My Top Ten People

The Dalai Lama is visiting my home town of London this week, and it got me thinking about people who have inspired or influenced me over the years.

 So here is my ‘top 10’ in no particular order:

  1. J Krishnamurti:  I had the good fortune to meet Krishnamurti during one of his summer camps at Brockwood, his school in the UK.  He was an enigma: the most present, non-person I have ever met!  His writings and teachings meant a lot to me in my teens and early 20s.  He was a major influence on Deepak Chopra.
  2. Barry Long: Barry was a powerful teacher who had a big impact on Eckhart Tolle.  I knew Barry fairly well, and visited him a few times at his London home.  His approach was challenging and very honest: some found it very hard to take.
  3. My mother:  Now, everyone’s list has to include their mother!  Mine was more influential than inspiring, and she played an important part in my formative years because my father was abusive: it was us against him.  Her deepest ‘secret’ was that she was adopted, which I discovered only after she died.  While she was alive, we adopted our second daughter, Anya, and I can only guess this somehow made everything OK for mum.
  4. Jesus of Nazareth: Did he ever live or was he a myth?  It doesn’t particularly matter: he stands for the impossible.  We may live in time and space, we may feel constricted by the physical laws that govern our body, but such things may happen.  Expect miracles.  His ethical system is also the most perfect ever pronounced.
  5. Beethoven: Music – and classical music in particular – is an important part of my life.  I often veer between Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Mahler and Bruckner, but Beethoven’s music expresses the struggle and eventual victory over life’s slings and arrows.  Titanic, magnificent.
  6. Lynne McTaggart: Some of you will know Lynne as the author of best-sellers such as The Field, The Intention Experiment and, more recently, The Bond – but to me she is my wife and soul partner!  Her influence and inspiration are beyond measure, and I couldn’t have achieved all that I have without her.
  7. Vincent van Gogh:  His art inspires me and his life influences me.  He was a ‘holy fool’, a man unfit to live in this world because he felt and saw too deeply.  There are even rumours that he didn’t commit suicide, but that a local youth was messing about with a gun and shot him by accident.  Not wishing to get the boy in trouble, Vincent said he had shot himself.  If true, a fitting end to a saintly man.
  8. Dostoyevsky:  The great Russian writer influences me because of his final masterpiece, The Brothers Karamazov.  When I finished this visionary work of forgiveness and love, I wept.  There’s influence for you!
  9. Caitlin and Anya:  My two daughters influence and inspire me continuously.  When I was struggling with my book Time-Light, Anya said: “I’m proud of you, Dad”.  What more can I say?
  10. Ramana Maharshi:  For me, the greatest saint of the 20th century who was a walking expression of his vision of one-ness and consciousness.  I don’t think he ever moved from his space at Arunachala after he arrived there at the age of 16.  Instead, people built a temple and living quarters around him, while the great and famous of the day journeyed the thousands of miles to his remote home.  As he was dying of throat cancer, his adherents were sobbing, pleading with him not to leave them.  “Where do you think I could go?” said Ramana, puzzled.  A Zen ah-ha moment there for you!


Now, here’s the fun part: what do you think of my selection, and can you list your Top Ten Influencers and Inspirers?

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