‘Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no grief.
How can the multiplicity of life,
Delude the one who sees its unity.’
The Isha Upanishad
Although the presence of such spectacular spirit animals as anacondas and bears, cobras and tigers was wonderful, some of my most beautiful experiences were with the smaller beings like molluscs and insects. At one point I had a succession of dreams. In the first I was standing in a room with a large window. The window was covered in bees. I opened the window to let the bees out; there was a beautiful garden outside. Once the bees had flown out I could see a single small snail stuck to the window. In another dream I was cycling across a bridge. I stopped and saw a lake, lush vegetation and swans. Something on the ground caught my eye so I bent and picked it up. I found I was holding a tiny statue of a snail. The snail is hermaphrodite, symbolising the union of opposites, its shell a microcosmic spiralling reflection of the universe. When I was very young my mother would read me stories and one of my favourites was about a little snail. The little snail lives in the rhubarb patch and is warned by his mummy not to wander off alone but of course he heads off on an adventure and gets lost. Eventually he discovers the snail trail he has left and finds his way back. This is a wonderful metaphor of how we ourselves discover our spiritual way home after being lost. Despite hearing this story over and over again, my five-year old mind never failed to be gripped by the tension of the narrative and the joy of the little snails return home. Perhaps it is like this for the Oneness, pure joy, as slowly but surely we spiritual snails find our way home to the divine rhubarb patch.
This period concluded with one of the most awe-inspiring enlightenment moments of my entire journey. I dreamed I was in an old stone building. In front of me was a huge gothic archway. Through the arch I could see a beautiful garden. Hanging from the sky, framed in the exact centre of the arch was a single strand of spider silk. I watched as a green grasshopper flew down from the left and landed on it. At this point I was looking at the grasshopper from the side. The grasshopper then turned to face me and spread out its arms. It grew to fill the whole space of the arch and morphed into a fractal grasshopper, each side mirroring the other exactly. The fractal patterns were gorgeous, in various stunning shades of green. It had fingers that extended into long green tendrils that connected to everything in the garden and the universe beyond. It stayed like this, looking at me for a few moments before blowing away in the wind on the strand of spider silk. I felt the connection of everything in nature, that it was the same thing looking out of every eye. The God in the Grasshopper, my mind was blown.