MystrD has always been a deeply philosophical person, insatiably curious about the mysteries of life. Even now he can recall as a small child, not more than 6 or 7, staring up into the starry night and thinking to himself, ‘that is where I’m from, and where I will return to.’ That mysticism has never been far from his being. He’s always been deep, caring and thoughtful.”
Tell me about a moment you have been deep, caring and thoughtful?
I have a very close friend that I met in my late teens. Not long after I first met him, he and his wife were building a House Bus to live in and travel in after selling their house. I was so taken with the idea of what they were doing I offered to help for free. I had plenty of time, a software developer by night, House Bus builder by day. I just did it because I thought it was cool. To this day, they’ve always been grateful because it transformed their lives.
We have the kind of friendship where it doesn’t matter how much time passes, we pick up from exactly where we left off. Even after months and years. It’s almost like we’re soul brothers. It’s uncanny our in sync our thoughts about the meaning of life are, even though we live utterly separate and different lives.
Describe your soul brother to me?
Steve is an English guy, a cockney who moved out to NZ when he was young. His family were Jehovah’s Witnesses and he didn’t have a very happy childhood. The interesting thing is that he’s a highly intelligent guy. We were both deeply taken by Richard Bach’s book “Illusions” and much of our friendship has revolved around 42. AKA The meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything. We’re two souls independently learning the meaning of life…..be very careful what you ask next LOL.
What’s your favorite quote by Richard Bach?
I think my favorite that I always come back to is, “Before enlightenment, chopping firewood and collecting water. After enlightenment, chopping firewood and collecting water.” There’s a lot of profound meaning in this, and perhaps the key remark that I’d make about it is that enlightenment isn’t a destination so much as it’s the journey of life itself.
If you know you are going to die tomorrow, what will you do today?
The same thing that I’ve done every day from first understanding what the meaning of death is. You live every moment like it’s your last. Death teaches you to live. Kiss your loved ones and kids good morning when they rise, and good night when you go to bed. Always say goodbye to people properly. Maybe it’s the last time you see them. Enjoy every single moment you have. That’s all you actually can do, and the most you might accomplish in life. Just appreciate everything you have. “Expect nothing, Appreciate everything.”
What happened in your life journey, so that you may think like this?
In 2010 I was a highly successful person in a company that grew from nothing into a very important something. 2010 in particular was an extremely stressful year. The future of the company had been at stake. In early 2011 when I reflected on everything I thought to myself, if I keep living the way I am, I’m not going to see 45. I also realized I’d lost my soul. Lost my spirituality. I set out to heal myself. Get back to my true life purpose. I started becoming a mystic again.
What do you think about this quote: “Success leads to stagnation. Stagnation leads to failure.”
It makes me think of Peter Cook’s “Fatboy Slim” album cover. A guy wearing a tee-shirt that says, “When you’re #1 why try any harder.”
I’ve always refused to label myself as an expert, even though many others have. The second you think for a moment you know everything there is to know about something, you’ve stopped learning. Success is really is corruptive if your sole objective was success. I’ve been very fortunate in my life and career to always know that the way forward is backwards. Lose everything. Give up everything you have and start from scratch. In so doing, you’ll only ever grow, and grow richer, stronger and wiser.
How did you heal your soul?
I asked myself to think of a time I was truly happy. It made me think of my childhood when I used to spend hours in nature exploring the woods where we lived. I healed my soul by grounding myself in nature. That meant getting back into communion with nature. Immersing myself in her embrace, and silencing my mind so I could hear her whisper her knowledge through the trees on gentle winds.
Did that make your relationships with humans more meaningful?
It helped me understand all the wounds I needed to heal within so that I could be a balanced being. When you are balanced, when you are whole and healed and not blaming the world or others for your misfortunes in life, then you can have more meaningful relationships with humans. When you understand how to no longer be a victim, you no longer conduct yourself like a victim. It’s a very powerful force to master.
So you had everything that people generally crave for, and you had to give it up to find yourself? That’s almost Buddha’s story. What do you feel about the Buddhist philosophy?
Most mystical thought is about surrender at its deepest level. Whether it’s the story of the Buddha or Christ, it is sacrificing your sense of self. The more stubbornly you hold onto a sense of self, the more elusive the end to suffering will be. People have this notion of surrendering your possessions and living simply and poorly. To discover the true nature of your being, the cost is far higher. You must give up who you think you are to discover who you truly are.
But how to give up on the Self, when it is handy?
I think that’s a rhetorical question but I do actually have a great answer if you’d like to hear it.
So the easiest way to think about this is whether or not you’re the same person that you were when you were 10 years old. Many people think that they are, but you’re not when you think deeply about it. Every single cell has been replaced by the time you were 17, so physically you’re not the 10yo.
Every experience you have changes you. Changes who you are and how you think. It’s difficult to think of a person isn’t an entirely different being after 20-30 years of life. Even when “you” think you are the same person, at a deep fundamental level you’re not.
I think like the Oracle in The Matrix I’d also warn, when you think deeply about this, it’s going to “bake your noodle”
That’s very interesting… obviously you are not yourself physically. I had a doctor, who claimed I am not the same for even 5 minutes – I constantly change. But also, I have a very wise friend who says that human soul does not change so much in a lifetime.
Not “a” lifetime, but some of us have lived many lifetimes in one span of time on Earth. As a child I couldn’t even begin to have imagined how my life would have been by the time I reached my 40’s. Every time I have an experience I know other people would kill for, I just drink it right in and think, “How lucky am I to be living this life right now.”
And do you feel connected to “upstairs” at all times?
Well, for a start there’s not really an upstairs, and funnily enough that’s the very notion that set me off at about 5 or 6 to understand what this life thing was all about. The most deep and meaningful spiritual experience that I ever had was in my teens when I was in a deep meditative state. The only way I can put it is that I had a momentary vision of the universe and everything in it. In that moment I was the universe and everything in it, which sounds completely irrational, but it was one of those, “you had to be there” LOL.
Occasionally I have moments of experience like that. The first time was absolutely terrifying. I thought I was dying. The subsequent experiences were far more enjoyable. It’s funny how much not having a sense, “Oh oh this is it, I’m dying,” has to enjoying the experience.
That means we are really upstairs the entire time?
I think there’s another way of thinking about this, and I’m stealing a thought by Michael Singer here.
“Have you ever heard that voice that’s always chattering away in your head? It’s always telling you what you’re seeing, what you’re thinking and what you ought to be doing next. It’s as though that voice doesn’t think you’re there seeing what you’re seeing, hearing what you’re hearing or even thinking what you’re thinking.”
The question is, who’s noticing the voice in your head? Who is the observer? When you start to figure the answer to that out, then you start figuring out everything else.
Tell me the most romantic stuff that happened to you?
I think that it’s bizarrely simple, but here we go.
I had a friend that spent time growing up in NZ but lived in Australia. They used to visit here often, about once a year. It’s on one of these trips that I met them. I was very taken by them and I offered to take them around town since I had a car, was local, and this was just a ploy to spend more time with them.
I remember us walking up One Tree hill in Auckland, and we had been chatting away, talking about cats or some such thing and it suddenly dawned on me that this person was someone special. They were special because our conversation was so natural and easy. I just liked being with them.
That was the very beginning of the relationship with my wife…
So some months after this first meeting when the lady in question had travelled back home, we stayed in touch via email. It was decided that it would be a good idea for me to visit her and stay a couple of weeks.
I travelled over as arranged, stayed at her house where she lived with her mother, in a spare room that they had. During the trip we had a wonderful few days away together at the coast. We took a tent and just stayed a different place each night for about three days.
When it came time to leave, I really didn’t want to. It actually felt like the hardest thing that I’d ever done in my life. I knew from that feeling that she was the one. When I got home she said she’d felt exactly the same way. She’d just wished that trip could have lasted forever.
It was as a result of that that we decided one of us needed to move to see if something could work. That’s how I ended up living in Australia for 15 years and having a family.
Thanks to MystrD for some exceptional insights as well as being the first person to guest post for Lovebooket.We are looking forward to reading his work.
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