Where did you grow up?
I was born northern Minnesota (thank god my parents had the good sense to leave there). We lived in western Washington until I was 10; then we moved to San Jose.
Where did you go to school?
I went to school in Santa Clara. Then after only one semester of college, the "Hippie Era" hit, and that was the end of my formal education. But I'm a reader; I always have my nose is a book, and if I'm interested in something, I go find out about it.
Tell us about your family
My parents were dirt-
What is your profession?
I worked in auto parts sales and distribution for 15 years, but lost that job because of my drinking. Then I was in microwave antenna assembly for a number of years before going to work at Home Depot (which I do not recommend).
How did you get past your alcoholism?
It all started out harmlessly in my early 20s. I left home and got my first apartment, laid in a supply of booze and thought, “I'm a grown-
What are your hobbies/interests?
When I was a teen, I bicycled a lot. When my boys were little, we went camping once a month, all year 'round, sometimes with the scouts and sometimes without them. I love the out-
I’m the facilitator for the Nooners’ AA group, take AA literature and the message of recovery into the jails every Thursday night, lead a class on the "Big Book" Alcoholics Anonymous every Saturday at noon, was just elected to the Alano Club board of directors (the Alano Club is a drop-
Now that I'm not so physically active, I read about science, medicine, history, ancient history and I like a good biography once in a while. I've recently been doing some tutoring at the Literacy Center to help folks improve their reading skills.
What got you interested in studying religions
When I was 15, I felt something was lacking in my life, so I got “religious,” thinking that would fill the void. I've been a Baptist, Methodist and Lutheran. But nothing “worked” for me, so I started searching. I studied all the major religions and most of the minor ones and came to the conclusion that religion is man-
I finally found what I was looking for when my AA sponsor steered me to the Advaita-
What brought you to the Center?
I got fed up with “good people” judging and condemning, trying to force me into their mold, but I needed someplace to go on Sunday mornings, and the people at the Center are really nice and welcoming. I was exposed to this philosophy when I lived in the Bay Area, but my first couple of experiences didn't really suit me. When I was “shopping” for a church home here in Visalia, I knew that RS/SOM was as close as I could get to the Eastern teachings that really speak to me, so I have been coming off and on for several years. I've made some good friends here who really care about each other.
How are you involved in the Center?
Barry Klein pointed out to me that the yellow cards in the Sunday bulletin can be used over, and since then we've gone to a month-
What have you learned in your religion and spirituality study.
The common thread that I found in most religions is the “Golden Rule,” which is not a Christian concept. Buddha was teaching it 500 B.C., and it is found in some form in all the major religions. Heaven and hell are in your mind. You create your own heaven or hell right here, right now, by your attitude and actions. The only “sin” that I can think of is being selfish and self-
Gary “Pete” Peetra