Below is a relatively brief description (despite its obvious length) of Nick's experiences and what brought him to this elusive realisation. Nick's full story is described in detail in his autobiography.
Nick feels it is important to know a person in this state is not special, even if they have attained what would be considered an amazing level of consciousness. This level is accessible to anyone who is ready, as are many of the earlier experiences and insights that occur along the way.
(There is also a YouTube video in which Nick describes his journey.)
How it all started
For many who look into spiritual philosophies, the quest is often driven by more of a curiosity than a need. In my case, there was a very real need to know. A need to know that there was some reason to all the emotional ups and downs that everybody around me seemed to accept as perfectly normal.
At the age of 15years I began buying books on various aspects of the paranormal, many I never opened except to glance through when I first got them home, to see that there were not the answers I sought. The real question within me was 'Why?'.
By the age of 17years I'd had enough. It seemed I had looked everywhere. It then occurred to me psychics are said to be in touch with dead people, so if anyone could know the reason for it all, they should. I made an appointment to meet with a psychic at 'The College of Psychic Studies' in London. To me this was my last chance to find a reason for it all, before I looked for a way out. I knew I could not live another 70+ years in this state.
The Psychic told me I was feeling this way due to already being on a high spiritual level, and would progress quickly if I chose to follow this path, but I didn't have to! I told him I did! He repeated that I didn't! I said again that I did! I knew this was what I had to do. He told me to learn to meditate, and if I wanted to enrol in a course at the College he recommended a 'Spiritual Awareness Course' starting in a few weeks...
I enrolled on the course, despite the College having a ruling never to accept anyone under the age of 21years. The course involved a lot of visualisation and questioning where thoughts and feelings came from. An example of the visualisation is, at the first session we were directed to close our eyes and visualise walking up the stairs to the room we were now in, in the College; to open the door, and what we saw in the room was significant. As I was following the instructions, I opened the door to find blackness. No floor, no walls, no ceiling, no anything; just Blackness. I thought i'd done it wrong. But on describing it to the tutor afterwards it was translated to mean anything was possible for me.
I began my A-Levels in Psychology and Sociology in an attempt to continue looking for answers. I read the book 'The Road Less Travelled' by Scott Peck M.D. and felt at the time it was a great book. I was continuing to question every thought and feeling that entered me to locate its source and try to understand it.
Finding a Master
One day, whilst sitting after College alone at home on the sofa waiting for the next thought so I could dissect it, I saw as an inner knowledge that I had got as far as I could with this method. Suddenly I said to the four walls out loud the words 'I need a Master!'; and I was not even sure what a Master was. At that instant I remembered a book I'd bought a year earlier; one of the many I had never opened. It was by a man called Barry Long and the book was called 'Stillness is the Way'. I dashed to my collection of books stored in the drawers in my room, went straight to it, and began reading.
The book was a transcript of a class he had held years earlier, and simply involved getting people to look and be aware, but not to think. I was 18years old now, and my life changed with this book.
I began buying Barry's books and tapes, and attended meetings he held in England. (During the following 9 years I went to Australia 3 times where he lived and taught, to attend residential seminars.)
I progressed quickly, speaking with Barry during the times with him, and writing to him and on occasions receiving a reply.
As I turned 21years I began a relationship with a woman I had known for a couple of years through work. Her name was Elaine. I explained to her as best I could what I was doing with my life, and explained I was trying to grow in love through awareness and the facing emotion as it arises, and I needed her to do the same if we were to be together. She agreed she would try, and together we listened to Barry Long's tapes and attended the talks and meetings he held in England over the next few years. I was to learn over quite a long period of time that no-one can do this for anyone else, either through trying extra hard to do it for you both because the other doesn't want to, or by the other trying to do it just because someone else wants them to. Neither works for long.
Elaine heard the truth in the words, but like most people had lived an emotional life and had not had enough to really want to be free of it. When the emotions would rise in her in the early days I found it very difficult as they reacted with my own feelings, forcing me to face it both from within and without. As the years went by I could see how I was benefiting through this constant reflection of emotion, by having to detach from it, but still I longed to be totally free of the pain of it.
Through this facing and dissolving through being conscious and aware I seemed to develop quickly, every six months or so looking back and seeing how I had changed. I could see how the moods and emotions coming at me from outside were affecting me less and less and I was becoming more at ease generally, as well as receiving insights into the nature of things here. I had not seen Barry for several years since he had stopped coming to England and Elaine no longer wished to follow his teaching, so it made going to Australia to see him difficult.
Amongst the numerous insights and experiences and spiritual realisations there were a few that stood out. One occurred aged 22 when I had the insight that this is/was a dream and as such I was alone. I wrote to Barry and received a reply a few days later in the post confirming it, and I was stunned! I had been able to ignore it, push it aside, but now I could not...
For 3 days I sat on the sofa in my pyjamas and dressing gown, not bothering to get dressed. After all, what was the pint in doing anything if it's all just a dream? I would probably have ended it had I not been told by Barry that any emotion not made conscious in this life will create another - aka reincarnation. So I had literally no escape from this nightmare that I was making for myself...
On the 3rd day of sitting staring at the 4 walls in shock, with no TV on but facing the terrifying emotion, the words arose is me, 'A Dream it May Be, But the Dream Goes On!'. And with that I knew I had to live my life, even if it was a dream. So I got up and got dressed ready for my nursing shift later that evening.
Another was aged about 25, when seated in a theatre watching a show, and suddenly it was as if 'I' disappeared. The scene 'over there' gave the impression that 'I' was here. But the experience was that there was nothing here, besides whatever it was that was watching. Though I’d learned from Barry that 'I' am the one watching, and as such I remained. But I was not the body. The body was part of the physical appearance. The experience lasted a few moments and then was gone.
Entering a new level
In October 2001 I finally went alone to see Barry Long teaching in Australia. He had not taught in England for a number of years due to ill health and I’d had only the audio recordings of meetings which were published occasionally, and any new books he'd published. When speaking with Barry at the meeting he exclaimed it was wonderful I'd got so far, at only 29 years old.
During the time there I was given the knowledge from within that 'The Lord' was entering me. A few days past of wondering what this meant before being given the knowledge that this was 'Love'. Barry had taught that Truth and Love are often realised separately, and this seemed to be the case. I had a great deal of knowledge, but attained purely through facing emotional pain. He had taught 'The Lord' is also the 'Keeper of the threshold'; an old term meaning a person must go through this level to get to the Truth beyond.
A few days later, still in Australia for Barry's meeting whilst seated in my room one evening, I had another experience of being asked if I was ready to die? It was as if I had a choice now to become 'One' with the Being, with Life, and dissolve into it. I looked at the area of energy across the room offering the door-way, and the knowledge was 'I only had to say ‘Yes’ inside and I would be gone'. It was ironic that this was what I had longed for, to escape from the pain of existence, and yet I had only recently been told I was to enter the new experience of realising Love. Was I now allowed to remain and enjoy it after all my hard work, or must I be true to my knowledge and my longing of many years and let go of this existence?...
A few minutes seemed to pass and, as I looked, I soon felt if I was allowed to remain here I would like to. And with this thought the energy went, leaving me feeling like a fallen angel that had been offered the opportunity to return to God, and said 'No Thank you'. I went to bed with the question of whether or not I would even wake up the next day? Having worked so hard and longed for so long to get out of this nightmare, finally to get to a point where I am happy now to stay. Was this the purpose of the whole thing? Was the purpose of all the pain and the facing of it, for me to accept life or death equally? I didn't know, and it didn't seem to matter. I went to sleep and accepted I would either wake up or not...
The next day was like a new world. It was the first day in my life that I couldn't blame anyone else for my being here. This was now my life, my choice. I began to see Love in everything around me.
I returned to England to Elaine. A few months passed and It seemed it was now time to finish the relationship. Neither one of us were benefiting or enjoying it as it was. We had been together 8 years and I saw the emotional ups and downs had no hold over me any more. I was detached and now unaffected by the moods of others and saw it was time to move on. The time together had enabled me to face and dissolve a great deal of emotion which had been within me, giving me good level of self-awareness and insight.
I returned to Australia the following year for (what was to be the last ever) 'Master Session' with Barry, and again spoke with him in person. I described to him how I'd entered a new experience recently, followiing a centre point expanding during a day making it quite easy to remain conscious, and by the evening I had become it, or perhaps it me. But the solidity seemed to remain. I was conscious...
He seemed concerned, annoyed even, and abruptly turned and walked away. And in a number of the following talks during the next few days Barry warned that all Masters are not on the same level and that Enlightenment is not an end, it's a beginning! I didn't know then that my new level was Enlightenment, but I knew something had changed, and I also felt sure he was referring to me when he made these statements.
So, during the same seminar it had now occurred to me that perhaps I was already Enlightened, given what Barry had said, except there seemed to be an ingredient missing. I met a few people during the Master Session this time, and whilst talking with a lady relatively new to the teaching one evening, explaining some of the elements that she was struggling with, suddenly something shifted inside me. While I was looking at her and talking, she became my reflection, or a part of it. I was looking at her but actually speaking with another part of me; in fact I noticed that EVERYTHING was me or my reflection; even other people, the trees, grass, cars, the sand, the sea and the sky above! Everything became my own being or 'Self' reflected back. This experience passed and returned several times during the following days, and then was gone. (It would not return as a constant experience for several years; but it did leave an imprint of its own, and generally there was still the solid core within me that seemed to make it relatively easy to remain conscious. It was as if, no matter what happened, and however difficult life became, I always had one 'foot' outside of the situation.)
Also during the seminar, in one of the talks whilst there I also had the experience that Elaine was with me, in my body, and that we were sharing it. I had not seen Elaine for three months and knew she would have no knowledge of this. It was me becoming 'One' with her within me; with my love for her as Barry had taught. Throughout the evening the sensation grew, from her sharing each feeling and experience with me (even my finding humour in my sitting in the Gent's toilets and wondering if she'd seen this before) to later that night my noticing I was not there at all; that only she was within this body and I happened to be receiving the information from the senses. By the next morning we were both gone. There was only Being left, with no person.
The above experience was extremely powerful and it seemed to me I knew what I had to do. I was to go back to England, back to Elaine, and help her to become complete and to make us 'One' in her body as I had in mine. This was the best way I could see to repay her for our time together which had got me to this level of experience and being. Elaine agreed again, she would try.
I begin Teaching
A little after being back in England I sent Barry a Letter thanking him for his words of caution and saying that I understood, and described a little of my experience. He replied and the letter included the following:
* "...It seems to me, your qualifications to serve by teaching the people are solid or well-founded. It is true at 30 there is still much living to do, as J. Krishnamurti found. But that did not stop him. At that age - & I suppose at every age - one must face the testing in circumstance of the realisations of truth / and or love. At 30 however, with profound knowledge already realised, there's a lot of living to do... So there you go Nick - Or on you go..."
I was now 30 years old
I later sent Barry a last letter 24th June 2003 thanking very much for his reply and his words, and added that the question I had mentioned in my letter as to what 'The Master' is, had been answered. I wrote...
"..A few days after writing it was suggested to me that if a name had to be given to this experience of being the only 'I', 'The Master' would seem to be as good a name as any. This suggestion has stayed with me ever since. So, as long as I am not deluding myself, this is it. No flashing lights, no levitating or appearing & disappearing. Not even any real answers. I had major expectations as to what 'The Master' means, but there is really not much else it can mean. To be The Master, is to be the only one here (and not just to know it).."
By this time I had already begun holding a teaching class at work one evening per week.
Despite benefiting from the teaching, Elaine had not been able to dissolve her emotions and was still being swayed by them and blamed external causes as is the normal way to live. A woman who came to the classes, Sally, had amazing experiences from the start and showed a sensitivity and a willingness to learn. After a few weeks we talked and felt we could do this together. It was still my aim to realise (make real) Love and to set Woman free of the emotions that bind and control her, as taught by Barry, but now this was not to be in the body of the woman whose emotions had got me to this level, but a new woman. The knowledge grew in me that actually this is the purpose of all men, if only they (he) could do it.
The state of being continues to deepen as time passes. Whilst there are many experiences along the way, each one seeming more amazing than the last and each giving the impression of nearly being 'there', in the end it is just 'being'. Not being anything, as the state is to be in touch with the source before anything exists. So it really is simply to Be.
So what now? What does a person do once they have reached 'Enlightenment', the apparent end of personal striving and the purpose of existence? They carry on doing whatever they are moved to do. Nothing has really changed, and life must still be lived.
by Nick Roach
Having apparently 'finished', many people might be surprised to learn that living did not immediately become easier as one might expect (and as I expected too). In fact, despite all my knowledge and experience, my working life in particular was often quite uncomfortable.
In 2011, some 8 years after 'enlightenment', and having given a number of talks at spiritual shows, and several years into the website being set up and two books written, everything changed again:
The centre evaporated in an experience often referred to as No-self. Then a series of smaller experiences occurred before the one from the last Master Session of everything being my reflection returned as a constant, and it was like permanently walking around in a lucid dream, awake and aware, interacting with 'my' own unconscious. Over the following years circumstances changed and life began to become a pleasure, gently flowing from one experience to the next, and this led me to adopt the other term often used, Liberation'. It was not long afterwards that I was able to give up formal work.
In 2016 I finally got round to writing the notes I'd been keeping for 25 years of all my insights and experiences, and these were published in my spiritual autobiography entitled 'A Dream it May Be, But the Dream Goes On!'. Please do not think this description does any justice to the full account, which is far more incredible.
Then early 2017 I connected with the attachment to the 'Moment' itself, and shortly afterwards the 'awareness and the happening', the 'Dream and the Dreamer', became one and the same. (There are videos about this on our channel created soon after it occurred.) This experience is summarised in the phrase attributed to Ramana Maharshi and others, 'Everything is Self', since the knowledge and the experience is that whatever occurs, this entire experience, is 'me'. The physical projection is my own self in appearing in form.
And early 2019 there was another minor shift, as the sense of 'being' was no longer limited to 'me here' and the 'object there' but now included the apparent space betwen the two. There is just 'Being'.
Of course, the experience of 'being' will continue to deepen. So do read what is here on the website, look at the videos, read the books, and visit our Facebook page and group, and feel free to ask me any questions as they occur. I'll try to assist.
p.s. Now approaching mid 2019 I am discovering the deeper levels as taught by Ramana Maharishi and others, the main initial headings taken from the Vedic teachings being as follows:
- Cosmic Consciousness or Self Realisation - regarded as the 'kindergarten of enlightenment'. And whilst the exact experiences can vary enormously it is as I experienced and described above as my initial enlightenment back in 2003/2004. The 'Cosmic' or Higher Self is realised and yet the lower emotional self has not yet given up. (Which is why I continued to have the difficulties.)
- Unity Consciousness or Oneness - This is where the lower unhappy self finally gives up and the Higher Self, aka Atman, the Soul is fully realised. Here, the sense of 'Me' now merges with, and includes the physical environment. And it is known that 'I' am God. (It is clear to me that I am currently some way through this stage and this is talked about more in recent videos on our channel.)
- Beyond Consciousness or Brahman Consciousness - Here, even the Higher Self gives up, with the identification with being 'Everything' letting go and only God remains. Hence it is said to be BEYOND consciousness, beyond the Self, of any sort. However, it is also said that what still remains is the identification with being God, the awareness behind everything, and at some point this too has to let go.
- ParaBrahman Consciousness ('beyond Brahman') - Here, it is said the identification with being any-thing, albeit the essence or source of everything, also lets go. And what remains is what IS.
Apparently there are quite a number of higher levels still, many of which are not attainable whilst in a body. But I'll keep going and keep recording the process as far as I am able.
Note: Now approaching the latter part of 2019, currently several weeks into the latest shift, and it’s unclear exactly what ‘this’ is. Reasonable assumption led me to believe this was Brahman Consciousness, since that was the next stage, but a number of people who are apparently ‘there’ have advised me this is ParaBrahman, implying the Brahman stage was missed or passed briefly without being noticed. We’ll see how it unfolds.
However, what is becoming apparent is there are two aspects to the process, and they are often quite separate: there is the sense or focus of one’s personal identity as above; and there is the emotional attachment to being separate and to what occurs.
For me, the journey has been one of experiencing emotion consciously, and this steadily if slowly dissolves the attachment to being separate and to the circumstances of one’s life. And this has perhaps inevitably led to the attachment to the established sense of identity also being diminished.
However, since 2011, as described elsewhere further progress required that the focus of awareness, and what was identified with and held onto (as an idea of ‘me’) also had to be let go of so as to permit the shift of identity to occur. The ‘experiencing emotion consciously’ has continued to be very much relevant in day-to-day living, as well as during each new shift as more letting go is required. But the transfer of the focus from one 'physical' location to another seems to have been a vital aspect of the progress too, in the later stages at least.
In November 2017 I created a video describing my own spiritual journey and teaching up to that point. Of course, as is the way, there has been some progression since then - as referred to above - but the video may be of some interest anyway.
(It was actually for a new YouTube channel created specifically for sharing of spiritual experiences, hence the title.)