Eight or so years ago I was living in Mallorca. Grief had taken the brakes off my nasty habits and I was in a bad way. I was blessed enough to meet the extraordinary Zulma Reyo, who told me I had to do one of her Khrysallis retreats. Some part of me, perhaps my psychic survival instinct, made me trust her and I agreed.
In the retreat, we were placed in what Zulma called families. Matthew was my group’s father. He is, I think, two years older than me.
A Khrysallis retreat is all about dying to one’s old self and becoming shiny and new again. I came out of the experience as sure as any of us can ever be that I’d put away my nasty habits. While I could never surrender to any kind of group mind or belief that anyone knows more about the business of being alive than I do, I followed an, ahem, spiritual path.
Today, I have very mixed feelings about what spirituality – a horribly over-used word – is. It seems to me that, collectively, we’ve given in to the fear that fuels our rabid capitalism. If I believe the crap pumped out by the reality studios that is. Right now, my feeling is that living a spiritual life, or whatever you want to call it, might make us feel great but it changes nada.
So, I thought it was time I interviewed Matthew, who was there when a different me emerged blinking into the light and whose faith in our essential goodness I admire.
Matthew, how did you become the person you are today?
After an enjoyable adult life as a drug indulgent working in the film and music business in London, I becamea smack/crack addict at 36. I thought by 40 I would be dead and that didn’t really matter, not to me anyway. At 40 I had a change of heart, so I did a geographical and moved to where my sister was, Mallorca. There I met Ken Johnson, a karate world champion and Tai Chi and Chi Gung Master. He got me fit and healthy and opened my eyes to another way. He made me curious about myself.
In 2003, after he moved back to Norway, I started looking for a new teacher. I quickly found Adrianna Wortman, a Kabbalist/Astrologer and through her met Zulma Reyo. I enrolled straight away for Zulma’s Khrysallis, a rebirthing and initiatic retreat. My eyes and heart were opened. Zulma helped me clear away much pain and sadness and I was able to feel something far, far deeper as a reality, an inner reality. From there everything changed. Zulma has been my Teacher and Guide for the last 13 years now.
Can you give me a brief overview of what you believe about the nature of existence, the world, people (life, the universe and everything)?
I believe Creativity is God and it abides in everything. I believe in a multidimensional consciousness which expresses itself in the manifest world through the personality (body, emotions and thought). Within this, and us, there are greater levels of intelligence, of inspiration, intuition and grace. As we go into these and dive into our very centre, we become one, our apparent differentiation dissolves into that oneness. Our Creativity comes from this place.
We are also, on the personality level, not just one person. We have many sub-personalities or masks that take over in different situations. These tend to be conditioned, habitual and reactive. We can learn to understand and know our individual multi personalities so as to control them from above.
Our goal is to understand, heal and manage the lower aspects of ourselves, in the fullness of their vitality and wonder, and connect to the higher aspects of our self to express it in the world.
How does this help you in your everyday life?
By seeing and becoming aware of our reactive, pesky and often out of control sub-personalities, we connect to, and get to know, the deeper aspects of Self. This (that Higher Self or Soul) then starts to take control, to manage our erratic emotions and thoughts, to connect with our intuition, inspiration, creativity and grace. This brings real self-confidence. It puts me, the real me, in control of my life. It enables me to connect to that Creativity, inspiration and grace. It brings a vitality, a curiosity, a depth to life which turns it into a great adventure, one in which I can fully participate.
How do you put your beliefs into practice?
My main practice is Inner Alchemy, developed by Zulma. It’s about aligning all aspects of Self, about perception and resonance.
I get to know myself and my sub-personalities through introspection on a daily basis - reviewing my day, taking note of my reactions and habits and then sublimating them, changing them. Or on a bigger scale, on retreat, when I review my life, and make bigger changes. I take time to get to know my selves, my many habitual selves.
And I Align. This can either be a long (15 to 30 minutes) or a very short (15 seconds to 5 minutes) meditation to connect through my physical, energetic and light bodies down to the Earth, bringing that energy up into the body and then connecting to the Sun Presence above (which is also inside) and bringing that down into the body. We become the bridge between heaven and earth. This is a vitalising, awakening meditation to connect with your higher perspectives while living in the physical world. It means I resonate harmoniously and perceive more deeply.
Do you believe people are evolving?
I’m not sure. I feel our history books are misleading. In the distant past there were civilisations far more consciously developed than now. The Egyptians, Atlanteans and Lemurians lived very different lives than we’re told.
(Cynical Ed: This is, of course, if you believe the Atlanteans and Lemurians actually existed.)
Having said that, I do believe we’re developing, evolving in our present state. We’re moving from a modern stage of industrialism, to a post-modern stage of information. This modern stage of rational mind needs to develop into the post-modern stage of the Creative Mind. More and more of us are becoming aware of and being guided by our Soul.
Religion has been, is being, left behind because it is/was driven by emotion and dogma. Science is being left behind because it is being driven by reason, often with no conscience and a dogma of its own. Both of these need to be integrated into a more whole and soulful human being, driven by intuition and inspiration.
This new stage in humanity is in desperate need to manifest. We are heading into disaster in every aspect of life. But disaster often brings real change. This is what happened to me.
How’s that happening in reality?
If things are good nothing changes. Why should they? It’s only in the hard, troubled times, that things really change. We’re in trouble and so change is coming. It will come through all of humanity and the need for change.
We are searching for answers everywhere. In the Middle East and Syria, about climate change and the environment, in politics. When we find answers, and we have to, new ideas, new ways of being, new beings in and of themselves, will grow.
When I look at the world, with right-wing politicians in power and big business shitting on us from a great height, I feel that 'spirituality' accomplishes nothing other than making us and our small group of friends feel good about ourselves. What would you say to that?
It depends on what you mean by spirituality. For me it means consciousness development. Living ethically, in awareness, taking responsibility for your life. We need to learn about, truly know and develop ourselves, to be our Selves. Spirituality isn’t giving up control to someone else, but about taking back control of your Self, your life and life in general. Spirituality is about living life more fully.
We don’t seem to realise that where we are right now, within our conscious awareness, is limiting. We’re conditioned by politicians and the media who are themselves controlled by big business, who are only doing what they have been conditioned to do, that they think is right according to their greedy, egotistical, conditioned personality.
Spiritual growth, the awakening of consciousness, your consciousness, to something greater, both inside and out, takes work. It takes understanding and practice. It doesn’t really come on its own. But there are many paths to this awakening and this is just a stage until something even greater comes along. But it is necessary now, right now, for people to grow, to think differently, to act differently, to be more of who they really are.
Tell me about the Tower of Love. What is it and what are its goals?
The Tower of Love is firstly my girlfriend Barbara’s and my home. We live in C/ Torre del Amor (The Street of the Tower of Love), in the old town of Palma, Mallorca. It’s a wonderful home and made for sharing.
The Tower of Love is about growing a community, tapping into collective Creativity, inspiring compassion. As I said above, we connect to our essence through our Creativity. This is what enables us to live life to the max. Be it music, photography, cooking, designing, building, making, creating, whatever! Follow the energy, meet people who inspire you, to create, to enjoy, to play, to really be you.
What have been some successes of the Tower of Love?
We started, after various parties and dinners, with The Super Wachi Kid’s Club (up to 20 kids getting creative), progressed to The Tower of Love Social Club (40 people for dinner with musical entertainment), to fund-raising Parties and The Tower of Love Garden Festival. We host various workshops and classes including Inner Alchemy Workshops, Creativity Workshops, Kundalini Yoga Classes, Dream Workshops, Artisan Markets and Women’s Circles.
In December 2013 we created the Krea Kolektiva which hosts 12x5 Events. 12 creative activists talk for 5 minutes only about their projects, process, difficulties and successes. This is an inspirational network, a community of likeminded souls from all disciplines. We also started the Film Network Balears (formally Krea Kolektiva Film).
This year we will continue with our 12x5s, add a few 8x8s - 8 Practical Philosophers speaking for 8 minutes - to bring conscious ethical growth into the mix and we have a Music Arts Festival planned for early summer.
Do you think the Tower of Love could only happen in Mallorca?
It could happen anywhere and everywhere. Creativity lies in everyone’s hearts and takes a billion forms. By sharing in creative ways we inspire people to really live life to the full.
I often walk past a soup kitchen on my way to the Tower of Love. What would you say to people who suggest that what you’re doing is all very well but it’s an ivory tower?
The problems in our neighbourhood and globally are never caused by artists. Barbara and I choose to help these people, many of whom also struggle to live nowadays. In this way we bring colour, music and compassion to where we live. Collectively, we use our Creativity to raise money to help our friends do things like pay for vital medical treatment.
So how do I feel now? I'm a deeply sceptical person but I’ve seen plenty of things my rational mind can’t explain. Increasingly, science is acknowledging that mindfulness, prayer and a belief in healing do have a measurable effect. If it were ever possible to harness their power on a mass scale, without following any kind of leader or guru, we might be able to defang capitalism and its slave, organised religion.
That means sharing the power of the Tower of Love on the streets and electric avenues that connect us globally. And those of who believe that Creativity really is all-powerful should practise creative activism.