[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.]
(12:45 p.m.) My friends, if I can set up a three-way link here, can we get Joseph the Egyptian on the line, and Bertram?
[TGU] You can have more or less whatever you want to have. The limiting factor always has been and always will be your own ability to receive.
Yes, I understand that now. Bertram?
[Bertram] I am here as well. There is no limit to the congregation you can have, none save practical limitations of time and consciousness.
I didn’t call us together out of a whim, or only to see if it could be done. I’m wondering – years ago (in my time, of course) I experienced the three of us as holding a note, so to speak. As was pointed out a while ago today, this was more by what we are than by what we do. Can you both say some more about that?
Our lives express our times
[The Egyptian] I shall begin, then. We three express very different understandings of the world. By “express” I do not mean what we utter, I mean we are expressions of our times. There were no Christians when I lived, and there are precious few, Frank, when you live, who accord with Bertram as an expression of the worlds. (Worlds, not world, because of course we all express the totality of our being – consciously or not – and part of our being is in flesh and the larger part is not, and never could be.)
Yet although we as expressions are vastly different – not “seem” as you wanted to put, but “are” vastly different – what we express is the same. White light shining through a red or green or yellow filter expresses differently, but expresses, as best it is able, the same white light. Surely this is obvious. Nor is it a tragedy or even a misfortune that the filters are by nature unable to express white light. This filtering is what they are designed to do! How else would you experience blueness or greenness if not for filters that separated out for you everything that was not a particular color? And is that not valuable? Is there some advantage to seeing pure white light always and only? No, the misfortune would be one forgetting or disbelieving in the existence of white light because one never saw behind the filters, and never combined the results of various filters in such a way as to deduce the source.
Yes; we say that man is made in the image of God, and what is this but to say that everyone is a reflection of an aspect of God? In our day we could not employ scientific analogies, nor express truth in the language of a psychology that was centuries in the future. We could express the same truths in terms that seem simple-minded and crude in your time, Frank, and would have seemed frightfully ignorant to Joseph’s time. Yet the appropriate container conveyed the appropriate refreshment – or, the wineskin suited the wine.
And so the commonality is what we three are doing, is –?
[Joseph Smallwood] Well, now, it’s funny that you should come to that.
Well, Joseph, welcome – but is this going to start to resemble a Marx Brothers comedy, I wonder? People popping in and out of the dialogue, or tri-alogue, unpredictably?
This, you understand, is the skill you have got to learn; how to manage it all. You don’t want to lose the control; you are in physical, you are in “present-time” and by right you call the tune. And while we are not trying to grab the reins, that don’t mean that others might not, or that other people in present-physical might not have a war going on inside them. So – just a word to the wise.
Well, what is that word, actually?
Just keep present and keep control, and any time you feel like something else is trying to grab control, why – you don’t let ‘em!
Any special trick to that?
Why, you just remember that you got the right to call the tune, nobody else. And you insist on it. But we can talk about it some time if you want to. You can take this as a demonstration that things get more complicated as you go along.
So I see. All right, friends, the commonality?
[Egyptian] It might be expressed in different ways. We would say obedience to the will of God, by which we mean that you – what you call Downstairs-you – recognize your place in the scheme of things and do not inappropriately insist on pre-eminence. In matters of the human will, yes, we are on earth to choose, and hopefully to choose to do God’s will even when our human nature would have us do otherwise. That is, in terms closer to yours, to act and to be and become in such a way as to advance the Upstairs connection rather than to obscure or choke it. Jesus is the model of the human self perfectly according his will with the divine self, and as he aligned his will, so he aligned his consciousness, and as he aligned his consciousness, so he received abilities and qualities that seemed – to his access-choked fellows – super-human. But miracles were never a part of Jesus’ accomplishment, and neither was raising himself from death. The achievement was perfect alignment. All else followed.
In our time, as you noted in one of your sessions, we were more directly connected to what you call “the other side” and less so to other individuals, in a way that you would scarcely comprehend if you observed it, and would find repellent. Ours and Bertram’s may be regarded as on opposite ends of a polarity, with your age coming into a middle position. We were much of the other world and little of the physical, hence our relative disregard of social arrangements relative to the individual: we knew that we were each in the right place for how else could it be? Bertram’s society was much of the physical world and but little of the other world, regardless how they thought of it – that is, regardless what they believed, they experienced far less. And yours is moving through loss of faith, slowly into personal direct knowledge which will of course change everything because it will change the base of everything.
It seems to me that Bertram’s time was closer to the other side in some ways than we are.
[Bertram] Those of us who had seen beyond the veil would argue the opposite. What is common knowledge among you could not even be heard by any save a very few. What confuses your thought is that in my day people were emotionally closer. They were simpler. They did not need and could not have accommodated complicated intellectual formulations. Their access came through the emotions and the senses. This, you see, was the function of the great Gothic cathedrals! They functioned as emotional doorways into greater connection, experienced only perhaps as an inrush of emotion, but none the less facilitating connection between man and God, or as you would say between Downstairs and Upstairs, or human and divine, or physical and non-physical. Our belief system was well worked out, and the bulk of it was argument among scholars: I tell you that the common minds of our time – and that includes kings, it is not a class distinction but an intellectual one – the common minds of our time knew only the basics of a story, but that story gave them hope and meaning and – the important thing – gave them their only real hope in our time of access. It is because your time does not understand this that you are being asked to pass on the word. Later ages became capable of more, and then demanded more, and society then changed in response. But although the pious of those ages may have despaired at this new lack of faith, all was well; turbulence often merely foretells the coming of a new age – a new arrangement of beliefs and values and strivings. Do not expect to recognize in advance what has not yet manifested; merely, remain open to an understanding that may come or may not, and in any case will come only in its own time, in its own way, according to the laws of its being.
You are moving to a new place on the polarity, closer to your fellows than we were, closer to direct access to the other side than Bertram’s times were. Your experiences will not repeat either, but will be one more filter through which to see the world, which will in turn limit and so focus the filters that are individuals in those times.
Thank you, my friends. I’d better stop for a while.
You have our blessings – yes, and our concurrence.