I was visited by death early on in my life. When I was 6 years old, our car was hit head on by a passenger bus while my mother was driving from the cabin to the city after a weekend of sun, water, and fun. The impact killed her instantly along with my very young 2 year old brother. I survived the crash but at that point, my life changed considerably.
As sometimes happens when you are presented with deep and intense experiences at a young age, my perception of life would now include a profound need to make sense of existence. My philosophical drive was certainly more intense than that of the average person would at my age; and my need for understanding was simply unquenchable. My mind was inundated early on with deep existential questions and concerns, as well as with a profound need to figure out things at the designer level.
During my early 20s, I would engage in serious explorations of the exciting realms of Shamanic traditions. I would also become fully absorbed in the study and active practice of Tibetan Tantra. I further became intensely immersed in the Mahamudra, Dzogchen, and Advaita traditions of non-dual philosophy.
I also finished a degree in Western Philosophy from an exemplary Jesuit University. I further finished masters and doctoral degrees specializing in consciousness-based education and leadership from the University of British Columbia and the University of Calgary.
One particular afternoon, as I sat with friends, I suddenly began to feel the signs of what would be an intense panic attack. My pulse raided my body, I broke out in an intense cold sweat and my breath became extremely shallow. I clenched my hands together in an attempt to anchor myself. My heart felt as if it was going to explode. There was a form of silence in the background that appeared to be the most inhospitable element in the universe.
Interestingly enough, as I was experiencing this, I somehow decided to internally let go completely. There was nothing to defend and nothing to hold on to... and so, still in that room, I suddenly experienced that I was somehow staring directly at myself from myself, with no form, no distractions, no thoughts, no wants, no needs, no expectations, and no hope clouding this direct and extraordinary experience. I was living a form of profound self-recognition of the infinite and indescribable space that supports everything. An exquisite, boundless, and completely held state of Being that needs absolutely nothing on our part to be sustained.
Immediately behind our human experience of internal separation and suffering, there is a vast and open space of understanding, connection and compassion, where we become fully alive and at peace with existence and with ourselves.
~ We can get there ~