exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning: recounting an Auschwitz experience: "We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road running through the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles... But my mind clung to my wife's image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look... for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth - that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved... I resumed talk with my loved one: I asked her questions, and she answered; she questioned me in return, and I answered."
Editor's Essay: What We Stay Alive For
Elizabeth’s Barrett's letter to Robert Browning, February 24, 1846: "I am living for you now. And before I knew you, what was I and where? What was the world to me … and the meaning of life?"
in search of a metaparadigm
A metaparadigm is a transcending, overarching life-philosophy providing mental framework for all of one’s deepest beliefs, sensations, and aspirations. It gives coherence, direction, and purpose to everything.
It seems that we’re constitutionally required to search for a metaparadigm; without meaning and purpose in our lives, as Dr. Frankl instructs, we suffer "existential crisis" and drift into insanity.
When we’re young, if loving parents are part of our lives, we bask in a mantle of security they provide and feel that this comforting happiness will always sustain us; a young person, too, often believes that a favorite pet, or play-activity, or dessert is the answer.
As we grow older, we realize that we need more and begin to look for salvation farther afield: academic success, prospective career emolument, sexual pleasure in a John-and-Mary relationship, fame and investments, food and drink, and entertainment.
For some, meaning is sought in religion, secular philosophy, good works, personal development, or various expressions of materialism.
spurious metaphysical assumptions
All of these, as attempted personal metaparadigms, as the months and years pass, begin to fail us. We hope for something more. Even if we present to the world a positive demeanor (see the "Friendship" article), deeper within we grow increasingly dissatisfied with mortal existence. Nothing, for very long, seems to fill the “holes in the heart.”
In science, a “theory of everything” may initially appear to address all of the facts; but then, over time, cracks in the theory manifest as new data clashes with the old theoretical structure. A classic example is Newtonian physics. In its day, Newton’s “laws" were claimed to be the final word, even, it was said, the mind of God, concerning the way the universe works. But, eventually, as more was learned, it wasn’t enough. A broader, more comprehensive view of the cosmos was required to incorporate new findings. The need for a higher mountain's view gave us Einstein’s relativity and Bohr’s quantum mechanics. It’s not that Newtonian physics was wrong – it was, and still is, a “wonder of the world”; it got us to the Moon and back – it’s just that it was incomplete.
And so it is with our personal quest for meaning. Certain ideas and concepts work for a while in our lives, but then we grow beyond them and realize that formative notions were but stepping-stones to a greater vista.
the only thing worth knowing, 'what we stay alive for'
Can we ever know or inhabit a final level of metaparadigm? Does it exist? If it does, it will satisfy and address all human desires; will become, in itself, the sum of all human striving. Strangely, I think the answer, this ultimate reality, is already apprehended by all human beings. We sense its nearness; it haunts us in our 3 AM non-repressed moments. It is authentic, eternal, soul-based love.
freedom from illusion, the full experience of Reality
Many years ago, when introduced to James Webster's book, I found myself taken by the following quotation. It began a process for me of thinking about the possibility of romantic love as ultimate reality. I include the saying here, primarily for my benefit, as historical marker, the beginning of a personal quest: a quotation from mystic Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov:
“The soul ... is itself only one-half of a complete being. For each of us there is a counterpartal [person] of the opposite polarity. And our pilgrimage towards emancipation [from illusion and the prison of aloneness] consists in drawing ever nearer to this balancing factor ... so that, in the end, [as Genesis has it,] we become [One Person,] a male-female being in whom the positive and negative forces are in perfect equilibrium, reflecting the nature of the Male-Female Creator. Only through the perfect union of two souls of the opposite sex can that blending of forces be achieved which brings freedom from illusion and the full experience of Reality.”
If we are “made in the image, male and female,” then, as Dr. Karl Barth suggested, should this not indicate, in some sense, not only “a plurality” but a gendered antithesis “within the Divine essence”? And if the mind of God, to begin with the conclusion, represents ultimate reality, should, or might, not the romantic love of Twin Souls depict this grand archetype? If what we say here is correct, then anything less will fail to bring us “freedom from illusion and the full experience of Reality.”
I feel strongly that ultimate reality's meaning has something to do with authentic love - as Viktor Frankl and Elizabeth Barrett, above, sensed the same - but I haven't been able to get beyond initial intuitive glimpses. Recently, however, I believe I've seen a little more.
your homework assignment
In my article, "Will You Survive the Terror of Eternal Life?," I discuss a principle concerning the nature of the afterlife which is directly related to the subject of "ultimate reality." You may find it helpful to read this earlier writing as prelude to the following.
Allow me to frame the essential issue as it relates to the subject of "ultimate reality."
For our purposes, there are two well-respected sources of afterlife-information, both on the other side; one is Father Benson, the other a revered Spirit Guide, whose name I will not mention right now.
Both of these respected teachers, from whom I've learned a great deal, speak of the highest levels of reality - the very highest, just a notch below God him/herself, with no room in the middle.
But here's the issue. These two sources offer radically different views of that highest level. The difference is not small - the gap couldn't be much wider.
This is a serious problem.
How to make sense of this anomaly? We know, we have very good evidence, that both of these sources, two teachers, actually exist on the other side. Both are reporting what they see and what they know - and yet they're seeing different things. It's all the more confusing when we're talking about the "highest level of reality." Presumably, there can be only one "highest level."
Or not -- because, what if you build your own "highest level."
whole worlds created by the power of the mind
Here's what seems to be the situation.
Beginning in Summerland, but especially in subsequent worlds, it is well established that we will be able to create environment with our minds; even, whole worlds coming into being by the power of thought.
This is amazing enough, but consider this. People over there who share a certain philosophy of life might enter into a "consensus reality" form of living; those of another way of looking at life will inhabit their own. Think of two branches on a tree, each issuing from the main trunk. The two "consensus realities" are like two separate branches from the trunk, which never meet or cross each other.
Editor's note: Different philosophical groups in Summerland are called "brotherhoods." There are thousands of them. Each has a different idea on how to live successfully. I discuss this concept in The Wedding Song. The "Troubadour Guides" represent one such "brotherhood" group.
I think this is what's happening with these radically different views of "highest levels." These "worlds" are mind-created, sustained by those of similar philosophy and outlook. But if you yourself have a different way of looking at life and the universe, you'll never be in those other worlds -- you'll be on another "branch of the tree," your own branch.
I'm fairly confident that what I say here is true because, one thing I do know for sure, Father Benson and the other respected Spirit Guide disagree on certain aspects concerning how life should be lived. Both are good people, both want the best, and they both teach good things - that is, as each perceives "the good." The fact remains, however, on some things, some pretty important things, they disagree. And that disagreement, a philosophical parting of ways, as we extend each path to its logical conclusion, eventually results in radically different manifestations of "ultimate reality."
One of these "highest levels," I believe to be terribly amiss and wholly off-course. You wouldn't want to live there, not if you're of balanced mind.
Father Benson, as I will argue, offers the sane and rational view of the future and highest reality. There's nothing strange about it, nothing that wouldn't seem right to us; that is, if we're living from the "true self" -- and this is the fundamental difference between these two teachers and their two philosophies of life. See further discussion in "The 500 Testimonies from the Other Side."
I believe Viktor Frankl and Elizabeth Barrett were correct. Love is the highest reality. What does this mean?
It means an infinite array of good things, sane and rational things, all stemming from the sane and rational love in our hearts and minds, manifesting eventually, as whole worlds -- all founded upon the "true self," the hidden person of the heart.
Unless we build our spirituality on a perception of "the true self," eventually, even though we might talk a great deal about service and helping others, we will construct a world of insanity, a dystopian-reality, that diminishes human dignity.
Editor’s note: Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War even today is studied in military colleges. The Greek historian was the first to apply scientific analysis to the events of the world rather than attributing outcomes to “the gods.” His realistic view of human nature renders his writing more than a “period piece” but timeless literature.
I like Friedrich Nietzsche’s evaluation of Thucydides:
“His writings must be carefully studied line by line, and his unuttered thoughts must be read as distinctly as what he actually says. There are few thinkers so rich in unuttered thoughts... It is courage in the face of reality that distinguishes such natures as Thucydides from Plato: Plato is a coward in the face of reality - consequently he takes refuge in the ideal: Thucydides is a master of himself - consequently he is able to master life.”
“Courage in the face of reality” dominates Thucydides’ writings. We are reminded of Tolle’s often-advice regarding accepting the present moment [that is, facing life without hostility, as we work to change what we don’t like]. But Nietzsche’s use of the word “coward” goes further. The German philosopher is saying that “The Republic,” a dystopian world of totalitarianism, represents taking “refuge in the ideal” -- nothing wrong with an ideal society, and we’d love to work toward one, as long as it’s based on a realistic assessment of human nature.
Plato, unlike Thucydides, fails us here. Tolle says that a refusal to accept the reality of the present moment leads us into insanity, an insistence on viewing the world in terms of what it can never be. Nietzsche labels this a form of intellectual cowardness, a pie-in-the sky wishful thinking, an unauthorized escape from unpleasant circumstance by taking refuge in fanciful ideal, one in which Plato imagined himself residing as an elite member. This unwarranted estimation of oneself, at the expense of others, is the essence of totalitarianism.
every angel is terrible...
“For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and it amazes us so, because it serenely disdains to destroy us. Every angel is terrible.” Rainer Maria Rilke, First Duino Elegy
Editor’s note: "Duino" is the name of a castle in Italy where Rilke, after hearing a voice as he walked near the Adriatic cliffs, began writing his Elegies. The whispering voice, whose testimony would become the first line of the lamenting poems, proclaimed, "Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the hierarchies of angels?" Severe depression would interrupt his writing, to be completed rather quickly some years later in a "boundless storm, a hurricane of the spirit."
Rilke, in the Elegies, it seems to me, endeavored to communicate a personal vision of love as ultimate reality. "Angels," for him, represented a transcendental expression of beauty, a higher reality, unattainable to man, he seems to think, while on the Earth-plane. Occasionally, we might catch a glimpse, but even a fleeting insight terrifies us. Man's encounter, indeed, a confrontation, with existential Beauty underlies our loneliness and separateness, our striving toward, our inability to substantially access, the divine, while in this world. Rilke perceived a unity among life, love, and death, in that, true lovers will not be able to touch ultimate love while hampered by mortality: "the nature of every ultimate love ... is only able to reach the loved one in the infinite."
"Every angel is terrible [and] the beginning of terror." Not without reason men truly in love cannot sometimes breathe or speak in the presence of a Beloved as she symbolizes Beauty Personified. Her "made in the image" status, as we've discussed, conveys to him a nearness to God that shall not be superseded in this life or, likely, the next. This "terrible" ensign of God's perfect essence becomes all the divinity he is able to bear; yes, "every angel is terrible" as she "serenely disdains to destroy" him, both with presence and absence. There is reason why a man truly in love finds himself compelled to "worship and adore" his beloved.
Marc Chagall, Lovers with Half Moon, 1926
ultimate reality as "a bride adorned for her husband"
One misconception, I think, in defining ultimate reality is that we might tend to see it as a place, a destination of travel, some three-dimensional port-of-call. I believe that ultimate reality is more a state of consciousness than a place for unpacking a suitcase.
I asked my friend, Adrian Smith, JD, to offer discussion on this great question: What is ultimate reality and does love have anything to do with it? Here is Adrian’s insightful response:
We human beings are not very good at figuring out what is real. Whatever signals are out there pass through many layers and filters of prior conditioning, tradition, prejudice, and emotional compulsion.
Long before quantum mechanics, the German philosopher Husserl said that “All perception is a gamble.” We think we are looking at the world the way it really exists, rather than our own interpretation of it. In philosophy this is called “naive realism.”
Naive realism is responsible for all kinds of fundamentalist ideologies which, taken to an extreme, can cause people to murder each other; other people, however, are not necessarily so perverse or lying or insane, they just perceive the world differently, and once you realize that your own perceptions are gambles you will be more inclined towards understanding this in others.
Different people reading the same book will interpret it differently, although the book remains the same. There will be as many interpretations as there are readers.
Editor's note: However, the question will arise, if one's perceptions are subjectively received, then, at least "somewhere out there," many insist, objective reality will exist whether we perceive it or not. But this seems not to be the case. Many assume that science, with precise measuring instruments, has accurately surveyed realty. This is true only to a point. Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein debated this very question. Bohr, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, was adamant that the very act of observing or taking a measurement changes "what's real." Einstein had severe misgivings about this assertion. However, Bohr was proven correct and Einstein was wrong. See further discussion in the "Evolution" writing.
There’s a well known Sufi story from the 12th century about a group of blind people trying to figure out what an elephant is. One person would feel the ear and say it’s like a velvet carpet; another would feel the trunk and say no, it’s a hollow pipe; yet another would feel the leg and say it’s a pillar - but no one has the vantage point to see the whole elephant. The totality of experience is never accessible. In the words of the apostle Paul, “we know in part” (I Cor 13:9). Somewhere there exists a whole elephant, but even the rigorously applied scientific method, the burdens and standards of proof in law and the rules of evidence in court, are limited by human fallibility.
Mystical traditions turn inward in search of ultimate reality. By diving deep into the subconscious, and even deeper into the collective unconscious, mystics come to the same conclusions, generate the same myths, and respond to the same symbols, called archetypes by Carl Jung. Gnostics have said, the only thing we know for sure is our own experience. Shared experience, then, constitutes ultimate reality and, in this sense, love is what unites.
The common experience of mystics suggests that there is but one Consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. Physicist David Bohm confirms with science this substrate of reality which he calls “the implicate order.” Separation is an illusion, but, nevertheless, at the level of our own experience it is very painful. A state of undifferentiated oneness is not very satisfactory, however, as without separation there can be no experience.
Mystics agree that love is the ultimate reality because we simultaneously experience separation as well as connection. At some deeper level we are connected. Even our love of animals involves seeing, mirrored back to us, our own, often amusing, characteristics. This is how we relate. There are many forms of love: the love of a mother for her infant is very powerful as is the attraction of young lovers. Both of these forms of love serve the collective urge for perpetuation of the species.
The experience of authentic romance is that form of love which can potentially transcend all others. It may begin with the passion of youth but remains untarnished by old age, long after biological imperatives have passed. What is so special about this? It is that form of love which most effectively bridges the gap between undifferentiated oneness and the experience of separation, those two poles of which neither is satisfactory. Your “twin soul” is the one most like you but, at the same time, not you. It is like the perfect balance between sameness and difference. The approach of two opposites ignites the flame of ecstasy.
Once experienced it is often hard to live without it. It’s no accident that life-long partners do not long survive the passing of their beloved. Nothing in life is more painful than not relating, feeling that no one understands you, and that you do not understand them. Nothing is more painful than having attained that ultimate relatedness but then experiencing the loss of it. In truth though, however, we are never alone.
What does the ultimate resolution of our painful dilemma look like? It resembles "a bride adorned for her husband.” The ultimate reality, in the view of the apostle John, is “the tabernacle of God with men, and he will dwell with them” (Rev 21). The experience of romantic love most closely resembles that ultimate reality.
In the end, ultimate reality is not a doctrine or an understanding -- it is an ecstatic state.
Editor’s note: I count Adrian’s perceptions here as some of the most important on the Word Gems site. The metaphor of ultimate reality as “a bride adorned for her husband,” I think, is mesmerizingly laden with meaning for us.
In the “Aloneness” article I commented that the apostle Paul employed the Greek word for the “holy of holies” of the ancient Tabernacle to signify the human mind, that is, the place where we meet God. So, too, the apostle John in Revelation 21 selects similar imagery for his message.
Notice in Rev. 21:22 that, in the eschatological ["final goal" things], the metaphoric city of God, John’s symbol for ultimate reality – a city “adorned as a bride for her husband” – there is no temple; this is so because the entire city has become a temple, that is, a “holy of holies.” With sublime symbolism, John is saying that a day is coming when people will not “go to a temple” or “go to church” to meet God; instead, God will be one with us, close to us, everywhere and in every way. We will meet God, John tells us, in a ubiquitous way, with “the entire city as our meeting place,” that is, everything we do and see and live will be our meeting place with God. This will come to pass via an elevated level of consciousness, an enlightenment, an evolved new state of humanity, such that, each will "meet God" within the "holy of holies" of one's own mind.
The very aged apostle informs us that this omnipresent way of meeting with God is like “a bride adorned for her husband.” Ultimate reality, having God very near to our spirits and hearts, John says, is mind-bendingly wonderful, creating for us an ecstasy. It can only be compared to pure, sacred, Twin Soul, romantic love.
the endgame of all forms of fundamentalism is totalitarian control
Adrian's book, "A Prison For The Mind," is available on Amazon. His assessment is correct: "the endgame of" all forms "of fundamentalism" is "totalitarian control."
Why is this so? The needy dysfunctional ego, in its writhings of "I am not enough," cannot help itself but to reach for greater heights of power and control.
I think Adrian is correct when he says that ultimate reality is an “ecstasy.” And I think I was right, earlier, to say that ultimate reality is not a place, a 3-D destination, but a level of consciousness.
Ultimate reality is not, as some on the other side errantly suggest, a “hot water-bottle” world of merely prettier flowers and greener grass.
Editor's note: See The Wedding Song for discussion on the term "hot water-bottle world." There are so-called advanced beings on "higher" levels of the afterlife who think that romantic love is too prudish, too not-nice, for it to survive our evolvement.
But this notion of "prettier flowers and greener grass" just confuses the issue. Ultimate reality has nothing to do with eco-friendly stage-props or pleasant venue; if I were mature and advanced enough, I could experience "ultimate reality" while walking downtown in a busy city.
Earlier this evening, I finished the “Iris and Anselm” writing for “The Perfect Mate.” Kairissi offered her thoughts on “the crouching leopard,” the dysfunctional ego, that robs lovers of the happiness of being together as darling companions.
The “bride adorned for her husband,” I feel, is an excellent metaphor taking us very close, right up to the foothills, of ultimate reality. But marriage, even authentic eternal marriage, is not ultimate reality, per se. Twins help each other, each supplying to the other, access to ultimate reality via portals to ecstasy.
All of these thought-fragments are pieces of a puzzle. Fundamentally, it seems to me, ultimate reality is an ecstasy, a frame of mind to live in, a way of looking at life, a level of consciousness, the consummate Joy experienced by Mother-Father God as they revel in their own existence.
This ecstasy might be experienced anywhere; meaning, we don’t need to climb Mount Olympus, or wait eons to become "good enough" to enter some proverbial “seventh heaven,” or perform a labor of Hercules to have it. Its beginnings can start right now; we sense that the Joy will grow, more and more, as our spiritual vision clarifies, more and more.
Why it is so hard to capture the “ecstasy,” that portal to ultimate reality? It’s the “crouching leopard,” the dysfunctional ego; it robs us of our Joy.
How shall we live life in Summerland? Will we not automatically be happy there? We’ll no longer have material concerns, that of earning a living and maintaining a mortal body. How will we find purpose for our existence? Not primarily by "doing" – I addressed this problem in “Will You Survive The Terror Of Eternal Life?”
There’ll be service projects in Summerland, and that will help to provide meaning, but, what will we do when there’s no longer a class of needy disadvantaged? How shall we find purpose for ourselves then? In the end, there is no answer but to approach life as do Mother-Father God; that is, simply enjoying one's own existence. (And this is why the Greek word for "eternal" life refers primarily to "quality" of life not extended duration.)
We might think that living eternally should not be a problem, but, it's not so easy to create for oneself a happy and settled state of mind; rather, it's so easy that we miss it. All that's required is discovering the "true self" in one moment of cosmic clarity.
It's called "making one's inner music pure." Once this foundation is laid, Twin Souls build upon it an edifice of lasting happiness. Together, as darling companions, they will adventure through life and love, the universe and other dimensions. But even a full schedule of cosmic activities, projects, and amusements, without something more, will eventually fail to satisfy.
We need the ultimate reality to negotiate eternity. We need that elevated level of consciousness-ecstasy to make it through the endless day. We need to develop the ability, without gross stimulation, to sit quietly in a small room, simply enjoying our own existence. We need the mind of God, the pervasive Joy, the inner solace and comfort of one's own being, which sense of contentment the Divine Parents dwell in all the time. Lincoln had it right -- it's the "friend down inside," the true self. But, when we sit quietly alone in that small room, most times, we'll prefer to sit with another. "Alone with another" - a paradox; or not, as she is no "other," but One Person with you.
And how shall we achieve, of which we spoke earlier, a “freedom from illusion and full experience of Reality”?
We live our lives, before the coming of the Beloved, suffering under sorrowful illusion that no love could save us; that, forever, we shall languish in a prison of our own aloneness; that, true love has not only passed us by but doesn't even exist. Little wonder then, as the great Spirit Guides teach, with the advent of "the bride prepared for her husband," his deeper person shall ever retain an element of wondrous astonishment every time he looks at her.
Why is this the "full experience of Reality"? It will be so because, like Aristotle's summum bonum, we shall have found the supreme and complete good, the end and summation of all desires. The "hot water-bottle" worlds, an alternate ego-reality of never being satisfied, of never feeling one has "enough," of neurotically ever striving to move up to "greener grass and prettier flowers," will not offer the summation of all desires.
The "bride," a Twin Soul, "prepared for her husband," that is, created just for him -- as he is for her -- satisfies all desires, and makes possible, finally, a sense of sated well-being. With her smile, he no longer feels the need to search the universe for "greener grass and prettier flowers." The "garden of her delights," precisely calibrated to his specific and personal definitions of happiness, proves more than well able to satisfy any penchant for greener pastures and prettier flowers: "thanks, but we got all we can use."
His problem, as Jamie blasted Landon, is that he doesn't know himself well enough to know what he wants. As he will discover, however, she is not only more than he asked for, but more than he knew or was able to ask; whatever she brings, he discovers to his utmost shock, is exactly what he always wanted; that is, what he would have wanted, ought to have wanted, had he known himself well enough to ask.
This elusive, runaway bride is "prepared" for him; meaning, though he was the last to know, God knew what he really wanted and needed. She reveals his long-hidden desires, hidden even, and especially, to himself.
Twin Souls, Lover and Beloved, will explore the depths of this great existential question for a long time to come.
But, let us speak of these “depths.” The hapless John and Mary choose each other on the basis of the “perfect resume,” or worse, a settlement of “I got the best I could bargain for.” In this, what “The Wedding Song” refers to as a “buying and selling,” they soon realize it wasn’t nearly enough. How quickly the negotiated-for mate loses his or her luster: “You were meant to ‘make me happy' but now I feel so empty in this relationship.”
Twin Souls, however, do not experience this deteriorating, falling off of feeling regarding a mate's “perfect” – perfect for the other – qualities of virtue and loveliness.
Why is this so? It's because the true marriage, again, as “The Wedding Song” has it, is built upon an indestructible “union of spirits,” a meeting of perfectly matched minds, hearts, and souls, not primarily a union of bodies or a union of “e-harmony” attributes. None of this latter is “enough” for John and Mary because anything physical is never enough for soul-led, spiritual beings. As Kairissi advised the “Marys” of the world: “That’s the problem with John. He’s just a physical entity, just part of this world to you. But your true mate is not primarily a physical entity to you.”
How will Twin Souls remain in love for an eternity? The “union of spirits” speaks to the infinite depths of consciousness. Each of us is linked to unfathomable Universal Consciousness and, as such, can never fully know oneself. This same undefined essence will mark what you feel about your true mate. You will never, in all eternity, reach a point of saying, “I have you all figured out now, been there, done that.” This will never happen. You will always thrill to experience more of the wonder of all that she is to you, resulting in an ever-widening scope of romantic intimacy. This delightful sense of all-pervading Oneness, a mutual perception of the mysterious depths of being, is what Mother-Father God enjoy all the time.
Concerning ultimate reality, there is no other question so worthy of our consideration. It is "what we stay alive for."
the animals in Summerland enjoy their own endless, eternal lives
One of the most memorable images in Father Benson's "Life In The World Unseen" concerns an afternoon's sailing jaunt that he and friends made to a nearby island:
"The island certainly came up to our expectations in its scenic beauty. There were not many dwellings upon it; those that were to be seen were more summer-houses than anything else. But the great feature of the place was the number of trees, none of them very tall, but all were of particularly vigorous growth. And in the branches we could see scores of the most wonderful birds, whose plumage presented a riot of colour. Some of the birds were flying about, others - the larger variety - were walking majestically along the ground. But all of them were unafraid of us. They walked with us as we strolled along, and when we held up our hands, some small bird would be sure to perch upon our fingers. They seemed to know us, to know that any harm coming to them was an utter impossibility. They did not require to make a constant search for food nor exercise a perpetual vigilance against what on Earth would be their natural enemies. They were, like ourselves, part of the eternal world of Spirit, enjoying in their way, as we do in ours, their eternal life."
For many years I was bothered by a disparity in reports concerning the fate of animals in the next world. Father Benson makes clear, unequivocal statements that the animals there, both domestic and “in the wild,” are permanent fixtures of that enchanted land. But, other reports speak of animals as temporary residents, eventually, being drawn back into a hopper of animal-consciousness and thereby losing their furry-and-feathered selves. I always hated this view and planned to fight it for my own pets.
But now I understand what’s going on with this mixed message. You’ll find elaboration elsewhere, but those who are compelled to believe in “hot-water bottle worlds,” with a later hoped-for “jumping off an existential seventh-heaven cliff” into a nameless, identity-less void, will also preach, in similar manner, that animals will one day lose their own little identities.
They have to believe in this animal-dystopia to provide logical but sophistical coherency to their half-baked notions. It’s just “snowballs in July” and “the Joker is wild” philosophy. These same devotees of Hoffer’s “spoiled self,” these who live to one day rid themselves of themselves, have no evidence of that which they promote. They’ve never seen this happen. It’s not something they “know,” but merely believe, as their own sense of self-loathing drives them to these inhumane concepts. But, it's alright, tell Rover he's safe; it's just more fake-news in the "hot water-bottle" marketplace.
Special note: Many of these true-believers also subscribe to reincarnational theory, which is another wonderful way, if it were true, to expunge from oneself the Spoiled Self. But this is just more “Joker is wild” concoction.
those who’ve found true love are in heaven already
Troubadour Spirit Guide Margaret teaches that, with true love, you're in heaven right now; but, I would just add – if there were such a thing – it would be the highest heaven.
We're not talking about the "fake news" of John and Mary's cheap and evanescent infatuation; this is Silver Birch's once-in-a-lifetime "so overwhelming, so magnetic" event which, he says, when it happens to you, you'll know, you'll know, as it can never be mistaken for its shadow.
Editor's note: Yes, "once in a lifetime"; but, as Oscar Wilde hastened to modify, "to be repeated as often as possible" -- however, Dr. Joseph Campbell, too: "with one person, one particular person."
Quantum physics, centered in the “double-slit” and related experiments, reveals the power of thought and directed intention to create manifest reality. The only thing that’s objectively real is consciousness. Everything else is subjectively "real." This world, and all worlds to come, represent – “illusion” is not the most precise term – a kind of “virtual reality.” They exist only as derivative of ourselves. The many worlds on the other side, even the so-called higher ones, are mind-based, mind-created worlds. There is no objective reality “out there,” on any level of being, no matter how high up the food-chain we travel. The only thing that’s real is Universal Consciousness.
Editor's note: I'm grateful to Mortimer Adler for many points of knowledge, but he was the first, decades ago for me, to clearly explain "objectivity" versus "subjectivity." Objectivity means that something exists as an object, separate from ourselves, even when we're not thinking about it. The illusion of materialism leads one to believe that all the universe is objective in nature. But the great teachers set us right on this. Only consciousness is real and objective, with all else serving as hand-maid subjectivity. This is the Bohr-Einstein debate again.
Sprinkled throughout various articles and books on this site are comments about the “spirit yuppies” on the other side who believe that advancing oneself has to do with striving for "higher" worlds with greener grass and prettier flowers. I will not say more about this misperception here other than to comment that those worlds – and they are as "real" and solid to their citizens as ours is to us – are thought-created worlds. And if you believe that the way to ultimate happiness is to keep moving up to more elaborate real estate with better curb-appeal, then you will do that, and those worlds will be solid and tangible to you. However, you will never stop “moving up” because none of it will satisfy, none of it will offer lasting happiness, just as none of it satisfies in this world.
a ceasing from outward stimulations, an entering of the still-point of peace
The mind that turns ever outward
Will have no end to craving.
Only the mind turned inward
Will find a still-point of peace.
"It seems people never tire of seeking new thrills. They crave entertainment, and they want newer, sharper experiences… recreations, displays, and stimulating machines. Music must be amplified. A historic location must have museums, shops, and festivals. Life must have elaborate ceremonies with images, music, speaking, dining, and drinking.
"Followers of Tao regard all reality as being projections of our minds. All phenomena are subjective and relative. Therefore, it is folly to further entangle ourselves in confusion. True reality lies in withdrawal from the swirling variations of the outside world. It lies in looking within and then slowly peeling away the layers of subjectivity… If we enter into this [still-point], our minds cease to continue their habits of creating stimulating realities, and we enter into a silence that feels perfect and whole."
Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao
Editor’s note: Frankl in “Man’s Search For Meaning” speaks of the “existential vacuum." We try to fill up the emptiness in our lives, distracting ourselves, with “things” and “doing.” He cites polling data suggesting that Americans, enjoying above-average material prosperity, are especially afflicted. Even good things, and most things are good if accessed in moderation – movies, travel, sexual pleasure, business projects, educational goals, dining out -- can court the dark side. I’ve known about this principle for some time, but Ming-Dao and Frankl’s thoughts here have caused me to go deeper. As I monitor my aspirations concerning things I want to do or have, I begin, as Ming-Dao said, to “peel away the layers of subjectivity,” and I notice, and have to admit, that sometimes motivations in possessing even good things of life might be used to dull one’s senses, to hide in, to dazzle oneself – from what? From our primary purpose -- to know ourselves, the “true self,” that “still-point” of inner solitude; which, we’re often too frightened to approach lest, in this self-investigation, we discover something about ourselves that we don’t like. See the Tolle inset-box on "inner stillness" on the "Consciousness" page.
Troubadour Margaret had it right. Those who catch a glimpse of “the joy,” the reality of Twin Soul romance, “are in heaven already.” In other words, it doesn’t get any better than that.
And if you live to be a billion years old, and you probably will, you will never experience any more of “the joy,” any more of ultimate reality, than when you encounter, from the first time, authentic romantic love with that one person with whom you were meant to know it.
Heaven knows I couldn't feel any better...
With a song in my heart
And a chance to be yours forever
I couldn't feel more secure
I know I couldn't feel any better
Oh Lord, Heaven knows how much
I love you and how much it shows...
And good luck to all of our wayward friends with their greener grass and prettier flowers. Eventually, in their disillusionment, they'll come knocking on the door of the Troubadour Guides. They're like Churchill’s definition of the Americans who “can be counted on to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”
just how high do you have to be to reach ultimate reality
Our discussion of higher worlds reminds me of a joke Charley Weaver told on “Hollywood Squares”:
Question: If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?
Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.
This is funny.
When we say that “the only real thing is consciousness,” newcomers to afterlife research might assume that, if this is true, then everyone over there knows this. What you’ll find, however, is that most people in the next worlds continue to be just as unknowledgeable as they were in this world, and see no reason to change – even those in the “higher” worlds. They’re high on something, but it’s not education.
But, is it really true? Is consciousness the only thing that’s real? Most of you probably have trouble with this statement.
Many years ago I was reading the books of Dr. Gerald Schroeder, MIT physicist and Hebrew scholar. I recall him, along with Sir James Jeans, making the assertion, to the effect, that the core essence of reality is a “thought,” an “idea.” In other words, he was saying that only consciousness is real. At the time, I had misgivings about his assessment. It just seemed too radical to me. However, as I’ve learned more and more about these things, I’m now on his side. The essence of reality is a “thought,” is consciousness itself.
If we accept this proposition as true, if consciousness is at the heart of reality – just what are we to be conscious of? A growing general awareness of all things would certainly be part of that all-pervading consciousness, but this alone doesn’t seem to be enough to warrant living forever. I’m not sure if I’d be willing to drive across town for a general awareness, and I don’t think it would fuel a desire to live unendingly. And count me out, too, for the scheme of the "hot water-bottle" worlds of “greener grass” and “prettier flowers.” As the song goes, “is that all there is?”
a consciousness immersed in ecstasy
The Troubadour Guides are on the right track. The essence of all reality is consciousness, but it is a consciousness immersed in ecstasy. It is “living in the joy.” This is the mind of God, and to be of “the image” is to partake of the joy, the ecstasy.
But hold on. Accessing the joy, the mind of God, that “image,” comes to us in a split-screen format – male and female; that is, one particular woman and one particular man to love each other.
Consciousness, rather, a consciousness of ecstasy, will yet come to us with a loving and lovely face.
The Beloved satisfies all human desires...
I Got Rhythm (1967)
"I got starlight, I got sweet dreams, I got my girl, who could ask for anything more, I got good times, no more bad times, I got my girl, who could ask for anything more, I got rhythm, I got music, I got my girl, who could ask for, who could ask for more"
Kairissi. "Who could ask for anything more?" - I find this question mesmerizing.
Elenchus. The "hot-water bottle" crowd never make statements like this.
K. It takes us very close, I think, to ultimate reality.