Please join us in welcoming, as June 2013 Author of the Month, Gabrial Roberts.
It is both an honor and a privilege to be able to write to you today as a featured author for Graham Hancock’s book club. There are few people who have so profoundly influenced my own spiritual journey through inspiring insights like Graham.
Born Again To Rebirth is the tale of my growth through and exodus from Evangelical Christianity. It in many ways is paralleled by the experiences of those all over the world who were told that life and spirituality was fundamentally one particular way and that all other paths of thought were not only frowned upon, but were in fact paths to hell.
I wrote this story to show those who read it that they are, or were not alone when they dared to think for themselves as sovereign spiritual beings. It is an unfortunate reality that the question of our purpose in life and fate after death is one of the most manipulated subjects today. Our very souls are played with, our emotions rung dry, our hopes and dreams for true personal and spiritual freedom are held down at every turn.
The story that I write is not necessarily about the thing itself, but what it represents; a naked retelling of the gauntlet of emotions and second guessing’s that one must go through in order to defy what is commonly believed and take the unpopular path of seeking the truth at all cost.
In Born Again To Rebirth, I use my own philosophical struggles as a sounding board for the reader’s own thoughts. I reveal the thoughts that only an insider may have in relation to things that may seem so obviously out of whack to the non-believer. I would like to highlight a few moments from my book that exemplify the philosophical struggle I went through, the pains of rejection and the turn to a brighter day.
After I had left my faith, I found friendship with the dregs of society; the people who didn’t fit into the norms. I was exposed to the drug culture and found an uncanny comfort and familiarity to the church setting. With this, my fate as a fallen angel of the Christian faith was confirmed and all those who remained in the faith rained fury upon me. The following is an account of my experience in the narcotic drug culture and my struggle to claw out of that black hole that claims so many people today:
“I had to change my life and figure out where to go from here. My heart was so empty without the feeling I had as a Christian, that no matter how dark things got, Jesus was there for me. Now I didn’t have that reassurance. I didn’t know what would happen to me. It was then that I realized that I was the only person who could change my situation. I didn’t have a new spiritual advisor to fit me perfectly into some new system of belief. I had to do this for me. The heartache and pain that I caused myself and others during this dark year may have been avoided if I had developed some other faith system, but ultimately I believe this time was a strong learning experience for me. It taught me that people are the same everywhere.
I saw how a drug circle is like a church of its own, with its disciples and devotees. We looked at each other like we belonged to something that was beyond the norm. When this happened, it replaced the community that I felt in church. My church was that of shadows and dark deeds, but it had its allure of coolness. My devotees were looking for answers just like people in any religious setting. I saw the ugly side of it as well; the eventual turn that people take when they reach a crossroads in their life. Do they decide to become what they vowed never to be; a vagrant, a prostitute, a drug addict. Was that the way they wanted to be known by their friends, their family, even their children. I had to face this question as well and luckily was able to make the right decision; I chose life. Sadly, this isn’t what all of my friends chose.
There is something in life we all need to be a part of. We cannot run through this life without some sort of motivator. We have this unrelenting propensity to want to classify others and ourselves. Perhaps it is some part of the way we are raised in this society, or perhaps it’s in our genetics. Either way, we need it like we need love. There is a dark romance that people in the drug culture have; a way of doing things and behaving that makes it almost like film noir. The ritual of doing the drug has its own mystery and romance; just like when you get up and drink a cup of coffee in the morning, you don’t just have coffee.
You walk into the kitchen, turn on the light, open that bag or can and catch a whiff of it as you pour the grounds into the coffee machine. Perhaps you heat up the water and stand there in the morning light listening to the water in the teakettle build up and race around within until it comes to a high-pressured whistle. You pour the water and watch it turn to black gold.
Drug people do it the same way; they pick up their bag, they get to a safe place for their ritual. Perhaps they pull and break up the chunks into a fine powder, or heat it under a spoon, readying it for a needle. This one thing is something they are the masters of, the one thing in their life they can control. If you understand that, perhaps you can understand that people in this situation are not all monsters. They are real people who have fallen into a sadness that everyday life was not healing; they are the ghosts of our society while still being alive. They saw it coming at some pivotal point in their drug use, where they just decided to give in one more time. Sometimes their dark year turns into a dark life. Even worse, as in the case of my friend Bobby, it turned into a dark death. I consider the end of my dark year to be the day I heard he had passed from a heroin overdose.
One time at a party, Bobby kept to himself in the corner of the room, sadness glowing off him like a dark spotlight. I asked him what the problem was and he simply looked at me with his signature hound dog eyes and said he knew he was going to die as a junkie. I told him with tears in my eyes that it didn’t need to happen, that he could be anything he wanted to be and do anything he wanted to do. That was 2 years before he overdosed.
After Bobby’s passing, I knew the story of my life needed to be very different. I needed to do well, not just for myself, but also in honor of his memory. It was too soon and so unnecessary for him to go.
I went into the darkness because I thought it was the only option; there was good and there was evil. I had not yet moved on from my black and white ideology. I take full responsibility for my behavior during my darkest days, but I also recognize that I knew nothing of the world before I went through it. I only saw the idealized version of everything. I’m not saying that anyone else should go through what I did, because it is destructive and deadly, but the only way I can redeem that time is to learn from it.
The dark year is not an actual calendar year; it is a state of mind, a place in which you give up and let the rain wash you into the gutter. It is a sense of freedom in its own way, but of course that freedom comes with a heavy price. This is the place where you hide from your sadness and grief; it’s where you can somehow become something that you are not. It’s a rock and roll story of your own in which even the dead junkies are heroes, because you know they were actual people with a dismal beauty of their own. They are your people and you understood them as comrades in sorrow. But we are meant for something more than this and joy is far better shared among living friends than over a grave. And so, my dark year came to an end.”
When I stepped away from the narcotics culture, I found a new life waiting for me, one that conveyed hope where there was once only despair:
“There are fleeting moments in my life in which everything is beautiful, a still portrait in a time of bliss. These moments almost always involve someone I love. There might not be any form of sexuality or high-gloss glamour at the moment, but the real beauty overflows and peels back the veneer of my own trained artificiality; showing the banal world I’ve accepted for the illusion that it is. In that instance, I see a glimpse of how life could be. When I am in that special moment, perhaps on a road trip, or simply spending time with friends, I feel that symbiotic energy flowing through me, calling me to stay there in that moment. Why can’t it always be like that singular moment? Perhaps it depends on what we willing to do to get there.
Perhaps we should begin by peeling away all falsehood from ourselves, observing the world around us with sober minded discretion to discern the real from the fake. This means taking a hard look at what we have learned and being willing to ask ourselves what needs to change. This is a process that I went through as I moved on from Christianity into a new life. As we’ve seen, it’s not an easy process at all, but we cannot live in fear of the boogeyman of falsehood. It would have been easy to just give up and let destruction take me over, despairing that I couldn’t call upon some higher power to save me. Ultimately I feel it was God’s intention that I make my own way out and learn the new path that I must tread. I was responsible for my failures, my victories, and myself. Even though I realized that the gospel as I knew it was false, I still wanted to cling to it, for it was all I knew of any concept of good. But, we don’t need to be afraid to let go of that which isn’t true and so I did let go.
As you can see, the road I traveled in Born Again To Rebirth was a hard one, but also hard won; it is the revelation of my biggest fears, my worst evils and my true rebirth.
For those who did not grow up as a fundamentalist, it’s good to see because it will help you understand that these people are not monsters, but often brainwashed, but good intentioned people. I for instance thought I was doing the ultimate right by sharing what I honestly thought was the inspired word of God and his message of salvation to the world.
If you would like to see and read more about my book, please visit gabrieldroberts.com/bookstore. There you can find readings from my book as well as testimonials and other good stuff. For those of you who purchase my book, I thank you ahead of time. For all others, I thank you for reading this and invite you to join me on my social media outlets found at gabrieldroberts.com
Finally, I must once again express my deep gratitude to Graham Hancock.
Gabriel D. Roberts was born in Tacoma, Wa in the late 70’s. The value of seeking the truth wherever it may be found was instilled in him at a very young age. At 7 years old he was street preaching in Salt Lake City, Utah and by 10 years old he had traveled to China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Macau and The Philippines as a missionary. Having grown up in a fundamentalist Christian environment, his perspective on the world was greatly influenced by the Bible and the fundamentalist view of its teachings. Having come to adulthood, Gabriel moved from his hometown of Tacoma to the more cosmopolitan Seattle to get his theology degree at Seattle Bible College. Through his studies and endeavors to live the truth and find a spiritually fulfilling life, Gabriel felt that there must be something more to the story than a contest of sin and salvation. After many years of study and with a lifetime of effort to connect with something greater, Gabriel stepped away from his Christian faith. The details and reasons are catalogued in his book, Born Again To Rebirth, which is due for release in the fall of 2012. Like many others who have had an earnest thirst for the answers to the big questions of life, Gabriel was not satisfied to settle for not knowing more. His continued research in the fields of Science, Spirituality and Psychedelics continue to yield more and more exciting discoveries. Not being afraid to challenge his own cosmologies in light of new information, Gabriel D. Roberts continues to put together the puzzle pieces of life in a continued effort to bring enlightenment to himself and to his readers. Foremost among his influences are great writers, researchers and scientists like Terence McKenna, Jonathan Talat Phillips, Graham Hancock, Dr. Jeremy Narby, Russell Targ, David Wilcock and Rupert Sheldrake. Gabriel is currently a contributor for Disinfo.com and Realitysandwich.com