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Elysium's Passage: The Ascent, scroll to the end.
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free
As usual, we settled into our chairs after breakfast with a pot of tea, ready to begin our morning session. With me being the student and they, the mentors, I had no idea what might be on their agenda, yet I always looked forward to our sessions and what would happen. Today, the first thing Mo did was confront me, as he often did, with another question.
‘You’ve been here with us for a while now, James, as reckoned in your waking consciousness. Are there any doubts remaining in your mind about this current state of existence you are experiencing?’
The question caught me off guard. ‘No, of course not,’ I said. ‘Why would there be? This doesn’t mean I will accept everything you say without first questioning it. What kind of philosopher does that? As I’ve said several times, it’s my nature and professional responsibility to be sceptical, so I’m not necessarily going to agree with everything you say until I first prove it to myself.’
‘That wasn’t my question,’ he said. ‘I realise you were trained to be sceptical, and that’s as it should remain. But what I asked was whether you have any doubts about your existence here.’
‘Yes, I heard you the first time,’ I said. ‘So let me restate my response. If I’m wary of what you have to say, I try to at least remain open to what you ask. Likewise, when teleporting across the sierras, I try to interpret my experiences so they won’t clash with my rational beliefs… even if that’s not always easy.
‘Still, how am I to reconcile my life with what you say about the cosmos, immortality, illusions, materialising, dematerialising, etc., not to mention voices in the air, orbs of light, mind reading and so on? All these bizarre phenomena are fascinating to consider, even when it’s unsettling to realise I’ve become, unwittingly, part of the same weirdness.’
‘Well, isn’t that grand?’ Eli asked. ‘Imagine having all this intrigue included in the price of airfare to Chile. That’s a deal, wouldn’t you say?’
‘Yes, such a deal… even it’s one I didn’t ask for.’
‘Things may appear odd on the surface,’ Mo said. ‘Although not so odd once you reconcile what you’ve experienced with what you’ve come to understand. You may not realise it, but you’ve been preparing yourself for this adventure for several years now.
‘The voice in the air repeating the word nothingness; it didn’t just happen; it came to you because, at some level, you were open to receiving it, even though you didn’t know what it meant. The disclosure began that night at the pub, after you got bloodied, then again in the dream that ultimately drew you here.
‘All this you wished for; you just didn’t realise it. Speaking of which, allow me to refer to your dream once again.’
‘Go ahead,’ I said, ‘by now, you practically own it!’
‘And hopefully, you too soon will,’ he said.
‘Remember how, as you ascended here, the sun broke through the mists of the Lowlands, enabling you to see what you couldn’t see before? One day that will be eclipsed by even greater mysteries and adventures, drawing you further upward and further inward.
‘You’ve already teleported to most of the peaks in our neighbourhood –something that would have been unthinkable to you before, and soon you will transport towards even higher heights.’
‘Higher heights; what are you referring to?’ I asked.
‘You will know when you get there. As we’ve already suggested, you will first need to achieve a commensurate state of consciousness since you can’t rise to heights that will exceed your soul’s capacity. That’s the purpose of being enrolled at Summit U. Old thought patterns and Swampland habits would retreat further into your mind’s past as you continue to rise to higher planes on your journey here.
‘Let the old illusions and resistances that held you down fade into the mists below. They never did serve you well so that you won’t need them anymore. I’m sure you will agree that being stuck in the ego-mind’s ruts gets tiresome.’
‘Yes, very tiresome indeed,’ I said.
‘However,’ he said, ‘you will soon find your life becoming even more adventurous as you extricate yourself from all that once had you stuck. Not only fascinating but exhilarating too, as the old constraints fall away, allowing you to view life from higher and higher vistas.
‘Of course, you could go back to the Lowlands whenever you wish; still, you would never have come this far if that is where you belong. Now that your heart is on the Summit, old things have passed away; all things have become new.
‘Therefore, Eli and I have decided to ramp things up in the Summit curriculum so that you can reach your next octave. We’ve had many great discussions and will continue to do so; nevertheless, we’re now going to do things a bit differently.’
‘I thought we were doing fine,’ I said. ‘I’ve learned many interesting things about your dubious chess moves, not to mention your interpretations of reality.’
‘In your world, this might be learning,’ he said, ‘yet what if this was preparation for something more than just learning?’
‘And what could that possibly be? – learning is everything.’
‘But is it? We want to take you beyond learning to a state of knowing. That’s quite different. To know, truly know, you must discover rather than just learn. Consequently, we’ll provide fewer answers and ask you more questions that will take you beyond information to discovery.’
‘Fine, but to discover what?’
‘To discover who you are. It only happens through inward knowingness, and that’s why you’re here. Very few on earth know who they are.
‘This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be the sceptic you fashion yourself to be,’ Eli said, ‘quite the opposite… question us all you like. That’s the only way you will find your answers, not ours. But we’ll see you through this transition… from learning to discovery.
‘Be prepared when we question you since it will be about everything you assumed you knew. This will help you realise all you don’t know, even when you think you do. This approach might sometimes seem brutal, especially when demolishing your cherished beliefs. Remember, genuine knowledge must be discovered, yet you first must be open to it. That’s why old beliefs must not be allowed to stand in the way.
‘Discovery has nothing to do with your old approach, so it may not seem like learning. Knowing is not just learning what’s without; it’s about what comes from within. Not to say learning and discovery don’t work together; most often, they do. You might say that genuine learning is the spadework required to plant the true seeds of discovery.’
‘That’s why learning can only take you so far,’ Mo said, ‘ask any inventor. Our main task is to deconstruct the misinformation you acquired along with underlying assumptions that don’t lead anywhere so that you may discover the truth for yourself. In this process, you may find that we are the true sceptics.
‘As I already suggested, scepticism is never a bad thing, provided it’s not used in service to the ego, but to discern truth from falsehood.
‘When you return, we trust you will become even more sceptical than before, except that you now direct it towards what you were afraid to question in the past. Some of these may be entrenched beliefs, and others may be trendy beliefs with little longevity or solid basis.’
‘So once you’ve worked me over and have hollowed me out, what do you plan to put in its place?’
‘Absolutely nothing you don’t put there yourself,’ he said. ‘Be assured; we’re not going to leave you in a vacuum as we probe into your mind; instead, we will teach you to do your learning. It will be at your own pace, so the more willing you are to discover, the quicker you will ascend on this journey.
'More specifically, your future learning will not always be from listening to what we have to say; rather, what you later discover from the wisdom hidden within your Self. Then you will own your beliefs because they will be yours, not ours or someone else’s.’
‘True wisdom emanates from the divine Source of your being by way of your heart’s soul,’ Eli said. ‘It’s always there, ready and available to be discovered when listening to its voice. Our wish is that you go beyond your former beliefs so you might know the truth instead of whatever stale information others have thought.
‘Consider us your facilitators in dialogue rather than just tutors in monologue. And who knows, perhaps you will teach us a thing or two, just as you suggested. Things we may not have understood or appreciated while we remained on earth.’
‘I hope so; that might help even things out a bit,’ I said wryly.
‘What’s most important now,’ Mo said, ‘is that you move forward beyond this Summit’s plane of existence and magnificent views. We don’t know how much time you have here, so we want you to take advantage of this rare opportunity that you may advance as far as possible. The future of the earth may depend on it.’
I didn’t know what Mo was suggesting by that last sentence, nor did I wish to ask.
‘You may wish to rest at certain plateaus along the way,’ Eli said. ‘Nevertheless, you need to continue ascending towards new expansive vistas of transcendent experiences since your stay with us might be short.’
‘Are you suggesting my body will soon be coming out of its coma?’
‘We don’t know,’ he said. ‘Trust us, while you remain here, you will go far beyond and above anything you’ve experienced on the earth plane.’
‘Splendid, so then what; how will I find my way on this journey once I return home?’
‘When you return to your former life as we anticipate, Mo and I will be there with you, at least in spirit. Our presence may not seem obvious, although, after a while, you may come looking for us, if only in your dreams.’
‘That’s most assuring,’ I said, ‘still, I wonder how I’ll be able to readjust to my former life after embarking on this mystical journey you’re talking about? Assuming I make the grade at Summit U, I doubt if the authorities back home will recognise my postdoctoral credentials from these rarified environs. If my mind is out of alignment with the world’s thinking, I may need to readjust myself before I fit in again, considering how contrary your curriculum is to theirs.’
‘Yes, of course,’ Mo said with a chuckle. ‘Your higher Summit education may be considerably out of reach for them. So go easy on them; they are just as you were. The content of your philosophical syllabus won’t have much in common with what they have to offer since we don’t do reductionism. In fact, just the opposite. But then, you’ve had misgivings about that for some time. Isn’t that why you left the Flatlands?’
‘Wait a minute; wasn’t my home the Lowlands?’
‘The Flatlands are the lowest and flattest parts of the Lowlands. That’s been your home for a while now, the land of academia that never satisfied your soul’s aspirations. That’s why you began to receive visions of the Mountain.
‘Should you return to your Flatland classroom someday, you might remain bewildered, confused and disoriented for some time trying to sort things out. I suspect the Flatlands will be even less satisfying for you when you return. At first, you probably won’t understand why that is.’
‘When you discover why,’ Eli said, ‘you’ll wonder how you could have been so naïve as to believe what they were teaching you for so many years. However, you wouldn’t be the first.’
‘No, I supposed not,’ I said, smiling. ‘In fact, I can think of a few right now, even in my department.’
‘They are legion,’ Mo said. ‘We can give you an example of one well-known, confused philosopher who struggled with his conscience in the latter years.’
‘Who would that be?’
‘Did you hear,’ Mo asked, ‘that the distinguished philosopher A.J. Ayer had a near-death experience near the end of his long career? After telling his doctor about it, he felt for the record; he had to give his peers an explanation for what happened. I suppose he could have said nothing, yet he chose to comment on the incident.’
‘That’s interesting he would do that,’ I said, ‘since he was one of the most preeminent atheists in the world. So what did he say?’
‘Well,’ Mo continued, ‘not long after the incident, in front of an audience of fawning scholars, he explained how his purported out-of-body adventure was just a four-minute hallucination that had resulted from oxygen deprivation in the brain. It’s incredible how a little oxygen deprivation can explain away what many don’t wish to acknowledge.
‘Though he remembered being confronted by some gruff galactic military personnel, Ayre discounted this as an illusion even when it seemed very real at the time.’
‘I think I heard about that,’ I said. ‘Didn’t the crowd give him an ovation for his honesty?’
‘Was it for his honesty,’ Mo asked, ‘or was it to appease his audience’s philosophical beliefs?’
‘Good question… I never thought about that before.’
‘Surprisingly,’ he said, ‘Ayer confided privately with his physician a quite different story, confessing he had an encounter with the divine. He was too proud to admit this to the public, so he never did come clean.
‘Nevertheless, his physician, Dr George, recounted in his testimony: Very discreetly, I asked him, as a philosopher, what was it like to have had a near-death experience? He suddenly looked rather sheepish. Then he said, “I saw a Divine Being. I’m afraid I’m going to have to revise all my various books and opinions.”
Too much of his professional reputation was at stake to disclose the truth. His inflated ego was legendary, so he wasn’t prepared to climb the Mountain you climbed. He preferred horizontal planes to vertical transcendence. That’s why Ayer craved the adulation he received from assorted like-minded humanists instead of making an ascent to the more rarified domains of his soul.’
‘You seem to know a lot about him,’ I said.
‘That’s because I had met him while dwelling on earth. So, not long after arriving on this side, I chatted with him about his error in judgement. He said he still regrets how badly he blew it, especially after having such a unique opportunity to tell his kindred atheists the truth about what he witnessed on our side rather than rationalising it away.
‘He also realised how angrily many would have reacted had he told them there was more to life than the parochial materialism upon which he built his reductionist career. After a lifetime of being a humanist guru, he didn’t relish having to swallow all he had been wrong about just because he couldn’t swallow a stupid piece of salmon that got caught in his throat. How ironic.’
‘Guess that’s understandable when you’re too clever for your own good,’ I said. ‘And everybody else’s.’
‘So, James,’ Eli said, ‘how about you? Are you going to do any better when you return to get another kick at the earth plane? Or will you like him, crater, by remaining more clever than wise?’
I wasn’t sure if I should take Eli’s comments as an affront or a challenge… maybe both.
Before I could reply, he added: ‘You understand from experience how the intellectual establishment can be less than open-minded when their materialist prejudices are challenged. And don’t forget, you have Plato and the good Bishop Berkeley on your side, along with some of the finest minds from antiquity.’
‘Also,’ Mo said, ‘several contemporary philosophers and physicists remain open to off-grid perspectives. You may wish to do a little research and contact some of them before telling your story.’
‘Frankly, I’m uncomfortable with you trying to prod me into carrying your torch to battle these dark forces of Mordor as you might imagine them. What good is it to become persona non grata within the intellectual community where I work?’
‘And to forever be cast out of the fraternity of acceptable thoughts and correct beliefs,’ Eli said. ‘In the end, I’m not sure that’s so bad.’
‘Easy for you to say,’ I said. ‘As you know, that happened to me before, and it didn’t end so well. Still, I find it interesting that you should mention Berkeley. As I indicated earlier, his writings were among my favourites while completing my doctoral degree. I sometimes wonder if that had more to do with being an outlier like me than agreeing with everything he said.
‘My thesis was a comparative analysis of the British Empiricists Locke, Hume and Berkeley and the meanings each assigned to the concept of substance. Berkeley figured prominently in my research, perhaps too prominently, since his musings on the nature of God, substance, and reality seemed in stark contrast to Hume, who most obviously was the examiners’ preference. I think I may have once used the word bias, which didn’t do much to endear me to the committee.’
‘After centuries,’ Mo said, ‘Hume seems to have come out on top of the debate, probably for no other reason than he had the last word, at least chronologically, among the empiricists. For a long time, there haven’t been many philosophers keen to accept the good Bishop’s immaterialism, or as it’s called, subjective idealism, any more than Plato’s elusive concept of Forms.’ 
‘I think it’s true,’ I said, ‘both he and God seemed to have fallen out of favour among the ardent rationalists who took over the last few centuries. After Hume’s tenure, Berkeley was shown the door about the time many in the intelligentsia were trying to shove God out the door.’
‘Or maybe,’ Eli said, ‘it was more the other way; it was the philosophers who left the room, slamming the door behind. However, over the years, it seems more than a few have crept back, some with ears cupped to the door to find what’s going on inside.
‘Today, many noteworthy philosophers are conversant with the latest research that links consciousness with quantum theory. The implications of what’s demonstrated in physics have caused some scholars to reconsider various positions espoused by Berkeley.’
‘So, James,’ Mo said, ‘since you’re the philosopher and an expert on Berkeley, I’d like to hear more on how you interpret his ontology. This might lead us to how we approach our discussions at Summit U.’
‘Well, it’s quite simple,’ I said. ‘Essentially, he seemed to be saying that what we assume we experience doesn’t necessarily exist in the way we think. They are only perceptions.’
‘Be they, all the choir in heaven or furniture on earth,’ Mo said.
‘It’s impressive that you know this famous quip, Mo. That’s quite the memory you have.’
‘As will you one day… it’s standard equipment where we’re from. In any case, I agree with your interpretation of Berkeley. Indeed, all objects, objective or subjective, exist as a thought in the Mind of God rather than separately. In this sense, everything exists as a divine thought that we co-create as participants in life’s experiences as interpreted by our mind’s thoughts.’
‘I’ll admit,’ I said, ‘his brand of philosophy seems closer to the truth of how I seem to experience life in this dimension of fluid existence. This seemed difficult to swallow in the past, but now I realised it was only by intent I could teleport to mountain peaks.’
‘If only Berkely could have teleported too, who knows what else he may have come up with,’ Eli said.
‘In which case,’ I said, ‘he might have preferred to call God the Mind of Consciousness as a more acceptable definition of what we consider ultimate. This also suggests that the conscious intention of the mind is, in some fashion, the basis for all that manifests in reality.’
‘So who knows,’ Mo said, ‘maybe Berkeley was on the right track after all, even after all the bad press.’
‘It seems he was, though that’s not to say I believe Berkeley had all the answers. Nevertheless, he certainly had an intriguing perspective, which is why even I, an agnostic, argued for the logical viability of his ideas in my thesis.’
‘I’m sure he would have appreciated having you in his court in his day,’ Eli said.
‘I don’t know… possibly. In any case, there you have it, gents… Berkeley in a nutshell. Now you can give me your enlightened perspective; what do you think; did he get it right?’
‘Like you,’ Mo said, ‘I agree that Berkeley was headed in the right direction, if not on the right track, even if his Western theological outlook might have compromised his understanding of what Oneness means. I’m sure it would have helped had he spoken with an enlightened seer to explain how we all exist in union with the divine. But then, perhaps there weren’t enough good mystics around to provide him with a broader perspective.’
‘And yet,’ Eli said, ‘I think more than any other empirical philosopher, he came to understand the ancient traditions of the East, which, as I recall, tend to represent reality as an emanation and extension of the one Source. In the West, however, the dualistic assumption of an external out there is implicitly believed by most.
‘It might be argued this belief provided the basis for the great leaps in science and technology. In counter-distinction to Newton, Berkley at least understood what we perceive is in and of the mind since it’s the divine Mind that creates its reality through us since we are One in essence. In other words, we are both creators and the created.
‘This would imply there’s no basis for knowing anything other than what is processed by our consciousness. So, there can be no evidence of anything without it first being perceived by consciousness, which is to say to be is to be perceived, Esse Est Percipi. What we assume to be without; is what’s first within. That’s why Mo and I keep repeating the hermetic mantra: as within, so without.’
‘Unfortunately,’ Mo said, ‘these Gnostic concepts are relatively unknown in Occidental culture, although some scholars are familiar with various traditions arising from the ancient Vedas.
‘To my knowledge, no philosopher or scientist on earth has credibly refuted Berkeley on this issue. Even Kant was somewhat in agreement. And as you now know, this understanding becomes even more apparent the longer one exists in this dimension.’
‘I wonder if A. J. Ayer even twigged onto Berkeley’s ideas after he passed over.’
‘I’m not sure,’ Mo said. ‘I can get back to you on that; still, I’m certain there are few fans for Ayer’s logical positivism wherever he resides these days. At least Sir James Jeans, a contemporary of Ayer, as wise a philosopher as a scientist, seemed to have understood Berkeley when he concluded: If the universe is a universe of thought, then its creation must have been an act of thought. Too bad he didn’t have a word with Ayer back then; however, I’m not sure Ayer would have listened anyway.’
‘Maybe not,’ I said, ‘nevertheless, it’s great that Berkeley’s empiricism finally got a little help from a visionary philosopher/scientist such as Jeans… and most notably, my thesis,’ I chuckled. ‘I wonder if anyone other than the committee has read it.’
‘If you can find me a copy, I’ll be sure to read it,’ Mo said. ‘Whatever renewed interest you may be able to stoke in the mental-idealist approach to reality is probably a result of how static things have become in the reductionist, logical positivist movement. There’s nowhere to go with it since it doesn’t point beyond itself. At best, it’s a dead cat bounce, an utterly unsatisfying philosophy that leads to fragmentation. Fortunately, the heart’s wisdom already knows its Oneness.
‘Many of the Vienna Circle’s variations of positivism lost credibility over the decades, except, most obviously, specific disciplines in the scientific community who seem to be unaware of how unstable their old empirical foundation has become in subatomic physics.
‘They really ought to have spoken with some of the better-known cutting-edge physicists who have explored entanglement theorems regarding mind and substance. For example, one such theoretical physicist, Wolfgang Pauli, said: It would be most satisfactory if physics and psyche could be seen as complementary aspects of the same reality.’
‘These sentiments are sometimes reflected in contemporary theories,’ Eli said, ‘such as the controversial Superstring Theory, which, for some scientists, is considered to be too offbeat and queer to take seriously. Yet, the truth is, the quantum universe is stranger and more offbeat than they can imagine!’
‘The wacky world of subatomic quantum first surfaced when the double-slit particle/wave experiment provided evidence for molecular entanglement. This has repeatedly shown how electrons respond to conscious observation, demonstrating how interrelated mind and matter are. They are essentially one, like two sides of the same coin.’
‘Kind of makes you wonder if the Irish Bishop somehow anticipated this,’ I said. ‘In this regard, Berkeley was closest to getting things more right than wrong. Not surprisingly, my examining committee didn’t see it that way, preferring more conventional paradigms of material reality.’
‘Not only modern philosophers,’ Mo said, ‘many physicists still hope to capture the elusive subatomic billiard ball they persist in calling a particle. Most obviously, this is a prejudice rooted in their materialist presuppositions.
‘Such sleight of hand explains their determination to find something substantially solid, the building block of all matter, which doesn’t exist as such. Perhaps these particle physicists don’t wish to face what’s not staring them in the face.
‘As I’m sure you’re aware, the massive CERN Collider in Switzerland keeps splitting these so-called particles into halves of halves of halves until… you guessed it: another half. Splitting energy into smaller units of energy and then calling these units particles seems dubious unless used as a metaphor for an energy unit. I don’t think that’s the intent since the word particle generally denotes matter. The word unit, I believe, would be more honest.’
‘Apart from that,’ I said, ‘these experiments are staggeringly costly yet could pay the world big dividends someday with new emerging technological applications as with quantum computers, lasers and holograms, to name just a few.’
‘Quite possibly,’ Mo said. ‘If nothing else, the experiments might provide more evidence for the underlying substratum of matter as being an interchangeable nature of mass and energy, much as Einstein indicated.
This means that mass might be understood as being more virtual than substantial. With quarks, glucans and protons disappearing and reappearing within a trillionth of a nanosecond; it becomes increasingly evident that mass is crystallised energy without any extraneous substance. As Niels Bohr put it: Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.
‘If they hope to snag a speck of independent material reality, this will fail because such a reality doesn’t exist, as much as the physicalists might wish. There is nothing that can legitimately be called particles of subsisting matter.
‘Any time physicists believe they’ve found evidence for a new particle, the question always needs to be asked, why should this energy mass not also be divisible? With no credible rebuttal, it becomes another impolite question for matter’s faith-based community, even though Zeno identified this conundrum several millennia ago!
‘Einstein acknowledged the illusionary nature of matter when he suggested that: Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. Or consider what Max Planck had to say: Mind is the matrix of all matter… I regard matter as derivative from consciousness… there is no matter as such.’ Even Aldous Huxley reportedly said: The world is an illusion, but it is an illusion we must take seriously because it is real as far as it goes.’
‘Now, there are a few zingers you won’t often hear in the halls of science,’ I said. ‘At least not where I work. Are you sure they said that? I’ve never heard these quotes before; perhaps they were taken out of context.’
‘Indeed, they said all that and much more,’ Mo continued. ‘But no, these are not taken out of context; they stand alone and mean what they say. Even today, other provocative statements are made about the mysterious nature of subatomic reality.
‘It’s interesting that whenever new evidence comes along to undermine the materialist interpretation of the world, many antagonists continue to dismiss the universe’s spiritual essence. All that exists has the same divine Source, be it of the implicate or explicate orders, in all manifestations and expressions.’
‘Still, in the real world,’ I asked, ‘why can’t we just allow matter to be matter and let spirit be spirit without inserting and integrating spirit into science and the material into the spiritual? To me, that’s a strange metaphysical brew.’
‘You mean a brew like you, me and everything else in creation?’ he asked. ‘Remember, what’s real is more than a concoction of separate components. Remember, metaphysics reveals the unity of matter and spirit, darkness and light, cold with heat, form with essence, science with religion, the body with the soul, matter with the spirit, and most importantly, the mind with the heart.’
‘Speaking of strange brew,’ Eli said, ‘I came across a bottle of Chilean Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta and a German Riesling Kabinett Mosel Ürziger in our cellar.’
‘What about Bordeaux,’ I asked, ‘would you have any of that?’
‘I believe there’s a French bottle of Château Margaux. Trouver à boire?’
‘Oui certainemen, si’l vous plait. And while you’re at it, bring a few of the other vintages. I think Mo may want some. I could never afford any of these elegant labels back home.
‘I suspect if I were to pour cheap wine into an expensive bottle, many wouldn’t know the difference. I once did this at a wine tasting event as an undergraduate student. It’s rather surprising how well an inexpensive wine is received when associated with the right label.’
‘You did that?’ Eli asked.
‘That’s nothing,’ I said. ‘I remember another time when the provocateur in me surreptitiously poured expensive wine into a bottle with the cheapest label I could find at a dinner party at some faculty member’s home. I served samples of the wine while raving on about its scampy yet delicate effervescence.
‘Most amateur wine snobs decided this wine was inferior when I told them it only cost five pounds. And then, when they noticed the label, most didn’t even bother to have a second sip. However, the more discerning connoisseurs appreciated it because they knew.
‘This wasn’t just a prank, though, at least not this time… not completely. Mostly, I wanted to find how they would react so I’d have something to write about for a term paper I called Pretenses of the Bourgeoise.’
‘I think there might be a metaphor hidden in your story that’s especially for you.’ Mo said as Eli went down into the cellar to fetch some wine.
‘You mean something about turning water to wine?’ I asked, chuckling.
‘That’s close,’ he said. ‘What I mean is that when you return home, some may be surprised to find a different, more profound quality to you than before your fall, aged like fine wine. Like your wine connoisseurs, only the most discerning souls will realise the alchemy in your spirit, something very different from the swagger of your outward label. Or, as the Hindu mystic Sri Aurobindo put it: The Spirit shall look out through Matter’s gaze. And Matter shall reveal the Spirit’s face.’
‘That’s very profound, Mo; I’ll have to think about that for a while.’
‘Yet, what if that’s you, James; Spirit gazing out of your eyes as you divulge what you witnessed and discovered here? Many will note what you have to say because of the authenticity evinced by your confidence. As you proclaimed to us, humanity is thirsty for spirits with zesty Vitis vinifera.
‘Speaking of zesty,’ Eli said as he opened the Bordeaux after returning from the wine cellar.
‘Merci,’ I said as he poured me a glass. ‘A glass of France’s best. Since I know how much that bottle sells for back home, I must be in the company of distinguished gentlemen of substantial means.’
‘Indeed, you are,’ Mo said. ‘Possibly, one day after your return, you might find yourself in the company of other distinguished souls in your world, provided you remain true to who you are.
‘You may not be aware that there are esteemed scientists, writers, philosophers, and even a few theologians, who will wish to know more about your alleged experiences on this plane of existence. Don’t be surprised if some approach you by night, as did Nicodemus while approaching Yeshua to understand what it means to be born of the Spirit. And since you’ll know firsthand, they’ll recognise that you speak with authority while everyone else is just guessing.’
‘I appreciate this comparison if that’s what you were suggesting; still, I’m not sure I have a lot to contribute that would make a difference. I hardly know anything about what you call Spirit, except as a metaphor for self-awareness. In fact, until recently, I’ve tried to avoid the word altogether in philosophical discourses.’
‘Not all serious thinkers do that,’ Eli said as he poured me another glass of wine, this time, the German Riesling. ‘You know, there are several seminal intellects in the class of Teilhard de Chardin, Whitehead and Emerson. They understand they are more than flesh and blood, though they may not always have appreciated what that actually meant.’
‘I’m not sure I know either, at least not well enough to put into words.’
‘And yet, you do know!’ Mo said emphatically. ‘Most definitely you do, especially after that little Ávila aerial manoeuvre you performed. Furthermore, what other evidence do you need after flashing around the sierras?’
‘That’s right,’ Eli said, ‘it’s much better you flash through these sierra peaks than in London’s back streets.’
Ignoring his lame attempt at humour, I said, ‘but I sometimes wonder if these experiences might not just be mind over matter.’
‘Of course,’ Mo said. ‘Have you not listened to what we’ve said about mind and matter? Mind is ontologically prior to what’s considered matter, giving it form and therefore the determinant of form’s expression, which is why matter is ontologically posterior to thought. Both a priori thought and a posteriori matter are one dynamic in the divine essence. This is why it may be said that cause and effect are one.’
‘This is jolly to philosophise about,’ I said, ‘although I find it difficult to square these extraordinary events with my understanding of reality. Teleporting should be impossible, so how am I to reconcile anything here? It’s all so damned counter-intuitive.’
‘Kind of like being on a drug trip… except it’s not.’ Eli said.
‘That would be an apt comparison,’ I said. ‘I remember performing many strange feats while flying high on my psychedelic ventures. When I came down, however, I realised the whole trip was just an illusion in my mind. Had I continued to believe what my mind experienced, I might have ended up in some institution. Maybe I still will if I don’t get off this damned mountain before it’s too late.’
‘Probably, it’s already too late,’ Mo said, chuckling. ‘This is one trip you may never come down from, even after returning to the Lowlands.’
‘Why would you say that? Am I not either here or there?’
‘Not necessarily,’ he said. ‘Was your heart not already ascending the Mountain when your mind remained in the Lowlands? Long before you arrived, your heart was here, even though your mind continued to muck about in the Lowlands.
‘That’s why when you finally listened to your heart, you booked your flight and ascended here so your mind may conjoin with your heart. The mind could never have done that on its own in the Lowlands. To inwardly ascend, you needed to be inspired by the vision in your heart; otherwise, you might forever wander mindlessly in the Lowland’s ruts.
‘As mind and heart consolidate as one within, you will increasingly experience life differently. Judgment will no longer be judgmental; rather, it will be impartial discernment, just as you respond rather than react. By this, you will create heaven for yourself as you come into perfect equilibrium and perfect harmony with others.
‘Unfortunately, this field seldom holds for long in your world, as the separate ego-mind creates new hells for its host and those it can draw into it. On its own, the mind can do none other than fall for its own ruse.’
‘I’m not sure where you are getting all this,’ I said; ‘certainly not any school of teaching that I’m aware of.’
‘No, of course not,’ Mo said. ‘That’s because few behavioural scientists understand that consciousness is not about the brain; rather, it’s about the spirit. Why is this not apparent to psychologists that it’s the affections of the heart that constitute the soul’s essence?’
‘Perhaps it’s because they don’t believe in a soul,’ I said.
‘Although, it would be helpful if they did,’ he said. ‘How can they hope to treat psychosis if they don’t understand this? The mind gives form to what is inspired in the heart, whether love or fear.
‘I’m not sure what you mean by that,’ I said.
‘What I mean,’ he said, ‘is that thoughts become in-formed as they take on external expressions, be they of objects, events or something else. That’s why humans must continuously ask what thoughts they are thinking and why they think them. What they think is what they get; the world they create for themselves.’
‘I’m not sure if that’s true,’ I said, ‘considering how much social norms condition our thinking.’
‘And where do earth’s social norms come from?’ Mo asked. ‘Is it not true that a heavenly mind creates heaven on earth while a hellish mind creates hell? That’s just how it is and why there is such a diversity of social environments. If everyone understood the importance of what they believe and how they think, they would take greater responsibility for what they think. They would choose to choose their thoughts. In this free-will universe, it’s up to humanity to create what it wants, be it an Eden or a hell.’
‘Given that, how do you see things trending on earth?’ I asked.
‘At this point on the fulcrum of planetary consciousness,’ he said, ‘I’d say things might be slowly tipping towards heaven, albeit with significant resistance. Whatever humanity thinks has profound consequences locally and across the globe, whether anyone realises it or not. Each thought believed contributes to your planet’s collective reality, political, economic, cultural, or religious.
‘Throughout the ages, much of earth’s civilisation was determined by what philosophers and theologians contemplated. Their perceptions of reality filtered down into the minds of the masses, ultimately giving form to the governance of nations, for better or worse.’
‘I suppose that’s true,’ I said. ‘At least that’s what many philosophers wish to believe, provided we don’t have to claim responsibility for what happens.’
‘Whether they are prepared to take responsibility or not,’ Mo said, ‘the influence of intellectual elites is disproportionate to the rest of the population. That’s because most of humanity unwittingly follows the prevailing beliefs of those they allow to think for them. That’s how they become so easily governed; by giving their power away.
‘This attitude is especially evident in the Flatlands, where many false and questionable beliefs are projected and disseminated throughout the world. As long as that continues, earth’s consciousness will rise no higher than humanity’s collective mind. Unless there’s a revolution, a revolution not only of the mind but also the heart, nothing will change because nothing can change.’
‘This is where you come in, James,’ Eli said.
‘Oh really? What if I don’t wish to come in?’
‘That’s your prerogative,’ he said, ‘yet that would be a shame. Who would be better to bring spiritual awareness to your world than a philosopher who understands he’s not just a body but a spirit? What if that’s the reason you’re here and why you entered into our dimension?’
‘That would be most concerning,’ I said, ‘considering how most revolutions end up a bloody mess.’
‘I agree,’ Mo said, ‘except this time guns and swords will not be required since the pen is mightier than the sword. For better or worse, the world reaps what it sows in its collective mind, which is why a revolution of heightened consciousness could sculpt your world into the New Jerusalem.’
‘So, James, are you prepared to become a leader in this revolution?’ Eli asked.
‘I’m not sure if I have the time or inclination to lead this or any other revolution, with or without guns and swords. So how long do you think it will take for elevated consciousness to gain some traction on earth?’
‘It all depends on the collective will of the masses,’ he said. ‘With appropriate leadership, it shouldn’t take more than a few hundred years to achieve planetary ascension. Or perhaps, just a few weeks, provided there is enough consciousness to effect a tipping point to deliver humanity from its demons. That’s why everyone needs to remain vigilant over what they think. The problem is too few realise this, as leaders continue to propagate fear for pollical gain.’
‘As it has always been,’ I said, ‘and probably always will be.’
‘Not necessarily,’ Eli said. ‘Across the planet, inspired souls continue to release a higher order of consciousness into the noosphere than those asleep. Be assured; all heaven wishes to participate with all I refer to as the ground crew. This is why it is incumbent on you, James, a philosopher, to ask the world what it wants to create. Does it wish to create hell on earth with its fears, or does it prefer to bring heaven to earth?’
‘As I’m sure you realise,’ Mo said, ‘thoughts can do that. Marx wished to believe he was creating a utopia of heaven on earth with his so-called scientific materialism. However, his philosophy created a dystopia of hell for all caught in its web, as do all thoughts of fear, vengeance, entitlement and victimhood.’
‘Yes, he did create quite the tangle, didn’t he?’
‘And it all started with him writing down how he saw life,’ he said. ‘That’s why discernment is so necessary; it has the power to create all kinds of realities.
‘So, James, before you ask the world to be more judicious with what they’re thinking, you first need to become fully aware of what you’re thinking. Are they thoughts of fear, or are they the opposite polarity of love? When you become conscious of this, you will understand the reality you have created for yourself and others.’
‘I think about women a lot; does that count?’ I asked, grinning.
‘They all count,’ Mo said, ‘regardless, ask what the consequences of your thoughts were and what kind of reality you created with them.’
‘I see what you’re getting at. So, what if I choose not to think of anything?’
‘More than anyone, I’m sure you must realise that’s not possible,’ he said. ‘Consider how all exist on a continuum between light and darkness, love and fear, reality and illusion. Therefore, what one chooses to dwell on leads to happiness or unhappiness; enlightenment or insanity, just as the old proverb states: as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
‘We might also say as a man thinketh in his heart, so becomes his reality, be it happy or unhappy. Either way, it’s really about what he thinks in his heart, not what he thinks in his brain. It’s the heart that offers truth to the mind, not the mind to the heart.’
‘Your quest here, James, is a most excellent example of this,’ Eli said. ‘It was only because your heart longed to see the Mountain that you were drawn from the Lowlands to this higher reality. At the time, it may not have appeared that way, yet that’s what happened because your heart sought meaning in a higher dimension. This Mountain is not just literal; it’s also a symbol for your soul’s transcendence to discover what is further in as you ascend further up.
‘At the time, you didn’t specifically understand what you were seeking, so you had no way of knowing where to look. You just knew, whatever it was, it must be out there somewhere. At last, the longing burned deeply in your soul, causing you to abandon your life in the Lowlands to venture out. You may not have been sure where you were going; regardless, you followed your heart’s leading… and so here you are.’
‘So it appears,’ I said. ‘Nevertheless, it might seem this was nothing more than a Timothy Leary psychedelic tour after I return. Then the big downer comes, like returning home to a snow blizzard after being on a tropical holiday.’
‘Possibly when you return,’ Mo said, ‘you might imagine a few things at first, as in a dream, though it could be some time before you can process these memories. As a receiver-transmitter mechanism, your brain will require some time to heal. The good news is that nothing is lost since all memories continue to exist in the universal field of consciousness. It’s just a matter of accessing them.’
‘Most splendid,’ I said, ‘even if there are certain memories I’d prefer to forget.’
‘Then why not access only those memories you prefer to recall? It’s your choice. In any case, you’re going to need someone to assist you in accessing these from the field so you may imprint them into your brain for your time on earth. To do this, you will have to virtually relive these memories to record them in your hard drive so you can retrieve them at will.
‘At first, you might have some problem interpreting the data since this dimension has a much broader bandwidth to receive and transmit than what’s available on the earth plane. The three-dimensional filter of the brain often gets in the way of these operations.
‘To use a crude analogy, think of the brain as being equipped and programmed to accept only low-frequency radio signals; however, your spirit body, being in another octave, is equipped to receive and transmit high vibratory signals from this higher plane of existence. You now have the same antennae as us to transmit and receive signals attuned to the universal field, although you don’t know how to tune in to these because you still don’t know what’s on your dial.
‘Nevertheless, some mystics, including a few genuine psychics, can override the brain’s filter when picking up frequency signals from higher octaves. If you can find someone like that to draw you back into that continuum of space-time field, you might be able to relive each moment of what’s happened since your fall.’
‘Hmm, I wonder if my intuitive friend back home would be able to tune me into the oscillations fields of this higher frequency.’
‘You mean Madam Peyroux, the one with a studio above the pawnshop?’
‘That’s the one; how did you know?’
‘You told us,’ Eli said.
‘Oh, I guess I did. Well, anyway, she’s the only psychic I had met before encountering you two wizards. It might be interesting to see what would happen if I went to see her again. With what I now know about this dimension, there’s probably not much she would have on me.’
‘No, probably not if it was her choice,’ he said, chuckling. ‘At least, after those tantric lessons she gave you.’
‘Now you’re guessing because I know I didn’t tell you about that part. These were bonus lessons to help me improve my love life. It seems ironic how I, a rational philosopher, kept resorting to her gypsy advice, even when I told myself the consultations were just a lark!’
‘And what if they weren’t?’ Mo asked. ‘Don’t dismiss her too readily; she might be of assistance should you wish to contact us after you return home. For all her props and paraphernalia, it seems she has some genuine skills.’
‘On matters of love,’ Eli said, ‘be careful what advice she gives you; she might want you all for herself.’
‘Who could blame her,’ I said, laughing. ‘There were a few times it seemed she tried to throw the game in her favour. Still, I didn’t mind since she possessed an intriguing gypsy mystique that enchanted me, even though she was a few years and pounds over what I considered optimal.’
‘So, how many times did she enchant you?’ he asked with a mischievous grin.
‘Not sure… why do you think you need to know? Regardless, I had several more readings. In the end, she wasn’t of much help, at least with the fortune-telling. Still, it was worth trying since nothing else made sense in my life.’
‘Do you think,’ Eli asked, ‘she might have helped you, unwittingly, in ways you understood at the time? Is it possible she inspired you to look out the window, past your reasoning mind, to catch a vision of something more… say a Mountain?
‘As you indicated, she had mystique. Do you think she charmed you into your wanderlust rather than just your body lust? What if she was the one who released you from the linear grip of your closed mind?’
‘It’s possible she had something besides sexy that inspired me to venture out. You never know where life will take you, be it through bogs, ruts, sloughs, thistles, chasms, or high mountain peaks. I can now say these challenges, expressed figurately or literally, gave me the contrast I needed to make my way forward.’
‘In the future,’ Mo said, ‘don’t just endure them; take advantage of what comes your way while you remain on earth. Opportunities like this don’t exist in more rarified spheres, where everything becomes relatively effortless the higher we ascend, and why it takes much longer to make the same inward advances there.
‘Many of the obstructions you’ve encountered are analogous to lifting weights in developing your muscles to optimal fitness. Everything you’ve encountered on earth has been to your advantage.’
‘It doesn’t seem that way,’ I said, sighing.
‘It never does,’ he said; ‘how can you overcome what’s not there? Further to that, the benefits of exercising free will extend far beyond earthly existence since the soul can adapt to whatever dimension it finds itself in, such as you are now experiencing with us. Then, when your life on earth is over, you will have the wisdom to choose according to what’s highest and best for everyone.’
‘For now, though,’ I said, ‘all I wish is to find a woman best for me.’
‘Your body, be it here or back home, remains a learning device to prepare you for what’s best, and if used wisely, you will find what you’re looking for.’
‘I hope so. Still, even if there is someone out there for me, I’ll never be able to meet her while I remain on this plane of existence.’
Mo looked at me and smiled as Eli said: ‘Oh, and why not?
 John 8:32 (KJV)
 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)
 A.J. Ayer was an eminent British philosopher (1910-1989) and leading proponent of Logical Positivism, a reductionist interpretation of reality and denial of what doesn’t have sensible properties. Therefore, he would say, whatever is referred to as spiritual (e.g., God), cannot be part of meaningful discourse. At first, he called himself a non-theist and then later an atheist.
 Dr George's account may be verified through published references.
 It should be noted; however, Ayer was not in total denial. He once said: My recent experiences have slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death ...will be the end of me, though I continue to hope that it will be.
As a young man, I was an enthusiastic reader of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, so I made this reference to Mordor, the dark land.
 George Berkeley (1685-1753), mathematician, philosopher and Bishop.
 Plato's theory of Forms presents the idea of an all-prevailing non-material higher reality whereby we can only perceive shadows of the hidden reality. From these, we ascribe meaning to what things are in essence. For example, the Form of dog applies to all dogs without regard to species or breed.
Berkeley's full quote regarding mind and substance: All the choir of heaven and the furniture of earth, in a word, all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any subsistence without the mind … so long as they are not perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind, or that of another created spirit, they must either have no existence at all or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit...
 Be it noted, however, that the Eastern Orthodox Church has for centuries had a place for mysticism and some esoterica within their traditions. See Theology and Mysticism in the Tradition of the Eastern Church, authored by the eminent Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky (1903-1957).
 What objects are in themselves, apart from all the receptivity of our sensibility, remains unknown to us. We know nothing but our mode of perceiving them. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
 Wolfgang Pauli was the winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1945. He also contributed to researching and writing the book Synchronicity with Carl Jung.
 The Elegant Universe is an informative book (1999) and Emmy Award television presentation (2003) by Physicist Brian Green of Columbia University. It graphically and entertainingly illustrates the Superstring Theory and its implications for our perception of reality.
 This reminded me of a famous quote by geneticist J.B.S. Haldane, often misattributed to Eddington: The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose but queerer than we can suppose.
 The double-slit experiment is discussed in more detail in Chapter 8, Virtual Science, of Book Two.
Werner Heisenberg 1901 – 1976, Nobel Prize in Physics (1932) made this point most directly: The solid substance of things is another illusion. It, too, is a fancy projected by the mind into the eternal world. We have chased the solid substance from the continuous liquid of the atom, from the atom to the electron, and there we have lost it.
 Niels Bohr (1885 – 1962), Nobel Prize in Physics 1922
Zeno was a Greek philosopher (490-430 BC) who posed various perplexing philosophical and mathematical paradoxes, often related to time and motions. Mo’s comment referred to what is called the Dichotomy Paradox.
 Max Planck developed what came to be known as the Planck Constant, an equation he revealed in 1905 that gave a basis for understanding the new physics of quantum mechanics, which continued to develop throughout the twentieth century and into the present. He made this startling statement about reality in 1944, almost forty years after establishing his famous equation. (See full quote in Appendix ‘A’)
 Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) was a British philosopher and writer.
 For example, physicist Frank Wilczek, professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and participant in developing a critical quantum theory (QCD) in 1973, stated: If you study the equations, it gets almost mystical.
 This was a story about Nicodemus, who approached Yeshua at night so other Pharisees wouldn't see him. It is recorded that Yeshua said to him: Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of Spirit is spirit. John 3:1,4 (KJV). See the previous reference to Theresa of Ávila in Chapter 7.
 A quote by English novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839
 The New Jerusalem has been given eschatological interpretations as heaven on earth, both literally and figuratively. Reference to this is found in the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Revelations.
 A concept devised by Teilhard de Chardin, postulating a global sphere consciousness.
 Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)
 Timothy Leary was a psychologist, professor and writer that popularize LSD in the 1960s.
LINKS TO CHAPTERS FOR ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE ASCENT
1. Prologue to the Series
2. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter One
3. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Two
4. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Three
5. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Four
6. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Five
7. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Six
8. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Seven
9. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Eight
10. Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Nine
11 Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent. Chapter Ten
12. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent, Chapter Eleven
13. Elysium's Passage The Ascent, Chapter Twelve
14. Elysium's Passage: The Ascent, Chapter Thirteen
15: Elysium’s Passage: The Ascent, Chapter Fourteen