I have always searched for what I used to call “the truth of how things are”. Some of my close friends would make fun of me, saying things like “the absolute truth does not exist, everything is relative” etc. But deep down, I felt that just as there were scientific truths (my background was scientific, as I studied Genetics at University), in the same way there must be higher truths, that deal with things as love, relationships, and also our ultimate potential as human beings. I felt that living just for a job, family and maybe some hobbies was not what I wanted from life, but could not quite figure out how to go about finding out.
For a while I focused on art, as I felt there was some sort of intuitive knowledge in it that was different from the intellectual one taught in schools and I also yearned to create something beautiful. So I would put on an inspiring music, set up a still life with interesting textures, or opened a window to study the landscape behind, trying to capture as many nuances of the light and shadow as I could. The time flew by very quickly during these sessions, and I enjoyed the objects coming to life on the paper. I felt a lot of satisfaction from this activity, and would have probably stayed with art for the rest of my life in one way or another, if my life didn’t suddenly take a different course that made me search for spirituality.
After a painful chain of events that made me question the meaning of life in a serious way, I started searching online for answers. Remembering having lucid dreams as a child, I decided to revive these experiences to see if I could get some guidance and answers from there. Eventually, I stumbled upon Mysticweb online courses at the beginning of 2003 and eagerly signed for the Astral Course. The course was just what I needed at that time, written in such a pragmatic, methodical and yet inspiring way that I haven’t seen anywhere else (I have scrolled through many other websites before). I practiced all the exercises of the course and enjoyed chatting with the like-minded people on the course forums and in the online chatroom. Finally, I found the community of people that were into the same things as me; I felt I found my “spiritual home”.
The Astral Course resulted in many conscious astral experiences and also clarified some missing pieces of the puzzle in my understanding. From the course material, and also from my own astral experiences, I started to see there was a vast invisible world existing in parallel with this physical one, and that it was there where all true spiritual knowledge could be gained, similarly as people have been doing since the ancient times. In the same time though, I became aware how there were also certain requirements set up for acquiring this higher type of knowledge, and that I would have to change a lot if I wanted to get to that. With this in mind, I signed for the Self-knowledge course where I was able to learn the basics of self-observation in order to change my deep rooted behaviors and negative states and later on for the Esoteric Course where deeper spiritual issues were addressed.
I was thrilled… It started to be clear to me that I had stumbled upon a true esoteric school, something I haven’t even thought existed in these times. Of course, there were many self-help courses, mindfulness and yoga techniques around even back in those times, but nothing like this. The professional approach, warmth and support from the moderators and undeniable deep knowledge and experience of the author of the courses (whom I was also able to meet in many of my astral and dream experiences where he would give me a personal guidance), verified to me that here I was up to something very real and rare in today’s world. There was nothing now that could take me away from this journey anymore, and I set up to continue with these studies, to dedicate my life to them and see how far I could get…
Gradually, I finished all the courses provided on the website, including the Teachers course, and in July 2007 moved from Europe to the USA to be a part of the Bay Area Gnostic Center. It was there that I was able to interact regularly with the teachers and members of the Gnostic Movement, as well as its founder and spiritual teacher Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub), who had always struck me as being very calm, perceptive and caring.
I stayed in the center for 5 years, during which a lot of learning took place, and I also learned what a life dedicated to spirituality entailed. From the very first day, I could see the level of dedication the qualified teachers and members of the Gnostic Movement had and how the Center ran solely on donations. I knew before that living a spiritual life meant to live a life of service for others, but here I was able to experience it first-hand and to see what it entailed. I understood that “sacrifice” didn’t just mean sacrificing some comforts in my every-day life in order to bring these teachings to humanity, but also sacrificing some negative inner states in order to be able to do so, and cooperate with the people around me in a more harmonious and loving way. I could see then what a long way this was going to be, as I had many negative inner states holding me back. Nevertheless, I plodded on and after some time become a qualified teacher myself, gaining new opportunities in guiding and teaching others.
During my time with the Gnostic Movement I became involved in many different activities that enriched me not just spiritually, but also on a practical level. For example, I got an opportunity to make a design for a website (Astralweb), something I have never done before, or gained a lot of experience with public speaking, marketing or book publishing. I was also able to use and improve on my graphic design skills by designing many advertising materials including posters, leaflets or banners, and even use my love of drawing in guiding art-related workshops at the center. I also loved creating and managing our Meetup group that allowed me to interact with the like-minded people, many of whom I later met in person during the center activities.
I felt like I was living the life I came here for, fulfilling my true purpose. It was amazing and heart-warming to see people from different walks of life finding these teachings and being in awe, just like I was upon finding them. I liked to listen to their first spiritual experiences, sharing with them the little knowledge I had gained so far and being enriched by theirs. My time at the Bay Area Gnostic Center was the time of brotherhood, service and learning, something I will never forget. Realizing that a school of this level is not around anymore fills me with many regrets, as well as a deep sadness for those who have never had a chance to be a part of it, despite their yearning to find it.