Interview by Al Hickey - Bali Advertiser
BA - Have you traveled much in your life?
RP - I’ve been fortunate to have been able to travel to over 32 countries around the world where I’ve worked on many interesting projects. In 1989, I moved from Australia to Asia to work as a Health, Safety and Environmental specialist. I stayed on to explore Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam and India. My last trip was to Africa in 2005 where my wife and I were stationed in Ghana for over a year. We helped the country celebrate their extraordinary wins during the World Cup by rubbing shoulders with our African brothers and sisters as the entire nation erupted in ecstatic happiness!
BA - What do you do now?
RP - I would describe myself as a spiritual activist. I have a passion and drive to see the human race evolve beyond the destructive impulses emanating from the ego-mind into the conscious, caring and compassionate nature that resides within us all.
BA - How did you get started on this path?
RP - I was given my first taste of mortality in England when my exploits as a pseudo “coyboy” came to an abrupt halt one day on the back of an aggravated old horse who dived under a low branch, knocked me out and left me writhing on the ground in agony and gasping for air. Several other profound events shaped my life and put my feet firmly on the path of conscious evolution. The first occurred in 1969 during the Vietnam War and the second alongside the mighty Ganges River as a student of my enlightened master, Swami Kaivalianda.
BA - What was it about these events that changed you?
RP - I found myself engaged in a crazy war in Southeast Asia, complete with all the atrocities of man’s inhumanity to man – complete anathema to my core values. But it was in Vietnam where I was introduced to Buddhism, which was to play an important role in my life. Secondly, I was invited to Rishikesh in India to become a student of Swami Kaivalianda, who rubbed my nose into the depredations of the ego-mind and showed me my Authentic Self.
BA - How does that relate to what you are doing now in Bali?
I have chosen to dedicate the remainder of my life to sharing the incredible gift passed on to me by Swami. We recently opened a centre for self awareness in Bali [Heaven in Bali Retreat Centre] for just that purpose.
BA - What will you teach at the centre?
RP - Our primary purpose is to guide seekers towards their Authentic Self, that consciousness which lies beyond the ego-mind, to discover our inherent true nature which reveals itself though love, compassion, and connectedness to All That Is. And that is just the beginning.
BA - Is enlightenment the end goal?
RP - Sadly, many seekers are under the popular misconception that the enlightened state is the end of the road, the elusive Nirvana, and that having achieved this their lives will be in a permanent state of bliss. Admittedly, one’s life will change dramatically, be more stable and balanced, but we are in a constant state of flux. We are awakening as a species and we are at the leading edge of an evolving consciousness.
BA - Who in your life has been your greatest influence and inspiration?
RP - Wow! There have been so many for which I am most grateful. Certainly the teachings of the Buddha and Swami have had a profound influence on my life. Mahatma Gandhi with his non-violence approach was another. More recently, the extraordinary body of ground-breaking work by Andrew Cohen (Evolutionary Enlightenment) and Ken Wilber (Integral Theory) have had a big effect on me.
BA - If you had any advice to pass on, what would it be?
RP - Find and follow your passion. It is this yearning that will lead you to what you want to be, do and have. Trust your intuition, be guided by your heart and think positively.
Copyright@2007 Al Hickey