My life was changed forever on 29th November 2002 by an event that would be etched in my consciousness for all eternity. A benevolent presence was with me as I sat behind the steering wheel of a smashed car obstructing the fast lane of the M40 just north of Oxford. It was a typically busy day with cars travelling at their usual break neck speed. I looked up through the driver’s side window to see the yellow driving lights of a fast approaching car only yards away. In the next moment, a mere blink of the eye, it would career headlong into mine and I would be dead. Yet I did not mind, it felt like this was meant to happen. A part of me was already in heaven, the rest was about to join it.
Why was I so at peace? Why was I positively looking forward to my own death? Up to that point, I had been living a lie; a forty year old business man with wife and two children leading a rapidly expanding web development company, an executive lifestyle with an executive car and house to match. I had all the trappings of a successful consumeristic life style, everything we in society are conditioned to aspire to. Yet nothing seemed to satisfy me. There was always the search for something else as yet unknown. Earlier, I had managed to momentarily pacify my discontent with better cars, gadgets, clothes or music. When these failed, adrenaline sports took over and most Sundays you’d find me careering down a rocky mountain pass on my top-of-the-range mountain bike or deeply engaged in my other form of reality avoidance - the martial arts.
In truth I was clinically depressed. My thirteen year marriage had
been on the rocks for some years. Unlike the tired Friday night videos, we were not “living life happily ever after”. We had long since lost genuine interest in each other and the vacuum of true soul connection had been filled by predictable mutual dependency. My life was determined by pleasing others because in truth I lacked the courage to be genuine and speak my honest feelings: pleasing my children on a Saturday at Whacky Warehouse because I had lost the ability to do something original; pleasing my friends by fulfilling their conditioned expectations of me; pleasing ridiculously demanding customers because I needed that ever burgeoning pay cheque. I was truly lost in the rat race, climbing the endless property ladder to nowhere. Something just had to give... and finally, just when all hope seemed to be lost, life did give. It gave more than I could ever - in my wildest dreams - imagine possible.
It had begun a few weeks earlier with an email, “the chance of a lifetime”, an all expenses paid trip to Comdex, the international technology conference in Las Vegas. There was just one more vacant place available to the first applicant. The thought of winning never entered my mind, but something deep within caused me to apply anyway. Surprise, surprise! I won the last place and a few weeks later, just like Alice, I was whisked off to a magical wonderland. As the plane steadily emerged out of the dark, billowing clouds shrouding Heathrow International Airport, there was a deepening sense I was leaving the darkness and density of my past behind. Mid flight entertainment was the film “The Bourne Identity”, the story of a betrayed man, shot several times in the back and cast adrift in the ocean. Miraculously discovered by the crew of a fishing trawler, he is rescued and healed, but left suffering amnesia, unaware of his true identity. Comfortably numb I may have been, but even so, I could not miss the startling synchronistic parallel with my own life. Indeed, from the very beginning, there was a sense of magic in the air, a presence, seemingly able to shape events like my encounter with Maria, a wonderfully warm and sharing soul who helped me to let go - just for a moment - of the depression and hopelessness of my meaningless life, which now seemed many worlds away.
One of the seven wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon, is but a short flight from Las Vegas and in my current mood of surrender, a trip there with Maria seemed infinitely more appealing than back-to-back seminars courtesy of corporate America. As we stared together into the majestic void, the feeling that we were stood on the very precipice of life itself, gripped the core of my being. Perhaps it was this infinite stillness that sparked off the inner alchemy to finally abandon the annoying chatter of my child like ego. Perhaps it was the growing feeling of a guiding presence or the deep yearning of my long abandoned soul cast adrift in the ocean of life. Whatever it was, something had called me from my bed early the following morning to the roof top of the Hilton hotel where we were staying.
Martial Arts was a passion of mine, it had always seemed to keep my head above the engulfing tide of mass human subconsciousness. So it was, I found myself practising gently flowing movements in the early morning darkness high above the criss crossing matrix of city streets far below me. But this was quite unlike any other practice I had ever experienced. What began quite casually became increasingly sublime, somehow each move was drawing me deeper inside myself. Suddenly, I became both the movement and the moved dissolving into a new effortlessness, where flow happened spontaneously. There was no longer anyone inside saying “go” or “stop”, “turn” or “block”. Crystal clear clarity was arising from within as the inner and outer worlds unfolded into one. Then on the horizon, attention (at this point I cannot even say ‘my’ attention) was drawn to the sky beginning to lighten, the blackness becoming purple and indigo as dawn gently kissed the distant panorama. At the sun’s first appearance, I was compelled to stop. Frozen in time, I noticed the early morning chatter of traffic far below me receding further and further into seemingly distant galaxies until there was no sound at all. Nothing was worthy of this stillness, of this beauty, of this peace.
Time ground to a halt and yet simultaneously accelerated. Within the apparent blink of an eye, the sun was fully up and radiating golden warmth. Suddenly I was being washed through with wave upon wave of unconditional love, seemingly from a source of infinite benevolence. Release after release, unfolding upon unfolding, surrender upon surrender. I was being loved completely and wholly just for me. There was no judgement in the love and no need for anything to be reciprocated. It seemed to penetrate every fibre of my being, seeing me with complete openness, honesty and clarity. It saw my darkness and loved me not inspite of it like another human might, no, it loved me BECAUSE of it. For the first time in all the forty years of my life, I was totally accepted and worthy. Being ‘me’ in that moment was entirely and completely right. No one was criticising, questioning, abusing or insinuating. There was not even the requirement for a pay back, no need for me to reciprocate. I was allowed to swim in it, to sink in it, to breathe it into every pore. This was my initiation to the magical, universal flow of divine love I have come to know as the “Awakening” - this was the reason I had no fear of death that day.
Ten days later, as I sat in the crumpled wreckage awaiting the inevitable smash of a fast approaching car, the guiding presence was with me. Time had ground to a halt, my consciousness expanded and suddenly I was co-existing in two places at once. In the higher one, I could feel the lightness, expansion and infinite peace indicating at-one-ment with the whole of creation. In the lower, I was watching a movie, the story of my life thus far. I was caused to see how every event in our lives has but one purpose; to help us reveal an aspect of truth about ourselves to ourselves. A magical orchestra of synchronicity shapes and forms ceaseless patterns of activity with just one intent; to wake us up to the glorious magic of everlasting divine union.
Each moment of my life’s review invited me to see that we shape every experience according to our inner tightness. Whatever we fear, whatever we are attached to, whatever sense of lack we may have, we recreate in our lives time and again until eventually we get the message; that we are already whole and complete; that we do not need anything but that inner sense of contentment; that we do not need to effort or struggle in our lives; we do not need to shape, control or manifest. Simply by letting go, our inner constriction unwinds and the negative patterns of our lives can dissolve. In so doing, our vibrational energy rises and our consciousness expands to fill the universe. This is why I was fully prepared to die, because I knew I couldn’t die! Death was merely a doorway into another more expanded state of being.
During the final moments of my life’s review, I was treated to a spectacular vision. An event of such cosmic proportions that it is impossible to properly justify in words. I saw two overlapping worlds separating through a brilliant galactic sunrise - a stunning supernova - which seemed to fill the night sky to eternity. The light body of our planetary system was ascending into a higher, more evolved state of being. She was positively pulsating with universal life energy. The old world on the other hand, was becoming darker and denser. As Gaia expanded into her glorious new form, her old body was crumbling away like a tired, old skin; she was shaking off that consciousness still lost in the control, manipulation, doubt, fear and denial. I was ready to join the new dawning. In that moment, I was able to let go of everything and surrender to the inevitable. As I awaited the smash of the fast approaching car, I was in an ecstatic state of profound bliss.
What happened next was beyond the realm of my ‘normal’ comprehension. No, I did not ascend into some heavenly nirvana and neither did the fast approaching car career headlong into mine. Instead, the car door opened and an ‘angelic’ individual helped me out of the crumpled wreckage. As I was guided back across the motorway to the hard shoulder, I looked to my left to see that every car on the busy midday motorway had miraculously stopped, forming a perfect parting line along which I was now walking. Mine was the only car involved in an incident which under normal circumstances would have resulted in a multi car pile up.
Neither I nor anyone else was meant to die that day. The presence made me aware that it was my purpose to continue, to share a message with those prepared to listen. “Five Gateways” is that message and I had just passed through Gateway 1.