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     While researching THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME, I came upon several channeled accounts of the state of life after death. I was struck by the similarity of the accounts – from different countries and decades apart – and finding them quite convincing, wrote them up as a chapter for the book. The publisher, however, decided not to put it in.

Here it is in its entirety, exactly as it would have appeared in the book. The information, I believe, is as important as anything I have ever come upon in my life. It’s long, but worth the time if you’ve ever wondered (and who hasn’t?) about what happens after we die.



Life Post-Mortem Copyrighted 2005 Carolyn North,
however manuscript may be printed out for personal use.



 

The mere fact of survival establishes a new basis of fact and negates all the materialistic hypotheses about which there is such endless and futile argument on earth. So a whole new edifice of knowledge has to be built not only in philosophy but also in science.

TE Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia (delivered post-mortem)

 

All need the knowledge that we survive death to remove fear, which is one of the most powerful earth emotions which has to be conquered before peace and progress can come to the earth.

Frances Banks (delivered post-mortem)

 

Always look at death straight in the eye, good brother. Recognize the common sense of it. To us, the body is simply an expendable vehicle. When it wears out, we scrap it and rent a new one. When it has been too seriously damaged, we throw it away and requisition a sound one. The only negative factor is the delay an individual suffers while he learns from scratch how to use his new body.

Michael Swain (delivered post-mortem)  


     A bookseller in my neighborhood, knowing of my research on death and dying, handed me a book long out of print which claimed to be written by Arthur Conan Doyle after his death. It was a channeled book, it said, having been dictated through a medium whom Conan-Doyle had never met in life. The author of many philosophical works as well as the Sherlock Holmes series, he found, once having passed over, that he had been incorrect on several counts about survival after death and he wished to revise his lifetime work. So, finding a way to communicate with us through a "medium", he set about recording his new experiences in the "after-life" state, describing what happens when we die, where we find ourselves, who is there, what happens next, and so on, effectively answering every question I have ever had on the subject.

Needless to say, I devoured the book in a single sitting, and then read it again slowly, taking notes on every single page.

Then I dashed back to the bookstore and asked Richard if he knew of any other books like it. Together we went through his used-book shelves, phoned book-search services and in two weeks had amassed another seven out-of-print books. Each one - and in one book there were six people from the same town - was channeled through a "medium" or "sensitive" by someone who had died and was purported to be the real story of after-life conditions.

Suspending my own preconceptions about mediumistic channeling for the duration, I dove in and did nothing but read for a week. These books, published between 1909 and 1978, were by men and women from England, the United States and South Africa who had died after long illnesses or unexpectedly of sudden trauma or accident.. What was so compelling to me was that, although there was little chance that they could have either known each other or come across each others' accounts during their lifetimes, what they had to say was virtually identical across the board!

Each speaks in a voice unique in personality, culture and age. Some speak at length, some in brief sentences; one tends to wax poetic and another has a more lecturing tone. But, to my ears, the whole rings true. I hear no false notes .The voice of a middle-aged Polish priest who died in the 1930's is cultured, mature and wise, but what he has to say corresponds precisely to the descriptions of an ebullient teenager killed in a car crash in South Africa in the 1970's.

They confirm each other’s experiences but, as they are individual personalities at various levels of development they see things from different angles, with a diversity of perception. Thus we, as readers, receive an enlarged picture of what is being communicated.

For example, here are several of them reporting on the quality and feel of the "light" they are experiencing:

Here is Father Andrew Glazewski, the much-loved Polish priest who died suddenly of a heart attack during a conference in Scotland.

I felt like a piece of blotting paper that was being saturated with light.

This from Gertrude H. who died of heart failure:

I woke up to find myself in a curious light. It wasn't sunlight or moonlight or electric light, it was different from any light I'd ever seen.

From Charles Bonham Carter:

Nothing in the world can take away from one the inspiring moment when every cell in one's body becomes flooded with light. That is the sensation. All weight and confusion, all darkness of mind and body literally melt away...

Here is Frances Banks, a former missionary in South Africa who died after a long bout with cancer

I 'woke up' here. in a room that had no walls, and the sunlight seemed to flow over one all the time. I felt filled with light - that is the only way I can express it. I felt as though I was shining. The light stayed with me...

This description from F.W.H. Myers, a classics scholar from Cambridge University, who died in Italy during the 1920's:

This many-colored world is nourished by light and life in a greater purity, vibrates at unimaginable speed.

Mike Swain, killed in a car crash at age seventeen in South Africa, describes it to his family thus:

The whole of the universe is based upon the principle that Everything is vibration. The Oriental philosophers hold that everything is light. Jesus himself said that everything is light. And this interpretation of light simply refers to its rate of molecular vibration which, in its highest form, we cannot perceive in the mortal body.

A.D. Mattson, a noted theologian from Chicago who died in 1930 puts it this way,

It is like a sunrise on a mountain that is covered with snow, when the colors come down and reflect on you - a dazzling brilliance that would make you close your eyes and yet feel it in every pore of your body.

Light becomes an element with texture, reports Lord Sandys, the deceased husband of one of the mediums, that laps round one...

In addition to these 'voices', we will meet T.E.Lawrence, better known as "Lawrence of Arabia" who died in the 1930's; Arthur Conan Doyle himself, who died in 1930; Joe Gascoigne, a diplomat and adventurer for forty years in the Far East; Sally Lehman and Patricia Sandys. A few others, unidentified in the texts, will also be heard from.

What they all concur on is the following - that the earthly, physical world as we know it is only the most dense plane of a multi-layered universe in which all dimensions interpenetrate each other, somewhat like a rice pudding in which the heavier ingredients sink to the bottom, leaving the lighter custard to float on top.

Father Andrew describes it the most poetically.

When you leave the earth plane and enter further realms, you find plane after plane supporting and interlacing like the petals of a flower, or many flowers, each with color, sound and form.

They agree that everything seen and unseen in the universe is conscious and living. From the densest rock on the planet Earth to the subtlest emanations of Light in the celestial ethers everything is permeated with the intelligence, spirit, love, "God-ness" of the Whole.

Our eternal selves, referred to as "souls" by each of our informants, descend into the material plane to be born as human beings on the earth. Here, for the span of a human lifetime we experience the limitations of physical existence - the struggles, the conflicts, the creative problem-solving - implicit in earthly life.

The great purpose of life in matter, as Frances Banks puts it, is to illumine matter with spirit.

Joe Gascoigne says, To open yourself to enjoy everything - that is the big purpose.

The earth is a place where we learn and grow by experiencing life in matter. We repeat the process lifetime after lifetime until, by becoming literally "enlightened" we make ourselves accessible to Light by effacing layers of density until what is left is our most subtle core of being.

One calls this process a stretching of the soul to a wider consciousness.

Life is expansion, says another.

Light is but the widening of one's inner perceptions, is the way someone else puts it.

Frances Banks sums it up eloquently. She says,

The people of the earth will return and return after they have made their souls more capable of transmitting the life force in order to transmute the density of earth vibration into a higher frequency.

In the course of reading and re-reading these after-life accounts, I have grown quite fond of each of the speakers and seem to hear them speak to me across time and space. There is nothing spooky about this to me, at all.

I can imagine them - and ask that you join me in this fantasy - gathering together with me at an old country house by a Scottish loch. Outdoors, a rainstorm is brewing and inside it is warm, a fire blazing in the big stone hearth and the aroma of baking bread is coming from the kitchen. We are seated on sofas, in armchairs and on cushions strewn on the Oriental carpet of the oak-paneled great room, quite cozy in the warmth of the fire. For the next few hours, they have agreed to materialize and talk with me, answering my questions and discussing with me their experiences and perceptions of the world they have entered since the time of their physical deaths.

Young Mike is seated closest to the fire, and has agreed to keep it stoked and filled with fresh logs. Next to him on the right is Frances, the ex-nun from South Africa; I am seated on the sofa alongside her and on my other side is T.E.Lawrence, who detests being referred to by his more popular name of "Lawrence of Arabia." Next to him is A.D.Mattson, the American theologian, and on his left is Dr. Myers, from Cambridge University. Conan-Doyle, who has asked to be called "Arthur" is on his left, and next to him are Father Andrew, Sally, then Joe, then Patricia and a few nameless ones- who all knew each other in life in Scotland.

Frances has requested that I be willing to change my angle ofbelief as I listen to them, and in turn I ask you to do the same. For the length of time it takes to read this chapter, please try and suspend whatever disbelief you have about life after death or about channeled information. For now, please simply read what will come and allow it to sink in without judgment.

Some have more to say than others; some will speak with greater eloquence than others, but each will speak in her or his own voice, selected but not edited, exactly as it appears in the text.

I hope you enjoy the afternoon.

"To start off," I requested, after everyone had exchanged greetings and found their places around the room, "could each of you tell me in a brief sentence or two what your understanding is of life on earth? They all lifted their eyebrows at me, as if to say...in a brief sentence or two??...and we laughed. But Dr. Myers, the Cambridge scholar, took up the challenge.

The reason for the physical dimension of existence has to do with the evolution of the soul, which is obtained through limitation, through the expression of spirit in form.

He glanced around to see how that sat with the others. They nodded in thoughtful agreement.

Frances, the ex-nun, considered what he had said, and then spoke.

The soul needs to project some part of itself back into the denser environment of earth in repeated attempts to master the trials and stresses of those vibrations. When a soul, seeking an enlargement of experience, reincarnates, it seeks a trial of strength in some experiences, a role as leader in others. Therefore, up to a point, it fixes its own coming events.

Sally gave it a try next. She said,

We are evolving spirits through the experiences obtained through the limitation of form.

T E Lawrence attempted to say it differently.

The purpose of the universe is that every entity should grow into the perfection of its own type.

Dr. Mattson nodded agreement, declaring,

The ultimate goal in human evolution is to reach the point where each person, each sacred personality created is in tune and is a beautiful bead on the thread of the essence of the Whole.

Frances watched him with a small smile on her lips, saying,

The people of the earth will return and return after they have made their souls more capable of transmitting the life force in order to transmute the density of earth vibration into a higher frequency.

Mike, the young fellow from Pretoria, added as almost an aside,

Life is a steep mountain which we have to surmount before we can return to the Great One.

By the word 'Life' added Arthur Conan-Doyle, we mean the soul's existence, not as you see it through mortal eyes, but as a Whole - as one vast experience passing from its apex, which is God, and traveling the full cycle of its existence to return to that apex once more.

As our consciousness expands explained Frances, we let in more Light. We are stretching the soul to a wider consciousness. The planes of spirit, you see, stretch onwards into infinity.

"Tell me then," I asked, "what was it like to die?"

Mike spoke first.

The actual act of dying was as simple as dozing off after lunch. A drowsy feeling filled the whole of my body with relaxing comfort. I could still see, with my earthly eyes, my own body and then I noticed that there were all kinds of new people around - my parents, my favorite uncle, a friend who passed over many years sooner, and the joy of seeing them again took my mind off everything else. Then they took me by the hand and lifted me to my feet, causing me to look back and see that, to my surprise, my mortal shell was still lying there. I said, 'But how can I be here with you people and yet still be lying there?' Only then did I realize that this was death.

Andrew, the much-loved Polish priest told his story next.

The pain grew suddenly so bad that it seemed to burst or break something inside me - and I was suddenly free - free in the strangest sense. I felt for a moment inert and without power, as in a walking trance. I was above my body but still attached to it.

The ecstasy of dying is something I can never express. It is suddenly like becoming Light itself. It is like a clap of divine thunder and hey presto, there I am out of my tiresome old body - you've no conception of what dying is like - I am overcome with joy!

I accepted death and as I did the whole world changed. The room blazed with light. The books on the table, the chair, even the carpet and curtains. Everything was alive with love power.

Joe, who had a long career in the British diplomatic service and was an avid mountaineer spoke up then.

I had a good night of refreshing sleep on my last night on earth, and was in a state bordering on pleasant relaxation. Every part of me seemed to be switching off gently, and when the last switch was pressed I suddenly found I was floating above my body. I made instinctively for the window; Mother was there, but I couldn't see her. She said my first words were, "Thank God that's over - I never thought I should have lived through it," whereupon she burst out laughing, and that was the first etheric sound I heard.

Nothing in life comes up to the immense joy of dying. Death has been made such a bogey that it is only through suffering and great discomfort that we are persuaded to let go and cooperate with death. When passing...you have to be ready to receive the power that draws you quite painlessly out of your body. We are not meant to suffer death. At the moment of death - unless the death be a violent one, peace reigns about the human consciousness.

I don't know how long it took me to leave the earth plane, said Mike, continuing his story. It was rather much like flipping a radio dial from one station to another. When you turn the knob, you take for granted that another station will be awaiting your pleasure; you don't think there's anything unusual about it. That was how I moved from your world to my new one. All my family, even the ones I didn't know when I was on the earth, were here to welcome me. They made me feel wanted, and very much at home."

Frances, still dressed in the habit she had worn as a nun in South Africa, smiled radiantly, speaking in a gentle voice.

As soon as I was able to bring myself to a conscious state of mind, after my withdrawal from my worn-out body, I knew I was the same in essence. True, I felt light, and there was a new sense of freedom that was bewildering. I was the same....yet not the same! One of my first recollections was, "I am still conscious. The Change has taken place...So this is death! Life separated by density - that is all!" Elation filled me. I feel like a snake gradually shedding its skin. These coils of lower density are slipping away from me. What is left is essentially Light, is reality, is permanent, is true.

I knew now that I could 'tune in' and even 'see' the earth plane, if desire was strong enough to loosen the barrier between your world and my new one. The possibility rested with me. This, I realized, was my first lesson. Now I dwelt in a realm of Thought, and such thought power, when rightly implemented, can penetrate the dense plane which is the world of human habitation. I did not feel that I had really gone away into a far country. I could still keep in touch.

Another woman, who had died suddenly of heart failure, described it this way:

My heart gave out and that was that. I fell into a coma and woke up to find myself in a curious light. It wasn't sunlight or moonlight or electric light, it was different from any light I'd ever seen. I tried to go to sleep again but the light was rather disturbing, and to this were added voices, laughing and talking. I rather wished they'd stop. After all, I had been ill and they might remember and leave me quiet. But the voices came nearer and at last I could bear it no longer. I got up, but instead of feeling tired and ill, I was perfectly all right. At that moment someone waved to me, saying, 'It's lovely to see you awake at last.'

T.E.Lawrence sat quietly, his gaze down, during their testimonies. His own experience had been different, as he had died in a state of profound despair. Slowly, taking a deep breath, he began to speak.

A shattering blow, darkness rent with interludes of throbbing agony and finally a merciful cessation of pain; nothingness.

Out of the void came first a mere point of self-awareness, lost and found again and spreading gradually into an indefinite impression of being; a sensation of neither darkness nor light, an uneasy grayness filled with growing apprehension. Soon I should need to drag myself out of this numbing stupor, to find out where I was and what was happening in this waste of grayness. All my known and familiar world was gone and if this was a nightmare, I still had to abide the awakening.

The startling impression that this was death became insistent, but if I had to accept that idea what became of my conviction that death ended it all? For I was certainly alive, if you could call it living.

He lowered his head again, and Sally, a young English writer, regarded him thoughtfully. She said,

In misery I lost myself in unconsciousness, but I awoke to a glory beyond the morning sun. I realized I had not only shed my body completely, but I had received a new body and acquired the power to use it right away.

Joe remarked,

If you give up the reins, as it were, to the Great Creator, then life is withdrawn gently and lovingly, and the dossier of your earthly effort is closed.

"It seems strange to me that most of us on earth have such a fear of death," I commented, "when each of you seems to living proof - pardon the pun -that it is not the terrifying event we seem to think it is!" They groaned at my pun and Dr. Mattson shook a teasing finger at me. Then he said

Death bears an aspect of doom while one is on earth and cannot see beyond it, but now one can see that death is a simple change of condition necessary for growth. As our present body fulfills its purpose and is outworn the succeeding and more glorious form glows through it and a gradual metamorphosis begins which finishes in a period of unconsciousness and an awakening in a higher sphere...

In the beginningwe step out of our physical environment and are still ourselves - then after awhile we begin to change and adapt to the new environment. If we were transported after death to completely new surroundings, a sense of continuity would be broken.

Frances added

All need the knowledge that we survive death to remove fear, which is one of the most powerful earth emotions which has to be conquered before peace and progress can come to the earth. There should be no fear of death, for the death of the body is but a gentle passing to a much freer life.

Dr. Myers stood up, apparently accustomed to standing when he delivered lectures at the university.

The secret of death is to be found in the rate of speed at which the outer shell vibrates. For instance, a human being is primarily aware of the visible world about him because his body is traveling at its particular rate of speed. Alter the timing of your physical form and the earth, men, women and all material objects will vanish for you as you vanish for them. Death, therefore, means merely a change of speed. For the purpose of this change a temporary dislocation is necessary, for the soul must pass from one body traveling at a certain vibration to another traveling at a different rate or time.

This entry into the next life involves no sudden break, no leap into new conditions. There must necessarily be an intermediate state. Death is like a night at the inn, a halt on the long road home."

Dr. Mattson spoke again:

I want to give as clear a picture as I can of conditions that I am encountering from my own perspective. Each person sees it from their own point of view.

The bodies of those who have died vibrate at a rate too fast for your physical eyes to see. The body is so much heavier than the personality, which goes on.

The world beyond is not up there somewhere. It's here - a change of condition. It's all one space - like soapy water, salt water, clear water in a sponge, each a different vibration.

 

"Can you say more about vibration,?" I asked.

The young Mike seemed eager to speak. Without thinking, he raised his hand as if he were still in school.

While you are on earth your thought, your intentions - everything you do - gives your soul a certain rate of vibration. Let's suppose your soul is vibrating in a 50 megacycle band. When you die and manifest here, you would go straight to the part of our world which vibrates at 50 megacycles. By the same token, if you're a slow-thinking sort who can only vibrate to 15 megacycles, then you'll become part of this world in the 15 megacycle range.. It all depends on your rate of vibration, see?

 

"I think I see," I mused.

Dr. Mattson cleared his throat, and stated,

The world in which we find ourselves immediately after death is the point from which we can progress to higher levels of consciousness. By 'higher' I do not mean spatially higher, but rather those planes which have a finer vibration.

All of the various planes of consciousness have different frequencies of vibration. For instance, you assume that the matter of earth is composed of atoms and that these atoms are composed of energy which vibrates. This matter of earth is denser than the matter of the higher planes. As you can see light waves which vibrate at a 'visual observing' rate, so you can see the matter of the earth. However, as you cannot see radio or television waves which vibrate at too fast a rate to be seen, so you cannot see the matter of the world beyond...

Frances spoke up and said,

No soul coming here from the earth's limitations is able to stand the stepped-up vibrations of the higher planes. One has to earn every step of advancement.

But we live in an expanding universe and we have always inhabited this world, and the death of the physical sheath only serves to clear our vision.

TE Lawrence broke in.

It is true that we survive, but as human beings, not as angels.

We go from Life through death to life, exclaimed Dr. Mattson, thinking to cap the argument with a final, poetic statement. But Dr. Myers, standing again, insisted on having the last word. He said,

Death is the separation from our dense physical body, that's all. Until we evolve to the 6th plane, we use a form."

"I'd like to know more about this sixth plane," I remarked, " but I want to be filled in on the basics first. I'm trying to visualize it, but I can't quite ..." I admitted.

Let's get down to specifics Mike began. Essentially we have to try and understand what makes you personally tick. The best way to do that is to find out what you are in the overall scheme of things.

You are a very complex mechanism, in case you didn't know it. You consist of a physical body; an electrical or etheric body to energize the physical body; and an emotional body. The etheric body is essentially the launching pad beneath the physical, and therefore part of it. Remove its launching pad and the physical body dies. Over and above that you have a mental body. Finally, at the hub of the entire composite, is your immortal soul.

Dr. Mattson explained,

The body in which we live immediately after we have died is a duplicate of our physical body, except that it is made of a fine, tenuous substance. We don't think of putting food into our mouths, because it isn't needed. However, we continue to use the psychic centers of the body. These become more active because they are now free of the physical body.

Mike tried to clarify this, gesticulating rather wildly.

The soul that inhabits your body operates within a system of electrical impulses he said. Most people call that the etheric body.

Dr. Myers spoke up.

This double accompanies us from birth to death, houses and shelters our soul, serves us faithfully as our physical shape and survives the death of the physical.

Andrew placed his palms gently together, and looked up at me.

We are only a very small reflection of the self we leave outside the earth body, he said, and when we have accepted death and entered into the majesty of passing out of the physical, this wonderful enlargement of mind and spirit is awaiting us.

"When you have made the passage out of the physical," I asked, "what happens next?"

Frances spoke of her experience, saying,

Consciousness went from me. I remembered nothing more. How long this went on, I have no possible way of knowing...perhaps in earth time for a very short space. But when I next came back to consciousness I seemed to be pulling myself up out of a thin sea of silver...those are the only words I can use to describe the experience.

We rest and heal until the soul regains the strength to deal with its Karma.

Dr. Mattson gave his recollections next.

I was in the most beautiful garden, sitting in a chair and they were all saying, 'Let him have a rest. He must have a sleep.' And I was saying to myself, ' Rest, sleep - I've done enough of that. I want to get going.' But I didn't. Somebody must have hypnotized me because I slept and I rested. People came and went. I smiled at them, but they didn't have any faces. They were just a lot of light.

Andrew grinned as he recalled his first moments after passing, and reported,

My friend said, 'Don't be in a hurry, you are newly born and cannot do everything at once. Here you will find many old friends and plenty of time for recuperation. Then quite suddenly I was tired and they said, 'Sleep here, anywhere, rest for a short or long period.' I found myself lying on the ether, superbly comfortable, warm and contented beyond all description; and so I slept. In that borderland, I slept the weariness out of my bones."

A young father who, with his wife and children, had been burned in a conflagration of the house in which they lived, told the following story;

I asked this voice beside me, 'Where on earth have we got to?'

'Well, you'll see,' It's not exactly on earth anymore.' Good heavens, what was the chap saying? Had I gone mad? The children were delighted. They left me and were running wildly about, exploring the garden. Then suddenly, in front of me, I saw the form of a man. He seemed to grow into my vision. At first only a blurred object, which crystallized into a human form.

'Who are you, and where am I?' I asked in amazement. He was still gripping my hand. 'Take it easy son. You've passed over. You and the children have reached the next stage of living, you are now what the world calls dead.

'Dead!' I screamed. 'but that can't be.'

'No,' he smiled. 'There is no death. That was one of the many illusions that we All find on coming over.'

'But,' I said, ' if I'm dead, so are my wife and child. I know. I saw them.'

'They are no more dead than you,' he said quietly, 'but at the moment they are sleeping off the exhaustion of this tremendous experience, and you and the children must do the same.'

'You seem to know all the answers,' I heard myself saying weakly, and with that I lay down and slept too.

T E Lawrence commented,

There is a long period of unconsciousness in many who come by violent deaths, suicide or otherwise. Eventually they awaken and take on the task of fitting into their own appropriate sphere of being. 

I pondered my next question carefully, "What happens," I asked, "when a person can't figure out what has happened to him or her?"

Frances spoke up, fingering her beads thoughtfully.

Many who arrive here," she began quietly, "are either completely overwhelmed by the fact of a further existence, or disillusioned because in their narrow creeds they have envisaged a heaven of utter delight which, to such crude imaginations, inferred that from henceforth no efforts would ever be needed by them. In fact, a kind of super-welfare state where they would dream away eternity. But this is certainly no super-welfare state.

The others nodded agreement, smiling knowingly.

Arthur Conan-Doyle interjected wryly,

In very truth a person does not fall into a honeypot when he passes from the earth to the spirit world." eliciting laughter from the group.

Frances went on.

Some souls who come to our side and who have perpetrated much evil take a great deal of helping and advising. Remorse overwhelms them and often they choose to live in the gloom of regret. This is rightly termed gloom because, even here, by their sadness and remorse they are shutting themselves away from the very light which could illumine their minds, dissolve their guilts and bring a constructive ray to bear on their problems. There are wonderful helpers in these regions. These have to be advanced souls, strong in themselves and firm in the Light before they choose to do such work.

"So there are helpers?" I asked, relieved. "I had no idea!"

Our work is to be on hand when newly arrived entities awake to awareness," Frances explained. "Sometimes their friends and loved ones already in these realms have been 'alerted.' Then we wait in the background until the greetings are over. In other cases, ours are the first countenances they see; ours are the words of comfort, assurance and welcome.

Our 'patients stay with us until they have adjusted to this new life. This may be only a short passing phase or a longer period, according to their state of development. The newcomers are then introduced to the idea of an expanding progress and are encouraged to right the wrongs they have done in their earth lives by concentrated thoughts of forgiveness and compassion.

T.E. Lawrence told some more of his story.

Sitting there and trying to decide on my next move I began to get a peculiar feeling as of a presence at my side though, turning quickly, I saw no one. Soon I made out words sounding close to my ear.

"You need help?" it asked.

"I do indeed," I replied. "Why cannot I see you?"

My new friend replied, "You have got yourself into a very unhappy region and as I can see you do not belong here I should like to help. You must have been in a wretched state of mind before you came here and that accounts for waking up in this part of the world. We must get you into a happier condition before we can help you much." As he spoke I saw that a light had diffused itself around us and I smiled with pleasure at the first brightness I had seen in this dreary Hades.

"It's very reassuring to know that there's help available," I declared. "It's terribly frightening to expect punishment for everything I've done wrong!"

TE Lawrence reassured me immediately.

The path upwards is always open and there are willing hands to help and encourage any person who aspires to tread it. There is no such thing as a final failure. The great discovery is that the whole scheme of things is built on eternal justice.

Arthur cautioned,

But nothing drives the soul onward against its own inclination. One's own power of freewill is ever operative.

Wellesley, who had been silent until now, commented,

One's whole being seems to expand to receive this new awareness. It takes time to outgrow our old personality, if indeed we ever do.

Sally, who was sprawled on a cushion on the carpet, piped up with shining eyes,

On coming over here with no knowledge or understanding I had to begin at the beginning. Then Pat came into my life and I rose from the crowd of 'don't knows' into the mass of lovely outflowing people who 'know' and I began to live again in a vital way. Now that sounds as if the 'don't knows' were left to themselves; they are, because they go on wishing it so deeply, hugging their old grievances and going on being miserable and lonely to such an extent that no one can penetrate, and if they do the 'don't knows' brush them aside and go on grumbling. But the moment light begins to dawn they are off like me, into a world of light and color and music.

Do you see how this purgatorial experience works?" asked Frances. We don't alter fundamentally. But bit by bit we move away from earth ideas and limitations and advance more into light and wisdom. Our inner eyes are opened gradually or swiftly to the errors of our old patterns of thinking and acting. We are allowed to progress into such experiences as will help us put right these errors. The point is to release inhibitions of the personality that obstruct Light.

"But what about good and evil?" I asked. "Don't people who perpetrate evil go to Hell?"

I'd like to impress upon you, began Arthur, that what man calls evil is also of God. The Universal Intelligence which man calls God contains in itself both good and evil. Helet that sink in awhile, and then went on. Hitherto men have conceived that good must always oppose evil. Nothing is farther from the truth. Evil is always an essential complement to that quality or condition man calls 'good', and without the existence of evil, good could not evolve or exist.

Dr. Mattson enlarged upon this thought.

Heaven and Hell are not places, he proposed, they are spiritual states of being. They are not static states but are states in which there can be growth and progress towards ultimate wholeness of being. As there are degrees of heaven and hell on earth, so there are degrees of heaven or hell in the spiritual world. The spiritual state of being you have on earth is the spiritual state you take with you to the world beyond when you die.

Dr. Myers added,

It is a darkness of the soul, a mental distress, a perverted desire that cannot find its satisfaction. Eventually, the individual faces up to his own misery, to his vice; and then the great change comes.

TE Lawrence confirmed this, describing what it felt like to die in agony and find himself in a despairing realm.

My thought seemed as bound by shadows as my surroundings. All life and living was reduced to monochrome. No sound, no movement, no light, no joy; only a dreary acquiescence in this half-light, half-living. A grievous lassitude invaded me. I was oppressed by my loneliness .

"How awful," I commented.

But Dr. Mattson spoke reassuringly about "the shining ones" who dedicate themselves to going into this dark realm.

They are clothed inprotective garments so that they are not harmed or pierced by the daggerlike thoughts of hatred which those in the dark realms are throwing out. The shining ones do not go and talk to these people, but they stand by and call to them through thought. The moment the sufferers respond in a positive way, the ones who have come to help are able to bring them out into a less dense, foggy world and eventually out into a realm of light.

No soul, Frances reassured me, is ever left comfortless unless he wishes it.

Arthur went on to explain.

The lowest plane is one of persistent desire, all of which the sufferer has engendered during earth life. The selfish, the greedy, the cruel... Self-centeredness becomes outwardly actualized in a logical, natural manner as grayness, unclarity..."

TE Lawrence explained,

the bodies are coarsened by habitual indulgence in anger and hatred, and the air they breathe is infected with their hot and murky emanations.

Dr. Mattson commented,

Just knowing the bad mistakes you made through your carelessness or your selfishness is a hell. You don't need a devil prodding you with a fork. Believe me, your own anguished mind is a prod that is more hurtful than any prodding with a devil's fork!

People who have deliberately chosen to live debased or cruel lives find themselves in a state similar to groping in a dark, depressing fog. Everyone there is wrapped up in his own cruel thinking. These souls wander around in a lost state until they of their own volition make an attempt to turn towards the realm of light. Some may be lost for eons.

Mike nodded emphatically, giving Dr. Mattson a 'thumb's up' gesture.

Sometimes, Frances added with an indulgent wink for the young Mike, these poor souls live in hatred and rebellion, sometimes in apathy and sometimes with a fierce denial that there is any other state of existence possible.

I have visited the 'lower regions' though with Conductors who were able to guide and protect us. Believe me, it is a terrible region, or regions, of semi-gloom, of unwholesome, sticky emotions, of utter distortion of all that is beautiful. My compassion flowed out for those poor half-alive creatures in their self-darkness.

These are hells of the spirit and the mind, confining states of misery - dark, depressing and as real as the tortured consciousness of the dweller therein makes them. Yet these hells are not eternal. The person in these mental torments need stay there no longer than his desires keep him. He can always choose to follow the light of love.

Dr. Myers stood and spoke.

It is your emotional desires which manufacture what you experience. You are still an individualized soul caught within the limitations of your earthly self and caught also within your new fine etheric body. Hell is a darkness of soul, a mental distress, a perverted desire that cannot find satisfaction.

Understand, he continued that you do not consciously create your surroundings through an act of thought. Your emotional desires, your deeper mind manufacture these without your being actually aware of the process.

"Can you explain what you mean by saying that the emotional desires manufacture what you create?" I asked.

.TE Lawrence turned to me and said,

One's new body is emotional in its very nature and thus its powers will be based on emotions. Emotions are a visible and tangible reality forming a good or bad body, healthy or diseased according to one's state.

Frances explained,.

In the physical body one can mask one's true self and appear very different from reality. Here, the persona, or mask, has been removed and our very thoughts are open to all. Think what that would mean on earth!

Anger, irritation, depression can actually be seen in the appearance and field surrounding an entity. They can actually be felt and sometimes heard as a low warning, drumming, rather like a wasp's buzzing. I have experienced this in others and, alas, other dear souls have avoided me for the same reason at times.

Mike got up to throw another log on the fire. We all turned as it hit and crackled, and then TE Lawrence went on to say,

Here society is organized on a basis of emotional health. The angry, the sadistic, the brutal and the jealous have of necessity to foregather in their own place because the atmosphere they engender cannot be borne by others, nor can they themselves bear the more rarified conditions of the higher spheres.

Arthur added,

Judgment is but a person's realization of himself as he truly is...Every step to salvation must be earned.

Frances considered this thoughtfully, and clasping her hands together, said,

Man must be allowed to go on and use his discoveries for destruction and for evoking fear and submission in his fellows until he learns better.

Dr. Mattson pounded the arm of his armchair with the flat of his hand for emphasis,

From here we know that there is no problem, no pain, no ill, no disharmony on the whole created universe that eventually will not be made into harmony. We might ask, "What drives the soul forward? How do we progress?"

Dr. Meyers took a deep breath and regarded me intently. He declared,

I can assure you that life after death is a serious matter. For when one passes from the physical to the astral condition, one has to face the fruits of one's past life on earth. There can be no more backsliding then, for life has to resolve itself into a forward march."

And TE Lawrence, with a smile of satisfaction on his handsome face, replied neatly,

Rescue and redemption are available to every soul, even a Hitler. The challenge when in the lower regions is to face squarely the suffering you have caused another. Here we can no longer ignore the point of view of the person we have injured, and we have actually to experience what we felt as though we ourselves had been the sufferer. It is resistance to facing one's own shortcomings that keeps you in Hell.

"Is it true that we see our whole life pass like a movie before our eyes?" I asked.

Joe nodded Yes.

My past wandered slowly through my mind like a cinema.

Frances gazed attentively at him as he spoke, and then turned to me.

There is no compulsion, of course, to review one's past life as soon as one arrives she explained. Some take a long while to tackle the problem. They dread to see the effects of mistakes and failures.

The method here is interesting and provocative. Somewhere in the deeps of the mind two blueprints are brought forward into consciousness. These are so clear that one can literally take them out and study them. One is the Perfect Idea with which the spirit goes bravely into incarnation. The other is what results from an only partially-understood Plan - in fact, life as it is actually lived.

In my case, it was a shock to me, and a very salutary experience, to find that these two plans differed exceedingly. And yet, I have learned so much by facing the results...This was the first shock - a true humbling of myself to find that I did so little when I would have done so much; that I went wrong so often when I thought that I was right.

During this experience the whole cycle of your life-term unfolds before you in a kaleidoscopic series of pictures. During this crisis you seem so entirely alone. Yours is the judgment. You stand at your own bar of judgment. You make your own decisions. You take the blame. You are the accused, the judge and the jury.

The second stage of this recapitulation starts when the soul feels strong enough and calmed sufficiently to take the earth life, round by round -so to speak. Then the blueprints are brought into mind again; only this time the start is made from the moment of departure from the body. The mind works slowly - oh so slowly backwards through one's experiences.

She smiled mischievously and wrinkled her nose, saying, I am not confessing where I have reached in this exercise!" Weall had a good laugh.

But I will tell you that now you seem no longer alone. Someone is beside you. Whether it is your own high spirit, or a great helper, I have yet to discover .

TE Lawrence added,

Now as you judge what you did and why and what were the results, good or bad, you are gloriously aware of this great Being beside you, giving strength, peace, tranquility and helping with constructive criticism. This is a wonderful experience, though harrowing at times. But very cleansing and bringing new hope.

Here I sat forward, rapt.

Dr. Myers stood slowly to speak, realized he was doing that from long habit and, a bit flustered, sat down again.

There is an after-death itinerary through increasingly rarified existences Between each, the soul reviews its past experiences in an intermediate, resting state and decides whether it is ready to go on to the next stage of higher vibration or go back to a plane of denser experience - such as life on earth.

TE Lawrence added,

The longest and most painful part of our progress is how to reconcile ourselves to the wounds we have dealt others and now have to feel in our own being. It is really an illustration of the solidarity of mankind and proof that every deed affects the whole as well as the part.

I felt tears come to my eyes and I brushed them away as Arthur made this observation.

When a man attains the condition of quiescence, peace and tranquility, his spirit remains perfectly conscious, able at last to see himself as he really is; to gauge the complete effect of his life, not only as it has affected the lives of his fellows on earth, but in relation to the whole creative principle; to estimate the magnitude or otherwise of his personal contribution towards the evolving Plan of Creation.

Pat, a young woman who had been a writer, spoke for the first time with a small objection.

Don't worry people to develop if they've no wish to. It means their earth ties are too strong and they had better rest and relax in the sunshine, and when they have exhausted their pleasure they will either move on naturally, or return to earth in another body.

 

"So now the life review has been completed. What happens next?" I asked.

Joe looked at me teasingly, and said,

It's like beginning all over again. It's another way of living, thinking and being.

I arose and walked and realized how light and resilient my limbs felt. On arrival you are still with the dust and vibrations of your own thinking.

Frances explained,

After the death of the physical body we gravitate to our rightful place; a mansion, a cottage, even a hovel -as we have earned. It is essential, therefore to regard life experience, whilst in incarnation on the earth plane as a preparation for this existence.

TE Lawrence claimed,

With the exception of the border regions of misty unreality, our plane is as solid and actual to our senses as the earth is to its denizens - of a finer texture and more lucent beauty.

Frances patiently explained,

Because this plane is only a few rungs or so higher than the earth plane there are the same conditions as in your civilization - even prisons - only here they are self-made. Here I have a body, certainly, but it is of finer composition than my late physical body. Here I look as I did on earth, but here I am free to refashion this body by thought.

"Thought?" I asked.

Frances nodded kindly and went on,

Existence on earth is a state of living in a thought world, illusory and much restricted and enclosed by the glamorous web of matter. Beyond physical death the thought world is more apparent and certainly far more potent in its effects.

TE Lawrence, seeing my confusion, tried to explain.

My guide explained to me that my present body, solid as it may seem, is now really composed of a kind of matter which on earth I thought of as 'emotion'. I now have to practice not to mask my feelings - because this is no longer possible - but to control them and to work at getting rid of the undesirable ones altogether. In fact, he confessed with a rueful expression, this new body is very responsive to incoming impressions, too much so for my comfort. I dislike the idea that these waves of emotion are apparent to everyone I meet.

"How can they be apparent?" I asked.

You make your atmosphere by the emanations of your emotions, he began to explain, looking around the room for help in describing what was indescribable in three-dimensional terms.

Dr. Mattson gave it a try.

The body in which we live after we have died, he began, is a duplicate of our physical body except that it is made up of a fine, tenuous substance. You have to learn how to walk, talk, hone in on vibration, learn how to receive color, sound. I am now aware of the fact that man is composed of a series of bodies which interpenetrate each other. A proper body is provided for each plane of consciousness - each body composed of matter which vibrates at a rate compatible with the matter of the plane in which it was made to function.

TE Lawrence, responding to my look of confusion, elucidated.

The naive expectation that after death one comes straight into the presence of one's Maker leaves out of account the immaturity and helplessness of the human spirit, and if such a confrontation were possible, one wonders whether any created thing would survive the encounter.

One's newly developing senses have to be given time to adjust to their new work and this new world only holds for you what you are capable of seeing in it. We all have to earn our heaven, and every step of the way to the final bliss of pure being is paid for by effort.

Joe added,

If you die with your earth's desires unsatisfied, you may experience a period in which you can have all that you did not have. At some point you feel replete, then bored, then ready to go on.

TE Lawrence went on,

The real 'classes' into which we are separated are divided in space because they have to obey the primal law of affinity. Near and far mean likeness or distance in development and there is a compulsion in the association of groups of similar levels. Whatever our natural plane may be, to go down from it causes acute discomfort and even suffering; to go up before one is ready means an air too rarified and light too intense to be borne. So each must go to his own place and stay there until development draws him up into a higher sphere.

"I'm still not quite understanding what you mean by 'spheres'. Are they a place? Could I see them, or feel them - or what? Could you be more explicit, please?"

Arthur tried his hand at elucidating it.

The spirit world to which we go is a world of thought, an internal state rather than an external condition.

I must have still looked perplexed, because Dr. Mattson came to my rescue. He told me,

Things are not born over here, they're created.Think of earth as a copy of a masterpiece! he said. Ether is the ancestor of matter as we know it.

"Oh, you mean like Plato's notion that there is an immaterial "Idea" which is the basis for what we see on earth?" I asked. He nodded with satisfaction.

"Got it!" I said, laughing, as the others all applauded his brainstorm.

TE Lawrence put it this way,

Immaterial and ignored aspects of our earth-bodies are here solidly material, and even this transmutes again into less and less material. Knowing this produces a re-orientation, a re-estimate of the real as against the transient - the less material aspect is always the real and abiding; the material, the transient.

In a surfeit of enthusiasm, Mike leapt from his chair and rubbed his hands together in glee. The older men regarded him with amused indulgence.

It's a world that looks pretty much the same as your world, he explained with intensity, only the laws are different up here.

"Up here?" I asked. "Are you really up there in the sky somewhere?"

Dr. Mattson shook his head and said,

No. The bodies of those who have died vibrate at a rate too fast for your physical eyes to see. By higher planes we do not mean spatially higher, but rather those planes that have a finer vibration.

Mike went on.

And when I say laws, I don't mean laws that govern behavior of the people here. I mean laws that govern thought. If we are far away from one another and we want to make contact, telepathy is the accepted thing here. I merely think of the fellow I want to speak to, and bingo! he's right there. We contact each other as easily as you use the telephone - except that we don't need a phone!

If someone wants to talk to you, you first hear him in your mind. If you want to go to him, you merely exert your will and in two ticks you're right there. Takes a bit of getting used to... he admitted with a grin.

TE Lawrence explained,

One's new body is emotional in its very nature, and thus its new powers will be based on emotions. As well as forming the stuff of our bodies, emotions can be used as a very real force. They can be sent out from the body with an almost lethal effect and the discharge of hatred, anger or cruelty can cause grievous injury to the one against whom it is directed. Where there is affection and trust there will be an outflowing of warmth and light; were there is polite indifference, the auric color will continue steady and unaffected by the encounter.

The transmission of meaning involves not the emotional body alone, but the as yet imperfectly formed spiritual body. Words are most useful in everyday and trivial matters, and they continue to be used whenever necessary.

Frances nodded, adding,

Here our conversations consist mostly of a communing. Mind speaks to mind. In this further life, speech as sound is not needed. It is sufficient that we formulate and 'breathe out' a strong thought for this to communicate itself to other minds. We give and receive thought impressions. For me, talk is food. Communion with other souls is my nourishment, my bread and wine, my staff of life.

Andrew spoke up.

Words do not convey what we are able to accept mentally, though vibration. The effect on oneself is staggering. One's whole being seems to expand to receive this new awareness; and then when I pack myself back into my old shape and return to earth I feel constrained as though I were wearing clothes far too small for my immense body, but I now have no body as such. I am a group of vibrations forever growing more complex and at the same time simpler. I am an awareness in the atmosphere.

Sally said it poetically.

Thought carries me on an ever beyonding reach. We do not play hide and seek with our thoughts over here, but we ride them as though they were horses with tossing manes.

However those silly church hymns got written about eternal rest, I just don't know, laughed Joe. You don't have a moment's inaction here unless you particularly desire it.

I must have still looked bewildered for Frances gently took my hand and said,

On earth a person can build a facade. Here he has no such mask. He is known for what he is and for what his inner subjective life has made him. In this life, the potency of thought is stepped up into a frequency which permits no side-stepping. The effects are immediate. As one thinks, so one is - in environment, appearance and company.

"It actually sounds pretty intriguing," I confessed. "I'd like to hear more about day to day kinds of things."

Time is not measured off in days and nights and months and years, Dr. Mattson informed me, and TE Lawrence added,

Day and night, cold and heat, inescapable hunger and thirst - all these have vanished out of existence.

Time and space are felt in indirect relationship to one's present experience. The unrestricted flow of our time freed from the exterior standards of day and night, winter and summer is difficult to measure, but I know that the process of purification is a lengthy one.

Lord Sandys, seated next to Joe, said,

When one comes over here with the strength to carry one through endless daytime, the element of time ceases, it flows on and on like a moving carpet .

Our time is our own, commented TE Lawrence, and we can have as much of it as we need - another example of the relaxation of tension and the easing of conditions.

"You all look to be in your primes," I observed. "Doesn't anybody grow old there?"

An amusing circumstance, responded TE Lawrence, and one that is giving me much secret satisfaction is that I appear to be approaching my 'proper' age. The others all nodded withrecognition.

It seems that every human being has a true meridian of age at which his being is unfolded at its peak of achievement. For some, it is youth; for some, a riper middle age; for others, even an advanced age. Whichever manifestation of the being was most full and characteristic, at this age the man or woman rests. So it matters not at what age in earthly reckoning a man dies, he reverts by degrees to his ideal age when he comes here.

"Don't you get tired - and hungry?" I asked. Mike gave the fire a poke, tossed another log on and watched until it caught and blazed. Then he said,

When you first arrive here, the routines of eating and drinking and sleeping are too firmly established to be eliminated in one fell swoop. So, if you think you need to sleep, well, you lay down on a couch in one of the houses and you sleep for as long as you want. If you think you need to eat, then you eat your fill. There are no excretory organs in our bodies. For example, when I drink a glass of water. it just diffuses itself throughout my system, and that's that. In other words, it's converted into energy.

TE Lawrence added,

Fatigue is never felt and desire impels one swiftly and surely onward. Before, one avoided physical suffering if possible and endured it with what courage one might. Now, suffering is of the soul and the spirit, and cannot be avoided if it has been incurred.

"Well, what do you wear there?" I asked, wondering if spirits went about nude. They were all dressed simply and conservatively - in fact I had barely noticed their clothes until now. Mike replied,

Any old thing we choose. It's simply a matter of concentrating on a particular thing and, hey presto, we're wearing it.

When you come here, said Dr. Mattson, you experiment with your thinking and you think up your clothes, they materialize and you put them on. When you want to change what you are wearing, you can thought-power off the clothes and create something else. We all tend to wear the kind of things that we enjoy. Most of us, in the beginning, wear the things to which we are accustomed.

Frances agreed and added,

Often at the beginning there is great playing around with the freedom of "dressing up." Gradually the garment evolves and you are arrayed as you really are. You have assumed your Light.

Mike nodded his agreement and went on,

Most of us here wear our spirit clothing most of the time, and when we combine this with our gift of telepathy, it's well nigh impossible for anyone to maintain a phony front and hope to get away with it! No sooner have I thought a thing than the person I'm talking to hears it. He knows exactly what's making me tick!

In fact, added Joe, we all grow and develop under the immediate influence of each other.

Mike chimed in with,

Believe me, this universal sharing of everything has to be seen to be believed. There is no envy, no greed. There is no 'You've got more than I have' because the minute you want something, it's there!

It is so serene here that one is immediately remorseful when we disturb the harmony - even unintentionally - and the remorse rights the wrong. No one is ever punished in this world. A man punishes himself if he has broken the rules of happy living.

TE Lawrence enlarged upon this.

Since there is neither fear nor insecurity over survival, greed disappears.

I raised my eyebrows in astonishment, and he went on.

What have we to fear? We no longer fear death - it is a discredited bogey. We no longer fear hunger, thirst, heat cold...With all the material freedoms there is no frustration to engender anger or bitterness, no fear to breed hostility, no 'haves' to cause envy and greed and above all, no death to be feared as the ultimate evil.

Joe who had been a great traveler in life, and continued his adventuring in the afterlife world remarked,

Neither water nor land appear solid to us. We can pass through all natural substances - but death does change us all very considerably. It's the complete freedom. No money to worry over, no health problems, no possessions - because we possess all!

Frances, in her quiet way, added,

Nothing stops one from doing what one wishes here - except one's own inadequacies. Here there is no mask even for thought, one's inmost thought, and sometimes I shudder at the realization that our fellows here can read us, our character and thought. Here one's thoughts return to one like boomerangs, potent and immediate in their effects. Here the thought pattern is determinate of one's welfare, one's progress, one's happiness and joy. But in this new life, the potency of thought is stepped up into a frequency which permits of no side-stepping. The effects are immediate. Here the thought pattern is determinate of one's welfare, one's progress, one's happiness and joy. As one thinks, so one is...in environment, appearance and company!

We have to learn to live in this new frequency; to guard the doors of one's mind, to anticipate the boomerang action of negative emotions.

TE Lawrence said,

In this queer life one's only chance of prospering is to accept what one is and try to do something with it. I am learning that I can no longer hide inconvenient aspects of my personality. I have become wary of impatience and anger - their manifestations are too repulsive. The slightest shift in feeling makes a corresponding change in appearance, as well as in one's own feeling of well-being. Relations with people, when nothing can be hidden, become a high art requiring control and a larger sympathy than ever is needed on earth where its absence can usually be covered by the conventional word or action. He sighed and gestured for emphasis.

It really amounts to this, that one is not safe in this place until all the twisted, negative emotions are cleared out of one. Then it will be possible to live fearlessly and freely, knowing that one cannot send out harmful motion.

Dr. Myers said, a bit sadly, I thought,

With the increased powers of living and enjoying goes an increased sensibility to suffering which makes any guilt or remorse intolerable in its intensity.

And Frances explained,

Our inner eyes are opened gradually or swiftly to the errors of our old patterns of thinking and acting. We are allowed to progress into such experiences as will help us put right these errors. The point is to release inhibitions of the personality that obstruct Light.

I was still trying to picture it. "I guess I still want to know how you 'live'," I confessed.

Mike responded,

Some of us like to live in communities, others like to live in rural cottages on the rolling downs, or even alone in the forests. We are free to choose where we would like to live and with whom we would like to live.

Dr. Mattson explained,

When we create things by the power of thought actual materialization occurs. Whatever we create remains an objective reality as long as we wish it to.

Dr. Myers tried to explain the process this way:

This stage is like a dream that resembles the earth. Like a baby when it's born, it has no idea of the complex world that swirls around him. Gradually, he realized his capacity for living on a finer, larger plane of being. With the crossing of death, many are happy in that state of grace, but it is a vegetative, relatively ignorant state - like a baby in swaddling ."

The structure of our society, added TE Lawrence, is very diversified. It is stratified horizontally, as it were, and also vertically along the axis of time. Many people have been here for hundreds of years in earth time although they hardly ever realize this, and so one gets a mixture of the manners and customs of many ages and historical eras. There is certainly no danger of dullness...

In this plane are to be found replicas of earth with all its races and countries, and by exercising the wonderful power of desire one can travel and explore at will.

This is a resting place on the road, explained Dr. Myers, when the soul dreams back and thereby summarizes the emotional and subconscious life of earth existence. But we dream back in order to go forward again on the journey.

"It sounds pretty terrific, all in all," I commented. "I imagine I'd want to remain there forever. Why would anyone choose to be anywhere else?"

Dr. Myers replied quickly,

The peace and contentment of this plane grow wearisome after awhile, since no progress can be made. The soul's need is to grow and evolve.

Here, TE Lawrence said, we can purge our bodies of their corroded ills but can add nothing to our stature. That can be achieved only in our lives on earth. Here all we can do is perfect what has been won in the conflict. Here we simply consolidate our gains.

Joe commented,

Soon the limitations of the calm, easy life grow restrictive and you yearn for struggle, effort and ecstasy.

You see, broke in TE Lawrence, Luxuries are available freely for those who think they want them, but greed so easily satisfied soon dies of a surfeit.

He went on,

Also, in the cycle of growth, the earth experience is the formative stage when alone any real growth takes place. When the earth life is over and one comes here, the law of affinity takes one into congenial conditions and the general alleviation of circumstances removes all outer sources of conflict. There is no more struggle for existence.

He grinned impishly. Our work here is a kind of mopping-up operation. No actual growth of spirit is made here. Only in the struggle and turmoil of life are we able to make any real difference to our spiritual stature. The real work was to be done on earth.

Frances declared,

This is the way of life on these planes and every soul must assimilate the Way before proceeding onwards into planes of even higher frequencies,

Patricia added

When you are cleaned off you are ready to receive the higher vibrations.

"Tell me about the higher frequencies - please," I asked, intrigued.

TE Lawrence replied thoughtfully,

One makes an ascent of the planes via the progress of the human spirit."

Andrew added,

We are only a very small reflection of the self we leave outside the earth body, and when we have accepted death and entered into the majesty of passing out of the physical, this wonderful enlargement of mind and spirit is awaiting us.

Frances explained,

This is a serial life - that is we go from one plane to another, one experience to another, one group to another, one adventure to another from partial understanding to deeper comprehension, from apparent separation to inherent unity and thus to the bliss of merging with the All.

Mike spoke next.

There are seven planes of existence and each plane is more positive than the one below it. Self discipline will always raise you above the negative vibrations of emotion at the emotional level, and adjust you to the vibrations of the mind at the more rarified mental level.

When you have progressed far enough to emerge at the mental level, your previous life shrinks down into its negative aspect, and all hell breaks loose! He winked, and everyone laughed.

TE Lawrence commented,

We know that our stay on any one plane is temporary and this notion of progress from plane to plane is common knowledge here.

We move onwards, remarked Arthur, impelled to re-unite with the God consciousness, our real home. There are no trimmings left on a man when he has passed the second death. Only his purified Spirit remains after that supreme experience.

"What do you mean by 'second death'? I asked.

Dr. Myers stood, and began to speak in an impassioned voice.

Between each plane there is this lapse into apparent oblivion, a stilling of all processes, a great calm. It is called Hades by the ancients. Here the soul seems to pause. Slowly, however, vision returns, the traveler perceives, imaged upon the glimmering sea of eternity, all his experiences on previous planes; all the past images that make up the story of his life are spread before him. He studies them in the light of his Unifying Principle or spirit. They rouse, according to his nature, his varying desires, intellectual and emotional. He knows then that he must choose either to go forward or backwards. The spirit actually forces the choice.

As a person journeys upwards, he is ever shedding the vestiges of that stratum of himself which is of the earth; but absorbing the lessons which have been retained and become part of himself.

Arthur spoke next, bracing his hands on his knees..

The difficulty is to find adequate words with which to describe the conditions of life after death. Every soul must some day pass through a second death before it quits this first after-death plane. After experiencing a period of unconsciousness which may last for minutes, hours, days or even years, the soul then awakes to to a renewed, rich and vivid life when it sees truth revealed. With this in view, man advances into the mental conditions of his being, automatically migrating to the particular mental plane to which his soul is attuned.

Therefore, in succession, the soul will work its way up through every plane or grade of spiritual existence. For the soul of man lives through many incarnations and in the course of time that soul will experience every phase and every condition of the spiritual life.

We still dwell between the mysteries of life and death, Dr. Myers commented.

TE Lawrence declared,

The discarding of a body to release the spirit to go on farther occurs several times. Karmic debts are cancelled as we gain the grace and strength to cancel them ourselves, but the opportunity to do so comes to us through the repetition of lives.

Arthur made the following observation,

In learning about the ways of creation, we ourselves learn how to become creative.

And Frances added,

All is progress. Nothing is static. Imagination grows from the emotional to the mental to the spiritual. All is order, advancement, progress. And all is unity. And you cannot push yourself into planes beyond you. The Law of Progression is exact . She smiled sweetly. All that is necessary is relaxation into God.

She looked as if she wanted to say more, and we waited for her to speak. Finally she stated,

Progress, when made, is always rewarded with a service. As we learn, so we are able to teach.

"Sounds easier said than done," I remarked, smiling at Frances. She nodded, and shrugged.

Dr. Myers stood up, realized his mistake and sat down again before speaking.

As we make progress, we become more and more aware of a group soul. Even when one is living in a body on earth, a part of the soul remains as part of the group soul of which it is a part. Mind, you see, becomes communal in its last stages. The spirit - the unifying principle, tends always to produce more harmony, thus greater unity. The more merging, the greater the intellectual power.

By similarities of mind and aspiration I was drawn towards a Group, explained Frances. My joy was deep and strong when I realized that I had found my own Group. Gradually I became aware of my fellows as 'arrayed' in colors, and by the depth or brightness or soberness or brilliance of their 'surround' I came to know, not only their characters, but their individual advance into the spiritual realms.

Here in the after death, Dr. Myers continued, we become more and more aware of this group-soul as we make progress. Eventually we enter into it and share the experiences of our brethren. You must understand, therefore, that existence for our souls is dual. We live two lives, one in the world of form and one subjective, in the community of which we are a member.

Francis glanced at me with sparkly eyes, saw that I was following, and went on,

From time immemorial it seems that we have been attached to our particular Group. Every soul belongs to a Group and forms an integral part of a Group soul. I do, you do. A group Soul is constituted of souls at individual levels of progress, each complementing each other to make a Whole. One is part of a Group Soul as one is part of a family in the physical sense; a family relationship may be temporary, but a soul relationship is eternal. And, as the entire complement of a Group Soul is never in complete incarnation at the same time, there is always and integrated part of the Group on this Side.

"How many group souls are there?" I asked.

I cannot answer that, Frances replied. So far as I have gleaned their number must be uncountable. At higher levels of consciousness, though, Group Souls unite to form greater units. This, I reason, must be the continued Law of Progress into Divinity which is a Unity, a Oneness, a total mysterious and glorious Whole.

We remind you, exclaimed Arthur, that as the stars are poised in the heavens so also is every human soul poised in the eternal Cycle of Life; is held there by and within the unsleeping consciousness of the Divine Intelligence. It is true that the soul has a measure of free will, so that it can reject or accept good or evil, but it has no power at any time to sever its link with the Supreme Soul - and there is always an upwards pull towards God. The magnetic power of the Divine Intelligence ever holds fast. That is why nobody can ever escape his destiny, which is to attain to ultimate perfection through an ultimate return to his Creator.

Said Joe with a catch of emotion in his voice,

We none of us guess the intensity of loving or of being loved.

Mike raised his glass for a toast, and we all soundlessly clinked glasses. Night was drawing nigh, the fire was burning down and for me, in the flesh, I was ready for a nice hot supper.

"I think we're almost ready to wrap it up," I commented. "Could you each give us some parting words of wisdom to help us, on this side?"

Each waited for the other to begin, then everyone laughed. "I'll start," said Frances.

Live life in eternity Now, she said simply. We waited for her to say more, but she only smiled sweetly.

Dr. Myers, emphasizing what she had said, remarked,

The life of the spirit is not confined to the after-death state. It is open to us here and now!

It is a tremendous feeling, began Dr. Mattson, to know that one is part of all this, and it gives one the most powerful sense of belonging. From this experience I know that it is this sense of belonging that must be given to the people on earth. They must be made to realize that they belong to the great, expanding, universal soul. He placed his hands upon his heart, and gazed around the room. All eyes gazed at him with love.

TE Lawrence spoke, his voice tremulous.

Remember, he implored, that the foundation and ground of all being must finally exist in the One Ineffeable and eternal spirit.

Arthur nodded emphatically and made his remarks.

It is unnecessary for man to pass through physical death in order to contact all the planes of spiritual life. This is knowledge vital to the being and happiness of everyone. For we have the power to reach out, to contact and to respond to the influences which emanate from all the planes of spiritual being even while enmeshed in the flesh. Again and again I would say that all the spheres of spiritual life can be reached by incarnate man, who can thus draw his experiences either from a hell of desire, or a heaven of ecstasy.

Mike gave a thumb's up of approval and said earnestly,

I send the warmest blessings to you from these golden planes. To those of you who still have work to do in the confines of the earth, do not be heavy of heart. Ahead of you, my friends, lies only light and happiness. Your labors will be rewarded by love, warmth and comfort of the eternal. The most urgent message that I wish to communicate to you all is that death has no terror.

May blessings be with you all, now and forevermore.

Father Andrew smiled benignly around the room, and then held my gaze.

I do urge you all to pause and feel. Talk to the trees and flowers...the greater your consciousness, the more rapid your vision upon coming here. He paused thoughtfully and then, as if deciding to let us all in on a secret that it was time to bring out into the open, he spoke.

You must understand that everything created is alive, breathing and keyed into our evolution. We are responsible for growth or sterility. I want you to reach out in thought to other beings to join you on earth and demonstrate another way of living. This is the plan for which we must prepare.

He gazed around the table, stopping at me. I was apparently the only one hearing this notion for the first time. They all watched for my reaction. I gave him all my attention.

It has been called the Second Coming, he went on, speaking carefully. This will happen at first slowly, and all over the world people will appear possessing great dynamic force and power.

They will not command. They will keep in step with all of you in all the different walks of life, but slowly, gently they will impress the love ray, and their gentle influence will be felt and guarded. Take this into your conscious mind and hold yourself alert for this occurrence. The earth is ripe for this event, and there are an increasing number of awakened ones now in the body.

Do not lose heart.

Placing my palms together, I bowed to each of them in turn. Then we sat quietly for awhile, the fire crackling to embers in the hearth and the night deepening outside. The storm had come and gone, leaving short, sporadic gusts of wind to scrape bare branches across the windows. From the eaves came a slowed drip -drip of water onto the earth. A night bird called and then all was silent.

"Thank you all," I whispered finally, pushing back my chair and standing up. They rose from the table - more effortlessly than I - and drifted towards the door. Their outlines were growing fainter, but each one, making a small breeze as they bid me farewell, dropped the hint of a kiss on my brow and the most ancient of greetings - that we would meet again in God.

"Adieu," I cried to them aloud. "Adios."

Except for Mike who, as he wafted past me, whispered in my ear,

"See you later, alligator."

"After awhile, crocodile," I whispered back.


SOURCES

Greaves, Helen: TESTIMONY OF LIGHT

Cummins, Geraldine, THE ROAD TO IMMORTALITY

Sandys, Cynthia and Lehrman, Roasmond, THE AWAKENING LETTERS

Swain, Jasper, FROM MY WORLD TO YOURS

Lawrence, T.E., POST-MORTEM JOURNAL

Conan-Doyle, Arthur, THE RETURN OF ARTHUR CONAN-DOYLE