I was born into incredibly painful and traumatic circumstance. Conceived on the ward of the mental institution my parents had voluntarily checked themselves into for whatever reason, my mother’s pregnancy was, in her own words, the worst experience of her life, full of anxiety and fear. She gave me up for adoption when I was 18 months old. My father rescued me from that plight, but he himself was suffering from so many neuroses and physical complications that he had me put in foster care several months later.
Grandfather rescued me, mom re-demanded custody and when I was 3 years old began a turbulent life with her. She was manic, lonely, prone to hysteria, sometimes violent. She worked, so I was given into the care of baby-sitters. Some were scary. Some abusive. I began having nightmares around 4 years old, around the same time I began talking to a blissful imaginary friend/source I called Daddy (whom I missed very much).
By 5 years old, psychic senses are beginning to unfold. Mom had little money, so I couldn’t enjoy juice time with the other kids at school in the morning, or grab a piece of candy from the local store with the other kids on the way to school. I had few friends so began stealing quarters from mom’s purse so I could hang out with them. By 8 years old my mother has me put in therapy. I’m getting bullied at school. 9 years old, I’m suicidal. Dad takes custody. I don’t see my mom again until 16 when I reach out.
In the interim, I have become very silent. The inner space of my heart has become a retreat and sanctuary. Religious training has begun. I give a new name to my blissful imaginary friend who has been my constant support. I call it God. I have a hard time making friends so begin stealing money from step mom’s purse to buy chocolates to bribe them. Step mom is a stern, angry lady who wants her own child, not an emotionally unstable offspring of an emotionally unstable first marriage. She let me know. Psychic phenomenon is increasing.
At 11 years old my father has me placed in psychiatric care on the children’s ward of a local hospital where I enjoy my first astral projection with a group of other kids. We compared notes. It happened. There are proofs to the journey. 3 months later I am released. Docs say nothing is wrong with the kid that a bit of out-patient counseling won’t help. The outpatient gang turns me on to smoking grass.
From 11 to 16 I am doing drugs, dealing drugs, in and out of juvenile detention for minor crimes like trespassing and petty theft. Dad turns me in to the cops when he finds a couple of ounces of weed in my closet. All in dime bags, the cops hit me with intent to distribute – my first felony charge. For the next 5 years I’m in and out of rehabs, residential units, running away often because of the burning desire for FREEDOM that always cried out in my heart.
The last rehab I ran away from would be the last to be interned at, the judge telling me that if I ran away again I’d be sent to the State School for boys. I wasn’t a big, tough kid and that experience would’ve probably killed me. So that was one motivation to stay where I was. And for the next 12 months I got with the program, doing all that was expected of me to graduate.
Somehow I clued to the power of mindset and intention one day when I vowed to my imaginary blissful Daddy that I would no longer be under the thumb of what I called my oppressors. Only two more years and I could graduate high school, too. Then I would be leaving this situation, this condition, this country for good and go out into the world and make my own destiny. I would create my joy. I had dreams.
At 11 years old, the same period that I was interned at the first hospital, I was given an inspiring book called The Autobiography of a Yogi. In this book, a young man who wanted to realize the meaning of life, his own purpose and the means to spiritual enlightenment, took himself on a pilgrimage into the Himalayas to find the biggest truths of life. I vowed I would do that, too.
I was a smart kid. Hated school, but I had a decent head on my shoulders and trauma and drugs hadn’t corrupted my vision. I had no skills per say, but this drive to Freedom coupled with these incredible psychic experiences and subtle knowledge of a world that existed beyond my sight, encouraged and strengthened my way forward.
I began reading more. The teachings of Jesus resonated profoundly and I even considered the priesthood at one point. But the philosophies of the Orient resonated even more and it was towards the East that I knew I had to travel. But I was angry, too. So very angry. It boiled and simmered deep, deep inside for so many reasons of rejection and pain. I was so very hurt. Not broken, but in deep pain. And a life of military action seemed a very romantic solution to this pain. I would join the army, train in Special Forces, and go to war. There were big, conflicting aspirations in me.
When I left that last rehab it was with the mindset to take control of my life. With no skills or resources to do so, I began planning for a military career that would train me, pay me, give me an outlet for my anger and let me travel the world. I enrolled in high school ROTC, excelled and took the exams to enlist in my senior year. I scored top 2% in the U.S. and the recruiter was all too happy to facilitate my enlistment. He offered me college, officer’s candidate school, training in the job of my choice as well as my station of choice anywhere in the world. I told him I wanted to be an airborne ranger and station in Italy. He said sign on the dotted line. Pen in hand, suddenly my intuition told me to go home, so I told him to wait a day; I’d be back in the morning.
That night I had a dream. Nothing fantastic – two people ice-skating in figure eights. There was a voice. “David, ordinary people can’t.” I rejected the voice. It was female. I still had issues with female authority. So the voice came back as a male. “David, ordinary people can’t.” I woke up in the morning and called the recruiter. Told him I wouldn’t be enlisting. Sold my car and borrowed a couple more bucks. A week later I was in Israel.
I chose Israel because I wanted to see the face of the God I’d come to Love. By this time I’d learned that not only was my blissful imaginary Daddy my staunchest ally and support, but it actually listened and answered my intentional communication. Religious training had me a bit confused as to the truth of all this and so I decided to go and find out if I could meet the truth in the Holy Land.
In Israel I discovered an ancient metaphysics called Kabbalah that parsed this construct of God into number and letter and a very deep philosophy. But just as I was getting into the study of the language and the art, I met a Japanese girl who would be my gateway to the Orient and I dropped that study in the sand.
By 22 years old I’d been living in Japan for a few years now and had found just a bit of peace in my freedom, but the burning for truth was still pretty hot and guided me on many interesting adventures. I discovered the validity of synchronicity and a new approach to thought on the trail of Buddhist monks. And then one day I was called into a funky little shop in a downtown arcade. It was called the Witch’s House and the proprietor went by the name of the Jupiter King. A twinkle in his eye, he told me he was going out of business and would I like to relieve him of his library for a penny a book. I carried home maybe 500 or so and that is when I began learning about meditation and eastern arts, etc. in earnest.
I applied myself to those writings for 3 years or so, now consciously exploring what I’d been playing with since childhood. I began to develop myself and found practical application for some of the wisdom. And yet the burn to see the face of God never left, even in the light of new theories that would tell me of this God existing within my very heart. I needed a teacher. Someone to help me unravel the threads of my traumatized mind and show me incontrovertibly the way forward as a free being.
And then one day Peter Pan flew into the park in which I was sitting with some mates having a beer after work. She was accompanied by an angel, a tin man and a teddy bear. She danced and frolicked around, asking the park goers to play with her. They all rejected her. All but me. I had never seen anything as real or as free as that Peter, and I was happy to dance with her. I asked her to take me to her teacher and she guided me to a guy who was doing awareness trainings in town. I listened to him and knew the source of his teaching to be something very special indeed. Two months later I was on a Cessna into the Himalayas to meet that source, like Yogananda before me.
I’m 51 this year. Happily married with a beautiful daughter and a thriving career. I spent twenty years with my teacher, shuffling often between Japan and India to take up training on this path of the yogin. I found all of the answers I was looking for and learned to manifest the life I wanted. I got clear, empowered and enabled to create my destiny and learned a lot of cool tricks of this existence besides. And what I want to say to you is this:
You do not have to be defined by your past. No trauma needs define your present. Obviously there are people who’ve had a harder go of it than I, but some less so and maybe stuck in a feeling of the impossibility of it all. I want to say to you that Nature hears you and will support your way should you but make an honest decision for yourself. Your life and destiny begins right now. It begins with your mindset and determination. Life is full of good and bad and everything in between, and you will find exactly what you are looking for if you apply yourself to your search, follow the breadcrumbs that people have left who have gone before you, follow the synchronicities, trust in your own self, your intuition and don’t give up on your dreams.
I hope this piece might give just a little inspiration to the beginners on the spiritual path of self-mastery. There’s a lot more to this story and all that in between and I’ve got a pretty groovy blog which shares a lot of what I’ve learned from my journey around the worlds, and I invite anyone to reach out anytime in friendship or for support.
Love and blessings upon blessings, to you, and all those around you.
…is a Saiva Tantrika, Gyana Yogi and founder of Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda. David has an MA in Semiotics, lives in Japan with his family and works as a coach in L & D, devoting his time to developing science-based tools and programs that help people reach the fullest potential of the human condition.