THE ASCENT CHAPTER SEVEN

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From the first novel in the ELYSIUM'S PASSAGE series: THE ASCENT
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CHAPTER SEVEN
       

DOWN AND OUT

Not all those who wander are lost

                         J.R.R. Tolkien

There was much for me to consider after having this fireside chin wag. At times it felt like they were wearing me down, although I still wasn’t about to be convinced that I was anything other than my human body. In any case, I looked forward to having a sound sleep that night to re-evaluate and, if necessary, reconsider certain beliefs I clung to about my reality.

After many of my rationalist moorings had been mercilessly threatened by my friendly adversaries, I thought a good sleep might help sort things out by the time I awoke. It was late now, and the fire had burned down to hot coals. When they had no more to say, they got up, bidding me Buenas Noches as they walked towards the door. I asked if they didn’t wish to stay for the night since it was their lodge, not mine.

‘We think you need to have some time alone with your thoughts. Don’t worry; you’ll be safe,’ Eli said with a laugh.

‘We’ll see you in the morning after the sun rises,’ Mo said as he gestured with a causal salute on his way out the door.

I couldn’t understand why or where they wandered off to at night; it didn’t make sense. Still, it didn’t have to since nothing else did. At least that much was predictable! I was tempted to trail behind them to see where they were headed, then decided against it lest they catch me and question why I was stalking them. For now, this would have to remain one more enigma in this strange assortment of unreconciled mysteries!

With images of my plunge freshly emblazoned in my mind, I climbed slowly to my bed in the loft, feeling a bit of vertigo from what was evoked in my memory. Was any of this more real than the dream I remembered?

Unsuccessfully, I tried to dismiss what kept reappearing on my mental screen as I questioned whether there might have been some hallucinogen in my drink. How else could I explain having this near-fatal fall while my body remained unscathed? Possibly I hadn’t really fallen at all, but just imagined it. That was plausible, although it left other questions unanswered.

Adding to my confusion were the outrageous explanations they offered for everything that happened here; I hadn’t heard or read anything so peculiar before, not even in fantasy literature. Nevertheless, if what they said proved to be accurate, it would mean I was wrong about most everything I believed. Nothing could ever remain the same for me; my life would forever be altered in ways I could hardly imagine. And what then; what would become of my career?

As I took off my clothes, I re-examined my body. It amazed me I had no bruises, cuts, or injuries. I remembered I had a few gashes on my legs and arms from the jagged precipices. But now, curiously, my body appeared as unblemished as I ever remembered, other than the navel anchor tattoo on my left arm.

Mo said it was because there weren’t any wounds to heal, not even scars I incurred years ago. None of this was very reassuring if it meant my body, even in all its present splendour and perfection, wasn’t my natural body.

For now, though, I didn’t wish to vex myself with such questions; my mind already was too frazzled to process more mysteries. Had I somehow stumbled into an alternate dimension in space, and furthermore, what if this mountain was really an inverted vortex? I wasn’t sure that made a lot of sense either, but then; it didn’t have to. With the way things were going, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d soon bump into Alice.

Although my body didn’t feel fatigued like my mind, still I slipped under the quilt, not sure if I would be able to sleep. Yet, sleep I did, most soundly until awakening with the morning sun rising over the easterly Sierra.

As I stepped down the stairs, I could see Mo and Eli were already by the stove cooking breakfast. Eli greeted me, ‘Buenos Días amigo. Did you sleep?’ I found it interesting he didn’t ask how I slept or if I slept well, but did I sleep? As if sleep was just an option.

‘Yes, I most certainly did,’ I said, ‘as if in deep hibernation. I don’t remember anything, from the moment my head hit the pillow until the sun’s rays woke me just now.’

‘You may not realise it,’ Mo said, but there’s much more going on beneath the surface of your conscious mind than you’re aware. You will require plenty of rest for your active mind to get out of the way so your inward being can sort things out. Perhaps we overloaded your circuits yesterday, nevertheless, you have an inordinate appetite to comprehend reality, even while you resist the answers.’

‘Speaking of appetite,’ Eli said, ‘I hope you’re ready for breakfast.’

‘Actually, I’m not hungry at all, even though everything tastes so extraordinarily delicious in this alpine atmosphere. If I had the time, I wouldn’t mind staying another night or two. I suppose I could always change my flight ticket, although I may not make it back in time for my classes. Still, I hope to find out more about this fall I supposedly had.’  

‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘you will… and when you do, you won’t want to leave, nor will you need to.’

‘I agree this is a great place; I don’t know how you two mountaineers came across an alpine cabin with such character. I can hardly imagine a more inspiring setting.’

I walked around the cabin, closely examining the antiquity of the charming interior and its artefacts. The log walls appeared to be well seasoned with decades of smoke from the fireplace and pipe tobacco mixed in for effect. There was something mysterious about it, even possessing a familiar, genius loci,[1] as Mo described it. It was hard not to get attached to this place, with its perfect alpine setting, complete with an old iron stove, fireplace, comfortable chairs, and views of both the westerly and easterly sierras. 

Though we remained isolated in a very remote mountain region, I had everything I needed, including a charming cellar with a large cache of fine wines, bottles of lager and other assorted libations. Oddly enough, there was no outhouse. Where did everyone go when they needed to go? Curiously, I hadn’t required such facilities since I arrived. Considering the amount of food and drink I had consumed here, I found that most peculiar.

I also wondered where the water contained in the urns had come from. I had no idea how they would have accessed it. Perhaps they climbed far below or melted ice from a glacier; still, that would have been a long way to go. Possibly, there was a well or spring nearby I hadn’t noticed, although that was most improbable on a summit.

The only thing I could be sure of was that if I asked, I’d get an uncertain answer. For now, it didn’t matter; this was the kind of retreat I always dreamed of owning. Who knows, one day, I might own a retreat like this somewhere in the Swiss Alps?

‘Tell me,’ I asked, ‘how in Jove could these logs have been hauled up these steep precipaces considering how far this is above the tree line. From what I can tell, it must have been built at least a hundred years ago and would have been impossible for horses or mules to scale these escarpments. Even an experienced climber like me can barely make it up here. There is no rational explanation I can think of.’ 

‘Well, here we are so there must have been a way,’ Mo said nonchalantly as he turned the sizzling bacon over with an old metal spatula. ‘Perhaps this cabin doesn’t even exist on your earth plane’s spectrum. Did you think about that?’

‘What’s to think, unless it’s more science fiction?’

‘Didn’t you say there was no cabin here when you first approached the Summit?’ Eli asked. ‘If it were, you would have been blind not to notice it, unless, of course, you were blind to what you weren’t capable of seeing in your physical body.’

‘My eyes are fine, thank you,’ I said. ‘I don’t require glasses, and I generally see most of what’s out there to see.’

‘Which must really make you wonder why you didn’t see this fine edifice,’ he said. ‘It would have been difficult not to notice wouldn’t you say, considering you wouldn’t have been more than fifty yards away?’

‘Are you suggesting this cabin just happened to pop into existence sometime after I was crossing the chasm? As I was nearing the summit, I remember being distracted by what I imagined to be voices in the air along with what appeared to be brilliant orbs of light on the peak. Perhaps I was just exhausted and slightly delirious while adjusting to the rarified air at this altitude. It seemed peculiar now how I could have missed seeing this cabin. I must say, however, that’s not all I found peculiar up here.’

‘This wouldn’t be such a mystery if you believed us. As we keep telling you, it’s because you’re now in a different dimension that you’re able to perceive what couldn’t be seen before. We understand, though; it’s not always easy to let entrenched beliefs go.

‘It’s only been a few days since you were released from the limitations of the third dimension, so it may take a while for your mind to expand beyond the former thought patterns of what it believes is possible and what it assumes is not possible. Former parameters of perception need not apply in this sphere of existence. For you to experience this expanded awareness, you will need to shift from the prejudices of your old paradigms of belief so that you may see with eyes you didn’t know you had.’

‘Oh my,’ I said, ‘we’re back to the pixie dust again, where everything and anything becomes possible. I think I’m going to need a few more cups of strong coffee brew to make it through another day of all these impossible possibilities.’

‘It will take more than coffee to shut out this new reality you’re experiencing,’ Mo said. ‘That would be like a fish shutting its gills from the seawater. Where you are, my friend, is on earth, no longer confined to the old norms that had you bound. Yet, you never were all that normal, were you?’

‘No, I suppose not, at least from what they say.’

‘And even less so now that you are on a new grid,’ he said, ‘one that will suit you better in your current state. Without your mortal body holding you back, your spirit can now soar to a much higher octave than before.’

I looked at him blankly and said: ‘You’re right, this is not at all what you would call normal… perhaps more like paranormal!’

‘Welcome to your new world,’ Eli said. ‘You’re going to love it here.’

My new world? Was I actually in some altered state of existence? No, this was just too incredulous… I wasn’t about to be taken in.

‘Here, help yourself to a hot stack of cakes; at least they’re normal,’ Mo said with a smile, ‘depending on what you consider normal.’

‘They are delicious,’ I said. ‘You’re not a bad chef! You should teach Eli.’

‘Anyone can be a five-star chef here,’ he said… ‘there’s not much to it.’

‘Then perhaps you could teach me so I can get an honest job when I return home. It would probably earn me more money than what I now make as a part-time university instructor.’

‘Maybe you could do both,’ Mo said, ‘prepare food for the body and food for the soul, all in the same day.’

As we were having breakfast at the old wooden table, I discussed the various routes I was considering for my descent. After, I pulled my topographical map out of my backpack to show them the contours of the course I took while coming up and where I made a couple of unfortunate turns that necessitated me circumventing in other ways.

‘Perhaps you should stay a little longer, James,’ Mo said, as though reading my mind. ‘If you do, I’m sure we can find you a way down that will have you back in no time.’ Eli chuckled when Mo said no-time, although I didn’t understand why. Obviously, there remained much for me to learn about time, space, and the physics of non-locality.

‘I appreciate the offer Mo, but I really need be on my way while the weather remains favourable.’

The sun’s rays streamed through our window, and from what I could see, there weren’t many clouds in the sky except a few wisps lingering on the horizon. Despite that, I was hesitant about leaving when there were so many unresolved questions of what I witnessed here. It might drive me bonkers if I didn’t get some real answers instead of just speculating on what happened.

‘If you give us the opportunity,’ Eli said, ‘we could show you a shortcut that will amaze you.’

‘That would be splendid,’ I said, ‘provided you’re certain I’m not overstaying my welcome at your paradisiacal retreat.’

 ‘It’s your retreat too,’ he said. ‘Next time, be sure to bring a friend. You may use it for as long as you wish.’

‘That’s most generous of you,’ I said as I got up from the table for more cakes stacked in the old cast iron pan.

‘Perhaps a little more time to plan a proper route down might prove helpful in getting down in, as you say, no time. I can probably afford another day before leaving and still have time to catch my flight out of Santiago.’

I wondered what it might be like to remain isolated in this primitive old cabin. The idea appealed to me as the perfect place to retreat. Perhaps I could give civilisation a pass for another day, maybe two, while soaking in this ambience. If it weren’t so far away, the lodge would serve as an ideal venue for some intriguing philosophical discussions.

Or better yet, find an adventurous nature girl who thrives in the rugged wilds. They’re out there; I’ve met several on mountain slopes across the world. Regardless, this summit was practically inaccessible for most, except with a helicopter.

For much of the day, we talked about various matters that were of mutual interest to us. I’m not sure how acceptable our discussions would have been to my university colleagues. Nevertheless, my new companions didn’t seem to care about the conventions of modern philosophical discourse.

Not that they were irrational; it’s just that they reasoned in ways I didn’t understand. I wondered what logic undergirded their thought processes. After all, isn’t logic supposed to be logical? Perhaps their system was trans-rational or supra-rational; I didn’t know what to call it.

However, I recalled how I once came across a book called Tertium Organum by P.D Ouspensky, a Russian mathematician and writer.[2] Maybe that’s what this was about. While the author was in Moscow he wrote this book prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, not long before meeting Georges Gurdjieff, an esoteric philosopher who later became his mentor and associate.

I was an undergraduate student, busy with other things, so I only read parts of the book. Before that, I hadn’t been exposed to sufficient esoteric thought to understand much of what he was saying. From what I could remember, it seemed to relate to how Mo and Eli reasoned: very broad and yet precise as if there was a more inclusive way to reason than the syllogisms of current scholastic thought. 

In some esoteric circles, including Ouspensky’s, this mode of reasoning is considered the domain of third logic. Within its parametric scope, ordinary thought conventions of orthodox philosophy are unfettered as poetry transcends prose.

Mo later described Tertium Organum as a system of reasoning that flows from an assumed unity of body, soul, and mind. By this means, the isolated, fact-orientated mentation must learn to reason in concert with the wisdom of the heart. Through this broad spectrum, a higher sphere of awareness is achieved, both mentally and spiritually.

‘Unfortunately,’ he said, ‘within Flatland’s centres of supposed higher learning, no one understands inter-dynamic unity of the soul. It’s about more than just the mind, so it’s no wonder you had difficulty understanding this third Organum. It’s a much more expansive thought system than you were accustomed to since it required an appreciation of not just the exoteric outward world, but also the esoteric world of inward spirituality.’

It would be a while before I could grasp this novel exemplar, but even as I did, it was only with a certain degree of egoic resistance. Not until I experienced what I call my magical mystery tour to the Flatlands did I begin to recognise how flat and narrow my understanding of reality had been. Though I was a professor of philosophy, my rational discourse was mostly linear since my mind, in its confusion, wasn’t prepared to acknowledge the vertical sphere of spiritual reality.[3]

Later in the day, while taking a break from our discourses, I stood on the deck viewing the sierras and then looked towards the abyss below that supposedly had swallowed me whole. I wondered where I might have taken that final disastrous step before plunging into the void. It didn’t seem possible I could have survived such a fall, and, as with everything else around here, I had no answer.

Furthermore, they were right; the cabin wasn’t far from where I would have fallen. I really should have seen it since it would have been along the trajectory of my vision as I looked towards the Summit. So, the question remains; why didn’t I see it? Was it because I was too distracted, as I suggested, or was it because there was nothing there to see? A most preposterous notion!

Yet, on this mysterious mountain, where time seemed to have little meaning, and items such as wine and food magically materialised out of nowhere, then why not a cabin too? Impossible; yes. Although, not necessarily impossible should I listen to what Mo and Eli were saying about us dwelling in a higher domain of reality. Not that I was prepared to accept any of this.

After trying to convince me I was in a new reality, I remained sceptical, but couldn’t be bothered to argue. What was the use when it was easier to nod my head and smile?

It was true; space and time felt different than before, causing me to wonder how long ago it had been since I had this fall. Was it a few days ago, or was it weeks, as Mo suggested? It was as if someone was playing with the hourglass, or was it my mind?

It was reasonable to speculate that the fall could have altered something in my brain, where time seemed to take on a new elasticity. That, too, was an unsettling thought. If I had been out for weeks, then I would have missed my flight home, and classes would have already begun.

That would not be good for my career unless I could convince the authorities to believe my story. I wasn’t sure they would; in fact, I wasn’t sure I would either. To claim my body survived a concussion on a cold mountain slope for who knows how long would stretch the limits of credulity.

As I was thinking about this, Mo stepped outside. From his serious demeanour, it seemed there was something else on his mind that he wished to speak to me about. It felt like things had been building up to the point where we must resolve our differences on the nature of life on this Magical Mountain.[4] I had many questions and concerns about what was going on, including their extraordinary view of reality.

Since Eli hadn’t yet returned with the firewood, Mo suggested a short hike along the summit. Perhaps this was so we could have a more personal conversation. As we climbed up to the ridge, he said, ‘Eli and I were wondering if you have any questions about your new life here.’

Had he been reading my mind? I wondered.

‘Of course I have questions,’ I said. ‘Plenty of them. Ever since I got here I’ve asked you a lot of things without getting many straight answers.’

‘Have we not told you repeatedly that you now exist as an immortal spirit body, even while your mortal physical earth body remains convalescing in London? What more would do you need to know?’

‘The truth,’ I said.

‘The only problem with our answers is that you can’t seem to accept them, preferring to dismiss them as fantasy. Once you accept your current state of existence, everything else will make sense to you. Then, what we say will no longer be so hard for you to believe.’

‘And yet none of this makes logical sense,’ I said, almost shouting in frustration. ‘It’s not possible for anyone to exist outside their biological body as you both seem to claim. That’s the issue.

‘Though one might believe they are outside the body, such experiences are only hallucinatory mental projections of what’s occurring within the brain and nothing more. You don’t go anywhere; the trip is just an illusion. So, whatever paranormal experiences I might seem to be having up here are probably more a result of my brain being knocked about on my fall.’

‘I see,’ Mo said. ‘It would appear then that you don’t have any actual questions for us since you already have it all figured out. Or is it simply a matter of beliefs – what you believe to be possible and what you don’t believe to be possible, as if you are the arbiter of truth?’

‘Of course, I have beliefs,’ I said, ‘but at least they’re based on facts.’

‘Then let me ask you, James, why is it so important that you cling tightly to old beliefs that blind you from seeing what exists on this broader spectrum of reality? The earth plane has a very limited range of perception for what lies beyond its parochial beliefs.’ 

‘Contrary to what some might say,’ Eli said, ‘reality isn’t based just on what we wish to believe. Even though the ego-mind projects its deceptive illusions, the truth remains true, which often reveals a much different reality than what most are prepared to accept.

‘That’s why those with the narrowest perspectives on earth are primarily those who recognise only surface appearances instead of the higher dimension of what might be thought of as spiritual. Therefore, third-dimensional reality is all they see, blinding materialists from what else might be out there.

‘Since reality is infinitely expansive, far beyond what can be imagined, perhaps this is what scares so many into living small insular lives in their material worlds. It’s a shame, considering how they could have had experienced so much more in life.

‘That much I will admit to,’ I said. ‘Throughout my education, it always seemed there should be more to what I believed than I could believe.’

‘Then let us help open things up for you,’ Mo said. ‘Before you can understand anything, you must realise that you now exist in an imperishable, non-temporal form. At the same time, your physical body continues to function on the earth plane in its temporal form, albeit marginally. This will become more than obvious when you visit your body in London.’

‘We don’t need to go to London to see my body when we can see it here, right now, where I am. As the saying goes; wherever you go, there you are.’ Besides, how would it be possible to have a conscious identity outside the boundaries of a body?’

‘You mean outside the boundaries of your consciousness?’ he asked.

‘That would be a huge epistemic problem,’ I said. ‘Still, it seems you have forgotten the obvious question of individuation.’

‘Not really,’ Eli said; ‘remember, it’s your conscious soul that’s you, not your body. That’s why we tell you that even after the death of your mortal body, you will continue to have an individuated presence as the embodiment of your consciousness.

‘Yet for some reason you wish to believe you’re just the reflection of what can be observed in a mirror. But that’s not your identity, instead its only a temporal expression of who you are. Only what exists inwardly can exist outwardly; form follows content, never otherwise. Inward consciousness is what characterizes the soul’s outward appearance, regardless of what suits you might wear from lifetime to lifetime.’

‘Suits?’ I asked. ‘Never mind, let’s back up a moment; you still haven’t answered how it’s possible to have memories without possessing a physical brain.’

‘It’s possible because your memories aren’t in your brain; only the material impressions remain engraved there. Think of these imprints as an outer echo of the memory’s essence, adapted for the material plane of existence. These are recorded effects of your memories like inscriptions on the surface of a CD or vinyl record. They are not the music; they record the music that is played by the spirit. The music endures after the soul departs the body.’ 

‘Then where are the memories stashed?’ I asked. ‘They would have to be somewhere if not in the brain.’

‘And so they are,’ he said.  ‘Like a radiant wave, they dwell in an amorphous vibratory field we might describe as a cloud of universal consciousness.’

‘I’m not sure that’s much of a satisfactory answer,’ I said.

‘I understand why it might be difficult for you to accept you are more than your biological form since you associate you soul’s identiy with whatever memories are experienced in that body. Trust us; all your current experiences and memories will remain accessible to you in your immortal body long after your temporal form has expired.’

‘How’s that possible?’ I asked. ‘Unless there is a physical repository for memories, there can be no recall.’

‘It’s not the brain that creates consciousness any more than it creates memories; rather, it’s consciousness that creates wave patterns in the brain, as the science of neo-plasticity demonstrates.

‘Nevertheless, the brain’s ability to access memories or remain conscious is affected by biological limitations which becomes evident with ageing or brain injury… as with your brain’s current comatose condition. Regardless of memory loss, or the brain’s decomposition after death, memories remain in the universal field of consciousness, which may also be understood as existing within the Mind of God, since the Source is all there is or can be.’

‘That may be fine to believe if you’re religious,’ I said, ‘but I’m not. Instead, I would describe myself as an agonistic, so would prefer not to bring a hypothetical God into this. It’s not scientific.’

‘Regardless, reality is reality,’ he said, ‘whether you acknowledge it or not. Same goes for agnostics, atheists and mud wrestlers; no exceptions’ 

‘That’s jolly, and yet, in my reality, I would say one body is plenty enough. And, most obviously, this body is mine!’

‘Yes, of course, it is; still, isn’t it interesting you didn’t say this body is me, instead you said it is mine?’

‘Hmm, your right; I must be spending too much time with you and Eli.’

‘What you don’t seem understand,’ Mo said, ‘is that for you to dwell on this plane of existence, it was necessary for you to leave behind the density of your physical body.’

‘No respectable philosophical discipline would accept such a notion,’ I said.

‘No?’ Mo asked. ‘Well then, you may be surprised how many other traditions accept such beliefs, whether you consider them respectable or not. Even in the testament of the Christian scriptures, upon which Western civilisation was founded, the Apostle Paul relates a mysterious trip to the third heaven.[5] Nevertheless, he seemed a bit confused about what to make of his out-of-the-body experience since it was outside the purview of his old Pharisee order. Orthodox Jews didn’t teach such things in their temples, any more than in your current synagogues of higher learning today.

‘Many religions, particularly in the West, prefer not to acknowledge terms such as celestial body, astral travel, soul travel, out-of-body, or even near-death-experiences. That’s because their orientations are more outward expressions of instituted faith as evidenced with their shrines, temples, cathedrals, mosques, mass, liturgy, icons, priests and sacraments. 

‘Unfortunately, many of these organisations tend to be dismissive, or even hostile, towards direct encounters with Spirit.[6] Yet, many expressions of faith often involve nothing more than direct encounters with the divine. So, I find it ironic, if not surprising, how many religions oppose what ought to be the spiritual essence of their faith. 

‘In fact, some religions suggest any non-physical experiece must have something to do with the devil. As I’m sure you’re aware, they would burn anyone alive in the past who held contrary beliefs, so they may rid themselves of anything they didn’t believe. Not surprisingly, these purges remain in the Flatland universities. Even if they don’t burn bodies anymore, they wouldn’t hesitate to burn the reputation of any opponent who would defy whatever flat beliefs they consider most sacrosanct.

‘It’s amusing how closely both religious and atheist fundamentalists tend to be aligned when defending their prejudices against what’s inwardly spiritual. Maybe, it’s because both camps tend to reason from the same basic levels of cognitive development.[7] Perhaps this is why they prefer to employ words such as hallucination, psychosis when dismissing metaphysical manifestations of consciousness. 

‘If they knew how much their souls engage in nocturnal adventures while their bodies remain asleep, they might change their attitudes towards higher realms. Most likely, though, they wouldn’t since that’s never in the interest of the ego-mind.

‘As for you, James, your soul has awaken in this transcendent state of existence, it’s just that your mind hasn’t caught up to what your heart knows. Nevertheless, once you acknowledge your state of spiritual existence, you will feel even lighter, as you realise gravity is a weak force field of the earth plane construct that can easily be adapted to serve higher octaves of existence.’

Eli joined us now as we continued to walk to the far end of the ridge. He had just returned from gathering firewood from below the tree line. How he was able to do all this in a fraction of the time it should have required, I wasn’t sure. Again, I couldn’t be sure of anything here. What seemed abnormal to me was normal to them. Still, I wasn’t prepared to concede the unthinkable; the consequences were too extreme, not to mention bizarre.

‘Mo,’ I said, ‘I’ve often heard you and Eli use the term earth plane. As far as I know, I’m walking around on a plain called earth. So, tell me, what’s that supposed to mean?’

‘Let me answer that,’ Eli said. ‘You are walking on this earth, be it on plains, mountains or valleys. The difference is that you’re not presently walking on it with a body limited to the earth plane. I am referring to a plane of existence, not the geography where your emaciated body remains lying in some hospital in London.

‘And yet, you, qua you, the essential James, are not there; you’re here with us on this higher dimension. As this becomes more obvious, you will be able to do many interesting things when you accept you are no longer limited to the density of earth’s lower plane where the physical body remains, and always shall remain.’

‘Interesting things like what? I don’t see there’s a lot of interesting things to do here; not that I’m complaining.’

‘Well then,’ Mo said, ‘tell us what kind of things you’d like to do and where you might wish to go. Get creative, James; you can now fly anywhere you want, just like Peter Pan.’

‘Fly? What do you mean fly? I think I’ve already had enough of that while flying down the abyss. So, I have no intention to fly off anywhere until I arrive at the Santiago international airport.’

‘I don’t blame you,’ Eli said, ‘that really had to hurt; getting smashed about on the way down. Not you, your body. Anyway, as far as we know, there’s no need for you to fall into more chasms, at least for now, since there are better ways for you to get to where you need to go. We only ask that you cooperate with us so we can help you discover what’s available to you in this sphere!

‘You know, there are very few who get to experience anything like this. A once in a lifetime, afterlife type of adventure! Think of this as a sneak preview, even while your biological body remains alive on earth.’

‘Once in a lifetime, afterlife type of experience, what are you smoking, Eli?’

‘Probably a knock-off from the East,’ Mo said. ‘For whatever reason, Eli seems to enjoy that pungent East European taste. Still, whatever he’s smoking, won’t get you as high as this Summit. So, appreciate your time here, James. Before you know it, you could get slammed back into your body on the earth plane. Don’t be surprised if it feels as though you’ve been thrown into a body bag.

‘However, once you understand your body is an astonishing learning device, you will no longer feel so confined after you return to it. But let’s leave that for now; we need to get you up and flying.’

‘Yes, of course, I need to catch my flight back to Santiago so will leave first thing in the morning before I completely lose track of time.’

‘Should you ever try climbing again after returning to your body,’ Eli said, ‘it will be important for you to remember which form you’re in, especially when attempting to cross crevices. There might be serious consequences if you forget. For now, though, try jumping that chasm again. I’m sure you’d have much better luck this time. I dare you!’

‘That’s madness,’ I said. ‘I’m neither a bird nor Peter Pan!’

‘You don’t have to be either,’ Mo said, ‘since you are lighter and more agile than both. So, go ahead, James; try it. Compared to your biological body, which was constricted to what it could do, your flight down the chasm, being one such example, you now have the freedom to manoeuvre as you wish. The earth’s body serves several purposes, athough flying isn’t one of them. Nevertheless, that’s all changed for you now… you just don’t realize it yet.’

‘Many choose to be born on the earth plane,’ Eli said, ‘because it provides the soul with many physical obstructions that can only be experienced through the limitations of the carnal body. These encounters are often challenging but that’s how we discover what we want; by what we don’t want. These type of lessons could never have been learned if we remained unchallenged in the spirit domain.

‘That’s why we suspect you’re not nearly done with this most recent deployment on earth. When you return to your body in the frequency of the earth’s plane, you will have plenty of opportunities to discover many other lessons for your ongoing conscious expansion.

‘Once you’ve become enlightened, there will be much for you to contribute to humanity’s spiritual evolution in the years ahead. That will be the most significant challenge your life will ever be privileged to experience.

‘Should you answer the call,’ Mo said, ‘you will view life much differently, and most certainly, you won’t want to go back to the Flatlands, the Hill Country or the Lowlands, even while you remain there. Though you may be among them, you won’t be of them; only those who wish to see what you see will join in ascending the Mountain. In this contrast lies the perfect opportunity for you to advance, not alone, but in relationship with those of common vision.’

‘Tell me; you both kept going on, talking about the Lowlands, then it’s the Flatlands, and now you’re talking about the Hill Country. So, where in your fertile imagination, are these imaginary lands supposed to exist?’

‘After you return from your adventures in these lands, you will understand. Yes, they are metaphors, but more than just metaphors, they represent where you’ve lived most of your life. When you understand that, you will forever say goodbye to the swamps, bogs, ruts, flat deserts and thorny hills. Then this Summit will remain your dwelling, no matter where you lay your head on God’s green earth.’

‘You really are intent on taking this story about as far as you can, aren’t you?’

‘Probably not as far as where you will be going,’ he said.

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

‘If you knew who you are,’ he said, ‘you would already know.’

‘Wonderful, now you’re answering your riddles with more riddles. You must be making this stuff up as you go.’

‘And yet, isn’t that how our universe, as we experience it, comes into being?’ he asked.

I didn’t reply… wishing to give more thought to that before answering. Before returning to the cabin, we stopped where we had our first campfire. Or did I just imagine that? I sat down on a rock as Mo and Eli stood talking about something or another as they looked beyond the ridge.

They were pushing my credulity to the limits, expecting me to make sense of what made no sense and to believe that we somehow exist in an alternate dimension. What kind of fool did they take me to be?’

After a while, Mo turned to me and asked: ‘You look intent, James, what are you brooding about?’

I got up to my feet, feeling agitated as I pronounced most emphatically. ‘You know something, chaps; you’re both wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong! How can you expect me to believe anything you say? No matter how much you try to convince me otherwise, sure as bloody hell, I’m still in my body!’

‘You sure as bloody hell are,’ Mo said with a smile, ‘although more of your butterfly version than the caterpillar version. Even though you shed your exterior form, your essence remains the same; it can never die or become harmed since this body is of spirit and therefore remains immortal.

‘As we’ve said, there are many names that have accumulated over the centuries for the body’s more subtle forms. We simply call it your spiritual body because that’s what it is: a divine thought of Spirit. In whatever dimension you exist, this immortal body is derived from your spiritual essence. Therefore, it has no best-before date and never becomes stale-dated. Literally, it lasts forever.’

‘Nothing lasts forever,’ I said, ‘be it a body of a caterpillar or butterfly.’

‘Take our word for it,’ Eli said, ‘your new body will keep getting lighter and brighter as you continue towards higher realms of existence. It’s quite the opposite of how entropy over time debilitates the physical body, making it feel dark and heavy until it finally expires, often in suffering.’

‘Sure thing, Eli,’ I said, ‘always the metaphysician... almost as bad as Mo.’

After returning to the cabin, Eli made a pot of tea as we relaxed by the fireplace. Unfortunately, they didn’t let up, as they continued to go on about lofty esoterica that I didn’t understand or care to understand. It almost seemed they were trying to provoke me into reacting to what they were saying.

At last, I had enough and said: ‘Perhaps you both believe in the paranormal; in fact, I’m sure you do since it’s all you seem to talk about. To me, these speculations are an insult to my professional intelligence, especially when you tell me I have no brain. What a joke!’

I wasn’t in a credulous mood and so let them know I wasn’t about to be taken for a fool with more of their chicanery.

‘You know, I’m trained to be a rational sceptic, so I’m not about to be taken in by sacrificing hard logic for fantasy. I never do, except when women tell me they wear Victoria’s Secret lingerie.’

I could tell Eli was about to make some annoying remark. Before he could, however, Mo said, ‘all we ask is that you open your mind and keep it open long enough for us to prove to you that you are in a body that’s not subject to the limitations of the earth plane.

‘No matter how clever you are, you can’t learn anything by closing your mind to what’s possible. That’s as foolish as it is arrogant. Is that the kind of sceptic you pride yourself in being?’

That was below the belt… now I was angry. I had just been insulted, so I would not be taking part in this sham. Over the last few days, I had been subjected to enough of their bunkum. My intellectual sensibilities had been amply taxed; it was 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 rational, and that’s all that mattered, which was a lot more than I could say for them!

I got up and walked to the window in silence, staring blankly towards the Western Sierra. Then I turned around and said: ‘Sorry chaps, I’ve had enough for now. I’m from London, not Tibet. We believe much differently there, so these metaphysical speculations are of little interest to me.

‘Don’t let me stop you, though. Carry on… only without me. I need to be going; it’s already past when I planned to leave. Provided the old bus makes it back, I hope to see a few historic sites in Santiago before my flight.’

With that, I climbed to the loft, stuffed my belongings into my backpack, slung it over my shoulders, came down and headed directly to the door.

‘Cheers and salutations, gentlemen. If you’re ever in London, give me a call, and I’ll show you around my campus. I know a great pub where I’d be pleased to buy you a couple rounds of bitter; it’s the least I can do after all your generous hospitality.’

‘That would be most jolly,’ Eli said. ‘I’m sure we’ll see you soon… perhaps sooner than you think.’

‘Here,’ Mo said, ‘take a few provisions for your way down. You don’t need them, but since you think you do, help yourself. In as often as you partake of this banana bread, remember me,’[8] he smiled.

‘Adios amigos,’ I said as I walked out the door.

I made my way along the trail towards the westerly ridge as I glanced at my topographical map. This route would be much different; nevertheless, I was confident I’d be able to save at least half a day by taking advantage of the northwesterly slope where I’d be able to surf down at least 1,200 metres of scree before things dropped off. With my experience, I knew I could find a way down.

It was already mid-afternoon when I started, so after a few hours of descent, I was satisfied I was on course to find a small plateau where I would spend the night. It wouldn’t be too big a challenge, I thought, provided I could to find a way to the next ridge below.

As I carefully lowered myself down the jagged rocks, I had a few flashbacks of what I might have encountered while crossing a chasm not that long ago. Funny how I had put those dreadful scenes behind me, as though nothing had happened. And maybe it didn’t, though it seemed it had. I didn’t know; it could have all been a dream.

At least I was in great shape, so there was nothing to be concerned about. If I could survive that last fall without even a scratch, I should be able to survive almost anything. I was right about that, only for reasons I still didn’t understand.

When I got most of the way down the first drop, it occurred to me that I might be in trouble. Possibly a lot of trouble! In my haste, I became a bit careless while lowering my body down several ledges where it would be challenging to retreat if I had to. Without thinking, I slid part of the way down an escarpment, which might leave me no way up again if I couldn’t go down further.

Even if I could anchor it, my rope wouldn’t be nearly long enough. And with the rock being so sheer, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to climb back up. I tried not to be too concerned since I felt reasonably confident I could find a way down that wouldn’t be impossibly sheer.

As it turned out, I was wrong. There was no way down from there short of a parachute. Bloody hell, I thought, now what am I supposed to do? I found myself in a precarious position where I needed to retreat about thirty yards back up in hope of finding another way down. With some struggle, I scrambled partway towards the ridge to where I had lowered myself. I realised it wouldn’t be possible to climb up with the precipice being much too sheer and steep to get enough traction. 

‘Damn!’ I exclaimed to myself. To make things worse, the skies were darkening with thick storm clouds moving in from the Pacific. It might rain within an hour or less, I thought. By then, the sun would be down; not exactly where I had planned to encamp. Since there wasn’t much I could do about it, I’d have to wait for the sun to rise then try to figure something out.

In my miserable solitude that night in the rain, I attempted to distract myself by recounting all the strange things I had seen and experienced on the Summit. I couldn’t focus on anything for long before my fears would overwhelm me with despair. Would I remain stranded here until I died an abject death, condors picking away at my rotting flesh until there was nothing left? The only thing I could cling to was that I’d find some footing I hadn’t noticed before. It wasn’t the first time I was in a tight spot; still, I always found a way out.

By midday, I had exhausted every possible way out; up, down and across the precipice… I was hooped! I really should have planned this better. Unfortunately, my impulsive departure caused me to be careless. Before taking this route, I should have gone down the way I came up or at least studied the topography maps on this side of the mountain more thoroughly. 

It wasn’t exactly what Eli recommended, which is probably why I chose it. In any case, I didn’t find him that helpful in selecting which alternative might be best. It was as though he didn’t care or perhaps he wasn’t as knowledgeable as I wished to believe. 

Nevertheless, I should have listened to them more instead of flying off the handle as I did. Perhaps there was some truth to what they said. Yet the ontological implications of being in another dimension made me uncomfortable, causing me to dismiss most of what they tried to tell me.

I’m sure a less educated person, unskilled in critical thinking, might have accepted what they said. Not me, though, I knew too much. How could I ever bring myself to believe in such things as a spirit body? Even Yeshua’s resurrection story was likely just another myth contrived and perpetrated by Constantine’s newly instituted Latin Church.

After attempting every possible approach once again, I sat slumped on the ledge, helplessly watching the sun drop below the horizon for the second time. Feeling broken and defeated, the thought that I might be doomed became very real and frightening. I didn’t wish to die, since it seemed there remained much for me to accomplish in this life. I was never one to pray, except in jest to Zeus, just as I did before the infamous night of my wild dream. 

Instead of supplicating the gods, wherever they may be, I tried a technique to relax my mind. Unfortunately, I never was much good at meditation, even less so now in this dilemma.

I reasoned that even if there were a God out there somewhere, likely He’d have better things to do than conduct a Search and Rescue mission for a stranded philosopher in the Andes – especially one who didn’t always believe in Him. Judging from the pictures transmitted from the Hubble Telescope, the infinite cosmos seemed a sizeable area for any deity to manage.

It was another fitful night, and by sunrise, I resigned all hope of ever finding a way out alive. I decided to pray my agnostic prayer just in case someone up there was listening. The prayer wasn’t particularly elaborate, nevertheless, to the point: ‘HELP!’

Not surprisingly, the heavens remained brass just as I expected. It was most apparent; no one up there was listening. No one at all… except for…

‘Get yourself into a situation down there, matey?’

I looked up to see where the voice was coming from. Oh yes, there was someone up there, alright, though not quite as far as the heavens. Sitting about thirty yards above me was Eli, calmly taking a drag on a fag he held between his finger and thumb like some Bohemian, legs casually dangling over the ledge.

‘If I were you, I’d be getting concerned about missing the bus back to Santiago,’ he said with an impish grin. ‘If you insist on lounging about here all day, you might miss your flight too.’

‘Eli, what in bloody hell are you doing here?’

‘Obviously, I’m watching you! Mo and I noticed the route you had taken down and weren’t sure it was such a good idea, so I thought I’d check on you in case something happened. If I’m not mistaken, you appear to be stranded… or did you perhaps decide to camp here for a while?’

‘God, am I ever glad to see you!’

‘I’m Eli, although, I’m sure God would be happy to see you too if that’s the direction you wish to go.’

‘I hope you brought a rope,’ I said, yelling up to him. ‘We’re going to need at least fifty feet. And if you didn’t bring a belay anchor, you’ll need to tie it around your waist and brace yourself so that I can pull myself up.’

‘Sorry, James, I didn’t think to bring anything along except this pack of fags. Want one?’

‘No rope… that’s just smashing! So, now what are we supposed to do?’

‘You mean; what are you supposed to do?’ he asked, chuckling. Most apparently, he was enjoying himself.

‘I’ve already tried everything I could,’ I said.

‘Have you tried jumping back up? You must have jumped down, so why not try jumping up again. I can’t believe you didn’t think of that by now.’

‘That’s brilliant, Eli, jump straight up in the air onto your ledge! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that... are you crazy?’

‘Why not try it; don’t you think you’re up to it?’

‘Eli, this is no time for your stupid word games. Can’t you just go back to the cabin and find me a rope… quickly. I don’t want to have to spend another night here.’

‘I’m not sure if we have a rope, and certainly no anchors. But don’t worry; I’ll give you a hand.

‘James, look over there… what’s that, a condor?’

‘Where?’ I asked as I turned. ‘There’s no condor.’ When I looked up, he wasn’t there. Instead, he was standing behind me, fag still hanging out the side of his mouth.

‘What the… how in bloody hell did you get here? I didn’t see you come down, and I was standing right here.’

‘I jumped,’ he said.

‘Brilliant, Eli! Now we’re both doomed, you cretin. What were you thinking?’

‘Didn’t I say I’d give you a hand? But not necessarily an applause.’

He must have thought he was being funny, although I failed to see the humour, considering how we were now both stranded.

‘Here, take your backpack and grab on to my hand as we jump back up.’

Even though I didn’t understand what this was about, I clasped his outstretched hand. He laughed, obviously amused at the bewildered look on my face.

‘Okay, James, all I need you to do is empty your mind and focus on where I was sitting above. That’s where I’m going. You’re invited to come along if you wish.’

Before I could ask what he meant, he said, shouting: ‘Get ready, James, here we go!’

And sure enough, we did go, instantly, straight up to where he had been sitting. I was in shock.

‘Jesus Christ! Who are you?’ I asked, feeling both relieved and confused.

‘That’s a question you might consider asking him someday. For now, however, don’t confuse us; I’m not your saviour, just a companion who gave you a hand when you needed it.’

‘Sure, of course,’ I said. ‘Yet what you just did, Eli… that was impossible.’

‘So it might seem. But no, James, it’s what you did. In taking my hand, even at that moment, you opened yourself to what might be possible. Although, you could have done the same had you realized what you were capable of doing in this dimension.’

‘I’m not so sure about that,’ I said. ‘That had to be some mind trick; what else could it be?’

‘What else? Ah, James, has not everything Mo and I told you now become apparent? Most would have twigged on to that by now. At least those not filled with preconceived philosophical beliefs on how things can and cannot be. Just think about it, or perhaps don’t think about it since that seems to be your problem… you think too much! 

‘Nevertheless, let’s be on our way now; we can talk more about all this after we return to the cabin. By the way, Mo said he’d have dinner ready for us.’

‘That would be splendid. So, how did he know I might return?’

‘I told him. Hope you like baked Yorkshire pudding with simulated beef and gravy, better than you’ve ever tasted.’

‘Yes, of course,’ I said. I didn’t know what to say; what more was to be said? After being rescued from such a frightening ordeal, I wasn’t about to argue about the dinner menu. I would have preferred to carry on with my descent, except I wasn’t going to be able to continue this same way down. I’d have to go up a long distance before finding a better route.

Though I was humbled, I wasn’t ready to come to terms with what just occurred on the ledge. The physics of natural law had been violated, along with my rational sensibilities!

As we commenced our long, arduous scramble back up to the summit, I could hardly believe how effortlessly Eli scampered up the slopes and even the precipices. It hardly seemed possible. After waiting for me to catch up, I remarked that he must participate in Triathlon competitions to be in such excellent shape.

‘James, I know you are a bright man, and I respect your cognitive prowess, so when are you going to get it? I just transported you up the ledge, and now you’re taken aback watching me scramble effortlessly up the precipices. It’s always the clever ones who have difficulty in accepting what should be obvious since they’re too full of their intellectual clutter to see things as they are or could be.

‘Most certainly, I’m in excellent shape. I can’t be otherwise. You don’t need to train to be an ironman when ironman is what you are. And you know something else? So are you! Why keep pretending you’re not by making this a lot more difficult than it needs to be. There’s no reason to be lagging. We should have made it back to the cabin long ago; hopefully, our dinner won’t be cold.’

Yet, I couldn’t do it! My beliefs about gravity determined that I must claw my way back up the only way I knew how. It was humiliating to see him continually waiting for me to catch up. Of course, he could have slackened his pace, however, it seemed he wanted to make a point of this.

But what if, as he suggested, I had these same abilities? Not possible! Even if he could, I was no comic book hero that went around defying the laws of gravity.

After several hours of struggling back up the Mountain, we finally arrived at the cabin; a most welcomed sight considering all I had been through. As I stepped through the door, I felt a bit sheepish, considering how indecorously I had exited. Still, Mo greeted graciously.

‘It’s too bad you had so much trouble the last couple of days,’ he said as we sat down at the table. ‘Just before you left, we were about to give you a little demonstration that could have saved you a lot of trouble.’

‘Perhaps we can give you some training in the morning,’ Eli said. ‘Meanwhile, dig in, James.’

Later that night, after retiring to my loft, I thought about how we, as humans, resist what should be evident if it weren’t for all our preconceived ideas. This seems to be especially true if someone tries to convince us of something contrary to our established beliefs. And triple that for anyone like me who takes pride in being right about everything. That’s why we’re sceptics.

Even after all that occurred to me the last couple of days, including my rescue, all I could think of was how Eli must have tricked me. Though I sought a rational explanation, I couldn’t come up with any; my entrenched beliefs wouldn’t permit me to consider the possibility of an alternate, more expansive description of natural law.

Or was it possible that our physical laws were not as immutable as I thought? What if they were subject to other laws that both transcended and included them, instead of negating what we call natural law? If so, then my small universe would need to expand into much greater spaciousness.

The next morning, after breakfast, Mo and Eli led me along the eastern portion of the Summit ridge where we first met. They didn’t tell me why we went there. Nevertheless, I suspected this was where they would try to demonstrate their voodoo to me.

Since I still felt defensive about not having an explanation for what happened yesterday, I was in no mood for whatever they were contriving. Yet, I hadn’t forgotten how Eli saved my life yesterday. So, for now, I would go along with their charade.

‘Today, James, you’re going to learn how to fly,’ Mo said. ‘It’s part of the entrance requirements for Summit U. to receive admission into our post-doctorate programme.’

‘No offence, Mo,’ I said, ‘but I’m not sure I wish to be admitted.’

‘You soon will, however,’ he said, ‘once you learn what we’re about to teach you. So, to make this easier, let’s start with the basics. Begin with picturing yourself sitting on that stump beside the big rock past the shrub. It’s a very solid stump that’s not going anywhere. In fact, nothing is going anywhere except you. Now imagine for a moment that your body can be repositioned wherever you wish. Remember, this exercise it’s not limited to the laws of the third dimension of earth’s frequency. That’s why you can do this.

‘With that, Eli will now instruct you in how to deport your body, just like you did yesterday, only this time you’re going to do it on your own. There’s nothing difficult about this. It’s like being transported, except no transition is involved since there’s no in-between getting from here to there. There is no getting; you’re just there. It’s instant!’

‘In fact,’ Eli said, ‘electrons do it all the time. If you’re up on your physics, you will know you are essentially comprised these entangled energy units, regardless of what body you’re in. As a philosopher, you should know that.’

‘I’m not exactly sure what you have in mind with this exercise; it sounds like another mind game causing me to become susceptible to your suggestions. I know you’re both very good at doing that.

‘Well, I suppose, after what you did for me yesterday… however you managed it, I’m willing to play along. So now, what am I supposed to do?’

‘Start by relaxing. That’s important to get you in the right zone. Then take a few deep breaths and let go of whatever doubts remain. Next, I want you to imagine your body in another location. Envision where you wish to dispatch it provided you don’t think about getting up and walking over there. Any such notion of a physical transition would only defeat the purpose.’

‘You want me to go to that stump over there without any in-between? That’s most amusing.’

‘Was it amusing when we relocated off the ledge yesterday?’ Eli asked. ‘Do you remember any in-between there?’

‘Okay,’ I said, ignoring his comment, ‘so what if I wish to go somewhere else?’

‘Go anywhere you like,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter. But to get you started, let’s begin with you envisioning yourself on that stump by the big rock.’

‘Are you serious? That’s a long way!’

‘It’s less than thirty yards across, James, and it’s not even straight up like yesterday. Go ahead! What are you afraid of?’

It was becoming increasingly apparent the laws of reality had shifted for me, still, I wasn’t about to admit I had been wrong about almost everything I thought I knew. My education had been too long and expensive to capitulate to them. Again, I wondered if I was on a drug trip. At least that would be more palatable than finding I was in the company of two spooks, even though everything pointed to it. Worse yet, what would that make me? I didn’t want to think about that. 

Mo stood gazing sternly at me as if to provoke me into making a move.

‘Just do it,’ he said, ‘It’s not like we’re asking you to jump across the chasm. You already tried that, albeit not so successfully. However, if you get this right, you might want to try doing it again. At least the landing would be much softer.’

‘I’d prefer not to consider that possibility,’ I said with some annoyance.

I didn’t like being taunted into some trick that was ostensibly designed to prove Newton wrong, and with that, me too. Why had I allowed myself to fall into their scheme? I asked myself.

‘I have an idea, Eli,’ I said. ‘Why don’t you try it instead? From what I could see yesterday, you’re very good at such manoeuvres! If there’s something to this, then maybe I can learn from that.’

‘I’d prefer that you go first, James,’ he said. ‘I don’t need more practice… you do. If you don’t experience this directly, how are you going to learn? Your sceptical mind will always rationalise things away if you don’t do it yourself. Probably it would tell you it was just an optical illusion like on the magician’s stage. Worse still, you would probably believe your mind instead of your eyes.’

Having exhausted my attempts to evade this exercise, I had no choice other than to be a coward. These blokes had me and weren’t about to give me an honourable way out.

‘Sure, why not? I’ll go along with your sport, then maybe later we can take turns playing Make Believe as children do. So, what is it you want me to do?’

‘What Mo and I just said; stop thinking and see yourself standing by the stump. Intend it; then believe it is so. That’s all you need do, nothing more.’

I was about to make up a shaman incantation in jest but didn’t get the chance. I must have imagined myself standing on the stump by the big rock, because suddenly there I was… instantly!

I was shocked, even more than yesterday, since I apparently did it myself. I had just performed my first impossible stage trick… except it was no trick.

‘Holy (bleep)! Did I just do that?’ I exclaimed from where I was standing.

‘Cool, eh?’ Eli said.

‘Bloody hell… how could this have happened? And yet, most evidently, it did. Imagine that; I just broke Newton’s most established law!’

‘Why not,’ Mo said, ‘Newton doesn’t have a whole lot of sway in these parts, although Heisenberg sure does!’[9]

‘Okay,’ Eli said, ‘now try to make your way back here to where you were. As you said earlier: Wherever you go, there you are.’

‘Sure, no problem,’ I said laughing, wholly caught up in my new hop-skip game, fascinated with the lightness of my newfound agility. I did it! I now had to set my intellectual pride aside and re-consider my old ontologies. For now, I didn’t care.

‘Okay, now let’s step things up,’ Mo said. ‘And I mean really up. See if you can levitate. Yogis do it all the time, even in their physical bodies.’

I was beginning to feel like Luke Skywalker being instructed by Yoda with his gravity-defying exercises. The movie scene came to mind as I imagined floating up somewhere above where I was standing. ‘Okay, here goes. WHOO-HOO! Look at me!’ I yelled, ‘up here over the tree!’ (One of the few stunted trees growing on the Summit). ‘So, how am I supposed to get down?’

‘You could climb down the tree,’ Eli said, ‘or how about coming down the way you went up by simply intending it; it’s as easy as that. The will is of the spirit, and so the body must respond because the body is the spirit.’

‘Ah, yes, coming down now! Oh, that was fast, and this time I didn’t even smash my head against the rocks! Houston, the Eagle has landed! That was bizarre: like being an eagle.’

‘Or Peter Pan,’ he said. ‘I bet you’ve never been on a high like that before,’ he chuckled.

‘Really nothing to it,’ I said. ‘I didn’t even have to flap my wings to get from here to there. That technique would be handy back at my flat; I wouldn’t even have to climb the stairs.’

‘It’s more a natural state of your spiritual being than just a technique,’ Mo said.

‘Never thought of myself as a spiritual being,’ I said, chuckling.

‘It’s hard not to be spiritual when that’s what you are,’ Eli said. ‘We agree, you’re not exactly a saint, although you now have something in common with a saint. Ever hear of Saint Teresa of Ávila?’[10]

‘Yes, I remember hearing about this Spanish mystic from the medieval era. I haven’t read her works, but I understand she had some profound things to say… at least for the devout.’

‘Indeed, she did,’ he said. ‘Yet, what you just did took her several years to achieve. Not that she intentionally worked at levitating; likely, it came as a natural result of her sublime devotion and openness to God’s Spirit. Many purported to witness her levitating during mass: quite the accomplishment at that time in history.

‘She wasn’t the only one, though,’ Mo said. ‘It happens to various mystics, albeit rarely. I once saw this for myself while I was walking through a square in Rome. I’ll tell you about it sometime.’[11]

‘That’s most interesting; I wonder if I’ll be able to do that when I return to my physical body.’

‘It might be worth a try.’ Eli said. ‘You could give a little demonstration to your colleagues during a faculty meeting sometime. Just think, for once, you could talk down to them just by perching yourself a few feet in the air.’

‘That’s a great idea, Eli. Finally, they’d have to look up to me. Still, I’m not sure I want to be perceived as a curio or circus freak since I’m already considered to be a bit of an oddity in the department, so it might be embarrassing if word ever got out about my talent.’

‘Don’t worry; what happens on this side stays on this side,’ Eli said. ‘I suspect; however, you will be your own greatest sceptic when you receive glimmerings of what happened here.’

‘That’s because this could seem more like a dream of a dream,’ Mo said. ‘Likely, your mind will entrap these memories in an intricate web of clever rationalisations. Even if you could, I doubt you would wish to levitate as you just did unless your students get bored with your lectures.’

‘If I’m not careful, I might soon get into big trouble from all your bad influence.’

‘That’s quite possible,’ he said, ‘especially when you become aware of what you did here. Instead of going about suspending your body in mid-air, we suggest you suspend your doubts about what you just did here, along with everything else you are about  to learn.’

‘I can hardly believe this,’ I said. ‘That was unbelievable. So, tell me, how did you get my body to do that?’

‘We had nothing to do with it except to tell you what to do,’ Eli said. ‘You had to make it happen since we can’t convince you of anything you don’t wish to believe. Though we did a little prodding, in the end, it was you who created a small wedge of belief, allowing you to make this leap. Perhaps we should call it a leap of faith. Had it not been demonstrated yesterday, I’m not sure you would have because of your doubts.’

‘Yes, I guess I did make the leap, both literally and figuratively. You blokes win; looks like I’m as out of my body as I’m out of my mind. So then, whatever became of gravity in all this?’

‘As you just observed,’ Mo said, ‘you don’t need to experience gravity if you don’t wish to since it’s part of the earth plane’s frequency, not ours. As such, it’s an expectation you have and therefore continue to maintain. Regardless, the spirit body can never be constrained by this force field. Rather, it can only be clawed back to the extent we wish to remain grounded.

‘The fact is, no one knows what gravity is, just that there seems to be some magnetic force that keeps things from floating away. Most of your world’s understanding of gravity seems to relate more to what it does than what it is. And yet, for a moment you were able to unshackle your belief in gravity’s attraction by allowing yourself to experience this alternate reality.

‘Because of this,’ Eli said, ‘some scientists consider gravity to be a transduced form of electromagnetic energy required to sustain life on earth. Did you know electromagnetism is 1037 more powerful than what is called gravity. Talk to any physicist you wish about this phenomenon; they have few answers, only a lot of questions.’[12]

‘Had you insisted that you remained in your material body,’ Mo said, ‘teleporting would not have been possible. Still, your soul knew more than your mind would admit. That’s why, once you allowed yourself, you were able to accomplish this with relative ease. It’s also why we didn’t try to get you to do this earlier. Your beliefs would have caused you to fail, and you may never have tried again. We first needed to open you up, and so yesterday’s lift off the ledge helped soften your mind, albeit with some resistance.’

‘Now, for as long as you remain here,’ Eli said, ‘your spirit body is free of the earth’s forces, so there are no limits to where you can go. Even since your metamorphosis into a spirit body, you were always free; it’s just that you didn’t know it. Very few in the world today have the mental skills to transport themselves beyond their physical bodies. Nevertheless, it can be done and continues to be done by a few advanced souls. Some can even bi-locate.’

‘Bi-locate, what’s that?’

‘We can get into that later,’ Mo said, ‘since you’re likely not ready for more exotic feats at this time. You should know, there are advanced souls on earth who have learned to manifest in more than one location at a time simply by splitting their consciousness, even while remaining in the flesh. And best of all, they can do it all without having to fall down an abyss,’ he chuckled.

‘Are you saying there might be better ways to accomplish what I did?’

‘Probably, but not for you. Your crude approach might have been the only way for you to shake off your physical body to enter this dimension. A bit dramatic, perhaps, or should I say traumatic. Still, you got here.’

I had to face it; these revelations about my body would change everything in my world. I wouldn’t have been able to do what I just did if it weren’t true.

Hard to believe, yet it seemed Newton’s rules weren’t the only game in town, at least not on this Summit. It was apparent that I would have no choice but to accept this strange alternative state of existence as my own. A reality I hadn’t asked for… or had I?

 

ENDNOTES



[1] This was an unfamiliar word to me until I heard Mo use the term. It has to do with a place replete with presence, evoking awe and even mystical resonance.  
[2] Peter D. Ouspensky (1878-1947), the Russian philosopher-mathematician, writes in this book, ‘I have called this system of higher logic Tertium Organum because for us it is the third canon - third instrument - of thought after those of Aristotle and Bacon. The first was the Organon, the second, Novum Organum. But the third existed earlier than the first.’
[3] I've elaborated on this in Book Two, Chapter 13, First Stop, The Flatland Plains
[4] In reference to Thomas Mann’s book of this same name.
[5] I believe Mo was referring to the passage: ‘I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago-whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows-such a man was caught up to the third heaven… and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.’ 2 Cor. 12:2-4
[6] Of course, Mo would be the first to agree that many mystical traditions exist within these religions, such as with Muslim Sufism, Jewish Hasidism and Christian Gnosticism, along with many other esoteric expressions.
[7] I refer here to Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development in conjunction with the theorems contained in James Fowler’s Stages of Faith (1981).
[8] This may have been an indirect reference to a statement in the Eucharist.
[9] In reference to physicist Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, which was central to the development of quantum theory in the early twentieth century.
[10] Saint Teresa of Ávila, the Spanish mystic of the sixteenth century, was observed to have levitated during mass on certain occasions while in a mystical state of consciousness.
[11] Mo later told me about this incident, which I will relay in the next chapter.
[12] One such example would be Carlo Rovelli, an Italian theoretical physicist, head of the Quantum Gravity group at the Centre de Physique Theorique of Aix-Marseille University. He is also the author of Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity

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Links to other posted chapters in Elysium's Passage: The Ascent

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

Chapter One
https://digitalbloggers.com/.../Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-One   

Chapter Two
https://digitalbloggers.com/.../Elysiums-Passage-Chapter-Two   

Chapter Three
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and.../chapter-three   

Chapter Four
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and.../chapter-four  

Chapter Five
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-five 

Chapter Six
https://digitalbloggers.com/arts-and-entertainment/the-ascent-chapter-six