There was a definite shift during the retreat. I can’t say it happened in an instant, but it happened early on, and deepened each day. It grew out of the experience of The Invitation. I saw clearly how being able to drop the identity and rest so effortlessly in the is-ness, meant two things. Firstly, I no longer had to be the person I had worked so hard to be (despite my attachment to it). This alone was a liberating insight, and as with every other breakthrough from the retreat, the shift came from experiencing it. It anchors the realsiation in a way not possible through mere cognition. (See also ‘We Are The Sum Total Of Our Experience’.)
Secondly, from that place of emptiness, I could be whoever I wanted to be. However, this was not the same feeling I’d had 18 years ago when I wrote, ‘Not As Good As I Think I Am’, because I am not seeking to rebuild myself in any way. What it means is that I can let go of the negative, cynical, dismissive, judgemental, counterproductive elements of my behaviour and be more of what I already am – joy, love, peace, silence, expansive space, and compassion.
I remember going for a walk after lunch. Exploring a new area around the castle, I found myself on my haunches, weeping. I was deeply moved by the beauty and the effortless simplicity of the place I had discovered. It contrasted so obviously with the many years of exertion, all of which evaporated in that same moment, seemingly never to return. Liberation. Furthermore, I had been shown that I could come here whenever I wanted. It is instantly accessible, always with me, and requires no effort.
The only challenge is the mind, but the sheer beauty of the state of is-ness makes it easy to persevere, easy to remember, easy to succeed. To know that I can go there at all times, is such a blessing. The experience of being there is so simple, so empty, and yet so indefinably beautiful and peaceful. And, as Mooji pointed out when he came to Haarlem, the more we are present in the is-ness, the more we will be drawn towards it.
The words, ‘game changer’, kept coming to me. I wondered whether I was exaggerating, getting too excited, or whether I would have to face the fading of such an idea once the retreat was over. But the feeling kept coming. This has changed everything. I will never be the same again. From now on, thanks to this experience, I will be ever-more peaceful, loving, spacious and free. The freedom comes from no longer having to strain to be anything. I am already everything.
Mooji has shown me what’s possible. He sat in front of us every day, the picture and embodiment of love. Such beauty. Such simplicity. Such wisdom. All from the empty space of the is-ness. Thank you, thank you, thank you.