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. 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. Meanwhile, there are several areas you may wish to visit while you’re on this side so consider this your base for studies and possibly, entertaining.’

‘Entertaining? Who would I be entertaining?’

‘I suppose that will be up to you,’ he said.

With the recent revelations about my current state of existence, I realised my winter holiday would now be extended into Chile’s late summer, and who knows, possibly 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.

Nevertheless, other fears remained hidden within I had yet to come to terms with. For now,  however, I felt happy to freely exist in this dimension beyond the cares of my old world.

After crossing over the chasm, 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, where I woke up after my long soul sleep. ‘Good God,’ I said aloud as I looked up to where I had fallen off the narrow ridge just below the cabin. ‘That really was a 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; maybe 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 amazing and exhilarating as 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… most substantially. Or was it less substantially? Now that I could admit my new state of existence, I was aware of how limited I had remained since my fall, even though I had the capacity to do all I was now doing. This realisation was an important lesson for me to remember. In the future, I would take my shackles off and refuse to remain confined by 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 electrons seemly 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. 

‘Even when this can be demonstrated, as it often is, no one seems to understand how it’s possible, other than acknowledging that things are much different and expansive than 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, but never with a person. Yet, how can you argue when it happens to you. It’s shocking to think about.’

‘It is,’ Mo said, ‘even by those scientists who understand the body is just an aggregate of electrons. Welcome to the quantum world. 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 if 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 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.’ 

‘What if there is no difference between material and spiritual?’ he asked. ‘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. Remember our guiding precepts upon which all creation is based: as above, so below; as within, so without.’

‘Also realise,’ 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. However, it wasn’t necessary 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; nevertheless, the longer I remained here, the more their peculiar cosmology fascinated me. It may have helped that I already had a rudimentary understanding of modern physics and how it eclipsed many of science’s Newtonian assumptions. I found it difficult to comprehend the broad spectrum, such as 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. As Mo indicated, these aren’t different realities, only different perceptions that remain dependent on our receptive capacities. At times, these can make reality seem 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 as a philosopher, my mind seemed less than adequate to discern spiritual meanings. 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 challenging 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 what you say. This dualism between spirit and matter resulted unwittingly from Descartes’ philosophy. On the contrary, the separation between physical and spiritual remained seamless to my friends.

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 find I was hanging out with two dead guys. This also caused me concern about my own state of existence, 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. Possibly 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 th was a stupid idea. 

It was evident they weren’t any more dead than I was. In fact, they suggested, they were now 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, even if my intuitive 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; rather, to help me 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 except sit by the fireplace and read. Interestingly, it seemed I would always select the books on the mantle that were 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, even when I enrolled in a Transcendental Meditation course.

Regrettably, I kept getting distracted by all the attractive 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 continued to plague 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, yet, I could be embraced simply by surrendering to it. There was something more to this than only a feeling. Even if I didn’t realise it at the time, I was having my first meaningful encounter with the divine, something I had never known, or for that matter, believed in. For lack of a better term; the Presence.

During such moments with the numinous, I caught, or thought I caught, an image of my soul reflected to me, as when peering into a clear, settled pond. While not actually visible; still, it was an impression of something much larger than me. 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 it be a fleeting glimpse, an intimation, of what I was 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 call nirvana, our discussions continued. It now seemed I had far less to say and more to learn as I listened intently. Besides having Mo and Eli around most of the day answering my questions and questioning my answers, we also went for long hikes, played chess and shared meals.

Seldom did they stay long after dinner. Both seemed to be well-aware of what was going on within my mind, which is why they said they wanted me to have plenty of solitude in the evenings to assimilate what we discussed and become better acquainted with the inner Self I was becoming.

Various traditions call this inward being many things; the Atman, the Buddha, the Christ, while others understand the I AM, as divine transcendence. 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 similar.

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, there were times they would push the limits of what I was prepared to believe, nudging me towards a broader breadth 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 mental acuity; more importantly, it was also the ability to 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 unsettling conclusions about some of my most cherished beliefs and prejudices.

 ‘You’re a living paradox, James,’ Mo said, ‘capable not only of ascending some of the highest mountains, but also plunging down the deepest abysses; an urbane professor capable of understanding some of the most profound books in the world; a vulgar sailor brawling throughout 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; you’ve learned to brawl… probably less 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, but don’t just face 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, meaning, 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; nevertheless, such ancient wisdom would be well-advised 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; rather, because it would be good for you to reassure yourself that he remains 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 consideration and see what I might 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 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 most amusing when you think about it!’

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

‘Not when I assumed I had all the answers. Although, after enrolling in my graduate studies programme in Canada, I gradually became more open to what may be out there, particularly after meeting a couple of scholars who greatly influenced me. Only then did I consider 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 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 whatever pleasure I could along the way while hoping something significant might happen in my mediocre existence.

‘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 possibly life had a greater purpose than waiting for death’s annihilation.[10] 

‘It seemed astonishing how this Swedish scientist and nobleman could be among the world’s most respected intellects of his day and 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 possibly madman too.

‘After, I went on to read a few more of his books. Even if somewhat pedantic in style, I found the writings 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 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 only 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 you’re probably the only ones I could tell this to who would believe me.’

‘Then go on,’ Mo said.

‘It all happened while I 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 only 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, although, 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 rationalised 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!’

‘You might have a point; 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 in bed. I remember waking one night, realising this was more than just a dream. These continued to occur, mostly when I felt sad and alone in those early childhood years. I had no idea what to think, except these moments made me feel I belonged, even if I didn’t know to whom or 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. Much later, however, when I was completing my doctoral thesis, I awoke from my sleep one night and sat up, sobbing uncontrollably like a baby. 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. I always fashioned myself as a hard-nosed sceptic, yet would melt on those rare occasions when I felt the phantasm’s presence. But 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, although when I was a young boy, I knew. You see, I lost my mother when I was five.’

He didn’t say anything; still, it was evident that my story 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 again since it felt too sensitive 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, even though 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 court 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; still, 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 occurrence. In fact, he laughed as if anything so preposterous as this could have happened. He didn’t dismiss seeing the yogi; rather, 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 remembered noticing 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. Before falling asleep under the bright stars and moon, I spoke a word of gratitude to nature while enveloped in its tranquility.’

‘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 have to say about that?’

‘I had no explanation so didn’t say anything. It’s not the kind of thing you mention if you hope to earn 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?’

‘This voice must have been hard for you to dismiss.’

‘It was; had I been doing some peyote that night it might have explained everything. However, the only thing I was high on that day was nature. Over the years, I occasionally thought about the message, though I 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 had become an inveterate 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 into 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 remain here. Although, 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; instead, they emanate from a prior thought-form, which might ultimately be ascribed to the Source. Yeshua knew this. Quite appropriately, he 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 if it reminds you how vast your consciousness remains. 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 asked. ‘At once, no-thing, and yet everything.’

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

‘We recognise 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, even if 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, 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. Nevertheless, his physical overlay is incapable of calculating higher orders of subtle reality as evidenced by the dynamics of subatomic physics and consciousness.’

Mo paused, then went on to say: ‘Many of these old programmes that factored out the spirit still remain popular in academic circles even after crashing many systems throughout the years. Many presuppositions built into the programmes weren’t just obsolete, they were 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 only those written by Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, and Mao; other utopian programmes have now mutated into other viruses even more 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 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. Regardless, your new mainframe will be equipped to process inter-dimensional systems of data.

‘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, say, a year or two, you will be able to operate well beyond the old 3D series you’re familiar with. Even if it doesn’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, ‘nevertheless, I’m sure their interpretations of reality will no longer serve you while you remain in this Passage. As we were discussing, Descartes’ teachings created a great divide between mind and matter, or, it may be said, spirit and body. It didn’t take long,  possibly within a couple of hundred years, 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 nothing more than an event in the mechanical brain, much like sound emanates from a radio speaker, though 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.’

‘Probably, 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; still, 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 past 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, much like a woman can break your heart, except, as you are well aware, hearts don’t heal as quickly as skulls.’

‘That might be a judicious observation,’ Mo said, ‘although 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]

‘And so, our encounters with solidity may seem very real, as did yours... in fact, as they did 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 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 actually 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 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, much like the voice spoke 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; instead, what’s on a higher intuited level, as 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 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]

‘Therefore, 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: 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. Instead, it had to do with the infinite void out of which universes manifest, collapse, only to be reformulated by another divine Thought transcending the expressions of space and time.

‘Possibly, your fall was one more nudge 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 nudging,’ Mo said, ‘since 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 rather, 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. 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 calling form into being. In that sense, we may say all of creation is expressed within a single Thought that infinitely manifests into what might call the Omniverse or, if you prefer, the 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. By this means, we co-create the reality that is perceived. Wheeler was absolutely right about this.’

‘And not only 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 generally dismissed by both science and religion. I suppose they fear their separate orthodoxies will be compromised if they become too 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. Instead of 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, though, 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, ‘but the 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 most 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, instead of a 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 the infinite possibilities could exist in the mind of God. Not many modern philosophers, however, are amenable to such a notion.’

‘Likely not,’ Mo said; ‘still, 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. So it’s through our mind’s consciousness that we become aware of our existence.’

‘There’s nothing more real than consciousness since that’s all there is. It emanates 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. 

‘Even if planets eventually cease to exist in form, their essence continues in an etheric timeline, as does your spirit essence also exist as a thought-form enveloped in the divine Spirit. What Source has conceived can never be unthought or forgotten. Forever, you remain an evolving, and at times a slightly devolving expression of Source contained within various dimensions in which you currently reside, such as you appear in this spirit body before me.’

‘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, it’s 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’s another topic for another time when you’re more prepared.’

‘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; once you discover what’s impeding your voyage you will know.’ 

‘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 realise what has lasting value until you know who you are. Even 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, and wonder what’s preventing me from floating away when gravity isn’t an issue anymore? 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 on the earth yet not of it. I wonder then, who am I, and where do I belong? These are unsettling ontological questions.[22]

‘And not only that; it’s kind of 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… 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. Although things seem a bit more reasonable now, even if 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. Not only is your indestructible spirit body, with its light and subtle form, less dense than what you were accustomed to, it also remains 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. ‘Nevertheless, this adaptability 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 contend once again with your body’s physical limitations.

‘You might not realise at first that your true identity is that of an immortal butterfly. Remember, it’s the caterpillar’s metamorphosis that makes the butterfly, which is why you, in yours, 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. Then, you will never again feel lost or alone as you sometimes do on earth. That’s what I mean by no longer crawling on your belly. Your spirit may wish to fly, and if you let it, it just may.’

‘That sounds so 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; yet, 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. Regardless, 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 rationalise 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, afraid to cast their pearls before those who don’t wish to hear their story, or worse yet, dismiss everything 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. Unlike you, almost all penetrated the veil into higher realms. That, however, 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 this before. If I remember, I’ll be sure to look some of these folks up when I return so we can compare notes. We could even form a group to support each other when naysayers tell everyone we’ve gone bonkers.’

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. Yet 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. It continued to amaze me how this subtle body of mine, seemingly so natural on the outside, could accomplish such extraordinary feats simply by invoking my will.

If I ever recall anything after returning to my physical body in London, I’d probably be greatly impressed when learning of my superhero feats bounding about the peaks. Indeed, this was just too good; how could I not tell everyone. I dare not, but what if I did?

Eli said he planned to get me a red cape to take with me in class. That may be fun since no one would believe my story anyway.

After instantly teleporting myself to wherever I wanted, I might be tempted to try doing this again when held up in a crowd. What if I could? – I might even become one of those levitating yogis Mo told me about.

In any case, whatever lingering scepticism I had towards my current reality had been eased. Still, there was much for me to learn as I struggled to reconcile my previous belief systems and all I had been taught. Though these were challenging times, 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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