In the late ’80’s after a decade as a performing artist and songwriter in the music industry, I was tired, dispirited and wondering what the next phase of my life would be. I was in bad shape. I’d spent my twenties living a wild life, and touring hard with my band. I was physically and mentally exhausted, and disillusioned with much of what I had achieved to that point
To then I’d participated in a few New Age modalities but I really didn’t like what I was finding – they all spun beautiful dreams, but lacked the practical sense I needed. I didn’t want wiffley-waffley dreams or affirmations, and I didn’t want to follow a guru or be anybody’s pawn – I wanted a practical tool I could use to modify the human being I had become. I wanted something whose machinery I could adapt to my own needs and use to navigate my own course through life.
In Vipassana meditation I found such a tool – practical, grounded in common sense, and extremely adaptable to any circumstance, it was exactly what I had been looking for.
So, as with most things I’ve done, once I found a direction there was no half way, and nothing could stop me. I headed for the source, a small meditation center in the rice paddies of South Eastern Thailand, where I found the teacher who, though he died in 1996, still inspires me today – Acharn Thawee, and his assistants, Phra Manfred and Mae Che Brigitte.
Beginning in 1991, I began to spend a few months of each year in silent retreat at Sorn Thawee Meditation Centre.
Then, when Acharn Thawee died, I spent the next decade doing yearly training in a number of monasteries, learning various methods of Vipassana meditation and working under different Acharns – Luang Pu Sangvahn, Acharn Tippakorn, and more recently, Venerable Pemasiri at the Kanduboda Meditation Centre in Sri Lanka – a wonderful teacher.
All in all I’ve spent a large part of the last 25 years training in Vipassana meditation methods, and it’s given me abilities I never dreamed I might have before. Principally it gave me my health back and calmed me down – but most importantly, it gave me the ability to write books. Previous to that my concentration and intellect had been much too scattered to focus long enough to do such a thing.
In 1994 I wrote my first book on meditation, ‘Happy To Burn’ and founded Practical Meditation and Counseling.
Since then I’ve written ‘Love & Imagination’ (extending on ‘Happy to Burn’).
Then I wrote my first novel – ‘Levin’s God’, which was published in 2006.
I’ve taught meditation and led meditation seminars and retreats throughout Australia and in Bali, and continue to write, with a new novel, “Sweet Emptiness” recently completed, which in March 2018 won the adult fiction NaMo Challenge for unpublished fiction.
I’ve also recorded the entire 12 hours of my meditation course and made it available for download from this blog, and my website at http://www.sankhara.com.au.
I currently live between Australia and Chiangmai in Thailand, and travel wherever life and my activities take me.