East Meets West

Back in school, Jesus was taught as a mythical figure. An unbelievable story, incomprehensible to the mind of a child. And so I didn't believe in him.

As the hellish teenage years passed by, I found myself with little interest in study or career, but did seem to have an incredible energy which allowed me to work long hours as a waiter or bartender, and later as a salesman. Somehow, despite often limited funds, I would travel to far off land
s, and soak up the local culture.

In 1990, I took a mini-cruise from Cyprus, spending a day in Israel followed by a visit to Egypt. Visiting Bethlehem and Jerusalem was a mind-blowing experience for a man barely in his twenties. I had always known myself to be unlike any other tourist, as they snapped away with their cameras and listened intently to the endless trivia of the tour guides. For me, this was a purely energetic experience. I was unable to put it into words but I had an incredible sensation of having been to Israel before.

...The following day, after a visit inside the chamber of the Great Pyramid in Giza, I found myself sat on a coach driving through the streets of Cairo. Whilst everyone around me was in understandably high spirits, I found myself in the absolute depths of despair. My girlfriend thought I was insane and was annoyed that I was ruining her holiday, but there was nothing I could do. I wanted to die. As I sat on the coach, watching beggar children dressed in rags, I experienced the turning point in my life. It suddenly occurred to me, in a realization of most intense power, that Jesus had actually existed. I was touched by the proverbial hand of God. Not only that, but I came to accept that I had somehow experienced the same emotions whilst in Israel that Jesus had undergone all those years ago.

I experienced God's voice directly the following year whilst on a trip to Jamaica. I had asked the doorman at the hotel to supply me with some local marijuana but had forgotten to bring any tobacco, so I had to smoke it pure. As I walked down the beach puffing away, I was conscious of being unable to taste anything, and so puffed as hard as I could, thinking I had perhaps been conned into buying some kitchen herb instead. Thus it was that I spent the worst night of my entire life downloading the entire wisdom of the rastafari into my desperately fearful young mind!








Alas, no thought ever leaves its source,

I experienced God's voice directly the following year whilst on a trip to Jamaica...

After what seemed like an eternity of incredible fear and suffering, with a million tropical creatures screaming in my ear and my heart jumping out of my chest, I finally started to talk myself into a state of relaxation. My pulse began to slow, my body ceased to feel like a torturous prison cell, and I believed that maybe I was coming to the end of my ordeal. No such luck. For as I became truly relaxed, and stopped resisting the experience I was undergoing, a voice came into my mind as clear as crystal. "Come with me" it said, as gently as could be. How many times in subsequent years did I kick myself for ignoring the voice of God as it beckoned me toward my awakening! Alas, this was also the voice of my death. Not my physical death of course but at that time I was unaware of the death which is before and beyond death and I subsequently found myself immediately back in the grip of the totality of human fear. In that moment, I was all the fear in the universe.

I vaguely remember the moments spent on paradise beaches or watching the sunset from seasonal seafront shacks, but mostly I just remember the people. The old lady in rags who took two minutes to lower herself from her crutches onto the floor where I sat at the train station in Agra. As I handed her a few rupees, I felt the most terrible embarrassment at her prolonged and deeply sincere gratitude. The half man, non-existent below the waist, who spent each day begging under the blazing sun on the approach to Anjuna Market. Why did he never stop smiling? The hopelessly crippled man who attempted to climb a flight of twenty or more stone steps at the Taj Mahal. As I went to help him I was simply stunned that no-one else even seemed to have noticed his existence. The woman at Panjim market with a tumor the size of a melon growing out of her neck. The street children of
Kathmandu. The beggars lining the precarious seafront path to the Moslem Temple, Hadji Ali, in Bombay. The throngs of people in Sion, Dharavi - the world’s largest slum with a population of over 3 million people living in unbelievable squalor. As Morpheus said, I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.

My heart had been opened. I had never experienced so much love in all my life and it was coming from within me.

And so my fate was set. For as I sat in my bath, back home, a couple of weeks later, surrounded by the relative luxury that I was now able to fully appreciate, I asked my beloved Lord Jesus, with every cell of my being, to show me how to take away the suffering of every man, woman and child on this planet. I wanted to die in the process if that was what it took and I begged God to put everyone before me. To use me for whatever purpose he chose, just so long as he showed me how to save the world. Oooops! Didn't realize then that you get exactly what you ask for !!! Not that I would have it any other way of course.

Alas, no thought ever leaves its source, and will remain active within my mind until I stand in the experience of it fully. In the moment of the denial of the light experience which I defined as my total fear, I projected this fear 'outside' of me. It awaits me now in the clear reflection of the Master Teacher at the Endeavor Academy. The moth must circle a few times before it finds sufficient courage to fly straight at the flame.

Whilst having been fortunate enough to have seen much of the world, I'll finish my traveling account with a brief overview of my first trip to India in 1994. By this time I had become a spiritual seeker and was hopping between Taoism, Christianity and Rajneesh. I had not yet become aware that everything that is ever created carried the energy of its creator and was therefore unaware that, when reading the bible, as well as absorbing Christ Mind, I was also absorbing the energy of the Roman Scholars who had collated the gospels many years after the crucifixion. I thought that the guilt and fear I was experiencing was my own. It was with this state of mind that I found myself in the uncompromising land of the jewel, where each of your five senses is attacked in every waking moment in a 360 degree experience. There is no escape.





My heart had been opened. I had never experienced so much love in all my life and it was coming from within me.

The past was lost in its entirety and the future had been totally annihilated.

Within a few months I discovered that all the wise men had not died 2,000 years or more ago but that there was indeed a living Buddha just two hours from my home. What struck me as amazing was that he lived in a remote village, many hours from my childhood home, yet just a few minutes away from where my Grandparents had lived briefly during my childhood. I had spent six months with them as a child because my Father was unable to look after me after the death of my mother, Josephine Mary, and it had been at exactly the same time that my new-found enlightened teacher had moved into the area after coming from his native Japan.

Koji Takeuchi had experienced enlightenment at the age of 23, in a Japanese Zen Monastery. Brought up in the countryside of the Nagoya Province, he knew nothing of the world until he was catapulted into city life as a student during his teenage years. He discovered Christianity at that time and recalls, "It was only then that I discovered that I was not perfect, but was a sinner". After graduation he took an apprenticeship in a Kyoto based company and expected, like all Japanese workers at the time, to be employed for life. On the final day of his two year probationary period, he was awaiting the inevitable confirmation of his full employment offer when, by chance, one of the company directors passed him by on the shop floor. The director noticed the young man and stopped to ask him a question about how things were going, expecting to receive the usual respect and fear afforded to members of the Japanese hierarchy. But, despite a few years in 'society', Koji still comprehended nothing of status and proceeded to tell the director with utmost confidence of one or two changes which he felt would improve the efficiency of the company.

In front of all of his colleagues, and with all the force and anger that the Japanese hierarchical mind could muster, Koji was relieved from his position and thrown out of the building. Society had chewed him up and spat him out and he had seemingly become the only person in Japan to be a complete failure. The one man who stood against the system that the beloved Emperor - God Hirohito had created. He was scum.

And so it was that he took to the hills, desperate to undergo the direct experience of Jesus which he so desperately craved. In his mind he was very clear, if he did not experience enlightenment, whatever that was, then he would kill himself. The past was lost in its entirety and the future had been totally annihilated. With his mind still raging with pain, suicide was his only option.

He came by chance across a Zen Monastery where a meditation intensive was underway and found himself part of the class, spending each day in endless Zen meditation, a practice of 'just sitting'. On the first day, his mind was like a monkey, jumping about all over the place with no peace whatsoever. But, on the second day, he managed to attain the point of 'Just sitting', where his mind was doing nothing. Total detachment. He had found inner peace. But, he had asked for more than this and into the void came a voice which said: "For the absolute truth, you have to give up everything, even that 'just sitting'". And Bang, everything disappeared, the whole world disappeared. He was enlightened.

When I met him some thirty years later, he had established a beautiful Japanese Garden in rural England and had taken the name Maitreya. He had been teaching a large group of people in London some years before and had realized, in a moment of pure love within the assembly hall, that he was the awaited Buddha Maitreya. To him, this was a simple fact, of no real importance whatsoever.

The first moment that I looked into his eyes I knew that I had finally found the truth. It was August 1994. He looked back at me and there was nobody present. I was looking directly at myself.

Seven years later, during a period of lengthy meditation, I experienced the total collapse of duality. I knew myself to be God. I recognized the non-existence of 'the world' and could see this tiny planet from the depths of space, as a singular consciousness played out the dance of 'life' in all beings. There was no higher point in my mind to attain, but what I didn't realize was that I now had to become the complete explorer of that mind. Singular Mind was now my reality but I was unable to practice any form of denial. I had to experience everything within this singular mind in order to literally become the God man. Again, from my friend Morpheus, "It is one thing to know the path, but another to walk the path".

But I became very lost after this, as I found myself back in the world I had created, with a wife to care for and a mortgage to pay. I had already seen (decided) in my mind how the worldly stuff would play out and come to an end but that didn't make it any easier. If life had been difficult before, it took on a whole new angst from thereon.

And yet, as I underwent the necessary experiences in order to complete my worldly learning, so that I may fully transcend my residual self-identity, I found that meditation was no longer such a friend to me. I had reached the top, but was no longer able to find my way back there. This meant of course that any other transcendental experiences simply didn't cut the mustard any more. I was stuck.

Also, some time later I experienced the birth of my son and along with it the experience of unconditional love. The concept of total surrender which I attributed to meditation was no longer acceptable.

And so I asked for help. Again.

It took about a week for the answer to come. I was surfing a 'find your school friend' website when I came across the notes left by a girl I barely remembered. She mentioned that she was living in Wisconsin with the moment to moment joy of a new mind. It was an amusing contrast to the other messages of "married, two kids, work for British Rail in Accounts", and I immediately emailed her. Having long since accepted that every message offered me was a gift from God, I immediately purchased her recommendation of 'A Course in Miracles'. Every page seemed to stir within me a long forgotten secret and I was delighted when she told me a week later that one of the teachers was coming to England. I had long since become accustomed to so-called coincidences and saw 'sign-posts' in my life almost daily. Thus it was that I made the trip up north and experienced the energy of the Master Teacher for the first time.

Shortly afterwards I found myself at the Endeavor Academy in Wisconsin and now a year on I realize that I have but one more idea in singular mind to play out before the fireworks can begin. I have seen the idea of death from 'above', from the perspective of my whole mind, and have nothing to say about it except "ha!!!".

And for now at least, I have nothing more to say about my awakening. I know exactly who I am, and I know exactly who I am. As the Rasta's say "I and I". I know what role I am to play in what must come to pass, but first I have to get out of the way.

This expression of the idea of the role I have assumed, and the subsequent inevitable recognition and acceptance of it by other associations of light, serves only as the catalyst to allow me to transcend the dualistic idea which it represents. I do not wish to express this idea, but to be free of it, to allow it to be expressed through me. I must remain each moment as a child, free of all knowledge, an eternal beginner. It is important that I remember that everyone and everything is the expression of a perfect idea within the consciousness of the absolute. I must attach no value to even the slightest thing. With this practice, the final ideas about myself will be used up and both the observer and the observed will subsequently pass away, leaving only that of which I cannot speak. In the meantime, Zen reminds me: 'when meditating on the milky way, it's easy to get lost in the big picture'    ....But, that was zen, this is tao.........!

And I know exactly who you are.

I love you. Come home, where you've always been. It is accomplished.

Simon Betteridge
, England

E-mail: simonisfree@hotmail.com


I have seen the idea of death from 'above', from the perspective of my whole mind, and have nothing to say about it except "ha!!!".

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