I first met Peter Wilberg in December 2002. The previous couple of months I had sought massage treatment from his partner for my shoulders and neck. I had carried a lot of tension in this area for years and I had become aware that September I was injuring my left hand regularly. A friend of mine had been seeing Karin for therapy and had told me about the positive effects of the bio-dynamic massage which Karin practices.
After about six treatments and a lot of talking I had noticed several positive results in my life. The main one was I had started to meditate in the mornings. In the past I had tried to develop this as regular practice but without a religious framework I found it hard to know what I was supposed to ‘do’. In the past a Buddhist friend had introduced me to her practice but something about it had not felt right to me, it didn’t seem to fit me.
I was talking to Karin about how I would like to meet a ‘guru’ who could help guide me on my spiritual path, as I was not attracted to any particular religion. She said she knew someone who might be able to help me. At her words I felt a leap of hope inside and I was keen to know who they might be. She told me very little about her partner, Peter, but suggested I phone him.
I have been interested in religion and spirituality for as long as I can remember. I enjoyed R.E. at school and had even started to study it at ‘A’ level. I thought at the time that if I believed in God I would train as an R.E. teacher. I had attended a Christian church in my early teenage years but my own ideas of what God ‘is’ didn’t seem to match. At that age I had come to the conclusion that if I didn’t believe in the Christian God then I must be agnostic. In later years I came to an understanding of what I believed to be God was strongly spiritual but not necessarily religious.
For the past ten years my reading had taken me into the area of mysticism within several religions and it was this rather than any ‘creed’ that I found stimulating. I had also spent several years with spiritualist mediums. One really good friend was an excellent ‘trance’ medium and I had enjoyed many hours listening to and talking with the ‘guide’ she ‘channelled’. This experience had opened my mind to the idea of other levels of existence beyond the one we call ‘reality’.
I had been pretty unfocused in my education without any clear idea of what career I wanted. I left to work in a bank before following a path towards greater understanding of myself and others. Years after leaving school I self-diagnosed mild dyslexia but at the time I was just known as ‘the one who couldn’t spell’. It also took having a son with an even worse reading difficulty for me to realise how this had affected my confidence in my own academic ability.
My family background is very much ‘working class’ and neither set of grandparents had owned property. My own parents had saved for many years to afford a deposit for a mortgage. I was ten when we moved into the family home and it was a novelty to have a proper bathroom. Until then it had been a tin bath in the basement filled from a boiler. That basement had a big influence on me. As a child I had a night-time fear of Cybermen (from Dr Who), escaping from there when I flushed the toilet, situated on the landing above the door to the lower ground.
A couple of years ago I used this memory as the basis for an art project, at the time I was studying for a BA in Fine Art. I became fascinated by the use of black within my art and had been experimenting with using it combined with strong colour. I had an interest in exploring the ‘dark side’ known as the ‘shadow self’ in Jungian psychology. This was another area I often read around. I liked the fact that C.J. Jung was open to the spiritual side of people. Also his concept of the ‘collective unconscious’ appealed to me. I was intrigued by the idea we are all somehow linked although I was yet to discover a framework that really felt right and I could understand.
That is where Peter comes in. The ideas he introduced me to literally turned my world upside down. In my very first meeting with him he taught me that my awareness is something I can move. A startling concept to begin with, it formed the starting point of an enormous change in me over the next few months, a change that paradoxically brought me back to myself in a way I hadn’t experienced for years. He opened my eyes to just how unlimited the human ‘self’ really is, introduced me to my inner world, opened the doorway to other dimensions and taught me the true meaning of love. And that was just the starting point!
But how do we explain change and communicate a fundamental difference in our self. Because although we may not recognise it we are changing all the time, it is a constant process and we rarely notice it. But sometimes events occur in our life; something so dramatic changes that everyone around notices and asks what has happened. So what do you tell them?
We usually rely on talking about what we are doing that is different. For instance if you lose weight you explain your change in diet or new exercise routine or perhaps you have been ill. But where is the root of that change and how come it has happened now? What was the inner change within your being that made these things possible? How do you explain, if you even recognise it, that something within you has changed first. Do we even have the language or framework to understand what our inner being is?
We all know we think and feel, and most people have had the experience of ‘talking to themselves’, usually within their heads. But who is talking to whom and who is the ‘inner I’. What about this part of us called the ‘ego’, a term introduced by Sigmund Freud and used by every theorist of the human being since then? Before I met Peter I thought my ‘ego’ was me. I now understand it as the outer side of myself, which communicates with the world. It is the part we usually refer to when we say ‘I’, but this is not all of who we are and neither is it constant.
So many people today, myself included, are on a search to understand or ‘find’ their ‘self’. But we conduct that search as if there is one, static, knowable aspect. But we are never the same, we are constantly changing. The different people in our life see us differently. We have different moods, sometimes more or less cheerful or expressive or quiet. We present our self differently in changing circumstances. We would not act or speak the same in a job interview as we would to our mates in the pub. Or if we did we probably wouldn’t get the job! With so many different ways of being how are we to ever know our ‘self’.
The reality is that we have an unlimited repertoire of different aspects within each and every one of us. Our upbringing or the society in which we live gives us all sorts of messages about some of those aspects. We may choose to not see them as a part of ‘our’ self but witness them and judge them in another. But each person we meet can be viewed as a mirror, reflecting back aspects of us and if we are brave enough to really look we can get to know ‘our’ self much quicker and realise how wonderfully diverse we really are.
You can bet that most of what we find hard to accept in our self is a result of the messages we received in our process of growing up. If our family has rigid religious views then we may well have taken on board a lot of judgements about what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. Those types of judgements can put a block in the way of development.
We live in a world of relativity - there is an up and a down, left and right. These things just exist for us and neither is better than the other unless we judge it to be so. This is the same with everything we come across, everything just ‘is’ and everything can be seen as being perfect the way it is. In our society today we have focused on up as being the way of growth, however taking a downward direction reconnects us with the ground and it is from the ground that all things grow. Life is not about things or people staying the same. Apple blossom is perfect and so are the apples that grow after the blossom has changed its state of being. Why would anyone want the blossom to remain forever unchanged when its very process of growth is to bear fruit?
Trees have their roots deep within the soil from where they draw the very stuff which makes them grow. Never does a tree feel less or inadequate because it has not yet reached its full potential and yet the smallest acorn has within it the capacity to be an enormous oak. It just gets on with growing, its roots on the ground, its leaves in the air.
Humans are relational beings, we need each other, help each other. Most importantly we can teach each other about our ‘self’ in relation to others. What we see is what we are because we can only ‘see’ what we already ‘know’ or are aware of. What we like and what we don’t is there to be taken into our awareness. Awareness is also constantly changing and can be expanded.
But what is awareness? It is the very basis of our inner self, the sense which underlies all the other senses. Without awareness we perceive nothing. Awareness comes from within, it is the part of us that feels, its qualities are sensual in nature. Not many people take the time to ‘expand’ their awareness and even less the time to ‘deepen’ it. So much of today’s life is experienced on the surface and if people are looking for something they seek it outside of themselves. Rarely does anyone take the journey into their own self. Those few who do so make it via their heads through psychotherapy or a similar approach. They ‘think’ their way to an understanding.
There has always existed another way, through the feelings, but only a few deep thinkers and mystics have been initiated into the way within. And yet never has human kind needed to make this journey as much as it does now. So few have embarked on such a trip we have almost lost the map.
But the path is there for those who really seek and a new method has been developed to make it so much easier to do – ‘The New Yoga’. Drawn from many sources, this unique approach is fundamentally about ‘relating’. Through my experiences with Peter I have come to recognise ‘relationship’ as an active process not as some ‘thing’ I have. In the same way I have learnt ‘feeling’ is what I do, not just something I have.
Questions have become all important to me and one question for me in writing this book is; how do I inform you of who I am?
You will learn nothing if I tell you what I have done in my life. But if I recount some of my experiences, of how I feel about what has happened to me, perhaps you will have a clearer sense of who I am. Maybe you will even develop a feeling in yourself of who I am. If I succeed in communicating with you, inside you will experience a ‘felt sense’ of me, through my words. It sounds like magic yet we do this every day without being aware of it.
I have refound someone who is adept in the ways of the inner being. Through him and his teaching methods I have experienced myself within my soul, his soul in mine and my soul in his. Through our relationship I have taken a road to deeper knowledge of my inner selves and inner dimensions of a deep spiritual nature. My process of change has been incredibly rapid and yet I am more myself than I have ever experienced before. It has been an amazing journey so far and I would like to share it with you.