First I will tell you the end of this story then I will fill in the details. Around 4 years ago I entered into a state of Oneness (or non duality) that persisted for almost 2 years. For the first few weeks of the experience I barely moved - yet things still happened. I was without desire or need of any kind although I still slept and ate. Mostly it was a state of total safety - like standing alone in a vast landscape as a storm raged around you whilst feeling invincible. As the experience went on it was characterized by a feeling of complete acceptance and love for anyone and everyone I met. Strangers were encountered as loved ones, there was no anger, fear or desire. My sense of separate self dissolved to the point where I occasionally experienced my feet and legs passing through the floor as I walked and when I sat in a room I had no ability to discern if the voice I was hearing was my own or someone else's.
At one point there was the realization that the illusion of reality was a creation of THIS and was maintained as an opportunity to experience creativity - only possible in a state of physicality and duality. The realization was a knowing that the illusion could be ended in an instant or could be rejoined as the game that it is. I chose the latter.
This is the Story that led to that point...
One morning around 15 years ago I woke to find something in the room that simply wasn't there the night before. It wasn't an object or a sound or even a subtle shade of colour - it was something I could not see or touch but its presence was overwhelming. Looking back I can use words to describe it such as flow, spirit, love or even God but even now these remain ordinary words for an extraordinary experience. The best I can say is that I awoke with a sense of being In Love and Loved but the object and source of that love was invisible to me.
For weeks it remained and I tried to fathom what on earth it could be. As an agnostic who had grown distrustful of the church since childhood I had nowhere to put it. I wandered around outside churches wishing I could go inside but something stopped me. I spoke to the only religious friend I had but she too seemed confused by the experience I shared.
I think now that if I had lived in a more religiously aware community the experience might have been seen as a spiritual Calling. I might have been encouraged to follow it into a life of contemplation. But for me this wasn't the path.
After 6 weeks or so of this extraordinary state I became scared. People I discussed the experience with not only offered no explanation but began to feel uncomfortable talking about it. I started to feel isolated and what at first was an astonishing experience began to change into a concern that I was losing my mind. As my anxiety grew I sought solace in socializing and drinking with friends and decided to stop talking about it completely. I decided to try to block out the feeling and as I did so it began to fade. It's hard now to recall how or when it stopped but as it did it was replaced with an extraordinary depression.
I became completely unable to communicate and eventually my partner left me. A few months later my mother died suddenly. I slipped further into a state of emotional immobility - I felt as though I were underwater - just managing to hang onto my job and sanity.
A year or so later having come through the depression I found myself by chance at a sculpture exhibition. At the time I was running an advertising agency working with non profit making organizations and I had some time to kill before a client meeting. It was raining and I took shelter in a gallery in London. The exhibition room was full of sculptures by Constantin Brancussi. I had no real interest in sculpture at the time but the gallery was warm and dry. As I started to look at the abstract sculptures something began to happen. I began to cry and at the same time the extraordinary love feeling started to return. I found myself trapped in the gallery as tears flooded down my face. The feeling was not of sadness, the sculptures didn't remind me of anything, if anything the tears were emotionally neutral, a physical release. Eventually I managed to stem the flow and get through the meeting but when I got home the tears returned and they didn't stop for 2 weeks.
The power of the experience led me to hand in my notice. All I wanted to know was what it was that Brancussi had done that had caused such a release (which I now see as healing). I was only 26 years old and successful at what I was doing but I knew I had a new path to follow. I gave up my job and started making sculpture. Unfortunately things weren't to be straight forward and shortly after giving up my job I became ill. The illness wasn't life threatening but was extremely painful and incapacitating. I spent almost a year in bed beside myself with pain. Medical intervention just made things worse.
During this time the feeling came but mostly was obliterated by the pain. During this time I had some amazing encounters which I won't expand on here but which included a visitation from a man I met in my dreams and being told I was to be trained as a Shaman (which I rejected). Most significantly at this time though I was forced to question all that we believe in. I had no choice I was stuck.
One day I sat on the sofa and asked my mind to quantify for me the difference between one second ago and a million years ago. How was one further from me than the other. In an instant my mind actually seemed to blow. Like a simultaneous explosion and implosion - from that moment I could no longer visualize the future or the past - they simply lost their meaning - although I continued to talk about them in everyday use. I simply no longer believed that time was passing.
As the illness improved I went to work for a well known sculptor in the Snowdonia area of Wales. Again this story is one of remarkable chance and synchronicity but is not the purpose of this story. After a couple of years I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and had to stop working for him.
Around this time I visited a conference in Dublin and became interested in a talk on Sacred Geometry. The speaker gave details of an upcoming workshop and I decided to attend. When I turned up for the workshop though it wasn't about sacred geometry at all. It was about using a method of intention to Clear old limiting thoughts, beliefs and emotions. To cut a long story short this process led to a state of emotional discharge that created a prolonged state of non ego attachment that enabled an experience of oneness. In a sense it dissolved the building blocks of my separateness - my attachment to my memory of who I was and how I felt. Without this there was no need or desire - all that was left was THIS.
After the experience my physical symptoms all but disappeared and I left my home and partner of 10 years (as I could see no need for relationship) and traveled alone in Australia and New Zealand. I now work as an artist and also teach occasional workshops in the process called StillFlow which has come out of the experience.