I was originally introduced to Openhand in this last 4 months but you're speaking a truth I've known in myself for much longer.
I've held the opinion for a long time that ascension is the only real meaninful goal for my life.
After completing my attendance at the Nine Gates myster school (ninegates.org) in April 2011, one of my fellow graduates sent me a link to watch the 5 gateways film.
I watched it through start to finish even though I was just supposed to be checking my email. You recognise your truth when you see it.
My understand of going through gateway 1 is that you have an expereince of oneness / unity consciousness / peak experience. Since discovering these I've learning more about them especially peoples description of their experience.
From what I understand of peak experiences I can't say I have had one, or anything like one. Yet I am still very conscious and hold many of the views Chris describes that a person will hold after gateway 1 (conscious eating, where does the cloth come from that makes your clothes etc).
Because of my many years of exposure to traditional an American personal development I still have a lot of stuff in my pulling me towards wealth and accumilating possessions. Yet I know that's all conditioning so while it doesn't have a strong hold over me it does leave me torn.
The other half of me yearns for further spiritual development and my obsession with peak experiences is fuelled by a belief that if I could just get that taste I would become more aligned.
I know the spiritual path is not effortless and it is not easy work. I have been working diligently on my spiritual development but go round a cycle of frustration. At Nine Gates for example, many of the other 17 students went through wonderful awakening and transformative experiences. I came out as conscious as when I went in which was hard for me because I wanted a breakthrough.
That's not to say I was attached to an expectation I'm aware of that. I also know that spiritual work is often counter intuative (letting go vs effort) and I have embraced that but because of my lack of direct experience of oneness I have to exert my conscious will to continue on the path. I guess something inside me is making a point that if I'm not progressing, why am I continuing?
Chris says the key to gateway 1 is in self observation. To realise we are the witnessing awareness to all experiences. I have been practicing this diligently ever since I read A New Earth and meditate daily cultivating my attention on the breath, yet I'm without any sign posts that I am on my way.
I run a marketing business now but I'd love to ditch that in favour of a spiritual business. The 5 Gateways program appeals to me very much but I have to get my pre-requisites done first by attending some courses. The other obstacle is that I don't think I've even gone through gateway 1 yet so most of my understanding is on the intellectual leve.
If that were the case though and it were only intellectual, I would doubt 5 gateways and Chris and Trinity touch my like they do whenever I watch them.
I've noticed when Chris responds he likes quite a bit of detail to work with so I'll add one more thing. I've somehow managed to cultivate a perspective of almost complete objectivity, of non-judgement. When people make suppositions for example, I instantly recognise it as one and create the opposite in my mind, niether of which holds more sway over me.
When someone makes a statement about another person I can instantly see the beleifs and assumptions that are clouding that persons view.
When I find myself in a particular energy state or reacting to a situation I check inside and then spell out a belief I must have sub consciously to cause that.
This is my ongoing work. But I just feel like I need a shove, just a little shove over the line so I can get a peek at the oneness and it'll help me align in the way I desire so badly.
Whatever the response you have my unconditional gratitude.
(Chris if you want even more, I wrote a blog post on my understanding of oneness last month here http://www.chrisconey.com/2011/05/peak-experiences-oneness/)