“My heart’s desire is to live from the core of my being.”
The first time I spontaneously uttered these words I was in a tent in the Sinai desert in March 2009. I had no idea what they meant but they felt true and very, very important.
I had left my husband and young children at home in London for the first time since my daughter’s birth to travel alone to a week-long retreat in Egypt. It was years since I had travelled alone, and my heart literally ached to be separated from my family. As my eyes filled with tears of sorrow to leave them, I could think of no rational reason why I was travelling two thousand miles to a retreat run by a man whom I had never met.
Yet something much greater than that separation from my loved ones was moving within me, drawing me, guiding me – something unseen, intangible, perhaps unknowable.
I could not have articulated it then, but I was allowing the self-healing flow of life to take me to exactly where I needed to be.
The teacher running that retreat was Ian Watson and meeting him marked a very significant milestone on my healing journey. Deeply versed in many therapeutic practices as well as psychological and spiritual teachings, Ian was able to cut through to the heart of any issue in the most direct and practical way and make the spiritual tangible. Meeting him on that initial retreat brought into consciousness my desire to uncover and live from my true nature. There is something powerful about making underlying motivations conscious. The following year, while on a second retreat with Ian, I was gifted with the first of a series of profound spiritual insights into the nature of reality. It radically changed my perspective on life. Although the experience lasted three days and the insights are really beyond words, this is a short excerpt from what I wrote about it shortly afterwards:
“…. I was absolutely rooted to the spot. Unable to move my feet, it was as though I was being pulled deep into the dark earth. At the same time, I experienced a huge opening of my crown chakra which felt as though it was being drawn up towards the roof of the tomb. As I let go of the fear of losing my mind and allowed myself to surrender completely, I had what I can only describe as a profound experience of the Divine (Source, God, Universe, Infinite Intelligence…). I touched the core of my own being and I was all things: the suffering and the joy, the light and the dark, the feminine and the masculine, the earth and the heavens. When these things met in me there was no duality, only the love and boundless peace that is the source of all that is. Every atom of my being and every vibration was connected to every atom and vibration in the universe. I touched the essence of who I am. The essence of who we all are.
As I left the tomb and re-entered the sunlight, powerful waves of gratitude and joy swept over me. I walked over to the grassy hill and lay down on my back between two of the standing stones in the circle that surrounds Newgrange tomb. I was acutely aware of the solidity and the enormity of the deep, dark Earth beneath my back and the fluidity and vastness of the light and air above me. I was a tiny, humble speck of consciousness yet an integral part of the whole…. I Know that true peace and joy is within not without.”
This was a powerful realisation of the spiritual essence – the core of my being. Although the experience itself was an experience created in the same way as any experience, the spiritual knowledge it left me with completely changed my perspective on life. Yet I had no sense of how to truly live from that realisation. When Ian announced a few months later that he was changing the basis of his work and launching a new programme called Truth of the Moment, I signed up without a moment’s hesitation. This was Ian’s first programme based on the Three Principles and this teaching was to prove transformational in virtually every aspect of my life. Words are inadequate to express my gratitude.
The Three Principles allowed me to heal the effects of past trauma and find forgiveness and compassion beyond anything I previously imagined possible. Yet more than that it enhanced my own work giving me a way to share what I had seen myself with others and to guide them to wake up to their own true nature. It simplified the healing modalities and spiritual teachings I had previously worked with and gave me a simple way to point others towards the truth of their own being.
Awakening to our true nature can have its own challenges however, especially if the resulting shifts in consciousness are significant andit can feel rough at times as we learn to navigate a human life from a whole new perspective. We can struggle to embody new spiritual understanding, and this is not often discussed in spiritual circles. Our whole identity is called into question or our initial high from peak spiritual experiences dissipates when life brings us challenges to be faced – and it always will. Deepening our understanding of how life works brings about personal transformation but true evolution requires transformation on all levels – mind, body and soul.
Integration of spiritual knowledge means learning to live consciously in two dimensions simultaneously – the form and the formless.
It is not uncommon for people to catch sight of their true self and seek to rid themselves of, to deny or to ignore the “false” self. But we do so at our peril. Our individual self is spiritual – mind, body and soul. It is all in form, even though much of it is in subtle form, invisible to our senses. Yet it arises from the truly formless, from Truth, just as sound arises from silence. The physical and the spiritual are not separate. The inner self and the outer self are the same. Our journey back to wholeness is the healing we all seek in our human form.
In wholeness we find an inner peace that is the birthright of us all.
What lead me to my teacher in the Sinai desert all those years ago were what the Jungian psychotherapist Robert A. Johnson calls “slender threads”. They weave through our consciousness as synchronicities, callings, intuitions and whispers guiding us back home to wholeness. In following these threads Ian and I are now creating a new programme to bring together a new group of people already conscious in their journey and seeking to bring balance to mind, body and spirit. Our aim is to make a sacred space for your own path to wholeness to unfold, to guide and hold, encourage and nurture growth – much like Ian and I have done for each other over the last 7 years. You can find out more about this new programme at http://www.theinsightspace.com/journey-to-wholeness/
In truth, of course, we are already whole. The joy of consciously embracing a spiritual path is remembering that wholeness. I will be sharing more of my own journey in future blogs but in the meantime, I will leave you with the words of Deepak Chopra:
“Healing is the return of memory of wholeness. Healing, health, whole and holy all mean inclusiveness. Body, mind, spirit, environment, relationships, social interactions are all wholeness, and you’re a part of that one wholeness.”