-20 from Singapore - My Legacy - One (Last) Thing

In the couple of months since my 60th birthday, I have been pensive. I now feel my mortality and the reality that I am dying has sunk in to me (Don't cry for me Argentina). I went through the process of defining my purpose in life. Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans. - John Lennon in Beautiful Boy. Except I didn't make any plans. So far life has just happened to me. This approach has worked well for me. However, now I wanted a plan, a purpose, a direction. After an interesting Men's Gathering (contact me if you are want to know more), I rethought my One Thing in life (see Power of 1).

Since my heart attack in Seoul in Jan 2013, I have been preparing, not to die, but to live. From my peak weight, I have dropped from 150 kg (330 lb) to 110 kg (242 lb). I still have 20 kg (44 lb) to reach my target weight of 90 kg (198 lb). That may sound extreme but it is not. It equates to a BMI of 23.7. It is also around my basketball playing weight of 92 to 95 kg (202 to 209 lb) when I had a much greater muscle mass. And my lowest adult weight (when I was 33) was 86 kg (189 lb) at which I admit I was pretty scrawny. I have also been regularly exercising. Cycled 20 km (12.5 mi) the other week. Walked 11.3 km (7.0 mi) on sandy soil last Thursday. Now I am in the best condition since my heart attack. And I will get better!

However, after some soul searching, I now accept I am dying. It may sound morbid, sad or depressing but it is not to me. I intend to spend a long time dying.

From Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 (KJV)
1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2. A time to be born, and a time to die;

Accepting my mortality has given me a new lease on life. It has enabled me to define my purpose in life. Leaving behind my legacy. Or in the words of Tom Lubin's father, Living on the the people you affect, good or bad. I need to clean up & simplify my life, tidy my loose ends, communicate with others, starting first with those closest to me and working my way out.

Stephen Covey talked at the end of his life of the Crescendo that was developing at the end of his life. The compounding of the knowledge he had gained, the things left to do. I so relate to that. I want to share what I have learnt from my many great mentors. And that folks is now my life and what this web site is now about. I am learning the Art of Dying.

As nothing in this life that I've been trying
Can equal or surpass the Art of Dying

George Harrison's The Art of Dying
George Harrison's reference to the The Art of Dying almost certainly relates to the Hindu/Buddhist concept of reincarnation. The Art in question being the need to avoid rebirth, by limiting actions and thoughts whose consequences lead to one's soul returning in another, earthbound life form. That is, the attainment of Nirvana. (References from Wikipedia)

While a follower of Christ, I relate to this concept as my aspiration to attain the character of Christ within myself, a goal I fall far short of.