So you know who I am, just a few words about the founder and webmaster of the Trans4mind site. I was born in '52 in London, spent most of my life in southern England, the last few years in the north, but in 2000 I moved again to be with my friend Nicole in France. We were married in 2003 - best thing I ever did!
After leaving school I abandoned civil engineering studies because although it's a worthwhile subject, it wasn't what I wanted to do at all! Learning how to build bridges was simply a metaphor for the real bridge I wanted to cross, that between the physical and the spiritual. I wanted to find who or what I really am, and to be able to perceive the real person that looks out through each pair of eyes. I knew intuitively there was much more to the human identity than I'd been taught. I'd just ruined my first loving relationship through jealousy, so I also wanted to discover how to love without possessiveness and judgment.
In short, I really wanted to travel the spiritual path - to fulfill my purpose for this lifetime. That endeavor has introduced me to very many ideas and brilliant people, and many sidetracks that lead to nowhere as well. Times of great anguish and times of exhilarating clarity. Ultimately I have discovered ways that have worked for me, to reveal the truths I was searching for, within myself. I have found again my true nature - the aspect of myself that is part of universal consciousness, which is pure unconditional love - my connection to God if you like. Now I can perceive that spark of God behind every person's eyes, and I can help any individual who is genuinely motivated to travel this path of enlightenment.
“Where there is love, oneness naturally exists; where there is fear, understanding and compassion go missing.” ~ Peter Shepherd
Back in those days, I soon realized that a knowledge of psychology was going to be a help in understanding myself and others, so I trained in Rational Emotive Psychotherapy. Nothing to do with the spiritual path, you may think, but on the contrary, I found rational thinking to be a necessary accompaniment to esoteric and mystical philosophy. I continue this dimension today with the sister site, Mind Development Courses, that continues the work I did in the 1980s with Gregory Mitchell, enhancing study, concentration, perception, memory and communication skills to increase effective intelligence.
One needs to keep the mind in order, so rationality is important; but equally important is mindfulness, which doesn't involve thinking at all, indeed it requires the stilling of mind so one is conscious of being an observer - a caring and empathic observer - who is witness to reactive emotions and their accompanying thoughts. This video describes the universal truths that are central to my understanding of life...
Be Here Now
Just be here now and enjoy the moment...
Your regrets from the past - you don't need them now, just let them go...
Your worries about the future - you don't need them now, just let them go...
As you relax and your mental activity settles down, like waves settling on an ocean, you become still...
Consciousness reaches its most silent state, serene and unbounded...
You realize that this is your true Self, beyond time and space...
A presence in the ocean of loving consciousness...
As Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you."
The most fundamental truths are summarized in one sentence, I feel - a quote from Khurshed Batliwala - and its truth is exhilarating:
“We are made by love, of love, and for love.”
The core of my message is to do what you feel is right, guided by love. Beliefs that are merely intellectual fabrications and cannot be confirmed objectively in the here and now are merely a distraction, I feel. Furthermore, beliefs and truths are quite different in nature. Fundamental truths are really so simple yet profound that words seem a stupidity. But getting to the truth is not so simple because of the way the mind is conditioned into reality-tunnels that obscure the truth pretty effectively. Sorting this out requires a disciplined approach that has scientific objectivity and method but also acknowledges the immense resource we each have of intuition and discernment, which may be called heart intelligence.
The work of Gurdjieff, Assagioli, Leary, Grof, Wilber, Tart and many others has pointed me in the right direction - i.e. has given me useful results when applying their principles.
Others have played an important art in creating the Trans4mind resources. For example, Clearing the Way provides a platform for Ayal Hurst to offer advice of a spiritual flavor to those who write in about difficulties in their life. And with Ken Ward, we put together a large collection of resources called Freeing the Mind, that mixes NLP with Buddhism, JavaSript coding and lots more. Ken also worked with me to create the New Life Course, a very effective home-study program, now available freely.
A few years ago, Wallace Huey, a life coach from Ireland, got in touch and suggested a new service on the site, Heart to Heart Coaching. People sent in a question about the personal challenges they faced in life and Wallace offered his coaching in our weekly newsletter, followed by other life coaches such as Doris Jeanette, Phil Evans and Maurice Turmel. It was a very popular service. Over a few years, this enabled us to learn exactly which issues the site visitors are most concerned with - their life challenges - and we developed comprehensive resources for each of these.
On that foundation, Wallace and I co-founded the company Trans4mind Ltd, registered in Ireland, and we have worked hard over 5 years to develop the curriculum of Trans4mind Personal Development Training, a service to enhance the culture of companies, and therefore to help create the most-needed change in today's world: a new, heart-centered consciousness.
Wallace Huey & Peter Shepherd
When we are actually ourselves, fully conscious and awake to the present moment, not telling ourselves any lies -- in that state the past is actually not affecting us, nor is fear of what the future may bring. Our attention is grounded by the present objective environment, rather than dominated by past memories or future expections. Our vision is not obscured by fears. We can see our situation more clearly, free of the conditioning and assumptions that we have been led to base our lives on. And we are free and motivated to achieve exciting new goals that reflect our true inner nature and life purposes. That is the aim of personal growth work.
By the Trans4mind founders: Peter Shepherd & Wallace Huey.
Imagine if - with the help of personal development - the values of the heart could be brought into our families, communities, charities, organizations and businesses... what kind of a world would this create?
One Minute Wisdom from the Founders
Want to get the essence of Trans4mind in a few minutes?
Peter and Wallace's selected quotes, commentary and pictures will enlighten and inspire. Copy and paste them into your emails to brighten a friend’s day.
Two recent additions to the Inside-Out Blog summarize my overall ethos and philosophy that motivates what I do at Trans4mind. The article The Path of Love... Love is the source of universal truth, therefore the perfect guide in our lives, and we each have an unlimited supply within us because it is who we are. We are made by Love, we are made of Love, and we are made for Love. And the article The Holistic Approach to Personal Wellbeing... The mind, body and spirit interact and I think it's important to understand how this works, in order to adopt a comprehensive and effective means of personal development.
Another resource that Wallace and I have put together is the Get to Know Us section: this features our most personal work amongst the resources here at Trans4mind.com. Also through this page, you can let us know if you have your own personal development challenge that you'd like us to assist you with.
We create our own reality internally, and through our influence in various ways, that in turn affects the external. In the following podcast I share a transformative experience from my own life, excerpted from the book, Daring to Be Yourself....
Of course, every writer wants to be published in print and I'm happy that finally I have that opportunity. Inkstone Press, in Australia, asked me if they could publish Transforming the Mind, but I really wanted to do something new, and they kindly supported me in that. So I've put together a new book, 'Daring to be Yourself,' that was published on November 1st 2007. It's a convenient 'best of' the Trans4mind site with short courses like Communication & Relationships, and Emotional Intelligence, alongside the free online Positive Approach Course (in text and audio).
It's more personal though, talking a bit about my own life experiences, and it expands on the spiritual dimension, how we can get in touch with our inner knowing, our core essence. To find that inner knowing we need to look objectively, honestly and with an open mind, both at the world and even more so, into our own being. To be a witness of our mind, with love and caring of our conscious self. We have then also transcended or gone beyond the conscious mind and found ourselves spiritually. Creating our lives from that viewpoint is an exciting process, because we're no longer alone, we're connected with all creative energy, the universal quality of spirit. There's more online about it here: Daring to be Yourself or buy it on Kindle.
In Mike Bundrant's interview with me about the book, he asks lots of good questions about what it means, to be yourself. Isn't being myself the only choice I have? No it isn't, you also have the easier choice of being a person who conforms to the expectations and standards of their peers and authority figures. How to awaken from that habitual way of being is what the book is all about. Also you can read further passages from the book... Our Spiritual Path and Freedom to Change.
When a young boy I was put off by the Church's message of original sin (which I do not agree with at all) and turned to Buddhism, which contains good practical and non-dogmatic information - universal truths really. Jesus was indeed a great teacher, offering the same universal truths, more directly and beautifully said than anyone else in my opinion, though since then they have been grossly misinterpreted. He is a being from the highest levels, truly a Son of God. I have supported Jesus from the beginning times, as I remember through my past-life work. My purpose from those earliest times has continued over the centuries as a monk and priest, and is continuing now with Trans4mind.
I'm not keen on religious authorities as such, they have tended to alter or suppress the original teachings and use the source information manipulatively, taking advantage of human fears and competitive needs. The behavior of the Christian church over many centuries has directly contradicted the teaching of Christ, to love one's neighbor as oneself and to find the Kingdom of Heaven within. Still, there are many good people who follow Jesus, whether part of a church or not, and who understand and apply His message of love, The Way, and I count myself as one of those.
In my opinion, the original teachings of Jesus are best represented by His closest apostle, Mary Magdalene, as suppressed by misogynist Roman and Jewish authorities for 2000 years but described wonderfully in the book The Expected One by Kathleen McGowen. It's moving, exciting and educational. If you are willing to keep an open mind I think you'll find it includes the true message of Jesus revealed, The Way for these times.
My source in the spiritual realm,
I celebrate your presence with me here.
Let me be guided by unconditional Love
and be of service for the highest good.
Thank you for the abundance I receive,
and please forgive my mistakes,
as I forgive those who cause me difficulties.
Help me to fulfill my purpose, uphold my values,
and be understanding and compassionate.
With all my love.
Here are some recent audio recordings in which Peter Shepherd was interviewed, discussing his own life experiences, the background to Trans4mind, plus information about our courses and the resources that the site offers. You'll discover there's lots of good information and tips in these interviews as well. To download the audio, right-click on on the download link and choose to save to your hard disk.
John Earle interviewing Peter Shepherd in Feb 2014: - Download MP3
Dr. Gabriella Kortsch interviews Peter Shepherd - Download the MP3 audio file
Dr. Doris Jeanette interviews Peter Shepherd - Download the MP3 audio file
Ellen Britt interviews Peter Shepherd - Download the MP3 audio file
Steve and Monica Donofrio interview Peter Shepherd - Download the MP3 audio file
Diane Brandon interviews Peter Shepherd - Download the MP3 audio file
Here's the transcript of an interview with my artist friend, Agnès van Gaalen…
What was your idea in the beginning to set up T4M and do you think people picked up your idea in the 20 years T4M exist?
With a background for some years as a psychotherapist, helping people to resolve their problems and anxieties, I had become more interested in consciousness and mindfulness. I could see how psychology links with philosophical ideas, from Buddhism for example, which has been an interest of mine since childhood. The big breakthrough was when I studied transpersonal psychology - including the works of Ken Wilber, Assagioli and Peter Russell - which teaches how to transcend a limited identity built from genetics and upbringing, to help a person realize their full unique potential.
So I had studied this and also I had been working for a mind development company, which also had many methods to help people move forward in their lives. I'd done training and courses and devised my own methods. I put a synthesis of this knowledge into my book, Transforming the Mind, and that formed the basis of the web site, Trans4mind. The first impulse was to share, freely.
Is the purpose still up to date, or has the view changed over the years?
The purpose has evolved beyond sharing interesting information, to having a mission of sorts. I think that the human nature of Mankind has progressed little over the centuries. There are fundamental problems, like the schism between left and right brain thinking, between male and female ways of being. I think we need to evolve, to move forward as a race, and then we stand a chance of resolving the immense social, cultural, economic and ecologic problems that are staring us in the face. Human nature has to change. That's all! We need to live lives of service based on compassion, instead of selfish lives based on a barrage of fears. We need to become conscious of who we really are, as human beings rather than merely human animals. Communicating and creating instead of enslaving and going to war. I try to contribute toward this evolution with the Trans4mind website.
Do you get a lot of feedback from your readers?
Yes, I get quite a lot of support, mostly through email. Many heartfelt messages, and it helps me a lot, to keep going. Our co-director, Wallace Huey, runs Trans4mind Personal Development Workshops in Dublin, and he receives very warm feedback from the students as well.
So, do you have some special story(s) in mind, to illustrate this feedback?
The most dramatic tale of involvement by people occurred when a group of friends in Libya started meeting every week to practice what they had learned from the site. They asked me to coach them by email and I did so. But their co-leader turned out to be secret police and the leader was put into prison and the group closed down. Fortunately he escaped to Algeria after some months of interrogation. A sign of the times though, as the Libyan people were showing that they wanted more freedom, and that's how it turned out.
What was for you the most special opinion or remark, given to you about T4M?
It's hard to single one out, but I really appreciate those who recognize that I put my heart and soul into the daily quotes service, that it really is a personal communication from me, a service of love.
If it was positive, how do you respond?
I just say thanks, that I really appreciate their getting in touch.
If it was negative, how do you respond?
Usually I just delete and ignore it, unless it is constructive criticism in which case I thank the person for that.
What kind of people are visiting your site nowadays?
I think it's self-selecting. I get very little negative criticism as one might expect from political or religious fanatics. So people who visit the site are interested in the contents. I get the impression there are not so many young people and we'd like to address that with a special site for teens before too long. Most visitors leave straight after they get what they want, in an article or something, but 20% stay for hours and come back regularly. 40% are from USA, 9% from India, 8% from UK, and other English speaking countries.
What are they looking for, and can they find what they are looking for on the T4M site?
Was there ever a period in time that T4M exists that you thought: "No more, thank you"?
No, because the site can just sit there even if I do nothing. I know it does a lot of good because of all the positive feedback, so I shall never take it away, and when I pass on it will still continue because we are making sure Trans4mind is here for posterity.
I may feel more or less motivated at times, like if there are computer and connection problems, or if there is lack of response to something I thought was really good - sometimes it can feel like communicating into a vacuum. But eventually you find out that all along what you were doing was appreciated, and so in future you remember that.
If not, where do you get the inspiration from? If yes, why did you pick it up again, what was your motivation to do so?
The inspiration is to make a difference in the world, a difference that is needed and wanted by all caring persons.
Do people get under your skin sometimes, and how do you live with this, or what do you do with this?
Yes, a person can be annoying, but one tries to be tolerant and forgiving - to remember the kind soul that is inside each one of us - that people have different views, it's not a case of right and wrong. Then one can smile and life continues.
To answer all the questions of your readers, to provide new articles for your site, does this mean that you don't have time anymore to write a book?
I've written my book, I don't feel much of a drive to do another, though I would like to revise and update Daring to be Yourself. I am more interested in working with Wallace Huey to develop Trans4mind Personal Development Training into a world-wide success, reaching into communities world-wide with effective coaching to address all the challenges people face in life and to further my overall purpose of contributing in whatever way I can to the evolution of humanity. Of course, I wish there was more time in a day to get everything done I would like to.
Has it become for you a way of life, and what does this mean in your private life?
Yes, my life is built around two poles: running Trans4mind and my marriage. Fortunately those two poles are close together: my wife runs the Trans4mind site in French and we share the same purposes in life; there is no conflict and we support one another very well.
Is Peter Shepherd a different person in private life, than in the role of T4M?
No, I would hope not. I don't really have a public persona in any case, I just work on my computer... this interview is a rare exception. I'm myself all the time and happy about that.
Who or what inspires you?
Musicians from my formative years, like Robin Williamson and Joni Mitchell. Their voices bring tears to my eyes, tears of love and the hope and wonderment of youth. Two favorites in the spiritual sphere are Timothy Freke and Anita Moorjani. Both know how to communicate profundity simply and without dogmatism - universal truth clearly understood and expressed. Harold Becker too, and there's many others. The world is rich.
How is your view on the world of today?
One the one hand, corporate profit rules, way ahead of justice and ethics. It's a world run for the rich to get richer, and they don't even care if their grandchildren have a place to live, it's just short-term profits. Less developed countries are also run according to greediness and corruption. But these selfish people are a small percentage, the majority of people are caring individuals. They need to become leaders, to have more influence than have now, to empower their communities and create reform. Hopefully personal development information and Trans4mind Personal Development Training will help them along this path.
How long will you continue working for T4M?
Until I die, and then it gets more interesting....
If you continue to do so, why?
Because it's a fundamental instinct of the human being to try to do good, to be helpful, to express themselves. We're not just warriors and enslavers!
So you know where I'm coming from, here's a selection of issues that I'm often asked about, some of them controversial. I briefly offer my opinions, based on my own experience, but you should please note that none of this is 'taught' as such in the courses I run - the emphasis there is on individuals discovering their own truth, the knowing that lies deep within each of us.
Why did I leave behind psychotherapy?
I used to run a one-on-one therapeutic practice in England but since starting Trans4mind and moving to France my work has concentrated on the personal growth applications delivered through the Internet - that can be done by reasonably happy and healthy individuals at home - rather than therapeutic applications. Therapy needs one-on-one supervision, because the client is not emotionally stable enough to work on their own. Personal growth is different: you are capable of looking at your life and who you are being, i.e. your personal belief structure, and changing that around - literally changing your identity to one that more closely aligns with your natural core self, who you really are and what you really want in life.
"To open up our minds to new ideas, new challenges and new solutions - to think differently and be creative - well, we could all do with some help in this direction. Trans4mind is dedicated to introducing the best available resources for transformation of body, mind and spirit - to free us of the shackles of the past by re-awakening awareness of our true identity in the present." That's our manifesto. What do I mean exactly?
Well, when we are actually ourselves, fully conscious and awake to the present moment, not telling ourselves any lies -- in that state the past is actually not affecting us, nor is fear of what the future may bring. Our attention is grounded by the present objective environment, rather than dominated by past memories or future expectations. We can see our situation more clearly, free of the conditioning and assumptions and fears that we have been led to base our lives on. That is the aim of my work.
What is transpersonal psychology?
Transpersonal psychology treats aspects of the individual that have connections beyond the body-mind persona, including higher consciousness and the archetypes and mythology of the human race. This is the branch of psychology pioneered by Jung and further developed by Assagioli, Grof and Wilber amongst others. It's widely held as a model in the New Age movement, as well as being the basis for many innovative therapeutic and personal development approaches.
Transpersonal psychology has been developed empirically, based on what works for people regardless of scientific 'proof' - in contrast to the more theoretical consciousness research of academic institutions - and could be said to be the "psychology of enlightenment."
I'm also firmly grounded in the principles of rational-emotive behavioral therapy, the method developed by Albert Ellis based on the principle that irrational thoughts lead to inappropriate and negative emotions, which if repeated result in conditioned patterns of self-defeating behavior.
That's a mouthful, but actually these ideas are well-accepted these days and are part and parcel of humanistic psychotherapies and the personal growth and coaching advice that most professionals offer. I feel that rationality is an essential accompaniment to mystical or spiritual contemplation and that actually there is no conflict. Metaphysics is just a part of physics and in my opinion, science and consciousness are friends, not enemies.
What do I think of God and Spirituality?
God is a universal quality of love, life and truth. We are all part of God - "Light that is one though the lamps be many". This is traditionally an Eastern view - compared with the Western view of God as a personage in the heavens - though it is far more frequently held in the West in these New Age times.
To become more 'spiritual' is to learn to realize one's connection, that one is more than an isolated Ego. From perhaps a few close friends and family one begins to include those one doesn't necessarily agree with or like. It's a change from the 'human' way of reactive sympathy or judgment to the 'spiritual' way of conscious empathy and understanding, even in the most trying circumstances. It's an awakening, and life gives us ample opportunity to test ourselves, make mistakes and learn from them, and develop in this process.
If you ask: What do I feel is the purpose of life? then I answer: to feel, to love, to learn, to be of service. Life is very rich; it is about having fun, achieving goals, enjoying humor and aesthetics, creating and exploring, making friends and advancing peace and justice in civilization - but the most profound purpose we have is to travel the spiritual path, to awaken to our divinity, the quality of God that is in everyone and everything: expressions of love, life and truth.
Love is really the central issue. When the Beatles sang "All you need is love" live in the first world TV broadcast back in '69, it was one of the high points of my life. It was the statement of what my generation stood for. I feel I have grown to understand better what love is over the years...
Love is unconditional acceptance. That quality is also our essential nature, who we really are. It is love of parents for child; also the non-possessive love of partners; also the caring love for all people that enables forgiveness. It is not the emotional lust of being 'in love' though that may well be in alignment with true love - or unaligned, as in jealousy. It's above energy, though it may be expressed energetically; it's Spirit itself, the nature of God, the quality we share with God; and it is the binding force of the Universe, necessary for all Creation.
Is this life nothing but a dream?
"When I was learning so hard to learn that this life is a dream, then, does it make any sense for me to have a dream in this life, which is nothing but a dream? What we are doing now in this awaking business? I am telling my kids to go for their dreams and then, I am going to tell them life itself is a dream and don't be too serious!!"
We realize our experience was a dream after we have woken up, but at the time it was real as real can be. Same with this life we live now.
So there’s a difference with the dream within a dream. What we envision, what seems to fill our purpose, is a dream - yes, we imagine it - but it’s not an asleep dream, it’s real as can be - a vision demanding practical action.
After all, 90 years of real-seeming dream is a long time to experience, we might as well make it fulfilling, and also learn profound lessons from the experience, since that is largely the reason we incarnated into this dream in the first place.
There are stages of waking up. We live very often as conditioned human animals, rather than with our potential as a mindful spirit integrated with the human animal. A true human being. That’s the first awakening, which offers us some perspective and awareness, and more alignment with our inherently loving spiritual nature. That’s the crucial awakening we want to encourage our kids to go for. As well as following their vision and living a fulfilling life. Having a great dream!
The further awakening happens when we die, and we awaken further to the degree that our vibration enables - so if we have been living a life of loving service, with plenty of forgiveness, compassion and gratitude, we go to a different place than greedy psychopaths do. We awaken further to where we’re at (the psychopath wouldn’t want to go anywhere near what is heaven for a loving person).
Where do you live?
I live in a restored farmhouse at a beautiful rural location in Bourgogne, France, with my wife Nicole...
"Don't you feel that Jesus is the ultimate God and authority who controls everything, on whom we are dependent, and without Him we humans are nothing, despite what our minds may comprehend and understand?"
I believe Jesus wanted each of us to discover the Kingdom of God within us. He was a being from the highest levels, a Son of God, but whilst incarnated, also a human being. We too are human beings with the spark of Divinity within us, and free will, like His grandchildren… so that God experiences His creation through us. Primarily Jesus taught a message of unconditional love, and that is what I believe in primarily (compared to theology that one can argue about forever), and it's the lesson that the world needs to be guided by most of all.
I do believe in prayer. For me, that means to communicate to Spirit my gratitude for what I am experiencing, what I am learning, what I want to be manifested in the name of love, and to request inner knowing of whatever I want to know. I present my communication in the form of feelings, images and intention (rather than words or reasons) and an answer comes in the same way. Learn to speak the language of Spirit and this presence will always be with you as a loving guide and support.
What do I think of Christianity?
Few people would find exception to the social morality taught by Jesus. Indeed, much the same is found in all the major religions; the Buddhist parables mirror and precede those of the Bible by 800 years. The problem is that to actually behave as is recommended requires one to be fairly enlightened and to recognize that your neighbor - and your enemy - is indeed your spiritual brother. One is then up against one's case - all the suppressed upsets, disagreements, bad actions, justifications, fixed ways of being right and so on - and no case handling is provided. So people behave the same and just add the hypocrisy of their Christianity to their load of guilt.
The other problem with Christianity is its theology. The main themes - all-seeing eye, man in the sky, original sin, crucifixion and saviour, resurrection, final judgment, need for worship and sacrifice, forgiveness from on high, fear of Hell and so forth - have been recycled in religious beliefs since the original Sun worshippers, and they all oppose personal responsibility and spiritual development. The theology is an inversion of the truth and an ideal way to hold down the masses in subjugation and propitiation. It's myth and powerful. Strength is nevertheless drawn by many from their faith, because there are enough truths mixed in and the religion provides stability, but ultimately the lies are limiting.
Jesus was a person who - alongside his enlightened message of love - questioned the status quo and pointed out the dark side of the religious establishment, and their hypocrisy. The same situation remains in place. Jesus did not teach a way for individuals to overcome their fixed ideas and safe solutions to open their minds and so remove their prejudices and hatreds in order to follow his basic teachings of love, and to be one with God - or if he did, it was suppressed or misinterpreted by the Church. I believe the Church, a few hundred years after Christ, also removed enlightened teachings and reincorporated Jewish mythology including the idea of a God to be feared, original sin, and so on, thus producing a major cause of human psychosis these last 2000 years, sadly in the name of Jesus and love.
Despite these misgivings, I have long thought of spiritual development based on transformation psychology, as described in Transforming the Mind, as a New Christianity, as it enables individuals to actually become more like Christ. There are many elements of the original teachings within the Bible that illuminate Christ's teachings rather than reinforce the Church's control, or which illustrate enlightened modern ideas such as some of those in Transforming the Mind. The lies in the Bible introduced or manipulated by the Church need to be exposed as such (the Dark side) and the truth in the Bible that is what remains of Jesus' original message needs to be better understood (the Light), and connected with current situations and modern ideas, to reveal a practical way that can transform people's lives and expose their inner Godliness.
What do I think of Sexuality?
You don't need me to tell you that finding the right partner, and getting on well, can make you feel twice the person. In a way, you are. The closeness of a loved one and family provides stability and fulfills a primary genetic drive. Sex, too, is a natural and mutual enjoyment of senses and provides intimacy on all levels, as well as a lot of fun. Where it goes wrong is when communication breaks down, bad actions are withheld, upsets build up, tension rises and the relationship is threatened. With fear, possessiveness enters the picture, then jealousy rears its ugly head. Jealousy is the opposite of granting beingness, life and freedom of choice to one's partner. Rationality is confused by the animal mating and territorial drive as well, and all the social conditioning and guilt complexes related to sexuality, not least the repression of sexual pleasure urged by many religions. The solution, as with all problems, is renewed communication with openness and honesty. More about this on the Communication & Relationships pages.
A reader asked this important question: "How would you know that the feeling you have developed for the opposite sex is true love and not just a mere feeling of lust?"
If it’s simply lust then it's associated only with your body-mind, and it’s likely to be accompanied by feelings like jealousy and wish to dominate and control, that come along with the human animal. Our animal nature is based on underlying survival fears.
Our spiritual nature, on the other hand, is based on love. Spiritual love then is accompanied by feelings that are qualities of spirit, like compassion, understanding, empathy and acceptance. There may be the animal lust in place as well, since we are both spirit and animal, but the thing is to differentiate the two - to be mindful, in other words, to be a witness. To let the body do its thing (otherwise humans could never reproduce), but to value more highly and identify with the spiritual connection, the truly loving relationship. Then the physical becomes a pleasure on a higher level, because it is accompanied and elevated by the spiritual connection.
What do I think of Prayer?
I learnt as a psychotherapist that no one can help you if you don't help yourself - you have to get off your ass (take responsibility). I do believe that prayer works, however - it is a connecting up with God. In truth one is part of God - one is God - so really this is connecting up with the Higher Self. But still, one has to play one's part and act; do what's necessary and then the order of life will align with your wishes, provided they are ethical (for the greatest good). Egotistical whims don't cut it!
Taking responsibility is fervently resisted by many clients undertaking therapy, who really just want you to take their problems away, so turning this around is the main task in psychotherapy. I prefer these days to work in the field of personal development, where people start off with the attitude of positively working to improve their lives and expand their awareness.
To praise and thank God may seem a bit silly if one considers one is indeed God, but really it's a recognition of the wonder of all life, love and truth, and so it does help to connect us with our shared spiritual nature, and is perhaps the best function of prayer - an expression of gratitude. Whilst one is feeling grateful the bugbears of fear and attachment can have no effect. The other great function it has is to flow healing energy to others. Love is all-powerful and unlimited in supply; the more we love, in gratitude and compassion, as a nice side effect, the more we receive also.
What do I think of Past Lives?
Depth psychoanalysis and hypnotherapy reveal the factor of influence from past life decisions, especially those made at the time of traumatic experiences. There are many convincing cases of recalled facts from past times being checked out. It's actually nearer the surface in that we act out this stuff in our daily lives, and young children - who have less left-brain conditioning - frequently recall their previous existence.
What do I think of Telepathy?
You have probably had the experience where you look at someone from behind their back and they turn around - they have picked up your attention. Telepathy is going on all the time, but it is a non-verbal, intuitive phenomenon and so with our left-brain oriented minds we don't notice it. Try picturing a color and then ask a friend to say the first color that comes into the minds, before they've thought about it at all - you might be surprised.
What do I think of Channeling?
Channeling is the passing on of communications from a spiritual being who is not in a body on Earth. Psychically open people might find this occuring spontaneously. The communication, before it can be relayed in words, has to pass through the filter of the channeler's left brain, and is therefore affected by the channeler's beliefs, fears, education, prejudices, etc - so what comes out might be quite different from what goes in. The best channelers seem to be quite transparent in this regard but my own experience is more fuzzy and vague, though still valuable. It's important to know what is your own identity/mind and what is another's.
What do I think of Out-of-Body Experiences?
The Monroe Institute specializes in the use of brain-wave entrainment to prepare individuals for the state of conciousness in which they can adopt a viewpoint independent and remote from the body. They may operate on this physical plane or on more dream-like planes of existence. Ever notice how you wake up to turn the alarm off seconds before it's time to go off - how did you know? The combination of fear and body trauma may cause a spontaneous out-of-body experience (OOBE), at times such as during operations, severe illness, drug-induced states, lucidity during sleep, or near death. Near-death experiences usually involve a recognition of the coming between-lives transition, which can have quite a mind-opening effect afterwards. The phenomenon is well documented, though scientists will say it is all subjective, which of course it is. Your viewpoint is as limited as you consider it to be. You don't need to move, you just be, where-, when-, what-ever, because you are both everything and nothing anyway. But usually, fear rules.
What is the value of the Subconscious Mind?
The subconscious mind is essential for us to function. Much of our thinking is subconscious, we couldn’t focus our conscious minds on a hundred things at once like the subconscious does routinely… monitoring balance, perception, body functions, memory storage and retrieval, etc, etc. But two amazing functions of the subconscious are: intuition and inner knowing...
Intuition is a right-brain, non-verbal kind of thinking, accessing subconscious knowledge and abilities. The subconscious includes memory of all times past, the use of a super-computer in the lower brain to work anything out. Intuition works behind the scenes, collecting our past experience and learning, spotting connexions and possibilities, and eventually emerging to provide the conscious mind with a clue or hunch that inspires new creativity. Most people are brought up to use their minds sequentially, focusing on reading, writing and arithmetic at school and neglecting to use their right-brain relational thinking - so they tend to habitually ignore their intuition. But it is the basis of heart intelligence and the spiritual path.
Inner knowing is the mind’s connecting with our spiritual essence. The incarnated spirit is connected with its soul, it’s all-knowinghigher self, that is not located in time and space - a spark of God, if you like - the part of oneself that knows all but pretends it doesn't for purposes of game and an interesting life here. Inner knowing therefore has access to universal knowledge and reflects our true nature which is unconditionally loving. From our inner knowing, we see things with a viewpoint of empathy, compassion and understanding (contrasting with the human animal’s mentality of survival fears, greed and competition). That shift of consciousness is what the world desperately needs now, from all of us!
What do I think of Karma?
Karma means you reap what you sow. You get back what you give out. Unlike the Eastern view, however, I do not think it is imposed by a universal law. I think it is self-imposed and that karma is eradicated by learning from the mistakes of one's past, and recognizing how the old ways of being are continued into the present. Until you learn such lessons you continue to dramatize a fixed identity that makes those actions right - however that identity is self-defeating and you suffer from it. Travelling the spiritual path, we undo our karma by learning many, many lessons, but in this lifetime rather than in a series of many painful lifetimes as can often be the case.
What do I think of Archetypes?
What makes our identity? We have our cultural conditioning - upbringing, education, propaganda, peer pressures, etc. We have the in-built genetic programs of a super-intelligent, language-speaking, reasoning chimp, and our hormones, neuro-peptides and sexuality. And we have our individual case: particular identities aligned to goals, safe solutions to problems, fixed ideas, beliefs and decisions often empowered by trauma, all mostly suppressed but still acted out. And there is the group phenomena - ever noticed how people tend to behave quite differently in a group? Otherwise sane people get caught up in shared irresponsibility - vandalism is done to impress peers, the vulnerable are picked on, looting occurs after disasters, armies rape and pillage, and so on - adopting a degraded way of being. These are cultural 'trances', like hypnotic states, and the effects of advertising, pop lyrics, political persuasion and many other influences work in a similar manner. Jung noted that the group phenomenon operates on the scale of Mankind: the archetypes or ways of being - some noble, some barbaric - that can be found in all peoples, however remote, which show we are in a deep sense connected. So archetypes are part of the picture but certainly not the whole.
What do I think of Astrology?
This is another aspect of our identity. We come from another (between life) plane of existence, bring along decisions and purposes for this life, and we align to a specific location in this universe's space/time to reincarnate - this alignment is astrological. There is a genetic influence at work here, including multi-dimensional information fields, which is subtle and certainly more complex than the 12 star signs, and it ascribes a pre-programmed destiny. It can however be over-ridden to the extent that we operate as self-aware, determined spiritual beings rather than body-mind automatons.
What do I think of UFOs and Aliens?
Again, lots of disputed evidence for these things that abounds on the Internet. It seems outside beings of some sort have at times affected and maybe even directed Mankind's genetic and possibly cultural evolution. Some people can recall such as space wars, electronic implanting of ideas, and life on other planets. Hubbard's 'OT Levels' were based on this (and his science fiction imagination) and were misguidedly applied to people as though they were all the same, but I've found that individuals have very different histories, including on different planes of existence or time continuums. Some recall an Atlantis-like existence, not necessarily in this universe. Most people recall very little if nothing is suggested to them, partly because moving into a new body is a pretty good wipe-out of such information and what they do recall is very open to suggestion - if you mention a pink elephant, most people will not be able to avoid mocking it up in their mind. I think it's best not to address the distant past directly - what is genuine and significant will continue into the present and that is the best place to look for it.
What do I think of Personal Development and the Spiritual Path?
Behavioral psychology has installed the idea that we inherit all of our traits and besides the modifying effects of cultural conditioning, we stay basically the same as our genetic hard-wiring dictates. That's true if you don't do anything about making positive change, if you don't recognize the aspects of yourself that are more than animal. Recently many have recognized this possibility and they are looking for valid information that can help them make positive changes. We are operating on three broad levels - spirit, mind and body - but they are not isolated in this game we play, and we combine socially and culturally as well. Because the spirit uses a body-mind here on Earth, one cannot ignore the genetic, experiential and environmental factors of the body-mind. The human identity mixes up and confuses all these factors because they are somewhat contradictory and one is forced to adopt survival solutions to stay alive with some degree of pleasure.
What do I think of the New Millennium?
The concept of a New Age has come about as many have rejected the limitations imposed by conventional religion, behaviorists and moralists - they see that life can be better, much better. In the search for appropriate information to assist this change, a lot of nonsense has been accepted and many blind alleys are followed. But the movement, now begun, will eventually reach its goals, because the vision is ethically right and the momentum is essentially empowered by love, life and truth. Our site Emotional Intelligence describes how this can happen. The start of a new year is a good time to change things for the better; even more so the start of a new millennium. It just feels right.
What do I think of Transforming the Mind?
The ebook is an organization of ideas - most of them not my own - that make sense to me. My contribution is the synthesis of the ideas. I put it together as a personal project to help clarify the broad picture, as I could see that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. The book could of course be considerably expanded but I feel that would dilute the message, so I've included a lot of material that is complementary to it (especially practical techniques) in other parts of the site - these each add their own dimension.
What do I think of Health & Nutrition?
Nutrition, I have found, is one factor that is best not ignored, and in recent years I have been working to learn more about the affect of nutrition on the body-mind. My studies at ION (The Institute for Optimum Nutrition) in London were very instructive and I have incorporated this into my work and online (Nutrition: Medicine of the Future).
What is life? What does our life expect from us?
I can only answer briefly and very generally since I don’t know you and your circumstances, but I hope this helps a little - since we all have those same questions and feelings, I can assure you.
What is life? We are each sparks of the creative life force that comes from Source or God. The nature of this outflowing is Love.
What does our life expect from us? That we try to learn the lessons of life that arise because we are in animal bodies that are primarily motivated by survival, with mental identities that are primarily motivated by fear. We can learn the life transforming lessons when we realize that we are not, essentially, the human animal but also we are the human being - the being is the spark of God, our spirit, that is loving, unconditionally so.
We pass between these two polarities, fear and love, so life feels up and down. Or perhaps we stay mainly, even totally, in the fear mode. We learn by overcoming our fears, we learn from our mistakes, we learn by sharing with others and realizing that they share the same nature as ourselves. We learn when we start to listen instead of defending ourselves. We learn when we realize that we are unique and at the same time, connected and one with all that is. Most of all, we learn by being of loving service.
To become more grounded in our spiritual mode, we need to cultivate that. This is our personal spiritual path. It’s our real reason for being here. I would suggest you make it yours. You’ll get a good start following this page: Raise Your Vibration.
And later, when you feel ready, do the Trans4mind Training as described on the home page of Trans4mind.com, to go all the way, on a profoundly effective holistic spiritual path. That is truly life transforming.
What are your favorite sites on the Internet?
Established authorities will rarely express any truth that threatens their vested interests; the mass media and establishment news follows likewise... in sciences, politics, health, business, education, spirituality, etc. And those who oppose the authorities might behave likewise, since they understandably have a strong agenda. But the Internet contains many fascinating resources for independently sourced and expressed information - I have put together a set of links to my favorites. None of these websites are here because they link back to Trans4mind.com. They're here because I visit them often and think they're interesting resources, to say the least... Peter Shepherd's Favorite Web Sites.
I'd like to reiterate that the emphasis on Trans4mind is for individuals to discover their own truth, which may well differ radically from my own views. Understanding does not require agreement but it does need clarity and comprehension alongside empathy. I hope many of you will find the trans4mind website helpful for your personal development and spiritual path.