Jay’s story shares how a life changing event altered the course of his life. Through the common challenges that life offers and internal struggles we each have within us, Jay inspires us to rise above and situation. Jay’s life and writing focuses on life at the intersection of music and mysticism‘ and he speaks openly in his writing about his personal struggles in life, his transformational moments and how he grows daily through all life’s moments.

My journey of awakening and personal expansion

When I was 19 years old, I had a near-death experience (NDE) as a result of a car accident. During my time on the other side (to make a long story short), I was given the choice to stay, or come back to Earth. I was told that there were some things that I could do, and that if I chose to do them, there would be many hard challenges, but that the rewards would be beyond my imagining. Kind of like: “It’s a tough job, but it pays well“. I accepted the challenge, and came back.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t sent back with any knowledge about what it is, exactly, that I’m supposed to be doing. I wasn’t given an instruction manual, or any verbal instructions other than “Always try to do the right thing.”

Now, as a child of 19 (and yes, I was still very much a child at that age), I was a very, very dark…some might even say evil…person. I didn’t care about anybody, or anything other than myself. I hurt people without even caring that I did it, and I saw everyone and everything in my life as a resource to be used for my benefit. I would happily stab even my best friends in the back, if I thought it would earn me some temporary gain. I had no respect for authority, no respect for the rights or beliefs of others, and no compassion for anybody under any circumstances. I’m sure more of the people here are familiar with the term “lightworker“. Well, I was the opposite: a darkworker. I used anger, sadness, fear, and dishonesty to bring power to myself at the expense of everyone around me.

So after coming back, and during my recovery time, first in the hospital, and then later at my parent’s home, the question that echoed through my mind was “why?” Why would God (whom I perceived as a woman during my NDE) give a person like me a second chance? Why would She think that I would change, that I would become a good person? Why did I go to Heaven, instead of Hell, which is where I surely believed I was supposed to go when I died? Why, when thousands of really “good” people died everyday, was *I* given a second chance? None of it made any sense to me, so I buried it, and ignored it for the next couple of years, and continued down my path of darkness.

But then, I fell in love. Shortly after I fell in love, my daughter was born. And then it all made sense. My heart cracked wide open, and I suddenly realized that I didn’t want to be a bad person anymore. I wanted to be a good person…a good man…a good father. The problem was that I had no idea how to do that. So, I started studying different religions, learning about different spiritual traditions, and talking to many different people, all in the quest to find out what it meant to be “good“, and how I might change myself into a “good” person.

My Inspirations and Influences

At first, I read every book on religion and spirituality that I could find. I sought out teachers from many different traditions, and I asked them questions. The Internet was still in it’s infancy, so I spent a lot of time at the library and a lot of time at bookstores. I went to many different seminars and heard a lot of different speakers give presentations. I learned about almost every single religion in the world, both from reading the sacred texts (if they had any), and also by talking to the priests, shamans, clergy, or lay practitioners.

As I read and studied and learned more and more, I gradually began the process of sorting through it all. I learned how to take the beliefs that resonated with me, and disregard the parts that didn’t. I began to custom-build my own spirituality from the teachings of many different sources. I looked for concepts or beliefs that were common to many different religions, and I incorporated them into my life. I was actually looking for universal concepts…things that were universally recognized as “good” among all cultures and all religions, but I never found anything that was common to all people, at all times.

It was the writing of Steve Pavlina where I first encountered the terms “lightworker” and “darkworker“, and realized both what I had been, and what I was now trying to become. This was about six years ago, and since that time, I’ve been working to develop my “light” side…becoming a better person day by day, year by year, experience by experience.

I use the foundations that I learned through all my study (and I continue to study and learn as much as possible) to help grow my life in positive and loving directions. Every day, I try to be more loving; more compassionate; and more calm, peaceful, and relaxed. I try to focus on the good, grow the good, and express the good, while simultaneously fighting against returning to the darkness of my past. It’s not always easy…the dark side is truly seductive.

Oh, and since I mentioned the “dark side“, I should go ahead and state that Star Wars, and the writing of George Lucas, had a huge impact on me as a child, and as a result, even as an adult, I believe that the Jedi, the Force, and the generic spirituality of the Star Wars universe is one of the best versions of a religion or spirituality out there. He really did his homework while researching all of that, and did a fine job of distilling many thousands of years of spiritual teachings from hundreds of different religions into something easily accessible, recognizable, and understandable.

I would also be completely remiss if I didn’t mention music, and the huge part it has played in my life. I love music, in almost all it’s forms (not a big fan of polka or bluegrass), and I always have been. My family and friends have introduced me to many different forms of music over the course of my life, and I soaked it all up. I believe that the Muse is universal, and that she helps out artists regardless of what music they play, or what art they make. The Muse gives us inspiration, wisdom, and love through the lyrics and music that she helps people write, and because of that, music is an excellent connection to the Divine. Really, all art is, but music speaks to *my* soul most clearly.

My Positive Life Changes

The changes in my life have been HUGE! I mean, like night and day. I’m a completely different person than I was when I had that NDE nearly 20 years ago.

I’m a much happier person than I was. I’m certainly much more pleasant to be around. I’m calmer and more peaceful. I’m kind, loving, compassionate, and generous. I laugh easily, and I love freely. I forgive completely, and I work actively to understand other people…who they are, what they believe, and why they do the things they do and say the things they say.

I’m always constantly striving to make myself a kinder, gentler, more loving person, and I’m always striving to make the world a better place – for everyone, not just for myself. As a result, I have been blessed to encounter so many other helpful, loving, and kind souls, and even more blessed to have befriended them.

All of the relationships in my life are much better, much more rich and fulfilling than they ever were before. The more I evolve, the better my life becomes. It really is true what I heard on the other side: The challenges have been great, but the rewards have been awesome!

My Next Steps as an Evolving Being

This is a tough time that I am entering right now. You see, for the whole time that I have been growing, and changing…I’ve been ignoring the dark parts of myself. I’ve been repressing my anger, my sadness, and my fears that allowed me to become such a powerful darkworker in the first place. But, I’ve reached the point in my growth where I can’t ignore those parts any longer. I have to start exploring them more fully: going back into my childhood, and digging around my memories to find out where they came from, and how I might heal those memories.

These are all things that I have discussed in therapy before, but I need to revisit them from a more spiritual perspective. Despite my life being so much better, and despite having a lot more peacefulness and happiness, I still suffer from bouts of depression. When I’m in a depressed state, I tend to backslide in the realm of spirituality, and I become more like the person I was, instead of the person I am trying to become. I lose my connection with the Light, and I forget the things that I believe. I act out hurtfully and destructively.

So, the next step for me is to get rid of that darkness once and for all. Either cut it out like the cancerous growth that it is, or find a way to neutralize it or integrate it so that it can’t do me (or those around me) any more harm. The goal is to love myself more fully, so that I can love the world more fully. As I continue this journey, I will be documenting it on my site JaySchryer.com

My Advice to Others

Learn everything you can. Read as much as possible from as many religions and spiritual teachings as you can. Talk to as many people as you can. Learn from as many sources as possible. Learn about different beliefs, different cultures, and different perspectives from your own.

If something resonates with you, integrate it into your life. Seek wisdom from conventional sources, such as books and wise men, but also from unconventional sources such as music or science fiction.

If a belief or concept doesn’t feel right to you, throw it out, no matter where you learned it from. It might be something that you revisit at a later date, or it might just be garbage. 90% of everything you read or people say is garbage.

In the end, you must find your own truth, and live it.