Coming to adulthood in the '70s "Me Decade", Peter Gabriel was on board as various '60s cults and psychological self-therapies went mainstream, notably EST (Erhard Seminars Training), of which he still remains an enthusiast.
"Anyone with an open mind wanting to explore the world was drawn to that movement. There were fairly scary adventures that could change lives. Last year I met Werner Erhard [born John Paul Rosenberg, the former salesman who created the EST course]; many people feel negatively about him, but I enjoyed him enormously. The whole system he set up felt like a hard-sell American organization but if you didn't have a year to spend in an ashram yet still wanted to shake up your life a bit, you could go for a couple of weekends and get severely challenged.
"It taught me all sorts of things, of which one was to be responsible for your life and who you are---don't blame others, don't be a victim. I'd been doing that. The analogy is of a boat in dangerous water: would you rather be in the hold bitching about the captain or standing at the helm with the power to change direction? you can only get to that position if you're prepared to take responsibility. It's very logical but very hard sometimes---I can't always stay in that place but I know life works better when you're there.
"The other thing is to be authentic about who you are, how you feel, and what's going on...It's about being real. We spend so much of our lives not actually being who we are but who we imagine we ought to be."
Several years ago, I overcame my media-induced reservations and completed the "Curriculum For Living" at Landmark Education, the current version of what used to be called EST, and I found it to be very useful and life-enhancing, and well worth the psychic and financial challenge for anyone who has the nerve to try it. Gabriel's description is spot on as far as I'm concerned. Quite a pleasant surprise to see such a glowing endorsement from a somewhat hip source.