Doyle grew up in a small town near the Missouri Ozarks. His family endured all four types of poverty—they struggled with a lack of money, education, culture, and love. Occasionally, they slept on the streets or in bus depots because they had no home. During his childhood Doyle moved eighteen times. From early infancy, Doyle and two of his sisters endured severe abuse and physical torture by their sadistic father.
Unlike friends and relatives, Doyle managed to stay out of jail and become an over achiever. In grade school he worked at a motel to help support himself and in junior high he worked at a restaurant and as a door to door salesman. In high school he took every economic class offered: business law, business math, book keeping, typing, and accounting, all while working full time and attending college.
Because of Doyle’s small stature, and defiant big mouth, he was often ganged up on by high school jocks. At age fifteen he began taking martial arts classes; he walked over five miles to and from classes each week. Greatly influenced by the TV show Kung Fu, and other martial arts movies, Doyle switched his spiritual disciplines from western to eastern.
One of Doyle’s martial arts teachers alleged that fifteen minutes of meditation was equal to six hours of sleep. Doyle hoped that if he could work twenty-two hours a day instead of just sixteen, he could succeed sooner. He read every book he could find on meditation and eastern thought. He eventually realized that spiritual enlightenment—and not money—was the key to happiness and saving the world. After a year of practicing Zen, Doyle left Missouri to live in a Zen monastery.
On his nineteenth birthday, Doyle joined another strict spiritual community of about four hundred seekers. He was told that it was a personal relationship with God that he was seeking. Doyle took the monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. He meditated with the group twice a day, every day, for nine years. Sometimes he would meditate for sixteen hours a day for a week at a time.
Doyle studied with the American Indians. He tracked, hunted, and did vision quests. He fasted for days trying to contact “The Spirit that Moves in All Things.” (They refer to themselves as Indians, it is the anthropologist who call them Native Americans).
At age twenty-nine, a close-to-death experience forced Doyle to face a spiritual truth that he had denied for over a decade. Still, he refused to accept it for another ten years. In his early thirties, Doyle lived with ten Sannyasins who were followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh—a master from India. Then for another four years he delved into the modern metaphysical movement. He consulted more than forty psychics, sought his spirit guides, and did soul retrievals.
In his forties, after decades of passionate learning, discipline, and abstinence bore not the fruit he thirsted for, Doyle began to question everything that he thought he knew about God, religion, and spiritual growth. He finally accepted the lesson from his close-to-death experience—Doyle learned to perceive spirituality as it actually existed rather than how he wanted it, or needed it, to be.
Now in his sixties, after fifty years of ardent seeking, Doyle has found most of what he was looking for, but it is unlike any teaching, book, or religion that he has ever examined. In his latest book Spiritual Growth is Not What You Think, Doyle offers much of what he has learned; but more importantly, he offers all that he had to unlearn.
A 34 YEAR FLASH BACK
At age twenty, Doyle contracted a mysterious, life threatening, and debilitating disease. Along with chronic fatigue and insomnia he endured severe flu-like symptoms for two weeks of every month for 27 years. Although Doyle consulted 165 health care professionals, only the last one was of any help. Eventually, Doyle learned to manage his health issues; he is now an avid martial artist, body builder, backpacker, and swing dancer.