From war to Peace
One reader's story of their search for Truth
Guest article by Kurt Flaxman
Introduction by Occult Mysteries
We are pleased to publish another good article by a reader describing his personal search for truth with humility, honesty and humour. His story has many similarities to those recounted by other contributors who have shared their experiences with us over the years. This is inevitable, for most of us make similar mistakes and take similar wrong turnings, many of which we discuss in our various articles, such as Losing your way and There is only one Light.
In our afterword we discuss the problem of suffering from the perspective of the sincere seeker on the path to the Light.
My search for truth began in earnest at around the age of nineteen after a broken heart catapulted me into an intense phase of soul searching and depression. It was probably the first time I became consciously aware there were two minds inside me; the higher calling me to seek greater meaning and purpose, and the lower trying to keep me firmly stuck in the mud of the material.
For much of my early life I felt rather misplaced in the world and never seemed to fit in. Over the years I walked many different paths and turned in many directions, but nothing ever seemed quite right. In short, I wasn't in a very good place and the Peace I sought was far away from my grasp. I was at war with myself and had only just realised who the combatants were. This is the story of my battle to find my Self—the lower and the higher. A battle which is still going on, but which I now know the better part of me can and will win in the end.
Hearing the call
During the times the call of my higher mind was strongest I would go through periods of frantic searching that bore little fruit. After these bouts of unproductive seeking I would retreat back into my shell and drown out the call with alcohol and mundane distractions. One big distraction was Heavy Metal music. I used to be a huge fan and saw it as a way to pour out all my frustrations. The relief was temporary and didn't make the call go away. As I began to hear the call more clearly and perceived more of the truth, I slowly moved away from Heavy Metal and started to embrace good and healthy music. By that I don't mean just classical music, but many other kinds too, both old and new, which speak to the higher emotions in us and not the lower.
Amazingly, the more I moved away from Heavy Metal the better I felt! This isn't to say I shun all music with electric guitars and drums, but it has become evident to me that music that makes you feel angry and depressed should be avoided at all costs. The notion that anger and depression can be vented by listening to angry and depressing music seems a complete farce to me now. Why would anyone think that beating yourself over the head would cure a headache? It doesn't make any sense at all.
From theism to nihilism
One of the stops on my journey in my search for truth was evangelical Christianity. I think mainly because it provided some kind of moral compass which was completely lacking from the secular Britain I grew up in. That rang my bell. During my university days hedonism was considered the norm and believing in nothing was the cool new religion of choice. Looking around now, not much seems to have changed in universities but Christianity is probably even less popular among the young than it was then. Not that my time in the evangelical church lasted very long. It took me around seven months to notice the many flaws in the Bible and many of the concepts within it just didn't match my intuition. The most striking thing for me was how the teachings of Jesus seemed to have more in common with Buddha than the angry, jealous God of the Old Testament. Of course, when I mentioned this to my fellow churchgoers, they tried to correct me and told me I'd been infected by "Post modernism."
The final straw was attending a workshop where we built a paper model of what we thought Noah's Ark looked like. As most people know it was supposed to house every single species of animal that existed 6,000 years ago—according to Biblical chronology that is—not science! Even my indulgence in whisky had left me with enough brain cells to suspect that this was an absolute pile of twaddle. Now I know it is. Even Wikipedia tells anyone who bothers to read it, that Noah and his Ark are based on far older myths from Babylonia and other civilisations.
After my brief and unsatisfactory sojourn in the Church I found an even shorter retreat in the world of atheism. People say that the Catholic Church has produced more atheists than science ever has or will. Although I was never a Catholic, the evangelical church did a pretty good job of turning me into a God-denier. I have lost count of the sheer number of books I waded through written by the self-proclaimed High Priests of atheism. Their names are legion so I won't bother mentioning the ones who hooked me with their rhetoric. But as logical as these people were at proving the God of the Old Testament was a tyrannical maniac, they were strangely silent about the loving and compassionate Father Jesus worshipped. They never actually provided me with any real answers and couldn't disprove the existence of the Divine. Also, the bleak materialism of their secular outlook did nothing to bring me the peace and content I was looking for. The grim conclusion I drew from their creed was that nothing actually matters however the atheists dress it up.
The Occult Jungle
It was around this time that I tumbled head first into the occult jungle. I quickly found it was a labyrinth with more blind alleys, dead ends and wrong turnings than a Sherlock Holmes detective story. I read many books and digested hours upon hours of YouTube videos. Maybe 'digested' is the wrong word. Threw up would be nearer the mark as much of what I watched made me feel sick, and what didn't was quickly forgotten. Nowadays I stay well away from YouTube, unless it's cute cats playing keyboards or animals doing other daft things. As a whole it's a terrible source of information for things spiritual, mystical or philosophical.
Implausible conspiracies, end of the World predictions, evil lizards controlling the Queen and baby-eating bohemian-grove bankers are just some of the treats to be found on that platform. Retreating back into alcohol and Heavy Metal music seemed sensible in comparison and provided a welcome respite from my constant searching. Today I often ask myself which was worse—probably YouTube. Fear, division and confusion are the three main things you will get from there!
During my time in the occult jungle I had a brief foray into Tibetan Buddhism but moved away from this fairly quickly after a fair bit of it didn't sit right with me. Nothing was properly explained and what was left me feeling intellectually unfulfilled. Then I heard of having to pledge to the path, etc., and be accepted. This never sat right with me as I truly didn't understand the need to pledge to something that wasn't fully explained or understood. Neither the intellectual needs of my head nor the emotional needs of my heart were engaged by Tibetan Buddhism, so I moved onwards, but sadly not upwards!
I say this as the few New Age workshops I then attended only added to my confusion and frustration. The self-proclaimed seers scrying the future, mawkish monks banging drums and misty-eyed mages selling books didn't assuage my spiritual hunger either and left me just as intellectually unimpressed. I even had some 'psychic readings' but the so-called 'angels' being channeled told me nothing I couldn't have found on YouTube. The most valuable thing I probably obtained from all of these sessions was some toothpaste from the Neem tree in India. At least my teeth benefited!
So to add to my dissatisfaction with Tibetan Buddhism I now knew that New Age 'angels' weren't for me either. I felt I was really getting somewhere at long last! At least I'd learnt what not to do or be and came to the conclusion, as others had before me, that Shamanism was the answer. I felt sure this was the only real and legitimate path as everyone who was anyone said it was the oldest religion in the world! How could such clever 'wisdom-keepers' possibly be wrong?
From the Shaman's frying pan. . . .
During my time in the occult jungle I went through another series of failed relationships which, coupled with my fruitless search for truth and meaning, led me to a pretty low place. Of course, the best thing to do to heal broken heart is to book an ayahuasca retreat with a UK based New Age Shaman. So although I now shake my head in disbelief at my stupidity and credulity, this is exactly what I did.
The Shaman in question shall remain anonymous, but I will describe my experience for the benefit of readers in the hope they don't make the same mistakes I did. Let's just say he ticked all the boxes of the kind of shams you can and will find in the occult jungle. In all fairness, I don't think he was genuinely evil, just misguided and misinformed. In a way that makes things worse, because there's no greater fool than a blind fool. As we were both fools you may suspect this retreat did not turn out well. You'd be right, but luckily for me not as badly as it has turned out for others, some of whom have lost their lives through taking part in ayahuasca ceremonies.
The ceremony began with me drinking one cup of the brew and then sitting there for a bit. An hour or so later I drunk another cup and that's when it all began. Trying to explain such experiences in words is hard. I took part because I wanted to know the truth, or that is what I told myself at the time. After a while I lost all feeling of my body; it felt like I was sinking into things, everything was full of geometrical patterns and people and plants were a host of colours I have never seen before. This all was ok, but it wasn't long until what I can only describe as a descent into hell began.
I basically lost my mind for eight hours. I ended up rolling around on the floor, bruising and cutting myself, screaming like an animal and biting on a rock so hard I subsequently had to have dental treatment to repair the damage. The irony of this only struck me much later when I remembered that it was the New Age Neem toothpaste that had ultimately led me to try ayahuasca! Needless to say, the New Age Shaman couldn't tell me the slightest thing about what had happened to me. The best he could come up with was that I'd had a strong reaction! No shit, Sherlock!
I came out of the whole experience asking myself the question: "Am I God, am I the Universe?" I have since learnt that this isn't such a daft question. In a very real sense, we are our own 'god' ruling over the vast universe of our bodies, as occult science teaches us. Or, as the Hermetic saying puts it, 'as above, so below.' It will not surprise readers that after this crazy experience I decided to skip the two further nights of ceremonies. Instead, I watched other people behaving like buffoons and generally putting their safety and sanity at risk. I did take some more drugs, but as it was only hot chocolate the effect was far more pleasant and enlightening!
When I returned home, I was more confused than ever, and I was pretty certain I was going to give up my search for truth. The Shaman had offered me no real answers to the questions I'd been seeking so fruitlessly for so long. As I said earlier, I'm convinced he isn't a bad individual but rather just another confused seeker full of pain and turmoil who has taken a very wrong turn. A good case of the blind leading the blind, and both falling into the ditch, or in this case the occult jungle. If it had not been for the few good books I had about the occult and the nature of consciousness, I probably wouldn't have been able to integrate my experience and could well have ended up in a mad house.
Despite all that had happened, I still attended another workshop on psychological shamanism and other nonsense later. Can anyone really be so stupid? Yes, they can! Whilst this workshop didn't involve drugs, it didn't sit right with me either, especially as so many Shamans were advocating voodoo and all kinds of mad magical practises. I decided to call it a day for my own sanity. Shamanism wasn't the beacon of enlightenment I had hoped it was and it hadn't healed my depression.
. . . into the Light of Peace
A few weeks afterwards, after yet another bout of heavy drinking, I decided to start the search for truth afresh. Despite my exhaustion, frustration and disillusionment, my higher mind kept calling and I just had to give it one last try before I gave up for good. One day an overwhelming urge made me google the words 'occult mysteries'. This was probably over four years ago now, and I can only describe what has happened to me since as a genuine miracle. The majority of questions that have troubled me for years have been answered within the articles of the website and for the first time in my life I feel like I am learning the truth and nothing but the truth.
Slowly but surely chaos is giving way to order in my mind as all the errors and delusions of the past are being swept away. I realise I have a long battle ahead of me to tame and subdue the lower mind. A battle that never really ends so long as we are in a body but that gradually and with patience can bring the peace and content I have been searching for all my life. The deep spells of depression that plagued me in the past have all but vanished and I see the world in a whole new light. I can approach the day from a place of peace on most occasions and for the first time in a long time I actually feel reasonably sane! That alone is a blessing beyond price in a world that is becoming more and more insane with each passing day.
I now know that studying the occult sciences is something that can be done safely and privately whilst leading a completely normal life. It shouldn't involve running away from society or from friends and family like so many wrong paths and teachers teach. I have known people who have lost their minds through their involvement in shamanism or by travelling to foreign lands in their desperate search for truth, only to be duped and preyed upon by the same colourful quacks they could have found in their home country.
I now also realise that truth can only be perceived through bitter experience. If I had not explored the blind alleys, dead ends and wrong turnings of the occult jungle and been burned by many of my discoveries, I would not now understand and agree with the content of the website. Perhaps the greatest truth that I have learnt through my search is that I am not mad or alone and that there are others who think as I do, have made the mistakes I've made, and emerged wiser, saner and better human beings, able to help their fellowmen and women, rather than needing help themselves.
This seeking and searching is a natural process for every human being at some stage in their evolution, but incredibly difficult during the times we live in today. So any help we can give another means we will be helped in turn when we are most in need. And that is the reason I've told my story. Ultimately my thanks go firstly to God who has truly tested my resolve for very good reasons and has now considered me suitable to learn such truths after the deep mental struggle I have gone through. Secondly my thanks go to occult mysteries which is truly an instrument of God in explaining the Ancient Wisdom that signposts the road from war to peace and from darkness to light.