Founder & Supervisor of 'The Insight Project'
Author of ‘Transforming the Mind’ and ‘Daring to be Yourself’
Co-Director of Trans4mind Ltd & Trans4mind Training
So you know who I am, just a few words about the founder and webmaster of the Trans4mind site. I was born in '52 in London, spent most of my life in southern England, the last few years in the north, but in 2000 I moved again to be with my friend Nicole in France. We were married in 2003 - best thing I ever did!
After leaving school I abandoned civil engineering studies because although it's a worthwhile subject, it wasn't what I wanted to do at all! Learning how to build bridges was simply a metaphor for the real bridge I wanted to cross, that between the physical and the spiritual. I wanted to find who or what I really am, and to be able to perceive the real person that looks out through each pair of eyes. I knew intuitively there was much more to the human identity than I'd been taught. I'd just ruined my first loving relationship through jealousy, so I also wanted to discover how to love without possessiveness and judgment.
In short, I really wanted to travel the spiritual path - to fulfill my purpose for this lifetime. That endeavor has introduced me to very many ideas and brilliant people, and many sidetracks that lead to nowhere as well. Times of great anguish and times of exhilarating clarity. Ultimately I have discovered ways that have worked for me, to reveal the truths I was searching for, within myself. I have found again my true nature - the aspect of myself that is part of universal consciousness, which is pure unconditional love - my connection to God if you like. Now I can perceive that spark of God behind every person's eyes, and I can help any individual who is genuinely motivated to travel this path of enlightenment.
Back in those days, I soon realized that a knowledge of psychology was going to be a help in understanding myself and others, so I trained in Rational Emotive Psychotherapy. Nothing to do with the spiritual path, you may think, but on the contrary, I found rational thinking to be a necessary accompaniment to esoteric and mystical philosophy. One needs to keep the mind in order, so rationality is important; but equally important is mindfulness, which doesn't involve thinking at all, indeed it requires the stilling of mind so one is conscious of being an observer, a witness to reactive emotions and their accompanying thoughts. This video describes the universal truths that are central to my understanding of life...
Your regrets from the past - you don't need them now, just let them go...
Your worries about the future - you don't need them now, just let them go...
As you relax and your mental activity settles down, like waves settling on an ocean,
you become still...
Consciousness reaches its most silent state, serene and unbounded...
You realize that this is your true Self, beyond time and space...
A presence in the ocean of loving consciousness...
As Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you."
The most fundamental truths are summarized in one sentence, I feel:
The work of Gurdjieff, Assagioli, Leary, Grof, Wilber, Tart and many others has pointed me in the right direction - i.e. has given me useful results when applying their principles - but a relatively unknown English lady called Irene Mumford has been the biggest help. Before she passed on, she laid the groundwork for The Insight Project - which means to transcend and go beyond one's programming or psychological conditioning - and developed the best tools I have found to overcome the barriers that obscure insight.
The Project has students all around the globe who have found, I am told, a profound workability in the methods that are taught. In the last few years I've begun presenting this work on the Internet, which has enabled me to contact more interested individuals world-wide, who I would otherwise never have met. I've described the ideas that inform The Insight Project in my online book, 'Transforming the Mind'.
A second breakthrough was the addition of biofeedback monitoring to my work as a psychotherapist, as a way to help uncover suppressed thoughts, feelings and information. Jung, Korsybski, Mathison, Hubbard and Monroe have each been influential in this application. This greatly boosts the speed and accuracy of individuals' work on The Insight Project.
Through Irene I met her son, Gregory Mitchell, and he has been the biggest influence in this area. He invented a Bilateral form of biofeedback monitoring that enables one to determine hemispheric balance and to see instantly when either the left or right brain becomes aroused at a particular stimulus. Gregory did years of research and testing, in the context of mental development techniques and psychotherapy sessions, and a very precise picture has since emerged of how the various types of cognition relate to hemispheric arousal. This has added an extremely valuable new dimension to my work and its effectiveness.
I was fortunate to work with Gregory for several years and his wide-ranging teachings are a major influence on the content of Transforming the Mind. His work is little known - I have included a range of excellent free online courses and a selection of his articles at the Mind Development website, a sister site of Trans4mind.
A few years ago, Wallace Huey, a life coach from Ireland, got in touch and suggested a new service on the site, Heart to Heart Coaching. People sent in a question about the personal challenges they faced in life and Wallace offered his coaching in our weekly newsletter. It was a very popular service. Over a few years, this enabled us to learn exactly which issues the site visitors are most concerned with - their life challenges - and we developed comprehensive resources for each of these.
On that foundation, Wallace and I co-founded the company Trans4mind Ltd, registered in Ireland, and we have worked hard over 5 years to develop the curriculum of Trans4mind Personal Development Training. We will soon be in position to offer a fantastic training and coaching tool – both online and in the real world. You can read about our preparations for launching this new service on the Trans4mind Blog.
In particular, I recommend visitors of the site subscribe to the weekly Inspiring Quotes of the Week. When you subscribe to this free service, each Monday you'll receive several transformational quotes on a new topic - with commentary by myself - plus an exceptional accompanying article, to inspire you throughout the week. In addition, several exceptional articles on the key personal development topics that were featured in the mailing are then featured in Peter Shepherd's Trans4mind Podcast...
Daring to be YourselfWe create our own reality internally, and through our influence in various ways, that in turn affects the external. In the following podcast I share a transformative experience from my own life, excerpted from the book, Daring to Be Yourself....
Of course, every writer wants to be published in print and I'm happy that finally I have that opportunity. Inkstone Press, in Australia, asked me if they could publish Transforming the Mind, but I really wanted to do something new, and they kindly supported me in that. So I've put together a new book, 'Daring to be Yourself,' that was published on November 1st 2007. It's a convenient 'best of' the Trans4mind site with short courses like Communication & Relationships, and Emotional Intelligence, alongside the free online Positive Approach Course (in text and audio).
It's more personal though, talking a bit about my own life experiences, and it expands on the spiritual dimension, how we can get in touch with our inner knowing, our core essence. To find that inner knowing we need to look objectively, honestly and with an open mind, both at the world and even more so, into our own being. To be a witness of our mind, with love and caring of our conscious self. We have then also transcended or gone beyond the conscious mind and found ourselves spiritually. Creating our lives from that viewpoint is an exciting process, because we're no longer alone, we're connected with all creative energy, the universal quality of spirit. There's more online about it here: Daring to be Yourself
When a young boy I was put off by the Church's message of original sin (which I do not agree with at all) and turned to Buddhism, which contains good practical and non-dogmatic information - universal truths really. Jesus was indeed a great teacher, offering the same universal truths, more directly and beautifully said than anyone else in my opinion, though since then they have been grossly misinterpreted. He is a being from the highest levels, truly a Son of God. I have supported Jesus from the beginning times, as I remember through my past-life work. My purpose from those earliest times has continued over the centuries as a monk and priest, and is continuing now with Trans4mind.
I'm not keen on religious authorities as such, they have tended to alter or suppress the original teachings and use the source information manipulatively, taking advantage of human fears and competitive needs. The behavior of the Christian church over many centuries has directly contradicted the teaching of Christ, to love one's neighbor as oneself and to find the Kingdom of Heaven within. Still, there are many good people who follow Jesus, whether part of a church or not, and who understand and apply His message of love, The Way, and I count myself as one of those.
In my opinion, the original teachings of Jesus are best represented by His closest apostle, Mary Magdalene, as suppressed by misogynist Roman and Jewish authorities for 2000 years but described wonderfully in the book The Expected One by Kathleen McGowen. It's moving, exciting and educational. If you are willing to keep an open mind I think you'll find it includes the true message of Jesus revealed, The Way for these times.
Here is my interpretation of The Lord's Prayer, inspired by the further book by Kathleen McGowan: The Source of Miracles: 7 Steps to Transforming Your Life Through The Lord's Prayer...
I celebrate your presence with me here.
Let me be guided by unconditional Love
and be of service for the highest good.
Thank you for the abundance I receive,
and please forgive my mistakes,
as I forgive those who cause me difficulties.
Help me to fulfill my purpose, uphold my values,
and be understanding and compassionate.
With all my love.
Here are some recent audio recordings in which Peter Shepherd was interviewed, discussing his own life experiences, the background to Trans4mind, plus information about our courses and the resources that the site offers. You'll discover there's lots of good information and tips in these interviews as well. To download the audio, right-click on on the download link and choose to save to your hard disk.
Agnes van Gaalen interviews Peter Shepherd...
Here's the transcript of an earlier interview with Agnès van Gaalen, service provider of the Dutch Trans4mind website…
What was your idea in the beginning to set up T4M and do you think people picked up your idea in the 20 years T4M exist?
So I had studied this and also I had been working for a mind development company, which also had many methods to help people move forward in their lives. I'd done training and courses and devised my own methods. I put a synthesis of this knowledge into my book, Transforming the Mind, and that formed the basis of the web site, Trans4mind. The first impulse was to share, freely.
Is the purpose still up to date, or has the view changed over the years?
Do you get a lot of feedback from your readers?
So, do you have some special story(s) in mind, to illustrate this feedback?
What was for you the most special opinion or remark, given to you about T4M?
If it was positive, how do you respond?
If it was negative, how do you respond?
What kind of people are visiting your site nowadays?
What are they looking for, and can they find what they are looking for on the T4M site?
Who are the people who want to set up a T4M site in other countries as a provider?
How do you keep contact with the T4M providers, and are they coming together 'live'?
Is there a difference in reactions of the visitors of these sites in all these different countries?
Was there ever a period in time that T4M exists that you thought: "no more, thank you"?
I may feel more or less motivated at times, like if there are computer and connection problems, or if there is lack of response to something I thought was really good - sometimes it can feel like communicating into a vacuum. But eventually you find out that all along what you were doing was appreciated, and so in future you remember that.
If not, where do you get the inspiration from? If yes, why did you pick it up again, what was your motivation to do so?
Do people get under your skin sometimes, and how do you live with this, or what do you do with this?
To answer all the questions of your readers, to provide new articles for your site, does this mean that you don't have time anymore to write a book?
Has it become for you a way of life, and what does this mean in your private life?
Is Peter Shepherd a different person in private life, as in the role of T4M?
Who or what inspires you?
How is your view on the world of today?
How long will you continue working for T4M?
If you continue to do so, why?
So you know where I'm coming from, here's a selection of issues that I'm often asked about, some of them controversial. I briefly offer my opinions, based on my own experience, but you should please note that none of this is 'taught' as such in the courses I run - the emphasis there is on individuals discovering their own truth, the knowing that lies deep within each of us.
Why did I leave behind psychotherapy?
"To open up our minds to new ideas, new challenges and new solutions - to think differently and be creative - well, we could all do with some help in this direction. Trans4mind is dedicated to introducing the best available resources for transformation of body, mind and spirit - to free us of the shackles of the past by re-awakening awareness of our true identity in the present." That's our manifesto. What do I mean exactly?
Well, when we are actually ourselves, fully conscious and awake to the present moment, not telling ourselves any lies -- in that state the past is actually not affecting us, nor is fear of what the future may bring. Our attention is grounded by the present objective environment, rather than dominated by past memories or future expectations. We can see our situation more clearly, free of the conditioning and assumptions and fears that we have been led to base our lives on. That is the aim of my work.
What is transpersonal psychology?
Transpersonal psychology has been developed empirically, based on what works for people regardless of scientific 'proof' - in contrast to the more theoretical consciousness research of academic institutions - and could be said to be the "psychology of enlightenment."
I'm also firmly grounded in the principles of rational-emotive behavioral therapy, the method developed by Albert Ellis based on the principle that irrational thoughts lead to inappropriate and negative emotions, which if repeated result in conditioned patterns of self-defeating behavior.
That's a mouthful, but actually these ideas are well-accepted these days and are part and parcel of humanistic psychotherapies and the personal growth and coaching advice that most professionals offer. I feel that rationality is an essential accompaniment to mystical or spiritual contemplation and that actually there is no conflict. Metaphysics is just a part of physics and in my opinion, science and consciousness are friends, not enemies.
What do I think of God and Spirituality?
To become more 'spiritual' is to learn to realize one's connection, that one is more than an isolated Ego. From perhaps a few close friends and family one begins to include those one doesn't necessarily agree with or like. It's a change from the 'human' way of reactive sympathy or judgment to the 'spiritual' way of conscious empathy and understanding, even in the most trying circumstances. It's an awakening, and life gives us ample opportunity to test ourselves, make mistakes and learn from them, and develop in this process.
If you ask: What do I feel is the purpose of life? then I answer: to feel, to love, to learn, to be of service. Life is very rich; it is about having fun, achieving goals, enjoying humor and aesthetics, creating and exploring, making friends and advancing peace and justice in civilization - but the most profound purpose we have is to travel the spiritual path, to awaken to our divinity, the quality of God that is in everyone and everything: expressions of love, life and truth.
Love is really the central issue. When the Beatles sang "All you need is love" live in the first world TV broadcast back in '69, it was one of the high points of my life. It was the statement of what my generation stood for. I feel I have grown to understand better what love is over the years...
Love is unconditional acceptance. That quality is also our essential nature, who we really are. It is love of parents for child; also the non-possessive love of partners; also the caring love for all people that enables forgiveness. It is not the emotional lust of being 'in love' though that may well be in alignment with true love - or unaligned, as in jealousy. It's above energy, though it may be expressed energetically; it's Spirit itself, the nature of God, the quality we share with God; and it is the binding force of the Universe, necessary for all Creation.
Is this life nothing but a dream?
We realize our experience was a dream after we have woken up, but at the time it was real as real can be. Same with this life we live now.
So there’s a difference with the dream within a dream. What we envision, what seems to fill our purpose, is a dream - yes, we imagine it - but it’s not an asleep dream, it’s real as can be - a vision demanding practical action.
After all, 90 years of real-seeming dream is a long time to experience, we might as well make it fulfilling, and also learn profound lessons from the experience, since that is largely the reason we incarnated into this dream in the first place.
There are stages of waking up. We live very often as conditioned human animals, rather than with our potential as a mindful spirit integrated with the human animal. A true human being. That’s the first awakening, which offers us some perspective and awareness, and more alignment with our inherently loving spiritual nature. That’s the crucial awakening we want to encourage our kids to go for. As well as following their vision and living a fulfilling life. Having a great dream!
The further awakening happens when we die, and we awaken further to the degree that our vibration enables - so if we have been living a life of loving service, with plenty of forgiveness, compassion and gratitude, we go to a different place than greedy psychopaths do. We awaken further to where we’re at (the psychopath wouldn’t want to go anywhere near what is heaven for a loving person).
Where do you live?
Who are you?
"Don't you feel that Jesus is the ultimate God and authority who controls everything, on whom we are dependent, and without Him we humans are nothing, despite what our minds may comprehend and understand?"
I do believe in prayer. For me, that means to communicate to Spirit my gratitude for what I am experiencing, what I am learning, what I want to be manifested in the name of love, and to request inner knowing of whatever I want to know. I present my communication in the form of feelings, images and intention (rather than words or reasons) and an answer comes in the same way. Learn to speak the language of Spirit and this presence will always be with you as a loving guide and support.
What do I think of Christianity?
The other problem with Christianity is its theology. The main themes - all-seeing eye, man in the sky, original sin, crucifixion and saviour, resurrection, final judgment, need for worship and sacrifice, forgiveness from on high, fear of Hell and so forth - have been recycled in religious beliefs since the original Sun worshippers, and they all oppose personal responsibility and spiritual development. The theology is an inversion of the truth and an ideal way to hold down the masses in subjugation and propitiation. It's myth and powerful. Strength is nevertheless drawn by many from their faith, because there are enough truths mixed in and the religion provides stability, but ultimately the lies are limiting.
Jesus was a person who - alongside his enlightened message of love - questioned the status quo and pointed out the dark side of the religious establishment, and their hypocrisy. The same situation remains in place. Jesus did not teach a way for individuals to overcome their fixed ideas and safe solutions to open their minds and so remove their prejudices and hatreds in order to follow his basic teachings of love, and to be one with God - or if he did, it was suppressed or misinterpreted by the Church. I believe the Church, a few hundred years after Christ, also removed enlightened teachings and reincorporated Jewish mythology including the idea of a God to be feared, original sin, and so on, thus producing a major cause of human psychosis these last 2000 years, sadly in the name of Jesus and love.
Despite these misgivings, I have long thought of spiritual development based on transformation psychology, as described in Transforming the Mind, as a New Christianity, as it enables individuals to actually become more like Christ. There are many elements of the original teachings within the Bible that illuminate Christ's teachings rather than reinforce the Church's control, or which illustrate enlightened modern ideas such as some of those in Transforming the Mind. The lies in the Bible introduced or manipulated by the Church need to be exposed as such (the Dark side) and the truth in the Bible that is what remains of Jesus' original message needs to be better understood (the Light), and connected with current situations and modern ideas, to reveal a practical way that can transform people's lives and expose their inner Godliness.
What do I think of Sexuality?
A reader asked this important question: "How would you know that the feeling you have developed for the opposite sex is true love and not just a mere feeling of lust?"
What do I think of Prayer?
Taking responsibility is fervently resisted by many clients undertaking therapy, who really just want you to take their problems away, so turning this around is the main task in psychotherapy. I prefer these days to work in the field of personal development, where people start off with the attitude of positively working to improve their lives and expand their awareness.
To praise and thank God may seem a bit silly if one considers one is indeed God, but really it's a recognition of the wonder of all life, love and truth, and so it does help to connect us with our shared spiritual nature, and is perhaps the best function of prayer - an expression of gratitude. Whilst one is feeling grateful the bugbears of fear and attachment can have no effect. The other great function it has is to flow healing energy to others. Love is all-powerful and unlimited in supply; the more we love, in gratitude and compassion, as a nice side effect, the more we receive also.
What do I think of Past Lives?
What do I think of Telepathy?
What do I think of Channeling?
What do I think of Out-of-Body Experiences?
What is the value of the Subconscious Mind?
What do I think of Karma?
What do I think of Archetypes?
What do I think of Astrology?
What do I think of UFOs and Aliens?
What do I think of Personal Development and the Spiritual Path?
What do I think of the New Millennium?
What do I think of Transforming the Mind?
The ebook is an organization of ideas - most of them not my own - that make sense to me. My contribution is the synthesis of the ideas. I put it together as a personal project to help clarify the broad picture, as I could see that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. The book could of course be considerably expanded but I feel that would dilute the message, so I've included a lot of material that is complementary to it (especially practical techniques) in other parts of the site - these each add their own dimension.
What do I think of The Insight Project?
I'm no guru or super-person. I'm on the spiritual path and I want to help others that are too. I've taken responsibility for promoting the techniques and information of The Insight Project, because they're too good to be lost, and if I didn't do this, they probably would be. That would be tragic because in my opinion this body of work offers the potential for motivated individuals to dramatically advance their understanding and awareness, and ultimately this could be very significant. Because of the way consciousness and information is connected, an individual breakthrough in consciousness can profoundly affect consciousness at a much wider level. This is an opportunity that you are welcome to be part of.
What do I think of Health & Nutrition?
I'd like to reiterate that the emphasis on Trans4mind is for individuals to discover their own truth, which may well differ radically from my own views. I'd be very pleased to discuss these and other such issues with you - just drop me a line. Good communication does not require agreement but it does need clarity and comprehension alongside empathy. I hope many of you will find the trans4mind website helpful for your personal development and spiritual path. Please let me know how you get on.
The websites that I find most interesting, in case you're interested: Favorites.
I also run the Hotel Search World-Wide website, that presents fun and informative pages to help you plan holidays and book the hotel you need at the right price.