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, and now I was physically and mentally exhausted, and disillusioned with all I had achieved to that point
At the time, I’d participated in a few New Age modalities, but I really didn’t like what I was finding – though they all spun beautiful dreams, they 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 circumstances, 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 – 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 – those being 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 have written ‘Love & Imagination’ (extending on ‘Happy to Burn’) and my first novel – ‘Levin’s God’ published in 2006.
I have 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.
I have 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.
A free exercise from this course is available here for you to download – click here to get it – http://selz.co/1HsO8wB
I currently live with my girlfriend Anna in Thailand and travel throughout SE Asia … going wherever life and my activities take me.