It’s a funny old game, being a writer. Opportunities to do the most extraordinary things are very often dangled under my nose, and I’m left wondering what to do with them. Last week I found myself in a stately home with a viscount and a roomful of sceptical hospital caterers, chewing delicately on the front end of a South Downs lamb. Monday night was spent filming a crimson sun setting over West Sussex as 60 local kids gave up their half term to gen up on their roles as elected members of the Youth Cabinet. I’m so often inspired by the commitment of others to what they believe in that I’ll travel miles just to sit in their company.
So as I sat on the train to Victoria from Brighton yesterday afternoon, musing gently – but not much – about what might happen when I met my first real life guru that evening in a posh address in Bayswater, I didn’t realise that my life was about to change.
I try, as much as a journo can in a cynical old world, to enlighten. I write about the simple things of life, food from the land, parenting, green tips, and all, I hope, in a jolly kind of style that might just inspire people to think twice about the choices they make. That both my kids are vegetarian at the moment may prove just how rubbish I am at this, but hey, they love chocolate, don’t they? (see latest entry for Eating Sussex.)
And I’ve been in the company of enlightened folk before; I’ve even written books about them – go on, try telling me that Jamie Oliver is not a blessed communicator – but last night, a tiny group of us sat in front of a man who knows nothing and everything, and I was floored. Ananadagiri, 32, spreader of something called Deeksha for the last 18 years (of which I know nothing and am not even going to Google) was telling us that all we need is love. Oneness, connection from small child to its parents, lover to lover, workers to means of production, human to universe, if experienced by a mere 70-90,000 people, he told us, could save the world.
Ok, now I know that that seems mad on a frosty February morning back in Sussex, but not because it’s wrong. Everyone wants to feel connected to each other. That primal rip from the source/mother is profoundly traumatic and most of us never recover. Fear dominates us for the rest of our lives, keeping us from ever feeling that connection again in case… in case what? In case it’s taken away again? I imagine a world in which we genuinely care for each other, where life means something, and suddenly a vaseline lens appears to have veiled my view. But it didn’t stop me feeling something quite lovely last night. Utopia? Perhaps.
Anyway, who says that energy can’t raise the vibrations of the planet, affect global warming, crime rates and interpersonal relations? It’s a story for another time, but I’ve experienced the energy of a connected mass of people (hasn’t anyone who’s been to a football match, rave or wedding?)and I’m convinced. But even though society is changing and beginning to think again about the way we live, the oil age is not yet done, and the Culture of the Self is just too entrenched right now to find itself in the presence of a Deeksha-giver.
John Peterson, one of only 200 futurists in the world, was also there last night. His job is to advise big business and governments about the various disasters whose convergence by 2030 will be apocalyptic (global warming will kill vast numbers, artificial intelligence will be way smarter than any human, and we shall be mere servants in its mission, oil will be no more, fundamentally reframing our entire existence – you know the kind of thing). But, he also works with what he calls “wild cards”, and having been Deekshad, he is a believer in the power of energy following thought.
One wild card, he says, could be the kind of spiritual uplift that Deeksha people can bestow by the placing of their hands on our heads in what looks like a blessing, but feels more like cranial osteoapthy. I’m convinced my lobes were moved. It’s a lot of people to bless, but maybe, just maybe, it could be done.
Chatting to my fellow blessed ones afterwards – people who run the media, influence government and radicalise the communication of new ideas (no, not telling..) – I felt like I was back in Essaouira circa 1990, marvelling at the lightness of my hands after a particularly strong rollup. Something happened in that blessing and I’m not sure what.
I’m up for having my consciousness played with, but I’ve always stopped short in the past of putting it into my work. In the cab back to Victoria, I asked the blissed out man from The Guardian if he would write about it. “You’re joking”, he said. “I’m not that brave”.
The question is, am I?