Here I am blowing out the candles on my birthday cake at my divine 70th birthday party just last month. How interesting it is to be this age. How did this happen to me? Just keep eating and it’ll happen to you too, if things go well.
This time of life is good for me. I’m healthy and well in myself. I began the practice of meditation in the spring of 1970, almost fifty years ago. I have exercised my body since my twenties – these days it’s yoga and swimming – so have kept my body fit and strong to match my maintained mind. So far, so good, fingers crossed for the future.
Now I’ve seen a lot of the movie of my life, and what often seemed random and unconnected at the time of living it now makes sense as I look back down the tunnel of time. Every move of my life brought me to this point right now, writing on my bed, soft Autumn breezes stroking my cheek, and I have no regrets for anything, no matter how daft I was. No regrets. Every event, large and small, is one of the building blocks of now, which makes that movie of my odd life far more vital and meaningful than I once imagined. One scene which was a fundamental shaper of my life came like this.
One day in that blessed spring of 1970, when I was at a suicidal edge of pain and distress, stuck on the Spanish island of Formentera, Grace intervened and, when there was nothing left for me to live for, in a moment out of time a bubble burst, silently, and I was in another world. I knew I was seeing the divine, that I was that same divine myself. I’ve left a recording of me reading the chapter from my book The Choice which goes deeply into that magic time. I made it into a podcast. It’s called The Boy on the Beach.
I began to meditate when I returned to the UK after my revelation on the beach of Formentera and immediately, by cosmic chance, so to speak, met a Thai Buddhist monk in a flat in Liverpool, who casually understood my experience and invited me to meditate with him. Nirvana may be glimpsed thus, he said, as he introduced me to the path to make this state my home. What a year that was, when Grace intervened twice to set the course of my life, what good fortune I have had.
Almost fifty years later, I am still meditating. In fact I am writing this as the autumn sunlight fills my sweet home after my morning hour of practice. There is no other way to write than coming from my centre, the mind in my heart. Along the way from youth to here I’ve met one of the great Gurus of India and imbibed much from his vast wisdom over the last thirty six years, I’ve worked in the Human Potential movement, where I learned about myself and my immediate world, I lived in Japan for almost ten years, in California, in Spain, and India, all of which opened my mind to cultures beyond my own. I’ve made the primary life shift from one gender to another, which revealed many secrets behind gender, destiny, identity and how we make our worlds. I designed and made gardens for years; I was a landscape artist. Here are some pictures of my work, my art, in a garden in the windy wet primal beautiful hills of North Wales.
I’ve been an activist for human rights, told stories, taught meditation and delved deeply into the nature of my mind, my heart and how I make my own experience of life in this body on this earth. It was worth the effort to get to where I am. It was also a fascinating ride.
And now, as I enter my seventies, all of this has been gathered together and, as an elder with the wisdom of age and experience, I act as mentor, the fruit of the tree of my life, write, talk and now make a podcast called The Masks of Gender
Love to you. Get in touch about anything – Persia