Like most of us, I long held the belief that if I found The One, I would live happily ever after. Although I had an early lesson in love disappointment when my parents’ marriage ended bitterly, I remained convinced that if I could somehow avoid making the same mistake, the promise of salvation lay in the arms of a beloved. The trouble was, I couldn’t seem to locate said beloved. A few years into adulthood, after three or four breakups, it began to feel like there was something wrong with me. Why was love eluding me? Why couldn’t I find The One?
In my early thirties, I had my first conscious experience of what Tim Freke calls Big Love. Standing in a Welsh field at a small festival, I met a sweet man. The spark between us was palpable; despite exchanging few words, there was an inexorable pull towards each other. A few weeks later, I described what happened between us:
We knew we needed to spend some time together, that there was some kind of attraction drawing us closer, but we didn’t know what. A day or so later, we did get the chance to spend a few hours together, during which time that not-knowing space was created; looking into each other’s eyes, I felt totally still, knowing that all the pain of the journey has been worth it, to be able to come to a place like that. It was so powerful, so healing, to connect on a soul level to someone whose personality I don’t know. I have no idea how things might be in the future between us; all I do know is that I experienced an incredibly precious few hours in which two people opened their hearts to each other in a way that I haven’t experienced before. Such love, such connection to the Universal, the transpersonal realm.
His recollection was similar. I was completely overwhelmed when I read the card that he sent after two months or so:
Thank you for being you and for sharing with me. You helped so much to make me well again. Now I am renewed. That which passed between us has given me such relief and power that I can now freely give my love to the world.
As it happened, we only met again once, very briefly. Whilst I sporadically yearned for him, I began to understand that it wasn’t actually about him, or me. Somehow, our connection had been a portal to a far deeper love, a love that completely transcends any idea of two separate people loving each other for a reason.
Life continued, and I had a few other, very occasional, glimpses. I entered into relationships, each time aware that I was not experiencing that deep love, but nevertheless drawn to even pale imitations. Eventually, I could no longer tolerate such numbing compromise. I became single once again.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been stumbling across Big Love in unexpected places; it suddenly shows up for no apparent reason, and without an object. Times of intense struggle, pain, and doubt have been interspersed with uncaused joy, wonder, and love. One morning earlier this year, I was sitting on the bus on my way to work, when it became obvious that everything is miraculous. Effortlessly miraculous. I looked down at the thin hairs straggling across the head of the old man sitting on the seat in front and welled up with love for everything and everybody. The idea that love is given and received, and can therefore be taken away, now seems ridiculous. It is no longer about finding The One; it is about the dawning realisation that I am The One.
So I guess when I entered Tim’s Mystery Experience this weekend I was ripe fruit, as it were. Nevertheless, as we began the process, I fleetingly feared that I’d be the one who didn’t get it. As our time together unfolded, and that space of limitless connection was created, it became clear that there is no it to get – because it’s what we all are. Over and over, we sank into the eyes and the arms of the beloved. A beloved with twenty seven different faces, all of them unutterably, breathtakingly, beautifully perfect. Twenty seven facets of being, all gloriously unique, and all of them glittering beyond description. Each connection was love, and each connection was subtly itself. Some playful, expansive, delicious. Some fragile, tender, heartbreaking. Some intense, still, steady. Some a sudden explosion, the instant knowing of all that we have ever been or ever will be.
A few words appeared, remaining unsaid, their meaning silently conveyed. You are the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. All of you, every last thing about you. This is it. This is home. This is all we’ve ever wanted. Bathed in love, we also saw ourselves as we were being seen, we loved ourselves as we were being loved. Our hearts broke open, again and again, and we returned to Big Love. We became what we are. We know that we will never be the same again. Love. It really is the be all and end all.