I have never considered myself an author. Despite the fact that I write every thought, every doubt and triumph down almost compulsively daily- sometimes hourly, it never crossed my mind to write a book. So this attempt at an autobiography, however brief, is not to be considered on its literary merit. I simply want to give you an insight into me as a human being.
Humans are fundamentally emotional Beings. We literally in-form ourselves through our emotions. This is probably the main reason we like to know the person behind the story. None of us are satisfied with the book, the song, the work of art. We always want to know who created it and what motivated them. We want to get a feel for them as emotional Beings.
If I had to use one Persona to describe myself, it would be the character Sheldon in the TV sitcom Big Bang Theory. A brilliant, witty series, with a great depth of understanding of Human Nature. I like to think I am not quite as egotistical as him, a character of intellectual genius and emotionally bankrupt. But the fact that I even focus on that would suggest otherwise!
Perhaps the greatest on-going influences in my life are the works of Carlos Castaneda and the Richard Wilhelm translation of the I Ching (the Chinese Philosophy of Life). 500 years ago, perhaps a lot later too, I would have been burnt as a witch. What drives me is a need to know. If there’s a question, I need to find the answer. When there’s a challenge, I know there’s a solution. I tend to pursue it until I have found it. For the last 2000 years, the quest for knowledge has been labeled Heretical. Females on the Quest were portrayed as being the conduits of Evil, exactly the way Eve was said to be in cahoots with the snake to corrupt Adam and all his descendants. Even these days, questioning the established Doctrine, be it Religion, Science or Society will meet with the same hostility seen by the victims of the Inquisition.
From my earliest memories, I re-call clashing with Authority. One incident I remember was in a Kindergarten. I was 4 years old, and could already write the Alphabet. The teacher did not know this. The class were given slate boards and chalk and told to copy the lower casing alphabet on the blackboard. When I said I had completed the task, the teacher approached, with raised voice accusing me of lying- that I could not have done it so soon. On seeing the slate, she shouted that I had cheated, scrubbed it clean, demanding I show her and the class how I could have done it. When I had completed the first few letters, she snatched the slate, shouting that I must not use my left hand to write. That would be the Devil’s work! Fortunately, my parents were emancipated enough to allow me to use my left hand. Over the years, I have seen the stigma associated with the left hand is a global bias. At the time, it merely reinforced my opinion of adults as self-aggrandizing bullies, who would use any and every means to make the child do as they were told. This was the era of “spare the rod and spoil the child”. What was not achieved through shouting and humiliation was enforced by physical violence. Again, this only made me more willful. I knew from an early age that everyone responds better to kindness than to violence. They now label this Positive Affirmation.
I was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1951. This was a new country, still heavily influenced by the British who had divided India by creating 2 other countries using Religion as the tool. As history has shown, the lines of division were arbitrary, causing huge problems for all the people affected. My father was a Mughal Prince, so being born Muslim with many personal connections to Lahore, he had moved here after Partition. We grew up against a background of political discussions, Polo playing, Embassy parties, a constant flow of visitors for coffee mornings and tea-parties. Home-schooled, with access to a large library that my father had accumulated mostly from his years in England, my 2 sisters and I enjoyed a certain freedom we could not appreciate until years later. Being female in an Eastern country, there was the usual restriction on social engagement. Yet, the class divide that is still very prevalent in the East meant that the social rank we were, gave us the privilege to do as we pleased to a degree. We mixed almost exclusively with foreigners. Germans, English, Americans, and Japanese were just some of the house-guests at various times. War was always there. There had been the black-outs, curfews, air-raid sirens and rationing of food and fuel from 2 wars between India and Pakistan. In my teens, the Vietnam war was a very present experience.
Not only did we have all the American films and news, we often hosted Americans on their way to Vietnam, only to hear a week or two later that they had been killed in combat. I mention this by way of understanding how people who grow up in a violent environment will find it hard to accept authority without proof. When you see decision-makers using force to get their way, you develop a great sense of how those with power are not necessarily those with Right on their side. This certainly colored my thinking from an early age. Also, from as far back as I can remember, I have been psychic. I was constantly told it was just my imagination by my parents. The servants would be more superstitious and warn me that only witches had these skills. Yet I never believed myself to be Evil. I had been drawing and painting from when I could hold a pencil. This was my safety valve. The love of reading was inherited from both parents and by my teens, I had discovered parallels in the works of Lobsang Rampa, the Sufis, Madame Blavatsky and many others. I was not alone in my difference. At 15 years, I had my first experience of being recognized as having artistic talent. Pierre Cardin, a world-famous French designer chose my entry for the Pakistan Airline uniform competition. He even took a folder of my designs, which he commented were too extreme for the current fashion. I am pleased to say he produced them within 2 years. The following years I had Exhibitions of my paintings with equal success. Then we got the opportunity to move to England. I was already married and gave birth to my son 5 months after landing there. London was everything we expected. We had been raised by parents who were un-ashamedly Anglophiles. I know more about British history than I do about the much older history of the Indian sub-continent. The hard part was learning to be “street-wise”, as are all European societies. As a Pakistani labeled as Muslim because of my name, I met all the prejudices the English had in the 70’s. This put me in the same category as the Irish because of the IRA and the Jamaicans or Africans because of their color. Again, this was more evident with “authority” figures such as Immigration and Police. As a matter of fact, it is worse these days now they have created the “terrorist” concept. This may have contributed to my innate ability to distance myself from my environment. I do think artistic or psychic people tend to live dual lives. There is the outer/ social person and the inner Life. On reflection, I see no correspondence between my life raising my son in a violent, dysfunctional marriage, divorcing, traveling to America, marrying again and repeating the same program (except that this time I had a girl) with that of my Quest.
The search for The Truth has been my over-riding purpose throughout my travels. Einstein, Crowley, the Bible, Krishnamurti and much more have contributed to my view of the world around me. Having been raised Atheist, rejecting it in my teens, knowing there is another, far more intense Reality than the Physical one we call Real, I know this much. Humanity is merely one aspect of Awareness. Even our definition of Existence is created by being aware on a planet that rotates on its axis. This is fundamental to experiencing change, and there-after Time and Space. Even the concept of Mathematics derives from this axial rotation. To paraphrase Shakespeare, there is nothing Evil except we think it so. All of living is a process. Each individual Being is the center of their Universe. Unique in every atom, yet a part of the Whole. We can call this God, The Dark Sea of Awareness, The Void or any other description.
That is only our Human way of expressing Awareness …