This is a unique and powerful book. It is a record of a series of conversations with Christopher Howard on masculinity, sex, addiction and relationships. In them both Chris and myself opened ourselves up in a very personal and revealing way. We held nothing back and explored what it is to be men.
In my life I have been a seeker. As a teenager I sought a spiritual answer to an unknown question. I tried to understand where to look for the answer. What did I want? Why was I even looking? In the different approaches I tried, from Christianity to Yoga, I found many ideas to pursue, but no solutions.
Ten years ago my life went through a personal, emotional and spiritual upheaval that is still resonating through me. At the time I wrote, and published, a 'Letter to my Friends and Family'. In it I shared my life with others.
"I want to be comfortable with myself, to cease feeling separate, to experience being part of Spirit. The Spirit that originates and ends life. As I sought understanding, I was restless. Conclusions came, but they never convinced me they were the answer. Santiago, in 'The Alchemist', came back from his journey to find his answer at the beginning. I sought an answer to find it inside me. It is inside and it is time to use it."
The realisation that the answer was inside became important in the years that followed.
"While the light is within, inspiration comes from connection with Spirit. Through inspiration I understand the world and my journey in it. By allowing inspiration to flow through me, I change my perceptions, my view of the world and, hence, the world itself."
I am now at the next step in this journey and it is now time to move forward and embrace my true self. I will awaken the potential within my consciousness. This will help me spend life in a peaceful, love-inspired, simple, spiritual life.
I will die to my old lifestyle, habits and associations and take on a new lifestyle and new qualities. As part of this I will assume a new name. This will be a rebirth, a new life. It will propel me towards the realisation of my fullest potential.
Over several months now, 'Purusha' has attracted me as a spiritual name that expresses who I am inside and what I am becoming. It is a Sanskrit male name that has a special energy to it.
At its core is the spiritual energy of a man. This spiritual heart of my life is growing and moving me away from my old connections. As a result I am growing in my masculine power, a power rooted in compassion and spirituality.
I am adopting the name 'Sat Purusha' so my name will change from Graham Reid Phoenix to Sat Purusha Phoenix. In common use I will be Purusha.
For me, adopting this name heralds an enormous shift, but the people who know me and my growth will celebrate with me the growth into my true self.
Yoga has always been important for me. As Sat Purusha it will grow, organically, into being a greater part of me, expressing my true, inner, spiritual core.
'Sat', in Sanskrit, means 'true' or 'being'. It refers to 'the true essence' and 'what is unchangeable'. In ancient Indian literature it implies good, true, being, happening, real, existing, enduring, lasting or essential. The idea is expressed in a mantra found in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanishad,
"Lead me from delusion to truth; from darkness to light; from mortality to immortality."
'Purusha' meant 'Cosmic Man', or 'Spiritual Man'. It evolved into an abstract idea of 'Self' or 'Spirit' where Purusha connects everything and everyone. In Hindu thought are two realities whose interaction accounts for our experiences and the universe. They are ‘Prakrti’ (matter) and ‘Purusha’ (spirit).
“Splendid and without a bodily form is this Purusha, without and within, unborn, without life breath and without mind. Life, breath, and mind come from him. Purusha is the soul of every being.” —Munduka Upanishad
The goal of Yoga, in the 'Yoga Sutras of Patanjali', is to see Purusha as our true self, embracing our spiritual energy. Hence, Yoga is a path of self-realisation in a deeper spiritual sense. It is not knowing oneself as a human, but realising that the entire universe is within our own mind and heart.
“The 'Cosmic Man' (Purusha) is the past and the future. The Moon created his mind, from his eye came the Sun and from his mouth arose the powers of fire and lightning. The wind created his breath, from his navel came the atmosphere, from his head, Heaven, from his feet the Earth and from his ears, the directions of space. Thus, they formed the world.” —Rig Veda
Purusha is man and woman and it is masculine and feminine. In Yoga the principle of Purusha is not an abstract reality because it is the fire within our hearts that is the light of the entire universe. As a result to practice Yoga is to understand this being of light.
The human soul is this light, it resides in the heart. It gives people their individuality, vitality and creativity. True humanity is found in the light in the soul and it can see Oneness in everything.
My life has been about Light. My career has been in Light—the physical light we all live by and that creates existence. My life has been in Light—the spiritual light we can live by and that is the source of existence. It has long been my aim to bring these two forms of light together. I now see that in my life I am doing that. As Purusha this will continue.