Nick Roach lives near London, England and claims to have achieved Self-Realization with the help of Barry Long’s teachings. He emailed me a note about his site and we subsequently exchanged several emails. I was impressed with Nick Roach’s sincerity and willingness to answer my, at times, confrontational questions. While I don’t agree with all his views, I feel he is worth checking into if you are in the area. Here is a sample of our dialogue:
Question: Thanks for the note about your site. I noticed these lines as I was reading: “However, the knowledge is that all must end, as it began. There will be no ‘me’, no more ‘you’, no more ‘over there’ or ‘over here’. There will again be just consciousness with nothing to reflect on, so no knowledge at all of anything as there is nothing.” Have you “experienced” this? Perhaps a better phrasing is, have you become this consciousness without an object?
Nick Roach: I am in the experience of being the point before anything is, as a constant state. That is to say, it does not come and go according to what is going on ‘around’ or any other sensations that may arise. However, I cannot claim there is no object because clearly I am corresponding on this pc and will shortly go to the toilet then go to bed. Therefore the need for existence has not been satisfied and there is still separation. The experience here is that ‘I’ (whatever ‘I’ am) am the point before the forms and as the need to be separate is being dissolved so to am ‘I’, as it is only because of these objects that I am. The experience of ‘I’ only exists in separation and this separation includes an image such as a wall, a car, another person, or even just a sensation. In fact anything that is ‘there’ creates an ‘over here’.
I say the above as it is apparently tempting for those in the experience to claim they have finished. However, the dream is not finished until it is.
So in short, yes, I am this consciousness without an object, and yet without it I am not (aware of anything). (Please excuse me if it sounds like playing with words and double talk. I do try to talk straight and simple).
Q: What will happen to Nick when he dies?
NR: The idea of Nick is only hanging on by a thread anyway it seems. When even the idea has gone this will leave only ‘being’, or consciousness, or God, or Mind (to give a few other labels). The knowledge is that Nick cannot really die, because there is nothing to die. Just an idea or dream that has already been seen through.
Q: Nick Roach is also one of the objects of creation… Am I hearing correctly?”
NR: Yes, ‘Nick Roach’ is a name or label given to the impression of ‘me’ here which is a result of the apparent objects of creation ‘over there’. With no object there is no subject.
Q: What would it mean if Nick got a brain injury that prevented him from communicating or accessing this constant state? What if he got Altzheimer’s Disease, or Mad Cow disease or some other brain damage and could not have a dialogue such as we are having now? In other words, can an enlightened man forget he is enlightened?
NR: Good question. The Enlightened state is of being in the moment now in the knowledge that only what is now is real. Animals are in this state too, but lack the reflective and brain capacity and ability to realise what they are (the one being creating it all).
If this dream brain in this dream body was dreamt that it was damaged, what would the result be? The consciousness would still be here as ‘I’ am still here. Whether or not this ‘brain’ would still be able to interpret the information out here, and more so communicate it, is another issue. Of course there is no ‘out here’ really and in truth one only experiences what is. To another ‘person’ it could be said that ‘I’ would appear brain damaged, but of course that too is only dreamt. If I don’t even know they are there, then to me in truth they aren’t. Of course if you see me brain damaged then you are the one here and I am only a form in your dream.
Q: Do you have any writings that discuss the methods you teach people to help themselves?
NR: Pretty much every page on my site is teaching and people will learn different things from different pages at different times, but really every page is repeating the same thing. Be aware of where you are and of what you are feeling as much as you can, acknowledge and appreciate what is here now. By feeling what is here now and being aware of the stillness within (and behind) the thinking mind ‘I’ become aware that this stillness is the truth and where all apparent existence comes from. As I become more aware of it, I realise I am this. So it is said I am ‘one with everything’ and yet even the experience of ‘I am’ is also being dissolved as I become more one with whatever this is.
Q: Do you see yourself as a successor to Barry Long? What would you say is a difference between his teaching and yours?
NR: Barry stated very clearly that he would have no successor, so the answer would appear to be ‘No’. How could I be if Barry stated there wouldn’t be one? However, it is true that I came through Barry’s teaching and can do no more than teach what I am. I do not know of any particular differences between my teaching and Barry’s except it comes from me. That is to say, Nick Roach is not Barry Long and I have my own way of interacting with people. I would suggest anyone following Barry’s teaching would have very little trouble, if any, picking up mine.
Q: I believe Barry Long once described himself as a tantric master and know he had a number of women he was in close “relationship” with. Does the tantric angle play a role in your teaching?
NR: With regards to Tantra, yes this is a big part of my teaching… Man loving woman rightly, raising her conscious awareness and releasing the past emotion in her. It seems to be occurring quickly for my partner. I am only with her.
Q: Is psychological self-study (self-knowledge, etc.) necessary for spiritual change? Must we change the way we live and act?
NR: The issue appears to me to be with the term ‘Spiritual Change’. To me there is only consciousness (I imagine this is what is termed ‘spirit’) and is experienced as ‘I am’ (or the stillness or nothing within etc). When experienced, the experience is that this ‘I am’ (or consciousness) is constant, though the conscious experience of it may not be. So, as far as it is seen, ‘Spirit’ does not seem to change. It remains behind the scenes, in the scene, watching the scene etc. Only the images change.
However, what does seem to change is one’s relationship or experience of this ‘I am’ (etc), leading up to realisation of being ‘I’ as a constant and seeing it is creating all the forms. I take it this is what is termed ‘Spiritual change’?!
So the question to me is, which part of realising the spirit or consciousness or ‘I’ is termed ‘spiritual change’ and which isn’t? Before a person asks questions such as ‘Who am ‘I’? and ‘There must be more than this?’ etc… I suggest they must have been changing for some time to get to the point of even asking the questions. A person cannot look within or seriously ask the big questions until they have had enough experience of being separate to now look for the truth.
There is ‘spirit or consciousness’ dreaming it is separate and after a while starts to see it isn’t. The person is growing in self-knowledge with every experience, whether it is before it looks for the truth, while it is looking for the truth, or indeed after it seems to have found the truth.
NR: I do not teach ‘Nothing can be done’. If anything I teach the opposite ‘Everything MUST be done’ (as is required). I add the last part in brackets because clearly not everybody will need to do ‘everything’, but everything must be done as it is needed for one’s growth.
NR: I cannot tell people they should behave a certain way to be spiritual (grow in self-knowledge / spiritual-change etc). That would be irresponsible of me. I must teach the Truth that lessons come as they are needed. A person can only remain as conscious as possible to see the lesson and get out of it as fast as possible through conscious knowledge. The mind with its beliefs and opinions must be carefully watched when it tries to make the changes, as the person may miss the lesson and will have to face it again sometime in another situation. But that’s ok too, if it happens.
After several years without communication, I received an email from Nick indicating there had been a further development in his state of spiritual realization. I would describe it as a movement from cosmic consciousness to enlightenment/no-self. Interestingly, it was precipitated, in part, by reading an account of Bernadette Roberts’ dropping away of the unitive state and discovering the experience of no-self.
With our connection renewed, I asked Nick some follow-up questions to our original interview:
Q: In the years since our interview have you found there a common “issue” that prevents people from seeing the truth about their self?
A: So much has happened to me during the time that in some ways it is difficult to focus on others. This may be partly due to my current mode of teaching, which is largely via email, with a person asking me a question and I answer it, and off they go; but also this may be largely due to my own perspective shifting…
For example, I was of the view that everyone would have to ‘face their demons’, to fight to remain conscious and battle on courageously in order to get anywhere on this path, as that has been my journey. However, it seems the path is indeed one’s own personal journey, both in the sense that it is the return to one’s true nature as well as their journey being unique to them. Sure, there will be overlaps with other people who have gone before (and will come after), but there is no benefit in trying to gauge one’s progress by comparing with another. While the goal may be the same, the paths could be barely recognisable…
In the end, the ‘obstruction’ to seeing (and ‘being’) the truth is one’s attachment to existence, to being separate, but that applies to the entire existence and only living will dissolve that.
Q: Do you work with people regularly? i.e. do you have students? and have any of those students become enlightened?
A: I have a number of people who each email me every so often. I may not hear from each one for a year or so at a time, and then I will receive an email asking a question or sharing an insight, and there can be a flurry of emails over a few days and then quiet again. I don’t go in much for debate or speculation, nor do I like to tell people what to do, so there is not really much to talk about. The growth is in the doing, the living, wherever that takes one.
With regards to whether or not any of my ‘students’ have become Enlightened, I will say that this is perhaps an awkward question (if the reader was to take the answer to be an indication of the credibility of my teaching). My hesitancy could perhaps be attributed to the long-distance relationship I tend to have with people who contact me (so may not really be ‘students’ in the usual sense), but mostly I want to give credit to the person and their path: You see, I do not take a dense person with no self-awareness and then spend years moulding them into a type of mini-me, enabling me to parade them around like a sandwich board saying ‘look what I did!’. Instead people tend to find me when they are already quite a way down the path, have had some great insights and are doing well. I share an experience or two of my own (and point them in, what I see to be, the right direction), and off they go again. As I said, I am not sure it’s fair to call someone who emails me to ask questions my student anyway, and I don’t really like the term either. I only share my experiences and offer insights where I can. However, I will add that this is also my own path as much as it is theirs. After all, I am still here too! Perhaps everybody is still a student of the great Truth (until the dream ends).
Have any become Enlightened? A few have had the insight of being the only one here, and several have had variations of this if not yet the total and terrifying impacting truth, but I do not know at this moment if any have become the constant experience of being it as yet. However, the nature of my teaching could simply mean people don’t bother to tell me. They are busy living it.
Q: Can you sum up your teaching in a paragraph?
A: Simply put, the process is of reflecting the awareness on itself, all the time.
I have expressed this before by saying ‘Be aware of where you are and of what you are feeling; and keep doing it.’
This, combined with taking action when one knows it should be taken (and staying put when this is also needed) means one learns the lessons of life quickly and can move on (grow in self-awareness and self-knowledge).
Nick Roach continues to impress me with his candor and willingness to share the details of his journey. While he may never command the attention of hundreds in the lecture halls, I suspect he is doing good work in a small, but important way.