Mystic DudeWelcome to my blog. A place where I scribble about my life, stuff that interests me, things I believe are important, stuff I am passionate about, stuff I have learned or just senseless rambling about nothing at all like this long post about my background. I have had, and continue to live, something of a maverick or renaissance life where I passionately purse many different professional, intellectual, academic, spiritual and creative paths – as well as many different careers. Although it may be impossible to define or categorise me based on so many different careers and varied intellectual pursuits, I have a singular purpose in life: to grow and develop my capacities as a human being to their fullest extent and to share what I learn with other’s so they may also lead a purposeful and flourishing life.

For the most part my interests, passions and careers fall into two broad categories – technology/research and psychology/spirituality – and so I have provided a bit of background on these categories below. What I am trying to accomplish with this page is to provide an overview of my life, interests and philosophies along with some background information which have contributed to creating the man that I am today, a Jolly Mystic Dude.

(1) Technology & Research Interests/Background

While studying Neuropsychology at Simon Fraser University in the 80’s, I started a computer company called Academic Computers. The purpose of starting this company was to ensure I remained current with the rapidly evolving technology which I knew would play a significant role in my future. For the most part it was always a part-time venture as I earned a living through other means such as working as a research assistant, doing some statistical consulting and working with youth. Applied Statistics was a minor and I discovered that I had an aptitude for statistics and research design and so this eventually became a career as a Statistical and Research Consultant with clients ranging from academic scientists, Master’s and PhD candidates, the Ministry of Forests and numerous marketing companies.

Although I returned to academics in 1998 at UNBC to pursue a Master’s degree in Consciousness and Applied Statistics, losing my graduate advisor and general discouragement with the program led me to leave in 2001 before completing my thesis. I was still operating my technology company part-time under the name Open Enterprise Solutions to reflect my support for open-source technologies and software which were growing increasingly popular in governments and businesses around the world. I decided I would focus on a business and technology career with an emphasis on the Linux operating system and other open-source technologies for business. The reason I focused on this particular area of technology was due to the philosophy of community, collaboration and shared-knowledge which is the foundation of the open-source development model. A technology and community philosophy mirrored by the South African philosophy known as Ubuntu (which is also the name of a Linux distribution). The word Ubuntu roughly means “I am what I am because of who we all are” and is a philosophy which considers the success of the group above that of the individual.

I chose to promote, support and advocate for open-source software not only because it is a grass-roots, collaborative and community-based method for developing powerful, secure and inexpensive software (often free), but because I believed the underlying philosophy of sharing knowledge would be of value in many areas outside of software development. As it turns out I was right as we now have massive global movements towards Open Science, Open Access, Open Government and the overarching concept of Open Knowledge.

The underlying and important philosophy here is Ubuntu. We are better off when we work collaboratively though a community-driven process of sharing knowledge and resources. This collaborative philosophy literally gave us the Internet which is overwhelmingly driven by open-source software. Most of the largest technology companies and infrastructure software used in critical applications (super computers, air traffic control, space shuttle launches etc) are usually driven by Linux and other open-source software. But this philosophy of focusing on the community and sharing knowledge and resources also has implications for our ability to thrive both individually and as a species on an increasingly crowded planet. This leads me to the psychological and spiritual aspects of my personal life, spiritual life and ongoing education.

(2) Psychological & Spiritual Interests/Background

Spiritual Life

Although I was raised in a Lutheran family, other than going to Sunday school a few times, religion or any other form of spirituality was not really part of my early childhood. When I was around 14 or 15 I was introduced to the writings of Carlos Castaneda which was my introduction to both spirituality (Shamanism) as well as altered states of consciousness. I was captivated by the stories of journeying, hallucinogenic plants and the mystical experiences and shamanic teachings which Castaneda was given under the apprenticeship of Don Juan Matus, (Yaqui “Man of Knowledge”). There is no doubt in my mind that my spiritual interests, personal practices and even academic and professional pursuits all stem from that early introduction to Shamanism.

Academic/Psychological Life

In 1991 I earned a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Neuropsychology and Applied Statistics from Simon Fraser University. In 1998 after a few years of working with and developing programs for, violent and sexually offending youth, I started a Master’s of Science program at UNBC in Consciousness Studies and Applied Statistics. I left the program without completing my thesis and began a career of business and technology consulting primarily in the areas of Linux and other open-source software.

In September of 2012 I returned to graduate school to begin a Master’s Program in Transpersonal Psychology. After completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Transpersonal Studies from Sofia University, and a Certificate in Mindful Habit Coaching, I began a third Master’s program in Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology through the Alef Trust Foundation, which is accredited by Middlesex University in the UK. My areas of focus in this graduate program include Spiritual Emergence & Awakening, Mindfulness & Meditation as well as Shamanistic Psychology.

The renaissance of interest in Eastern spiritual philosophies, various mystical traditions, meditation, ancient and aboriginal wisdom, as well as the widespread psychedelic experimentation during the stormy 1960s, made it absolutely clear that a comprehensive and cross-culturally valid psychology had to include observations from such areas as mystical states; cosmic consciousness; psychedelic experiences; trance phenomena; creativity; and religious, artistic, and scientific inspiration.
(Stanislav Grof on Transpersonal Psychology)

More background content coming….

My Personal Philosophy

As a result of various personal experiences, decades of reading and learning about many of the world’s spiritual, philosophical and scientific traditions, I firmly believe that our civilization is in need of a significant paradigm shift in thinking, learning and communicating, if we are to succeed in the future. I believe this paradigm shift can begin through the collective impact of individuals recognizing and fulfilling their True Nature. I believe this True Nature, or Buddha Nature, the Ultimate Reality, the Perennial Philosophy is transcendent of traditional human sensory experience but can be experienced and reinforced through meditation or other spiritual and introspective practices, as well as the expression of Universal Compassion. I also believe this True Nature can only be described, or defined, through metaphor and the creative expression of gifted artists. I also believe this True Nature can only be described, or defined, through metaphor and the creative expression of gifted artists.

The ultimate, unqualified mystery is beyond Human experience”  (Joseph Campbell)

Our apparently obvious and self-evident perception and experience of separateness or individuality is the most common and pervasive form of collective human psychosis and delusion. Our perceived separateness from others, is an illusion and the basis of many of man’s individual and collective problems. The single most important message from most of the world’s spiritual, philosophical and even scientific traditions is one of UNITY. We are all truly a global community of One and need to think, act, communicate and collaborate with our fellow humans with this as our guiding principle.

Tat Tvam Asi – We are It, Thou Art That