Towards Radiance

This week’s post is by Bronwen Christianos.

In my early twenties I experienced an extraordinary shift in consciousness that shaped the rest of my life. Even though this experience has been far and away the most gloriously inspired, powerful, and joyful experience of my life, I was awakened to a duality that catapulted my operating consciousness to way outside “normal.” On the one hand, I had been shown a glimpse of the essence of all religions, the goal of all seekers of spiritual enlightenment, and I’d experienced the true state of what we are as humans. I yearned to be able to communicate the extraordinary wonder of this. However, I also saw horrifyingly clearly how alienated we are from our rightful and natural state, and from each other.

I found I had become acutely aware of where love was, and where it wasn’t. This operated in every field of my life, and included (to my discomfort at times) my own interactions and behaviors. I embarked on a search in response to the anguish and despair about the shadows of human existence: the abuse of innocence, the cruelty shown to the most vulnerable, the pain of loneliness, the fear of death, the senseless greed that can turn a blind eye to people dying of hunger or racism, and the sadistic justifications used to excuse violence and torture. My heart and my mind had suffered a type of breaking when I saw these things stripped, as I had been stripped, of the haze of “normality” – the obligatory hardening that develops in human beings as we “grow up.”

TOWARDS RADIANCE is my story about journeying as a very ordinary person full of the usual mix of fears and insecurities after undeservedly experiencing something utterly divine and sublime. It was a gift that showed me emphatically that the love we all seek is not only the source of the universe but that it is also obtainable and reachable by everyone. In fact, it is all around us and within us.

There are three events in this story and they begin with the day I died. I’d been running along a cliff edge in the bush in the Kuringai Chase National Park in Australia when I encountered a part of the track that required me to climb up a rock. I grabbed hold of a small tree to help myself up and the whole tree came out in my hand. I remember the horrifying backwards and head-first plummet to the sandstone rocks several metres below. Although the memory of this awful fall is still clear, what happened next is ultra-clear.

I experienced myself speeding upwards into the sky towards some very high and beautiful cumulus clouds. I felt supremely happy, euphoric. I was fully conscious and I recall reflecting with some surprise that I was still “me.” I had assumed I must be “dead” for if I looked down, I could see my crumpled body on the rocks below me and it was getting further and further away as I travelled upwards. I could see the magnificent Hawkesbury River below me, also getting further away by the second. I felt enormously excited and I was not in any way fearful about where I was heading. The clouds above me had now become very close.

At this point I looked back down again and I could see my boyfriend, Michael, standing beside my now very small body. He was utterly bereft as he looked down at my lifeless form. I could feel intensely how sad he was and I experienced a strong feeling of compassion for him. This must have been what brought me back, as I then woke up in my body, experiencing extreme pain.

After I was rescued and reached the hospital, the staff were mystified that I had survived such a serious fall. Although this near-death experience had a profound effect on me, the next event, meeting an angel, utterly changed everything for me.

When this happened, I didn’t believe in angels. I wasn’t even remotely religious. The meeting took place at a New Year’s Eve party where many people were gathered and everyone was crammed shoulder to shoulder in one small living room. I remember looking around the room and feeling a restlessness, almost a discontent, about where I was. I looked across the room at Michael, a poet and a musician. We were very much in love. Then, suddenly, I was no longer in the room at all.

I was standing facing a glorious angel, who towered above me. I had a sense of my normal size, and although I was looking up at him, I was not craning my neck. There was a non-earthly sense of space between us. The angel was clothed in shining white. Light shone out from him. He was the source of the light, but he was also in the midst of it. The light connected us. I was also in the midst of this brilliant light and was likewise a source of it. The angel’s face was indescribably beautiful. He was beaming at me with a love that defies any descriptive words. I knew him. He knew me. In the midst of this radiant light, as the angel and I both were, there was total peace, contentment, and power. The power was the power of love. The power was all the power of the universe, and the love that is that power!

The angel was showing me all of this without words or gestures but, really, he was just reminding me of what I already knew. In that moment I knew again that the core of my being was connected with everything in the universe, and that this power was inside me. At the same time, I understood that not only was the core of my being connected with this source of love, but what I was experiencing was also the core of every other human being.

And then, as suddenly as it had begun, I was back in the small living room. But now, there was no one in the room – it was obviously long past midnight. I went through the door and wandered around looking for Michael. Eventually he appeared, looking dazed. Clearly, he had been asleep. He said he had looked everywhere for me, but had not been able to find me.

I have never been tempted to imagine that this experience was delusional, or had never happened. Its reality, and the effect it had on me, has been unquestionably the most real experience I have ever had.

As a result of this encounter with the angel, I found I was seeing with horrifying clarity the alienation of humanity from their true essence. At first this manifested as a “seeing” of the soul states of the people I passed on the streets. I could not only “see” but also feel their hidden fears and anxieties. I walked the streets weeping for many of the people that passed me.

Questions that have preoccupied the greatest thinkers on earth, now became burning questions that plagued me constantly. They were not mere philosophical questions: they were marrow-of-the-bone questions that I could never escape. In that one night I had been totally, permanently altered.

It took many years to form the questions rationally. One of the central questions was,
If we really are all powerful and the core of our being is love, how could we do such terrible things to each other, and to the beautiful planet we inhabited? With great earnestness, I had begun to investigate every spiritual movement I could find – always to meet with disappointment. They might talk about love, but I would perceive that at best they knew only a limited version of it.  One day, while sitting in meditation on a beautiful big, flat rock where I could sit in stillness, I looked over the magnificence of mountains in the distance, and turned my thoughts to the questions I always carried.

How to understand the extraordinary encounter with the angel?
What was I meant to do?
Who could I find to answer even some of my questions?
Suddenly a voice spoke out of the stillness: “Jesus is the Key.”

I was profoundly shocked. For me the word Jesus was only associated with the utmost hypocrisy. Besides, there was no one there to utter those words. However, the voice had been very loud and clear, close-by. And as far as I could tell I was still much the same person that I had been a few minutes earlier. I hadn’t started frothing at the mouth and tearing my clothes in the manner of a mad woman.

TOWARDS RADIANCE, the book I have written to communicate what I have experienced and learned, holds meditations that have been distilled within my soul over the years as I watched the world, attempted to integrate the duality, and tried to find answers to my questions. They are my personal inner musings upon the irrepressible energy that I see everywhere and in everyone: the Energy, the Power, the Love, and the Light that I experienced so dramatically when this shift began.

I had written the first part of my book in 2010 when I was loaned a house in the south of France. It was an incredibly exciting process. I would get up early and go for a long walk around the village and the land around it, before settling down to write by hand. Even though there are not a great many pages, it took an enormous amount of energy. Then, suddenly, with no warning, I just knew that it was finished. The meditations arrived a few years later, when I was back in New Zealand, in my home with just two dogs for company. It was a very isolated place that I dearly loved. The meditations began “arriving” every morning. I would get up while it was still dark, and there they would be. One at a time. For about three weeks I would sit down at my computer and write.

The first part of this book, the story of the shift I experienced, had waited for quite some time to be linked to this second part – the meditations. And then, I met Brenda who has created the illuminations.
TOWARDS RADIANCE is now complete.

*     *     *     *     *

The fractal heart that leads this post is by Brenda Molloy, as are all of the images in Bronwen’s book, TOWARDS RADIANCE. The word illustrations does not capture what they are, so they are called illuminations.

Brenda’s work was featured in WINN on October 5, 2018, “Making the Invisible Visible,” a post that includes a description of the nature of fractals.

Making the Invisible Visible

TOWARDS RADIANCE will be published this month – July 2020.
For more information, please go to

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  1. Sally Chalfen says:

    Thank you for your radiant description of your transcendent experience and life development. I’m very much looking forward to reading your book. What you shared so far is utterly convincing and inspiring.

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