The Life of Bryan – and how he healed his past and learned to forgive

Lynne McTaggart

The first thing I noticed about Bryan was his laugh. I was a fellow editor in the shabby offices of a British publishing company in 1985 and, newly separated at the time from a three-year-old marriage, had very little to smile about.

 The first thing I noticed about Bryan was his laugh. I was a fellow editor in the shabby offices of a British publishing company in 1985 and, newly separated at the time from a three-year-old marriage, had very little to smile about.


We’d been in the middle of an otherwise uneventful corporate meeting of the company’s editorial and advertising staff when the proceedings were interrupted by an outburst from one corner of the room. An entire editorial team was convulsed in giggles, led by the editor, the loudest of the group.


This was no ordinary laugh. This deep baritone burst open the silence, seeped into every corner, and rained down on every person seated in the room. Indeed, as I discovered when I heard it again in subsequent weeks, Bryan’s laugh was fully capable of traversing walls.


Although it soon had everyone in the room laughing along – a particularly dour group ordinarily – these were not simply copycat gestures. They represented the shock of recognition that occurs when the listener is a rare witness to joy emerging straight from within soul.


An abused child

The resonance of that laugh was all the more astonishing to me after I got to know Bryan in the months that followed and learned something of his history. As a child Bryan had

been a victim of abuse – not physical abuse but mental cruelty of the most potentially debilitating kind. His father, George, an intelligent, if emotionally arrested man, had been severely disappointed in his own life and consequently vented most of his frustration with its shortcomings on his young son – usually in the form of a venomous sarcasm.


Bryan had been his father’s unwanted third child from a second marriage – and a constant reminder of his own failure to create a loving relationship, particularly with his first wife, who preferred to have her two children taken away from her rather than live with George for one more day.


George refused to acknowledge his son by name and never missed an opportunity to belittle, shout at, or in some way verbally abuse him. Although Bryan was extremely intelligent, his father placed him in a school for tough delinquents, where he essentially survived only by nimble verbal sleight of hand.


George wasn’t content to ignore his youngest son’s prodigious gifts but did his best to crush them, ignoring a letter from Bryan’s school recommending that he apply to Oxford University, so that he was made to leave school at 16.


Bryan’s mother Edie adored him, but as an orphan who’d never had any parental figures in her own life, and as George’s other target, she’d had no blueprint for how to become an encouraging parent.In a sense, Bryan had to grow up and launch his subsequent career as a successful journalist, publisher and entrepreneur in spite of his parents.


Often in such a desolate landscape, humour becomes a sanctuary, as does deep spiritual inquiry. Bryan became a spiritual seeker during his early teenage years, and it was no accident that when he put himself through university as an adult, he pursued a degree in philosophy.


Conversations with George

From my perspective, this backstory didn’t accord in any way with the happy, sensitive person in front of me and the exemplary father he became to our two daughters – except at certain moments. During the course of our joyful 30-year partnership I observed as Bryan’s past occasionally hovered over him like an unwelcome phantom.


In response to some stimulus – a slightly raised voice or the mildest of challenges – he’d angrily lash out. I was stunned by this outsize response until I realized what was going on.


He wasn’t having a conversation with me. He was still talking to George. He was, as he would now put it, ‘time-heavy,’ trying to put to rest something unresolved from his past. He was also seeking an answer to a kind of ‘what’s-it-all-about?’ depression that had quietly descended over him for more than a decade.


Over time, I observed this phantom making an appearance with less and les
s frequency. Bryan preferred mapping the journey to his own understanding and healing rather than taking the ride with a therapist, and like most creative people, he sought to universalize his experience so that ultimately he could help others as well as himself.


As he observed the process of shedding his own phantoms, he began to consider the possibility that the past exists as a separate self in all of us –and becomes, in most cases, the bully of the other selves.


The theory of the three selves

One day, when I returned from a trip, his theory of the Three Selves emerged, fully formed, as if pulled out of thin air, and Bryan then spent many months refining it before putting it together in his book, The Untrue Story of You. Although there are certain parallels with other disciplines, I’ve yet to find another model that answers so much about the complexity of the human experience with such profound simplicity.


Other theories that attempt to define consciousness fall short because they don’t encompass the intricacies of our lives and the full range of human potential. The majority of programs promising enlightenment fail precisely because they don’t take into account the subversive power of the past.


Besides examining the largely negative effect of the past self and how it becomes like a permanent unwanted guest, the Three Selves model provided a brilliant answer to so many of the big questions man has never had adequate answers for – from events that take place ‘outside of time’, such as remote viewing or near-death experiences, to human consciousness and its ‘life’ outside of the physical body.


As such, the theory jibed perfectly with my own work on The Field, The Bond and the power of consciousness.


In addition to laying out one of the most plausible theories I’ve ever read about what it means to be human, Bryan wanted to arm his readers with a powerful set of tools, a step-by-step to help shed the burdens of the past and become time-light – and so free, as Bryan puts it, ‘to fall back in love with your life’.


Bryan’s book resonates so deeply because it speaks with the authentic truth of personal experience. In the last years of George’s life, Bryan was able to forgive his father, while George came to love his son deeply, looking forward to his visits and even asking for him on his deathbed.  It was extraordinarily moving to be witness to that precious and rare thing: a full resolution of the past.


 Ultimately, Bryan’s book represents his journey, from the pain and darkness of unexamined adversity to understanding and recovered wholeness.


May you take to the road with him and learn to travel light:

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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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