I wrote this after reading about Shinichiro Imaoka’s conversion process in Cosmic Sage.

From being the son of JW parents, I embraced the faith myself through the example of others but most importantly, Niko Rabe. I once dreamt of following his footsteps. I communicated with him and even joined him in the ministry. When I reached Baguio, Ced Bartolome became a model to follow, particularly in using sign language effectively when teaching the Deaf. When I started taking on a more serious ministerial role, Roy Agbayani and Crispin Rulloda helped me greatly.

I converted out of the JWs in a messy way. I didn’t find a model to follow in humanism or atheism. Perhaps that’s the reason why I didn’t stay there for long. Dave Ursillo was the model I followed entering Eastern spirituality (yoga, taoism, buddhism, hinduism, new age, etc.). Shortly after this, I met Rem Tanauan, but I never really saw him as a mentor for spirituality. To me, he was more like someone I practiced tolerance with and exchanged ideas.

In 2017, I converted to rational philosophy through Steve Patterson. I would stay here for a long time that I didn’t read much about ethics (except for amoralism) and religion. I also distanced myself from the problematic word spirituality. But I remained contemplative and practiced zen meditation.

Through the long walk in 2022, I began entertaining the possibility of reintegrating religious aspects into my work. It became clear to me that “how to live” was the central question of my life work. I entertained deep philosophy, hoping to combine contemplation and philosophy. I also read about lyrical philosophy or lyric philosophy. It was during these readings that I met Andrew J. Brown, unitarianism, and really liberal religion.

As of November 30, 2023, this is where I find myself: on the process of conversion into jiyu shukyo. I chose this path today because it is concerned primarily with the art of living and that it integrates well with all my other interests. Free religion because it is here where I find exemplars that I could follow, guides to the life that I want. Interestingly, Andrew and Imaoka consider themselves inheritors of transcendentalism, promulgated by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The latter is a long-time hero of mine.