THE ASCENT CHAPTER EIGHT

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THE SCEPTIC’S DILEMMA

 

There is enough light for those who desire only to see,
and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition.[1]
                                           
                                   Blaise Pascal

That evening, while celebrating the most improbable achievement of my life, Eli rose to his feet and held up his pint of bitter. ‘To James; a toast. Congratulations, you did, it ol’ chap. Welcome to Summit U. You passed your entrance exam and now qualify to enter our esteemed halls of learning. They’re all over the world and beyond; if you can find them. And just wait till you see the Great Hall. You may find yourself rewarded with much more than just a pat on the back.’

‘And what might this Great Hall be?’ I asked.

He just smiled and winked.

Holding up his glass, Mo said, ‘you may stay as long as you wish or until your physical body calls you back to its domain. Meanwhile, there are several areas you may wish to visit while you’re on this side, however, consider this your base for studies and, possibly, for entertaining.’

‘Entertaining? Who would I be entertaining?’

‘Who you allow will be up to you,’ he said.

With the recent revelations about my current state of existence, I realised my winter holiday would have to be extended further into Chile’s late summer and perhaps much longer. I wasn’t complaining, though. Except for female company, or the absence thereof, I had everything I needed in this Mountain paradise.

Soon I was practising my new hyperdrive agility. Such fun! I went down to the chasm to hop across as if to say; look at me, there’s nothing to it; nothing to fear. I now realised you can never be lost or harmed when you’re immortal, so there’s no reason to fear anything. This was a revelation to me since I always believed that when the body dies, it’s all over.

Yet, there remained other fears hidden within, still unrecognised, that I still had to come to terms with. For now, though, I felt happy to freely exist in this dimension beyond the cares of my old world.

After crossing over, I lightly skipped down to the ravine bottom to find where my body might have tumbled down. For whatever reason, I seemed to know exactly where to go. Yes, this is it, I thought, where I woke up after my long soul sleep. ‘Good God,’ I said aloud to myself as I looked up to where I had fallen off the narrow ridge just below the cabin. ‘That was a long, long way down!’

As I contemplated what might have happened during my freefall, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for my poor, unfortunate body laid up in a London hospital. Hard to believe it could have survived such a plunge, I thought. At least I didn’t experience the pain it must have felt. I wondered, if I wasn’t conscious of the pain, could there have been pain? I wasn’t sure; perhaps it’s like the tree falling in the forest; it's not perceived unless there’s a perceiver to perceive.

In the days ahead, my new skills as an aerial gymnast were exhilarating and most amazing. I bounded around on every mountain peak I could find in the surrounding sierras, feeling a little like Superman, flashing about, except there was no flying between ports.

At first, I didn’t go too far, only teleporting to positions or objects I could see from the summit. With Eli and Mo being my only tether in this reality, I didn’t wish to venture too far should something go wrong.

What a strange turn of events this was! Not only had my travel plans changed, my body had changed too. In fact, most substantially. Or was it less substantially? Now that I was able to admit my new state of existence, I became aware of how limited I had remained since my fall, even though I had the capacity to do all I was doing now. This realisation was an important lesson for me to remember. In the future, I would take my shackles off and refuse to be confined by limiting beliefs and fear!

Still, I didn’t understand the mechanics of the teleporting process. ‘How was it possible,’ I asked Mo, ‘to maintain bodily continuity between two spatial points and not be temporarily annihilated, especially when leaving one location and being reconstituted in another?’

‘Try to appreciate,’ he said, ‘the time-space continuum is a mental construct and not a material reality, so you’re not dragging your body’s electrons through the aether, from one place to another. Physicists on earth have already discovered in their laboratories that electrons seem to pop in and out of existence for no apparent reason. From where they come and where they go… they know not.

‘They seem to exist in one spot, then suddenly in another, here and there, just as with your teleporting, jumping from one orbit to another without travelling through intervening space. With electrons bilocating in various locations simultaneously, it’s as if space and time don’t even exist in the subatomic world. 

‘Though this has been regularly demonstrated, no one seems to understand how this is possible, other than acknowledging that things are much different and expansive than what was assumed in the Newtonian days. Since all subatomic particles remain inextricably entangled with conscious intent, your current body can respond even more immediately in this rarified spirit dimension. Like the electron, you just show up wherever you intend without transitioning through space.’

‘I would never have thought my conscious intent could be that effective,’ I said. ‘It’s one thing to say this happens with an electron, yet never with a person. Still, how can you argue when it happens to you. That’s rather shocking to think about.’

‘It is,’ Mo said, ‘even by those scientists who understand the body is just an aggregate of electrons. As Niels Bohr once said: If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.[1]

‘As you might already realise, theoretical physicists can demonstrate the effect of conscious observation on the outcome of quantum phenomena. The implications of that could have a profound impact on human consciousness should its significance ever sink in. That might still take a while, even though these facts are already known.’

‘This phenomenon is another example of one of the reasons the world’s narrow beliefs simply don’t apply here,’ Eli said. ‘Nothing, especially human perceptions, can ever limit the parameters of the rarified spiritual domain. The third-dimensional continuum of space and time can only, at best, provide an appearance of objective reality. The truth is, at the source, there is no separation between what’s subjective and objective; they are one. Again, as within, so without.

‘No duality can exist in divine essence since God, by nature, is One. Only in lower dimensions of perception, such as on earth, is duality perceived. All emanates as an extension of infinite Oneness.’

‘To the contrary,’ I said, ‘I was taught that life on earth derived from a primordial state of elements that achieved whatever homoeostasis was necessary for spontaneous generation. This supposedly occurred in some primordial soup fermenting in mud and slime. That’s what science considers to be the source of life.’

‘You mean the bottoms-up approach that required primordial life to create life?' Mo asked. ‘Does that not seem a bit flimsy, tenuous and self-contradictory? Ask yourself, if slime is the origin of your soul’s essence, how does that hypothesis make you feel about yourself?’

‘I’ve always felt rather confused about the subject of origins. Was it from deep down in the fertility of the earth as I was taught, or is it, as you suggest, top-down, from what you call Source or God?’

‘Still, does fertility not imply life?’ he asked. ‘Is it not life? Why do none of your esteemed colleagues in philosophy and science question that?’

‘Those are good questions, Mo. I’m going to need some time to sort this out with what we understand about the evolution of the species. At least I can now say it’s evident that the true nature of my body is spiritual and not material as I once believed.’ 

‘Yet, what if there is no difference between material and spiritual?’ he said. ‘What if it’s just the selective unfolding of infinite potentialities on the spectrum of energetic frequencies?’

‘Yes, of course, Mo. After getting me on your side, now you’re muddying the waters again.’

‘When you’re ready,’ Mo said, continuing, ‘we can discuss these questions at length since there are nuances to this that need to be considered to appreciate the synthesis of intelligent design and evolutionary principles. They are all entangled in the ongoing process of conscious creation. For now, just remember our guiding precepts upon which all creation is based: as above, so below; as within, so without.’

‘Also realize,’ Eli said, ‘what’s known in the higher spiritual domains remains beyond comprehension until it’s spiritually discerned. As I said before, truth is truth and nothing else. It can never be distorted or obstructed. When you no longer hold to limiting beliefs, you’ll find what you once assumed to be impossible now becomes possible… as you found this morning. This is how miracles occur on earth.’

‘You mean like turning water into wine?’ I asked.

‘Most certainly. Since Yeshua[2] knew his Source, he understood who he was and what was possible, going beyond the narrow and restricted beliefs of what’s considered normal. It wasn’t necessary, however, for him to violate the natural laws of physics. He simply knew how to access higher domains more inclusive of lower dimensions. In doing this, perhaps his most significant miracle was being able to open minds to the spiritual domain. That’s still happening today, in as much as humanity allows. Only recently have earth’s physicists been delving more deeply into these dimensional possibilities.’ [3]

This response raised more questions than it answered. However, the longer I dwelt here, the more I began to understood their peculiar cosmology. It may also have helped that I already had a rudimentary understanding of modern physics and how it has eclipsed many Newtonian assumptions. I found it difficult to comprehend the broad spectrum, such the mechanics of teleporting.

After taking this all into consideration, I took some comfort knowing it wasn’t just here that things seem irrational: the quantum world can seem just as erratic, if not mysterious. But, as Mo said, these aren’t different realities, only different perceptions that remain dependent on our receptive capacities. At times, these can make reality seem rather bizarre, as I was soon to find out. 

I had to wonder how many of my assumptions and beliefs in the past had held me back from understanding the deeper spiritual meaning of life. Even though I was a philosopher, my mind seemed less than adequate to discern spiritual meanings. Yet, based on my experience, few philosophers these days are interested in such matters.

I realised how unprepared I was for this strange new world and how much remained for me to learn about its inner workings. Though I was eager to discover all I could before returning home, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I found it difficult to understand the interrelationship of material and spiritual concepts where there was no duality.

In my world, there’s one bin for philosophy and another one for theology; you don’t mix them because if you did, no one would accept you. Descartes saw to that with the dualism that unwittingly ensued from his philosophy. Still, to my friends here , physical and spiritual appeared seamless.

Mo and Eli kept telling me to be patient; there was no need to understand everything at once since that wouldn’t be possible. Much of what I needed to learn, they suggested, couldn’t be learned; only discovered. Until then, they assured me they would continue to assist me until I was ready to move on to new heights of discovery beyond the Summit. I wondered what that might mean: what heights, what discoveries?

 After I realised I no longer occupied a biological body, it felt a bit unsettling to realize I was hanging out with two dead guys. This also caused some concern about my own state, considering how I seemed to be no different than them, living in the same environment, eating and drinking the same food, engaging in the same discussions and banter.

The only difference was that I had a biological body on standby. After being hauled in for repairs, it would one day await my return. Or would I be waiting for it? Hard to say; maybe we would be waiting for each other.

As I later lay alone in bed that night, I began to wonder if I’d ever again make love to a woman, something of considerable importance to me. Maybe that nymph would come by some night, the one I imagined with a sweet voice while reaching the summit. Why not? It seemed almost anything might be possible now.

The following morning, we discussed my concerns about them being dead and our mutual state of spiritual existence. They seemed amused by how I remained fixated on death as being the cessation of the biological body. Considering my new set of circumstances, I had to admit that as was a rather stupid idea. 

It was evident they weren’t any more dead than I was. If anything, they were more alive than they had ever been, with or without their earthly bodies. I finally had to accept that there is no such thing as death, only transition, and they were living proof.

That was a complete revelation to me, utterly contrary to what I believed most of my life. Or I should say, what my mind thought, yet it seemed my heart knew better.

As our discussions continued in the weeks and months ahead, the spiritual concepts were beginning to make more sense as I learned to participate in this plane of reality by adjusting the parameters of my beliefs. Mo often said that they weren’t here to teach me anything so much as to rediscover what I already knew in the fullness of my being. That was another enigmatic statement I didn’t understand since I had no idea who I was or how vast was my soul outside my skin.

There was little to do in the evenings after they left e.xcept sit by the fireplace and read. Interestingly, I always seemed to select books on the mantle that seemed most germane to our discussions.[4] I would also reflect on what we had discussed during the day, a welcome change to my restless life at home where I could never find time for inner contemplation. Yet, for the ego, there never is a right time.

I remembered back when I enrolled in a Transcendental Meditation course. Regrettably, it didn’t work very well for me since I was too distracted by some of the beautiful lassies in the studio. Now, however, in this seclusion, there was nothing to divert my attention. For once, I could remain focused, no longer preoccupied with frivolous concerns in my life.

Also, I was finally learning how to exert more control over my emotions and be less reactive when my beliefs were challenged. This lesson wasn’t easy to learn, considering how many old doubts and fears still plagued me. Over time, these disturbances began to diminish as a new, unfamiliar serenity began to envelop me.

I couldn’t embrace this, whatever it was; still, I could be embraced simply by surrendering to it. There was something more to it than just a feeling. Though I didn’t realise it at the time, I was having my first conscious encounter with the divine; something I had never known, or for that matter, believed in. For lack of a better word, I called it the Presence.

During such moments with the numinous, I caught, or thought I caught, an image of my soul being reflected to me, as when peering into a clear, settled pond. Though not actually visible, it was more of an impression of something much larger than me, yet in a sense, it was me. It made no difference; I was one with it. At first, I didn’t know what to make of this mystical encounter with myself, if that’s what this was. I wondered, could this be a fleeting glimpse of what I was yet to become?

These rare, lucid moments, came to me when I put my rational mind aside, along with all its residual fears. It was the first time in all my tumultuous years I felt so splendidly serene. I suspected the serenity would not last, and soon my mind would default to its old habits.

While dwelling in what might have been a semblance of what some might call nirvana, our discussions continued. It now seemed I had far less to say and more to learn as I listened intently. Though Mo and Eli were with me most of the day to answer my questions and question my answers, we also would go for long hikes, play chess and have meals.

Seldom, however, did they stay long after dinner. They seemed to be well-aware of my progress and what was going on within my mind, which is why, they said, they wanted me to have plenty of solitude to assimilated all we discussed and to become better acquainted with my Self.

Various traditions call the Self many things; the Atman, the Buddha, the Christ, while others simply understand the I AM as divine transcendence. Yet specific terms were of little concern to me since I realised how often labels confuse and divide people, especially when it’s claimed that only certain incantations, chants, or liturgies are capable of invoking authentic spiritual experiences.

For most of my life, I had turned away from religion, dismissing it as mere superstition and fantasies built in the sky. Mo and Eli often referred to religious institutions and culture as part of the Hill Country for reasons that will later be explained.[5] I didn’t know too much about religious practises back then since I couldn’t be bothered to find their significances.

What I was now experiencing, however, felt like the very essence of my being was somehow connected to something infinitely more majestic.[6] These encounters, as I described them, intrigued me; if this was not a religious experience, at least it might be something like it.

Another thing I appreciated about my mentors is that they always seemed to anticipate where I was in my understanding, being careful not to overwhelm me with more than I was ready. Although, they would at times push the limits of what I was prepared to believe, nudging me towards broader breaths of understanding.

As I continued to gain more insight, it seemed my outward universe would expand with greater vision. There seemed to be no end to what possibilities might lie beyond the intergalactic universe, a very far cry from my academic world of grading term papers endlessly on questions that seemed to have no answers.

Through these dialogues, I came to understand that consciousness was not just about my mental acuity, rather, more importantly, my ability to inwardly discern what is real, what is false, what is light, what darkness… and all shades in-between.

At times I found myself reverting to some of my old agitations and defences. I suppose this was inevitable since old thought patterns seldom go away of their own accord, much less their egoic source. This might be why my friends continued to challenge me to clear all the old intellectual clutter in my mind. That wasn’t easy, since such probing often led to rather unsettling conclusions about some of my most cherished beliefs and prejudices.

After talking to Mo about this, he said, ‘you’re a living paradox, James, capable not only of ascending some of the highest mountains, while plunging down the deepest abysses; an urbane professor capable of understanding some of the most profound books in the world, yet a vulgar sailor scrapping though the night; at once wise, yet foolish; a probable saint… though more probably a sinner,’ he laughed.

‘In this life, you’ve learned to charm; just as you’ve learned to brawl… though likely not that well when blotto. Now, after being held hostage to the mortal fears of the Lowlands, you will find yourself an immortal conqueror standing tall on your Summit. Always remember Vincit Qui Se Vincit; He Conquers Who Conquers Himself. To conquer, you must have to face your most formidable foes. So, I say; don’t just conquer these fears… slay them!

‘There’s only one way to do that. You need only allow love, not fear, to conquer the fears in your life. In the words of Virgil, Omnia Vincit Amor, Love Conquers All![7]Allow the light within to dispel the illusory fears of your ego. As you love, they become the nothingness they are.

‘Fear cannot exist in love any more than darkness can exist in the light.

‘When you see these words engraved on a stone wall, this will be a sign to you. Then shall they be engraved in your soul, and only then shall you know in truth, you have conquered.’

I didn’t know what he meant about these words being engraved on a stone wall, yet such ancient wisdom would be good for me to remember. Coming from Virgil would make it even better.

Then, later in the day, while we were on the deck outside smoking some of Eli’s freshly rolled baccy, Mo unexpectantly proposed we go to London. ‘Whenever you’re ready, James,’ he said, ‘we can book an instant flight to visit you and see how he’s getting along. Not because it’s lonesome, but because we think it would be good for you to reassure yourself that he’s still alive.’

‘Kind of mixing your pronouns, aren’t you?’

‘Only to make a point; how do you see your body… as you, him, or it?’

‘I don’t know. Guess any will do… depends on the context.’ 

‘Since he, or it, belongs to you, maybe it’s time you decide what you wish to call this earthly vessel of yours. It might be less confusing to refer to.’

‘Okay, I’ll give it some thought and see what I come up with.’

‘It only seems right we show respect,’ Mo said, ‘considering how well he’s served you, which would be another reason you should pay him a visit sometime soon.’

‘Kind of like finding yourself without a shrink,’ Eli said, chuckling.

‘I’m still not sure how pleasant it will be to meet my doppelgänger.[8] It might be kind of, you know...creepy.’

‘Yes, but for whom?’ Eli asked. ‘Who gets to be the real doppelgänger when you meet; you or your physical body?’

‘Hmm, interesting… never thought of myself in those terms. I guess from the physical perspective, I would be the etheric one. That’s rather amusing when you think about it!’

‘Could you have ever dreamt this might happen to you while you were still an agnostic?’ he asked.

‘Not when I thought I had all the answers. Later, however, after enrolling in my graduate studies programme in Canada, I became more open to what may be out there, particularly after meeting a couple of scholars who greatly influenced me. Only then did I considered there might be more to life than I previously believed possible.

‘For whatever reason, interesting things began to happen to me. As if by coincidence, one day, I came across the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg; you know, the eighteenth-century Swedish seer.[9] I was rummaging through a stack of old books at a used bookstore close to downtown Calgary on a rainy Saturday afternoon when suddenly, a hardbound copy of Heaven and Hell practically fell into my hands from the top of a shelf.’

‘Ever wonder how that happened?’ Eli asked, smirking.

‘No idea, I must have jarred the shelf. After glancing at its title, I opened it and became intrigued by its peculiar table of contents. Now curious, I bought it for a few dollars and immediately headed back to my flat to read it. Once I got started, I couldn’t seem to stop.

‘I didn’t know what to think, except its authoritative pronouncements about life after death fascinated me as if the author knew what he was talking about. I wondered how anyone could be so confident that heaven and hell had a reality, something which no one appeared to know anything.

‘By the time I was halfway through, I was beginning to consider whether there might be more to this life than snagging a few pleasures through a mediocre existence, hoping for something significant to happen.

‘At that time, I was in a state of existential despair after being jilted the day before by Cynthia, a young woman I was in love with who was studying in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at university. I’ll never forget her; she taught me a lot about nature, in more ways than one, as we climbed several peaks in the Rocky Mountains. I was feeling empty that day, yet as I continued to read late into the night, I received a glimmer of hope that perhaps life may have a greater purpose than ultimate annihilation.[10] 

‘It seemed astonishing how this Swedish scientist and nobleman could be among the world’s most respected intellects of his day and still get away writing about visitations he claimed to have into the celestial realms during the last few decades of his life on earth. I found him a curious mix of scientist, sage, philosopher, theologian, revelator, mystic and perhaps madman.

‘After, I went on to read a few more of his books. Though rather pedantic in style, I found the writings to be fascinating. His exemplary wisdom and graphic descriptions of the celestial realms were literally out of this world. Do either of you know about him?’

‘What would you say if I told you that I not only know about him,’ Mo asked, ‘but that I know him?’

‘I’d say get him to autograph a copy of this book for me. I might not have taken his writings that seriously had I not learned the impact he had on some of the world’s greatest thinkers and literary luminaries over the years. These included Emerson, Carlyle, Jung, Kant, Balzac, W.B Yeats, D.T. Suzuki, William Blake, Helen Keller and even the legendary Johnny Appleseed Chapman, to name just a few.

      ‘There was also another reason for my continued interest in what he had to say. After reading the first book, a most extraordinary event occurred to me a couple of months later in the early autumn.

‘Would you mind telling us about it?’ Eli asked.

‘Of course not, since your probably the only ones I could tell this to who would believe me.’

‘Then go on,’ Mo said.

‘It all happened while was camping alone in a tranquil alpine meadow not far from the mountain resort of Banff. Astonishingly, in the middle of the night, as I was soundly sleeping under the stars, a voice in the air woke me, saying just one word: nothingness. Then again, over the next minute or two, I heard the voice say nothingness twice more. It was clear as a bell. By the last time, I was startled and fully awake, wondering what might happen next. I asked aloud: “Now that you’ve got my attention, what’s that supposed to mean?” I didn’t receive an answer then, nor have I since.

‘The voice was extraordinary, definitely out there since I’m not even remotely psychic. It was some time before I could fall asleep again, wondering who and what that was and why it was speaking to me.

‘For years after, I continued to think about this encounter until I put it out of my mind, though not entirely. Since my profession trained me to be sceptical of any phenomena that can’t be rationally explained, I sought a logical explanation for my paranormal experience. Still, I never was able to explain it. Finally, I just rationalized it as being some neurological quirk in my brain triggered by my Rocky Mountain high.’

‘And now look at you,’ Eli said, ‘you get to be the no-thing-ness while your essence remains everything. You don’t even need to look for the paranormal… you are the paranormal! The old irrational has become the new rational, as it becomes a new template for understanding this reality. The way your life has been unfolding over the years, this should be no big surprise!’

‘Maybe not, and yet, it is. You know, even before Swedenborg’s writings or the voice came to me in the meadow, I sensed I was being prepared for something more in life than what my agnostic mind would accept.

 

‘I’ve never told this to anyone before; as a young boy, I would sometimes sense a warm and loving feminine presence drawing close to my side while I was in bed. I remember waking one night, knowing it wasn’t just a dream. Then it happened again from time to time, mostly when I felt sad and alone in my early childhood years. I had no idea what it meant, except it always made me feel I belonged, though I didn’t know to whom or to what.

‘Later, as I grew older, these nocturnal visitations gradually came to an end. I don’t know; maybe it was because I no longer paid attention to them. However, much later, as I was completing my doctoral thesis, I awoke from my sleep one night and sat up, sobbing uncontrollably like a baby, though I wasn’t sure why except it seemed I had been visited. Since I’m not one to cry, I assumed this must be an emotional release to the stress I was experiencing those days.

‘Over the next year, this visitation would return on occasion as I was falling asleep. Even though I fashioned myself as a hard-nosed sceptic, I melted on those rare occasions when I felt the phantasm’s love. Still, there was a price to pay. For weeks and sometimes months after these encounters, I would feel unstable, confused with inward conflict. My rational sensibilities clashed with the deep yearning I had to be embraced by this presence. I wasn’t certain what these encounters were about. Yet, when I was a young boy, I knew. You see, I lost my mother when I was five.’

Though he didn’t say anything, it was evident that my story had moved Eli. After a few minutes of silence, he got up, put his hand on my shoulder and quietly walked out the door.

 ‘Buenos Noches,’ James,’ Mo softly said as he stepped out the door shortly after.

The following morning, as usual, we reconvened for more dialogue. I was relieved my story from last night didn’t come up, perhaps because I felt it was too personal to analyze. Instead, and unexpectedly, we got on to the subject of scepticism. Sitting by the fireplace after breakfast, Mo asked: ‘What do you mean, James, when you say you’re a sceptic, especially now that you’re in our realm?’

‘First of all, I would say it means I’m not gullible. I always look for a sound, rational explanation for whatever happens, particularly when there’s anything dodgy about what’s reported. For the sake of truth, reason must always be prepared to challenge whatever assumptions are made to support beliefs based on nothing more than superstition or religious indoctrination.’

‘If that’s all scepticism was about, it would be commendable,’ Mo said. ‘However, I’ve often noticed that when strange, inexplicable things happen to sceptics or are witnessed by them, they find it difficult to deal with these encounters. It’s a dilemma to have to believe nothing is happening even when it is. Eli helping you off the ridge would be one such example of feeling conflicted by contrary beliefs.’

‘I suppose it should have been obvious what was happening,’ I said, ‘yet it didn’t seem that way at the time.’

‘I understand how difficult it can be to reconcile what doesn’t line up with what is believed possible. I remember an experience I once had in Rome with some friends visiting from England. One of them was a highly qualified professor who taught Civil Engineering at Leeds. He was particularly brilliant working with numbers, priding himself as a hardcore sceptic about anything that he couldn’t reduce to measurement.

‘As fate would have it, the four of us were walking across a square that led to the Pantheon, when suddenly, before our eyes, an aged, white-haired East Indian yogi was sitting in the middle of the square in a lotus position with a long cane in his hand. What was unusual about this was not him sitting there; rather, that he was suspended about four feet above the ground. We could hardly believe our eyes, so we looked closely for some prop, yet there was nothing between him and the ground. Nor were there any wires attached.

‘Naturally, we were astonished to witness this strange rout over nature… except, of course, my engineering friend who seemed to be more agitated than anything for not being able to identify what the trick was. After considerable examination from every angle, he refused to discuss the incident further since he hadn’t been able to come up with any plausible explanation.

‘What was also interesting is that about a year later when I was back in England, he had no recollection of this occurance. Rather, he laughed as if anything so preposterous as this could have happened. He didn’t dismiss seeing the yogi; it’s just that he was oblivious to the levitation we had all witnessed the year before.

‘As he recalled, the yogi was sitting on a mirrored box, giving the illusion of space under him. He also thought he remembered seeing a pan on the ground for donations. If there had been one, we must have missed it, along with the mirrored box.

‘Evidently, he was having difficulty processing a spectacle that went contrary to his beliefs. In his mind, this didn’t happen because it couldn’t have happened. Such is the nature of preconceived beliefs.’

‘Fortunately for you, James, you’ve never been a hard-core sceptic who remains closed to whatever evidence is outside your belief system. That’s why you were able to hear that voice in the air when you were camping in the Canadian Rockies. You were open to this visitation, even though the voice came as quite the surprise.’

‘I suppose I was open to this experience,’ I said. ‘The combined beauty and silence in the mountain meadows somehow felt magical, if not sacred, even to an agnostic. Everything felt so vibrantly alive. I think just before falling asleep under the bright stars and moon, I spoke a word of gratitude to the tranquillity of nature I felt enveloped in.’

‘Talk about when the object meets subject and subject meets object!’ exclaimed Eli. ‘You were at once both the subject and object of your scepticism. So, as a philosopher, what did you do with that?’

‘Since I had no explanation, I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t want to say anything since it’s not the kind of thing you mention to your colleagues while learning your graduate degree. It was one of those inexplicable encounters you simply bracket out of your belief files because there is no file for something that doesn’t make sense. I mean: Nothingness, what kind of message is that?’

‘And yet this voice must have been rather hard for you to dismiss, was it not?’

‘Had I been doing some good peyote that night, that would have explained everything. Yet, the only thing I was high on that day was nature. Over the years, I occasionally thought about the message, still could never come up with an explanation. Finally, I gave up and told myself it all had to be in my head. After all, I was a sceptic and couldn’t be bothered with answers. Can you imagine me writing about that incident for American Skeptic magazine?’

‘You now need to help build a much larger box for your scepticism so you won’t bracket out all the mysteries that will occur to you here. It’s not possible for you to fit everything in your old tattered, and worn box of stale beliefs. You might soon find even more exotic occurrences coming your way that will require an even larger container.

‘That’s why,’ Eli said, ‘the first thing we’re going to need to do is to kick out all the walls… clear out of sight! You’re going to need lots and lots of space to put everything while you’re still here. Yet that might not be a good illustration since infinity is too big to be about things: it’s more about no-thing-ness, just as the voice was telling you that night.

‘Things don’t manifest from things; rather, they ultimately emanate from a prior thought-form, which ultimately might be ascribed to the Source. Yeshua knew this, and so quite appropriately called the Source our Father in heaven.’[11]

‘Eli’s right, there’s much more to no-thing-ness than you can imagine,’ Mo said. ‘Infinity is a rather large zone to expand your mind; in fact, it’s impossible to do; still, it’s worth trying just to remind yourself how vast your potential is. We’ll do all we can to help you clear your mind of some of the limitations of things that keep you from understanding the true no-thing nature of the Omniverse.’

‘That sounds a bit ironic, doesn’t it?’ I said. ‘At once, no-thing yet everything.’

‘Only because of what you think you know,’ Mo said. ‘Even after years of struggling in the halls of linear scholarship, you still require plenty more deprogramming. It will be necessary for you to clear out all the intellectual clutter that obstructs your understanding.

‘We recognise; however, it’s not all clutter; in fact, much of what you acquired were the analytical skills necessary to sharpen your mind’s acuity, helping you sort through what’s real and what’s bogus. This awareness will serve you well in the future.

‘With your sharp mind, there is much to discover here and later  after you return home! If I may, let me use the computer as a metaphor to illustrate this, although you are far more than a computer. A computer can’t be a spirit any more than can your brain. Therefore, your systems will need to be upgraded to handle the new programmes.

‘Crudely stated, your hard drive had been corrupted by various conceptual viruses you assimilated from some unfortunate assumptions that entered into your belief system after years of faulty programming. With your willingness, however, it can be defragged and repaired.

‘In fairness to Newton, it should be acknowledged that his laws and precepts helped humanity calculate the elementary rules of physical existence on earth. However, this physical overlay cannot calculate the truth of higher orders of subtle reality as evidenced by the dynamics between subatomic physics and consciousness.’

Mo paused, then went on to say: ‘Many of these old programmes that factored out the spirit remain popular in academic circles even though many carry nasty viral assumptions that have crashed many systems through the years. Many presuppositions build into the programmes weren’t just obsolete but  dangerous.

‘How many countries were gutted and devastated last century by the programmers who programmed humans into being little more than drones in service to their lies. And not just those written by Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao; other utopian programmes have now mutated into other viruses just as pernicious.

‘That’s why we need to upload your system with advanced software paradigms that will enable you to navigate through this new dimension. Once you’ve rebooted, you will find it much easier to operate here. Unfortunately, we can’t do much to upgrade your battered material brain in London since its obsolete programmes aren’t compatible with ours. Your new mainframe, however, will operate on your new system.

‘When you return to your brain’s old hard drive, it will be upgraded and reconfigured to integrate the new programmes you’ll be learning here. Once this is done, in maybe a year or two, they will be able to operate well beyond the old 3D series you’re familiar with. Though it won’t happen right away, you will eventually assimilate this more advanced software that runs in an information field outside your brain’s hardware.

‘In fact, just knowing this will create a massive paradigm shift for you because it will open you to what you might achieve back home. The good news is that your brain’s neuroplasticity will naturally adapt to your new programmes here since material form always mimics vibratory essence.’

‘I’m not sure I agree with your metaphor about the old Cartesian software,’ I said. ‘I think Descartes had a lot of profound things to say, just as Newtonian physics are as legitimate now as when he came out with his theories.’

‘Full marks to them both,’ Mo said. ‘Still, you may find their interpretations no longer serve you while you remain in this Passage. I’m sure you’re aware of how Descartes’ teachings created a great divide between mind and matter, or, it may be said, spirit and body. It didn’t take long, maybe a couple of hundred years or so, to find how this turned out, especially when the if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist crowd took over.

‘Dualistic reasoning is wholly entrenched in mainstream thinking now, permeating much of the Western world. What this means for most scientists is that if they can’t see spiritual reality, it must not exist. That’s why the very concept of spirit is considered redundant, and therefore, obsolete.  As they say, the material brain accounts for all processes that were formerly regarded as spiritual.

‘In other words, for them, the mind is just an event occurring in the mechanical brain, much like sound emanates from a radio speaker. Still, the diaphragm has nothing to do with the origin of the sounds. That’s why they’re wrong; mental events don’t originate in the brain any more than music is composed and performed inside the radio.’

‘Perhaps I remain one of Descartes’ children,’ I said, ‘since it seems to me that what we perceive is physical and what we intuit remains spiritual. The question is how you wish to define the relationship between spirit and matter. You say we have spirit bodies, but I can see you both just as physically as I would if you were walking down a street on earth.’

‘No doubt about it,’ Eli said, ‘we do appear physical… at least to each other. However, not to the man walking by us on the street. In truth, we are about as substantial as anything on the earth plane, in fact, even more so![12] Yet, there is nothing solid about anything, whether on earth or in the higher celestial realms. Mountains, lakes, galaxies, books, angels and pretty girls that appear to be angels – all are electromagnetic patterns that appear as crystalized forms within spectrums of consciousness.’

‘The way I see it,’ I said, ‘if a rock makes contact with your head, it might break your skull, just like a woman might break your heart, except as you well know, hearts don’t always heal as quickly as skulls.’

‘That might be a judicious observation,’ Mo said, ‘still, I’m not sure we’re talking the same thing. ‘So let me remind you again; all sentient beings are interpreters of vibration. Therefore, to each their own, be it a  broken heart or broken skull, all are derivatives of frequency patterns. In that sense, your spiritual body is as physical as your material body; the difference is you are currently occupying a higher vibratory form.

‘Further to that, might I add, you perceive objects and bodies as being physically substantive because, for you, they are since you exist in the same vibratory plane. It would be a different story if you didn’t.

‘Let me recite what John Wheeler had to say on this: No phenomenon is a physical phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon… the universe does not exist out there, independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators. In some strange sense, this is a participatory universe…’ [13]

‘Our encounters with solidity may seem very real, as did yours... in fact, all the way down the abyss. Yet these experiences are, in actuality, encounters with energy events. This is to say non-substantial, subatomic energy waves of no-things appearing as material forms that we experience through non-material mental processes.’

‘What you keep saying sounds very much like what’s found in the ancient Vedantic writings,’ I said, ‘not that I’ve studied them.’

‘You are correct; what we say sounds much like them,’ Mo said. ‘I ought to know since I studied the Vedas for years while still in my mortal body. Most of your ancient sacred texts found and uncovered in Egypt, Tibet and other areas of the world speak of the non-material void, just as the voice you heard spoke the word nothingness out of the nothingness.

‘Much of this literature implies that when you begin to understand the concept of emptiness, you will understand the inverse nature of everything that remains implicit within the unmanifested dreams of infinity. It’s not so much a contradiction of what’s on the lower linear level, rather, what’s on a higher intuited level, as perhaps with a Zen koan.’[14]

‘So, what you seem to be saying is that out of the Infinite Void of nothing comes all thought that leads to the manifestation of everything that is – everything that will be and everything that can be.’

‘That sums it up very well, James. You’re catching on quickly,’ Eli said.

‘Indeed, he is,’ Mo said. ‘Let me also add; nothing outwardly exists that doesn’t ultimately come from within the Source’s divine vortex. As I mentioned, this understanding is not limited to just ancient Eastern traditions; some of our earliest literature inferred the same cosmology in the Genesis creation myth: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep – and God said, “let there be light...[15]

‘And so, it is out of the void, out of the nothingness; we experience reality as we do. When taken literally, creation may appear as an actual historical event in linear time when everything unfolded in seven days or epochs.

‘In truth, creation out of nothingness is an ongoing state of essence that continues to outwardly manifests from within. As within, so without! That’s why the existential philosophers of our day that believe existence proceeds essence have it backwards.’

‘From what you seem to be saying, nothingness is a black hole, or void, from which all emerge ex nihilo. Just as the voice spoke to me that night: nothingness, nothingness, nothingness.’

‘That should have been your first clue,’ Eli said, ‘so it’s no wonder you found yourself attracted to Berkeley’s writings shortly after your camping experience. It seems something or someone out there was tipping you off that life wasn’t about things. Rather, it had to do with the infinite void out of which universes manifest, collapse, only to be reformulated by another thought inside the Thought outside of space and time.

‘Perhaps your fall was just one more nudge to collapse you into the void to get your head out of the fog and move your arse out of the Lowlands’ swamp.

‘Are you saying someone nudged me off the chasm ledge?’

‘I’m sure you didn’t need any nudging,’ Mo said. ‘You were destined to emerge out of the void as a reconstituted being from the Lowlands into a higher realm.’

‘Are you suggesting that I brought these circumstances upon myself, not by being reckless, but by design, while attempting to cross the chasm?’

‘In a sense, you spoke it into being, did you not? Whenever you gazed at the Mountain in your dreams, you were speaking your reality into being. Just as in Genesis, God moved over the void to speak light into earth’s being.

‘However you may wish to understand this quote, be it metaphoric or not, the idea of speaking is still a declaration of a willful thought called into form. In that sense, we may say all of creation is contained in a single Thought that infinitely manifests into what we might call the Omniverse or Infiniverse.’

‘As we’ve discussed before,’ Eli said, ‘the sons of God, being vessels of Source essence, create because all have been created by one eternal Thought. It all begins in the Mind because when in union with the Heart, that’s all there is: Oneness. So, by our thoughts, we co-create the reality that is perceived. Wheeler was absolutely right about this.’

‘And not just Wheeler,’ Mo said, ‘most of the astute philosophers of antiquity understood how reality proceeds outwardly from the dimension of Mind. That can’t always be said when modern philosophy fixates on lesser, more outward concerns.’[16]

‘Are you picking on me again?’ I asked.

‘As you well know,’ he said, ‘Plato based his teachings on the concepts of Idea and Form. Predating him, Pythagoras expressed this as the Logos, a broad concept related to the universal principle of in-forming, later incorporated into the Gospel of John as the Word.’

‘I would hardly consider the Gospel of John philosophy,’ I said.

‘Then you must not understand it,’ he said. ‘In fact, many physicists from the last century expressed the idea of the Logos-Word-Mind in much the same way.[17]

‘I like the way Sir James Jeans put it: Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter. We are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of this realm.[18]

‘I’m sure you must know, Aristotelian metaphysics was called First Philosophy or the Principles of Being, which addressed the question of being, qua being, and the integration of all knowledge, both within and without.

‘For millennia, it was a respectable academic discipline, now, however, the concept of metaphysics is largely dismissed by both science and religion. Perhaps they fear their separate orthodoxies will be compromised by becoming admixed with the other’s dogma.

‘They have very different and disparate containers for their separate and mutually exclusive cosmologies, which often causes them to war against each other. Rather than determining who’s right, they would be better off and more whole by discovering how their perspectives may inclusively fit and balance each other.

‘Metaphysics, being interdisciplinary by nature, could facilitate this integration. That’s what the prefix meta does when conjoined with the word physics.[19] Unfortunately, in this era of separation and alienation, neither camp wants to have any of this.’

‘That might be a fascinating subject for another discussion,’ I said. ‘For now, however, let’s clarify a few things. My body, my clothing and this unlit cigar – are you saying they’re nothing more than spiritual substance? How can spirit have substance? I’m not so sure many scientists would agree with that.’

‘I’m sure many wouldn’t,’ Mo said, ‘yet the really smart ones do… at least in some fashion. They understand the word substance means much more than what is considered material. So, let’s briefly go over this again to help you understand things.

‘As we’ve said, all that’s experienced, whether in heaven, earth or somewhere else, originates as a conscious thought. Only spirit knows itself because that’s all there is, even when manifested as crystallized perception in unlimited ways. Professor Bohm referred to this as frozen light enfolded within the hidden, implicate domain that expresses itself in the explicate order we understand and experience as reality.

‘A rather interesting description, don’t you think, James? Now consider where Genesis states, let there be light, in as much as it is understood to give form to the void, we could, with Bohm, call all form frozen light. Could we not then refer to your spirit body as a light form, rather than just biological adaptation for the earth plane.’

‘Certainly, a most intriguing mix of metaphysics, religion and science,’ I said. ‘Which reminds me of something I read while working on my thesis; I think it was Berkeley who said something about a choir and furniture in heaven. These objects and events we experience, he suggested, are examples of thoughts existing in the mind of God. Not many modern philosophers are amenable to such a notion.’

‘Perhaps not,’ Mo said, ‘yet, anything considered physical is a temporal, electromagnetic pattern. The problem with objects is that their patterns don’t hold, be it a chocolate bar in the sun or perfume on a woman. Nothing lasts, not even your body or your planet. What’s perceived is a momentary snapshot of what will ultimately cease to exist in it’s present form.’

‘Mind, as perceiver, is in essence, consciousness, and therefore, unlike matter, non-substantial, unconditional, ineffable, and undefinable. And so, it is through the mind’s thoughts that we become aware of our existence.’

‘There’s nothing more real than consciousness since that’s all there is. It emantes from Source, and therefore is Source. It is that which gives form to all outward existence, or should I say, what creates outward appearances of reality. What sensation is possible without consciousness perceiving it?’

‘’So, you’re saying that when you come right down to it, nothing else is real… is that right?’

‘Let me ask you if your material body in London is any more real than the body you are now experiencing; the one I’m looking at? If so, for how long is it real? And when it dies, how real is it then? Can you even say it was real while it remained in form?

‘At best, we might say it was a temporal pattern of mind-stuff. Forms are patterns that constantly change until the bond no longer holds.[20] In that sense, we may say forms don’t exist per se; they’re only temporary arrangements of energetic essence patterns that manifest, reconfigure, then dissolve. 

‘Though planets eventually cease to exist in form, their essence continues to exists in an etheric timeline, as does your spirit essence since it’s a thought-form of the divine Spirit. What Source has thought can never be unthought or forgotten. Forever y ou remain an evolving, or perhaps at times a devolving, expression of Source contained within various dimensions in which you currently reside, such as this spirit body.’

‘Considering all this,’ I asked, ‘are you telling me what most of the world believes about physical existence is wrong?’

‘It depends on what you mean by physical,’ he said. ‘Most seem to believe that physicality is limited to various material expressions, which explains why the world’s understanding of reality remains upside down, inside out and backwards. The illusion sees matter, not spirit; it sees effects, not causes; it sees the temporal, never the eternal; it sees the plain, never the Mountain; it sees with the eyes, yet never with vision.’

‘The perception Mo speaks of,’ Eli said, ‘is not divine; rather, a phantom of the distorted ego-mind.’[21] You will soon come to understand everything comes back to Mind-Consciousness, which is not separate from Source-God, the One of all that is.

‘When you come to understand that union is the one in the many and the many in the one, you will come to understand your hidden reality. However, that’ another topic for another time when you are ready.’

‘I’m ready now,’ I said.

‘I’m not sure you are.’ Mo said. ‘The problem isn’t so much what you don’t know, as with what you think you do know. Let’s examine this from the perspective of you again being the sailor. Whatever laden you have taken on board that has become to heavy in these waters needs to be jettisoned; otherwise, your ship might sink.

‘It’s not for us to say what this laden might be, still, you will know once you discover what’s hindering your voyage.’ 

‘As long as I don’t have to cast off my most valued treasures.’

‘Once you set sail you might find there are far more treasures you can bring on board from exotic islands along the way once you throw overboard what gets in the way. You might not realize what has lasting value until you know who you are. Though you may think you know what you are, you still need to find who you are. When you discover this, you will find your rewards within.’

‘What kind of rewards?’

‘As we’ve said before, and say again to you; first you need to Know Thyself. If we told you what comes from that, you wouldn’t believe us, nor would you understand.’

‘I understand more than you give me credit. So, let’s begin.’

‘First, let me ask you; what do you feel and observe that’s different now in how you experience your current state of embodiment?’

‘Obviously, there’s been much I’ve had to adjust to,’ I said. ‘The first thing I became aware of was the lightness of my body and that I was no longer subject to the confines of earth’s physical plane. At times I find this peculiar since it’s so different from what I’m used to. Still, I wonder what’s preventing me from floating away when gravity isn’t an issue anymore.

‘Yet, I understand I can drift upward when I intend it, as I did with my levitation performance and exploring the surrounding sierras. I’d like to see magicians try to do what I’m able to do without smoke, mirrors or curtains.’

‘What else are you noticing,’ Eli asked, ‘other than how you experience your body now?’

‘I must admit, I’m beginning to notice an incremental change in my awareness. Sometimes, it seems a bit disorientating, knowing I’m still on earth, though, not of the earth. I wonder then, who am I, and where do I belong? These are unsettling ontological questions.[22]

‘And not just that; it’s a bit scary when I consider what might happen after I return. If I recall  life here, it would hardly be business as usual. Likely I’d remain confused, not knowing what rules to play by. How could I ever again teach the old curriculum after remembering what I now know?

‘Apart from those concerns, I feel alive here, perhaps more than ever before. Even my mind and emotions seem to have the same lightness of being as my body. This is the first time I can remember having the luxury to contemplate my life in peace with none of the pressure I’ve experienced in the past. No rent to pay, no term papers to write or mark, no deadlines, or administrative compliance.’

 ‘Possibly, you’re also happier,’ Mo said, ‘now that you no longer think you have to defend your old beliefs.’

‘I admit when I first arrived, I wasn’t sure what to make about either of you performing your stunts and talking your wacky talk. However, things seem a bit more reasonable now, even though I’m no longer sure what reasonable is supposed to mean.

       ‘Still, it’s becoming easier for me to accept that I don’t need to understand everything that’s going on, since I exist on a very different plane while occupying a very different body… which is about all I have left to show for myself these days.’

‘Or so it seems,’ Eli said. ‘In truth, this body is an expression to your true form, the immortal pattern rather than the biological adaptation for the earth’s mode of existence.

‘So, you see, James, you haven’t lost anything. Though your body may seem less dense than what you were accustomed to with its light and subtle form, it is indestructible and sufficiently malleable to express the quality of your unique character.’

‘That’s because this subtle body configures to whatever planes of existence you might experience,’ Mo said. ‘This adaptability, however, will require a greater depth of understanding as we prepare you for what’s next on your itinerary.’

‘Itinerary?’ I asked. ‘Okay, so where am I going?’

‘On a journey,’ he said. ‘We’re not sure where it will take you since that will be your choice. There are any number of places you might wish to go. As we say, think of your body as a free and chuffed butterfly that until recently was contained in the grovelling earth-bound caterpillar. Now that you are released, however, you can flutter freely to the mountain peaks or any other place you wish.

‘Later, when you return to your body on the earth plane, as we anticipate, you will have to stuff your wings back into your caterpillar body so that you can complete your body’s mortal journey. Not that you will always have to crawl on your belly, still, you will have to once again contend with your body’s physical limitations.

‘You might not realise at first that your true identity is that of an immortal butterfly. Although, it’s the caterpillar that makes the butterfly, which is why you will flutter even higher next time you return to your eternal home.’

‘Fortunately,’ Eli said, ‘your awareness of what occurred here will follow your return to your mortal caterpillar, even if at first you don’t recall what happened. When you do, however, you will never again feel lost and alone as you sometimes experience on earth. That’s what I mean by no longer crawling on your belly. Your spirit will still want to fly, and if you let it, it just may.’

‘All this sounds most bizarre,’ I said. ‘Really; who else gets to do this sort of thing?’

‘There are tens of thousands of souls who have had short glimpses into what lies beyond,’ he said. ‘After taking a temporary leave of their physical bodies, in what’s often referred to as near-death experiences (NDEs), many speak of travelling through a tunnel of light that takes them to new dimensions. After returning, they often remain at a loss in explaining their exquisite experiences.

‘Those who felt embraced by a radiating resplendence of divine light wish to soar even higher into the heavens, although few do until their soul’s final departure from earth.

‘Of course,’ Mo said, ‘naysayers attempt to debunk all such accounts, attributing all out-of-the-body experiences to biochemical excretions. But they’re wrong. Whatever neutral activity is evident is a natural response to the experiences, not what caused the experiences. I’m sure you’ll receive lots of pseudo-explanations to rationalize your felicitous time here with us.

‘In the past, it was often a lonely time for these survivors. What they experienced on our side was not something they wished to share since no one believed them, and therefore it was not considered an appropriate subject for polite discussion. Even today, any serious talk of the soul’s existence outside the body scares a lot of people since they fear what’s unknown.

‘For this reason, many who return to their mortal bodies often withdraw in silence rather than cast their pearls before those who don’t wish to hear their story, or worse yet, dismiss it out of hand. So, why would anyone wish to share these experiences with those who might mock them?’ 

‘Indeed, why would anyone mock others about something like that? Certainly not me… at least not anymore.’

‘I hope not,’ Eli said, ‘or you might end up mocking yourself when you return. Despite patches of lingering resistance, attitudes are rapidly changing on earth. Today, fewer remain fearful of death than a few generations ago, so it’s no longer the taboo subject it once was as more are searching to find answers to what might lie beyond the material world.

‘Today,’ Mo said, ‘there are now many excellent first-hand accounts by credible witnesses you may wish to meet someday when you return, although most of their experiences in the spiritual domain were only brief encounters. However, unlike you, almost all penetrated the veil into higher realms. However, that wasn’t your calling.’

‘I guess not. Somehow, I got wedged between worlds when I fell into this passage. Still, I’m curious about some of those who made it the distance, at least for a while. Can you give me some credible examples?’

‘One such person we know of was a neurosurgeon and Harvard medical professor who remained an atheist until his beliefs became turned upside down after departing his body.[23] Later, he felt compelled to write and speak about his NDE experience. Predictably, he was attacked by professional sceptics for having the courage to disclose his experiences in the spirit realm.[24]  

‘Another survivor who has told her story most convincingly was a terminal cancer patient who made a remarkable and seemingly impossible recovery almost immediately after returning from her NDE.’[25]

‘Interesting,’ I said. ‘I never heard of these before. Maybe I should look them up when I return so we can compare notes. Perhaps we can form a support group with others, so we don’t think we’re bonkers, even if everyone else does.’

As the weeks went by, my days fell into a predictable routine. Generally, after breakfast and a morning of informal discussions at Summit U, I would take a hike along the Mountain ridge while contemplating what I was learning about life on this side.

After becoming more confident with my teleporting to various peaks in the area, I ventured beyond, flashing from mountain to mountain, further and further away from our summit lodge. Still, I would never hazard going anywhere that I wasn’t able to see before me.

‘By making these progressive hops across the sierras, I was able to take in many spectacular views throughout the Andes, from the Strait of Magellan, all the way to what I presumed was Bolivia. I was still amazed how this subtle body of mine, seemingly so natural on the outside, was able to accomplish such extraordinary feats simply by invoking my will.

I thought if I ever recall anything after returning to my physical body in London; I’d be most impressed having performed my superhero feats bounding about the peaks. Indeed, this was just too good; how could I not tell everyone, though I dare tell no one. And yet, what if I did?

Eli said he planned to get me a red cape and take it with me to wear in class. That may be fun since no one would believe my story anyway, and we could all dismiss it as a dream while in my coma.

Still, after instantly teleporting myself to wherever I wanted, I might get rather impatient if I was held up in rush hour traffic. What if I could do this again, I chuckled to myself, perhaps by becoming one of those enlightened yogi’s Mo told me about that supposedly levitate?

In any case, whatever lingering scepticism I had towards my current reality had been eased, although there was still much for me to learn as I struggled to reconcile my previous belief systems and all I had been taught. These were challenging times, yet they were among the best days of my life, at least so far. 

 

  ENDNOTES

[1] Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962), Nobel Prize in Physics
[2] Mo and Eli preferred to say Yeshua since that’s the original Hebrew name for Jesus. Not only was it more historically accurate, but it was what everyone else called him back home, wherever that was.
[3] As suggested previously, The Superstring Theorem is one such (controversial) example of a multi-dimensional universe.
[4] One book of special interest to me was Gurdjieff's enigmatic tome, Beelzebub’s Tales to his Grandson. Referred to also as: An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man. Not surprisingly, Mo recommended it as one of his favourites, often referring to its extraordinary cosmological depth. (See Appendix ‘C’ for more information on Gurdjieff).
[5] The Hill Country is explored in Book Four: Elysium’s Passage: Surreal Adventures.
[6] Once in an undergraduate course on the Philosophy of Religion, I was required to read William James's classic: Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, based on his Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland 1901-1902. By now, however, I had forgotten much of what I read, not that I understood it that well since much of it remained beyond my ability to comprehend at the time.
[7] From Eclogue X. Virgil, Roman poet (70 BC – 19 BC)
[8] Doppelgänger, from German folklore, literally means double goers.
[9] See Appendix ‘B’ for a brief outline of Swedenborg’s life and teachings
[10]Henry James Sr. (1811-1882), writer, theologian, father of philosopher William James (and author, Henry James), was severely incapacitated by a lengthy depression until being inspired by Swedenborg’s writings. He soon recovered and went on to enthusiastically advocate Swedenborgian philosophy in his writings. My disillusionment with life wasn’t as severe as his, but as with him, the writings helped lift me out of my funk.
[11] Matthew 6:9 (NIV)
[12] From his visits to the celestial spheres, Emanuel Swedenborg stated: This I can declare: things that are in heaven are more real than things that are in the world. (Apocalypse Explained)
[13] John Wheeler, Physicist (1911-2008), collaborated with Einstein, Bohr and several other luminaries. He is credited with popularizing terms such as ‘black hole,’ wormhole, ‘mass without mass,’ etc.  He believed that reality is created and upheld by observers in the universe and asked, how does something arise from nothing while questioning the existence of time and space. I should mention, Mo kept a thick notebook of quotes by physicists that he suggested I familiarize myself with. Some of these I have recorded in Appendix ‘A.’ 
[14] The Merriam-Webster definition of a koan is a paradox to be meditated upon that's used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment.
[15]Genesis 1:1-3 (KJV)
[16] When referring to modern philosophy, Mo would sometimes quote Swedenborg: The more one is absorbed in so-called philosophy, the greater one’s delusion and blindness.
[17] Perhaps Mo was referring to the Gospel of John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (NIV)
[18] Sir James Jeans, (1877-1946), English quantum physicist, knighted in 1924 and author of The Mysterious Universe (1930)
[19] Meta might be defined as the abstraction between the thing and the event or the physical (thing) with the spirit (event). When used as a prefix from its Greek origins, it has the meaning of beside, among, with or after.
[20] Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics, also defined as the tendency for things to deteriorate from a state of ordered complexity to simplicity, fragmentation and demise.
[21] The word ego is the Latin word for I, popularized by Freud, first written about in Germany in 1787. See Appendix ‘D’ for further discussion on this 
[22] Ontology is the philosophical discipline that examines what it means to be.
[23] Dr Eban Alexander, author of Proof of Heaven
[24] Dr Sam Harris, neurosurgeon and renown sceptic, would be one example. 
[25] The story is told by Anita Moorjani in her autobiographical book; Dying to be Me. It tells of how her spirit came to our side to be healed, which, as it turns out, occurred in just a matter of weeks of returning to her body. Even back in the fourth century BC, Plato discusses what might be described as a near-death experience in the Myth of Er, contained in The Republic.

 Previous chapters from ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE ASCENT available on this blog site

1. Prologue to the Series
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/prologue 

2. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter One
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-One  

3. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Two
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-Two 

4. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Three
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/chapter-three  

5. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Four
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/chapter-four 

6. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Five
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-five   

7. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Six
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-six 

8. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Seven
https://digitalbloggers.com/book-reviews/the-ascent-chapter-seven 

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PENDING PUBLICATIONS IN THE SERIES

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With the exception of the last novel, the other three have been written but still require more editing before publication.

The following titles in the Elysium's Passage series are projected to be released as follows: 

THE ASCENT fall 2021

THE SUMMIT fall 2121

SURREAL ADVENTURES 2022 

MYSTICAL ROMANCE 2022

HE ELIXIR spring 2023

THE RETURN 2023

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