My Journey

As a child I discovered and developed a passion for Meccano. I found an interest in mechanisms, how things work, understanding them and putting that understanding to work. Understanding and using mechanisms remains at the focus of spiritual craftsmanship.

Also as a child I had a strong sense of myself, but alienated from those around me. A lifetime later, I know I am dyslexic, dyspraxic and possibly slightly autistic. I suspect that only someone with a degree of detachment like this would come up with the notion of spiritual craftsmanship.

I was born into a Quaker family and I have been an active Quaker since my teens. But I have often felt at odds with Quakers’ mystical approach to life. I am more comfortable with real world activities and understanding them. Penn’s notion of true godliness driving us out into the world endeavouring to mend it, appeals strongly to me and, again, is at the focus of spiritual craftsmanship.

In my teens I leaned towards the sciences rather than the arts, which I could not understand. I became educated in physics, mathematics, biochemistry and physiology and psychology An appreciation of science and the methods of science remain with me and are essential to my idea of spiritual craftsmanship. Science brings a body of reliable trustworthy information about relationships and gives us a method (observe, theorise, predict, test under controlled conditions) for interacting with the world and with the tangible parts of God.

I trained to teach physics and mathematics. I failed as a teacher, I now realise, just because I found it difficult to form positive, supportive bonds with my pupils. I never felt a sense of belonging with my colleagues.

In my early twenties I discovered psychology and went on to do research in neuropsychology and later cognition. How and why people behave as they do and an interest in working together in a better way is the basis of spiritual craftsmanship.

On the way, I found an ability to work with computers and all that that implies. I carved a career in information processing, technology, management and research. Although not in this presentation I have borrowed many of the ideas of computer technology for modelling objects and to begin to model behaviour in social situations.

In a radical and uncharacteristic change of direction, I left computers and moved into furniture restoration. Here, I came to terms with the arts-science-religion debate by placing psychology at their focus and I discovered the practice of craftsmanship. I had arrived at the cusp of science, of art, of practice and of experience – spiritual craftsmanship.

This is not the end. I am not dead yet and there is still a way to travel.

My journey so far has touched many perhaps hundreds of people. I don’t see it as just my journey. Because I see it as network of journeys and contributions, I chose to break out of the linear framework of an essay and created a wiki website for everyone to comment, criticise and contribute their own experience and directions.

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