Twenty-one years ago I was walking down uxbridge High Street with my daughter in a pram. I wasn't thinking particularly spiritual or meditative thoughts. It was an ordinary day, the high street in Uxbridge is always busy during the day and there were people everywhere around me.
One moment it was normal, and the next minute I was floating high above the market house in Uxbridge, aware that I was a part of God and all that is, and also myself. I could discern other individuals there with me, but I was distinct from them. There wass overwhelming peace, love, all those things which people who have hd a peak experience talk about.
My attention was turned towards the love I felt towards everything around me. It's held together with love, that's what holds it in the material world. I realised it wasn't love towards my fellow man or the birds and other animals only, but love towards the roof tiles, the bricks, the things we think of as inanimate, everything that forms part of the world we live in and beyond.
I have always had a conviction that we - humans - are all connected, and that some people are able to access the consciousness which runs beneath and connects us, but it came as a shock to realise that the oneness of all extended to the inanimate things of the world. I was at the same time the consciousness that was loving the material world and the consciousness which was surprised by the fact that the love extended to bricks and roof tiles. I was both at once and myself.
I do not know how long the experience lasted, and I don't know what my body was doing while my consciousness was off in the sky. I do know that since then I have not had to be convinced of the oneness of all, I have experienced it. I know it. It's not something I know intellectually, I know it in my heart.
I don't remember if I told anyone about my experience at the time. It took a while to process. But when I did share it some years later, I got such a negative reaction that it was years before I shared it again.
When terrible things happen, like the bombing in Brussels, the shootings in Paris or the constant bombings in Iraq and Yemen currently, I feel the sadness and pain that the families of those killed and maimed in the bombings have experienced, and I feel the desolation that it causes for those who are close or far from the blasts. I know that we are eternal beings and so for the individuals who have been killed, they have been, as Penn says, turned over from time to eternity.
I believe that when we die we experience our lives from all perspectives and experience the impact of the things we have said and done, from all angles. I pray for the people who blew themselves up and those who are contemplating doing the same, as they are about to experience the oneness of all, and learn the consequences of their actions. Who would need a hell? Experiencing first hand the pain and grief that they have caused in their lives will be punishment enough.