About Johnny

Johnny StorkWelcome to my personal home page which is an aggregation of (most of) what I post on social-media and is fed by the excellent RebelMouse tool. For most of my life I have had the great privilege of pursuing many passions, each of which I have given 100% simply for their own sake and not for any particular external or financial reward. I have never had any interest in financial wealth, social status or any other form of societal or professional recognition. My life is a journey of passionate pursuits, intellectual stimulation, creative and wilderness explorations, spiritual and psychological development and during the past 15 or more years, business and educational technologies. My goals in life are simple. I strive to continue developing intellectually, psychologically, physically and spiritually as a human being and to give back to this planet more than I have taken through my existence. Building on my past and current educational pursuits in neuropsychology, transpersonal psychology, shamanistic psychology, meditation/mindfulness, lifestyle coaching and writing, I hope to share my education and experience to help other’s achieve their own goals and to live a life of purpose and joy. Along this journey I hope to meet the Warrior Princess Goddess of my dreams so that we may explore and grow our individual and shared passions for life, while giving back to our community and helping other’s to live a life of purpose and joy.

History

Steel FoundryI grew up in Vancouver, BC (Lynn Valley, North Vancouver) and at 17 I started working in a non-ferrous foundry as a furnace man melting and pouring brass, aluminum and manganese for ship propellers. At around 18 I moved to a large steel foundry where I was also pouring metals, but now I was pouring 3000 degree molten steel from ladles weighing upwards of 10 tonnes. It was during those foundry years where I literally grew from a boy into a man. Partially from the incredible (and dangerous) responsibilities I had earned in the foundries; partially from the extraordinary mentorship I received from the older men who took me under their wings and taught me what it meant to work hard and take responsibility for my words and conduct; and partially from having assumed legal custody and guardianship of my younger brother when I was only 19.

Top of Buttress RouteWhen the steel industry crashed in the early 80’s I became a painter but after a few years of owning and operating a couple of painting companies, I was growing increasingly bored with my life and felt I needed more of a challenge. Although I was a rock climber in those days I suppose I was looking for more of an intellectual challenge and so after a climbing trip through BC and Alberta, and following an encouraging comment from a friend who thought I would make a good child psychologist after watching me interact with her 10 year old son, I gave up painting and applied to a local college. That was 1985 and I am still going to school and expect to do so for the rest of my life.

My education and interest in psychology has covered a broad range of disciplines including experimental psychology, developmental psychology, neuropsychology, statistical and applied research methods and now spiritual and transpersonal psychology. Along with a fair amount of philosophy thrown in as well. During the first 4-5 years of my psychological education I worked with young offenders, both violent and sexually offending youth. Along with participating in the development and operation of the first adolescent sexual offender program in BC, I also took in numerous young boys and provided long-term care, counselling, program development and outdoor recreational opportunities. If I am unable to give back anything else in my life, I am supremely grateful for having had the opportunity to (hopefully) made a small change, a small improvement, in the lives of those abused and troubled young boys. There is nothing I am more proud of in my life, than the time I spent working with, befriending and earning the trust of, those boys and young men.

Educational Philosophy

Stawamus ChiefCurrently I live in the shadow of the 2000 foot granite monolith named The Stawamus Chief in Squamish BC, where I spent around 12 years rock climbing my “Spirit Rock“). I am also a graduate student in transpersonal and spiritual psychology with an interest in social and educational technologies, while also working for a global technology security company providing Linux support services. Linux is a Unix operating system variant which literally powers the Internet and the majority of infrastructure technologies we all take for granted today like web sites and mobile technologies. The basis, or foundation of the explosive growth of Linux technologies is (at least partially) due to it’s “open” nature, it’s “open source” nature to be exact. Although the term is most commonly associated with the sharing of computer programming code which facilitates open and transparent contributions, improvements and enhancements from a global community of volunteer programmers, the underlying philosophy of sharing knowledge inherent with “open-source” has spread to many other fields. Over the past decade or so there has been increasing support for sharing knowledge from science (Open Science), providing free access to scientific journals (Open Access) and free access to educational resources (Open Learning). The concept is simple; by opening up science, education and knowledge to more people, we not only create more opportunities for significant advancements in many fields but we also introduce more people to education and knowledge opportunities. I believe this is the future we need most, one in which everyone on the planet has access and can contribute to, a global knowledge pool. In order to accomplish this lofty if not idealist goal of open knowledge and education for everyone, I believe we must detach the current economic values and incentives we place on knowledge and learning, and replace them with humanistic and altruistic values which recognize the basic human right of everyone to flourish and evolve as a human being. I believe this basic human right to flourish and evolve as a human being as at least partially facilitated through open access to knowledge and education. This belief around the humanitarian value, even fundamental human right, of open, shared and collaboratively developed knowledge forms the basis of my educational and academic philosophy.

Spiritual Philosophy

My interest in matters psychological, philosophical and spiritual began when I started reading the books from Carlos Castaneda in my early teens. In my later teens I explored hallucinogens which opened my mind to the varieties of altered conscious states available to all of us. During my climbing years, more than one near-death and out-of-body experience resulting from long falls introduced me to the unmeasurable, unspeakable, unquantifiable and indescribable state of what I can only refer to as Unified or Non-Local Consciousness. No event has had more of an impact on me psychologically or spiritually and my life is very much divided into the period before and the period after those events. NOTHING has ever been the same for me since – my perspectives on self, consciousness, reality and existence were irreversibly changed – illuminated and awakened – from those experiences.

So what did those experiences really mean? Honestly I really have no idea but here’s my best guess, my best interpretation thus far which rings true for me personally although I imagine this perspective or opinion may change as I continue to learn and practice more in the areas of spiritual and transpersonal psychology. Also, I agree with Joseph Campbell and many others who refer to these concepts or experiences as beyond thought, beyond words and so can only be referred to indirectly, or described through metaphor, mythology or art. But since I am not skilled in any of these areas, I am stuck with my limited vocabulary so here goes.

When Buddhists speak of our True Nature, when Hindu’s speak of Brahman, when other’s speak of the Divine Ground or The Source, when indigenous North American cultures speak of the Great Spirit, when we speak of the Ultimate Reality or the Perennial Philosophy, I believe what I experienced in those falls around 1000 feet up on the Chief, was an echo or manifestation of my own True Nature. Although at the time I never made the connection between those experiences and an academic or personal interest in spiritual psychology, I am certain those events form some of the cobblestone’s which make up the pathway of my academic and spiritual life today.

I also believe that our civilization is in need of a significant paradigm shift in thinking, educating and communicating if we are to evolve morally, even survive, in the future. I believe this paradigm shift in moral, even spiritual development, might begin through the collective and shared effects of individuals recognizing and realizing their own True Nature. My interest in social-media and global communication, collaboration and learning environments is partially based on this belief.

As I mentioned above, I also believe this True Nature, or Buddha Nature, the Ultimate Reality, is transcendent of and beyond, traditional human sensory experience but can be indirectly experienced, even developed through meditation and other spiritual or contemplative practices.  I also believe that all of the world’s theistic and non-theistic traditions metaphorically reflect aspects of this True Nature and are thus united, even equal on this level. I believe that all of the world’s religions and spiritual traditions have the potential to put us in touch with a deeper sense of our selves, a deeper awareness of our True Nature, as well as a larger sense of us all – a recognition of, and connection with, the Source, the Great Spirit, our True Nature, our Buddha Nature, Brahman.

The ultimate, unqualified mystery is beyond Human experience.”  (Joseph Campbell)

The Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names” (Hindu Rig-Veda)

All religions are true in this sense: They are true as metaphorical of the inner spiritual potentialities of men and women” (Joseph Campbell)

I also believe that our apparently obvious and self-evident perception or experience of separateness and individuality is the most common, pervasive form of collective human psychosis and mass delusion. Our perceived separateness from others, is an illusion and the basis of many of man’s individual and collective problems. The single most important message from most of the world’s spiritual, philosophical and even scientific traditions is one of UNITY. We are all truly a global community of One and need to think, act, communicate and collaborate with our fellow humans with this as our guiding principle.

Tat Tvam Asi – We are It, Thou Art That

Closing Remarks

Exactly where my interests in transpersonal/spiritual psychology, social-media and educational technologies will ultimately lead me is unclear. Nor am I all that concerned about reaching any particular destination since I am still “following my bliss” to quote Joseph Campbell, one of my favorite spiritual and mythological scholars. However, I do hope to teach online courses one day at the graduate level, and possibly even in the business world (mindful leadership) as well as continuing to promote the social, even spiritual value (or potential) of the global and collaborative nature of social-media and online learning environments.