A Dream It May Be, But the Dream Goes On! is British author Nick Roach’s spiritual autobiography – ranging from his difficult childhood to current day, overcoming the struggles in his life to be free of negative emotions. This book takes us step-by-step on his path to reach an “Enlightened” state in which he describes himself as self-aware or conscious all the time, “truly awake in the dream….”
Determined to learn why emotional pain and upset have to be part of life, Nick began a spiritual quest in his late teens. He experimented with meditation, LSD, took spiritual awareness classes at the College of Psychic Studies in London, and finally found the answers he was looking for while studying with Barry Long – an Australian who described himself as a Western Spiritual Master. Long’s teachings revolve around how to free oneself of unhappiness, and also about truth and love, and personal and sexual relationships.
This autobiography chronicles Nick Roach’s life and all the realizations that came to him through his spiritual studies, while still working in stressful traditional jobs and having several tumultuous relationships before finding his long-term partner, Sally-Ann Powell.
While I personally have not undergone the same stressors or emotional upsets that Nick lived through, I of course, have faced my own, as do we all. And while this book is akin to reading Nick’s journal and seeing inside his mind and soul, it is also a story everyone can relate to and learn from, as we are all souls making our way in the world and ultimately, back to the same source.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH NICK ROACH
What is your definition of Enlightenment?
I know what Enlightenment is/was for me: I seemed to have a constant connection with a sense of ‘being’, regardless of what else was going on both around as well as within me. It was like having one foot outside of whatever was occurring which provided an inner knowledge and strength that all was well. But I also had the knowledge that ultimately I was responsible for whatever I was experiencing, and I knew how to work with life to face and dissolve any difficult situations, both within and without (as they are actually one and the same).
However, as people are different and their paths are different, Enlightenment also appears differently from person to person. That means one person’s Enlightenment may not be another’s; hence we have all the confusion as to what the word means. This is perhaps particularly evident when comparing my path and experiences with someone who followed no path or practice at all and for whom it ‘just happened’. Such a person is likely to say there is nothing that can be done, so the method I followed of consciously facing and dissolving emotions could be alien to them.
At one point you say, “Enlightenment is indeed a beginning, not the end!” Can you expound on that?
I suppose it’s because the point at which one feels they have reached a sort of plateau, and the term Enlightenment seems to fit, one’s life is by no means over. It’s perhaps not unlike learning to drive a car, passing the test and getting one’s first car. One has a new freedom, almost a new life.
In my own case, the 10 years between the entry into what I deemed to be the Enlightened state, and the later state which I came to call Liberation, was a difficult time (as described in the book). However, it is the latter state which is perhaps most recognised as being associated with Enlightenment, and this does bring with it the sense of a new beginning. Suddenly one’s life, and/or the circumstances of one’s life seems to flow effortlessly. And it is as if one is no longer adding to the karma, but is instead consciously (and quickly) living and dissolving it in the moment, as the circumstances of life continue to unfold.
You write, “…one’s emotional self is what determines the circumstances of one’s life.” How did you let go of negative emotions?
Aha, that is of course the story of the book, and the entire process is described in some detail….
As to ‘how’ one lets go of negative emotions, it would perhaps be more accurate to say the emotional energy is made conscious. That is the process: when someone is emotionally attached to an outcome or experience, this drives the imagination and thinking mind, and one is then unconscious – from the perspective of being self-aware anyway. This unconscious thinking feeds the emotion, and the emotion further feeds the thinking mind, and it continues to snowball. But if one can suspend the imagination, looking consciously at what action can be taken, but resists the (sometimes terrible) urge to go off into the imaginary world of pain and think ABOUT the problem, one begins to feel the emotion dying. With each painful situation in which one faces the emotion in this manner, one becomes that little bit more conscious, and a little bit less emotional.
What’s wrong with getting emotionally involved in one’s existence, especially if one is enjoying life?
Ha ha, of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. This life is separation (emotion) enjoying and expressing itself. And it will continue to do so. But for some people, an aspect of the experience for them will be in realising they are not as separate as it may first appear. And this process may include them being unhappy (at being unhappy) and would like, a) for it to stop; and b) for there to be more to life than the emotional ups and downs. But I make no judgment. This place is a playground for the emotions. That is its purpose.
If the “whole of existence is a dream from which the spiritual life is a quest to wake up from,” what is the purpose of existence, the meaning of life?
Ooh, yes indeed; if it’s all a dream, then what’s the point? Sadly, ultimately one runs out of answers. Anything one realises ‘here’ (and perhaps particularly if the knowledge is that this place is a dream) is by definition only dreamt. And just as when one is in bed, asleep and dreaming, even if one becomes lucid and is aware that it is a dream, they are still not aware of their body in bed nor of the room they are lying in (of course if they were, then they would be awake and the dream has finished). So the question as to the purpose can only be answered from the perspective ‘What’s happening now?’, and in this moment ‘now’ I am aware that my attachment to being separate is being dissolved, and along with it so is the dream…
After that, it is really just speculation: Some Buddhists believe that eventually the slate is wiped clean and it is as if it never happened, as the ‘Being’ needs nothing. While some mystics believe in the Akashic Records, where everything, every experience is recorded energetically, as if the Being or Mind (or whatever term one wishes to use) is itself growing with each experience.
Whatever the actual ‘purpose’, the state of mind one is in when Enlightened (or whichever term one would like to use) means that actually it doesn’t matter. One can speculate, but it’s only really for one’s own entertainment.
Was is a cathartic or learning experience for you to look back so closely on your spiritual journey?
It was a little strange, as some of the book was written more than 20 years ago and much had long-since been forgotten. There would have been no way I could have done the story any sort of justice had I not kept diary notes of my insights and experiences, as well as the challenges I faced and what they meant to me at the time. It did feel like I was drawing a thick and final line under everything that occurred prior to now.
From what you have learned, what do you think could most help others?
There could be a number of ways I believe my story may help others, depending on their situation:
a) There is a lot of confusion as to what Enlightenment is. While it is still the case that individuals may define or experience it differently, I believe it could help alleviate some of the confusion if Enlightened people described their journey in more detail.
b) For many Enlightened teachers the experience just happened, so while they may be able to describe in eloquent and poetic language what it is, sometimes they cannot or do not teach a method (which is demonstrable and effective). The result is earnest seekers can spend years reading every book they can find and intellectualising about what is meant.
c) And last, but by no means least, consciously facing and dissolving emotion, and particularly understanding how they work (and perhaps amazingly, how this place works in relation to emotions; they are NOT independent of the externals goings on after all). I hope my story describes the process in a clear enough way as to leave little doubt. But when considered in conjunction with every other Enlightened teachings, and even any religion, I hope people will begin to see how it all fits together.
What plans do you have for the future – teaching, writing or ?
While thankfully we do not rely on the books or teaching as a source of income, it is enjoyable to share this nonetheless, and one must still do something to occupy one’s time (even if it is a dream). So I hope people will read my books; particularly the spiritual autobiography which is of course the latest and I am quite fond of it. Then, while I will be writing articles for magazines, as well as regularly replying to emails from readers, it is the face-to-face teaching I especially enjoy; and even more so with an audience rather than the more ‘intense’ or personal one-on-ones. So we hope to find the means to hold more meetings.
What we have found though, following on from the above, is that once someone has been to me, often on only one occasion, they don’t tend to need to come back for a while; not because they’re Enlightened, as that can be quite a lengthy process, but because they have learnt or understood enough to enable them to get on with living their life in a more conscious manner. So any future talks or meetings will most likely involve travelling to a new location (perhaps to talk to an established group) rather than holding regular meetings in one location.
A Dream It May Be, But the Dream Goes On! is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. For more information on the author’s work, including his first two books, Enlightenment, the Simple Path and Essays in Truth, Glimpses into Reality, please see www.nickroach.uk. He can be reached to answer questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.