Can you tell us about your background and how an Irishman ended up living in Japan?
I was born in Scotland of an Irish mother and Scots father so my first nationality is British. Later in life I received a republic of Ireland passport, as well as a Canadian one, so I have three nationalities and am currently a permanent resident of Japan. I have been a traveler all my life. After exploring 75 countries in search of some kind of a hint of what lays beyond the matrix of our ‘societies’, I decided to enter a zen monastery at the age of 22 in 1974. I went to Kyoto and discovered it was not to become a monk, but a kind of esoteric scholar. I rigorously studied the language and culture as a lay practitioner of zen, while pursuing certification in martial arts and oriental medicine. I was an acupuncturist and university lecturer for many years before becoming a writer and lecturer on consciousness in the early nineties. Japan has been like a decades long university course that still is in session.
In your personal life, how have you turned inward for peace?
Thanks to Felicia Weiss I ended up translating Power vs. Force into Japanese with my wife doing the lion’s share of this hugely challenging work. David Hawkins is making something very clear that relates to peace. It requires a 600 level plus calibration on a 1000 scale to achieve peace consciousness. Love consciousness begins at 500. So it should be obvious that politicians and activists who bark on about peace at levels of consciousness far below these are seriously wasting both our time and their own. Peace is not a result. It is a primary cause. It is not a reaction to war, it is the very foundation of civilized and conscious life. The idea that we can protect ourselves from enemies and thus have peace is patently absurd. Either you have it, peace in your heart, or you do not. So how do you get it? One must somehow raise one’s consciousness, but there is the quandary. In zen we had great ways to express this like ‘trying to pull yourself off the ground by yanking up on your own bootstraps.’ Sure we can and must make efforts, but then there is also the working of something entirely different. Call it grace. Call it the Lord. Call it what you will. I call it prayer. I prayed constantly as I walked. It was enormously demanding and tremendously fulfilling. The power of prayer becomes the engine of peace. Its cleansing spirit reveals our focus on the inner workings of the monkey mind and the jaded heart. It is essential for us, thus motivated by virus infected brains and dilapidated hearts to overcome the primal fear that underlies all emotions that keep us from peace. No amount of positive thinking does that. You need a spiritual life that is real. The heart generates an electromagnetic field thousands of times stronger than the puny brain. That should tell us something about the heart and why we should not lose heart now. So to conclude; peace will never result from any cerebral strategy, no matter how much money and defense systems you throw at the ‘problem’. Peace comes from a heart that knows gratitude and humility. Earth pilgrims shows us people like that in the high Andes of Peru. Simple.
How do you feel about the future of our planet?
Planets come and go. I feel we are all far too planetary retentive. The point is not the planet, but rather this astonishing creature called the human being, who is being called to a much higher order of existence and service to the galactic community. We are the leading edge of a bio-computer program called DNA that has been riding the waves of history and chaos for longer than we can possibly conceive. We understand almost nothing about time and space (90% of the universe is dark matter is the best we can come up with??), we have almost no clue about the historical past despite thousands of theories, and we cannot even co-operate at the most fundamental level thus avoiding violence and discord. The planet is not the problem. The problem is the pilgrim on that planet. When is he or she going to re-awaken to the fact that the journey is just getting underway and that a humbler attitude to all that is might be relatively useful at this ‘point’. I feel that the peace that surpasses all human understanding and the humility of a mother Theresa or a Nelson Mandela makes the regular orbiting of Earth around a very common G type star pale in comparison. Just as you will not find your God by looking outside in the darkness, (when the light is actually on inside) our future does not necessarily depend as much as one might imagine on the state of a wee planet. That is the spirit we need to embody. Even with our shields down, warp drive out for the count and power levels at threshold lows the crew of Spaceship Earth will come up with something that the ship’s computer itself could never have imagined…
What led you to create the film “Earth Pilgrims”?
Disillusionment. Age. Exasperation. But not necessarily in that order! I had become a rather well-known public speaker and writer in Japan, especially as a proponent of the idea that not only is conscious evolution now imperative, but also of the now popular idea that there seems to be a time limit set on humanity’s awakening i.e. 2012. I had interviewed dozens of scientists and thinkers over the years including Deepak Chopra, John C. Lilly, Fred Alan Wolf, Graham Hancock, Terence McKenna, Hunbatz men and a whole host of shamans and maverick researchers in multiple fields to get a holistic view of this shift we all talk about. I had brought their work and my interpretation of it to Japanese attention via books, interviews, television and 37 actual research trips to sacred sites around the planet. We did not just study crop circles for example, we went into them and lay down in them with Colin Andrews back in the mid-nineties. I took remote viewing to Japan and taught over 700 people.
After 15 years of this I wondered if I was even making a dent in the combined hallucination that government and media had generated in the minds of the people. People nodded their heads enthusiastically at me, then went back to sleep. I was now 55. Was I making a difference? Time to go on a walkabout and reflect on what I had done. After 1300 kilometers of Japanese rice paddies and highways I suddenly realized that a documentary film was the only option left. It was that or sliding into an oblivion called ‘well at least I tried’.
How did you select the people you interviewed?
Synchronicity really played a large part. In Japan there is an interesting expression used when talking about the creation of art. It is Musakui. This means for example that a potter will choose his clay and have a rough idea of what he wants in a pot. But as the wheel turns the pot evolves. He may then set it outside to dry and a bird might scratch the surface of the clay. The potter will incorporate these unforeseen elements into the design so that the pot finishes its own creation in a sense. I knew I wanted to show why a pilgrim spirit will soon be very important to all of us as our multiple system collapse inexorably escalates. But I did not have a script until filming ended! Satish Kumar was a conscious first choice because I literally needed a man who had walked his talk in the pilgrim world. He had walked from India to Europe on a peace march and at my age had walked all over Britain. On both occasions he took no money. I can relate to that. The remaining guests appeared at the right time. Rumi was there in my mind from the beginning because without a true spiritual master in the film, one that could not be easily appropriated by any religion despite the fact that he was born in Islamic Afghanistan, I knew I would not be able to express the pilgrim properly.
How were you able to obtain the excellent footage of the woman known as Peace Pilgrim?
Dogged persistence. I spent a year tracking down footage having started with Friends of Peace Pilgrim. This eventually took me full circle back to Friends. I finally received the go-ahead to use the footage even though it was a for profit enterprise. But a lot of praying and visualization really did happen in the interim. I had to have a powerful woman in there, who could balance all those meaty guys, intellectually speaking of course. Who more perfect than the great saint of America’s highways and byways, Peace Pilgrim?
What has been the response to “Earth Pilgrims” so far and what is your hope for those who view your film?
As I answer this we have only shown it a limited number of times in Japan since its release at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Tokyo on June 6. I discovered that Japanese are very reticent to air their views directly to the director! However we have received very moving responses from those who wrote about their feelings. Their comments are to be found on our Japanese website. Our English website will also have this function. Visit: www.earthpilgrims.com
My intuition is that the film is also a kind of consciousness barometer. For those who think our planetary scale problems are exaggerated and that evolution is a theory that only applies to other species, the meaning of the film might not be readily apparent. For those who do sense that our current crises represent far more than the Shakespearian ‘much ado about nothing’, the film offers an original perspective that is not about saving the world. It is more about ‘getting with the program’ so to speak! May I facetiously call it the New Way of Operating, or the NWO for short?
For those who do view this film, more than once being heartily recommended, my hope is that it will be spiritual edutainment in the best sense. I would hope they come away from seeing it inspired with a Hopi-like understanding that ‘WE really are the the ones we have been waiting for’.