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Personal Background

Nebula and galaxies in space. Elements o
Personal Background: Welcome

A Singaporean Novelist

I am a Singaporean novelist and poet in my early 30s (as of 2021).

When I was a young child, I have often been fascinated by life and death. Even at the young age of 6, I was intrigued by what happens to people following their deaths. I often pondered about the spiritual nature of reality and what it holds for the future of human evolution.

In my early to mid-teenage years, I started to familiarize myself with the literature involving the afterlife. This involved new research into Near-Death Experiences (NDE) or Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE).

Adorning a Materialist and Scientific Mindset

When I was in my mid-teens, I often questioned if life simply ends after physical death. However, this coincided with the period where I became more scientific and materialist in my philosophy. During my early teenage years, I independently studied many subjects at the college level. These include Zoology, Botany, Astrophysics, Chemistry, and Computer Sciences. During this point, I was convinced that logic and mathematics were the only ways to understand the cosmos.

Up till my early 20s, I carried this materialist paradigm. I thought it was possible to create vast frameworks, theories, and meta-paradigms to describe, understand, explain, and predict the cosmos' nature. The universe was reducible to equations and numbers!

What naivete it was!

Personal Background: Text
Yoga as physical and spiritual therapy .
Personal Background: Image

Realizing the Importance of Consciousness

Therefore, from 15 to my mid-twenties, I embarked on a very long journey to achieve this. I independently read about 2000 to 3000 books across 30 disciplines during this span. The goal was to formulate a paradigm that can explain the cosmos. I also wanted to predict the ultimate goal of humanity and the universe.

However, in my mid-twenties, I was struck by a series of crises in many areas. They involved mainly emotional, relational, and existential concerns. It involved losses, setbacks, ostracism, and meaninglessness. After the deaths of a few relatives, I became more concerned over my mortality. I also began to question humanity's long-term implications and my role in the broader scheme of the cosmos.

At this time, I realized that my materialist philosophy could no longer provide solace or answers to purpose or meaning in life. Regardless of how developed empirical science or equations may be, it can never explain away the white elephant in the room – consciousness.

Thus, from my mid-twenties to my very early thirties, I began to study many religions' ancient texts. It ranged from Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Egyptian mythology, Roman and Greek religions, New Age Spiritualism, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Confucianism, Taoism, Sufism, Zoroastrianism, and Gnosticism. It also included the mystical worldviews of less-known groups such as Native American philosophy.

I also started a serious study of Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife literature of many experts. This included Michael Newton, Brian Weiss, Kenneth Ring, Kelvin Williams, and Victor Zammit. During this time, I also started to engage in meditation and methods of altered consciousness.

In my late 20s, I experienced an Out-of-Body Experience. My soul floated out of my body, and I was looking down at it. During which, I gazed with three-dimensional vision at a resolution on the microscopic scale. As I progressed, I realized the importance of spirituality in our lives. It is vital, I felt, to know about its ultimate meaning and purpose.

When I was in the first year of graduate school (for my master’s degree in Existential Sociology), I experienced something similar to an enlightenment episode. It is pretentious to say that it is ‘enlightenment’ due to the misconceptions around it. Having such an experience does not make one superior or wiser. It merely broadens one’s worldview so that one may better cope with the adversities of life. During 2015, I had a series of such experiences that lasted for close to 4 weeks. During this, I had an elevated perspective and state of awareness.

I realized that the entire cosmos is unitary. All separation and time is an illusion. I also realized that it is important for people to love, accept, and help one another. Everything in the universe is imbued with life. I thus concluded that everything has innate value. During this span, I asked my higher consciousness on many questions. It then responded to me and unveiled many solutions to many personal, social, global, and universal issues.

Therefore, during this month, I penned out an unpublished book called Thus Spake Oneness. Its title is a pun on Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra. ‘Spake’ is not a grammatical error! This book spans about 250,000 words.

As an example, one of its content involves the question of separation. Many conflicts in this world, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict, arise when people see divisions based on race, gender, or nationality. However, what if we could dispel the illusion of separation? If we are all one, then the idea of hurting another amounts to hurting oneself. There are many other similar solutions to such problems. I concluded that space, time, matter, and consciousness are not absolute. They are mutable and subjective. They are real, of course. However, many people believe that they are static, thus, adorning an essentialist worldview.

This, in turn, becomes their prison.

Personal Background: Text
Image by Pereanu Sebastian
Personal Background: Image

Deciding to Become a Novelist

It was about this time when I decided to become a novelist, about 6 years ago. During this time, I began to experiment with various forms of writing. I wrote experimental science fiction and fantasy for a start. I also penned about 3 volumes of 200 to 250 poems.

During the initial phase, my prose was horrific. Yes! I swear it was horrible! Maybe I should share my entire drafts in the future. However, the good news was that it gave me a lot of insight into what to work on. Experience is the hardest and bitterest way to learn. However, once a person learns through the pain of such, it is ingrained forever.

I also started to write the current novel series, The Eternal Reflection. The original impetus to write this novel was actually for personal therapy. During my mid to late 20s, I had many social, psychological, and existential issues. I also suffered from depression and anxiety. In the same period, I experienced failure and the loss of a good friend called Michelle. Therefore, to cope with the inner pain, I felt more important to light a candle than curse the darkness.

After graduating with my master’s degree in Existential Sociology, I worked full-time in my novels.

Thus, The Eternal Reflection was born. I wrote the novel series so that each of the characters represents a part of my psyche. For instance, the primary character, Ni’vim, symbolizes the period of soul-searching and the shattering of my prior innocence and worldviews.

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