Wave after wave of energy rolling in ... then rolling back out. For the first time he fully realized, he wasn't just breathing, he was breathing energy, life's energy, over and over again, with every breath he took.
As Shaoni started to concentrate on this breathing life's energy, the thoughts in his mind gradually slowed down to make way for ... something Shaoni had never experienced before. Oh yes, he recognized the effect of his thoughts slowing down. That, he had witnessed quite often before. It would happen whenever he went to his center. But this time, whilst sitting in these woods, with the three monks sitting a bit further down, he had come to feel how everything around him breathed, including the grass beneath and the stars above. They didn't breath as humans did, still they breathed the same energy ... and they breathed in harmony. It had been an exceptional sensation, yet it had only been a prelude to an even stronger experience.
As he felt the breathing of the earth around and the skies above ... he also felt there were no separate entities any more. All that remained was a feeling of unity.
"There is no form, my boy, no individuality ... not really, nor has there ever been." he heard a voice say in his head. "Yet, only through the energies, can you feel the unity."
Shaoni's mind became blank again. He looked around ... felt around might have been a better way of putting it. He felt like a wave, a vibration of light. He felt as if he was riding on this wave, yet at the same time he was the wave itself. He was a beam of light in space and time, except that there was no space as he filled up all the space and there was no time either. Time had come to a standstill, yet enclosed all times, including the past and all that had yet to come. Shaoni simply was. He was here and everywhere, now and always ... he was himself, yet he was all the others ... he was energy ... timeless, spaceless energy ... he floated ... and at the same time he was the thing he floated in.
Shaoni was filled to the point of overflowing.
"I am a cup," he said, "a cup, overflowing with love, yet somebody keeps on pouring. Never will there be any shortage. There is enough to fill a thousand earths, a thousand universes even."
Shaoni now felt a certain urge ... the urge to share, the urge to help. He wanted to go back, back into the 'normal' world as soon as he could. He wanted to help, help the others understand.
As he returned, all of the memories of what he experienced over the past few months came back to him. The power of the oak tree, the healing energies, the gift of nature, the wizard within helping. All part of the same energy ... and all of this was being offered to him ... to be used freely ... was being offered to everyone , to be used freely!
"What utter beauty, what a concept, what perfection." Shaoni cried out.
Shaoni understood. For just a brief instant, he had transcended the world of space and time. He had touched the energies ... the Source Of All That Lived.
Yes, all is energy, he thought, but not just energy. It was an energy filled with love, a healing energy too, a creating energy, creating without end ... an energy containing the knowledge, the wisdom to create new worlds, entire universes even ... an energy existing all around, existing within him too ... an energy Shaoni was part of, an energy he was made of.
Slowly Shaoni returned to the reality of the woods and the three monks. The energies still resonated through him. He felt one, one with everything he saw, not just the people, the animals, the trees but literally all, all that was ... all that had ever been. Shaoni now realized ... this is the essence, this is who I am, this is what I have always been.
He opened his eyes. To his left still sat the three monks. All three of them now were looking at him ... smiling.
In the distance, he saw some people approaching. He first recognized the wizard ... then his friend walking beside him. Then, as they got closer, Shaoni saw many more people behind them. Hundreds, thousands, more even, many many more. They all came over ... over to him. Shaoni quickly glanced at the three monks again. There they were, all three of them with a big smile on their faces. They knew, he suddenly realized. They had known all along. More even. They were the ones to watch over him all this time, maybe guide him even.
By now the wizard had reached him and so had the many thousands behind. None of them spoke, yet it felt like the warmest welcome Shaoni had ever received. He knew who these people were. They were the ones building the Crystal City ... and they had come to invite him. Invite him to join in.