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. It seemed they were beginning to wear me down, although I wasn’t about to be convinced that I was occupying anything but my physical body. In any case, I looked forward to having a sound sleep that night to subliminally 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 still couldn’t understand why or where they wandered off to at night; it didn’t make sense. But then, it didn’t have to since nothing else did. At least that much was predictable! I felt tempted to trail behind them to see where they were going but then decided against it should 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 some vertigo from what my memory evoked. But were the scenes any more real than the dream I remembered? As I attempted to dismiss what kept reappearing on my mental screen, I wondered if there might have been some hallucinogenic placed in my drink How else could I explain this near-fatal fall with my body remaining unscathed? Possibly I hadn’t fallen at all but only 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. If in the end, however, what they said proved to be accurate, it would mean I was wrong about my experiences here and most everything I believed. Then nothing could ever remain the same for me; my life would forever remain 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 still 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 my body was about as unblemished as I could remember, 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, however, if it meant even my body, in all its present splendour and perfection, wasn’t my normal body.

For now, though, I didn’t wish to vex myself any more with such questions; my mind already was too frazzled to process more mysteries. Had I somehow stumbled into an alternate dimension in space? What if this Mountain was actually 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.

Though my body didn’t feel fatigued like my mind, still I slipped between the covers of my bed, not sure if I would be able to sleep. And 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 only an option.

‘Yes, I most certainly did,’ I said, ‘as though 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 consciousness mind than you’re aware. You will require plenty more 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, but 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, and yet everything tastes so extraordinary 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, but I may not make it back in time for my classes. Still, I would like to find out what went on with that 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.’

‘It is a great spot,’ I agreed. ‘I don’t know how you two mountaineers came across an alpine cabin with such character. I can hardly imagine a more inspiring place.’

I walked around the cabin, this time 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, with 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 where there was 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? But then, curiously, I hadn’t required such facilities since I arrived. Considering the amount of food and drink I had consumed here, that was 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, although 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 certain of was that if I asked, I’d get an uncertain answer. For now, though, it didn’t matter; this was the kind of retreat I always dreamed of owning. Perhaps one day I would own a retreat like this somewhere in the Swiss Alps.

But it still bothered me how it could have come to be built at this location so long ago, considering how far it was above the tree line. There was no rational explanation I could think of. From what I could tell, it must have been built at least a hundred years ago.

‘How in Jove could these logs have been hauled up here to construct this place?’ I asked. ‘It would have been impossible for horses or mules to scale these escarpments. Even an experienced climber like me was barely able to make it up here.’

‘I’m sure there must have been some way,’ he said, as he turned the sizzling bacon over with an old spatula. ‘Perhaps this cabin doesn’t even exist on the earth plane’s spectrum. Did you think about that?’

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

‘But 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 make you wonder why you didn’t see this fine edifice,’ he said. ‘Considering you wouldn’t have been more than fifty yards away, it would have been rather difficult not to notice, wouldn’t you say?’

‘Are you suggesting this cabin just popped into existence out of nowhere? And with what magician’s wand? Don’t forget as I was nearing the summit; I became distracted by what I imagined were voices in the air along with what appeared to be brilliant orbs of light on the peak. I remember I was exhausted and perhaps a bit delirious from not having adjusted to the rarified air. Still, I admit, it seems peculiar how I could have missed seeing this cabin. But then, it’s not the only mystery up here.’

‘It need not be 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 you couldn’t see before. We understand though; it’s not always easy to let go of entrenched beliefs.

‘It’s only been a few days since you were released from the limitations of the third dimension and 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. And so, for you to experience this expanded awareness, you will need to shift from the prejudices of your old paradigms of belief so 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 of this new reality you’re experiencing,’ Mo said. ‘That would be like a fish shutting its gills from the seawater. Where you are now, my friend is still on earth; yet you are no longer of the earth. Nor are you of the old norms that had you bound. But then, you never were all that normal, were you?’ he chuckled. ‘And even less so now that you are on a new grid, one that will suit you better in your current state. Without your mortal body holding you back, your spirit can function in 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 our world,’ Eli said. ‘You’re going to love it here.’

That was an unsettling thought I had no desire to pursue. But was I really living in some disembodied state of existence I had always denied? Incredulous… I would have nothing of it.

‘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.’

‘What, you don’t think I’m a good cook?’ Eli asked. ‘I’ll show you, but then, in all honesty, anyone can be a five-star chef here… there’s not much to it.’

‘Then perhaps you could teach me so I can get an honest job back home. Perhaps it would earn me more money than what I 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 with them the various routes I had been 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, but I didn’t understand why since I had much to learn about time, space, and the physics of non-locality.

‘I appreciate the offer Mo, but I really should be on my way while the weather’s still 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. Yet, I remained hesitant about leaving when there were so many unresolved questions from what I had witnessed here. It might drive me bonkers later if I didn’t get some real answers rather than just speculate on what happened.

‘Perhaps you’re right, Mo,’ I said. ‘A little more time to plan a proper route down may prove helpful in getting down quicker 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.’

‘If you give us the opportunity,’ Eli said, ‘we could show you a short cut 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.

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. However, 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 the empirical interlocutions of my university colleagues. My new companions here, however, didn’t seem to care about following 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 remembered coming across a book called Tertium Organum by P.D Ouspensky, a Russian mathematician and writer.[2] He wrote this book while in Moscow just 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 at the time; busy with other things, so 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, and so it’s no wonder you had such difficulty in 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 was able to grasp this novel exemplar, and 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 still 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 distracted as I suggested, or was it because there was nothing there to see? A most preposterous notion!

But here, on this mysterious mountain, where time seemed to have little meaning, and where things such as wine and food magically materialised out of nowhere, then why not a cabin too? Impossible; yes! But perhaps not so impossible if you accepted the criteria for what Mo and Eli were saying: that being the existence of a higher domain of reality.

As they continued to work on me, I hardly bothered to argue with them. What was the use when it was easier to nod my head and smile? Besides that, I noticed that space and time felt differently, causing me to wonder how long ago it had been since I actually had my fall. Was it a few days ago or was it weeks, as Mo suggested? It was as though someone was playing with the hourglass, or was it my mind?

It was reasonable to speculate that the fall could have done something like this to my brain, where time may seem to take on a strange 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 Magic Mountain.[4] I had many questions and concerns about what was going on, including their extraordinary view of reality.

Eli hadn’t returned with the firewood yet, so Mo suggested we take a short hike along the Summit. While we climbed up to the ridge, he said, ‘Eli and I were wondering if you still have any questions about how you’re experiencing your new life here with us now.’

Had he been reading my mind? I wondered.

‘Of course,’ I said. Most emphatically! Ever since I got here, I’ve asked you and I Eli about a lot of things without getting any straight answers.’

‘But, James, haven’t things become blatantly evident by now? Have we not constantly been telling you that you now exist as an immortal spirit body, even while your mortal physical earth body remains convalescing in London? What would you like to know?’

‘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, however, everything else will make sense to you. So why do you still find our words so hard to believe?’

‘Because they make no logical sense,’ I said, almost shouting in frustration. ‘It’s simply not possible for anyone to exist outside a biological body. That’s the issue.

‘As I keep saying, one might hallucinate they are outside the body, but such experiences are only mental projections of what’s occurring within the brain and nothing more. You don’t go anywhere; the trip is just an illusion. And so, whatever paranormal experiences I might seem to have up here are a result of my brain being knocked about on my fall down.’

‘I see,’ Mo said. ‘It would appear then, that you don’t actually have any 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, but at least they’re based on facts,’ I said.

‘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 the 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, 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.

‘Those with the narrowest perspectives on earth are primarily those who recognise only surface appearances of material existence, rather than the higher dimension of what might be called spiritual. Third-dimensional matter is all they see, and so that’s what blinds them from knowing what else is out there.

‘However, all temporal/material experiences are derived from Spirit, since Source is all that is. That’s why spiritual reality is infinitely expansive, far beyond what can be imagined, which is what scares so many into living small insular lives in their material worlds. It’s a shame, though, 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 me help open things up for you by reconfirming your current state of existence since we much prefer you not to remain so confused about everything. But before you can understand anything, you must realize 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.

‘And so, let me state to you once again, most emphatically, your current state of existence with us is not a dream or hallucinatory experience. This will become more than obvious when you visit your body in London.’

‘But then,’ I said, ‘what is it, if not body, that’s having these experiences I’m experiencing? It seems you have forgotten the question of individuation. How would it be possible to have a conscious identity while outside the boundaries of a body?’

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

 ‘Yes, that would be a huge epistemic problem,’ I said.

‘Remember, it’s consciousness 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 a spirit body since it exists as the embodiment of your consciousness.

‘You believe that only the reflection of what you observe in a mirror is you. But it’s not your identity, just its expression. 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.

‘I understand it still might be difficult for you to accept you’re not in your biological suit since your memories are associated with what you experienced in that body. However, recognize that all your current experiences and memories will remain accessible to you in this spirit body long after your temporal form has expired.’

‘Let’s back up a moment,’ I said. ‘You still didn’t answer how it would be possible for me to have memories without having a physical brain.’

‘It’s possible because your memories aren’t in your head; only the material impressions remain engraved there. Think of these as an outer echo of the memory’s essence. And of course, these brain imprints are 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.

‘No more than memories being composed of brain meat,’ he said. ‘By the way, materialists don’t appreciate hearing such frank talk about the brain since they find it offensive.’

‘It does seem rather disrespectful,’ I said. ‘Why not give full credit for the wonders it performs.’ 

‘The wonderment shouldn’t be for what it does,’ Mo said, ‘but how it does it. Consciousness may create brain patterns, as the science of neo-plasticity demonstrates, but the brain can’t create consciousness, no more than it can create memories.

‘Understand that the brain’s ability to access memories, or remain conscious is easily affected by its biological limitations, which becomes evident with ageing or brain injury… as with your currently comatose brain. 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 for you to believe if you’re religious,’ I said. ‘But I’m not. With few exceptions in the past, I would describe myself as an agonistic.’

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

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

‘Of, course it is, but it’s most interesting you didn’t say that body is me, just that it is mine.’

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

‘What you don’t yet understand,’ Mo said, ‘is that for you to be here with us, you had to leave the dense body behind.’

‘I know of no respectable philosophical discipline which would accept such a notion,’ I said.

‘No?’ Mo asked. ‘Well, you may be astounded by how many traditions accept these 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] He seems a bit confused, however, about what to make of an out-of-the-body experience he had since it was outside the purview in his Jewish order of Pharisees. 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 astral body, astral travel, soul travel, out-of-body, or even near-death experiences. That’s because their orientations are more outward expressions of institutional faith. Is this not evidenced with all the shrines, temples, cathedrals, mosques, mass, liturgy, icons, priests, sacraments, sacred literature, and literalist eschatology?

‘Unfortunately, many of these organisations tend to be dismissive, or even hostile, towards purported mystical encounters with the Spirit.[6] And yet these non-institutionalized experiences involve nothing more than expressing one’s spiritual relationship with the divine. That’s a generalisation, of course, but I find it ironic, if not surprising, how many in religion oppose what ought to be the very intent of religion. 

‘In fact, some believe any non-physical expression 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 still occur in the Flatland universities. Though they don’t burn bodies anymore, they won’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. But then, 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 or no words at all 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, you are now more awake in this transcendent state of existence than you have ever been. It’s just that your mind has yet to get caught up with what your heart knows since the mind is always the last to know of anything with spiritual significance. However, 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, but then, as I’ve said before, I couldn’t be sure of anything here. What was abnormal to me was considered 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 walking on it at this time with a body that’s limited to the earth plane. We are referring to a plane of existence, not the geography where your emaciated body remains lying in some hospital in London.

‘But you, qua you, the essential James, are not there; you’re here with us on this on a higher dimension. And 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, after-life type of experience! 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.

‘And yet, your physical body won’t feel confining once you understand its purpose since it’s designed to be a wonderful learning device on earth. But let’s leave that for now; first, we need to get you up and flying.’

‘Yes, of course, I really need to make my way back for my flight back to London. I should leave the summit in the morning before I completely lose track of time. Maybe it’s the thin air, but time seems rather elusive up here.’

‘Should you go mountain climbing again after you return home,’ Eli said, ‘it will be important for you to remember which body you’re in, especially when attempting to cross crevices. There could be a serious consequence if you forget. But for now, 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, but flying isn’t one of them. That’s all changed now… you just don’t know 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, and yet through them, we discover what we want by experiencing what we don’t want. These are lessons that 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 learn many other lessons for your ongoing conscious expansion.

‘Yet, it’s not just about learning. 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, 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. And in this contrast lies the perfect opportunity for you to advance, not alone, but in relationship with those of common vision.’

‘Tell me, Eli, you kept going on about the Lowlands, then the Flatlands, and now you’re talking about the Hill Country. So where, in your fertile imagination, do these imaginary lands exist?’

‘You’ve already been to these places,’ he said, ‘but when you return from your adventures here, you will understand what they mean. Yes, they are metaphors, but more that just metaphors, they have been your reality. 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 are intent on taking this story of yours about as far as you can, aren’t you?’

‘But that’s 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 where you’re going.’

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

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

I didn’t reply… I would have to think about that before answering, but not right now. Just 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. ‘But more in a butterfly version than in your caterpillar version. 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, but 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, but continued to go on about lofty esoteric matters I didn’t understand or care to understand. It almost seemed they were trying to provoke me into saying or doing something defiant.

At last, I had 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. But to me, these speculations are an insult to my intelligence, especially when you tell me I have no brain. What a joke! Even if you’re saying I have an etheric brain, I’m not sure that makes any sense either.’

‘No, you’re right, it doesn’t,’ Mo said. ‘So, allow us to once again explain to you why what we’re saying is no joke.’

‘No joke?’ I aske. ‘Are you saying flying like Dumbo or to go about like the Tinman is no joke?’

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

‘You know, I was trained with hard logic to be a sceptic, and so I seldom sacrifice rational beliefs for fantasy; in fact, I never do, except for certain women wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie.’

Grinning, I could tell Eli was about to make some remark but before he had a chance, 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. A sceptic can’t learn anything by remaining closed to what’s possible. That’s as foolish as it is arrogant. Is that the kind of sceptic you pride yourself in being: foolish and arrogant?’

That was below the belt… now I was angry. I had just been insulted and so 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 taxed most amply, and so 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, but I think I’ve about had enough of your incorporeal gyrations. I’m not from Tibet but London. You know, we believe much differently there; more soundly. Truth be known, your esoteric musings don’t interest me all that much.

‘But don’t let me stop you, please carry on… but without me. I need to be going now; it’s already past the time I planned to leave. Provided the old bus makes it all the way to the city, I still hope to see a few historic sites in Santiago before my flight.’

With that, I climbed to the loft, stuffed my belongings in my backpack, slung it over my shoulders, came down and headed directly to the door. ‘Cheers and salutations for everything, gentlemen. If you’re ever in London, give me a call, and I’ll show you around. I know a great pub where I’d be delighted to buy you a couple of rounds of bitter: the least I can do that much after 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 still think you do, help yourself. In as often as you partake of this banana bread, remember me,’[8] he laughed.

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

I made my way along the trail towards the westerly ridge as I glace at my topographical map. This route would be much different, but 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 was able 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.

But at least I was in great shape, and 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 didn’t yet 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. Still, I tried not to be concerned, since I felt reasonably confident, I could find a way down that wouldn’t be too precipitous.

But 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 rather difficult position. I needed to retreat about thirty yards up to find another way down. With some struggle, I was able to scramble partway towards the ridge to where I had lowered myself. Yet, I realised it wouldn’t be possible to climb back up with the precipice that was too smooth and steep to get traction. 

‘Damn!’ I exclaimed to myself. And 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, and by then the sun would be down; not exactly where I had planned to encamp. But there wasn’t much I could do except wait for the sun to rise and then hopefully 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. Still, 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, yet 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, but my impulsive departure caused me to be careless. I should have gone down the way I came up or at least studied this side of the mountain’s topography more carefully before choosing this route.

This descent wasn’t the course Eli suggested, but maybe that’s why I chose it. And yet, I didn’t find him to be that helpful in recommending which alternative would be best. It was as though he didn’t care that much or perhaps not as knowledgeable as he would have me believe. 

Still, I should have listened to them, rather than flying off the handle as I did. Perhaps there was some truth to what they were saying. And yet, the ontological implications of being in another dimension made me feel extremely uncomfortable, causing my mind to override and dismiss their strange cosmology. I’m sure a less educated person, unskilled in critical thinking, may have accepted what they said. But not me; I knew too much.

So how could I ever bring myself to believe there was even such a thing as a spirit body and I was in it? Disembodied, and yet, not really. Even for Jesus, the resurrection story was likely just another myth contrived and perpetrated by Constantine’s newly instituted Latin Church; not that I was comparing myself with him.

After once again attempting every possible approach, I sat slumped on the ledge, helplessly watching the sun again drop below the horizon for the second time. Feeling broken and defeated, the thought that I might be doomed to die here became very real and frightening. I didn’t want to go; not yet, since there was still 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. 

Rather than supplicate the gods, wherever they may be, I tried a technique to relax my mind. However, 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, but 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, but not as far as the heavens. Sitting about thirty yards above me was Eli, calmly taking a drag on a fag he was holding between his finger and thumb, 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, but I’m sure He’d be glad 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’m fine, but I know something you can do,’ he said.

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

‘Have you tried jumping back up? You must have jumped or slid 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.’

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

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

‘Where?’ I asked as I turned. ‘There’s no condor.’ When I looked back 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.

‘That really was brilliant, Eli! Now we’re both doomed, you cretin. What were you thinking?’

‘Didn’t I say I’d give you a hand? But first, you need to give me a hand. Though not necessarily as an applause, even if deserve it.’

He must have thought this was funny, but I failed to see the humour considering we were now both stranded.

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

I didn’t understand what this was about but I clasped his outstretched hand anyway. 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 just sitting up there. That’s where I’m going. You’re invited to come along if you like.’

Before I could think, he said: ‘Are you ready? Here we go!’

And sure enough, we did go, instantly, almost 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. But for now, don’t confuse us; I’m not your saviour, just a companion who offered you a hand.’

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

‘By getting you to take my hand? So it might have seemed. But no, James, it’s what you did. In taking my hand, even for a second, you became open to what might be possible. That which you could have done at any time. It was that small mustard seed that took you up, not me.’

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

‘What else? Ah, James. Has not everything Mo and I have been telling you becoming apparent? Most would have twigged on to that by now. At least those not filled with preconceived philosophical beliefs on how things can and can’t be. Just think about it, or maybe don’t think. That’s your problem, James… you think too much!

‘But no matter, you can’t help yourself. So, let’s be on our way now, we can talk more after we return to the cabin. By the way, Mo said he’d have dinner ready for us when we arrive.’

‘That would be splendid,’ I said, ‘but how could he know I’d be returning?’

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

‘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, but obviously, I wasn’t going to be able to continue on this route. I’d have to go up some distance before finding a better route down.

I was humbled, yet not 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 very bright young man, and I respect your cognitive prowess. But notwithstanding that, when are you finally 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 that 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.

‘And yes, 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! So 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.’

But 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 for me to see him waiting for me to catch up most of the way back to the cabin. Of course, he could have slackened his pace, but it seemed he wanted to make a point of something.

But what if I had these same abilities as he suggested? Not possible! I didn’t know how he did it, but at least I knew I wasn’t some comic book hero who went around defying the laws of gravity.

After several hours of struggling back up the Mountain, we finally returned to 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. Nevertheless, Mo greeted graciously.

‘Too bad you had to go through all that 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. Still, 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 laws were not the last word, but subject to laws that transcended them, rather than negating what we call natural law? If so, perhaps my little universe hadn’t yet expanded into this spaciousness.

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

I was in no mood for whatever they may be contriving, still feeling defensive about not being able to find an explanation for what happened yesterday. But considering how Eli had just saved my life, what else could I do but go along with the charade.

‘Today, James, you’re going to learn how to fly,’ Mo said. ‘It’s part of the entrance qualification at Summit U, so if you wish to be admitted into the programme, this is not optional.’

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

‘But you soon will once you learn what we’re about to teach you,’ he said. ‘And so, to make this easier for you, let’s start with the basics by picturing yourself sitting on that stump by the big rock near the shrub. It’s a 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 earth plane’s frequency. That’s why you can do this.

‘Now, with that, Eli will 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 nothing but these units of energy, 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, but it sounds like another mental game of being susceptible to suggestions. But if you insist, I’m willing to try, especially after what you did for me yesterday. So, what am I supposed to do?’

‘Start by relaxing, that’s important. Take a few deep breaths to let go of whatever doubts you might have. Next, I want you to imagine your body being in another location. Envision where you wish to dispatch it, but don’t think about getting up and walking over there. Any such notion of a physical transition would only get in the way.’

‘You want me to go to that stump over there without any in-between? That’s rather 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, ‘but 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 that stump by the big rock.’

‘Are you serious? That’s a long way!’

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

It was becoming increasingly apparent the laws of reality had shifted for me; but 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 to make a move.

‘So, what are you afraid of,’ he asked, ‘it’s not like we’re asking you to jump across the chasm. But then, you already tried that; albeit not so successfully. However, if you get this right, you might want to try 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 rather good at such manoeuvres! If there’s something to this, then maybe I can learn from that.’

‘I prefer you go first, James,’ he said. ‘I don’t need more practice, but you do. If you don’t experience this directly, how are you going to learn? Your sceptical mind will always find a rationalisation 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 yet, you would likely believe your mind rather than your eyes.’

Having exhausted my attempts to evade this exercise, I had no choice other than being 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,’ I said. And 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.’

In jest, I was about to make up a shaman incantation. But I didn’t have the chance. I must have envisioned myself standing by the big rock because suddenly there I was… instantly! Just like that. I was shocked, even more than yesterday because this time I did it by myself. I had just performed my first impossible trick. But it was no trick.

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

‘Cool, eh?’ Eli said.

‘Bloody… this can’t be happening. I just broke Newton’s most established law.’

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

‘Okay,’ Eli said, ‘now try to make your way back here to where you were. It’s never been so true, 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 had no choice but to set my intellectual pride aside and re-consider all my old ontologies. But for now, I didn’t care; the philosophical implications and reconciliations could wait until later.

‘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 particularly spiritual being,’ I said, chuckling.

‘It’s hard not to be spiritual when that’s what you are,’ he said. ‘We agree, you’re not exactly a saint, but at least 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 rather profound things to say… at least for the devout.’

‘Indeed, she did,’ Mo said. ‘But what you just accomplished 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. But she wasn’t the only one. On occasion, it still happens to various mystics, albeit rarely. I once saw this happen 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’m back in 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. Although, 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 rather embarrassing if word ever got out about this 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. Rather than 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 still 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,’ said Mo, ‘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. The force called gravity is an expectation you have and therefore continue to experience. However, we’re never confined to it since there’s nothing about the spiritual body that requires earth’s gravity to claw us back unless 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. And yet, there for a moment, you were able to unshackle your belief in gravity’s attraction by allowing yourself to experience this alternate reality. Most understanding of gravity relates more to what it does than what it is.

‘Did you know electromagnetism is 1037 more powerful than what is called gravity? Because of this, some scientists consider gravity to be a transduced form of electromagnetic energy required to sustain life on earth. Talk to the physicists about this phenomena if you wish, but even for them, gravity seems ambiguous, if not complicated.[12]

‘Had you insisted that you remained in your material body, teleporting would not have been possible. But 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 to soften your mind, albeit with some resistance.

‘Now, for as long as you remain here, 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. But it can be done, and still is being done by a few advanced souls. Some can even bi-locate.’

‘Bi-locate, what’s that?’

‘Never mind,’ Eli said ‘We’ll get into that another time. You’re probably not ready for more of these exotic feats at this time, but there are advanced souls on earth who have learned to manifest their spirit bodies to more than one location at a time by splitting their consciousness, even while remaining in the flesh. And they do it all without falling off a cliff,’ he chuckled.

‘So, you’re saying there are better ways to accomplish what I did.’

‘Yes, but probably not for you,’ he said. ‘Your crude method of falling into the abyss was how you were able to enter into our dimension. A bit dramatic, perhaps, or should I say traumatic, but at least 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, but it seemed Newton’s rules weren’t the only game in town, or at least not on this Summit. It was apparent that I would have no choice but to accept this strange alternative state of existence reality now 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, 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 which we discussed later in Chapter 11, The Magic Mountain of Book Two.
[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, (NIV)
[6] Of course, Mo would be the first to agree that many mystical traditions exist within these religions such in Muslim Sufism, Jewish Hasidism and Christian Gnosticism, along with many other esoteric expressions.
[7] I refer here to both 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