[A book with four interlocking themes:
- how to communicate with the dead;
- the life of a 19th-century American;
- the massive task facing us today, and
- the physical world’s place in the scheme of things.]
[It just keeps getting stranger. Get used to it. It is as if — and maybe not “as if” the whole long set of interactions was planned as a teaching tool, leading me (and now you) into ever deeper waters. Bertram is a Norman monk in Salisbury, England — he wound up as a bishop elsewhere, I believe — that I became acquainted with 15 years ago.]
[Thursday, February 23, 2006]
Gentlemen, at your service. Who’s up? Pray bring whomever I need.
[Bertram] The word “pray” attracted me, brother. And this, by the way, is why you should watch the words you use – one reason that words are so powerful is that they vibrate particular strings, to use our “rings and threads” analogy, and so an unintended resonance may bring to light something you would rather not rouse. I do not mean this as any threat or fear-rousing picture. In my day these things were better understood than in yours, but our language describing them has become strange to you, and so for the moment our knowledge has been lost to you.
Say more, brother. And welcome. I can’t quite remember but it seems to me this communication may be a first between us.
A first occurrence in this format, yes. We have exchanged words before – and you and I share many a thread and already in your life you have consciously shared a task with me and both of us with Joseph the Egyptian.
Yes, and it occurs to me you must have enjoyed my time on Iona.
I did indeed. Brother Columba was many hundred years in my past, you know, so in that sense it was a pilgrimage for me as for you.
Although presumably you are in contact with him on your side.
I will leave these discussions for others to have with you, but for this: Remember that you in the physical are focus-points for “the rest of you” who are not in physical. Thus, what you do affects our reality as it affects yours. Columba is a very great presence but he is activated in me – a poor way to put it, but the best I can find at short notice – by your attention on him while still being on me merely because you are flesh.
You understand? Your life, your consciousness, is automatically a focus for all your “family” of souls that are not in the physical world. What you do in your succeeding “present” moments reverberates through all of us, activating this and that thread in ways you have no ability to conceive of – and, as each of those activated threads momentarily connect rings that otherwise are not connected in activated consciousness (I know not how else to say it) your actions produce layer upon layer of unexpected and unpredictable consequences. It is lovely and is why no one is bored in the afterlife – as you call it – unless by a deliberate determination to be bored!
It is, of course, not merely words that set off these chains of reactions. You see the snow, you get your feet wet, you remember a dream, you quarrel, you hold a pen to paper, you read your email, you pet a dog, you change a tire – everything you do, sensory, intuitive, thinking, feeling – it all feeds back here and has its effect.
In my day these understandings were couched in theological terms, and were as little understood by the mass as they are “now” in your times. This cannot be helped for two reasons:
Excuse me for interrupting but I just realized! You are where I got my penchant for making lists of that sort, aren’t you? Not David in this instance, but you, or perhaps you through David.
You and I share a certain quality of mind, yes, and so your aesthetic enjoyment of words and thought responds to mine.
Fascinating! Pray continue.
Understandings cannot be easily shared because:
(1) The understanding depends upon the recipient having had the experience. It is relatively easy to explain the meaning of something experienced, relatively difficult to describe the nature and meaning of something not yet experienced. What is religion, at its best, but a way of guiding people to have the experience, and then a framework for them to understand and benefit from that experience? In your day both functions of religions have been lost – or rather, let us say they “now” cut against the organized experience of the religion, and so are not encouraged and frequently are actually discouraged.
(2) Not having had the experience and therefore not knowing the worth of it even if they believe abstractly that it can be real, most people are not interested enough to inquire. And so the dead bury their dead, and there is nothing to be done save to leave them to it until such time as they waken.
Bertram, it seems to me that my age needs new wine skins for new wine – except, how can the wine be described as new?
That which is new to you is new. The social format, the intellectual framework, the pattern of emotional response, will all be new, so yes it is new wine to you – even if it is the eternal unchanging water of life.
As you know, I feel that I am among the few pioneers who have been given access to Monroe’s doorway. We go through the doorway; we see firsthand, and we glimpse far more, and it seems to me that from this new technological short-cut and simplified both-worlds-view can come a great supply of people who have had the experience and should then be hungry for meaning and context and a way onward – most specifically including me! And it seems, further, that we share an aversion to people telling us (as opposed to helping us to find) “the way things are.” So anything we may build from this skeleton framework would need to incorporate “see for yourself first” into its framework.
To be sure. Your age is not and cannot be the age of faith. Neither is it, quite, any more the age of science in the sense of a knowing detached from the known. You must participate in what you study, you have no other living way open to you.
You often say you see the Monroe experience transforming into a belief system. Perhaps that is not so bad a thing, provided that one of those beliefs is: “But you must see for yourself first.” Blind faith no longer serves; nor does blind skepticism, which is really blind faith-anti, or perhaps blind faith-in-the-opposite, or blind negation-faith may be a better way to express it. In your day you must see for yourselves, and more power to you. But that does not make my age wrong in its faith, for our circumstances were different, and our possibilities greater in some directions and lesser in others. As must be, always, everywhere. So go your way rejoicing, thanking God not only for your own time but for all times; not only for those whose faith and values are close to yours, but those who embody the polarity, for these have their legitimate place no less. No more, but no less.
As we build a habit of tolerance, other parts of ourselves are more free to emerge?
Let us say more welcome, for they are free always. Remember your friend who forgave himself and found that in effect he forgave others within him, who then came blinking into the light.
My friend, I well remember the black-box session when I realized that you, and Joseph, and I, were in our different ways, in our different times, holding the note.
Anchoring, yes. It is good work, done merely by being what we are and intending certain traits while refusing others. It is good work open to all, of little-suspected power, done so to speak in the darkness. What the world cannot see it does not mock, nor think to fear.
I am, these days, well aware of the assistance you and the others in my “family” provide on a day-by-day basis. The word “conscience” doesn’t cover it, nor quite does “guidance.” But it is a very real course-correction system that needs only to be heeded.
Heeded, or disregarded. You know Carl Jung carved on the stone “called or not called, God will be here.” In a sense that is the same thing.
We haven’t been at this all that long, but I’m fading so we will have to quit for now. Thank you, my friend.
If you will have breakfast you will feel better. We can resume whenever convenient to you.
Yes. Thank you. I feel your presence as a continuing gift in my life, as so many others.