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|Father Benson repeatedly comments on music, color, light, laughter in Summerland: here is a small collection of his assertions in this regard.
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RCC Monsignor Priest, Robert Hugh Benson (1871–1914)
Editor’s note: We met Father Benson in “afterlife-evidence item #20". He offers just about the most descriptive report available concerning daily life in Summerland.
Footnote: See the “Summerland” page for extensive general quotations from “Life In the World Unseen” and its sequel.
All these flowers were living and breathing, and they were, so my friend informed me, incorruptible. There was another astonishing feature I noticed when I drew near to them, and that was the sound of music that enveloped them, making such soft harmonies as corresponded exactly and perfectly with the gorgeous colours of the flowers themselves… Suffice it for the moment, then, to say that these musical sounds were in precise consonance with all that I had so far seen—which was very little—and that everywhere there was perfect harmony.
My friend told me that all light proceeded directly from the Giver of all light, and that this light was Divine life itself, and that it bathed and illumined the whole of the spirit world where lived those who had eyes spiritually to see.
We followed a path that led for part of the way beside a brook, whose clear water sparkled in the light of the heavenly sun. As the water pursued its course it gave forth many musical notes that constantly changed and weaved themselves into a medley of the most dulcet sounds. We drew to the edge that I might look at it closer. It seemed to be almost like liquid crystal, and as the light caught it, it scintillated with all the colours of the rainbow.
I found that the greater the knowledge of music the more it helped one to understand so many things of the life here, where music plays so important a part. I do not suggest that all spirit people should become musicians in order to comprehend their own existence! The imposing of such a condition upon us would never be consonant with the natural laws here. But most individuals have some latent, innate musical sense, and by encouraging it here, so much the greater can be their joy.
In the spirit world all music is color, and all color is music. The one is never existent without the other. That is why the flowers give forth such pleasant tones when they are approached, as it will be remembered of my early experience with flowers. The water that sparkles and flashes colors is also creating musical sounds of purity and beauty. But it must not be imagined that with all this galaxy of color in the spirit world there is also pandemonium of music going on unremittingly. The eye is not wearied by the fullness of color here. Why should our ears be wearied by the sweet sound the colors send forth? The answer is that they are not, because the sounds are in perfect accord with the colors, as the colors are with the sounds. And the perfect combination of both sight and sound is perfect harmony.
Color and sound—that is, musical sound—are interchangeable terms in the spirit world. To perform some act that will produce color is also to produce a musical sound. To play upon a musical instrument, or to sing, is to create color, and each creation is governed and limited by the skill and proficiency the instrumentalist or singer. A master musician, as he plays upon his instrument, will build above himself a most beautiful musical thought-form, varying in its colors
Music is looked upon by many on the earth-plane as merely a pleasant diversion, a pleasant adjunct to the earthly life, but by no means a necessity. Here it is part of our life, not because we make it so, but because it is part of natural existence, as are flowers and trees, grass and water, and hills and dales. It is an element of spiritual nature. Without it a vast deal of the joy would depart out of our lives. We do not need to become master musicians to appreciate the wealth of music that surrounds us in color and sound, but as in so many other features of this life, we accept and enjoy to the full, and in the enjoyment of our heritage we can afford to smile at those who persist in believing that we live in a world of emptiness.
Do you know, Roger, there are some charming people on earth who would call me one, yes, and you, too; in fact, all of us here! Do you think Ruth looks particularly satanic? Monsignor, now; there is certainly a hint of brimstone about him. Well, well, it’s a good thing we can laugh, though, mind you, those same nice people would deny us that. Speaking for myself, I don’t feel the least bit holy, and Monsignor is far too hardened a sinner ever to come within a mile of it.’