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This book took twenty years to write, so to call me a prolific writer would be a little off the mark. At this pace, I hope you still remember me when I release my next book. It took twenty years because of my reluctance during that time to be candid with myself. I was unwilling to reveal my most private self. I had always had an easy time writing lyrics and poems because these were personas that I created and hid behind. It was easier than being me. When my father passed away twenty years ago, my writing turned inward. I used to view my dad as a violent man. His anger could be triggered in a blink of an eye and often resulted in me absorbing his punches. But when he was hospitalized with a heart attack, it was surreal to witness a perceived monster morph into a frightened little boy. I was present the day he took his last breath, and it left me baffled at the meaning of the life that had just disappeared before my eyes. That night, I thought about the meaning of my own life and for the first time contemplated the end of it. How would it end? Who would be at my side? For the life of me, I couldn’t remember how I had gotten to this point in my life. I wondered why I was so distraught about the passing of my dad; after all, I had more affinity with total strangers than with this man who was my father.  Through self-reflective writing, I discovered that I was not mourning my father’s death but the death of the idea of ever having a father. The deeper I went down this rabbit hole, the deeper it seemed to get. I began reading journal entries I had kept from the age of sixteen. They revealed the burdens I still carried from a young age. It sparked the memories of being called an idiot by my parents and a shame to the family. I learned to hide myself from the world but sadly without ever knowing why. Self-exploration led me to unmask many of the faces I wore to hide this hideous me.  

I remember a time in grade school when I was only seven years old. The teacher asked us to bring our baby picture to class and pin it to a bulletin board so that our classmates could guess who we were. The picture I brought was not of me but of my brother. This makes me both cry and laugh. The crying is simple, it’s done in mourning of the distorted self-image of my child self. The laughter arose because in the picture my brother has piercing blue eyes and a pale complexion while I have brown eyes and a dark complexion. This confused my classmates, but at least I won for most mysterious identity. I don’t know if teachers today would have caught that cry for help but except for a few confused looks and questions that I explained away, everyone got on with the day, but I carried that memory with me forever. It wasn’t until I revisited this day in my journal, however, that the question arose: How can a seven year old boy be that screwed up? This book explores that question and raises many others along the way. This book is all about asking these sorts of questions about ourselves.  It is not offering advice but is meant to share my life story. Hiding my story was making me sick, and it’s my hope that this book can motivate you to write your own. The true goal of this book is to get all of us to start asking questions about who we have been conditioned to be, to lift the deceitful veil, and to move towards who we really are. Most of us never question our behaviours or motives. My mission, if you will, is to help you become aware of the oneness of life. So many of us speak of freedom and world peace but have little awareness of the meaning of the words we use. By the end of this book, my aim is to leave you with the sense of being an integral part of one Universal Energy.  For the purpose of this book, I will use the term Universal Energy to describe what I call ‘Everything’. I will use different terms in reference to what the Universal Energy consists of (the Universe, Creation, Life ) in order to show that the Universal Energy doesn’t care what you call it in public conversation or private prayer. I will use the masculine pronoun for no other reason than I am a man, but, here again, the Universal Energy doesn’t care what gender you give it. You may just as easily replace he with she if you are a woman. Keep in mind that experiencing the Universal Energy is of the utmost importance, so don’t get caught up in the game of labels and gender pronouns and get back to focusing on the healing of our minds.  

I will refer to Consciousness, which I believe links us to the Universal Energy (all that is seen and unseen), as well as connected terms like Spirit, God, and Soul. I will explain the role of this Energy throughout the book. I grew up a Christian and have found some Bible passages helpful to me when bringing an idea or theory to the page, but in no way am I endorsing Christianity. Again, in these instances, you may consider your own Religion, stories, or myths that try to explain this incredible Life to us. My aim is to encourage self-reflection in order to discover the lies and truths of who we are and why we are here. I hope to guide your self-reflection with my personal interpretations that have been inspired by the questions that have shaped the last twenty years of my life. I am not trying to convince you of anything that I share here in this book. Feel free to disagree, and, through your own questions, find the path that was set for you. I hope it doesn’t take twenty years for you to come to terms with the stranger we are all living with, but, no matter how long it takes, the truth will be worth every step

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