When I came across The Gnostic Movement about 9 years ago, I was looking for a way to do something worthwhile having just finished university and returned from travelling with friends. I’d spent my formative years waiting for the time when I was finally ‘free’ from school and university to explore the world and have fun, but now that I had reached that point, I was left feeling strangely dissatisfied with the materialistic kind of life I was living, and wanted to do something that would contribute to a better world and be a better person. I came from a country where hundreds of millions of people suffered abject poverty, and I wondered what good fortune had struck me that I had grown up in a privileged first-world country. Very little apart from sheer luck seemed to have given me a different kind of life from millions of others, and I guess my conscience was hammering me not to selfishly squander my life.
I started doing some volunteer work with the Red Cross, got involved in environmental & human rights causes etc. and tried to be an active global citizen. But even though I was doing these things, I didn’t feel that it actually made me any better a person. I was still the same old person inside that treated others badly and was self-absorbed, and despite my efforts to do something good, they were thwarted by the inner turbulence I was feeling.
I found out about the Gnostic Movement through my partner who had come across the courses it was running online. I had a passing interest in it and was happy that he had found something that meant something to him, but felt personally that spirituality was something for ‘later in life’ when I’d settled down and could commit to something. I still didn’t really know what I was looking for, but the sense of dissatisfaction and disillusionment within me grew, which I found frustrating as these were meant to be the best years of my life.
One day I started reading some of the course material which were in PDFs that my partner had, from the Journey to Enlightenment course (published in Secret Knowledge, Hidden Wisdom by Belzebuub). Something from it just really struck me and I had this intuitive knowing that what was being written about was true, that there was a purpose to life and it involved spiritual change, and it would give me the answers I was looking for. Still, I didn’t really do much about it until 2006 when a teacher from another state came over to start up a physical group in my hometown. My partner had already been in touch with her and when she came, we both helped her get set up and find a place to stay.
We hit it off straight away and became good friends quickly. We all lived nearby and would share meals together, check out places to run classes, head out to cafes and shops and put advertising posters up, and when classes actually started running in rented community halls we helped out. We shared countless discussions on spirituality and mystical experiences, and I learned and experienced many different spiritual practices that connected me to a part of myself I’d never known, and made me feel much more in touch with nature, the cosmos, and other people. It was an amazing time and there was a real spirit in the air of fostering a community of like-minded people interested in spirituality.
Soon after, we found a big old church for rent for a good price. It had polished wooden floorboards, high ceilings, a huge outdoor area, and a separate kitchen and dining area, and was walking distance to the river and parks. It was a beautiful place and we jumped at the chance to lease it to turn into a dedicated Gnostic center.
Having the center meant we could run meditation classes and courses whenever we liked, and it became a hub of activity, with drop-in meditation classes during the weeknights, and workshops and courses all weekend. People from all over the city would come and enjoy the ambience and environment of the place, and we would frequently go for walks to the nearby parks and river. During the evenings we would do practices together in a group like chanting mantras, concentrating on our heartbeat to try to astral project, have movie nights where we would share a meal and watch an inspiring film, etc.
On the weekends we would run different courses and activities, and sometimes get out of the city and into nature to go for bushwalks. We planted a beautiful garden full of scented flowers and native plants to attractive birdlife where we would spend many hours deep in conversation, and we were even adopted by 2 gorgeous white fantail pigeons who decided to make their home at the center, whom we built a little shelter for outside. These activities were really enjoyable but also helped me personally to explore spirituality in my life, as whatever activity, spiritual practice, or course we ran, it was done with the aim of learning from the situations of life, like treating others with respect and care, being responsible, overcoming fears, and so on. I learned so much in terms of being able to handle/overcome stress and anxiety, develop confidence and reduce negative thoughts about myself and others, feel more moments of peace and clarity, and have really amazing dreams and out-of-body experiences where I saw wonderful places and interacted with other beings in that dimension. Life took on a new purpose for me, not just to ‘go through the motions’ but to appreciate the circumstances I was in and the people around me, even if it was difficult, because I could see that they were exactly what I needed for my learning and inner development.
Eventually I became a member of the organization and got more involved with its running beyond the center, and worked with like-minded people from all around the world on different projects like new courses, websites, videos, publicity campaigns, etc. I developed more friendships and bonds with people that I still have to this day, and learned so many new skills and gained experience in different fields like law, management, copywriting, etc. which have also helped me in my career.
I also worked with the spiritual teacher of the organization, Mark Pritchard (Belzebuub), which has been a really rewarding experience. The knowledge and wisdom he has gained through his own personal experiences have been very inspirational for me, and I find that he has an uncanny ability to sense when I was struggling with something, and in a gentle and unobtrusive way suggest or facilitate a solution that addressed it. He also gave me opportunities to contribute within the organization when I had really no experience or qualifications in those areas, which helped me develop certain skills and build upon strengths I had that otherwise I would never have developed in the normal course of things.
Overall my experience with The Gnostic Movement and its teachings has been very good, and it helped me to discover a meaning and purpose to my existence that was previously lacking. Learning how to combine right action and good deeds externally with a corresponding change for the better inside has really made an impact on my life and improved it on every level. I feel very fortunate to have been part of the organization while it was around, and am extremely saddened at its loss.