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Are you a skeptic? Me too... except when I'm not.
But what does it mean to be a skeptic? I suppose it depends... skepticism can mean different things to different people. Perhaps a fixed state of mind, or just seeing an occasional red flag.
James, the philosopher in Elysium's Passage: The Summit, prides himself in being a skeptic, if not a bit of a cynic at times. However, while on the Summit, he is challenged to examine what his underlying motives are for being a skeptic. Is it about seeking the truth by discerning it from falsehood, or does it have more to do with reaffirming old assumptions about how things aren't so he can be right? He insists it's only possible to discover truth by stripping out fanciful 'beliefs' to arrive at bedrock, empirical/scientific evidence.
He tells his girlfriend, Julianne, that he'll only believe it when he sees it. She responds, annoyingly, that she'll see it when she believes it. He's not impressed with her, as he sees it, naive blind faith, and so they argue about the merits of being a believer or being a skeptic. She asks what's so empirical about love, compassion, inspiration and devotion. He responds by saying that's different. And so it goes...
I tend to agree with Julianne. If we don't believe what we're looking for to show up, then it probably won't, even if it's right in front of us... especially when our skepticism causes us to look the other way. As Ralph Waldo Emerson stated: Belief consists in the affirmation of the soul, unbelief in denying them.
On the other hand, it is much easier to believe things after we see them since, obviously, evidence requires little belief. But did Thomas Edison have evidence he would discover the light bulb before he did? Of course not, and yet he continued to persist in believing what the skeptics said couldn't be done.
That's why, to say I'll see it when I believe it is more proactive because it means you may find you are subliminally positioning yourself to receive what the Universe (God, Source, Infinite Intelligence) wishes to bestow since it's a benevolent universe. You become open, rather than closed.
As Henry Ford said, “Think you can, think you can't; either way you'll be right.” To think you can, requires belief, just as skepticism is about non-belief. Notwithstanding that principle, it would be delusional to believe certain things such as becoming an astronaut without being qualified. You can't, as some might say, come into vibratory alignment with what you know is unbelievable. There must be an inward prompt in your soul that says, 'this is possible, believe it... and you will see it.'
To say I'll only believe it when I see it seems rather lazy since there is no need to be prepared for what isn't believed. This is to believe we live in an impersonal chance universe of separation, where there is not Oneness, no entangled relationships, providence, or the possibility of divine intervention. The believer, however, lives their life in a responsive mode, rather than a reactive mode, and so is in a state of miracle readiness. It makes all the difference.
Is it possible to be both a skeptic and a believer? Of course! In this world of hype and deceit, we need to be 'as wise as serpents' so we're not taken in by charlatans. A healthy dose of 'show me' skepticism is warranted, but that doesn't negate having an attitude of belief, be it expressed in prayerful anticipation or some other mode of faith.
When James first arrived on the Summit, he became engaged in a few conversations on the Summit, where his friends gave him their take on the nature of skepticism. At this time, James is beginning to discover that the parameters of reality turned out to be much broader than he was prepared to accept before his arrival there.
This first excerpt is taken from Chapter 7 of ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE SUMMIT
Obviously, I wasn't in a credulous mood and wasn't about to be taken for a fool with more of their chicanery. ‘I was trained to be a skeptic, and so I seldom sacrifice rational beliefs for fantasy; in fact, I never do, except for certain women wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie.’
Grinning at my last comment, I knew Eli was about to make some smart remark, but before he could, Mo said ‘all we ask is that you open your mind and keep it open long enough for us to teach you a few basic manoeuvres that will prove you are in a body that’s not subject to the limitations of the earth plane. A skeptic can’t learn anything by remaining closed to new experiences and possibilities. That’s as foolish as it is arrogant. Is that the kind of skeptic you pride yourself in being: foolish and arrogant?
That was below the belt! Now I was angry. I didn't wish to be part of this sham anymore, especially if I was going to be insulted. Over the last few days, I had taken in enough of their bunkum. My intellectual sensibilities had been amply taxed; it was now time for me to move on. As a professional philosopher, I didn't need anyone to tell me whether my mind was open or not. At least I was being rational and that's all that mattered, which was a lot more than I could say for them!
Next excerpt from Chapter 8
Sitting by the fireplace after breakfast, Mo asked, ‘so James, what does it mean when you say you’re a skeptic, especially now?’
‘First of all, it means I'm not gullible; I always look for a sound, rational explanation for whatever happens, particularly when there’s anything dodgy about the account. For the sake of truth, reason must always be prepared to challenge whatever assumptions are made in support of a belief that may be based on nothing more than superstition or religious indoctrination.’
‘And if that's all skepticism 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 very difficult to deal with such 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 being conflicted between a belief and what should have been obvious.’
‘I suppose it should have been obvious,’ I said, ‘but it didn’t seem that way at the time.’
‘No, but with your intelligence, I can understand why,’ he said. ‘I remember an experience I once had while living in Rome many years ago. I had a few guests staying with me from back home. One of them was a highly qualified professor who taught Civil Engineering at Leeds. He was particularly brilliant with numbers and prided himself as being a hardcore skeptic about anything that couldn’t be reduced to measurement.
‘As fate would have it, the four of us were walking across a square that led to the Pantheon, when suddenly, right before our eyes, something most peculiar appeared. 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, but that he was sitting there suspended about four feet above the ground. We looked closely, but there was nothing between him and the ground.
‘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 by not being able to specifically identify what the trick was. After considerable examination from every angle, he refused to discuss the incident further, perhaps because he wasn’t able to come up with a plausible explanation that he was convinced had to exist.
‘What was also interesting is that later this guest had no recollection of the incident when I mentioned it to him about a year later when I was back in England. In fact, he just laughed when I brought it up as if anything so preposterous could possibly have occurred. He didn't dismiss seeing the yogi; it’s just that he was oblivious as to how he saw him. The way he remembered it, 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 with a sign begging 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 hardcore skeptic that 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 Mountains. You were open to this visitation, even though the voice came as quite the surprise.’
‘Most certainly it did,’ 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 was 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 skepticism. So what did you, as a philosopher, do with that?’
‘Since I couldn’t come up with an explanation at the time, I didn't know what to do. But it's not the kind of thing you mention to your colleagues while you’re earning your graduate degree. This 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 very good peyote at the time, it would have explained everything. But that night, the only thing I was high on was nature. Over the years I occasionally thought about the message, but never came to any resolution on what meaning to give it. So I told myself it all had to be in my head. After all, I was a sceptic.’
‘And so you were,’ Mo said, ‘but now you need to help build a much larger box for your scepticism so you won’t bracket out all the inexplicable mysteries that are happening to you now. It's not possible for you to fit everything in your old tattered and worn box of stale beliefs. You may find even more exotic occurrences coming your way that will require an even larger container to fit everything into.'
Later, in Chapter 9, the topic of skepticism once again arises:
As Mo settled into his chair, the first thing he did was confront me, as he often did, with another question: ‘James, you've been here with us for a while now, at least in your waking consciousness. Are there any doubts remaining in your mind about the current state of existence you are now experiencing?’
That was a rather direct question that rather caught me off guard. ‘No, of course not,’ I said, ‘why would there be? But that doesn't mean I'm going to 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 skeptical, and 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 know you are trained to be a skeptic and that’s as it should remain. However, I asked whether you have any doubts about your existence here.’
‘Yes, I heard you, so let me restate my position,’ I said. ‘Though I pride myself in being a professional skeptic, still I try to remain open to what I don’t always understand. For example, when teleporting across the sierras. I still have problems with that. I guess it’s because I feel I still need to interpret phenomena in a way that doesn’t clash with what I believe to be logically true. But that’s not always easy here.
‘Furthermore, I still have to reconcile what I believe with what you’ve said about the cosmos, immortality, illusions, materializing and dematerializing, not to mention voices in the air, orbs of light, mind reading and so on. These phenomena may be fascinating subjects, but it’s rather unsettling when you find, unwittingly, you’ve now become part of the weirdness.’
‘But isn’t it grand? All this intrigue just for the price of airfare to Chile,’ Eli said. ‘That’s a deal, wouldn’t you say?’
‘Things may appear odd on the surface,’ Mo said, ‘but perhaps not so odd once you reconcile what you’ve experienced with what you’re coming to understand. You may not realize it, but you’ve been preparing yourself for this adventure for several years now, albeit subliminally. That voice in the air repeating the word “nothingness” didn’t just happen; it came because you, at some level, were open to it. And even that night at the pub where you got bloodied was instrumental in creating the dream that ultimately drew you here. Speaking of which, allow me once again to refer to your dream.
‘Go ahead,’ I said, ‘you practically own it!’
‘And hopefully, you will too,’ he said. ‘In any case, 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. But one day soon, that will be eclipsed by even greater mysteries and adventures, drawing you further upward and further inward. You’ve already been teleporting to all the peaks in our neighbourhood, something that not long ago would have been unthinkable to you. But before long, you will be transported towards even higher highs.’
‘Towards which higher highs are you referring?’ I asked.
‘You will know when you’re there,’ Mo said. ‘But as Eli suggested, you will first need to achieve a commensurate state of being since these highs will be of your soul. Actually, that’s the whole purpose of being enrolled at Summit U. Old thought patterns and Swampland habits will retreat further from your mind as you continue to adjust to this plane by remaining open to all it has to offer.
‘Let the old illusions and resistances that held you down fade back into the mists. They never did serve you well, and certainly, you won’t have need of them anymore. I'm sure you will agree being stuck in the ruts of the ego-mind gets to be tiresome.’
‘Yes, very tiresome indeed,’ I said.
‘However,’ Mo continued, ‘you will soon find your life becoming increasingly exciting as you continue to extricate yourself from all that once had you stuck. No, not just exciting, but exhilarating as the old fetters continue to fall away and you see beyond the horizons to visions of higher and higher vistas. Of course, you could go back to the Lowlands whenever you wish, but then, you never would have come this far if that is where you still belonged. Your heart is nowhere on the Summit, even when can’t be. As it’s written, Old things have passed away, all things have become new.
‘And what this new will mean for you now is that our approach will become new. Eli and I have decided it’s time to ramp things up for the Summit curriculum so you get to the next octave. We’ve had many great discussions and will continue to do so, but we’re now going to do things a bit of differently.
‘I thought we were doing just fine,’ I said. ‘I’ve learned many interesting things about your perspectives and interpretations of reality.’
‘But is that really learning?’ he asked. ‘Maybe in your world it is, but we want to take you beyond learning to know. But to know, truly know, you must discover, not just learn. This means we’ll be giving you fewer answers and asking you more questions that take you beyond just acquiring information to discovering who you are through inward knowingness.
‘This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be the skeptic you fashion yourself to be; quite the opposite, we want you to question everything. That’s the only way you may come to discover your own answers, rather than just ours. So question us all you like and we'll see you through this transition. It will be at your own pace, so the more willing you are to discover, the more quickly you will progress.’
‘Be prepared, however,’ Eli said, ‘that when we question you, it will be about everything you thought you knew so you may come to discover what you don’t know, even when you thought you did. This may seem a bit brutal at times, especially when it involves your cherished beliefs. But genuine knowledge must be discovered and assimilated in order for it to become viscerally one with who you are.
'This has nothing to do with your old approach, and so it may not seem like learning at all. Discovery never was about learning from without; rather, it’s about what comes from within. Not to say learning and discovery don’t work together, most often they do. Ask any inventor, learning can only take you so far before you have your eureka moment. Our main task is to deconstruct much of the misinformation that you acquired along with underlying assumptions that don’t lead anywhere, so that you may discover truth for yourself.
‘And in this process, you may find that we are the true skeptics. As Mo already affirmed, skepticism is never a bad thing, provided it doesn’t become a pretense for being judgemental, but rather, involves honest inquiry to discerning truth from falsehood. That’s why, when you return, we trust you will become even more skeptical than you were before, except that you direct it now towards the beliefs you were afraid to question before. Some of these may be entrenched beliefs and others may be trendy flashes with little longevity or basis in fact.’
One final thought on this subject from A Course in Miracles
"Freeing your perceptions in your nearly immutable belief in form will allow all changes in form. Form is not a constant but a result. When you believe that belief is the result of form, it is not. Form is the result of belief. Thus belief is not only capable of changing form but is necessary in order to do so."
SUMMARY OF ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: THE SUMMIT
The Summit is the first in a series of five Elysium narrations regarding a young British philosopher named James Phillips who finds himself living in an altered state of reality while still remaining on earth.
After experiencing a near-fatal fall while climbing to the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes, James awakens in a new dimension. He soon encounters two mysterious beings who provide him with a very different perspective on the nature of his existence. Over the next year, before his body recovers from the coma, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding of life’s meaning and purpose far beyond anything he previously believed or could believe.
An engaging and sometime surreal adventure with intimations of impending romance, the narrative explores the most important questions about life, death, reality, and our ultimate destiny.
The Plains of Elysium (Champs-Élysées) was described by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, and many other poets as the paradisiac afterlife realm reserved for heroes. As the title suggests, this is about a journey through a passage that leads towards Elysium’s exciting realm of existence.
To read a sample press review at https://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/05/prweb15515775.htm
ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE: READER REVIEWS
The following comments are excerpts from among the first readers including a number of Amazon five star reviews. To read the full reviews, go to READER REVIEWS on www.elysiumspassage.com or directly at https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/reader-reviews
"A delightful mix of fantasy, reality, conjecture, and humour; Mr Meyers draws the reader into the story with a gentle narrative that captures the imagination, leaving one anxious to get to the next page drawing you into his exceptional world.”
"Quietly, gently, and without imposition, the Author unfolds the pages, creating an intricate, interlocking bridge spanning the chasm between mind and heart. Renewing, refreshing, restoring. In my bereavement, it was vigil and light…"
“Excellently written with an exceedingly deep understanding of this world and the next. The characters are very well written and engaging. I can't wait to complete this book!"
“Takes the reader on both a philosophical and spiritual journey, a journey that at times is both disquieting and tranquil. James, a British Philosopher can be irreverent and caustic, traits that should have left me cringing, but instead made me laugh out loud. Elysium’s Passage is a fun, enlightening and remarkable book.”
“This is a masterful fantasy, becoming a real possibility, as the reader is drawn into the story. The Summit leaves you anxious for the next book in the series, yet also leaves you totally satisfied with the world you have just visited. Genius! An exciting, yet calming, experience that is not to be missed."
"There was hardly a page on which I did not find at least one sentence worthy of hi-lighting for future reference. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the main character, James, whose personality and passionate verbal exchanges with the other characters, kept me coming back for more. I am reading the book for a second time while I wait for the next one in this series to be made available."
“N.G. Meyers has clearly put a great deal of research and thought into what the afterlife may look like and I like his perspective. It’s an altogether welcoming and exciting vision. The book gives one a great deal to think about and a reassuring confidence that the end of our lives is truly the beginning of life in the next. I highly recommend it."
"I am really enjoying your book, it’s fantastic! It is so incredible and diversified that I can’t really explain it to other people, so what I say is just read this book. Thank you so much for the blessings that you’ve given the world!"
“The humour interjected into a serious discussion makes me laugh out loud. Totally unexpected....l may be in the presence of at least a master, if not a genius. A fair ride into reality... seeking that which is unseen, yet absolutely real.”
“An engaging story of adventure embracing man's deepest desire to search for meaning and purpose, N.G. Meyers takes the reader on an adventurous thought-provoking journey. This book has substance. It is a perfect blend of adventure and fantasy combined with spiritual philosophy. It ignited my imagination. The author magically weaves a good story laced with wit and humor together with deep philosophical wisdom. This book has it all!”
“An evolution in thought is triggered by many fresh philosophical themes which could inspire readers to re-think their reality and former ideologies that have dictated their lives… the author fires readers’ imaginations to view what could be possible when spirit vacates the body.”
“This is the book spiritual seekers have been waiting for. For me, it granted a great read as well as increased inspiration to live every day with a heightened sense of purpose. I highly recommend it.
“The Summit is capable of hooking readers and luring them to search for Book 2 to discover more about Dr. Philip’s surreal trek into the mysterious unknown universe. This thick book is well worth the read and to share…”
“Mind-blowing statements and speculation (‘…everyone is a non-physical thought form conceived in the Mind of God, preserved for all eternity because God’s thoughts never die…’). Many will find Meyers’ journey up the Mountain intriguing—and possibly even life-changing.” (BLUEINK REVIEW)
“In its effort to grapple with fundamental questions about the meaning of life, it raises questions that have echoed throughout the ages, including about where we come from, where we are going, who we are.” (CLARION REVIEW)
AUTHOR'S (ATTEMPTED) INTRODUCTION TO SERIES
PENDING PUBLICATIONS IN THE SERIES
The following titles in the ELYSIUM’S PASSAGE series are projected to be released as follows:
THE ASCENT spring 2021
THE SUMMIT spring 2021
QUANTUM LEAPS fall 2021
SURREAL ADVENTURES fall 2021
MYSTICAL ROMANCE spring 2022
HE ELIXIR fall 2022
THE RETURN sometime in 2023
With the exception of the last novel in the series, the others have been written but still require more editing before publication.
CONTACT INFORMATION & SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
TWITTER My posts can be viewed at: https://twitter.com/Neil1113
YOUTUBE: YouTube: Elysium Passage - YouTube
Elysium's Passage Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXpzFH6VNMQLOtqOK2SrXpg
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AMAZON: Find Elysium's Passage: The Summit on Amazon: Go to www.elysiumspassage.com