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My Teenage Religious Education By the time I was a teenager, I had four younger brothers, the youngest of whom was

eight years younger than I and I was trusted to baby sit them for short spel ls during the daytime on the weekends, which gave my Mum a little more time to g et out of the house. Therefore, I presume, there was no longer any need to take me and my next brother to church on Friday nights to give her a rest. Whatever the explanation, my Dad stopped taking me to church with him when I was a young teenager. I did not miss it. However, I continued to wade through my mo ther's books on Buddhism (especially Tibetan) and my father's books on yoga. I s ay 'wade through', but I found the philosophy fascinating and 'so obviously true ', although I hardly ever discussed them with my parents. The only discussions we had on a regular basis in those days were on dreams, but we had discussed dreams since I was about six. One of my earliest recollections , when I was about six, was going down to my parents after being put to bed and complaining that I could not get to sleep because 'the Indians kept talking to m e' - I (was talking about|meant} native Americans. My parents did not scold me or tell me 'not to be silly'. Instead, Dad came up t o my bedroom and talked to the Indians, explaining that I needed my sleep. I cou ld still see them, but they stopped chatting to me. The next weekend, my wallpap er was changed for one with cowboys and Indians on it and I never had that 'prob lem' again. During my teens, one of my favourite times of the week was discussing my dreams with my mother while eating breakfast. One day I was telling her that my dream t he previous night had been about her and me standing on a pier in Portugal, when a vehicle pulled up. She stopped me and said that she had had the same dream. S he described the car, it's colour and what took place next. We had had the same experience and she referred me to a book on Astral Travellin g. I had already read it, but it was fantastic to have had a personal, practical example. There was no holding me from then on. I began rising three hours before I had to go to school to do yoga exercises bot h physical and breathing types. I meditated for hours each week. My father's mot her must have got to hear of this and she sent word for me to go down to see her . She praised my interest in what she called 'spiritualism' - she would not call i t 'the supernatural', because she said it was as natural as sunshine. Anyway, th e point of the summons was to warn me of the dangers of carrying out spiritual e xercises 'without permission'. Serious spiritualists, she explained, asked permission to 'hold a seance' at lea st a week beore conducting one, which is why seances and services are held on a regular basis. The person holding the seance or service needs to organize protec tion for those going to the session. This is easily done and almost always grant ed, but you still have to do it. My grandmother claimed that people do not change into angels just because their body has died. There are decent dead people and mischievous dead people. Without permission, that is without a guard, these mischievous spirits can enter the li ving body at the base of the spine and make that person seem to be mad. She made me promise there and then never to 'do anything spiritual' without perm ission, but especially never to use Ouija boards and never ever to 'attempt anyt hing' if I was under the influence of any drugs that made me 'lower my guard'.

At the age of 13-14 in South Wales in those days, I had no notion about drugs or alcohol, but I have never forgotten my promise, because I know that she hasn't either. Owen Jones, the author of this article, writes on a variety of topics, but is no w concerned with <a href=" .html">non-religious beliefs</a>. If you would like to know more go to <a href="">What is Religious Belief</a>?