Such a notion came to me in my early twenties. Travelling on the London Tube to my job at the Television Centre every day, and looking at the expressionless grey faces of the lemming-like people going to their dose of daily doom, filled me with a suffocating desire to escape the 9-to-5 misery-go-round.
Friends and family thought I had it made, working at the prestigious BBC as a scenic artist, painting backgrounds for the Z-Cars series. Citizen (Sid) James, and the ballets. But it gave me no satisfaction. I had a gnawing desire to get away and explore myself and the world.
Needing to find what I was made of, I set off hitchhiking around the world in order to test my mettle and hopefully find some point to my existence. It took a few weeks of tough hitching, through Greece, Turkey, Syria and Jordan to get as far as Israel, by which time I had run out of cash.
For a whole year, I worked at a variety of peculiar jobs to earn enough to carry on with my travels. But just as I was leaving Israel by ship to the island of Cyprus, my bag was stolen, leaving me with just £7.50 in my pocket.
So there I was, at a crossroads in my life and feeling pretty low. At that time I had not the slightest interest in spiritual matters. I didn’t even know what yoga was.
But then an extraordinary thing occurred! Sitting on the quayside in the port of Limassol one evening, I was overtaken by an astonishing and totally unexpected mystical experience that changed my whole concept of existence and gave me a direction to my life. (This life-changing event I related in full in The Portugal News, 4 November 2023)
From then on, I was on what is called the ‘Spiritual Path’, hoping to consolidate that experience by studying meditation and other esoteric practices. I sought out masters from many traditions in many countries: learning from Buddhists, Tibetans, Japanese, Dervishes, Sikhs, and Hindu gurus, And to that end I spent three years as wandering monk in India, practicing every kind of yoga that I came across, finally specialising in Mantra Yoga as one of the best ways to curb the galloping minds of Westerners.
Having gained a measure of stability and depth through my training in various disciplines, I automatically felt an impulse to reach out and nurture to the lost and lonely. The President of the Theosophical Society in what was then Madras, invited me to teach in their centre in Adyar, in order to attract younger people, which became very successful.
So it was that when I finally returned to the UK, and no longer having any interest in a career, I continued teaching what I had learned. Because of the authenticity of my mystical experience I was often invited to speak at Conferences and workshops all over the world.
But it never occurred to me that I had a mission
However, from the time of my first spiritual awakening, I have understood that the most significant sorrow in the human soul is the sense of separation and the lack of understanding any significance to one’s life. Many feel a deep sense of isolation; feel separate from their families, from others and from their own souls. And therefore from the source of That which manifested their Being. This condition is the ultimate spiritual malady, known as soul-sickness. Our seeming inability to feel at One with the Omnipresence is at the heart of the existential dilemma. And not feeling we really belong. Here or anywhere else.
The point of my life’s work was made vividly poignant for me during a Conference in Israel for Peace in the Middle East Through Yoga (just outside Jerusalem)—to which I was an invited delegate—when the Master of Ceremonies told us the story of his visit to an Old People’s Home. He said the talk he was about to give went out the window when—as he began—an old lady in a wheelchair rolled up to him and asked piteously, like a little child, “Please, have you come to take me home?”
He was devastated
As he said these words, I was overcome with a powerful rush of emotion. My throat choked. Tears filled my eyes. I vividly recalled a scene at the age of thirteen, when my father had taken me to visit an orphanage. Whilst he talked with the director, a little boy had sidled up to me, put his hand in mine and pleadingly asked, “Uncle, have you come to take me home?”
At the time I was stricken to the heart, because even I felt like an orphan in my own home. I was powerless to do anything for this poor lonely little boy. But his request had unknowingly burned deep into my soul. At that moment, as the Master of Ceremonies spoke—it all came back to me. Suddenly I saw and felt the connections. Rising, my hands trembling, I took the microphone—and not caring that tears were streaming down my face—I shared my story with 600 people in the audience.
I had just made the sudden discovery that ever since—I had dedicated the rest of my life to ‘taking people home.’ *
*These last three paragraphs are from the Preface to my book “You Are the Light: Secrets of the Sages Made Simple” (available on Amazon.co.uk: https://amzn.to/2RSGZTQ). However, thanks to Brexit, books rarely get through the Customs to Portugal from the UK. But they are easily received if you order from Spain via www.amazon.es.
P.S. If you would like to watch my latest interview “How No-Mind Impregnates the Pyschesphere of the Planet!” in the New Earth Podcast hosted by Sarah Chave, you can find it here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqAnKVV-DMU on www.muzmurray.com
British mystic, author, psychotherapist, spiritual counsellor, mantra yogi, fine artist and illustrator, theatrical set and costume designer. Founder-editor of Gandalf’s Garden magazine and Community in the London Sixties, and 3 years as columnist for Yoga Today magazine, BBC 4 Scriptwriter, author of four spiritual self-development books and two storybooks for children.