THE AUTHOR'S TESTIMONIALS
I have written here some of my personal experiences with the hope that they will help you, as they helped me, to continue with your spiritual investigations and enquiries. The reality of direct experiences is that they help us to overcome doubts and disbeliefs when we come across areas of spirituality that are difficult to understand, believe, or accept. Over the years, these following experiences have helped me greatly as I struggled with doubts and disbeliefs concerning the spiritual realities within life. I hope they help you too.
When I was aged 17, my soul spontaneously left my physical body and I experienced what I later learned was "astral projection." This happened years before I later came upon spiritual texts, such as "The Living Gita" by Swami Satchidananda, and met other people that could inform me of what I had experienced.
This experience happened in the middle of the night and was certainly no dream. It happened in two episodes. The first episode was an experience of being completely awake and being of the nature of a hard rubber ball, in the sense that if you get a hard rubber ball and throw it against a wall it will richochet around the room in a quick, random manner. This was what I experienced except I was something similar to the rubber ball. It was too much for me to take and some overriding safety mechanism immediately returned me to my body. I continued sleeping.
A bit later on, I became aware that I was rising gracefully up towards the ceiling. I can affirm that this was not a dream because of the nature of the experience. I was definitely completely awake, in fact, much more awake than my ordinary waking experience. I was simply in the room where my body was still sleeping in the bed below me. I could not see a clock but the night was of the appearance of between 11:00pm and 2:00am. Everything was just as if I was fully and widely awake yet I was gracefully rising towards the ceiling of my bedroom!
Posturally, I experienced the feeling that I was certainly in a very, very light body, a body that was only just barely at a level of sensation, but nevertheless, my normal body but experienced as a body of light - our astral body. I was aware that I was in a horizontal position belly up, back towards the floor. I then rose up through the ceiling, through the floorboards, and into the attic. The transition through matter was effortless, painless, and completely unheeded. When travelling through the floorboards I was amazed by my quality of sight, which registered every little grain of wood and loft-insulation. It was as if I had been fitted with a microscope for eyes!
Once in the attic, I managed to turn belly down and after a brief look at the attic, my astral body, began to move slowly and gracefully towards the outer wall. Now I was beginning to realise what was taking place in the sense that I was fully awake and having an outer body experience. The sensations of excitement, freedom, and bliss can only be described as ecstatic. I slowly passed through the attic roof and into the night!
The sensory perception of sight (I cannot remember hearing anything) was of the nature of complete clarity and crispness. There was not only the sense of magical sight but also a thrilling sense and perception of the magic of life! Everything appeared magically, alive (with character), and ecstatically happy - and I was part of the show! I was returned to the thrill, magic, freedom, excitement, and openness of childhood, and the experience of life from that perspective of freshness, newness, and excitement. This is the nature of our soul and in astral projection we are much closer to the soul than in normal, embodied states.
Outside was just as you would expect it at that time of night. Everything looked completely normal only very much clearer, crisper, and more alive than usual. I began to move towards the house across the road. Movement was achieved by simply thinking about it. No sooner had I thought "I'll go over there" than I began to move towards it. The sensation of movement was like a constant current of air passing in through the mouth. I was thoroughly enjoy the experience, like a child with a new toy. I thought how funny it would be to put my head into the brickwork of the opposite house and I slowly began moving in that direction, my head entered the brickwork for a couple of inches then I came to rest. I was very amused by this event. I reversed back into the street. I increased my altitude and flew around the local houses. On returning to my own house, I saw a large portal a little above the house. The portal was made of green light and in its center was a screen that was showing images of different places to go. Attached to the portal were green lines made of light that were going off in a variety of directions. The portal was obviously an opening on some astral network. In some way, the images being shown were linked to my own mind, but a part of my mind that I did not know. I realised that I could travel to any of the places being displayed in the portal. Some part of me realised that it would be safe to choose a place that was close by in geographical reality. I thought about a local town and an image of it appeared in the portal. I moved into the portal and was instantly transported to the local town. I flew around the flats and houses of that area. Being curious and slightly nosey, I flew into one of the flats to look around. The lights were on and a couple of people were watching TV just as they would be at that time of the night. Nothing was out of the ordinary, yet there I was very present and keenly awake, high up in their ceiling, observing the scene.
At this point the experience ended and I jolted awake to find myself in the safety of my own room and bed.
Before this experience, I had not been exposed to any occult or religious experiences nor books about this phenomenon. It happened quite by accident, yet it remained an experience that I could use to help further me on the spiritual path when strong doubts arose about the whole spiritual side of life. When in deep doubt about the reality of spirituality, I would remember this experience and this would help me continue to study and practice the yogas I was learning.
Psychic Visualization from touching objects
This has only happened to me once. My mother unpacked a set of fine china crockery that had last been used by her own mother and father some ten years earlier and layed it out for use one Sunday evening. The crockery set had been packed up when her father died and the family home had been sold. It had neither been touched or used since the day it had been packed up some ten years earlier and it had been stored in our own attic. At tea time we all sat down at the table and remarked about the crockery. My mother said "Well, I thought we would use this for a change." I touched the milk jug and immediately received a vision. In the vision I saw the inside of a terraced house. It was a warm sunny day and the main aspect of the vision was the feeling that I received. A very warm, comfortable, loving, homely feeling. My mother looked at me and said "What happened?" I told her what happened and she said "That's the exact description of my family home and the feeling that we had for it." She then went on to tell me about where the crockery came from.
THE ANSWERING OF PRAYERS 1
When I was a boy aged eight, I had the habit of allowing my pet hamsters out of their cage and to run around my room. One occasion I left the room to go to the kitchen and on returning saw that my bedroom door was open. I had left it open and the hamster had escaped. I was set into a panic, looked everywhere for it, but it had disappeared into the house.
Several nights later, I heard it scraping around in the cavity between the inner and outer housewall. This was very distressing as I knew it was alive, but at the same time there was nothing we could do to reach it. The hamster had found the hole behind the bathroom sink where the pipes go, and it had jumped down it, and now was within the wall cavity.
This torment went on for several days and nights. A torment for me because, not only did I love my pet hamster, but it was I who had been responsible for its escape and current situation. I knew it was dying of hunger and thirst in the wall cavity and it was all my fault. I felt awful.
On the fourth night, I could take it no more and, although brought up an atheist, I prayed to God that I could find my hamster and release it from this awful suffering that was my fault. I prayed "Dear God, I know that I have been bad in not believing in you, for ignoring you, but please, please can you make me find my hamster. If you do this, I will believe in you without any more doubts."
After one week the scratching in the walls stopped. After two weeks we had given up all hope. After four weeks, I went into the attic and heard a faint scratching coming from a teachest. I went over, looked inside, and there at the very bottom was a very weak and frail looking hamster! We put it back into its cage and nursed it back to good health.
This was the first prayer answered and several months later I had forgotten about God - as we so often do when.
HOMELESSNESS AND DIVINE INTERVENTION
At the age of 22 I experienced a very unpleasant period of homelessness lasting about six months. At this point in my life I was also undergoing extreme psycho-emotional turmoil that was actually the "dark night of the soul", "the Fall", the time when the soul is really struggling with atheism, confusion, emotional-ignorance, and "the pain of separation" - the pain that the soul feels by believing itself to be a finite mortal being - the body and its perceived separation from all else.
Freedom from this experience is that which the HELM website is all about. To begin your study visit the HELM Guided Study page. To read directly from the Yoga Sutras that deal with "the dark night of the soul" then visit this page: Understanding the root of spiritual suffering.
In summary, during this period of homelessness I began to listen to an inner voice which guided me to what I needed including:
- A fresh clean duvet: It was early in the morning and I passed by some black bags of rubbish. The clear inner voice said "Look in that rubbish bag." I opened the black bin bag that I was directed to and found within a clean duvet which I took to a safe place and bedded down.
- Money: The clear voice said "Look behind that wall." It was a low wall infront of garden. I looked and saw a sports bag by the bin. The clear voice said, "Take the bag." It was clearly by the rubbish bin so I took it. On opening, I found a purse with about Â£100 in it.
- Safe places to sleep: I was guided to a derelict house. In the porch of the house, safe from view and tucked away in the front garden was a blanket stretched out on the floor. I bedded down and had a good nights sleep.
- Food: I was hungry and walking through the park. It was a pleasant day and people had been having outdoor picnics. The clear voice said "Look in that bin over there." I did so and found the substantial leftovers of a picnic.
Being shown the reality of divine karmic law
I had bought a cheap bicycle. I was very young and very poor at the time. I was not in the habit of stealing but I was tempted to steal a book from a bookshop. The next day my bicycle was stolen from where I left it. A clear voice in my mind said "Take the book back and see what happens." I did so, smuggling the book back into the bookshop. On the way home I decided to visit a friend. Outside his house was my bicycle. I couldn't believe it. It turned out that one of his friends had bought the bicycle from somebody else that morning - from the very person who had stolen it. I was not concerned about who had stolen it and I didn't ask for the bicycle back - I was just humbled and awed by the realisation of the significance of the event. I learned the reality of the Divine Law of Karma. Needless to say I was not tempted to steal again.
The big scream is answered
In 1994, I was a mature student studying computer science. I was miserable. I could not understand my purpose and could not find the answers about "Life, Universe, and Everything" from the mass of books that I was always studying in an attempt to find clarity.
Things reached a head in 1995. My whole being was resonating with pain: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. I was cycling to University one evening and I just screamed a prayer in my head: "God please help me. I am miserable and don't understand anything."
The next day, my landlord who I never saw again, appeared with an orange table lamp and gave it to me saying that it would brighten up my room. I said thanks. The same day, I visited a friend and she gave me an orange blanket. The very next day, I was in a bookshop and was guided to a small paperback by the Hare Krishna movement. This was my introduction to the Hindu Vedas (the hindu holy scriptures).
Several weeks later, I noticed an advert for a Yoga class at the University. I attended and met a yoga teacher who was to teach me a great deal about yoga and the seven chakras.
In summary, my prayer was answered and God guided me to a spiritual path that It knew would be accessible for me.
Answering of Prayers 2: Finding the things I needed
Finding a computer to write this website!
When God wants us to do something then He can be persistent. In 2002, my writing was beginning to take shape and I needed a PC with a CD-RW (a cd re-writable drive) so that I could get on the web and back-up my work. The first half of the PC turned up outside my friends house. A computer case with nothing inside. It had been thrown out and there it was. I asked my friend who said it had been there for days, so I took it home.
Two weeks later I was walking home and the clear inner voice (which I was beginning to get to to know) said "Look over that fence" - the fence of a waste ground between two roads. I did so and saw a battered up computer. I found a tree branch and hooked the computer out of the waste ground. I took it home, fitted it into the case and of course it fitted! I ran some checks and then turned it on. Everything was fine. I now had a powerful, internet ready IBM PC with a CD-RW. Another miracle!
Finding furniture and household items
I have a back problem and, being poor, I had no comfortable chairs. God knew this but waited until I prayed for some comfortable chairs. A few days later, two comfortable armchairs appeared by the bins of some local flats. A friend and I carried them home. They are brand new and must have been in their wraps in a garage such is their complete cleanliness and newness.
I cannot list the amount of times that I have needed something and it has turned up a few days later on my walks. It is enough to say that whenever I have needed something major it has turned up. I once lost my temper so badly that I threw out all my possessions and moved to another part of the country. Within a short space of time things would just turn up and I would be fully furnished and writing once again!