As a child, Daniel Brenton was full of questions. He spent many a night around the dinner table in his Midwestern hometown, listening to his parents and their friends discuss topics like the size of the universe, the future, Biblical prophecies about the end of time, and the true meaning of existence. Daniel was fascinated by such talk, and every once in a while a grown-up would actually indulge his questions with thoughtful responses. Living with fundamental Christian rhetoric in his daily life, Daniel unconsciously yearned for something bigger, something greater, in which to believe. He was already a seeker of a little thing he likes to call Truth.
To Daniel, Truth is like a little window into a greater reality. Such a reality has no good, no evil; no up, no down; no divisions at all. It is everything at once, the underlying meaning to all life. It is the place of peace and fulfillment. “What I call ‘Truth’ I believe is synonymous to what Buddhists call the ‘Void,’ what the Tao Te Ching calls ‘the Tao,’ what Jesus called ‘the Light.’ It is—forgive this dry explanation because it doesn't really do it justice—Reality. Reality being unitary, eternal, infinite.”
While Christianity had been a part of Daniel’s life for the better part of his childhood, he’d been rebelling internally for quite some time. He finally began making a conscious shift toward this idea of Truth in the 1970s, when he was leaving home to go to college. “Christianity promised to feed me emotionally to some extent, but it didn't answer my questions, and I saw it was used by many people close to me as justification for some pretty hateful behavior. I could reject it intellectually, but there was an emotional component that I lost in the process.” A mother of one of Daniel’s friends had herself moved away from Catholicism, immersing herself in the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, Joel Goldsmith, Sri Aurobindo, and more, and was following a meditation method proposed by a somewhat extreme Christian mystic in the United States. Her influence helped guide Daniel into new levels of thought about the meaning of existence. “As I headed into college, I recall one night that I was sorting through some different kinds of esoteric material I had been exposed to, and it dawned on me that everything in the universe had a characteristic of being cyclic or having some kind of frequency, so that the underlying structure of the universe was wave-like in some manner. This was a first real ‘Ah HA!’ moment. This was analyzing, of course, but it at least reassured me that there was a ‘something’ from which all of the Universe arose.”
The insatiable quest to find this “something” took Daniel down several dead end paths, leaving him lost and confused. He eventually embraced a harsh Christian doctrine out of his dire need to find some sort of answers to the big mysteries in life. For nearly two years, Daniel grappled with this strict doctrine, constantly searching for the answers he wanted. Finally, in 1980, while reading from one of the doctrine’s books, he realized something new. He was going to have to find the answers himself! Walking into a bookstore, Daniel ran into a misplaced book entitled Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Maurice Bucke. In it, Bucke described numerous historical figures that all dealt with the same kind of experience Daniel was going through. “I believe what occurred was the opening of an ‘intuitive channel.’ I did not, by any means, experience Reality to the degree the Buddha has been depicted of doing, but I think I had a grasp of something significant and absolute.” It was his first obvious experience with Truth. “I made my first real connection with Truth when I reached a point when my intention was strong enough, where it was more important to me than anything else.”
“To Daniel, Truth is like a little window into a greater reality. Such a reality has no good, no evil; no up, no down; no divisions at all. It is everything at once, the underlying meaning to all life. It is the place of peace and fulfillment.”
Since that time, Daniel has worked to grow closer to this experience of Truth and Reality. Early on, he studied the works of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Later, in the 1980's, he began a decade-long relationship with a spiritual mentor who was heavily influenced by the self-study spiritual thought system A Course in Miracles. Through this mentor he also found the Unity School of Christianity and the Church of Religious Science. “What I've found isn't final Truth, but a path to it. I continue to grow into it daily. It goes through phases of sudden growth and virtual dormancy, but it continues. There's an emotional component as well. The initial sense was—finally! —a sense of underlying meaning to my life, to all Life, that I knew had to be there somewhere. At times (I am still growing in this) I feel more peace, bliss, a deeper sense of completion, a better connection to the ‘flow’ of my personal path, a deeper feeling of purpose, and a fuller sense of meaning.”
His search for Truth has shaped Daniel’s life in every way. While he does not have a devotional practice per se, he does meditate daily with a series of affirmations that give his mind something to do. And, he enjoys quiet more than most folks. “When I find something that I want or need a spiritual answer to, I ‘listen’ to the question or problem, and stay with it until the answer reveals itself. This may not happen overnight, but eventually I get my answer. I think I look at life more holistically than most people (though not as holistically as some) and I've had co-workers and managers compliment me for being able to ‘think out of the box.’ I also tend to think in terms of the meanings behind events and circumstances, and I'm nowhere near as frightened of death as I used to be.”
Daniel has also taken his own quest for answers and turned it into a guide for others. His web site (http://www.danielbrenton.com) shares his thoughts on Truth and other mysteries with others. Additionally, he has given lectures on the subject of the power of gratitude and plans to return to this in the future. “Truth is in everything I think and write about at some level. In a sense, I am my message. I still live my life, and in pretty much the way most people live it, but I see a significance in it that I'm afraid most people miss. Maybe, here and there, I can help people who want to see it, see it. I’ve heard the music. I can’t go back, because there’s nowhere to go back to. My life before was empty.”
Walking the path of Truth provides Daniel with both fulfillment and peace. While he is quick to point out that there is still much for him to learn, he is content and willing to follow wherever the answers lead him. As Daniel himself writes on his web site, “Part of my world has always been ‘out there,’ traveling the literal or metaphorical heavens. I haven’t been able to get away from it, and in my heart of hearts, I never have really wanted to.”
Thank you Daniel, for sharing your Story with us.
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