The World Beyond (32) The difference between experience and the true reality. Bertha Harris continues her account of visits to the World Beyond.
Appearance and truth occur on two different levels of awareness.
We experience this world with our five senses; the world of form and matter.
We know of the further reality, by self-knowledge and self-realization of our true spiritual nature; then we begin to KNOW.
So, in searching for the truth of life, we first have to examine ourselves and our experience. With techniques such as meditation, trance, prayer, ritual, chanting, sport, writing poetry and performing music, dance and drama, we move beyond the senses and even drift out of our body. This is why mediums like D.D. Home [pronounced HUME or –Heeoom- ] and Stainton [pronounced STANTON] Moses and mystics like St. Thomas Aquinas, and even some TM meditators, this is why they could be seen to levitate when they are in touch with spirit. They were moving into their spiritual body and becoming lighter. However, levitating or going out-of-body is not the goal or purpose of meditating. That is still partly a physical experience. The important focus is contact with higher realities while the body and mind are at rest. When we are in this higher state of self-realization, we begin to KNOW rather than experience.
The guides and entities who have been channeled recently who say that we create our own reality are correct up to a point. At that high level of thought, by concentrating on our desires and goals, we can attract a more desirable world around us, just as after death, we can choose to create a house and garden just as we like it, or go to a concert, or visit a library. But the New Thought movement and similar enterprises attempt to use the power of thinking to create wealth or win friends and influence people, or affirming that every day we’re getting better and better…that type of thinking is not going beyond the material experience. There is nothing spiritual about trying to win the lottery or build a dream home. On the darker side, it is tragic that the majority of our society still accepts war and killing and destroying our cultural heritage, and our own bodies in suicide bombings, as “normal” everyday events. In modern science, finance, economics and politics there is almost total ignorance of the spirit behind life, and lack of reverence for it. But even if we completely self-destruct, obliterating our bodies and the world around us, our spirit will survive. So we can ask, why have we placed ourselves in this abysmal pit of ignorance? We are destroying what we have ever achieved of value, for the sake of self-interest, or some insane, distorted political or religious ideal.
Utopian schemes to get rich quick through thought control are in error, since they try to employ spiritual techniques at the lower levels of the material world. As will be seen in the accounts given below by Bertha Harris, even in the World Beyond, it is difficult to materialize an object if the focus is not complete, or if there is a flaw in the design, as there was possibly, in the Concorde airliner, or in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, which were unexpectedly hit by two airliners. The buildings were not designed to withstand the heat from the conflagration of the two airliners’ fuel tanks. I am reminded of a cathedral designed in the Middle Ages, I think in Spain, which took a hundred years and several generations of craftsmen to build. Yet the day after it was completed, there was a lurch, and it totally collapsed. The Alchemists in the Middle Ages were equally in error, searching for the elixir of life within matter, and trying to transform base material into gold.
What is true is that by the quality of our motives and the quality of our thought and action, we attract a corresponding level of reality which may come close to achieving our desires. But ideals belong to the spirit world, and become contaminated by matter; they are never perfect when we try to materialize them on earth. Magical thinking will always disappoint us, like searching for the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow. With luck we might win the lottery, but more often experience will deceive us, and give us what we deserve rather than what we want. Hence countless ‘isms’ have never brought us utopia, only the pain of bureaucracies, dictatorships or states of anarchy.
The ideal, perfect world starts to appear in the World Beyond, where we can use thought and imagination to conceive the best of all possible worlds – an impossibility in the material world of experience.
Raynor Johnson, following Douglas Fawcett’s philosophy, tried to introduce the word “conscire ‘ into our vocabulary, meaning to create imaginatively through the use of knowledge. His book “Nurslings of Immortality” and other writings explain this theory of the act of creation. But the new word does not seem real and it is hard to grasp its true meaning. Even the term self-realization is not self-explanatory, neither are other words for bliss-consciousness, ecstasy, samadhi and so on. Out-of-this-world states can hardly be described, let alone fully experienced in the body. They can only be recognized, compared and known.
Briefly we can say that experience is of the world here on earth, while true spiritual knowledge belongs to the World Beyond. Out-of-body experiences, remote viewing, and telepathy are related activities, and techniques used to develop them, such as holo-sync, demi-sync, bio-feedback and sensory-deprivation tanks may tend to keep us rooted in the world of physical experience rather than take us into the world of spirit, and contact with its inhabitants. Similarly, yogic methods of fasting or deep breathing or slowing the breath, or Stanislav Grof’s rapid breathing technique, tie us to the material plane. Even though we leave the body, we leave it for the wrong reason, negating the bodily processes.
Rather, the body needs feeding, sustaining and kept in trim, without stress. THEN we can let it be, and concentrate on our mind, and through the mind, and through awareness of the opening of our chakras, we can attune to the spirit world with the object of contacting our loved ones and guides there, and learning all we can about it.
In the past several cults have waited on high ground for lift-off to higher worlds. They are still waiting. Once again they were in error, with the mistaken idea that material reality can be transformed into higher states, or that they can physically be beamed up or resurrected to a higher more ideal plane of existence. We can take our spirit body out on trips as long as the silver cord is not broken, but our physical body is made up of earth elements and must stay here.
So our task in developing spirituality, mediumship and second sight is to work on our mind, our thinking, and acquire knowledge, compassion, acceptance, love, forgiveness and all the other virtues taught us. It is futile to wait in a cave or on a mountain top for lift-off to higher states, or to hide in a bunker, armed to the teeth, awaiting some future Armageddon. That battle already took place, materially, many thousands of years ago !
Members of suicide cults and suicide terrorists are equally in error in thinking that by escaping the shell of the physical body they will go straight to heaven or paradise. Such people have come back to séances and rescue circles to say that they were mistaken, or given false information by their teachers or leaders. They have lost their way, and are certainly not on a higher plane of existence. True, they are not dead, but having left their physical body behind, and broken the silver cord, they have cut short the natural life of the physical body, and also they will have to atone in some way for having cut short the lives of their victims, and bereaving their families. They have lost many opportunities, which will retard their progress on the spiritual planes. There is no escaping the working of spiritual law, and murder and suicide are spiritual as well as legal crimes.
It is not so easy to authenticate our out-of-body experiences, our dreams and our visits to the World Beyond. But if we compare the accounts, as we are doing here, we can build a general idea of what is in store for us.
I would warn against the use of medication, recreational drugs, alcohol or any other artificial means of acquiring knowledge of the World Beyond. Similarly if we look to science, and math, physics, astronomy and medical technology to prove that every material event and object is immortal and guided by spiritual intelligence, then we are still trapped here in this world of matter. It may make us feel more secure when we have the authority of material science on our side, but however far science can go, since it must measure, replicate, demonstrate and prove the phenomena it examines, in material terms, it will always end up explaining away what lies beyond its means to comprehend.
I think that the world of spirit beyond is the source and origin of this one. So in attuning to and studying matter, rather than spirit, we are putting the cart before the horse. We need to shatter the illusions of our myths, and see the truth behind them, and also shatter the myths behind much scientific theory, and see the spiritual laws operating behind the scenes, influencing our so-called physical scientific laws. It is these influences which modern science needs to examine, if it can.
The alchemists sought the elixir of life and mythical heroes like Gilgamesh looked for the immortality of the physical body, but both these are mistaken interpretations of the ancient wisdom which taught how to seek enlightenment and freedom from the physical body by taming the ego and personality, and learning that it is the spiritual part of us, the mind, soul or spirit, that is immortal. We find immortality in knowledge, and what we realize, not in experience. With the knowledge we are building up, as we examine these accounts of the World Beyond., we can be confident that we have a future life ahead of us. Then we can get on with our present life, and enjoy it right up to the end.
The biggest obstacles then to our facing the Afterlife are ourselves. First of all we have to face ourselves, and our own physical mortality. Most of us get distracted by concerns in the physical world, and like Gilgamesh, and other mythical heroes, try to prolong physical life, and immerse ourselves in activities, travel and entertainments, and keep the physical body alive as long as possible, trying to make IT immortal. We hoard, and cling to possessions, and life itself. We are trapped by our attachment to our experiences.
It takes us much effort and concentration to jump the gap into knowledge of our spiritual nature which IS immortal. This is where it helps to be able to meditate, examine our dreams, become aware of going out-of-body, consult a medium or employ our own second sight. Then we are able to contact the World Beyond. We have quieted the mind, tamed the ego, and moved beyond the fear of not surviving death. We now know that our life will continue just as it does for all our loved ones in spirit.
What Bertha Harris saw in her out-of-body excursions confirms what we have already studied about the World Beyond. When she awoke on the other side during her first visit, she found herself in a house and garden very similar to her own home on earth. There she met the family dog from her childhood, and then her family and friends came to greet her. She said that the re-union with her own people was too wonderful to describe. The former companion who was there to accompany her told her that no-one ever enters the Spirit World un-welcomed or unknown. Preparation is made for every soul who enters Spirit Life and no-one is forgotten. She experienced complete freedom from earthly limitations, with its cares and worries. She knew she had found the peace and contentment which can only be found in that larger life. She could not describe in limited language that great moment of ecstasy which comes when a person slips into and over the threshold of Spirit Life. She writes:-
Yet, I must try to describe the many places I visited, the conversations held with many people, for I had been warned by my companion to try to remember and try to record these experiences [so that she could write about them in her book, and help pave the way for all of us, when our time comes to pass over.] I wanted to keep that promise.
[But then she was suddenly called back to her body on earth. The nurse was trying to revive her with oxygen in the O.R.]
- Oh what a disappointment I felt in finding myself back in my aching, tired, weary body. Why, oh, why did I have to return? This and many similar repetitions of my journeys into Spirit Life and the returning journeys to my body took place during the next fourteen days. Each time I went out into the great world of Spirit, I did so with greater ease and full of greater anticipation, and each time I returned I felt more and more reluctant to do so, bringing with me all the vivid realities of that Life of Spirit….I will not trouble my readers with references to my bitter disappointments each return to my body gave me. The intense comparison between the Spirit Life and this one [on earth] gave rise to many feelings of grief and tears…..On one occasion I remember being positively hustled back again into my body, to find that when I opened my eyes, my nurse was shaking me vigorously to administer my medicine, while at the same time, I became aware of the noises coming through my open bedroom window. The distant rumble of the London traffic mingled with the noise of the bell of a passing fire engine, while beneath my window, down below in the street, I recognized the clanging noise caused by the local dustman emptying the dustbins…..it occurred to me that the most outstanding feature of Spirit Life is the absolute and perfect tidiness in all I had seen on my journey. Can you imagine a world in which there is no dust, dirt or disorder, no decay, no rubbish, and nothing that can mar the beauty of any part of creation such as we know here? If you can visualize such a world, then you have some idea of Spirit Life. Gone is dust, decay and disorder, and in its place is growth and beauty. Such natural order and loveliness only could exist in a world which is not of this earth world.
[To be continued] Reviewed from Chapter Two of “Journey into Spirit World” by Bertha Harris, published over sixty years ago by the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain.
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