Author: Roberta Grimes

Creating a Monstrous God

Christianity is deeply rooted in fear-based ideas that have nothing to do with Jesus. Indeed, nearly every Christian notion is an active repudiation of the Lord’s Gospel teachings! We have talked about awful elements of Christianity that came out of the first-millennium councils, while so far ignoring the rotten fruit of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation.

This lapse has been my fault. I grew up in a cozy Protestant church with a much-loved minister who preached the Lord’s words, and then I went off to college with the goal of becoming a minister, too. There I studied Christianity’s beginnings, and I was often horrified at what I was learning. If you like hot dogs, never watch them being made! By the time I fell in love with and married a Catholic, I no longer trusted the religion enough to give my life to it. My conversion to Catholicism for my husband’s sake was sincere. And my twenty-five years as a Catholic were for the most part ardent and heartfelt, despite the fact that by then I was so steeped in the Gospel words of Jesus that much of Catholicism seemed nonsensical to me. I was sure the scholars must know more than I did! And my childhood minister had so well succeeded in making me see his Protestantism as the gentler flavor of Christianity, the vanilla to Catholicism’s chocolate, that returning to all those first-millennium details, to confessions and genuflecting and crossing oneself, to incense and to priests in brocade, felt for a long time like simply taking Christianity as seriously as it was meant to be taken.

I have been reluctant to talk about Protestantism. I haven’t much studied the Reformation, and my gentle childhood religion has for most of my life made me think the cruelest edges had long since been worn away. Surely no one still believed all those awful fear-based lies? The occasional fire-and-brimstone ministers whose words I read out of curiosity were only the sincere but misguided ending to a long chain of human-made horrors. But then recently I read an article which suggested the centuries-old battle between Calvinism and Arminianism still is underway! And if there is even a whiff of John Calvin’s movement polluting any modern church, then Protestantism remains the enemy of Jesus and the awful defamer of the one true God.

Calvinism demonstrates the fact that the human dogmas which formed Christianity from the founding of the Roman Church four centuries after the Lord’s crucifixion then continued to ever more warp the religion. We have talked about the worst of these first-millennium errors, including Adam’s original sin, God’s judgment and our possible damnation, and the idea that Jesus died to save us from God’s wrath. None of this comes from the teachings of Jesus, and in fact all of it contradicts those teachings. And Jesus foresaw the likelihood that His divine movement based in love was going to be corrupted by man-made ideas. He said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (MT 7:24-27). He warned us that clergymen preaching human lies that were meant to advance mere human goals would seek to use His movement for their own purposes. He said, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (MT 7:15-20).

The sand of false and fear-based dogmas on which the Roman church was built could not help but to grow around it trees whose only product was thorns and thistles. Modern Calvinists refer to “The Five Points of Calvinism” as “T.U.L.I.P.” Alas, among the thorns and thistles that were already thick on those Christian trees, the Protestant Reformation later proceeded to grow one ungodly flower. I will summarize the five Calvinist points below, but my few words cannot do them justice! I urge you to follow this link and read about T.U.L.I.P. in the words of an ardent believer. Behold the monstrously evil God that is Calvinism’s grotesque creation:

  • TOTAL DEPRAVITY: Every human being is dead in sin, and at the root of our state of sin is Adam’s original sin. Only God can save us, and without that effort on God’s part we cannot even choose to do anything good. We can never be worthy to earn God’s grace.
  • UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION: Before the world was made, God chose to give eternal life to just a few of the people He created, and He eternally rejects the rest. God did not seek or find anything good in His chosen few as a reason for saving them.
  • LIMITED ATONEMENT: Christ’s death on the cross paid for our sins, but it did that for only those few chosen people that God had decided to save before the earth was formed. The atonement is limited to God’s Elect. And, “That is the only Gospel because that is the Bible.”
  • IRRESISTIBLE GRACE: The Elect are saved and will go to heaven, whether they want to go or not. God’s will is stronger, and it will prevail. Apparently, though, if we happen to be among the few that God created to be saved, we will enjoy being in heaven in the end.
  • PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS: God preserves those that He created as the Elect. “Once you are saved, you are always saved.” This is true even if you do the most evil things! But we are hastily assured that the true Elect simply cannot be evil.

No more sadistic, depraved, and vehemently anti-Jesus set of teachings can be imagined. Read that list again. Read it with further elaboration written by a man of God who ardently believes it. What the Calvinists did was to decide that their early translations of the Bible were the literal, complete, and inerrant Word of God for all time, and they ranked every word in their Bibles as equal in importance to the Gospel words of Jesus. Then they found some words in their Bibles that they read as supporting these appalling ideas, and they formed an explicitly fear-based theology based upon a barbaric human-made God. They have poisoned Christianity with this nonsense for centuries! But you and I have sat at the feet of Jesus. We have listened to His genuine words in a modern translation of the Gospels. Please, if you can, help me to see what any of this has to do with Him?

And these are not fringe ideas! Many modern Protestant denominations are still based nominally in Calvinist thought, including my cozy childhood church, which is part of the United Church of Christ. The fact that I never heard a whiff of Calvinism throughout my growing-up was an accident of the fact that the minister who baptized me spent the next quarter-century serving my church. Reverend Stephen Turrell of blessed memory taught us to love and to follow Jesus; but given his denomination, he could as easily have taught us the terrors of Calvinism.

Fear and love are polar opposites. You cannot love what you fear. No one who believes the lies of Calvinism can ever come to love its monstrous God. And in fact, believing T.U.L.I.P. is an active bar to their learning to love the genuine God, and even to their ever coming to know and love Jesus.

Within a century after John Calvin and his followers had codified them, these doctrines had begun to spur a sharp reaction, led by a movement generally referred to as Arminianism. Under this more relaxed doctrine, each of the five points of Calvinism is softened enough to allow for the possibility of universal salvation. But still, we all carry Adam’s sin, and Jesus still must die to save us from the judgment of a wrathful God.

I hadn’t intended to write about Calvinism. I had a different post half-written when Thomas dropped this topic in my lap. At first I resisted it in the whiny way that sometimes you’ve got to resist when you don’t want to do what a boss or a parent is making you do, and you know you’re going to have to do it but you won’t do it without a fight. I’ve never studied the Protestant Reformation! And I hate this topic. Give me a break! But even though forty-eight hours ago I was sulkily staring at a blank page, I realize now that this post is an essential follow-up to what we said last week. All of Christianity is fear-based and tainted. When the Bishops at the Council of Nicaea in 325 officially took over the Lord’s gentle Way that had prospered in many different forms for centuries after His crucifixion and made of it one fear-based religion, they were building on human sand. The Romans were false prophets in sheep’s clothing, to be sure! They were vines and trees so corrupted that their only fruit could be thorns and thistles, and then eventually John Calvin’s poisonous T.U.L.I.P.

But thanks to the gift of eternal revelation and renewal granted by the living God, we are able to look at the evidence freshly and see what is false and what is true. As the veil between worlds continues to thin, we are in good enough contact now with those that we used to think were dead that we are no longer dependent on the false Christian prophets and all their old fear-based lies. At last we can go back directly to Jesus! And His Gospel teachings are the only way to ever build a movement based in love that can be God’s long-planned instrument and help to bring the kingdom of God on earth.

It is time for a brand-new Reformation. We can rebuild God’s house upon the rock of truth, and plant around it vines and trees that will bear the Lord’s perfect love-based fruit. As the Jewish scholar Hillel the Elder more or less said two thousand years ago, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

  

Red tulips photo credit: nikontino <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/61136163@N07/13600910425″>20140403-SPR_2405</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
John Calvin photo credit: Abode of Chaos <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40936370@N00/9932970573″>Jean Calvin, painted portrait DDC_8750</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Tulips with trees photo credit: Steve Walser <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/93693827@N00/28446697239″>Around the Bend</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

What Is The Gospel?

Nearly all the people now living who profess to love and follow Jesus have no awareness of who He is and why He chose to be born on earth. That fact is heartbreaking, when the truth about Jesus and His mission is so glorious! The only evidence we have now of the Lord and His mission is His genuine words as they are given in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the four books of the Bible which are commonly referred to as the Gospels. And to be frank, I am a skeptic when it comes to strictly believing the words of someone who lived two thousand years ago and whose words were passed down orally for two generations after His death, then translated through two more very different languages before you and I first got to read them! But the greatest discovery of my life has been the fact that those that we used to think were dead uniformly confirm that the Gospel teachings of Jesus are the most essential core human truths of all.

I have shared with you what Jesus actually tells us in the Gospels, and how it is that Christianity has managed to get the Lord’s mission and message so wrong. For its first few centuries, Christianity was a movement based in the teachings of Jesus, and there were many variations on those teachings that were accepted under that movement’s broad tent. Ideas that are central to Christianity now were very much minority views for the first five centuries after He died! For example, more than six million Christian burials were conducted in the Roman catacombs up until the early fifth century C.E.; and in all that time, according to the nineteenth-century scholar John Ruskin, there is “Not a cross as a symbol in the Catacombs. The earliest Latin cross is on the tomb of the Empress Galla Placidia, 451 AD. No picture of the crucifixion until the Ninth Century, nor any portable crucifix until long after. To the early Christians Christ was living, the one agonized hour was lost in the thought of his glory and triumph. The fall of theology and Christian thought dates from the error of dwelling upon his death instead of his life.”

Jesus tells us in the Gospels that His teachings were meant to begin the arrival of the kingdom of God on earth. The fact that instead Christianity soon became a deeply fear-based religion is due to the fact that Roman Emperors adopted the Christian movement and imposed upon it their own orthodoxies to help them better control the faithful. Over the next millennium, the Roman Church stamped out more than three dozen differing interpretations of the Lord’s Gospel words at a cost of more than twenty-five million mostly brutal deaths. Even worse from the long perspective of history, the religion they erected in the name of Jesus has almost nothing to do with Jesus.

Let’s look briefly at a few of the false Christian teachings that don’t have roots in the Gospels, and in fact are entirely untrue according to those that we used to think were dead:

  • Jesus died to save us from God’s judgment for our sins. But the Lord directly tells us in the Gospels that neither He nor God ever judges us, and the dead tell us that the death of Jesus on the cross has never made an afterlife difference for a single human being.
  • If we don’t accept Jesus as our personal savior, we will burn in hell for eternity. The not-really-dead tell us that in fact there is no fiery hell. There is what Jesus called an “outer darkness,” but that is just a temporary banishment. More to the point, our own refusal to genuinely forgive and love is the primary reason why we might end up there.
  • Those who are not Christians cannot go to heaven. Not true. Everyone makes it to the same afterlife, no matter what religion they professed on earth or even if they followed no religion at all. There is no Christian ceremony that makes any discernible afterlife difference.
  • Merit in the afterlife is based on avoiding sin, and on God’s forgiveness of our sins. But the dead say that “sin” is just a human concept. In fact, there is evidence in the Gospels that Jesus came to abolish the very notion of sin! No, the dead tell us that our advancement in the afterlife is purely based upon the extent to which we become ever more perfectly loving.
  • Sinning separates us from God. Those that we used to think were dead say that sin is the breaking of human rules, when in fact with God there are no rules beyond the law of perfect love. After our deaths we will be judged by ourselves alone, and entirely based upon whether and the extent to which each thing we did in our lives was loving.

There are other false Christian dogmas, too, that are not derived from the teachings of Jesus as they are expressed in the Gospels and affirmed by those that we used to think were dead. But these five bogus human ideas are the core teachings of modern Christianity! All of them are intensely fear-based, and all of them flat-out contradict the genuine Gospel teachings of Jesus. Fear is the polar opposite of love. You cannot love what you fear. And for so long as these five teachings are included in the dogmas of modern Christianity, the religion will continue to debase and defile the very people Jesus came to serve.

This travesty is further complicated by the fact that the Christian leaders who most ardently preach fear-based falsehoods like the five listed here will generally claim that in doing so they are “preaching the Gospel.” They exhort their flocks to go out and share these human lies as “the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” when in fact they are no such thing!

What does the word “Gospel” actually mean? Here is one dictionary’s definition: The word gospel comes from the Old English word god meaning ‘good’ and spel meaning ‘news, a story.’ In Christianity, the term ‘good news’ refers to the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.” When used most strictly, the word “Gospel” refers to just those first four books of the New Testament which detail the words and the life of Jesus. “Gospel” doesn’t refer to the rest of the Bible, and it certainly doesn’t refer to any later-established Christian ideas! The genuine story of Jesus as it is set forth in the Biblical Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is Good News indeed! It is arguably the greatest news that ever has been given to humankind, but almost no Christian preacher on earth is currently sharing that good news with anyone. Even worse, many Christian clergymen have so misused the word “Gospel” that it has become for many a term based in fear. To quote one of these well-meaning but deluded men of God: “There is no other issue as important as how to be saved. That is why the Gospel, the ‘Good News,’ the death, burial, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ must be taught without compromise.”

This terrible sullying of the term “Gospel” is at the root of Christianity’s current decay. In the United States, only 65% of adults now identify themselves as Christians, a decline of twelve percentage points over just the past decade. And during that decade I have heard from many who are in that twelve percent, all lifelong Christians who have fallen away in desperation and despair. The reasons they give for leaving Christianity generally boil down to these four:

  • They can no longer believe Christianity’s teachings, and especially the five points outlined above that are not based in the teachings of Jesus and are also said by the dead to be false.
  • They love the Jesus they first met as children, but they don’t find Him in the pews as adults.
  • They find many of the Christian faithful to be cliquish, judgmental, and “un-Christian.”
  • They find in modern Christianity only rules and dogmas, not spiritual food.

When clergymen claim for their bogus use of the word “Gospel” a divine provenance that does not exist, they are polluting the Lord’s sacred message. To use a term that many of them are quick to apply to those who follow Jesus, these preachers are doing the Devil’s work.

This confusion about what is and what is not the genuine Gospel of the Lord is greasing Christianity’s slide toward oblivion. In simpler times, people were easily led to adopt the fear that lies at the heart of modern Christianity, and to accept with it the relief of knowing that they had a Get Out of Hell Free Card by virtue of the Lord’s sacrificial death. Even as late as a few decades ago, this false “Gospel” was widely believed; and if hell was real, then warming pews was a reasonable price to pay to escape it. Now, however, the abundance of afterlife information and its easy dissemination via the Internet, when combined with the fact that twenty-first-century Westerners are generally more sophisticated, means that the old trick of “scare ‘em, then lure ‘em to church to save ‘em” that maintained Christianity for two millennia simply cannot work anymore.

But the coming fall of Christianity can be a great opportunity for Jesus! The only way to fight errors and lies is with the truth. Those who are being driven away from Christianity still retain a positive opinion of Jesus, who has an approval rating in the United States that stands at 90%. Even God’s approval rating in the same survey is just 52%! The Gospel teachings of Jesus are precisely what we need if we are ever to break humankind’s eternal cycle of fear, rage, and despair. Jesus has the answer, and He is much beloved; all He needs is a more efficient way to bring His true Gospel to humankind. And fortunately, that is an area where you and I can help!

My next book, The Fun of Loving Jesus – Embracing the Christianity That Jesus Taught, is due out early next year.

 

Jesus with children photo credit: Lilmsmrtas <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/38792568@N04/7445853274″>Stained Glass</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

 

Where Is Up?

It is hard for us to understand how there could be an afterlife that is full of all the people who ever have lived on earth. After all, we can’t see it. We can’t even really imagine where it is. And until we are confident about how the afterlife physically fits with what we know, we cannot be certain that we never will die.

We have talked here about details of the greater reality. We even have turned our search to better understand it into a weekly podcast that stands at 345 episodes and counting. But no matter how researchers have tried to make it easier for you to envision the greater reality, the truth is so different from what you are being given to believe by science and religions and your own lying eyes that I have lately been seeking an easier way to help you get your mind around what is true. Let’s try it again. And let’s make it simple!

Imagine you are sitting in a boat in the middle of the ocean. As you focus on all that endless water, your eyes assure you that you are alone. Then suddenly, a whale breaches right in front of you. Your eyes see it, but it appears and then right away it disappears. Unless you understand the nature of water, you have trouble believing in that whale; and you certainly flat-out cannot believe that he swims now right beneath your feet with billions of his closest friends!

The empty-seeming air around you similarly teems with living beings. Your eyes can’t perceive them, so when one of them breaches into this material reality – perhaps as a spirit glimpsed or a survival sign, or perhaps as a friend’s near-death experience – you see that event as isolated, and not as a further concrete demonstration of a complex reality even greater and more complex than that endless depth of ocean lying beyond what your eyes can see.

When we examine nearly two hundred years of abundant and consistent communications from thousands of people that we used to think were dead, and we then combine what they tell us with a raft of amazingly consistent insights from quantum mechanics and other scientific disciplines, we get a wonderfully detailed picture of a complex greater reality that might be twenty times the size of this material universe. Let’s sum up in ten basic points what researchers have so far learned is true:

  • Consciousness is all that exists. The only thing that objectively exists is an infinitely powerful and infinitely creative energy-like potentiality that we experience in a limited way as human consciousness. Everything else that seems to exist is manifested by that base universal Consciousness (which we often capitalize now, since at its highest vibration it is the genuine God).
  • Consciousness exists in a range of emotional vibrations, from fear and rage at the lowest and slowest to perfect love at the highest and fastest vibrations. So human emotion is immensely important! Far from being just an artifact of our individual minds, what we each experience as human emotion turns out to be the literal energy that powers the base creative Consciousness. The higher consciousness vibrates, the more positive and more powerful it becomes, so controlling human emotion on the personal and also on the aggregate level is going to be essential to our ever being able to control anything!
  • Everything that we perceive to be real and solid is continuously manifested by Consciousness. We have talked here about the fact that God is not a Big Guy with a beard and thunderbolts, but rather the evidence indicates that God is a Collective of Perfected Beings. And since there is no objective time, reality was not created once and left to develop on its own, but rather reality is being repeatedly manifested, together with all its apparently past timeline events.
  • Matter that seems solid is not solid at all. Matter is composed of “particles,” which are in fact just minute vortices of energy encompassing empty spaces. If you could put a tiny camera inside an atom, you would find nothing for it to photograph since even the tiniest subatomic particles are only whirling vortices of energy.
  • This universe which is composed of matter is less than five percent of what physicists know or have come to surmise exists. They call the rest of reality “dark” matter and energy, but only because it doesn’t produce or react to photons of material light. And physicists haven’t much studied that ninety-five percent of what they believe exists, because they freakishly consider their mandate to be just the study of whatever is material. So they randomly guess that dark matter must contain particles in the form of hypothetical quarks, gluons, neutrinos, leptons, or some other random material rubbish of no real importance. But the fact that dark matter and energy don’t interact with photons of light suggests that they don’t contain material particles, which means that all those scientific guesses must be wrong. And the economy of this material universe is breathtakingly efficient and precise! That fact pretty much guarantees that whatever dark matter and energy are, they are probably not made of just rubbish particles.
  • This material universe is the only part of reality where objective time and space exist. What we experience as space and time is associated only with particle-based matter, so in the 95% of reality that doesn’t contain particle-based matter, the notion of time’s passage and the concept of distance are both optional and flexible. This means that it is reasonable to say that the non-material greater reality beyond this material universe is at once both infinitely large in size and smaller than a pencil dot. It also probably means that if anything ever exists, then it always exists.
  • The ninety-five percent of reality which exists beyond this material universe is almost certainly what those who study the greater reality call the astral plane. The astral is not matter-based, and it seems to be much greater in relative size than this whole material universe. The astral is humankind’s true home! It’s an inconceivably vast and mind-bogglingly complex wild-west sort of assembly of experiences, places, ideas, and states of mind that is as varied, astonishing, and teeming with life as is that silent ocean beneath your boat. And except at its lowest reaches, it is far more love-based than is this material universe. Out-of-body experiences and near-death experiences are adventures which occur in the astral plane, and what we who live in this material reality call “supernatural phenomena” are simply instances where events occurring in the astral areas will “breach” into our awareness and out of it again.
  • The astral is precisely where we are now, and it is stratified into nearly infinite levels (or channels, or dimensions) by its limitless vibrational frequencies. This entire material universe is just a limited vibrational sub-set in a vast energy-based spectrum of Consciousness vibrations! The easiest way to envision how the greater reality works is to think of the fact that all around you now are hundreds of TV signals, each at a slightly different vibrational frequency. If your mind were a TV set, it could pick up one of those channels and there tune in to a solid-seeming reality. And the plain fact is that right now, your mind is tuned to that body you believe is you in this material level of reality (which is at or near reality’s lowest vibratory rate). This is why you are unaware of all the other vibratory levels of Consciousness which exist in precisely the same time and place!
  • Each eternal human mind, whether it operates for now in a material body or in a non-material astral body, is tuned to its own vibrational frequency on the range between abject fear and perfect love. And while our minds easily can tune to lower frequencies than whatever their preset set-point is, we find it unbearable to try to go higher because the consciousness energy above our present natural set-point batters us unbearably. But we want to go higher! So most of us are trying to raise our personal set-point farther away from the fear end and closer to the perfect-love end of the consciousness spectrum. Researchers believe that this is why the material universe even exists. Matter gives us a level of reality that our minds cannot so easily mess with, so we can experience much more negativity here than in nearly all the rest of reality, and we can push against it and thereby raise our personal spiritual vibrations. The process is a bit more complicated than that, but not much! This is why we plan our lives on earth. This is why our learning to recognize our own spiritual growth while we are in bodies even matters!
  • The minds of people who die on earth return to a limited area of the astral plane that we call “the afterlife.” You might think of the afterlife as a kind of portal between this material universe and the vast non-material realities; and like the gigantic astral of which it is a part, the afterlife exists precisely where we are now. Like the rest of the astral, it consists of stratified Consciousness, from the lowest vibration (which is abject fear) to the highest (which is perfect love). Once back in the afterlife, we pick up beautiful bodies which are non-material and mind-created but still solid, and we can move freely from the afterlife into the greater astral and back again. We can travel to the ends of the material universe and through the whole vast astral instantly, and by mind alone! But people attached to bodies on earth and having a near-death experience or otherwise traveling in the astral cannot enter the afterlife area and then leave it again. The dead tell us that death is always a one-way trip, and there is evidence that this is true.

I had hoped to make a quick course in the greater reality only part of what we would discuss this week! But this is a gigantic topic – it’s the most gigantic topic there is – so even condensed, it takes a lot of words to help you begin to get your mind around it. Please read these ten points several times. Think about them; envision how they fit together; ask questions if questions occur to you; then wait a day and read them all carefully again. Rinse and repeat. As you ever more thoroughly internalize them, try to notice that you are beginning to inhabit all of reality now, and not just the tiny part that your sensory organs tell you exists!

Those of us who have by now learned to fully inhabit the greater reality are not surprised, and in fact we are delighted when occasionally a whale will breach. Just this past week, someone sent me a picture she had taken while she was photographing fall foliage. There was a smudge on the road, so she enlarged it. OMG, what was that? She enlarged it again. Our expert friend, Dr. R. Craig Hogan, has confirmed that this is the way photos of genuine beings often present themselves. Susan Stewart and David DeLattre saw nothing remarkable when they took the picture, but they happened to catch someone (who may have been Susan’s mother) briefly breaching into our energy-level of reality. A picture snapped a split-second before or after this one might have shown more defined features, perhaps a solid and detailed form, or else perhaps nothing but a barren road. This is just the way our true reality works.

 

Tranquil ocean photo credit: TylerFrost Photography <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/163162514@N05/45722763821″>Tranquil Sunset</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Whale breaching photo credit: Quick Shot Photos <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/48583839@N07/48708440683″>Breaching Whale</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Whale’s tail photo credit: denisbin <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/82134796@N03/48900547522″>Hervey Bay near Fraser Island. Close up detail of the tail of a giant humpback whale.</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
School of fish photo credit: Phuketian.S <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/124790945@N06/48610828341″>Surin and Similan archipelago, yacht cruise and underwater photos IMG_2488PSC</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Sea turtle photo credit: TarikB <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/37996583025@N01/49089662″>Green Back Turtle, West Coast Barbados</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Reef life photo credit: zsispeo <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/14486836@N06/38163509322″>Pictus Coralblenny – Ecsenius pictus</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Spirit photographs photo credit: photo taken by Susan Stewart and David DeLattre on the afternoon of Sunday, October 13, 2019 near Allegheny State Park in southwestern New York State, and enlarged.

Planning For Spiritual Growth

This universe exists to give us a place where we can begin to grow spiritually. It may serve other purposes too, but I haven’t seen good ideas about that; and it is clear now that this material universe is key to the process of helping us all to embark upon an eternity of ever more glorious spiritual growth. The material universe is a spiritual nursery. That fact is enough purpose, all by itself!

The spiritual development that happens on earth is at a basic level. We talked last week  about the process of moving away from fear and toward more perfect love, so as our vibrations rise we come to see that the separations among us are artificial. Then, bingo! We have learned our first great lesson – we now understand that we all are one being! – so we have finished elementary school. We are ready to move from long division on to algebra, as it were, and from there to the ever more esoteric schools in the greater reality that can take us through the spiritual equivalents of trigonometry and advanced calculus, and then far beyond to ever greater spiritual levels that we cannot now imagine.

Coming to earth to grow spiritually, even at this basic level, is a careful process for each of us. First comes considerable planning, and that planning will make up the bulk of this post; but I thought you might like to know what happens for each of us once the planning is done. The person about to enter a new earth-lifetime then goes through the non-material and non-time equivalent of the following steps:

  • We strip down to our limited earth-minds. Just as we would strip down to shorts, T-shirt, and sneakers if we were heading for a physical gym, so as we prepare to go to the spiritual gym that is a life on earth, we strip down to just the parts of our minds that are conducive to rapid spiritual growth. We leave behind as much as eighty percent of our vast, eternal minds, so we leave there beyond our conscious reach a great deal of reasoning power and vast stores of learning and our memories of multiple lifetimes. Scientists call all of that our subconscious mind, but in fact it is our superconscious mind.
  • We shrink ourselves. No one seems to know quite how this happens, but we go through a process of infantilization that further reduces our minds to the conscious awareness of newborns. We do keep some greater awareness, though, even though at first we lack a way to express it. I vividly recall the infant moment when I happened to be naked, so I checked out my body for what may have been the first time. And something important was missing! My thought was, “Oh. I’m the other kind this time.” What I recall most of all is how devastated I felt that I was going to have to go through an entire lifetime as that other gender!
  • We go into a peaceful holding state. Once our process of life-planning and all these preparatory steps have been completed, we wait in a separate limbo for the conception of our body to happen. Then at the moment of conception, or soon thereafter, we attach to the resulting zygote. And our new life in a physical body begins.

Two quick reminders:

  • Very few of us will return home and right away start to plan another earth-lifetime. Nearly everyone relaxes for awhile in the endless wonderland that is the afterlife, since this is playtime, R&R on steroids, and more fun than you ever have had in any lifetime! Nearly everyone stays in the afterlife at least until all those who were important in the lifetime just completed have made it back home again.
  • Since objectively there is no time, the new lifetime being planned is not necessarily later in earth’s timeline than was the lifetime just completed. We are told that we sometimes choose to incarnate into an earlier or a much later time if the spiritual lessons we hope to learn can be most easily experienced there, and if a body to accommodate us can be found. We don’t know the extent to which this “reincarnating out of time” occurs, but the notion does tend to make your eyes cross!

It is only in recent decades that those who study the afterlife have come to understand the extent to which our lives on earth are planned. This is an area where I claim no expertise, but there is one generally acknowledged expert, so if your interest is piqued by what I say here, you might want to read Robert Schwartz’s Your Soul’s Plan. I am told his book is excellent, but I haven’t read it myself because – as is true of many books in this field – my primary guide will not allow me to read it. His dissuading me from reading a book means that its information includes some ideas with which he disagrees, and here my hunch is that the mechanism of the life-planning process outlined in Schwartz’s book may be more uniform than the process actually seems to be if you pick it up from many afterlife communications. Or Schwartz might use the religious term “karma,” which Thomas thinks is too simplistic. In any event, I am going to share with you how I understand this process to work, and I’ll also give you our own planning process for this lifetime as an atypical example. The steps outlined here don’t have to happen in this order, and in fact they are usually somewhat simultaneous; but here is what is routinely reported:

  • The life-review that happens when we return from a lifetime is often our springboard to another eventual earth-lifetime. We ponder what we have learned and where we have fallen short, and we discuss it with our guides and some of the key people from our lifetime just ended. We might take classes, and in general we start to shape the kinds of lessons that we most need to learn in order to grow beyond the need to keep coming back.
  • As we begin to shape a new upcoming lifetime, we network with friends and contacts who might join us. People with whom we have incarnated before, especially people with whom we have shared troubled lifetimes, generally are the ones most likely to want to give it another go with us. We also choose and are chosen by a primary guide who is attracted to and best suited to helping us with the most important of the lessons we are planning.
  • As we assemble our team, refine our needed lessons, and narrow down our options for entry to earth’s timeline, we begin to flesh out the life-details. All the people who will be important to us in the lifetime we are planning also will need their own spirit guides and their own key players; and all those key players also will need their own key players and their own guides, so our meetings for working out our life-details can soon become gigantic. Some of our key players are already in bodies, so many of these meetings will occur during earth-nights and in the general astral. For whatever reason, I have long imagined these meetings occurring outside, under trees and around enormous tables. An interested Sixth-Level Elder or two might have been invited to give advice and set the tone; and there soon are multiple deals being done as all the players work out their own lives. You might think of this process as something like gaming out the planned role of each separate piece in a hundred-dimensional game of chess.
  • As we grow spiritually, we tend to want to attempt more difficult earth-lives. Life on earth is rough duty! The more we can grow in one lifetime, the fewer times we will need to come back, so many plan lives that are too difficult rather than too easy. In fact, the most ambitious life-plans generally require approval by a Council of Elders.
  • We modify our plans throughout our lives. We meet frequently with our guides as our bodies sleep, tweaking our life-plan as things go well or poorly and as new opportunities arise. By the time we die, those well-thought-out life-plans often are nearly unrecognizable!

Some who are nearing the end of their needed incarnations will plan to live a life for the greater good. My primary guide was one who planned such a lifetime. As I understand it now, he came into what should have been his last earth-lifetime resolved to do three things: he would set the record straight for Jesus, abolish slavery in the New World, and help to develop a society based in personal freedom and empowerment. And for various reasons, although he tried, Thomas Jefferson never managed to achieve any of these goals to his own satisfaction. Looking back after his death, his conclusion was that he had had too much power and he hadn’t used it well, so he was one of the few who choose to plunge right back into a new earth-lifetime. He lived an additional life as just some guy in Wales so he could get himself “back into balance.”

With his three big goals as Jefferson still unmet, once his Wales persona died, my primary guide turned to an old comrade with whom he had shared seventeen lifetimes. His comrade was not as spiritually advanced, but still he was eager to stop incarnating, so he agreed to incarnate under Thomas’s guidance with three similar big goals in mind. Thomas was a rookie as a primary guide, and his protégé was a rookie at trying big things; but as the twentieth century began, and as the effort to raise the consciousness vibration of this planet got well underway, they began to assemble that protégé’s next earth-lifetime. It was Thomas who made all their big decisions:

  • His protégé had almost always been male, but this time he was going to need to be female. As they roughed out their plans, it became clear to Thomas that a man doing and saying these things would attract more opposition than a woman would. Especially an elderly woman!
  • His protégé would need to incarnate outside their shared soul group. Most of us plan to incarnate repeatedly as part of the same vast clan, but Thomas’s junior friend needed to come in at a specific time and place. A same-soul-group body at the right time and place would not be available, so we gave up the need for familiar parents. In the end, I was conceived by what to us was a random unmarried couple and born to them seven months after their wedding.
  • Thomas wanted to distance himself from his famous incarnation, so he tried to keep me from consciously remembering our Jefferson connection. But then the opportunity arose for me to channel the Master Himself. Thomas got me selected, and he shepherded me though two decades of preparation; but when the time came, I refused to channel Jesus. I thought I was completely unworthy. So with a sigh, Thomas broke into my daytime life, told me who he had been, and hit me upside the head with the fact that this was an assignment I could not refuse. Channeling the Lord was the greatest experience of all my many lifetimes!

Your comments and emails over recent weeks suggest that I haven’t sufficiently shared with you how the greater reality seems to us to work. We will try to remedy that failing next week….

 

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Am I Growing Spiritually?

As we continue to talk about spiritual growth, I have been hearing from more and more people who ask how they will be able to tell when they are growing spiritually. I used to wonder about that, too! But having worked at my own spiritual growth and been amazed both by how easy it is and how very different it makes you feel, I can answer this question now with confidence. And I know you really need to know! But my problem in sharing what I have learned is that everything else that I write has been assembled in the course of extensive research. Today, though, I will be sharing what is arguably the most important thing that I ever will write for you, and of necessity it will be based primarily on my own experience.

This universe exists to give us a place where we can push against negativity in order to raise our personal spiritual vibrations away from fear and toward more perfect love. The process of spiritual growth at our level is actually no more complex than that! No matter how hard this might seem to us, we are not talking spiritual graduate school here. Nor even spiritual college. Nor high school. This universe is a good and rigorous spiritual elementary school. We come here to get ready for what amounts to spiritual junior high, at which point we can cease to incarnate because we will no longer need negativity to foster what will be our eternal adventure of ever more glorious spiritual growth.

And here is why raising your personal spiritual vibration must be your main goal now:

  • What we experience as human consciousness is a limited subset of the base creative force that continuously manifests this universe.
  • Consciousness exists in a range of vibrations that we experience as abject fear and hatred at the lowest and slowest up to perfect love at the highest vibration.
  • Consciousness is infinitely creative! On earth, fear and rage in too many minds will create wars, cruelty, hatred, oppression, and their correlate disasters in the natural world; while enough love in our individual minds can bring the kingdom of God on earth.

YOUR SPIRITUAL VIBRATION IS WHO YOU ARE. You cannot do acts of cruelty or kindness, but rather you are those acts. If showing forgiveness and love in any instance feels as if you are struggling with a conscious choice, then you are acting in contradiction to your lower rate of spiritual vibration. The whole purpose of your having entered this lifetime is the transformation of your mind. And if you have to think about it, then you haven’t yet completed that transformation: you still are vibrating at a lower grade level. You are trying too hard, trying to “fake it until you make it.” And if you hope that faking it is good enough, then you won’t be making it. Not in this lifetime.

We all had a test of our personal consciousness vibratory rate only this past week, when an 18-year-old publicly hugged and forgave the murderer of his older brother. Watch this young man give his speech, then watch him beg the judge for an opportunity to hug the woman who had shot his brother to death in his own home. If you can witness young Brandt Jean’s beautiful act with anything but joy in your heart, then your spiritual development still needs work! And tragically, the reactions to what he did have been decidedly mixed. That fact horrifies me. No one who is a follower of Jesus can consider what Brandt Jean did to be anything but spiritual common sense! It is past time for people who call themselves Christians to sit and listen to the Lord Himself:

When Peter asked him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (MT 18:21-23).

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (JN 13:34).

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.

The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (MT 22:37-40).

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:43-48).

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (LK 6:37-38).

“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father” (JN 5:22-23).

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (LK 6:35-36).

Jesus gives us in the Gospels the easiest and most effective method for achieving rapid spiritual growth ever devised! All I did when I decided almost a decade ago to really try to grow spiritually was to take the Lord’s teachings as seriously and strictly as He means them to be taken. You will notice that He never says try! Always and forever, Jesus says DO.

I was an excellent experimental subject! I had been appallingly self-important, at the top of every class in school, expecting to be the winner in each contest, as impressed with myself as I could be. And I used to have a hair-trigger temper. I saw slights and reasons to feel annoyed in many of my interactions, so I was irritated a lot of the time. I didn’t realize how bad it was, since I had been that way for my entire life! I just thought my being so prickly was normal.

(As an aside, I suspect that spiritual growth is easier if you are already comfortable with thinking in an eternal frame, so I urge you first to study the afterlife literature and convince yourself your life is eternal. Then, go for it! No matter your age, you can make this your last earth-lifetime.)

I have spoken elsewhere about my process of applying the Lord’s Gospel teachings, which at first was just me messing with ideas and without real expectations. So I was amazed when, about six weeks into my experiment, I noticed a profound internal change. Something happened that should have vastly annoyed me, even blighted my entire day, and I noticed it, but now it didn’t bother me at all. It was as if there had been levers on the outside of me that people could fiddle with and make me crazy, but now those levers had been disconnected on the inside. No matter what happened from then on, I felt only peace. I continued to practice radical forgiveness proactively for a few months more, but before long doing that started to seem like overkill so I stopped bothering. And a few years later my primary guide, Thomas, unexpectedly announced to me that I am now living my last necessary earth-lifetime. Wow! What, me?? I still have trouble believing it, even though more and more I am coming to see that what he said may be true.

Growing spiritually feels like a peaceful distancing from every possible source of stress! It feels like a softening, a blissful deepening so complete that at this point I can’t even recall the agitation with which I saw the world before. As I think about it, here are the biggest differences that beginning to grow spiritually has made in my life:

  • Now I feel empathy and love for everyone. This is true even of people who consider themselves to be my enemies. I love each of them very much, and I am saddened for them when their bitterness separates us.
  • I am never upset or angry. I might have a kind of mild “darn it” feeling about heavy traffic or human strife, but nothing that muddles my internal peace. All those rages that used to take me over so easily are wonderfully gone.
  • I can’t be near people who are negative. This is something I had noticed about spiritually advanced people, even long before I began to share their aversion to negativity. If people try to fight with me about anything, I don’t fight back. Now I bless them and withdraw.
  • I am so happy! What they don’t tell you about spiritual growth is that it feels delicious! It gives you a kind of joyous baseline, so nothing ever again is as bad as it used to be.

The reason why spiritual growth is so easy at our basic stage is because it consists entirely in remembering who we already are! Thomas Merton was an extraordinary twentieth-century Trappist monk whose youthful autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, was seminal for me. Merton’s early death was by accident or by assassination. As he spoke to an audience on the day he died, he summed up the reason why growing spiritually at our stage is so easy. He said, “My dear brothers, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. What we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are.”

Last week a reader asked me how we plan our earth-lives for spiritual learning. What a great question! It made me realize that when the universe exists as our spiritual school, talking about how that purpose fits with the process of life and death is basic information. I have been remiss in not discussing it much before now! Let’s see if we can remedy that mistake next week.…

 

Guardian angel stained glass photo credit: Lawrence OP <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/35409814@N00/48831005952″>Guardian Angel</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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Thomas Merton center photo credit: TheNoxid <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/9602574@N02/10719158563″>Bill McKibben – P1060096</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Life in the Afterlife

We enter these lifetimes on earth to experience negativity and learn how to rise above it so we can more effectively grow spiritually. Fear is the most negative emotion, so at our stage of development, growing spiritually means raising our personal consciousness vibrations away from fear and toward more perfect love. Since the base fear is the fear of death, the most effective thing we can do to improve the lot of humankind is to share with as many people as possible the certainty that human life is eternal. And every one of us is perfectly loved! I can recall when I was very small looking up and envisioning my great-grandparents sitting on the clouds, wearing wings and swinging their feet, looking down, so sad to be out of the action. What I didn’t realize until after I had done decades of research was that the people who have gone ahead of us are happier, busier, and much more alive than anyone on earth is now!

We have learned a great deal about the afterlife to which all of us will soon return. Every open-minded researcher of whom I am aware has reached essentially the same conclusions, and there are not at this point any more significant questions to be answered. Not only do we survive our deaths, but our lives once we have dropped our bodies turn out to be nothing but a glorious playtime! Last week we shared an overall view of what the afterlife is like in terms of physics, geography, and basic details. Now we are going to move into that world where love is the light and the air we breathe, where the weather is perfect and night never falls, where money and scarcity cannot exist, where travel and creation are largely by mind, and where the various kinds of fun to be had are limited just by our own imaginations.

The Fun of Dying by Roberta GrimesAs we said last week, nearly everyone enters the afterlife at Level Three, which is the lowest of the beautiful Summerland levels. Level Three includes the family compounds where most of us reunite with loved ones, and it includes the great public buildings where many of us will have our life-review meetings. Level Three also includes hospitals, some of which look like traditional hospitals but most of which are open-air pavilions, beautiful retreats surrounded by flowers where we can receive whatever help we need to heal whatever damage we may have incurred in our lives just ended.

Those who begin their post-death lives in theses hospital oases of love-based care might have died of a long-term illness, in battle, under torture, or simply in the throes of some negative emotion. They might have been distorted by some cult or hardened by criminality; or for any reason, they might have been especially battered by their recent earth-lives. Whether we will need to do this sort of post-death recuperation and counseling is something our guides will decide for us, and while we are hospitalized this way we won’t be able to communicate with our loved ones on earth. Fortunately, though, outside of time our healing should take a few earth-months at most. And then, when we are fit and ready, we will embark upon the post-death events that those who hadn’t needed such help were able to begin as soon as they arrived.

Four things predictably happen for each of us quite soon after death. Their order might vary, but in general we will:

  • Rejoin our greater minds. By most accounts this happens almost at once, and often even before we re-enter the Summerland. When we chose to enter this earth-life just ended, we stripped down to just a bit of our vast, eternal minds, a remnant designed for rapid spiritual learning. So we return home still living in our same old limited earth-minds and feeling confused about what is going on, being met by people who look familiar but not sure why that might be so. Then in an instant, our minds expand enormously! We are at once inconceivably brilliant, we recognize people we knew in other lives, and we remember where we are and so many details, so many people, just a dazzling mental expansion that puts us right back into this greater life that we had forgotten about altogether.
  • Sleep. Even if we died without particular issues, many of us will fall asleep soon after we arrive. Then we will wake up raring to go, and never need to sleep again.
  • Experience a life-review. Whether it happens in a public building or more intimately in our heavenly home, we will join with our spirit guides and perhaps with some who had shared this lifetime with us, and we will re-experience our whole earth-life just ended primarily from the viewpoint of those we affected. We will get to feel how we made other people feel. Those who have been through a life-review often say that it wasn’t so much the big things they did wrong that upset them to re-experience, since they had remembered and been prepared to face those big things. But rather, most of us undergoing a life-review are stunned to realize how many times we treated other people shabbily, we shamed an overweight classmate or disrespected a dignified older person, acted selfish and grabby, or simply ignored an easy chance to do some little kindness. Even with guides and loved ones to help us analyze the events of our lives just past, a life-review is always tough! Then once we have re-experienced the lifetime just ended from the viewpoint of everyone whose life we touched, we are asked to forgive them all. Believe it or not, that’s the easy part! We know now that none of it was real and everyone is fine, so of course we gladly forgive them all. Family murdered before our eyes? No problem! But then we are asked to forgive ourselves for the harm that we did to all these others, and many people have trouble with that. We find the way that we behaved so disappointing! Forgiving ourselves is essential, though, since otherwise our consciousness vibrations will gradually drop, and we could end up putting ourselves into the Outer Darkness levels. There is lots of counseling and help available, and those that we wronged in life are there hugging us, so fortunately most of us do manage to forgive ourselves. But it’s not easy. When I first understood that, believe me, I really cleaned up my act!
  • Party hearty. Soon after we arrive, we are feted at a gala party. Although we live widely scattered, there is a kind of mental Internet in place, so you will be amazed to find almost everyone you knew in your lifetime showing up. And believe me, the dead know how to party! You’ll expect food and drink, so it is going to be served. You might hope for some of the music you loved, and for me early-Elvis himself will perform. John Lennon will sing “Imagine,” and when he comes to “Imagine there’s no heaven,” everyone will laugh. You will recognize your greatest enemies of this lifetime as actually close eternal friends who had played those negative roles in your life as their gift to help you better grow spiritually. Your party might be held in a public building, or perhaps at your extended family’s compound. I am told that mine is going to be held at my grandfather’s farm overlooking the sea, with all my extended family’s homes nearby.

Now begins an infinity of time in which we can do an infinity of things! What we call the afterlife is a kind of foyer to the gigantic astral planes, and outside of time there is no limit to how long we can spend living based here and venturing into the astral, just happily playing. These are some of the kinds of activities that we have heard about from those who live there:

  • Doing rescue work. When we first arrive, our personal consciousness vibrations are still rising, so we might be invited by an advanced being to venture into the Outer Darkness and try to get the attention of someone there who can’t see our lofty companion, but who probably can see us. We then try to make the connection between them as a first step toward helping to rescue someone who has been deemed to be ready to rise.
  • Satisfying our curiosity. There are great libraries full of human knowledge stored as scrolls, libraries where we can re-experience all our other earth-lives, and opportunities to sit at the feet of humankind’s greatest masters, including Jesus.
  • Learning new skills. We can study music, art, and just about anything else. A hundred years ago, many who were poor in life were eager to learn from Mozart how to play the piano, and happy to learn to draw from Michelangelo and learn to paint from Rembrandt and Rubens. Children born as prodigies probably learned their skills this way, between lives and under the greatest experts!
  • Having earth-like fun. We talked last week about all the weird mind-fueled vehicles some people enjoy, even though all real travel is by mind. Mikey Morgan snowboards to this day! And my mother’s sister, who on earth sewed her own clothes, now teaches sewing on crystal machines that are, of course, powered by their operators’ minds.
  • Building things. Although stick-building things is possible there, almost no one ever does it. If we want to build something, we design it in collaboration with more advanced building teams, and then we watch as those teams simply think our new creation into shimmery existence that then becomes solid before our eyes.
  • Working out earth’s future advances. People with special expertise are given laboratories where they can create, and then they channel in to people on earth the next great advances to be made. For example, it is said that Steve Jobs is now working on a mind-powered iPad.
  • Attending and performing in concerts and plays. We can hear and see all the greats perform, and we even can perform ourselves if we like! All concerts and plays are performed in great open-air coliseums where every attendee is front-and-center in the first row. Our hearing in the afterlife is much enhanced, and when orchestras play, people can actually see the music as glorious colors and shapes appearing above the players. Many recently-dead entertainers perform, especially including John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis Presley (in early, later, and Las Vegas versions).
  • Cultural fun. One recent fad is re-experiencing great cultural moments. For Americans, attending the Continental Congress, visiting a wild-west town, and re-creating the nineteen-fifties are three that have been mentioned.
  • Hanging around with the greatest thinkers. My wonderful spirit guide, Thomas, enjoys observing as people like Plato and Aristotle debate how to fix the modern world’s problems.
  • Lots of traveling! We can go to the ends of the earth, the edge of the universe, and even almost infinite other dimensions, all instantly and entirely by mind. We can visit the Summerlands of the great civilizations, and there we can – for example – watch the pyramids being built.

There are technical advances happening there, too. Some of our greatest dead scientists are working together to create a reliable method of electronic communication between there and here. And one recent advance is a kind of television hanging like a painting on the wall through which our loved ones can look in on all the events of our lives. Having learned that, now I just always assume that my mother and grandmothers are watching me. I try to live in a way that makes them proud!

The more you have grown spiritually on earth, the higher you will be able to go and the more fun you can have in the greater life that you will return to at your death. So, how is your spiritual growth coming along? How would you be able to tell? Let’s talk about that next week….

 

Thatched cottage photo credit: e r j k . a m e r j k a <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/24842486@N07/3947897287″>England | Stratford-upon-Avon</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>   (9/26/19)
Ancient Palace photo credit: UweBKK (α 77 on ) <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/8136604@N05/42004978072″>Replica of Dusit Maha Prasat Palace in Muang Boran (Ancient City) in Samut Phrakan near Bangkok, Thailand</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Early Elvis photo credit: Yuya Tamai <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/76758469@N00/21726179630″>coca cola elvis presley</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
John Lennon photo credit: PVBroadz <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/46343706@N03/4960500958″>John Lennon</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Ancient Siam photo credit: UweBKK (α 77 on ) <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/8136604@N05/17362328895″>Pavilion of the Enlightened in Muang Boran (Ancient Siam) in Samut Prakan province, Thailand</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

What’s a Heaven For?

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?
(from the poem “Andrea del Sarto” in Men and Women by Robert Browning, 1855)

We have so much good evidence of what happens at and after death that it’s tragic that so few people are at all familiar with it. We have talked about how a natural death happens, and what can go wrong in the process of dying, so let’s talk now about what is the best news anyone ever has received in all of human history! Religions insist on sharing vastly inferior and often frightening fables about death, and scientists for the most part refuse to consider even the possibility that we might survive our deaths, but none of that can any longer keep the truth from being generally known. And now that we have been made to see the vast damage that ignorance of the truth is doing to so many people at death, it is time to make the truth available to everyone on the face of the earth.

Before we move on to consider the infinite wonders that await us all, let’s first set the general scene and clear up some common misconceptions. Those who have completed their transitions tell us consistently that:

  • Every set of religious beliefs has God wrong. The only genuine Source turns out to be in reality all that exists. It is Mind, or to put it differently it’s what we experience in a limited way as human consciousness. Mind fills the genuine afterlife as an ambient pure white light, and as perfect love so intense that the dead tell us the experience of it is indescribable.
  • Every set of religious beliefs has the afterlife wrong. There is no religious practice to speak of in the afterlife. Everyone shares the same afterlife, and our level in the afterlife depends on the degree to which we have managed to raise our consciousness vibrations. There is no post-death judgment by anyone but ourselves, and the death of Jesus on the cross has never made an afterlife difference for a single human being. So whatever religious or cultural preconceptions you might have about the afterlife, you can now with happy relief drop them all!
  • No living person has been to the afterlife. Those who reside there consistently tell us that death is always a one-way trip. So no NDE account, no account from an astral traveler, and no dream or vision can tell us much about the afterlife details. In fact, the general astral plane in which NDEs and OBEs happen is enormous. It may be as big as the entire universe, and it includes some wonderful mimics of the post-death realities where astral travelers and dreamers can meet with the dead and share some wonderful experiences. So it is all good! But it is not the afterlife. To really understand what the afterlife is like, we are dependent exclusively on post-death accounts.
  • To those living there, the afterlife seems endless. One of the things that really strike new arrivals after our earth-lives spent squashed together on this planet is that the afterlife is not crowded at all! Both size and time are subjective once we leave this material universe, so the afterlife is at once infinite in size and smaller than a pencil-dot. It has no actual size, but we experience it as gigantic.
  • The matter in the afterlife is different from the matter in this material universe. It’s solid but without a cellular or atomic structure, and in some lights it is somewhat translucent. Think of colorful living alabaster. The colors there go beyond the visible light spectrum, so there are many that we cannot imagine; and there is no death or decay, so no leaf or petal falls and even ancient buildings look brand-new. Everything is at least somewhat conscious, so flowers will turn their faces to us and trees will caress us as we pass. The water looks like water but it feels like silk, it’s dry, and it is alive: it was Jesus’s mention of “living water” to the woman at the well (JN 4:10) that first convinced me long ago that He must be a supernatural Being! The water in the afterlife gives off subtle music and an astounding rejuvenating energy, so people routinely walk into it fully clothed and leave it with their clothing dry and feeling nourished and refreshed.
  • Our bodies there are young and beautiful. Most of us prefer to look as we did in our most recent earth-lifetime at the prime of life, but that is up to us. Some prefer to look as they did in a different lifetime, or they choose another appearance altogether; or if they are very advanced, they might choose to appear as a ball of light. We recognize one another by our personal energy signatures, so it doesn’t much matter how we look.
  • Our sensory abilities there are much stronger. Our mind-sight is nearly 360 degrees, and it is perfect even at vast distances. One man who had been almost blind at death told his children when they contacted him through a medium that he could see every separate leaf on every tree on a hill that he estimated was fifty miles away. And our post-death hearing is similarly enhanced.
  • Post-death communication is by mind almost exclusively. Not only does this ensure that we can communicate with people who on earth spoke different languages, but also apparently communication by mind is more precise. When Thomas Jefferson, who on earth was a great wordsmith, communicated through direct-voice medium Leslie Flint in the early sixties, he complained that having to speak words again was hard! He said, “Aligning with vibration, tuning in, remembering things that one wishes to say, transmission of thought into sound, words, words, often words which don’t indicate anything clearly at least what one feels, I find extremely difficult.”
  • Weather there is optional and night never falls. Although there is evidence that if you want darkness or rain or snow, you can have it in your localized spot just by wishing for it.
  • There are infinite consciousness gradations, but we talk in terms of seven overall Levels. The lowest two are what Jesus calls “the Outer Darkness, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (MT 8:12). Levels Three through Five are the beautiful Summerland. Level Six is what Jesus called “the Kingdom of God” (MK 12:34), which is attainable only by almost-perfected beings. Those who reside there teach in the lower levels and also on earth as they finish their learning and prepare to join the Godhead at Level Seven.
  • The Summerland is so earthlike that some who die in their sleep have trouble believing they have died. Nearly everyone seems to return at Level Three, which is apparently the level at which most incarnates routinely vibrate. If we die in our sleep, we may wake up in a mimic of our familiar earth-home, so the only way to convince us we have died might be to urge us to go outside and see that its neighborhood is gone. The more advanced we are spiritually, the higher we can venture, and by the top of Level Five the scenery becomes quite fanciful. The picture that heads this post is the sort of view you might encounter there.
  • The Summerland areas are culturally specific. Most of the good evidence is at least a century old, and back then the British and North American Summerlands were quite similar. There were formal gardens and beautiful buildings, flowing water and fountains, and lots of gorgeous trees and flowers. In North America, though, there were some modern buildings, and in the North American distance there were snow-capped mountains. If you died in a foreign culture back then at what was not a planned exit-point, you could actually find yourself in that culture’s Summerland! Someone talked through a medium about having died in China and arrived in a Chinese Summerland that included pagodas and Oriental details. (If this happens to you, just call for your loved ones and they will arrive to take you home.)
  • Love is all there is. In the genuine afterlife, love is the intense white ambient light and the very air we breathe. Except in the miserable Outer Darkness levels, there is no negativity in the afterlife at all, and until we reach the top of Level Five, without negativity to push against we cannot grow spiritually unless we enter yet another earth-incarnation. By contrast, the gigantic astral plane is structured something like the afterlife, but it contains a mix of negative and positive energies. It is for this reason, along with others, that it is important to keep reminding people that no one living ever has been to the genuine afterlife! But there are many afterlife-mimic areas in the astral where our dead loved ones come and meet with us, and where we also meet with our spirit guides. The astral plane is wonderful and amazing, and there is much that we can learn from those who have visited there; it just is not the actual afterlife, and it tells us very little about what the actual afterlife is like.

Please go back and thoughtfully re-read this list. Use its details to build a picture of the afterlife in your mind. Then let’s imagine that we have just died, we have eagerly hugged our deathbed visitors, and with them we have raised our personal vibrations as the room where we have just died becomes vague and vapory and we are briefly engulfed in a warm gray fog. We feel as if we are moving, but in reality we are about to arrive in roughly the same place where we began, but just at a higher consciousness vibration… to the extent that talking about “place” means anything.

Many who are awake and reasonably mentally healthy at death will find when the fog begins to clear that they have arrived in a gorgeous formal garden. There are bright-green trees and grass, fountains and benches, and lots of brilliant flowers in colors never seen on earth. And the sky might be any color or mix of colors, but it is rarely just blue! Many people talk about seeing gigantic flowers as tall as a man. There are no shadows at all, and there are small animals and birds but no insects beyond butterflies and dragonflies.

The people around us may be in modern clothes, in period costume, or in shimmery floor-length, long-sleeved robes of the sort that angels wear. No one cares how we dress. There are very strange vehicles on the street nearby, in the air above, and on a more distant lake, all of them propelled by mental energy so they make no sound. Beyond the formal gardens are scattered public buildings of ancient or modern design, all looking brand-new; and on the far-distant hills there are homes of all shapes and vintages, most of them far away from their neighbors because travel here is instantaneous and by mind.

The afterlife that we enter at death seems intended to help us recover from what is seen by our spirit guides as our difficult and stressful labors in the negative jungle that is life on earth. There is so much more to do in the afterlife, and everything about it is so much more wonderful than anything you or I might imagine from our present positions in this awful place! It is going to take a separate post to even begin to do the afterlife justice….

 

Swan lake photo credit: ihave3kids <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/9012854@N05/19829034518″>Swan Lake</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Snow-capped mountains photo credit: WanderingtheWorld (www.ChrisFord.com) <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/44028103@N07/5592643838″>’Picturesque’, Argentina, Patagonia, Mt. Fitzroy</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Yellow cottage photo credit: carolyngifford <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/61013449@N07/48101781742″>Selworthy</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Wilderness house photo credit: Zach K <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/98411817@N00/48298187011″>Maine House</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Cottage & garden photo credit: scrappy annie <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/14903992@N08/48712258923″>Cottage flower garden</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Red peonies photo credit: cseeman <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7702423@N04/48033777692″>Visit to the Peony Gardens With Runyon, Nichols Arboretum (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) – June 8th, 2019</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

What Can Go Wrong?

It has been almost half a century since I first began to read old communications received through physical mediums from people we used to think were dead. Soon after I began reading what was a rich trove of detailed accounts that have by now been almost forgotten, I was noticing an account or two, just here and there, of someone who had gone off-track at death. As enchanted as I was by the beautiful system that was then revealing itself to me, I flat-out could not believe this gentle process of returning home could have flaws that might let us complicate our trip! So for decades I tried to ignore all the evidence I found of dead folks going off-track, even though I was seeing more and more of it. By the time I wrote The Fun of Dying – Find Out What Really Happens Next, I knew enough to warn people there about some of the things that might go wrong. Still, I thought these problems were rare.

But then, soon after The Fun of Dying was first published, I met Carol and Mikey Morgan. Their book, Flying High in Spirit – A Young Snowboarder’s Account of His Ride Through Heaven, is a must-read! Mikey has been answering afterlife questions through his mother on afterlifeforums.com, and recently he was asked what percentage of the newly-dead might be said to go off-track at death. He told us, incredibly, that those who go off-track, even briefly, approach 25% of the newly-dead. That was when I realized it was time to talk frankly about this problem! So I have of late gained a better sense of what might possibly go wrong, and I furthermore begin to see that this problem may not be a bug in the system. It might instead be a feature, since in learning how to solve the problems that can cause people to go off-track at death, and in learning how to reach and rescue these stragglers, we will powerfully raise our own consciousness vibrations. And that, of course, is the entire point of our even entering earth-lives at all!

Most religions foster beliefs about what happens at and after death, and from what I have seen, all traditional religions get the process and the facts all wrong. Christianity, in particular, teaches nonsense that has nothing to do with the words of Jesus or with what researchers learn from studying the evidence, and most of what it teaches is scary. Even worse, there are now some forty thousand versions of Christianity, and many of them claim to be the only true version. So not only are Christians confronted by a confusing plethora of possible ways to practice their religion, but they also are told that they risk hellfire if their hopeful guess at what might be the right version of Christianity turns out to be wrong!

What may be Christians’ most intractable problem is the fact that many versions of Christianity claim that the entire Bible is the Inspired Word of God, but yet nearly all modern Christians reject what the Bible says about the afterlife. Believe it or not, if you are a Christian who insists the entire Bible is God’s Inspired, Inerrant Word, then God is telling you flat-out that when you die you will lose consciousness and go into hibernation in Sheol/Hades until some eventual group resurrection. And if there is a scarier thought than being sent to sleep in hell for the next thousand years, I have trouble imagining it!

Fortunately, the evidence of what actually is going on is so abundant and so consistent that we can now say with certainty that everything Christians believe about death and the afterlife is wrong. No worries! But for Westerners, the errors of Christianity cast a long shadow. A significant number of those who now go off-track at death will do so because of Christianity’s false teachings. We are going to look here at all the reasons of which I am aware that some people lose their way at death, and then we’ll look at how people who are approaching death can best guard against these delays.

People generally go off-track at death for one or more of these reasons:

  • Religious terror. Many hospice workers tell us that the people most fearful at death are ardent Christians. These poor folks will tell those attending them that they haven’t been good enough to make it to heaven and they are terrified of going to hell. Steeped in fear as they are, some who find themselves alive after death will decide it seems safer to just stay put.
  • Having been taught to fear the normal death process. Some fundamentalist Christian preachers teach their flocks to fear and avoid at death anything that doesn’t comport with what their own religion teaches. When the concept of deathbed visitors first became prominent in the early part of the last century, some of these preachers began to tell their congregations that what might seem to be dead relatives are actually demons sent to lure them to hell. Dying people steeped in fears like these will refuse all contact with their dead loved ones, so many of them will end up earthbound.
  • Being too certain about what comes after death. There are thought-form places to which the most closed-minded people gravitate before they can complete their transitions, the most common of which are clouds with St. Peter’s Gates and a village surrounding a steepled church. The great astral traveler, Bob Monroe, called these places “hollow heavens.” They are           bo-o-oring, so those led astray by them are generally happy to be rescued.
  • Believing we are evil enough to go straight to hell. There is a thought-form hell into which some people’s fears might put them before they manage to make it home. It’s a “hollow hell,” if you will. Those whose anxieties put them there generally call for help, and at once they are out of that illusion and safe with upper-level beings who can help them to finish their journey.
  • Being certain that death is extinction. Some people expect to blink out like a light. They are sure they will experience nothing after death, so nothing is just what they get! They might wander alone in a fog of nothing for eons.
  • Being begged by loved ones not to die. A medium visiting an old hospital was drawn to a section of it that was being rehabilitated, and there she found a forlorn little boy still lying in his hospital bed. He had died perhaps a century before. The last thing his distraught mother had said to him was, “Don’t go until I get back! Wait for me!” And there he was, still waiting. The kindest thing we can do for the dying is to give them permission to let go!
  • Being distracted by the pain of their mourners. Newly-dead people are as clueless about what to do next as are infants fresh from the birth canal. Especially when they died young or unexpectedly, they can be so alarmed to see the distress of their loved ones that they will try to comfort them. This is pointless, since no one can see or hear them now, and these efforts can lower the personal vibrations of the newly-dead to the point where they can no longer see and follow their deathbed visitors. Thereupon they can become stuck in place and outside of time until eventually someone rescues them.
  • Being addicted to anything. Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, sex, or something else, being addicted to anything is a terrible idea! Many addicts will refuse to transition. No one can see them now, so this is their big chance to finally get their fill. It’s playtime! All they need is a body. So they will hang around bars and try to possess living drunks, or in alleys and try to possess living addicts. Reportedly there are great pig-piles of naked discarnates all desperately trying to have sex with one another, but never successfully managing it.
  • Being killed in battle. They are in the thick of it, perhaps running across a battlefield, when a bullet kills their body. And they keep on running! During the two World Wars, some British mediums were singled out by discarnate rescuers as being best able to help these deluded beings to realize that they had died, and to help them then to spot the dead loved ones who had been trying to get their attention so they could take them home.
  • Being executed. I am adamantly against capital punishment. It’s the worst kind of pollution there is! Someone is killed at what is not a planned exit point, and at the height of the worst possible negative emotions, including rage and fear, so he is extremely likely to range free as a deeply negative earthbound being bent on terrible mischief. Penal executions are the spiritual equivalent of pouring arsenic into our drinking water! Although efforts will be made to rescue these people, some will remain earthbound and dangerous for a very long time. I think it likely that many of the deeply evil and therefore weak but nevertheless troublesome Shadow Men that lurk in dark places trying to scare people are in fact the shades of executed criminals.
  • Preferring to be here rather than there. Mikey Morgan considers this to be a problem, and it is for him that I include it. The death process at our chosen exit points includes making our earth-bodies decrepit, after which our beloved dead appear to us in healthy new bodies. Of course nearly all of us want to join them! I have never heard of anyone actually refusing to go with deathbed visitors because she preferred to stick around here except for my own mother, who eventually was taken in her sleep. Problem solved!

With the world now steeped in such ignorance that nearly a quarter of those who die will go off-track, it is imperative that everyone on earth become very well informed about the whole death process. Learning and teaching the truth is the most important work that we can do!

Avoiding going off-track is easy! Simply put, you will be fine if you will:

  • Raise your personal consciousness vibration. The more loving and less fearful we are, the easier and safer our death process will be. And following the teachings of Jesus is the most effective way to make rapid spiritual progress.
  • Learn the truth. Death is less scary when we know in general terms what to expect, but it is important that we not become so fixed on details of what the evidence tells us that we might inadvertently create a Summerland hollow-heaven illusion of our own.
  • Remain open-minded. The best way to approach our deaths is with nothing more than the certainty that we are about to enjoy an easy and happy homecoming. Then let it unfold!
  • Ignore your living mourners until after you have completed your transition. Once you have returned home, there will be many things you can do to help and comfort them.
  • Trust and follow your death-bed visitors. The natural death process is a passage back from this illusion to the greater reality that is our eternal home. And the trip will be quick and easy if we will just relax, trust, love, and let it happen!

If you and I will work to spread the truth, then very soon the tragedy of people going off-track at death will be no more than a distant memory. And that’s good, because what awaits us at death is more wonderful than all our fondest hopes! Next week we’ll take a closer look at the glorious greater reality that is our blessed eternal home….

 

Weathervane photo credit: Charos Pix <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/98609459@N08/48684898386″>Waiting for the murmuration</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Winter lighthouse photo credit: Tom Gill. <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/10199807@N00/46519645394″>South Haven Light</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Brick lighthouse photo credit: Markus Schinke <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/14005798@N00/40478459233″>Holtenauer Leuchtturm</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Lighthouse with stars photo credit: Roberto Steinert <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/150915483@N07/40371213303″>La Palma</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Night lighthouse photo credit: Tiomax80 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/69062568@N02/48045577021″>Ooops I photographed it again</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Okay light photo credit: _Hadock_ <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7992704@N05/32484578406″>Everything is going to be OK</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

The Happy Process of Natural Death

Death is a universal part of life, so the level of misinformation and fear that still surrounds it in the twenty-first century is horrifying! So much of what we are told by those we venerate as authorities is scary, silly, and entirely wrong. The scientific community still insists that the death of our bodies will be the death of our minds, while Christian clergymen assure us that after death we might end up in a fiery hell, in a tortuous purgatory, sitting around in a boring throne room, or sleeping until we hear an end-times trumpet. When the information about what actually happens at and after death is so abundant now, and when so much of it has been readily available to us for more than a century, there is no excuse for all this depressing misinformation and plain nonsense!

We plan for our eventual deaths as part of the life-planning process. All the important events of our lives are planned, and we also plan two or three exit points that our higher consciousness can choose to take if it determines that for what ever reason it is time for us to leave this lifetime. Death at any time other than a planned exit point is possible, but it is rare. Almost never do we know at a conscious level that our greater minds have chosen to take an upcoming exit point, but often after people have died their loved ones will look back and notice that the decedent had spent the months before death wrapping up details, reconciling with people, finishing projects, settling debts, and in general trying to make things a little neater for those left behind.

The day of your death is meant to be the happiest, most beautiful day of your life. It’s the day when you are reunited with loved ones you may have thought you never would see again, the day you get to see and hug the guides who have helped you make the most of this lifetime, and the blessed day when you leave this illusion and return to the joy of your true home. For most people, death is just that wonderful! But I have lately come to accept the fact that our willful cultural ignorance about death still means that far too many people are botching their well-planned deaths and taking temporary detours to nowhere. We’ll be talking about some of their travails next week. First, though, let’s talk about what actually happens in the sort of well-planned death that most of us can look forward to enjoying.

I have written extensively about the death process, but now as we talk about the need to help our children better deal with death we ought to say a bit more about it. Not only do we all need to be prepared to help the children in our lives better deal with the possible deaths of loved ones, but also every one of us will before long be making the trip ourselves. And unless we know what to expect, and also how to guard against the many things that might go wrong, it can be hard for even the more knowledgeable among us to transition happily when our time comes. Five years ago I gave you a standard overview of the death process here, and now I will be building on that so I hope you will read that post again before you tackle the rest of this one.

You will need to keep an open mind! If you can approach your death knowing just in general terms that the process is going to be easy and happy, and that you will at every moment be cared for and supported by loved ones – if that is all that fills your mind at your death – then you will manage it just fine. You may be one of the fortunate ones who simply fall asleep here and wake up there, but most of us are awake during at least some part of the death process. And some of what happens during your death is likely to feel odd or confusing to you and to your survivors, so it can help if you know what to expect:

  • You will begin the process of separating from your body sometime in the hours before your death. We don’t know exactly when this begins, and it may be variable and personal to you, but for many, the first sign of this separation will be what seems to be a partial recovery. People who had been in comas might wake up, and perhaps even sit up and speak normally. Those with dementia who might not have been coherent for years might converse with those around them. From your perspective as the person who is dying, it seems that in general both pain and fear are almost or altogether gone, and you feel better and pretty much matter-of-fact about your dying now. The cause of all these changes is apparently the partial separation of your energy body – your mind, or perhaps your “soul” if you prefer – from the physical body that is about to die.
  • In the hours before death there will be deathbed visitors. The timing of this is variable. One or two of these people that we used to think were dead will sometimes appear to the dying person as much as a couple of weeks before the death; but more commonly, these visitors will first begin to appear in the last day or two. From your perspective as the dying person, this is an astonishing experience! You are in the midst of actively dying, not uncomfortable and not really worried but still unsure about what comes next; and then suddenly, Dad appears in an upper corner of the room, looking solid and in the prime of life. He starts speaking with you in your mind, and you respond to him mentally. He might come down into the room, or he might stay partially visible in an upper corner; he might be joined by other dead loved ones, all looking great, or even by dead pets. For nearly everyone, this sudden appearance of happy loved ones long after their own deaths is so thrilling that we will mostly stop interacting with our living visitors. On occasion, too, some of those in the room will also see these deathbed visitors, and they even might accompany the dying person at the start of the post-death journey. Dr. Raymond Moody’s Glimpses of Eternity details this interesting phenomenon of shared-death experiences.
  • Actively dying is a gradual process. From the moment when you see your first deathbed visitor, you know that you are going to be fine, so what happens next can be a lot of fun for those who are awake throughout. You might think of your earth-body as something like nested dolls. The outer layer or two will be dying now – the one composed of matter, and also perhaps the energy aura that defended you against negative entities while you were alive (we aren’t sure about that). But the internal energy bodies that hold your earth-mind will survive your death, so your nested bodies must separate. People who have been awake while this was happening have said it begins in the fingers and toes and progresses toward the torso, and it feels as if lots of tiny threads are breaking inside your body. I think of it as un-velcroing! The energy part of you that is leaving is un-velcroing from your physical body, and it gathers in your chest. It then leaves through the chest wall or through the top of the head, and it rises in the air above your body. People at the bedside can sometimes see it as a vague gray mist. Now that it is free of matter, its vibratory rate rises rapidly, so very soon the living can no longer see it. That mist is you! It contains your awareness and your perspective, and by some accounts, just that process of leaving the body feels intensely pleasurable. In the air above your body, beyond the view of nearly everyone living, you re-form into a solid-seeming person still attached to your body by a glowing umbilicus called a silver cord. You happily hug your deathbed visitors. All of you are solid, young, and beautiful.
  • Your actual death moment is the breaking of the silver cord. It is that attachment to your energy-self that has kept the material body living, so as soon as it breaks, your body’s heart stops. And you feel terrific, young and vigorous and thrilled to be free of that old boat-anchor of a body; but living people you love may be around your bed and very aware that your body has just died. This is the single most dangerous moment of your entire existence! What you do now is going to be critical, as you will better understand next week.
  • It is essential that you follow your deathbed visitors. We are as clueless when we emerge from our dying bodies as we were when we emerged from the birth-canal, and this seems to be the reason why our planned deaths include deathbed visitors. Our visitors try to keep our attention, and they coax us to accompany them right away, since for us to remain with our mourners for long puts us at risk of becoming earthbound.

The next stage exists right where we are now, but just at a higher vibration. If you will think of your mind as a television set, and your death as simply changing channels, this will make a lot more sense to you. After your silver cord has broken, it will feel as if you are physically moving, but in reality you and those who accompany you are raising your personal vibrations from what we might call the physical channel to the slightly higher afterlife channel. This process does not involve a tunnel and a light! That commonplace from near-death experiences seems instead to be just a rescue device for people unexpectedly out of their bodies.

The way most people experience the transition is as something like entering a brief fog. The formerly solid room where you died becomes vague and vapory and then disappears, while in front of you the fog is lifting to reveal a gorgeous and intensely colored but solid and amazingly earthlike new world. There are a few afterlife channels below it, and many more above it, all existing pretty much where we are now; and the Summerland where our families congregate to welcome us back home is gorgeous and enormous beyond our ability to adequately imagine or describe it. From your perspective, having just dropped your body and been reunited with loved ones you thought you had lost, you now find yourself suddenly young and beautiful and standing on solid ground in earth-like surroundings more gorgeous by far than anything that exists on earth. What may be most surprising is the fact that there is nothing but love and joy in the very air you breathe! And the pure white light that illumines this place so completely that there are no shadows feels like love beyond your ability even to adequately encompass it. You truly are in heaven now! And for most new arrivals, the shock of joy that comes with this realization can make us need to simply sit down for awhile and look around as we take it all in.

Your death was planned before you were born to be an easy and joyous return to your genuine eternal life. Knowing this makes more tragic the fact that because our culture is so ignorant and fearful, dying today carries many risks of which you will need to be aware so you can better guard against them. Stay tuned….

 

Grave Marker photo credit: Tjflex2 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/78128495@N00/30468693942″>Robert Dunsmuir</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Military cemetery photo credit: MudflapDC <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/46347505@N05/5199817229″>Funeral Service</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Heavenly autumn photo credit: chasedekker <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/87288449@N08/16767264402″>Explosion of Autumn</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Explaining Death to a Child

When I first understood that death is a minor transition in someone’s eternal life, I stopped thinking much about the prevailing view of death as something negative. My foremost failing has become the fact that my first thought now on hearing about a death is actually happiness for the decedent. What else can you expect of someone who once wrote a book called The Fun of Dying?

After a few embarrassments, I have learned to keep my joy for new decedents to myself. Now I focus on empathizing with the survivors. I will say, “I’m so sorry.” If the one with whom I am commiserating is someone I think could be receptive to more, I might remark that the loved one who has transitioned is now healthy and happy and waiting for us in our beautiful homeland where love never ends. At this point, I am hearing from grieving people nearly every day, and the fact that they are so distraught has become a sore point for me. When the truth about death is so wonderful, the fact that both mainstream science and mainstream religions still make such an effort to keep it from becoming more widely known is inexcusable!

I should add that many of the grieving people who contact me have lost a companion animal. In February of 2015, I wrote a blog post called “Pets in the Afterlife,” and just over a year later Google picked it up. At one point it was a first-page suggestion for people who asked about an afterlife for pets, so by now it has hundreds of comments and I still hear often from people for whom the loss of their pet is a fresh, raw wound. It’s a lucky thing indeed that the post-death news about our furry companions is actually even better than is the news about our human loved ones!

What brings up the topic of death right now is the fact that I have lately had a Seek Reality guest who talked about aspects of the period soon after death that I have never wanted to think about, but that you deserve to be forewarned about. I’ll have more to say about this in coming weeks. And then Michael Tymn, a friend who is one of the world’s leading experts on the afterlife, wrote a blog post in which he talked about how we might explain the death of a parent to a young child. His post was great, and it reminded me rather forcefully that my original calling was to study and teach about the afterlife. By now, you and I have ranged far afield! So, might it be time to get back to our knitting? Many children below the age of reason, which is generally seen as six to eight years old, are going to experience the death of someone close, most likely a grandparent or a pet. And since a parent’s first instinct is to comfort and protect, helping young children deal with death and loss can be hard for parents who may be grieving, too.

Michael Tymn says in his post, “I can still remember the anxieties and fears I experienced 76 years ago when my step-grandfather died. My parents didn’t know what to tell me, and I, just six at the time, didn’t know what questions to ask.  It was all hush-hush. The trepidation multiplied 100-fold when we visited the crematorium and I struggled with grasping that what was left of my grandfather was now contained in a little metal box, one surrounded by hundreds of other little metal boxes with ‘people’ in them.” It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that Michael’s years of afterlife studies which have so greatly benefited humankind might have had their origins in the mind of that confused and frightened six-year-old boy.

If you have a young child in your life, it is important that you prepare to help that child to better understand what death is and how to process a loved one’s death, or even the approach of that child’s own death. Remember that you will be fighting the ghastly misinformation about death that is pervasive in our culture!

  • Western religions teach falsehoods that can frighten children. In Christianity, for example, God is a scary judge who punishes people and even sends them to hell. The Christian heaven is generally a throne room where we will sing and play a harp forevermore, which notion is unlikely to appeal to children any better than it appeals to us. In Christianity, too, animals don’t go to heaven, so if the dead loved one is the family pet there generally is not much comfort to be offered in a strictly Christian home.
  • And mainstream science teaches that death is extinction. For scientists, our personalities are artifacts of the meat between our ears, so when our brains stop functioning, each of us will simply blink out like a light. There is no possibility that any aspect of us might live on.

Each of these notions is altogether wrong! There is no element of truth in either the strictly Christian view of death, or the mainstream scientific view of it, but since children learn these lies in school and in church, you and I must be prepared to confront them directly. Here is what I suggest that you do:

  • Learn the truth for yourself. It will be difficult to help a child you love become comfortable with death if you are still uncertain and fearful yourself. At this point, there is plentiful information available, and it is entirely consistent! In only a year or two of effort, you can become as certain about death and the afterlife as I was after I had spent four decades of research and putting the truth together on my own.
  • Prepare your child in casual ways to feel comfortable with the afterlife basics. My grandchildren knew by the time they could read that Grandma had written The Fun of Dying, and they were encouraged to ask questions whenever questions might occur to them. As a result, the deaths of pets along the way have been occasions for less sadness than you might think, and more of a sense that we will see them again. Perhaps I should add, too, that my second children’s book, due out this fall, will deal with the survival of a beloved pet.
  • Especially encourage questions about whatever the child finds troubling. Each child is a unique individual in terms of sensitivities, and they all have different experiences. It is impossible to tell what might trouble a child, so it is essential that you keep the door wide open and never express impatience or disgust, no matter what the child might say.
  • Don’t give children too much information at once. Remember that we are talking here about ages eight and under! If I were doing it, I might say something like, “I’m very sad that Grandpa (or Fido, or Fluffy) had to leave us for a little while, but there is no such thing as death so they are healthy and happy now, living where we all will go when our time on earth is done. We will for sure be with them again!” For some children, that will be plenty. For others, they might think about it for a while and then come back with a question or two. It’s fine to let children see your sadness! If you maintain a strong conviction about the fact that our loved ones do live on, the children you love will learn that sadness over the separation is normal, but that ultimately death is not a tragedy. It is just a brief and natural separation.

When a young child is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, the same general suggestions apply, but with some caveats. Many counselors suggest that you not bring up the subject of death to young children, since that discussion might frighten them; but when a child is hospitalized and his health is failing, the child may be even more frightened if there is a conspiracy of silence around him. If I had a very young loved one who was dying, I would offer to answer questions. If no questions were forthcoming, I would wait a while and then make the offer again. Some children don’t want to be told straight out what their ultimate fate might be, but over time you may be able to impart information in ways that feel less personal to the child. For example, when you and the child’s uncle are visiting the child together, you might briefly mention in an aside to Uncle Dave what a wonderful pet his cat was, and how happy you are that she is now healthy and happy again in a wonderful place. Or you might mention to Uncle Dave that Grandpa is clearly happy where he is now, since he sent you a butterfly just this morning. But that’s it! Sub-adults are especially well attended when they actually transition, so it is less important that they know what to expect than it is in the case of adults.

Another point to consider is the fact that very young children might retain some memories of where they came from, and they also may be receiving visits from dead loved ones. My oldest granddaughter had frequent visits from one of her great-grandmothers for several years; and when I was small, I briefly retained some pre-birth memories. If your beloved child seems to have any awareness of what came before, or awareness that the dead survive, it can be easy to add a little more information to that core understanding.

Death is meant to be an easy and joyous process, but there are things that can go wrong. And it is finally time for us to talk about that! But first, next week let’s summarize how things can go superbly right….

 

Flowers photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/40646519@N00/48254330702″>Flowers For Uncle Jack</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Cross with Red Tree photo credit: Stanley Zimny (Thank You for 44 Million views) <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/82256086@N00/46851184554″>The Cross and the Tree</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>