For the past few years, the guys upstairs have been giving me a view of the world that seems to me much more complete than we usually get, because it ties together the physical and the non-physical aspects of the world. The farther into the picture I go, the clearer it becomes, how much the world is suffering from the effects of the either-or worldview that says “take the other world on faith” or “there isn’t because there can’t be another world.” For the next few Fridays, a few glimpses into what may be a book to come.
Life seems to take a long time while it is passing, but at a certain age you look back and realize that you’ve already had most of the time you’re likely to have on this earth. You think: What did I accomplish? What was it all about? Where is the meaning in any of it?
When I was young, I’d look at famous people who had achieved things, and I’d wonder how they felt when they knew they were dying. Even more than that, I’d think of how we all – famous or unknown – spend our lives learning things, accumulating skills and experiences, constructing inner worlds that could never be translated to anyone else. I’d think, “all that work, all those connections made, all those books read and associated one with another, all that time invested in people – in anything the person loved – all gone, the moment they die.”
From a very early age, I was all but paralyzed by the overwhelming pointlessness of doing anything, achieving or learning or even experiencing anything. If it all crumbles as soon as we do – what’s the use?
Obviously this doesn’t strike everyone the same way. Some people don’t seem to notice, or they don’t think about it. Others, having abandoned hope of physical immortality, work to “leave the world a better place,” or seek to leave an immortal name through achievement. Others concentrate on actively enjoying every moment. Still others hope for eternal life in paradise, but even this makes mockery of anything we do or strive to do on earth other than being “good,” in order to be “saved,” because it makes achievement of any other kind irrelevant.
None of these paths made sense of life. None gave any indication that our lives were meaningful in any way, even to ourselves. None of them seemed to connect with how we actually live our lives. The afterlife referred to in scriptures remained vague, not something one could grasp. What’s more, it became impossible to avoid suspecting that the idea was merely a control mechanism – a threat and a promise designed to keep people in line. And life without an afterlife, as postulated by materialists, made even less sense of life.
But if neither the believers nor the materialists provide us with a credible picture of the meaning and nature of life, where can we go to find one? Wouldn’t it be worthwhile if we could go right to the source? Supposing it were possible, why not communicate directly with the other side of life, the non-physical side? Direct communication is as close to first-hand information as we can get until we ourselves drop the body and cross over.
But – is it possible? If possible, is it safe? If possible and safe, can we trust those we are able to contact on the other side? Can we count on them being helpful and truthful, or do we need to protect ourselves against malicious or ignorant spirits? If we do need to protect ourselves, how do we do so?
These questions aren’t new. They have been asked and answered for as long as people have been aware that material life is only half the picture. The answers have come in different forms, shaped to the needs of different peoples, different civilizations. Any culture’s scriptures deal with interaction between the physical and the non-physical aspects of the world. The problems, the techniques, the models are, after all, just so many varieties of packaging. Old words go dead on new generations, and so old truths have to be restated to be heard. The reality is the same.
The way I communicate is shaped by who I am and how I came to the work. I set it out for you not as the way, but as one way. Just as you couldn’t lead my life if you wanted to, and shouldn’t even if you could, so your path won’t necessarily resemble mine. You are here to live your life, not some imitation of someone else’s, and that means picking and choosing as you go. (It involves some stumbling around, perhaps, but so what? The stumbling may prove to be as productive as anything else you do.)
I offer you my experience because, being a modern version of the ancient quest, it may be less strange to you than previous offerings. But of course, I am aware that with every tick of the clock, my experiences recedes and becomes less current. That can’t be helped, and doesn’t matter. The future will have its own testimonies. The important thing is not that the message be chiseled in stone, but that it be delivered.
It’s a good message, and hopeful.
The fact of the matter is that the materialist nightmare that overwhelmed the twentieth century is only that, a nightmare. We are not just meaningless atoms trapped in matter, inhabiting a third-rate planet circling a sixth-rate star, as some people imagine.
The fact is, our lives matter to the universe.
The fact is, your life has not been wasted, because it is impossible that anyone’s life could be wasted. Yet, it is also true that you can still make more of your life than you have done to date.
None of this has any more to do with heaven and hell than with extinction.