The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
‘T is mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself.
– William Shakespeare (1564-1616), from “The Merchant of Venice”
What has stuck in my mind for the past three months is watching Jesus bless a much taller man who had just died. Every detail of that moment was astounding to me. I have analyzed it from every angle, and learned from it, perhaps even more than Jesus intended for me to learn from it. In the end, I have concluded that the most saintly virtue of all – the one that really sets Jesus apart – is not love after all, but it is instead a titanic but still entirely natural, a deep and instinctive and all-encompassing kindness.
It was kindness that made the Neolithic incarnation of my spirit guide’s younger brother which Jesus was long ago feel compelled to hunt for survivors of a massacre, and then find a way to save a woman and her children from the carnage all around them. Kindness that made that same Being feel unable to bear ascending to the Godhead unless He could find a way for everyone else in the world who ever would be born also more efficiently become perfected. So He took an unprecedented earth-lifetime from out of the Godhead in order to study us and figure out a way to make that same process happen more efficiently for us all. Et voila – in due course, we have the Jesus of today.
We flatter ourselves that such extraordinary kindness must be just a natural human trait. But sadly, it is not normal at all. In fact, the opposite is true. I am currently on a business trip, and a few days ago I missed a turn on an unfamiliar road. There were a few options that I might have taken to seek a way to turn around, so I hesitated. The driver behind me blared his horn. To make sure I fully understood his displeasure, he continued to blare it until after he had passed me, when he gave a final, separate blare. And on another day, amazingly, the driver behind me began to lean on his horn the instant the light turned green, even though he could see that the road was blocked by a gigantic tractor-trailer that was halfway through making its turn. When people are riding alone in their cars and they have a chance to show who they are to people they never will see again, they enjoy using their horns in full measure.
It is odd that we think of love as more important than kindness. Since I watched Jesus demonstrate to me in April what genuine kindness actually is, I have been meditating on the differences between love and kindness. In the end, all that I can come up with is that kindness is a characteristic, while love is an emotion. The dictionary definition of kindness is “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate,” which makes it seem to be almost a throwaway; while love is “an intense feeling of deep affection.” Love is big and showy! Jesus tells us to love because He had worked out by the period of his public teaching that it is emotion that governs consciousness, which is the base creative energy. And love is the highest consciousness vibration. That is why He made such a big deal of love!
But an emotion can actually be a dangerous thing. And emotions are always subjective. Think about it:
How many times have lovers ended up destroying the beloved? We have talked here about kinds of love, but all those conversations are unsatisfactory, because while they help us to define different kinds of love, still they don’t solve the problem of how easily love can go wrong. Love is an emotion. And emotions are ever-changing by their very nature.
Or what about someone who might be duly-elected in a country without a Constitution as sound as the one that blesses the United States, who is sure that he loves his country’s people more than anyone else ever could, and therefore he knows what is best for them? So he declares himself to be dictator for life. Then he closes all the banks for a week, and he open them again with accounts in the name of every man, woman, and child in that country, citizens and illegal aliens alike, and each account contains precisely twenty-five thousand, one hundred and thirty-eight dollars and forty-seven cents. An equal division of that nation’s liquid wealth, to the penny. Everyone from the formerly richest on down is now equal in liquid net worth. There have been more foolish, misguided, and nonsensical things done in the name of great love and at the height of passion than perhaps for any other cause.
So in the end, it is day-by-day kindness that must do all our heaviest lifting. While love is hot, kindness is cool. While love is passionate, kindness is caring. And kindness at least gives us some objective standard, a way to measure the effects that our acts have on people. The more I think about it, the more I realize that you could justify just about any barbaric and monstrous act as something that you were doing out of great love. Not enough food and no way to get more? Then you kill off all the grandparents of course, and you feed them to the children. Can’t have babies starving! Many parents who commit suicide will take their children with them, out of love. In fact, just weeks ago a woman in a Midwestern state came home to find that her husband had committed suicide. Whereupon, she drowned her children in a nearby lake and then killed herself. If great love is the standard, then even the greatest cruelties can make some kind of sense. But if kindness is the standard, then all of that is nonsensical.
Which brings us to what I witnessed on the night of April 6th. After death, we can appear to others how ever we like, and normally nowadays Jesus looks very different from what you might expect. He appears now to be a kind of universal everyman. My oldest grandchild was adopted from Colombia, and Jesus’s skin is my grandson’s beautiful reddish-golden shade. He looks to be about thirty years old, with hazel eyes, a prominent nose, curly hair, full lips, and a short, efficient beard. He is perhaps five feet, ten inches tall, and I think of His look as what you would get if you put the entire human race through a blender. I have asked Thomas if that is how He looked in His lifetime as Jesus. Thomas tells me it is more that Jesus is experimenting with looking this way for the time that He is now moving toward, when Roman Christianity at last is no more and His life will be teaching in all the realms.
So we were sitting on that astral riverbank, feeding the fish, and Jesus was talking, and unexpectedly He simply transformed into pale church-Jesus, slightly taller and with blue eyes and light-brown, shoulder-length hair. I have trouble looking at Him directly, so I was aware of His change in appearance only when He stopped talking and stood and went to greet the little group of people that was approaching us.
My first though when Jesus left Thomas and me to welcome those Christians who had just come home was that this was something private that we were not supposed to see. Now, though, I feel that perhaps He was calling on me to watch Him do this. For some reason that I cannot fathom, this Being whose perfect goodness is beyond all comprehension has decided that I am worthy of the task of telling His story to the world in a website. It feels now as if He was saying to me something like, “Watch Me do this. Learn something new.” And as I think of it now, I remind myself that there have been tens of billions of Christians who have lived and died in the past seventeen hundred years. Tens of billions. With a B. Not all of them have wanted to be blessed and healed by Jesus at the ends of their earth-lives. But if even a tiny fraction of them – say, only several million of them – have thought this would be a special moment for them, then Jesus has put off whatever else He might have done among the endless fun things that there are to do in the astral plane, suspending His own life for seventeen hundred years in order to do this for every Christian who has wanted to meet Him and receive His blessing.
The people in the group were forming a line, and the first man in line was very tall. My guess is that he was six feet, five or six inches tall, and he clearly had been someone important in life. He wore a crisp white shirt without a tie, open at the neck, with creased dark slacks and shiny shoes. He started to fall to his knees before the Lord, but Jesus said, “Peace, my son,” and He slipped His hands beneath the man’s arms at either side. He didn’t try to lift him. It was a signal, and the man regained his feet. Jesus was smiling up at his face. Thomas and I stood maybe twenty feet away and to the side, so we could observe it all. Jesus then put both His hands way up on top of the man’s head and said, “Bless you, my son!” with a bit of a giggle in his voice, and He grinned. I think He was being playful to acknowledge how tall the man was, and to put him at ease about his almost-kneeling faux-pas. And the man said, “Thank You, Sir.” Thank you not just for your blessing, but even more for treating me as an equal. And they stood smiling at one another. That man could joyously grin down at church-Jesus, and he could look Him in the eye as I still cannot, until he was the one who ended that moment and made way for the next person in line.
And that was nothing, right? But I can’t stop thinking about it. Replaying every detail of it. That Jesus the risen Lord has done all of that so sweetly and gently and made that moment so perfect for even a million people, and perhaps for billions of people over seventeen centuries defies my imagination. He could get others to dress up as church-Jesus in His place. No one would know. When I said that to Thomas, he said, “But He would know.” The “Jesus” who appears during near-death experiences and other personal dreams and visions is a presentation by our own spirit guides, who know best what we would need. Whatever “Jesus” says during your own NDE is said by your guide and not by Jesus. But if you were devoted to Jesus during your lifetime, He won’t send an imposter to meet you when you die.
I had thought that after fifty years of research, I had nothing more to learn in this field, but Jesus had this one more lesson to teach. The fruit of spiritual growth is not love at all. Love is what produces spiritual growth, by raising our personal consciousness vibrations. No, the true fruit of spiritual growth is kindness. And when you realize that, and you begin to look for it in people, you glimpse it everywhere. Yes, there are low-vibration bullies who use their auto horns to try to make our driving miserable, but most drivers are more courteous. All my clients own closely-held businesses, and I have repeatedly seen them do kindnesses here and there for needy employees. My sister’s teenage grandson is taller than I am, but still he happily plays hide-and-seek with his much younger sister, and he cooks with her because it makes her happy. When you look for them, you see these little kindnesses. And I realize now that the ultimate fruit of spiritual growth is not angelic purity. No, it is this perfect, gigantic, all-encompassing kindness that can make Jesus willing without complaint to delay the advent of His own Way on earth for almost twenty centuries while He patiently waits out Roman Christianity, and He heals every one of that religion’s victims. And my Thomas tells me that never has Jesus even privately complained.
I have been trying so hard for my entire life to ever better understand Jesus. I majored in studying Him in college. I have read the Gospels until I can recite whole sections of them by heart. I have met Jesus in person. He has told me His story, and it makes a lot more sense than the Christian version of His story ever could. Sometimes I think I really do begin to understand the genuine Jesus. But then I recall the blissful peace of His face as He smilingly welcomed home that umpteen-billionth victim of this religion that has delayed the advent of Jesus’s Way on earth for the past two thousand years. I recall the perfect joy in His face, and I see how happy He was in that moment. And I realize that I still cannot understand Jesus as a Man at all.
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence ‘gainst the merchant there.
– William Shakespeare (1564-1616), from “The Merchant of Venice”