Last revised: 15 September 2008
- 1 Religion in the Astral Plane
- 1.1 Conceptions of God
- 1.2 Views of Jesus
- 1.3 Views of the "Atonement"
- 1.4 Views of the "Resurrection"
- 1.5 Views of the Embodied Soul
- 1.6 Conceptions of a Devil
- 1.7 "Live Each Day as if It Were Your Last"
- 1.8 The Saints
- 1.9 Much Orthodoxy and Falsity is Discarded
- 1.10 Spirit Criticisms of Organized Religion
- 1.11 Narrow Sects are Permitted to Exist
- 1.12 Spirit Temples
- 1.13 Spirit Worship
- 1.14 Divine Visitations
- 1.15 Struggle vs. Letting Go
- 1.16 The Quest for the Soul
- 1.17 Meditation
- 1.18 Possible Instances of Enlightenment on the Astral Plane
- 1.19 Promises of Enlightenment
- 1.20 Truth
- 1.21 Prayer
- 1.22 Service
- 1.23 The Fate of Those Who do not Follow the Church's Teachings
- 1.24 Students of Mysticism
- 2 Religion in the Mental Plane
- 2.1 Conceptions of God
- 2.2 Conceptions of the Trinity
- 2.3 Conceptions of Jesus
- 2.4 Views of the "Atonement"
- 2.5 God is Light
- 2.6 "You are Eternal"
- 2.7 The Root of All Being
- 2.8 Enlightenment
- 2.9 Meditation
- 2.10 The Value of the Sacraments and Worship
- 2.11 Christmas on the Mental Plane
- 2.12 Other Religious Festivals
- 2.13 Importance of Psychic Awareness to the Embodied
- 2.14 Thought and Enlightenment
- 2.15 "Only Higher Feelings Contribute to Comprehension Here"
- 2.16 Surrender and Gratitude
- 2.17 Intimations of Enlightenment on the Mental Plane
- 2.18 Intimations of Enlightenment on the Inner Planes - Unready Souls Turning Aside from Proferred Experiences
- 2.19 Faith
- 2.20 Peace
- 2.21 Prayer
- 2.22 The Fate of Ministers who Taught Mistaken Notions
- 2.23 The Burden of Fanaticism
- 3 Religion in the Buddhic Plane
- 4 Religion in the "Seventh Sphere"
- 5 Religion in the "Tenth Sphere"
- 6 Religion in the Christ Sphere
- 6.1 Christ Reigns Supreme in the Christ Sphere
- 6.2 "Love" is the Religion of Spirit
- 6.3 God is Love
- 6.4 God is Light
- 6.5 The Soul
- 6.6 "To Be with Jesus"
- 6.7 Suggestions that Jesus Rose Above Many Orders of Angels
- 6.8 "Vicarious Suffering"
- 6.9 Earth Has Only a Germ of the Truth
- 6.10 The Church Has Been Found Wanting
- 6.11 The Temple in the Christ Sphere
- 6.12 Worship in the Christ Sphere
- 7 Religion in Unknown, Exalted Spheres
Religion in the Astral Plane
I have no certainty as to whether all the communicators cited below are in fact on the Astral Plane. In most cases, they do not give their plane of residence and placing them here is sometimes guesswork on my part.
Conceptions of God
We had asked some question concerning their conception of God, and were told: -
"He is not limited to personality, even to the degree that we who are spirit are limited. If it were possible, I might explain a little more fully, but you could not at present understand. So try to be satisfied with the knowledge that God is present to the remotest part of the universe, and that God is a God of love and justice and mercy. Never doubt this. The more spiritual we become, the nearer we grow to that blessed spiritual presence, and the more nearly we approach, the more our spirits are filled with love, awe and reverence. Be content to serve with the love of God in your heart, and sometime your knowledge will be perfected."
And again: -
"It would be difficult for you to even realize the absolute existence of the Creator of all things. Material form is not his, nor perhaps spirit form even, as we know it. But His influence is everywhere. Be content until your soul is illumined with further understanding. We here do not see God as a person, or even as a spirit. That vision belongs to the spiritually advanced and illumined ones of higher spheres." (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 128.)
'By what name do you speak of this Power?'
"No name other than the Most High, the Great First Cause, or Loving Power, or other expression of confidence and loving worship. Christ is the greatest expression of that confidence and love, and we look to him as our teacher and elder brother." (Unnamed spirit watcher, tending spirit circle while the control and the rest of the group are away traveling, LHH, 127.)
We on earth with finite minds often visualize or think of God in a finite shape or form, as a man, because to us that is the highest experience of life manifest. You can imagine that is limiting God. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 73.)
God is not known to science, because science can't measure or classify Him. But that does not show there is no God. It is the same with many things in the spirit-world. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 73.)
Christ's followers claimed His death as a sacrifice for sin, for they naturally looked upon God only as the people of their day knew Him - that is, as a tyrannical Jehovah whose altars ran with the blood of sacrificed animals.
As man evolves he gets nearer spiritual truth, and we know here that this is infinitely greater and more wonderful than anything ever yet told. One realizes the presentation of God usually taught on earth is utterly incorrect. He is not a glorified, / mortal sitting on a golden throne, not a vengeful nor jealous God - not, in a way, even a "personal" God to be propitiated to grant special gifts to a favored few. He is not finite, but infinite; but, because it is so difficult to realize so vast a fact, we feel on earth we want to locate and limit our idea of God to bring it within our understanding.
God is everywhere and in everything: in the trees, in the flowers, in the air, and in the sunshine. God is all good, all beauty, all purity. God is not limited, nor existing only in the seven spheres, He is also in the space beyond, for He fills all space.
The whole Universe is of God; the Planets revolve from the power of God within them, touched and supported by power without. God is creative, from Him all life springs. Elemental man is a manifestation of God-power through form, which in the lower creation is manifest in a different way, though he can deteriorate to less than they.
All life as projected into human bodies is therefore a "bit of God," and we are in consequence truly His sons and by that fact immortal. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 42-3.)
I might tell you, no one we have ever known or heard of has ever stepped off into the Infinite. It will probably be a few million years before we shall want to go into the Infinite; it means the submerging of the personality. All personal desire must be dead; we have to learn to wish to be of and as God. That's where the old idea of sacrifice comes; it's the giving up of some personal desire. ... (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 70.)
Views of Jesus
The children here all see Christ: they seem to instinctively understand Him and His Mother. Having occupied a mortal body such a short time they easily go back to the things of the Spirit. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 55.)
The Children's Sphere is under the direct supervision of the Master Jesus, whose compassionate love the children at all times strive to emulate. (Phyllis McLean in LFM, 91.)
We need not tell you that the Master Himself, Who so loved the little ones, is constantly present there, too. (Unnamed spirit communicator in SRE, 49.)
We [adults] here do not often "see" Christ, but we can feel and are conscious of Him all the time; but if you ask me how I know I can't tell you. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 71.) I believe that Christ is a great and wonderful personality, a great Spirit in the form of a man, as near as possible to God, because the God-force plays so strongly in and through Him, a fit instrument and receiver of that power. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 41.)
I have met the Master from Galilee, and have held communion with him. There was a man - and a god! The world has need of Him now. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXVI.)
Last night [Christmas Eve], after visiting various places upon the earth, I went to one of the highest Christian heavens. Perhaps I could not have gone so easily at any other time; for my heart was full of love for all men and my mind was full of the Christ idea.
Often have I seen Him who is called the Saviour of men, and last night I saw Him in all His beauty. He, too, came down to the world for a time.
I wonder if I can make you understand? The love of Christ is always present in the world, because there are always hearts that keep it alight. If the idea of Christ as a redeemer should ever grow faint in the world, He would probably go back there and relight the flame in human hearts; but whatever the writers of statistics may say, that idea was never more real than at present. It may have been more talked about. ...
Jesus of Nazareth is a reality. As a spiritual body, as Jesus who dwelt in Galilee, He exists in space and time; as the Christ, the paradigm of the spiritual man, He exists in the hearts of all men and women who awaken that idea in themselves. He is a light which is reflected in many pools.
I wrote the other day about Adepts and Masters. Jesus is a type of the greatest Master. He is revered in all the heavens. He grasped the Law and dared to live it, to exemplify it. And when He said, "The Father and I are one," He pointed the way by which other men may realise mastership in themselves. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XLVIII.)
Christ is exalted to the heavens above, but he is as the elder brother and the guide of us all on this plane. (Mary Bosworth to Charlotte Dresser, 210-11.)
The hope for the future lies in the philosophy that Christ brought to earth and which here is our rule of life. Christ was the apostle of love and patience, and he desired to deliver the world from evil through the power of love. But evil held sway by reason of its long continuance and growth, and was too strong, as it has many times since been too strong, to be overcome by spiritual power. But the time is coming when the Christ love will prevail, and wisdom and love together shall rule the world. (Mary Bosworth to Charlotte Dresser, 211.)
"We believe in the Christ, in his mission to earth. We look to Him for guidance and inspiration. But we do not worship Him in the same way he is worshipped on earth. He wishes his example of peace and loving service to be followed, and it is our joy to follow his example here. But he is not afar off on some throne of glory. He is more like an elder brother, more like a bright and shining example for us to follow."
'Do not some place Christ as one with God?'
"Yes, we have many such, and they are confused and disappointed at first. But they finally come into the true appreciation of the purity and loveliness of his life and character, and are contented and happy."
'I wonder if Christ would approve of all the Easter worship of him?'
"No, we think not. To follow his example, to make each one's own life a blessing to others; this is the religion he tried to establish, and which be hopes will at last become the religion of the world." (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte Dresser, LHH, 87.)
[Mary] was asked about [Swedenborg's] teaching that Christ was God, or a part of God.
"You will not hear that, we think, at least from those who have been here long enough to enter into the real truth of this life. We look to Christ as the most perfect example of God's love and wisdom that ever lived on earth. We think he was especially gifted in expressing the love and wisdom of the Most High, but we believe that he never claimed to be a part of God." (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 139.)
You need not follow the creeds, as indeed you know yourself. The example of Christ's life is to us the perfection of religious teaching. And one following it is safe, safe from any harm of doctrine. (Unnamed spirit in LHH, 81.)
Tell the Christians there to serve others by assuring them of the life here; but also that this life depends for its happiness on their own spirit preparation while there. We cannot make the fact too strong that human belief and human activity prepare each mortal for his life here. If the belief and the activity are in the wrong direction, years may pass before they see clearly the true spirit life, and come into their own spirit powers. I was one who made the mistake of too much creed, too much of what is called fundamentalism. It overshadowed the love of Christ in my soul, and I wandered in darkness for a long time. (Unnamed spirit in LHH, 76.)
When Christ came to earth it was for the express purpose of explaining these very things. But his following seem to have woefully failed to understand his teachings. I think nothing would be of more benefit to the world than an understanding of the value of helpful, loving service. And when one learns that such a life is the one best fitted to progress here, then the knowledge is doubly valuable. We are striving in every way to get this knowledge before the world. (Unnamed spirit in LHH, 77.)
Q. Did Christ influence the other members of the solar system?
P. He would, I believe, be Lord of the earth only. In what manner He has manifested in other worlds it is not possible for me to say, except that He must have exhibited, or made known to their inhabitants' His transcendent moral and spiritual qualities, as was the case with us; but the needs are different in each world. (Spirit communicator Philemon, LFOS, 29.)
Last night I went to one of the highest Christian heavens. Perhaps I could not have gone so easily at any other time: for my heart was full of love for all men and my mind was full of the Christ idea. Often have I seen Him who is called the Saviour of men and last night I saw Him in all His beauty. ... Jesus is a type of the greatest Master. He is revered by all the heavens. He grasped the Law and dared to live it, to exemplify it. ("X," LLDM, 252.)
You know, Jesus Christ is not actually in the White Brotherhood. He is not in any of the hierarchies. He is the Hierarch.
If He decided to reincarnate at this time, He would most likely come back as a janitor, as He has said sometimes. [Laughter.] And nobody would have to tell anybody who He was. Nobody would care - He would be such a wonderful person. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 48.)
Jesus came to show and demonstrate that man lived on after leaving the earth plane. He taught that this God Force, this Life is truly within every one of us, dimmed yet inextinguishable. He was not received by His fellows, yet His Light, that High Frequency of vibration which He was able to transit to earth, lives on. (Frances Banks, TOL, 55.)
Christ not only did not give all. He did not know all as the Logos, the incarnate Word of God. "Mild he laid His Glory by." What Glory? Of the sun, moon, and stars? No, but of omniscience and, as the Logos, He must defer to the Supreme Father. As undifferentiated Sprit there are no limitations. (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce] in LFOS, 35.)
Views of the "Atonement"
There was a specific reason why Christ was sent. God specially directed Him; the consciousness of / God within Him was very acute. He knew He was the instrument and child of God.
He was sent to be man's example for all time, to teach how pure, and holy, and simple, and dignified, and useful, and beautiful life could be without any of the material aids of money or social position, to prove the individual continuity of life after death. But He did not come to save men from the results of their sins. It is a comfortable theory, but not true.
Here we learn that every man has to earn his own salvation. Sin is a breaking of God's laws, and carries its own inviolable consequences, which must be worked out by each individual personally. You might as well set the law of gravity in motion and expect it not to act. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 41-2.)
Those who believe the Bible teachings are too often filled with the idea that repentance will remake them, no matter what kind of a life they have [led]. (Newcomer to spirit in LHH, 36.)
We are not here because we have been 'redeemed' through the offices of another. We are here solely because we have, by our lives in earth or by our progress in the spirit world, earned the right to call ourselves citizens of these realms. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 24.)
Most evangelists [teach] the doctrine of Christ's atonement for all, when it is the character of each that must be weighed in the balance. But some are pure and unselfish and good who never heard of Christ. Do not think that a good life may be considered as naught, if not built exactly on orthodox or fundamental foundations. Many are the 'Children of God' without being especially aware of it. Many are influenced from here who never heard the name of Christ. Do not think for a moment that such are not received. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 87.)
Views of the "Resurrection"
[After dying] I finally decided that I /would just stay quietly until my body had been safely buried. ... I have talked to many people here and the majority of them tell me that they, too, attended their own funerals.
I dare say it is because the majority of my generation have been brought up with the church dogma of the Resurrection Day and feel they would like to know exactly where to find their bodies. Goodness knows, how they expect to find them if they have been blown to pieces in an explosion of if they are burnt by fire.
While one finds oneself as we are here, clothed in perfect bodies, the old idea of the churches appears pointless and ridiculous. But it is astonishing to me that there are people on earth who still subscribe to it. Yet U, on this occasion, paid a kind of reluctant tribute to the hoary old lie by remaining close by till my funeral had taken place.
I was later to learn that, even in my new country, there were masses of people who continued to believe in the orthodox resurrection of the churches, not recognizing the fact of their actual passing as being anything more than a prolonged earth dream. These people direct their thoughts downward to the physical in a continuous stream and, thus, fail to make any progress in evolution. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 25-6.)
People who believe that after their 'death' there will be a bodily 'resurrection' are often times puzzled in mind as to what will happen if they are not possessed of their full numbers of limbs or, what is worse but more common, if their earthly body completely vanished in the course of time or is instantaneously disintegrated. The trouble comes from the use of the word 'resurrection.'
Such people imagine that the normal procedure is for the physical body to rise up from its grave - if it should possess one - at some future and unspecified date, whereupon it would find itself in the spirit world. It is fondly supposed that missing limbs would be restored and impaired faculties renewed or, if necessary, the physical body would be reintegrated after the fragments, in some inconceivable manner, have been collected and reassembled after their total disappearance.
The whole conception is, of course, fantastic. Once dissolution has taken place, the physical body is finished with as far as its former owner is concerned. It has no place whatever in the spirit world. It cannot enter there. And there is no magical process in existence that can so alter its constituents or form or mode of being as to be able to penetrate into spirit realms of any degree of height or lowness, of light or darkness, whatsoever. A profession of faith that such a thing is possible is of no avail; it simply cannot happen because it is against the laws of the spirit world. And these are natural laws, not laws that have been enacted by someone and can therefore be suspended or annulled at will. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 49.)
To carry the matter still further, there is no such thing as resurrection of either the physical body or of the spirit body. As far as the spirit body is concerned, there is no 'rising.' (1) There is simply a continuity of existence. From the moment that life is given to the physical body, the spirit body is also in existence. The earthly body comes to an end of its life; it ceases to function and so to provide an earthly vehicle for the spirit body and the spirit body is released and continues its life in the spirit world, in its proper element and its true home. No resurrection has taken place. Nothing of the sort is needed. It has nothing to wait for, no Day of Judgment or other unpleasant prospect. The spirit body is free at last, unencumbered by its heavy earthly body; free to move and breathe, and enjoy the beauties of the realms of light. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 49-50.)
- (1) In my view, Monsignor Benson may be unaware that such terms as "resurrection," "redemption," and "salvation" refer to the achievement of enlightenment and that "the last day" refers to the day of enlightenment. The sound of the trump, the rise of the dead from their grave, etc., are metaphors for the unenlightened person becoming enlightened. Similarly, when Jesus said, "Let the dead bury the dead," in my opinion, he meant let the unenlightened, those unaware of spiritual realities, bury the bodies of those they think have died (who in fact have not died). The whole book, The Purpose of Life is Enlightenment,discusses these matters.
- One can see, as a further example, from the experiences of Julia Ames, detailed in "The Higher Summerlands," that the notion of being carried off to Heaven and there being met by one's Saviour and the heavenly host is not so far fetched. That was, after all, Julia's experience. Moreover, the sight of her Saviour enlightened her. She was therefore "redeemed," "saved," "resurrected" from the dark of the unenlightened condition.
- Monsignor Benson performs a useful task in straightening out the improbabilities of some literal interpretations of scripture, but he may not necessarily understand the deeper meanings that Jesus and Paul were trying to convey. These are what the Bible often calls "dark sayings" (Psalm 78:2.), "hidden wisdom" (St. Paul in I Corinthians 2:8.) "parables" (Matthew 13:13.), and "the mystery of the Gospel" (St. Paul in Ephesians 6:19.), which needed to be hidden from those who did not have eyes to see and ears to hear lest they turn on the teacher (as they did Jesus and a number of his followers - Stephen, Peter, Paul) and kill him. Of these mysteries, Paul said: "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory." (St. Paul in I Corinthians 2:7.) On these matters, see [../../../Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/Content.IE5/VCKT92BQ/http=http.www.angelfire.com/space2/light11/code.html "The Biblical Code." ]
Views of the Embodied Soul
Your spiritual body is as much with you now as it will be here: only here your spiritual impressions will not be obscured by the material senses. (Unnamed spirit communicator to Charlotte Dresser, SWSL, 15.)
'What is the subconscious mind?' "The subconscious is the soul, and has the attributes of the soul. Inspiration, knowledge quickly acquired, sensitiveness to impressions; - all these belong to the immortal part of life." (Unnamed spirit communicator to Charlotte Dresser, SWSL, 14.)
Conceptions of a Devil
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. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 57.)
I met a man here who said that he would gladly exchange good old Dante's Inferno for the mental anguish he was experiencing over guilt feelings from wrong actions he had taken on earth in certain business matters. In Dante's Inferno he would be able to complain that the devil was doing this to him whereas now he had no devil to complain of because the devil was himself. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 57.)
Whether there is a negative personal being who can be called the devil I cannot say. I have not seen anyone personified as the devil. There certainly is an evil force which builds up from the negative aspects of life and has a tremendous influence. Thought forms which are evil certainly play a part, but I don't think they are the whole answer.
The problem of evil is a very perplexing one. We have not solved it here, either. There is a negative aspect in existence which causes man to react contrary to God's will. What the original source of that negativism is, we do not know - only God knows. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 57.)
"Live Each Day as if It Were Your Last"
Live Life in Eternity Now. (Frances Banks, TOL, 106.)
Someone once said: "Live each day as if it were your last." There is great wisdom in this, for the knowledge will transform thought and action into positivity and reality, bypassing the glamour of earth life and bringing the incarnation nearer to the original Plan, thus preparing the abode here in the Light of the Christ Love. By deeper understanding of these precepts, the soul's communion with the personality will become closer, the less will the persona be allowed to be an obstacle to the soul's pattern, the more valuable and useful will the current incarnation be, and the greater the progress of the soul. (Frances Banks, TOL, 106.)
[The Saints] are the Wise Ones, the Great Ones, and they have communion with the Angelic Host. (Frances Banks, TOL, 94.)
We had an 'arrival' who did not stay with us. After a rest she continued on her way. This was an interesting case; this was a woman who had been a nurse and missionary for many years of her life in Africa, and had lived the Christian religion. She was put to death when there had been an uprising by the natives....
She is such a beautiful soul with the Light of Love surrounding her like a halo. ... There was in her mind no question of surviving the terrible ordeal through which she had met death; there were no recriminations, no fears and, most impressive of all, no hatreds. She exuded unselfish love. (Frances Banks, TOL, 61.)
She lived daily from the true Centre of herself. In other words, the Spirit as her daily guide and every problem, every difficulty and every joy she took to this Master within. She radiated peace and love and joy; and death had meant little to her. She was well-acquainted with the Inner Voice and obeyed the Higher Will. It had taken her through strange experiences; yet it was quite clear that she had brought a Divine Ray into the world with her, lowly and far from clever as she was.
She had lived what so many of us had talked about. (Frances Banks, TOL, 63.)
Much Orthodoxy and Falsity is Discarded
It is not true, as some people think, that if we only give verbal assent to belief in God, well, that's fine - that is our passport to heaven and everything will be all right. ... The old teachings that 'as you strive, so you'll be helped' are right. The Lord helps those who help themselves.
If you truly try to follow the laws of the Kingdom which the Lord has revealed, and ask for his help, he will aid you in becoming a whole person. As I see it from here, there is a rod of light - a pulsating power, the vital force of the Holy Spirit - right down through you. It is the self-centeredness of the personality which erects blocks and disturbances which make it impossible for the Holy Spirit to function through you. If you ask for help from the great physician, the Lord Jesus, he will help you unlock the inner, healing power of the Holy Spirit which is within you so that it can be diffused and can spread throughout your being. The Lord will help you to achieve the attunement, the shalom, the peace, the wholeness which is heaven. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 54.)
Congregational religion ... so often is but outward display. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 33.)
Orthodox religion upon earth has much, very much to answer for. It forges many spiritual fetters which bind up the minds of countless souls upon earth so that when they come here, we in the spirit world have to find means to strike off the irons that shackle them so to release them to that freedom of spirit which is the natural, right, and proper mode of living in these lands. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 60.)
Religious contentions and controversies are at the bottom of all the ignorance and lack of knowledge that so many people bring with them into the spirit world, and, if the minds of such people are stubborn and they are unable really to think for themselves, then do they remain shackled to their narrow religious views, thinking it to be all the truth, until a day of spiritual awakening dawns for them. Then they will see that their slavish adherence to their creeds is holding them back. It is to be so much lamented that for everyone who leaves, forever, these misguided congregations, another will come to fill his place - until the time comes when the whole earth knows the truth of the world of spirit. Of course they do no harm as they are, here, beyond retarding their own spiritual progression. Once they realize what they are doing to themselves, and take the first step forward, their joy knows no bounds. They will realize the 'time' they have apparently wasted. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 33.)
When Edwin, Ruth, and I were on earth we were asked to believe that God, the Father of the Universe, punishes, actually punishes people by condemning them to burn in the flames of hell for all eternity. Could there ever be any grosser travesty of the God that orthodoxy professes to worship? The churches - of whatever denomination - have built up a monstrous conception of the Eternal Father of Heaven. They have made of Him, on the one hand, a mountain of corruption by shallow lip service, by spending large sums of money to erect churches and chapels to His 'glory,' by pretending a groveling contrition for having 'offended Him,' by professing to fear Him - fear Him who is all love! And on the other hand, we have the picture of a God Who, without the slightest compunction, casts poor human souls into an eternity of the worst of all sufferings - burning by fires that are unquenchable.
We are taught glibly to beg for God's mercy. The church's God is being of extraordinary moods. He must be continually placated. It is by no means certain that, having begged for mercy, we shall get it. He must be feared - because He can bring down His vengeance upon us at any moment; we do not know when He will strike. He is vengeful and unforgiving. He has commanded such triviality as are embodied in church doctrines and dogmas that at once expose not a great mind, but a small one. He has made the doorway to 'salvation' so narrow that few, very few souls will ever be able to pass through it. He has built up on the earth-plane a vast organization known as 'the Church,' which shall be the sole depository of spiritual truth - an organization that knows practically nothing of the state of life in the world of spirit, yet dares to lay down the law to incarnate souls, and dares to say what is in the mind of the Great Father of the Universe, and dares to discredit His Name by assigning to Him attributes that He could not possibly possess.
What do such silly, petty minds know of the Great and Almighty Father of love? Mark that! - of love. Then think again of all the horrors I have enumerated. And think once more. Contemplate this: a heaven of all that is beautiful, a heaven of more beauty than the mind of man incarnate can comprehend; a heaven of which one tiny fragment I have tried to describe to you, where all is peace and goodwill and love among fellow mortals. All these things are built up by the inhabitants of these realms and we are upheld by the Father of Heaven in His love for all mankind. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 84-6.)
When a soul at length perceives the futility of his particular religious beliefs he quickly disassociates himself from them and in full freedom and complete truth - which has no creeds or ecclesiastical commandments - he offers up his thoughts to his Heavenly Father just as they flow from his mind, free and unaffected, stripped of all jargon, simple and heartfelt. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 99.)
Religious beliefs, both orthodox and unorthodox, exert a most powerful hold upon the minds of human beings. ... A great many people hold that a firm belief in a book of ancient chronicles, without even remotely understanding a tithe of its contents, is full sufficient to assure of a safe journey to 'the next world' and the certainty of a residence in some salubrious spot among the 'elect.'
Some people hold that a staunch belief in the merits of another will achieve the same results. Whatever form these beliefs take, they are most of them of the crudest description and upon arrival in the spirit world, the ardent upholders of the childish creeds discover their true worth - which is precisely nothing.
Now it is exactly according to the mental and intellectual make-up of an individual when he arrives in the spirit as to how long it will take him to shake off the erroneous beliefs and mistaken ideas which he has accumulated during his life on earth. The person with an 'open mind,' provided that mind is not too 'open' and therefore too easily swayed in one direction after another without perceiving the truth, such a person will the more quickly see what his new life involves in the matter of altered outlook. If he is ready to throw off the old life at once and take up the new life with equal celerity, then so much the better and happier will that person be. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 118-9.)
You may drop all the church creeds, for church creeds have been in the way of pure religion. To serve, to help others, to think kindly and act generously and wisely - these are the earth part of your service. The rest will come to you as you move toward the light of our perfect spiritual life. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 75.)
I want now to try to deal with a subject of some difficulty. It may seem to certain people that, having made sure of survival and a state of blessedness partly corresponding to the usual idea of heaven the need for a religious belief and practice would either cease or be very much modified. It is true that we survive but as human beings still, not as angels, and until we become angelic spirits the need for a religious background to life is for most people as strong as ever. The naïve 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.
My own view of the situation is a limited one and I can only record what I know from my own experience since I came here, experiences which do not extend beyond the knowledge and outlook of the early planes. I have mentioned the variety of types found here; their bond of harmony is not in any uniformity of temperament or outlook but in their having reached a particular stage of development. In consequence of this they are at home in the special atmosphere of this plane. Granted this diversity of attitude one will expect that religious views will vary just as much as on earth; so they do, and there is provision here for every typical attitude. Even the agnostic can maintain his position because the Transcendent is still the Transcendent, and the Absolute is still the Great Unknowable.
Habitual religious attitudes are of course modified by our actual experiences. The process of purgation through which we pass leaves the soul more free from its strait jacket and more impelled to follow a path which will lead finally to union with the Godhead. Dogmatic teaching about heaven and hell is fortunately corrected by the known facts; freedom from the cramping doctrines of eternal punishment, original sin and predestination is a wonderful release for those who have lived out their lives under such man-made shadows. For the more philosophic, I suppose the great discovery is that the whole scheme of things is built on eternal justice and that any philosophy based on materialism is untenable. It has to be seen as childish and willful ignorance which cannot be maintained here. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 120-1.)
As I have said before, among thoughtful people at the university [here] much study is given to the progress of the human spirit, its ascent of the planes, and its probable return to earth when purification is complete.
But there is a vast multitude of good, well-meaning people here who are quite content to leave such problems to their pastors and teachers and for them some kind of church life is helpful and even necessary. (T.E. Lawrence, PMJ, 122.)
I could see volumes of orthodox teachings, creeds, and doctrines melting away because they are of no account, because they are not true, and because they have no application whatever to the eternal world of spirit and to the great Creator and Upholder of it. I could see clearly now what I had seen but hazily before, that orthodoxy is manmade, but that the universe is God-given. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 17.)
I have enlarged on this subject somewhat to try to show you that we are not living in a state of fervid religious emotion for all eternity. We are human, though so many people still on the earth-plane would have us be otherwise! (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 57.)
He was what was known as a 'Prince of the Church' [in his earth life]. ... What he found most mentally disturbing was the invalidity of the doctrines which he had perforce upheld. So many of them were tumbling in ruins about him. But again he found friends to guide him ... Discard the old, and accept the new. He had ... made every endeavor to do so, and he had been completely successful. He wept his mind clear of all that had not foundation in truth. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 143-4.)
To entertain such suppositions about this life [that we live perpetually in a condition of high ecstasy praising God] is to suggest that, by the very fact of our coming into the spirit world to live, we are at once in the presence of God, or that at least we are within the realm wherein God dwells.... Such ideas as these are, of course, pure nonsense since God is no nearer to us in the spirit world than He is to us in the earth world. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 145.)
In brief: we are not living in a religious institution or a religious world as a whole, but in a sane, sensible world, of incomparable beauty, where we can work and play, as we wish, and laugh to our heart's content and where, moreover - and this is vitally important - where we can be ourselves, and not be as others on earth would mistakenly have us to be. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 157.)
Q: Will our bodies and souls ever be reunited, as some believe?
A: The body which you inhabit here is within you. It is not of the matter that you consider to be your physical vehicle in this incarnation. To be reunited with the atoms that make up the vehicle that you're using to get through this incarnation would be stupidity. To be united with the energy which is within you, which is the true you, is what they refer to in the Bible. This energy is a continuous eternal substance. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 34.)
I am beginning that adventure of breaking out of the prison of those creeds which limited the reality of life. (Frances Banks, TOL, 107.)
There are no tenets, no creeds, no formulae, no hard and fast rules devised by any mind to restrict or confine progress here. All is individual and yet all is for the good of the whole, for the advancement of the group. It is a 'forward and backward' movement, if I may be allowed to use a contradictory expression. Each soul and each group moves onward towards greater expansion, towards the Divine conception of an illimitable Creation, individually and collectively. Yet at the same time each group and each soul directs 'backward' to the plane below its present achievement, the fruits of its knowledge.
These ideas, ideals, and conceptions fit into and make manifest the Divine Pattern or Plan as far as it can be accepted by the souls still [steeped] in the illusion and glamour of matter. No acceptance of another soul's belief colours progress. The soul must judge for itself - must make its own progress, must choose what to accept as truth for itself. No soul is coerced, forced or bound by creeds. If he believes that this is Heaven, or conversely that he is in Hell, then for him that is so at his present state of progress.
Helpers and Teachers and Great Souls there are in number to explain such errors of thinking, but there are no rules to follow and obey except the Divine Precept of Love, Light, Wisdom, and Understanding. (Frances Banks, TOL, 108.)
Spirit Criticisms of Organized Religion
Many people enter the ministry not because they are religious, but because it enables them to exercise a certain power over people they would not have otherwise. (Albert Schweitzer in POG, 22.)
Unless the Church wakes up and moves with the times it will cease to exist in the future. The war has given it a great opportunity.
Men will no longer be content with platitudes and unreasoning belief. You must satisfy their minds as well as their hearts, which is possible now that science and religion are not antagonistic.
Men cannot now be frightened with tales of hell fire. They have learned that many roads lead to God. There is no "right of way" which is a perquisite of any particular form of religion. The only one that, will influence men at all is one that is full of common sense, that makes everyday life worth living, and death no longer a dreaded visitor but even a friend, for indeed it may be that. (Claude Kelway-Bamber in CB, 14.)
The attitude of the churches towards spirit communication is, of course, the main obstacle which must be overcome. There are many well developed sensitives in the ranks of the clergy who can and do penetrate the barrier, but do not proclaim the truth for fear of being accused of having truck with the Devil.
However, these prejudices are gradually being broken down, as more messages reach earth. Even the skeptics are confounded. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 61.)
Narrow Sects are Permitted to Exist
Creeds, therefore, do not form any part of the world of spirit, but because people take with them all their characteristics into the spirit world, the fervid adherents to any particular religious body will continue to practice their religion in the spirit world until such time as their minds become spiritually enlightened. We have here, so my friend [Edwin] informed me - I have since seen them for myself - whole communities still exercising their old earthly religion. The bigotry and prejudices are all there, religiously speaking. They do no harm, except to themselves, since such matters are confined to themselves. There is no such thing as making converts here! (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 17.)
In these realms one will find churches of most of the denominations with which you are familiar. My own former religion is fully represented and what is known as the Established Church also. But there are others besides, each with its own buildings. I have been into many of them. They all possess a calm, restful atmosphere in which it is very pleasant to spend a few thoughtful moments. When there is stained-glass in the windows, beautiful effects are created by the external light as it pours in from all quarters, while the rays meet and blend into colourful rainbow shafts.
Some of the churches are exact replicas of buildings that are in existence now upon earth. Others are what the earth would call restorations of once famous abbey churches, and so forth, that have fallen into ruins on earth. Here they have risen in all their architectural glory to grace the countryside with their presence.
The church buildings vary in size from what would be considered a small chapel to great cathedral churches, all of them erected and upheld by their devoted congregations.
How such things come to exist in the spirit world may cause you some wonder since one would have thought there was no place for further religious differences and creedal distinctions. Most people do so think, but there remains a large residue who are still firmly wedded to their old earthly religious persuasion. Religious beliefs can take a very secure hold upon the minds of some persons. When they arrive in these realms they are fully convinced that their particular beliefs are alone responsible for their being where they are, which they regard as 'heaven,' their just reward for their true faith. The fact that they led good lives in the service of others on earth they would sweep aside as of very little account in the great reckoning which has taken place. It is their faith, and their faith alone, they aver, which has brought them to these realms of heaven.
They cannot be made to see that their great faith has availed them nothing; that they are where they are, not because of their faith, not in spite of it, but utterly regardless of it, and that it is their life of service to their neighbour, just that and that alone, which has brought its reward. The faith persists, sometimes elaborated with ritual and ceremonial, sometimes left plain and unadorned, simple and rather crude. And while it so persists their spiritual progression and evolution are at a standstill. They remain where they are in an enjoyment of their creation.
The laws that allow of their religious practices are strict and must be obeyed. Adherents to each form of religion must confine their practices solely to themselves. There must be no endeavouring to convert others to their beliefs. Their outlook, as you can imagine, is foreshortened. They and do enjoy their 'heaven,' home-made though it might be, until one day spiritual enlightenment will come to them.
Then they will emerge from their restricted, circumscribed life into the greater world that has been round about them all the time, had they but realized it. They will leave their useless creeds and dogmas behind them and march forward upon the road of spiritual progression and evolution. They will then regard their churches as beautiful structures put to an entirely wrong use. They now see that as they regularly steeped out of their churches at the conclusion of a service, they stepped into a world of truth, of truth which was not resident within the church's four walls. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 58-9.)
There is a tendency among certain sects or religious people over here to congregate in their little groups and have their little sessions of what they feel are 'heaven.' ... I am told by my teacher here that eventually they become / very bored with this narrowness and then their own helpers and teachers here try to give them another thought and another idea and help them break away from this narrow approach. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 54-5.)
People who don't like change find it somewhat bewildering at first and so avoid experiencing much that they could enjoy. "The small cage habit" applies even here. Probably the most obvious "cages" are those created by narrow sectarian beliefs.
That is where the Artist has the pull over the conventional religionist - there are no barriers to be overcome. The negative approach, the perpetual "thou shalt not," is very hampering. (Harry Dodd in Paul Beard, LO, 95.)
That domed building ... is where we meet upon the more formal occasions to welcome the great personages from the higher realms. It is not precisely a temple, though one might call it that for want of a better name. Nor is it specifically a place of worship, as it would be regarded on earth. We hold no services there. When we forgather there to meet these great visitants, the whole assembly is never very long. Their visits are brief as a rule, though naturally we are seated comfortably a little while before they arrive and remain a little while after their departure. But brief as the whole proceedings are, all that is necessary is accomplished within that short space. No time is wasted on "non-essentials" or upon useless formularies! The bright beam you see descending upon the dome is permanently there. ... It is a strong light, have no doubt about it, and considering the source whence it comes, that's not surprising. It comes from the greatest Source of all ... yet the light is not blinding, is it? (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 68.)
To gather the people to the church was perfectly simple, [Edwin] said. Whoever is in charge has only to send out his thoughts to his congregation, and those that wish to come forth will assemble! There was no need for bell-ringing. The emission of thought is gar more thorough and exact! ... Where does the ministering clergyman obtain his indication of the approach of service-time? ... The clergyman who is acting as pastor to this strange flock would feel, by his duties on earth, the approach of the usual 'day' and 'time' when the services were held. It would be, in this respect, instinctive. It would, moreover, grow stronger with practice, until this mental perception would assume absolute regularity, as it is considered on the earth-plane. With this firmly established, the congregation have but to await the call from their minister. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 31-2.)
Religion never meant much not me. Now I begin to see that one cannot live without it. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 28.)
If you would dwell in peace, learn to love deeply. (Private Thomas Dowding, PD, 38.)
Prayer on this side is altogether different from the wordings and ascriptions of praise of earthly communicants. We do not pray regularly. We do not have Sunday services in which are laws and regulations for drawing near to the Divine. We are filled at times with a recognition of the Great and Good and Loving Power above and beyond us. Our praise is more a spontaneous expression of love and joy that we are cared for by the Supreme Being, and we never doubt this or grow indifferent to it. ...
How very far away we are from the ordered service, with its written hymns and prayer, or formulas for addressing the Most High. Love, spontaneous and ever-present love, and joy in that love, is our worship. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 115.)
'Mary gave us a very interesting message once concerning prayer. Can you also tell us something of your religious services?'
"We have no church service, no creed, no rules, except the service of kindness and love. Our prayer is the spontaneous expression of joy and gratitude. But we constantly recognize an All-Wise, All-Loving, All-Pervasive Power, whom mortals call God. We recognize and serve this Power by trying to conform our lives and actions to this Protecting Love. If this Power so cares for us, why should we not use our own lesser powers for those whom we can help? We feel sure that this is the only acceptable worship of the Most High." ...
"Cultivate the personal qualities of patience, gentleness and helpfulness, and you will be cultivating your own spirit life." (Unnamed spirit watcher, tending spirit circle while the control and the rest of the group are away travling, LHH, 127.)
We have our communal worship here, but it is purged of every trace of meaningless creeds, of doctrines and dogmas. We worship the Great and Eternal Father in truth, absolute truth. We are of one mind, and one mind only. And no one is called upon to believe blindly - or to profess to do so - something which is utterly incomprehensible to any mind. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 34.)
We do not worship, as the earth understand the term. We pour out our eternal thanks for the happiness that is ours, a happiness that is itself magnified by the thought and the knowledge that still greater happiness lies ahead of us all. We are consumed with the deepest and truest affection for the Great Being who so lavishly bestows so many good things upon us. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 63.)
In the true temples of the spirit world something very different from what you call 'communal worship' takes place.
In the centre of the city in these realms there is a great temple, a magnificent structure. It forms the very hub of the city from which everything radiates in every direction. It is a huge edifice, capable of seating thousands of us without any crowding or other unpleasant conditions. It is encompassed by the most beautiful gardens and as soon as one comes within the precincts one feels the most astonishing flow of power that emanates not from the great wealth of flowers, but from the building itself. This outpouring of force never diminishes.
Now this is a temple of thanksgiving, not of worship as the earth understands it and professes it. We do not congregate here to offer up so-called 'sacrifices'; nor do we perform elaborate ritual and ceremonial. Indeed, we do not perform either the one or the other at any time. We are not wearied by long and mostly unintelligible readings from ancient writers of a date so remote that they have no application to our present purposes and needs. We do not recite gloomy extracts from psalms which the majority of people do not understand. We do not sing hymns with whose sentiment we are either entirely out of tune or disbelieve in altogether. And, lastly, we are not treated to the recitation of long, wordy, fulsome prayers that mostly breathe blatant flattery in their every sentence and propound the most abstract theological doctrines as to the meaning of which one is utterly at fault. We perform none of these useless exercises. Instead, we meet here on special occasions, not by rule, not by habit, not because it is a duty, not because it is the 'right thing to do'; we meet here not because God 'demands' corporate worship as His right, not because some spurious authority proclaims that we must do so - or take the consequences.
We meet because on the special occasions to which I have just referred most illustrious beings from the higher realms come to visit us in this temple, beings who are close to the Great Source of all life and light. They bring with them some of the transcendental fragrance of those higher states of existence and we are permitted to bask, as it were, in the radiance of the power and light they bring. Such power and light are partly of themselves and partly from their exalted realm, but chiefly from the Great Source of all.
The principal visitant on these occasions gathers together our heart-felt thanks for all that is given to us, for all that we possess, and he transmits them to the Giver.
Such a 'service' is simple and unpretentious, and above all things it is short. Most of these gatherings last not much longer than fifteen minutes or so of earthly time. But into that brief space of time is concentrated an act of inspiring beauty such as the longest, most elaborate, and most spectacular church ceremonial upon earth could never achieve in hours of pontifical pageantry with little or nothing underlying it.
We can please ourselves whether we shall be present or not and we are not thought any the worse for being absent. Sometimes many of us are absent upon important work at the time of these visits, but we enjoy the benefit of them on another occasion and, in the meantime, out thoughts go out to the visitants. But it is the same in this as in all things here. Once you have experienced some of the delights of these realms you never wish to forgo such experiences, if it can possibly be helped. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, HH, 61-2.)
We do not [have] religion as it exists on earth; creed and form are things of no value to us. But we do have at all times a feeling of reverence for, and frequently a desire to worship, the Great Creator. We see so plainly here the moving Power behind all; we see so clearly that the design is planned to make man the culminating figure in the great scheme of things; and we realize so thoroughly the joy and beauty that accompanies man's progress; that we feel we must give thanks for the wondrous things that pertain to it all.
We do not have churches and congregations; we do not have ministers who pray and preach dogma and doctrine; but we do have great leaders who give much of their time [to] explaining and counselling concerning the progress of the human soul toward its ultimate goal. This goal we do not know. But we do perceive that it leads us, more and more, closer and closer, to the Infinite Power that spreads like a protecting cloak over the entire universe.
We feel many times that we do not deserve all the blessings that are poured out upon us; we feel so keenly the graciousness of the Great Spirit in allowing us to partake of all the joy and beauty, that we are filled with thankfulness - sometimes almost overpowering us and compelling a prayer of gratitude for it all. (Unnamed Chinese philosopher in LHH, 64-5.)
It was a great disappointment to Dad to find that God was not in this sphere in the form of a ruling deity. He tells me he had always visualized a Supreme Being presiding on a golden throne surrounded by angels.
There are ceremonies conducted here by beings from higher spheres which may have given rise to this conception of the conventional heaven, if glimpsed in meditation or during astral travel, by those who are still on earth. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 41.)
In the higher realms, which are invisible to us living in this sphere, I am told that children, who have the appearance of angelic beings, play their part in God's Cosmic Universe. They come to lower spheres as messengers from on high. There is much truth in those inspired paintings of the Italian Renaissance, depicting Cherubim with wings. Of course, the wings are mere symbols of the messenger. These beings materialize into visibility and melt out once more, from the sight of the humbler denizens after delivering their messages. (Ethel McLean in LFM, 74.)
It may surprise you to know that here in these Realms of Light, we too, from time to time, hold such services as yours, and join in thanking our Father for harvest plenty. We do this by way of supplementing the thanksgiving of our brethren on earth, and also for our own uplifting. We have here no such harvests as yours, but still we have services of thanksgiving for other blessings which are to us what harvest is to you.
For instance, we thank Him for the beauty all around us and all the glories of light and love which sustain us in vigour for our work and progress, and have services of thanksgiving for such blessings as these. At such times we usually are given some Manifestation from the Higher Spheres. (G. Vale Owen's mother in LBV1, 94.)
I took [Lionel] to see heaven. (1) He remarked:
"Why, this must be the place my grandmother used to tell me about. But where is God?"
That I could not tell him; but, on looking again, we saw that nearly everybody was gazing in one direction. We also gazed with the others, and saw a great light, like a sun, only it was softer and less dazzling than the material sun.
"That," I said to the boy, "is what they see who see God."
And now I have something strange to tell you; for, as we gazed at that light, slowly there took form between us and it the figure which we are accustomed to see represented as that of the Christ. He smiled at the people and stretched out His hands to them.
Then the scene changed, and He had on His left arm a lamb; and then again He stood as if transfigured upon a mountain; then He spoke and taught them. We could hear His voice. And then He vanished from our sight. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XII.)
- (1) Probably an excursion to the Mental Plane, known colloquially as "Heaven." Lionel is a 13-year-old acquaintance that Judge Hatch has made, who has lived some time on the Astral Plane.
God is no more visibly present here than He is in the earth life. They expect to see Him bodily, and are much disappointed when they are told that that is a quite mistaken idea of the way of His dealing with us. His life and beauty are quite apparent on earth to those who can look deeper than the externals of nature. And so it is here, with this modification: that life here is more tangible, and easier to lay hold of and use by those who study its nature, and it pulsates all around us, and we, being in a more sensitive state, are more able to feel it than when we, were in the earth life. Still, having said this on the general conditions, it is true to add that, from time to time, manifestations of the Divine Presence are given us, when some particular purpose necessitates; and of one of these I will tell you now. /
We were called to a tract of country where many people were to forgather, of different creeds and faiths and countries. When we arrived we found that a band of missionary spirits had returned from their period of duty in one of the regions bordering on the earth sphere, where they had been working among souls just come over who did not realize that they had crossed the border-line between earth and the spirit land. Many had been enlightened, and these had been brought to the place in order that they might join with us in a service of thanksgiving before going to their own proper homes. They were of various ages, for the old had not progressed yet in becoming youthful and vigorous again, and the young had not progressed to complete stature. They were all agape with happy expectation, and, as one company after another of their new companions in this life arrived, they scanned their faces, and the different coloured robes worn by the different orders and estates in wonder.
By and by we were all assembled, and then we heard a burst of music which seemed to invade us all and unify the whole great multitude into one great family. Then we saw a great cross of light appear. It seemed to lie on the slope of the great mountain which bordered the plain and, as we watched it, it began to break up into specks of bright light, and we gradually became aware that it was a large company of angels of a higher sphere who stood on the mountain in the form of a cross; and all about them was a golden glow, which we could feel at that distance as a warm breath, of love. /
Gradually they became more distinct to our vision as they emerged more perfectly into this, to them, lower environment, and then we saw, standing over the square where the arms of the cross joined the stem, a larger Being. We all seemed to know Him at once instinctively. It was a Manifestation of the Christ in what you have come to know as Presence Form. He stood there silent and still for a long time, and then lifted His right hand on high, and we saw a column of light descend and rest upon it as He held it aloft. This column was a pathway, and on it we saw another company descending and, when they came to the uplifted hand, they paused and stood still with their hands folded on their breasts and heads bowed. Then slowly the hand moved out until it had swung round and down and the fingers pointed over the plain, and we saw the column stretch out towards us in mid-heaven until it bridged the space between the mountain and the plain, and the end of it rested over the multitude gathered there.
Along this column walked the company last become visible, and hovered above us. They spread out their hands then, and all slowly turned towards the mountain, and softly we heard their voices half speaking and half singing a hymn of devotion to Him Who stood there all so beautiful and so holy that at first we were awed into silence. But presently we also took up their words and sang, or chanted, with them; for that evidently was their purpose in coming to us. And as we sang there arose between us and the mountain a mist / of bluish tint which had a very curious effect. It seemed to act like a telescopic lens, and brought the vision of Him nearer until we could see the expression on His face. It also acted similarly on the forms of those who stood just below Him. But we had no eyes for them only for His gracious face and form. I cannot describe the expression. It was a blend of things which words can only tell in small part. There were blended love and pity and joy and majesty, and I felt that life was a very sacred thing when it held Him and us in one bond. I think others felt something like this too, but we did not speak to one another, all our attention being taken up with the sight of Him.
Then slowly the mist melted into the atmosphere, and we saw the cross on the mountain and Him standing as before, only seen more dimly; and the angels who had come over to us had gone, and hovered above Him. And then all gradually faded away. But the effect was a very definite sense of His Presence remaining and perpetual. Perhaps that was the object of the vision being given to the new-comers who, although they could not see so clearly as we could who had been here longer, yet would be able to see enough to encourage them and give them peace.
We lingered some time longer, and then quietly went our ways, not speaking much, because we were so impressed with what we had witnessed. And also, in all these Manifestations there is always so much to think out after. It is so glorious that one is not able, while it is taking place, to take in all the meaning. That has to be thought out gradually; and we talk it over, / together, and each gives his impressions, and then we add them up, and find that a revelation has been given of something we did not understand be fore so well. In this instance what seemed to impress us most was the power He had of speaking to us in silence. He did not utter a word and yet we seemed to be hearing His voice speaking to us whenever He made a movement, and we understood quite well what the voice said, although it did not actually speak. (G. Vale Owen's mother in LBV1, 59-63.)
You will understand that that Manifestation was to us very much what materialization is to you. It was the linking up of two estates in the Kingdom of the Father by bridging the space by higher vibrations than those which we are able to use in these lower spheres. How it is done we can only surmise, but, having passed through from your earth sphere into this, the connection between this and the next does not seem strange. (G. Vale Owen's mother in LBV1, 64.)
At certain times, too, these transcendent beings make special visitations when the whole realm is celebrating a great occasion, such, for example, as the two major earth festivals of Christmas and Easter. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 55.)
It is at [times like Christmas and Easter] that we have visitants of the higher realms to see us, perfect beings, among whom is he of whose earthly birth we are celebrating. And these beauteous souls have but to pass upon their way to fill us with such an ecstacy of spiritual exaltation as to remain with us for long after their return to their high estate. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 57.)
To those who had already witnessed ... visitations [such as the one we were about to witness], [the] arrival [of the lesser figures] was at once the indication of the coming of the high personage, and we all accordingly rose to our feet. Then, before our eyes, there appeared first a light, which might almost be described as dazzling, but as we concentrated our gaze upon it we immediately became attuned to it and we felt no sensation of spiritual discomfort. In point of fact - as I discovered later - the light really became attuned to us; that is to say, it was toned down to accord with ourselves and our realm. It grew in shade to a golden hue upon the extremities, gradually brightening towards the center. And in the center there slowly took shape the form of our visitant. As it gained in density we could see that he was a man whose appearance was that of youth - spiritual youth - but we knew that he carried with him to an unimaginable degree the three comprehensive and all-sufficing attributes of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Purity. His countenance shone with transcendental beauty; his hair was of gold, while round his head was a lustrous diadem. His raiment was of the most gossamer-like quality and it consisted of a pure white robe bordered with a deep band of gold, while from his shoulders there [descended] a mantle of the richest cerulean blue, which was fastened upon his breast with a great pink pearl. His movements were majestic as he raised his arms and sent forth a blessing upon us all. We remained standing and silent while our thoughts ascended to Him Who sent us such a glorious being. We sent our thanks and we sent our petitions. ...
It is not possible for me to convey to you one fraction of the exaltation of the spirit that I felt while in the presence, though distant, of this heavenly guest. But I do know that not for long could I have remained in that temple while he was there without undergoing the almost crushing consciousness that I was low, very, very low upon the scale of spiritual evolution and progression. And yet I knew that he was sending out to me, as to us all, thoughts of encouragement, of good hope, of kindness in the very highest degree, that mad eme feel that I must never, never despair of attaining to the highest spiritual realm and that there was good and useful work ready for me to do in the service of man and that in the doing thereof I would have the whole of the spiritual realms behind me - as they are behind every single soul who works in the service of man.
With a final benediction upon us, this resplendent and truly regal being was gone from our sight. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 101.)
Struggle vs. Letting Go
I no longer need to strive and struggle, as I did in the earth life. Always there I worked too hard. I strove, I battled forward. I followed every channel, every path which seemed to lead to that 'breakthrough' of the spirit for which my soul yearned so deeply. ... And now as I look back over my earth life, I realize that so much was illusion.
I sought the Spirit and the Spirit was there was there all the time.
As I rest now in this Reality I see, with sadness, the truth of those words. I knew Him not. I struggled, fasted, sought for what was already present, perfect and everlasting within me. Like most of us in the body life I was in illusion; lost in glamour. I looked for the Spirit to reveal itself to me, when all that was / necessary was 'relaxation [into] God/' The Spirit was always with me, veiled because physical sight could not view it. The great secret of finding that Spirit was 'letting go' of self. I, who longed so much for the touch of the divine, who dedicated my life to religious work, who read lives of the saints for their examples, who delved into the science of psychology, extrasensory perception, and all psychic phenomena, as well as into the occult sciences, who denied myself the usual sensual and reproductive life of a human being; who truly tried to obey the precepts of the Master, as related in the New Testament, I had not accepted the simple Reality of those word: "Behold, I am with you even unto the end."
I had not been able to let go and let the Spirit absorb me. As I now see my thoughts, actions, aspirations from this angle, I am realizing that the very tenseness of my striving was my undoing and it barred the way to that very union for which my soul longed. (Frances Banks, TOL, 102-3.)
Light, Divinity, Reality ... all-pervading consciousness ... were there for my acceptance. Much greater progress would have been made by 'letting go' of all these human images and by allowing the spirit to absorb me. Relax and allow the Spirit to stream through you. Swim with the tide of the Spirit. That is the great lesson I am learning here as I review my mistakes. Now I am 'in the Spirit." ... There was no 'break-through' to Spirit, of which I once so glibly talked. There is only a gradual absorption of that amount or degree of Spirit which the openness of the soul can accept. This degree, as I appreciate now, must be governed by the Law of Progress, for the Spirit is never limited, only ourselves as receptacles govern the degree of its entrance.
This is indeed a salutary lesson. (Frances Banks, TOL, 103.)
"Let go ... and let the Spirit flow into you" was one of the teachings of Plotinus and how true he was. One does not need to strive for perfection. Let the perfection of the soul and spirit seep through the windows and doors of the personality. (Frances Banks, TOL, 120.)
Perhaps my greatest regret now is the realization that, whilst I was seeking and searching mentally, psychically, and occultly [sic] to discover that 'breakthrough' to spirit for which I longed, the Light of the Unity with all things, all creatures, all Beings, all Hosts, all Powers dwelt within me in ineffable glory.
"I am the Light of the World" means just that. (Frances Banks, TOL, 145.)
The Quest for the Soul
There are surprises in store for the person who will deliberately set out on the quest of his soul. The soul is not a will-o'-the-wisp; it is a beacon light to steer by and avoid the rocks of materialism and forgetfulness. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter XXVI.)
Everything exists in the soul; all knowledge is there. Grasp that idea if you can. The infallible part of us is the hidden part, and it is for us to bring it to light. Do you understand now why I advise the disembodied to break away from the distractions and the dazzling mirages of the earthly life? Only in the stillness of detachment can the soul yield up her secrets. It is not that I am indifferent to earthly loves; on the contrary, I love more deeply than ever all those whom I loved on earth; but I realise that if I can love them wisely instead of unwisely, it will be better both for them and for me. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter LIII.)
I have spoken of a determination to visit other planets when my work of writing these letters is ended; but I must not neglect to say that I consider such journeys to and fro in the universe of far less spiritual value than those other journeys which I have made and shall make into the deep places of my own self. Travelling in actual space and time is important to a man, that he may gain knowledge of other lands and peoples, see the differences between these peoples and himself, and learn the causes thereof; yet quiet meditation is even a greater factor in growth. If a man whose spiritual perceptions are open can do but one of these two things, it would be better for him to sit in a cabin in the backwoods and seek in his own soul for the secrets which it guards, than to travel without such self-examination to the ends of the earth.
Get acquainted with your own soul. Know why you do this or that, why you feel this or that. Sit quietly when in doubt about any matter, and let the truth rise from the deeps of yourself. Examine your motives always. Do not say, "I ought to do this act for such and such a reason; therefore I do it for that reason." Such argument is self-deception. If you do a kind act, ask yourself why. Perhaps you can find even in a kind action a hidden motive of self-seeking. If you should find such a motive, do not deny it to yourself. Acknowledge it to yourself, though you need not advertise it on the walls of your dwelling. Such a secret understanding will give you a greater sympathy and comprehension in judging the motives of others.
Strive always for the ideal; but do not label every emotion as an ideal emotion if it is not really that. Speak the truth to yourself. Until you can dare to do that you will make little progress in the quest of your own soul.
Between earth lives is a good time to meditate, but one should form the habit of meditation while in the flesh. Habits formed in the flesh have a tendency to continue after the flesh is laid aside. That is a reason why one should keep as free as possible from physical habits. (Judge David P. Hatch, LLDM, Letter LIII.)
Possible Instances of Enlightenment on the Astral Plane
I'm very vague about the difference between the God-Ray and the Christ-Ray. All I know is this glorious feeling of utter peace - which breaks through everything, even my aching need for Johnny [her husband] - even that gives way and I feel as though some warm, exhilarating substance was being poured into my veins and remaking the whole cell fabric of my body.
They call it the Presence. (Cynthia Sandys' daughter, Patricia, in AL, 13.)
It literally pours into you, making you want to laugh and be gay, something that nestles closer than oneself to oneself - closer even than Johnny [her husband] = and yet it seems to be Johnny, or that Johnny is part of it. There is a feeling of breathing the same Divinity. (Cynthia Sandys' daughter, Patricia, in AL, 13.)
Nothing in all the world can take 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, when the parenthood of God is made manifest.
I may have been disappointed by the brevity of death, but the wonder and beauty of the resurrection is beyond all explaining. I ceased to be and yet I became more completely myself - plus so much more. (Charles Bonham Carter in AL, 16.)
Promises of Enlightenment
Man thinks only of himself, but he is only one among the many chains of life that encircle our earthly creation. To each will come an awakening - a moment of vision. Then you will find the trees, the birds, the fishes will converse with you as easily as they do with us. Nor do the waters, rivers, or clouds remain dumb.
All things within your sight, hearing and feeling are due to register expectant life.
When you have learnt to reach out to the lifting rays and discarded the surface of the earth, when you are in the air powered by your own volition - then you will begin to enter the Kingdom. ("The great Spirits who guard Iona" in AL, 189.)
Truth always precedes us. We follow after, press on, forever learning, but never able to come to the full knowledge of the Truth. Where I am it is still so. (Philemon [Archdeacon Wilberforce] in LFOS, 35.)
'You have no meetings then?'
"Sometimes we find ourselves in company with those who praise with us without formal preparation and without any law of praise or service."
"Our prayer is like the sunshine, or the fragrant wind."
"No, I cannot describe it. But it is an exquisite quality of joy, and expression of that joy, as we turn toward the Author of all joy." (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 115.)
A question had also been asked about the Lord's prayer: -
"Christ had this inspiration. It is one of the perfect ones, unalloyed by mortal thought. Use it, knowing that it does avail with the Father of us all; for God, the Father, is always near and always ready to help. We do know God, the Father, better than you, but he is a spirit so ethereal that we of the lower planes do not see Him. But we feel his influence far more than you, because we are farther removed from the material senses." (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 128.)
Your praying goes out from you in waves. Nothing is ever lost. When one's thinking is projected, that thinking joins the thinking of other people who are thinking the same way. It may be from a man in Greenland or a man at the South Pole or a man in the tropics. Like attracts like. Such thought becomes a mighty searchlight beam, and force is there. ...
In the beginning the beam may be but a tiny flicker, but by faith you can nurture it and know that it is joined in a tremendous band of light which is going around the earth and is being directed. There are multitudinous souls here in the spiritual world who work on these lights. They are attracted toward them and direct the power from them. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 67.)
Repetition in prayer is vain. Prayer that goes on and on and on is like a child nagging at its parent. How can a prayer be answered if you keep on sending out and rebroadcasting and reiterating and reiterating? Once you have prayed, there must be silence. You must abide in quietness for the answer to come. If you must goi about your daily business, do so with an open heart and mind so that your prayer may be answered some other way.
It is important for us to remember that we should ask in all sincerity and then say, "Thank you" and know that the prayer will be answered. A prayer is always answered. Perhaps not always immediately and frequently not in the way we think it should be, but answered it is. It is never bypassed or allowed to go into oblivion. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 68.)
When you pray, you make a beam of light like a funnel of light going up. It becomes dispersed and then back down the channel you have created come the power and the love and the light given from God. Having received this, you feel warm, you feel light, you feel uplifted, and you say "Thank you." You go your ways and you take that power and light with you. Not only do you keep it for yourself to use but you give it to those you meet and to those who are near to you. They will feel better because they have been with you. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 71.)
We often have great convocations of souls who assemble here to have pinpointed downpourings of prayer on certain groups, on certain races, or on certain nations of the earth. We have these downpourings for all different people and for all different races at different times, depending on the need. (A.D. Mattson, WOB, 72.)
We are shown that true worship is in service and not in attending church services. (Gordon Burdick to Grace Rosher in TR, 62.)
The Fate of Those Who do not Follow the Church's Teachings
[Ruth's] transition had been a placid one and she had consequently awakened, after a very brief sleep, calmly and gently. As with Edwin, she had then found herself in a delightful house, small, neat and compact, and all her own. An old friend was beside her, ready to help in the inevitable perplexities that accompany so many awakenings in the spirit world. ...
[Ruth] had never, she said, been an active church-goer, not because she despised the church, but because her own view on the 'hereafter' did not agree with what her own church taught. She saw too much of faith required, and too little of fact being given, and altogether she had encountered so much of the troubles and afflictions of others in her daily life that the vague, but rather terrifying, picture of the world to come, the dreadful 'Judgment Day' that was so constantly held before her in the church's teaching, she instinctively felt to be wrong. The emphasis laid so strongly upon the word 'sinner' with the almost wholesale condemnation of everyone as such, she also felt to be wrong. She was not foolish enough, she declared, to believe that we are all saints, but, at the same time, we are not all sinners. Of the many people she knew, she could recall none who could ever be so branded and condemned in the religious sense. Where, then, were all these people going after they hand 'died'? ...
Ruth never for an instant considered her 'immortal soul' to be in 'peril.' Indeed, she went happily along, living her life according to the dictates of her gentle nature, helping others in her daily life and bringing a little sunshine into the drab lives of others. And she was firmly convinced that when her time came to leave the earth-plane she would take with her into the new life the affection of her many friends. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, LIWU, 141-2.)
We are here [on this plane] ... because, by virtue of man's spiritual heritage, it is our right to be here, and not because of what we believed on earth or through the merits of any particular Church to which we belonged. (Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, MALIWU, 55.)
Q: Would death be any different for those who have not been baptized?
A: No, it is not. The baptism is worthless unless there is a true blending within. Many people are given a baptism through themselves when they are ready. It's an initiation which each soul reaches as he becomes more aware of the God Consciousness.
Many people who have been baptized have no understanding of the God Force. They think because they are baptized that they are saved and can be put into the heaven realms. How ridiculous to rely on meaningless words which are not even coming from the heart when they are being performed to lift him to the higher realms.
You cannot buy your way. This is one place where money is meaningless. You cannot cheat to get acceptance. You have only to earn it and this is done through hard work in many lifetimes and the development of the God within your soul. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 34.)
Students of Mysticism
"Many come here under the influence of the various mystic teachings on earth. These teachings, as you know, have more or less good at the bottom of all of them. And those who have followed them are still strong in their beliefs for a long time here, unless we can somehow show them that all goodness leads in one direction."
"We have circles whose members have been connected with such societies on earth, who act as missionaries now. They are especially qualified because of their previous knowledge. They mingle with the spirits whom they wish to help, and use their influence in persuading them that true spirituality is broader than any one belief. They eventually drop their unnecessary rituals and peculiar ideas, and join those who are progressing."
"It is a necessary work here, for there are many who have adopted beliefs in theosophy and kindred thought, and they would all more or less group together and continue without further advancement here if there were not some outside influence to help them. (Spirit Control Mary Bosworth to Charlotte E. Dresser, LHH, 120.)
Religion in the Mental Plane
Conceptions of God
The ultimate goal of at-one-ment can be grasped only intellectually even by those who have left the earth-planes and are advancing in power.
At-one-ment with all beings we achieve and feel in service and out-going love, yet we too have form and every aspect of form, however advanced, potent and fluid, implies limitation, a certain setting apart. (The Unknown Teacher in PTS, 42.)
Even the Chief (1) has little knowledge [of the nature of the Positive Absolute]. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 40.)
- (1) The "Unknown Teacher" behind Philip's spirit circle.
God is within man, whether you're in the body or out, it makes no difference. If you're not close to Him or aware of Him while here in the body, then you're not going to be any more aware of Him on the other side.
Many continue to search. Their guidance would naturally try to show them that God is within them, that He's not something sitting outside of them.... Normally, most people adjust very readily to this. Others will refuse to hear this for a time and will continue their search. This is fine; they are allowed to do so. They are not judged harshly for this is a part of their growth. Eventually, they will begin to fall in and accept the concepts of reality rather than illusion. (Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 31.)
Nowhere have I encountered the furnishings of a conventional heaven or glimpsed the face of God. On the other hand, certainly I dwell in a psychological haven by earth's standards, for everywhere I sense a presence, or atmosphere, or atmospheric presence that is well-intentioned, gentle yet powerful and all-knowing. This seems to be a psychological presence of such stunning parts, however, that I can point to no one place and identify it as being there in contrast to being someplace else. At the risk of understating, this presence seems more like a loving condition that permeates existence and from which all existence springs. (William James, ADJ, 162.)
While I mention this [atmospheric] presence as itself, so thoroughly does it pervade everything that attempts to isolate it are useless. All theological and intellectual theories are beside the point in the reality of this phenomenon. I know that this presence or loving condition forms itself into me, and into all other personalities; that it lends itself actively to seek my good in the most particular and individual ways; yet that my good is in no way contrary to the good of anyone else, but beneficial. (William James, ADJ, 163.)
I connect the knowing light with the well-intentioned atmospheric presence..., since both have been a constant in my afterdeath experience thus far, and I study this phenomenon rather steadily at times, reminding myself of a caveman or other prehistoric man looking up at the sun and trying to understand its properties. Specifically I have not called this knowing light an entity, in terms of personhood. Yet I am sure that it possesses a psychology far divorced from any with which I have ever been acquainted; that it knows of my curiosity and examination; and is not annoyed, but invites it. (William James, ADJ, 165-6.)
This presence must be termed atmospheric. Again, I can think of no better word, and it (the presence) cannot be pinpointed as existing in any "here" as separate from there, but coexists in all places. Searches for an analogy do not particularly help either. The closest idea I have is to compare this atmospheric presence with the quality that exists on the most ideal summer day: the delightful, enchanting scent and touch of the air itself seems to be imparted everywhere, so that flowers, trees, grass, people, mountains, valleys - all seem to lie in its enchantment and add to it. So this atmospheric presence with its knowing light has the same effect, both psychologically and in my experience of everything else that exists outside of me.
Surely such a summer day seems benevolent, alive, and has a buoyancy that is added on to the other seasons. That is, an extra-appealing aura seems to be imparted to earth on such a day. No doubt this is the reason that many spiritualists referred to afterdeath as Summerland, but as a psychologist I am fascinated by something else: I know that this atmospheric presence does not have what I refer to as human characteristics, yet it does possess characteristics of an emotional nature, and it is this exuberance, this well-intentioned quality, that psychologically supplies my feeling of complete safety. It is as if I bask in the light of a psychological atmosphere that corresponds to the physical atmosphere of an ideal summer day. (William James, ADJ, 166.)
This atmospheric presence is ever-changing while in a strange manner remaining the same. I theorize at times that it is the combined consciousness of the entire universe by whatever description, existing within all consciousness, yet apart. At the same time, I am sure that more is involved. Nevertheless, in this light the conditions of existence are the most supportive and encouraging imaginable. (William James, ADJ, 166.)
We ... find that when an atheist arrives at these doors, having died denying the existence of God, he had actually admitted the existence of God in order to be able to deny Him! So that brother, too, has started in the steep homeward path of return to his eternal Father. (Mike Swain to his father, Jasper, in FMW, 61.)
Conceptions of the Trinity
When you search into phenomena - whether it's the phenomena of physics, music, art, human physiology, or whatever - and get beyond the physical forms, energies, and activities, you eventually arrive at the inner essence. (1)
Then, behind this essence is something even deeper or more fundamental, more profound - the Father. (2) You find that everything is the handiwork of the Creative Force (3) of the whole universe, and that one of the primary laws of creation is order. It is an orderly universe. Everything hangs together and works together, somehow. (Nikola Tesla in NTR, 40.)
- (1) This inner essence is called by the major religions, the Self, the Son of God, the Christ, the Pearl of great price, the Treasure buried in a field, the Atman, the Buddha-nature.
- (2) The Father is called by other religions the All-Self, Brahman, the irreducible Essence.
- (3) The Creative Force is distinguished from the Father as movement is distinguished from rest. It is called by the major religions the Holy Spirit, the Holy Breath, Shakti, Aum/Amen, the Word of God, the Voice in the Wilderness, the Sound of many waters, the universal creative vibration, and the primal energy.
Conceptions of Jesus
Christ's appearance on earth was a sacrifice of the highest order because nothing of its kind has transpired since the creation of the earth. The whole of mankind is still living entirely under the influence of this mighty event.
God's Son has united Himself with humanity and will only be redeemed from these bonds when humanity will not need Him and shall set Him free.
Then will His work be finished, and God's justice will rule also on earth because everyone will have understood Christ's sacrifice and will then tread the blessed path of perfection. (Sigwart, BOTR, 55-6.)
I hadn't been here long before I wished I had studied the Master Jesus more closely while I was on earth and right there and then I was allowed to view his life in the akashic records exactly as he lived it. I was so deeply moved that one of the leaders said to me: "Now, my son, look at it from the point of view of the world he inhabited. Here was a man who left home at a very early age and involved himself in a kind of radical thinking. He traveled from state to state preaching a doctrine which was considered as extreme as communism is today. He was against interference with an individual's right to / complete freedom. You can imagine how welcome those ideas were, when the Great One was alive! He was chased out of most towns just one step ahead of the local police!"
"Eventually he returned to his home town. There he collided with the Roman authorities, who promptly executed him. Look at that from a non-partisan point of view. What a waste of human endeavor!"
Dad, I thought about that for a long time before I realized how different the same set of facts can look, depending on the eye of the observer! The life of the Master was the most perfect lived on earth. He taught profounder truths than any of the other Great Ones who returned to your world. Do beg, borrow or steal a copy of the Aquarian Gospel. Although it was first published in 1926, it is couched in simple colloquial language. We hope that it will come into its own in the 1970s in your world for it is an uncorrupted text. Besides which, the highly evolved spirits in charge of your earth's ultimate destiny are very much aware that the Great Master is preparing to return as He promised.
I believe it is His presence, as He prepares to lower His vibrations, that is creating the disturbance at your mortal level. As He slows His vibrations, the closer He draws to your world and likewise His power agitates your make-shift values. (Mike Swain in FMW, 60.)
Christ did not come in order to bring us another step further, but to leap forward into the unknown regions of the love planes.
It was as though the Great Spirit had suddenly grown impatient and a bridgehead had to be won across the river of ignorance. Christ came as a commando equipped with one thing which he came to impress upon the ether: it was love. (Sir Alvary Gascoigne in AL, 70.)
Views of the "Atonement"
The Church ... says that [Jesus] was crucified because he wanted to take the sins of humanity upon his own shoulders!
Dad, can you as a clear-thinking man really believe that you can go out and cut your brother's throat and, because Jesus has already been crucified for your sin, it won't be taken into account when you are brought before your Maker? ...
Jesus never claimed to be a scapegoat for the rest of humanity! (Mike Swain, FMW, 63.)
God is Light
Light is the secret of the Universe. I seem to be learning that here - Light and more light, blazing, permeating one's being till it burns away all the dross and one is Light. And yet, they say, one keeps one's Ego (at least as far as anyone, even of the Advanced People, know) right up through the very highest planes of consciousness yet attained by anyone known - but I suppose even that is not the whole - there is something beyond. (Philip Gilbert in PTW, 202.)
"You are Eternal"
You are divine, therefore, holy, and holy is the never changing, always enduring, never vanishing eternity, which serves even the Godhead Who created it.
You, too, are eternal; sink this highest of all thoughts deeply into your hearts, for out of God originated the eternity you feel in yourself. (Sigwart, BOTR, 50.)
The Root of All Being
The root of all being seems to be - as the Chief told you so often - harmony and unity. (Philip Gilbert in PTS, 67.)
A spark of divinity, (1) hidden within us, must light up in order to enable us to grip helpfully the spokes of the wheel of progress. This spark is the impetus for soaring upward, because in it lies the longing for unity with the primeval shores that it had left behind; in it lies the will to return, great and strong, to the community from whose grasp it had slipped, as a wish slips from our lips, to return as a deed fulfilled to gladden us!
In this spark weaves the power that received its life through the breath of God. (2) It creates a new being through God's nearness (3) and, liberating itself in time, develops individually. (4) This spark, raised up by the desire to rejoin again the heavenly fields, and being carried by the rays of light and warmth, which the primeval Spirit had emitted as threads of love, it lights up with its divine power the garments in whose protection it is able to finish its work of development.
- (1) The "spark of divinity, hidden within us" is variously called the "I," the Self, the Christ, the Atman, the pearl of great price and treasure buried in a field. (2) In the Biblical code, the "breath of God" is the Holy Spirit (breath=spiritus).(3) I.e., it creates a new being through enlightenment.(4) What Sigwart has said here is really no different than Jesus' parable: A man found a treasure buried in a field (the hidden spark); he buried it again and went and sold all he had and bought the field (created a new being through meditation and subsequent enlightenment).
Fulfillment is awaiting you above!
Look up to the summit's highest peak.
There, embedded in clouds, bathed in light, rises in majesty of greatness and power, The Temple of Consecration.
Enter and your souls will tremble before the spirit's divine power of recognition. (Sigwart, BOTR, 61.)
You have become a world of pain, locked out of the bliss-bestowing nature of God. Break your fetters! Rise to the freedom of will.
The broken shell will lie at your feet and you shall breathe blissfully - liberation! (Sigwart, BOTR, 64.)
The great sound, in which all tunes are combined in heavenly harmonies, shall ring and will fill you with profound rapture. (Sigwart, BOTR, 67.)
People who are meditating are constantly lightening their bodies in order to receive higher and higher teachings. You cannot reach knowledge which is beyond your rate of vibrating without raising your consciousness to that point. (Unnamed spiritual teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 17.)
Meditation is tuning into one's self. ... In meditating, you cannot help but see where you, yourself, are not handling wisely certain aspects of your growth. Remember, we are seeking balance in mind, body and spirit. And remember also that meditation is the greatest means of achieving that balance and realizing that there truly is no death. (Unnamed spiritual teacher through Betty Bethards, TIND, 41.)
Clairvoyants have studied individuals while they were meditating or praying and have responded that friends from spirit - loved ones who have passed on, spirit guides, and angels - will draw near the earth plane during those times. This I especially true when the prayer or meditation is done within a group context. A group of people who gather for prayer invokes these things by their own love and intention. (Arthur Ford, PP, 123.)
Going inward and going outward at the same time ... is something about meditation that most people don't understand. I'm talking about being alive and well in the physical plane or the astral plane or the mental plane. But that requires a going inward to go outward. You're going into the inner universe and the outer universe at the same time. Actually, you're only moving in one direction, but conversationally one must say inward and outward. Because, if you do it right, you go inward and outward. Because, if you do it right, you go inward and you find the Father inward. You go outward and you find the Father outward. You find that everything is the Father. (H.P. Blavatsky, BR, 70.)
The Value of the Sacraments and Worship
[The writings of Hodgson and Leadbeater] are writings that ought to be studied more widely. They describe the inner side of healing and what occurs when the sacraments are performed. These are books written by very competent and skilled clairvoyants who observed that, when the sacraments are performed, angels literally are summoned and the Host burns with light - a light that spreads over the whole congregation. The auras of everyone within the confines of the church and even outside the building are infused with new light. (Arthur Ford, PP, 122.)
When it comes to martyrs, saints, apostles, Jesus, or any other prominent spiritual person of any religion, your reverence for them, their life, and their works magnetically attracts to you the force they represent. Devotion to Jesus or one of the saints magnetically puts you in contact with at least the fringes of their consciousness. Therefore, enshrining such people does have value because it builds a bridge to something greater. (Arthur Ford, PP, 125.)
Christmas on the Mental Plane
Christmas is the holiest of festivals because then the figure "Jesus" beheld the earth for the first time. This was the preparation for all the majestic events to come.
"Christ" was present there.
He Himself received the little Babe in order to assay whether it was really pure enough for His later great and difficult mission, imprisoned as He would be in matter, amidst imperfect humanity. He blessed the little child, knowing the same would become His own flesh and blood.
All the phenomena that took place at the birth of the Jesus child resulted from the lofty Spirit "Christ Jesus," who approached the child. The nature of the birth was not the miracle, no. The delivery was like any other, except that the mother was a perfect virgin, pure in body and spirit: but the nearness of the Son of God, the highest of all beings, caused the wondrous happenings in nature.
This is the event we celebrate: the approach of Christ.
You all, who have celebrated this appearance with me so often, now only do I recognize the importance of it! You are so right in celebrating this day. We also honor it here but the date is different. Oh, this magnificent festival, this indescribable solemnity! We kneel in spirit and pray, while above the most glorious songs sound simultaneously from the regions that are unknown to us. But we may hear them today.
The whole celestial regions are permeated by them, down to the beings of the deepest spheres. These, too, are granted to sense it in their often doubting hearts. Many become believers, and for everyone of those, it will also be a festival of birth, the birth of their faith. (Sigwart, BOTR, 95-6.)
Other Religious Festivals
An important festival is taking place today but we are allowed to be present in thought only; we shall hear afterwards about the holy event. The highest Masters will attend. It is a festival of the most exalted Divinities. All Mysteries from primeval times to the present will be re-enacted, embracing eons of years. All of this will be a combined celebration of the truest and purest rituals that were performed in the Mysteries.
All the holy festivals that had been celebrated and experienced since the beginning of earthly evolution will be enacted by the Masters as the holiest of events. Only the smaller part of every mystical or religious festival is really true and great, and these parts only shall be combined and used for you and the world. The high degree of holiest sentiments and self -control contained therein represents an immense power, impossible to describe with words. (Sigwart, BOTR, 90.)
Importance of Psychic Awareness to the Embodied
Open the eyes of your soul and the portals of your faith. Therein lies the truth. Seek there and you shall become wise. (Sigwart, BOTR, 52.)
All of the named disciples in the New Testament were obviously highly-evolved souls and they all had a good measure of spiritual intuition and discernment. It would have been impossible for them to have been accepted by Jesus unless they had such refined awareness. This awareness is something that every religious person, every mystic, and every student on the Path eventually must attain and I'll tell you the reason why. For one thing, awareness gives the individual direct, mystical contact with things of the spirit, such as angels. Now, doesn't this direct contact sound better than faith alone? (Arthur Ford, PP, 121.)
The second major value of psychic awareness is that it gives proof of the immense power and worth of prayer, meditation, and the sacraments. These things are not just dead rituals or fascinating traditions. They produce definite results on the inner planes that can be seen psychically. (Arthur Ford, PP, 122.)
As you are able to believe in and comprehend the hidden nature of God, you can then invoke it to help you be a better person, to go through daily activities with greater faith and conviction that there really is a benevolent intelligence that can inspire you to act with greater effectiveness and efficiency. There is a hidden, inner resource of power that gives you the courage to do the things you have to do and the strength to sustain you, heal you, and carry you beyond where you are now.
What I'm talking about is this - the higher psychic powers can be used to perceive the threshold of the kingdom of heaven - and beyond. Until the average person can comprehend that heaven is within us and around us, and that we are meant to interact with it, he cannot fully partake of its treasures of power, guidance, and love. So, by cooperation, I mean a little faith here, and a little extra courage there, study, and experimentation, leading ultimately to comprehension of the nature of these facts and forces.
The higher type of psychic ability, then, helps us appreciate the power of a divinity that is ordinarily considered to be intangible and invisible. (Arthur Ford, PP, 123.)
Leichtman: What, if any, are the dangers of bringing psychic elements into a church setting? The fundamentalists always bring up the passage from Deuterionomy where the Jews are told that speaking with spirits and fortune telling are abominations unto the Lord. What is the proper perspective on that and what safeguards must be used?
Ford: Lots of things are abominations and out to be avoided. At the top of my list would be bigotry, ignorance, malice, condemnation, and superstition. Those are far greater abominations than the lower forms of psychic silliness, which is what the passage in Deuteronomy warns against. One needs to keep this in perspective.
I would suggest that readers take an hour or so and read as much of Deuteronomy as they can get through. [Slyly.] Deuteronomy talks about what to do with a slave when you capture him, how to manage your concubines, and when it is proper to commit incest and murder. It is not fair to take what was once good advice thousands of years ago, to a primitive, superstitious people and try to apply it to our own time. (Arthur Ford, PP, 126.)
God, after all, is a supernatural being. So is our own soul. Becoming psychic, which includes mediumship and clairvoyance, is one of the obvious ways to learn about and interact with a supernatural being. (Arthur Ford, PP, 127.)
Thought and Enlightenment
The realization of [our] essence is a mystical communion. (Nikola Tesla, NTR, 45.)
The process of thinking could lead to realization. Not all thinking, however, leads to realization or even to wisdom or inspiration. In fact, not all thinking leads to knowledge. Some of it is just fooling around. (Nikola Tesla, NTR, 45.)
Proper thinking literally summons from heaven the very essence it is leading towards. (Nikola Tesla, NTR, 45.)
A true mystic is always rational. ... As you know, mysticism is not anti-intellectual. (Albert Schweitzer in POG, 21.)
Lift up your earth mind into a steady advanced consciousness; these moments are the true reality of your being. (Philip Gilbert to his mother, Alice, in PTS, 28.)
Every really lofty thought arising from the Godhead lifts the human being out of the bodily sheath and gives him the power and desire to become free. The human soul is thus raised and lifted upward by the threads of its own thoughts. Therefore, thoughts are [important], not deeds. Thoughts play the greater part; one can achieve everything with them, whereas deeds are limited. Remember this and you will advance yourselves in easier stages. (Sigwart, BOTR, 45.)
The soul of man is delicate and tender. It reacts to every thought and thereby changes its color. A soul is harmed easily. Even a thought of disgust injures the gentle web. Therefore you will understand well how pleasing human beings are who only harbor joy, hope, love and the sun within themselves. (Sigwart, BOTR, 62.)
Never forget the temple of God that you represent may be shaken violently or destroyed by an inadvertent untruth and become deeply cracked as by the effects of an earthquake. Control not only your thoughts, but also your words. The power for your exaltation depends on your inner disposition and on the purity of your way of life. Hold fast to these. (Sigwart, BOTR, 89.)
"Only Higher Feelings Contribute to Comprehension Here"
Everything in our world is so totally different from your logic and from the premises human brains have concocted with the so-called sharp intellect. Only feelings and sentiments contribute to comprehension here. You see, it is a totally different conception to judge everything by the capacity of comprehending through higher feelings alone. The more a spirit is developed, that much more readily will his soul react to all external impressions. This is so rich and proliferous. (Sigwart, BOTR, 47-8.)
Surrender and Gratitude
Resignation is the act of giving yourself over to the work of God. (Albert Schweitzer, POG, 33.)
By resignation, I'm referring to the attitude which Jesus demonstrated over and over again: by myself, I can't do much, but, with the Father, I can do all things. It's resignation from personal egotism, from delusion and ignorance, and from despair and misery. It starts with the realization that you as an individual are important, you have responsibilities and make a difference in the world, but if you are ever going to be something significant, you will have to align yourself with your spirit. You will have to accept your spirit and work with it. That means resigning some of your arrogance, ignorance, and pettiness - and embracing a greater dimension of life, the God within you. (Albert Schweitzer, POG, 33.)
I'm talking about rising above the personality and contacting something of the inner life of the spirit and then expressing that in your daily activities. Some people do assume that being nice is the same as being spiritual, but that's not usually the case. Niceness is generally just an expression of the pleasant elements of the personality. The life of the spirit is something more.
If you really want to bring through the spirit, I would suggest a very simple technique. You should examine your life, your lifestyle, your friends, and the experiences of your life, and find as much as you can that is beautiful or noble or worthy / of praise. Then you should be deeply thankful that at least a fragment of God's kindness or goodness or nobility or beauty exists within you or your life experience.
The evidence of this might be the kindnesses a co-worker has shown you or the fact that your children are sometimes delightful and sweet or the fact that you have done an exceptionally fine piece of work. But, whatever it is, you should appreciate it because it is good. You should thank God that this goodness exists, that this much of the inner life is being expressed, and it touches you. And it's marvelous.
At that point, you should also be thankful that something exists within the universe which makes this possible. And wouldn't it be great if this Something could dominate our lives, our experiences, our memories, and our future? If you practice this kind of thankfulness, you will actually begin to tap the hidden current of love behind all creation, all events, and all people. Just in talking about it now, I am tapping that current. It's very real for me - and it was very real for me much of my adult life in the physical plane. (Albert Schweitzer, POG, 37.)
Belief and faith are important - I don't want to say anything that would tarnish the value of right faith and right belief. But it is through thankfulness and praise that you begin / to discover the inner presence of the God you propose to believe in. The only way you can link yourself to the power, love, and wisdom of God is by finding aspects of these qualities within yourself - within your mind and within your heart. And the easiest way to do that is by being thankful for whatever you can find that is worthy of being praised.
Now this is really very easy to do. Even a child can do it - in fact, even a cat or a dog can be thankful. And so can every adult. Which means that every adult has the ability to focus something of God's will or God's plan into his life. (Albert Schweitzer, POG, 37-8.)
Submitting to the Highest - this is the great secret of the irresistible way of becoming.
Most people do not want to sacrifice their forces in the service of the sublime; they want to penetrate it with the powers they possess, but do not know how.
All strength transforms itself to power only when it wills to become powerless itself by acknowledging the Higher Power above it. (Sigwart, BOTR, 50.)
Free will, the development of the logical mind, the illusions of the senses, all these tend to extinguish, or at least to dim, the Light of Divinity. (Frances Banks, TOL, 104.)
Intimations of Enlightenment on the Mental Plane
I have experienced esctacy, bliss and the AWE of the Silence. (Philip Gilbert in ITE, 45.)
The mental body must resolve itself before it can perceive its kinship to the physical, the etheric and the astral. Then, all of a sudden, it says to itself: "Here is my mind, here are my emotions, and here is my body. Who, if anyone, is seeing them through my eyes? What is the sum total of all my components?" Then that entity realizes that is in fact an immortal soul: a Prodigal Son utilizing a series of bodies in order to return intact to the protection of the Eternal Father. (Mike Swain, FMW, 79.)
I have sensed the Eternal and it seemed to concentrate in one great Figure flashing out Light, like a lighthouse. Beams fell upon me rhythmically and all my being leapt to meet them. It was a harmonic progression! I have to adjust to this new phase of 'here' for I am working now definitely on two levels - the hospital always demanding but with intervals of a withdrawal or merging into a deeper awareness of vibration and reaction of a light which seems to penetrate my inmost self - to be circulating. (Ross in ITE, 49.)
The real white light isn't "seen".... That's a very common mistake people make. They see a little astral light and think to themselves, "Oh, wow, wonderful - I'm enlightened!" (Laughter.) Enlightenment is produced by contact with the soul - not with astral light.
It's a profoundly moving experience, but not the kind of event you would want to cheapen with gushy statements about how wonderful it was. I don't believe I even talked about it after my first encounter with the real white light. Anyone who genuinely contacts the light of their spirit would respond the same way. The people who gush about white light are either getting it from the Peter Pan department or their own subconscious - one of the two. (Stewart Edward White in PP, 210.)
I have been on other planes of vibration and colour and sound for which you have no words. These experiences are outside time and space and individuality, where we lose our personal consciousness altogether, knowing that it is only a temporary exercise - that we have to return to our job in our own personality.
But, for a space, shall I call it "time" for lack of another word, we are able to sink into the Great Consciousness. This is something so superb that it is beyond all explaining; you just have to experience it. (Rosamond Lehmann's daughter Sally in AL, 185.)
I began to see and hear the great communion of the peaks, the harmony within the discord of this immense instrument for conducting, duplicating, preserving, storing, and eventually dispensing the God-consciousness among men. ...
Immediately there beside me stood a radiant figure. ... I questioned, "Why am I here and unable to reach and absorb this marvelous wisdom?" And over the glittering expanse of light came a voice unlike anything I have ever heard before, telling me to be still and know. The figure of Light came close to me and I began to feel the power, to become absorbed by the outer tentacles of this radiating presence - I saw and understood. But no words can frame the sense of utter holiness which enveloped me. It was beyond my power to hold it for long, but what I held I knew would be mine from that moment to eternity. (Lord Dowding in AL, 182.)
Intimations of Enlightenment on the Inner Planes - Unready Souls Turning Aside from Proferred Experiences
The messenger ... took me with him toward a Mount of Vision. The light was dazzling. No doubt he thought such a pilgrimage would prove an antidote to my journey toward the demon realm. It was almost too much for me. I can remember little of what I saw. I gazed upon the Reservoirs of Illumination. They were afar off. They nearly blinded me. ...
He asked me to return to the Mount of Vision with him, but I feel I cannot, dare not do so. I am unworthy. I cannot unself myself sufficiently. Such heights are not for such as I am! I returned to my own place alone, by the force of an interior gravity. (Thomas Dowding, PD, 36.)
Average human beings let themselves be converted even here only by actual proofs. They, too, do not listen to the inner voice that speaks to them. Blessed are they who believe without proof! (Sigwart, BOTR, 48.)
Open up your heart, and bask in the peace and quiet with which our Father rewards each and every one of us, even if only a lucky few of us appreciate it.
Open the doors to your heart and give Him your loving thanks. Within a moment, the love of our beloved Father will flow back to you a hundredfold and you will realize that even here, in mortal terms, you are indeed His son.
When you have mastered this simple form of meditation, you will always find release from the petty troubles all around you. All you will have to do is sit quietly in some secluded spot, and re-create the tranquil peace you knew when you welcomed that perfect dawn. (Mike Swain, FMW, 87.)
As we pray to Him, a blue shaft of light goes up to the heavens - then it turns into gold, and His infinite peace flows down it to surround us. (Mike Swain in FMW, 53.)
The Fate of Ministers who Taught Mistaken Notions
When 'men of the cloth' get up here, oh, Dad, it is terrible to watch their self-recrimination and their soul-searching when they realize what they taught on earth was too often wide of the mark; even though they merely taught what they themselves had been taught. They need all our help and comfort as they battle against terrifying images of devils and hell fire ... which in truth do not exist here or anywhere else! (Mike Swain in FMW, 54.)
The Burden of Fanaticism
Every Christian born upon the earth is inspired by some individualized spirit. When I write "individualized" I desire to indicate that it is a thought of God; it is not, therefore, the Whole, it is not the Fount of all life.
So there are numerous fanatical Christians who, though they led lives of rectitude on earth, committed certain intellectual sins. These might be summed up in the phrase "rigidity of thought," "an outlook limited by fanaticism." Briefly, they are wedded to a limited concept. In the fourth stage of existence they must learn how to escape from such a prison if they are to make further progress. These remarks apply equally to Buddhists, Mahommedans, and all those other fanatical adherents of various religions or, as in the modern world, of scientific conceptions. For science tends more and more to become a religion or special outlook for many human beings.
Now, if the soul is to pass from the Fourth to the Fifth stage he must first shake off, cast from him any dogma, any special earthly outlook which has shaped his mentality, which confines it; so that his vision is limited, and his experiences are, therefore, also limited; consciousness of reality being thus withheld from him. (F.W.H. Myers, RTI, n.p.)
Only when people grasp [the basic unity of all doctrines] and cease to send 'missionaries' to convert others, instead of attending to their own business of merging and blending with Creative Harmony will the earth plane become fit to live in! (Philip to his mother, Alice Gilbert, in PTW, 237.)
Religion in the Buddhic Plane
Views of the Atonement
Many have been taught to hide behind the Christ Sacrifice on the Cross, so that they have not really developed that purity of soul which is necessary before they can rise. (J. W. Sharpe, M.A., in FMABL, 128.)
Much Church Instruction Misleading
Much of the instruction given in all the churches is so misleading, that great change of thought is necessary before it can be really helpful to the people. The fear is that, in their revolt from unhelpful teaching, they may think that no religion is needed. That is one of the things to be most guarded against in the future for worship is absolutely essential to the development of the race and your leaders must see that high and noble ideals are presented to the people. (J. W. Sharpe, M.A., in FMABL, 128.)
Religion in the "Seventh Sphere"
Ed. Note: See Appendix 2. Imperator's Spirituality
Religion in the "Tenth Sphere"
When Zoroastrians Join Christians
When I noticed [Harolen] had leisure, I approached and asked him who these [newcomers to the Tenth Sphere] were, and what worship they and he had spoken of on the shore. Harolen answered, in effect, that they in the earth life had been worshippers of the God Whose Name was wrapt in the Fire and in the Sun, and Whom the old Persians reverenced. (1)
Now, I must add to that, of my own knowledge, this, ensuing. You must know that, when people first come out of the earth life into the first stage of their life eternal on this side, they are as they left the earth. This much you know. They who have any serious religion at all continue their worship and manner of life and conduct according to that religion as to its main and leading principles. But as they progress there is a winnowing, and the chaff is blown away, one fistful after another, as they go on from sphere to sphere. Yet while some shoot ahead, the bulk linger and go more leisurely onward; and those who have left them behind come back to them, from time to time, to instruct them.
So they go on from age to age, and realm to realm, / and sphere to sphere; and all the while they approach nearer to the Universal idea of the All-Father. Brethren they still are together; but they learn to welcome, and then to love, brethren of other modes of religious thought and belief; as these others do also. And so there is a constant and increasing intercourse between those of varying creed. But it is long before most will merge together in absolute unity. These old Persians still retained many of their own peculiar ways of looking at things, and will do so long hence. Nor is it to be wished for otherwise. For every one has a character of his own, and so adds of his own to the commonwealth of all. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 172-9.)
- (1) Zabdiel's descriptions suggests Zarathustrians or Zoroastrians, known today as "Parsees," in India where their largest population resides.
But this I know - I who, as you, did worship and homage to the Christ of God and of Nazareth, and who pay my reverent devotion now as you are not yet able - this, I say, I know, my ward and fellow-worker in the Kingdom, that He is still on before a long, long way. The light that would blind me is to Him in His holiness as the twilight is to me. Beautiful He is, I know, for I have seen Him as I am able, but not in His fulness of glory and majesty. Beautiful He is, aye, and lovely as I cannot find words to tell. And Him I serve and reverence with glad devotion and great joy.
So do you not fear for your own loyalty. You will not take from Him by giving reverence to our brethren of other faiths than ours. For they are all His sheep, if they be not of this fold. Who is, and was, the Son of Man, and so Brother of us all. Amen. (Zabdiel in G. Vale Owen, LBV2, 180.)
Viewpoint on the Worship of God
But you will be able faintly to realize, by a large effort of your imaginative powers, the meaning we had in mind when we wrote last evening of Him Whose Name is to us unknown and unknowable. So, when you worship the Creator, you have, I suppose, no very definite idea of the Order of Creator you intend. It is easy to say you mean the Creator of all. But what do you mean by all?
Now, know this - for this much, at least, we have progressed to know - that you do right to worship the Creator and Father of all, whatever you mean - if you mean anything definite by that very inclusive word. Still, your worship passes first into the lower spheres, and through them to the higher, and some worship goes farther and into higher spheres than other worship does, according to its worth and inherent power. And some goes very far indeed. Far above us is the Christ Sphere of glorious intensity of light and awful beauty. Your worship, then, proceeds to the Father through Him, that is, through the One / Who came to earth and manifested the Christ to men. (Astriel in G. Vale Owens, LBV1, 224-5.)
Religion in the Christ Sphere
Christ Reigns Supreme in the Christ Sphere
The increasing beauty and radiance of the Higher Spheres can hardly be described in words. / Every faculty and bent of mind receives its fulfillment here. Thus, there is the artistic sphere, where the aspirations of your finest artists, poets and musicians are realized. In each sphere the inhabitants gain a fuller consciousness of the presence of Jesus the Christ, until they come to the seventh, or Christ, Sphere where He reigns supreme. He is the Life-Principle of every one here and moves amongst us in full and beautiful communion.
It is here that the crude religious ideas of the lower spheres become crystallized into perfection, for in these spheres, as in your world, Jesus also manifests, but He can only be seen and His Divine Presence realized by the heart that has been prepared by love and service and a total self-abnegation to open and receive Him. (John Heslop, FMABL, 9-10.)
In each higher sphere, the inhabitants gain a fuller consciousness of the presence of Jesus the Christ, until they come to the seventh, or Christ-Sphere, (1) where He reigns supreme. He is the Life-Principle of everyone here and moves amongst us in full and beautiful communion. ...
Beyond the seventh sphere there are other celestial states, but of these I cannot speak. (John Heslop, FMABL, 9-10.)
- (1) John Heslop calls the Christ Sphere the Seventh Sphere, but Imperator does not call the Christ Sphere the Seventh.
Imperator: "Jesus had passed beyond the sphere whose denizens operate directly with man." (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MST, 63.) Since Imperator says that he himself lives on the Seventh Sphere, I deduce that the Christ Sphere, in which Helsop says Jesus says he lives, is not in Imperator's scheme the Seventh Sphere.
"Love" is the Religion of Spirit
The air was full of love. (Julia T. Ames, AD, 44.)
Whatever else you may doubt, never lose hold of this: God is Love. The atmosphere of the universe is the realizing sense of the love of God and the more I live here the more impossible it seems to doubt it. (Julia Ames, AD, 70.)
The best and loveliest truths in all religions are true, only more true than you at present venture to hope. (Julia Ames, AD, 158.)
There is only one test of all theologies and all religions and all plans of salvation and that is the test of its effective value in suffusing the human soul with the Love of God, which, in so far as it is real and deep and true, works itself out in the Love of all His created sentient things. (Julia Ames, AD, 182-3.)
The degree of love with which any one loves measures his religion. The degree of hatred or indifference which paralyzes love in the soul is the test of irreligion. Love eats into selfishness as the sun's rays eat into the black and dark night. That is God in life. That is what we see. Light that shines in the darkness. Love is that light. (Julia Ames, AD, 92-3.)
The optic nerve of the soul is unselfish love; with that one can see God, can enter Heaven. (Julia Ames, AD, 167.)
The best window, what is that? It is the window that lets in most light. Where, then, is the light that is the test of the window? ... The light of life is Love, and Love is God and God is Love; and those who do not love are those who sit in outer darkness and in the valley of the shadow of death. Sin consists in the living without God; that is to say, without love. (Julia Ames, ADF, 93.)
For the identification of love, wherever it is found, as God, as a ray from God, in proportion as it is unselfish and sacrificial in its nature, that is the Gospel which will save the world. And when men ask where God is, then you can answer, where Love is. (Julia Ames, AD, 95-6.)
All love supposes some degree of restraint and this is true of the Highest as well as of men and women, restraint that is born of the intelligence and foresees. And real love is the keenest-sighted of all things. (Julia Ames, AD, 93.)
All real love is divine. It is first revealed to us through a human channel so that we may understand and realize it. ... But it is only as we pass into this fuller life here that we can in any adequate measure grasp its real meaning, the full glory of love. For here it is the very air we breathe, the essence of our being. It is all love, radiating from the Divine Father, and filling us with unutterable joy and bliss. (John Heslop, SABL, 14.)
Love is a well-spring of life! If only you once realize that love on our side is the same as on yours and picture what love would do for those in trouble on earth, action becomes at once clear and understandable. For here we can do so much with our larger powers, our greater ability to love purely and unselfishly. Here love is never stifled by care nor suffering nor ill-health, and it grows and expands in the pure atmosphere of this higher life. (John Heslop, SABL, 15.)
As you climb to the higher planes of spiritual experience, the divine spirit can fill you to overflowing, and the love of God which passeth all understanding can keep your heart and mind in a state of perfect peace. (John Heslop, SABL, 16.)
Beloved, you can't realize in the very least what love is here. At its best moments it is so imperfect on earth, so full of disappointment often to those who love most truly. But here there are none nof earth's limitations, but one great boundless sea of love. And love is a tangible thing here, not an emotion or sentiment. (John Heslop, SABL, 16.)
Love must ever seek the object of its affection. (John Heslop, SABL, 26.)
We all desire to help your world when we come to this Christ Sphere. It seems a necessary expression of our great love, the longing to minister in some form to the dwellers on earth. There never was a time when thoughtful minds were enquiring as they are now. The fields are white to the harvest. (John Heslop, SABL, 51.)
God is Love
God is Love and ... all who love really and truly are in God and He in them. (Julia Ames, AD, 144.)
God has been kept out of your lives because of the lack of love in your hearts. (Julia Ames, AD, 144.)
Love and God are the same and when, from any cause, you hate or do not love, to that extent you shut God out from your life. (Julia Ames, AD, 144.)
If you be as God, love! Everything you love is a step towards heaven. Everything you dislike so as to make you incapable of living any one takes you down the steps away from Him! ... To be out of love is to be out of the very Being of God. (Julia Ames, AD, 144-5.)
Love is the test, Love is the standard, Love is the metewand [sic] of all that is divine. Where there is much love, there is God manifested in the flesh. Where there is little, there the Spark of God burns low and dim. (Julia Ames, AD, 183.)
When you realize that God is the great embodiment of love, then in some faint degree you begin to perceive that He can never be angry nor jealous nor vindictive, nor have any of the lower passions so often attributed to His name even in the Bible record. Love, even to the finite understanding, cannot exist with these things. So, when you try to picture God, think of your highest conception of love, and then you have only touched the outer rim of His garment, Who is all love. (John Heslop, SABL, 17.)
All love is divine love and God is in all real love. The more you absorb and give forth this divinity, the nearer you grow to the God who is all love. (John Heslop, SABL, 25.)
God is Light
God is light and the nearer we get to God the brighter we become. You may remember when Moses talked with God, the reflected radiance of his face was so great that he had to put a veil over it when he returned to the children of Israel. (John Heslop, SABL, 54.)
In their very hearts is an actual part of Himself (1) and His splendid life is within them. (John Heslop, SABL, 36.)
- (1) The divine spark which Hindus call the Atman, Christians the Christ, and others the Self or Soul.
The Soul is the Real Self, the only part of you which lasts, the Divine in you. (Julia Ames, AD, 141.)
The Soul has Divine powers. (Julia Ames, AD, 141.)
The Soul was before the birth of the body and continues after the body is dissolved. All that is needed in the body is a mechanism whereby under the physical conditions the incarnate soul may acquire the experience necessary to its evolution. The conditions of that mechanism are sensation and consciousness. (Julia Ames, AD, 155.)
Now life here being sensation communicated to the soul through its physical mechanism, what are we to think of life before and after? ... What I am telling you is not reincarnation, about which I say nothing, but the pre-existence of the soul. All souls are eternal, being parts of the Divine Essence. (Julia Ames, AD, 156.)
There is no such thing as death of the soul, at any rate at the physical stage of its development. What there may be hereafter I may speak of hereafter, but not now. (1) (Julia Ames, AD, 156.)
- (1) Eventually, the soul will merge back again into God and disappear as a separate entity. See here.
"To Be with Jesus"
This is Heaven - to be with [Jesus]. You cannot understand how the consciousness of His presence makes the atmosphere of this world so different from that with you. (Julia T. Ames, AD, 45.)
Suggestions that Jesus Rose Above Many Orders of Angels
Then there are angelic beings who voluntarily descend to earth and are born there that they may undergo special experiences and training. Having passed through its trials and discipline, they return to assume great positions of power and influence in God's universe.
In like manner Jesus Christ came to earth from the bosom of the Father. After His sublime life and death of agony, He rose above principalities and powers, things present and things to come; all were put under His feet. (John Heslop, SABL, 98.)
The angels and archangels who minister directly to God through eternity have attributes and powers quite beyond finite understanding. To them are committed the behests of the Divine Father. These behests are then passed down from one High Intelligence to another, till they reach us in the Christ Sphere. By us they are communicated to various unfolded worlds.
Angels from more exalted spheres frequently visit the Holy Temple [in the Christ Sphere] to instruct us, but, transcending them all is our Divine Jesus Christ, who was perfected through suffering. (John Heslop, SABL, 97.)
The sin of your ancestor is bearing bitter fruit to him in the unseen world. Not the least part of his punishment is watching your innocent suffering. Now all this, borne patiently by you, is vicarious suffering and you are lessening his punishment and helping to bear it for him. (1) When, by your cure or death, the disease is ended, he, your ancestor, will be free to rise out of hell; you have helped him to pay his uttermost farthing.
"He that has suffered in the flesh is freed from sin." That is, suffered vicariously by those purging fires that burn away all sin. (John Heslop, SABL, 68.)
- (1) This viewpoint from Heslop is not one that is often heard. I include it for its interest.
Earth Has Only a Germ of the Truth
I see now that only the germ of truth is taught on earth, overladen by much error and superstition. You hardly realize that you have the power to express God in your lives. The acts and deeds which I had thought good, and of which I was rather proud, were not regarded here, but some little word or deed, almost forgotten, shone out clear and distinct. It was the purity of motive that gave it value, nothing else. (John Heslop, SABL, 2-3.)
Should one come here whose earth-life has been expressed in love, service and humility, but who is ignorant of the higher teaching of this sphere, he will be instructed in an essential element of our Faith - the acceptance of the Three-fold Presentation of God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (John Heslop, FMABL, 49.)
- (1) Hindu Vedantists would call these entities Brahman, Atman, and Shakti. They are the Transcendental, the Transcendental in the Phenomenal, and the Phenomenal. See here
I dwell in the "Undiscovered Country"! You have speculated about it all through the ages, doubted its existence, or wondered what manner of land it was. The seers of the past have trued to describe it in word-pictures, and these have been taken literally so giving an erroneous impression to the readers of the Sacred Books.
One of the things we find most difficult is to unlearn the teaching received in the earth-life regarding our life here, its conditions, its occupations, interests, and work. You are still taught that we are intangible spirits, floating about somewhere in space, waiting for the Judgment Day when we shall again be clothed in material bodies and answer before the "Great White Throne" for deeds done in the flesh.
Many who have outgrown the belief that we are still lying in our graves until the Day of Judgment are still in the mists as to where we are and what we are doing. And to us, looking down on all this vagueness, the strangest thing is that, if one more advanced than others tries to tell them the truth about this life, so few desire to hear it and often hold up to contempt or ridicule the one who would enlighten them. (John Heslop, FMABL, 94-5.)
The Church Has Been Found Wanting
Now the church is the recognized channel for the worship of God; but in these days of testing and trial, she has been found wanting. (John Heslop, FMABL, 72.)
The Temple in the Christ Sphere
True worship needs no special building. It is an attitude of the mind, the sustained upward glance of the soul, the resting of the whole inner being upon God. (John Heslop, SABL, 127.)
The whole life of the Christ-Sphere is centred in the Temple..., and here we come for spiritual refreshment after periods on earth or of service in the lower spheres and it is here that we lay our work before the Master.
We may have a petition to present for one we love and are striving to save and He will grant it if it is good for that soul. If not, the Master unfolds to us the need of further probation and gives ups patience to work and to wait. We know that supreme Love and Knowledge are behind every act of the Divine and none question the decision of the Christ whose Love is ever directed toward the perfecting and uplifting of His children. (John Heslop, FMABL, 16-7.)
How am I to describe the Temple in the Christ-Sphere! The magnificence of this turreted pile, with its crystal spires and domes which melt into the atmosphere in their transparency! All the materials of which the Temple is composed and embellished are quite unknown in your world. I cam only give you in word-pictures some faint idea of its loveliness.
The Temple stands on a lofty eminence in the centre of the Sphere and its architecture surpasses the conception of mortals. From this high position its domes and spires may be seen by all the inhabitants. It is a combination of many styles of Ecclesiastical Architecture, but all so blended and dignified that each portion is perfect, melting into the next in a beautiful harmony.
Materials known only in Spirit-life are used in its construction and these were produced through the labour of countless bands of spirits, extending through eternity. Each atom is a creation entirely of its own, for not two atoms are alike.
The most marvelous part of this building is, that it is a Living Structure, full of Life, Intelligence, and active Spiritual Properties. Every stone lives and yet willingly abides for ever in the special niche in which it has been placed by Angelic Workmen; for each considers it has fulfilled its highest destiny by being used in the Construction of this Glorious Temple where we worship the Highest.
It is wonderful without; there is within a perfection of art and beauty which is entrancing. The entrance hall is a transparent crystal, with arched ceiling in the most exquisite design, inlaid as with mother-of-pearl. Panels in bas-relief, all showing the various stages of spiritual development, surround it.
The floor, like polished jasper, harmonizes with the soft tints of the roof and out of this hall an opening reveals the Temple itself, with its innumerable Shrines and Ante-Chapels. It is circular in form and its dimensions are enormous.
The centre of the dome becomes lost in misty loveliness and Messengers of Angelic Ministration hover in the celestial expanse above. Below the dome there is a raised dais, from which Exalted Beings from Higher Spheres instruct us. From this one centre they ever minister to the inhabitants of this Sphere and these Spiritual Instructors are in contact with other Spheres, which transcend even this one in beauty and perfection. (John Heslop, FMABL, 19-21.)
Worship in the Christ Sphere
Every form of conscious life is endowed originally with the necessity of worship. Trees, flowers, birds, and animals all possess this instinct, which becomes fully developed in the higher spheres. Even those you term heathen worship an unknown and faintly-realized God. Man sinks to the lowest depths before this necessity of his being is altogether eliminated. (John Heslop, FMABL, 72.)
Earnest, believing prayer has a far-reaching force and power, beyond anything you can even dimly imagine. (John Heslop to his wife, F. Heslop, SABL, 109.)
Once every cycle there is a "Feast of Love" celebrated in the Temple. On these special occasions the central dais is occupied by Jesus the Christ. His noble figure crowned with the Dignity of the Godhead stands out in bold relief against the white background of Angelic Beings, for His Robe is of Royal Purple.
Tall of stature, his dark locks fall in a misty cloud about His shoulders, His eyes of tenderest blue, the forehad high and majestic, the nose aquiline, and the expression of His beautiful Face radiant and luminous with Love. Just above His head a White Dove, symbol of the Spiritual Union with the Father. All are riveted to His Presence.
Angelic Minstrels with wondrous instruments commence their overture. Each cloud is an inspiration, each note is a new one, all interpreting the mental states of those present. From the mind of Christ thoughts vibrate with lightning rapidity and to the assembled hosts not a single vibration is lost for each spirit recognizes the importance of the revelation. (John Heslop, FMABL, 21-2.)
I will endeavour ... to tell you some of the thoughts given to those hosts above, but you must understand that I am putting into words what came to me in vibrations of thought and I find this very difficult. In substance, this is the message we received:- ...
"This Proclamation is to establish a clearer and more definite plan in ministering to those of all kindreds, tribes and tongues upon the earth-plane. It is decreed by our Father (and the Heralds of the spheres are to proclaim it, even to its uttermost confines) that the Dawn of Spirit-Return, which has taken place on the earth, shall be increased in power and magnitude, even to the establishment of new centres of activity, as well as through the existing spirit channels.
"It is the purpose of our Father that in Churches and Chapels, Temples and Mosques, sudden manifestations of the Spirit's Presence should be felt and seen. For this end ye are to gather together, those in your respective domains, in the spheres psychical (spirit spheres) and through the spirit chemists prepare those places of worship for my manifestations.
"Ye shall toil, labour and work with this end in view. I will, saith the Father, bring to the children of earth, the nearness of the Kingdom of My Presence. This shall be for a season and there shall be established a closer understanding of the 'Communion of Saints.' The blind leaders of the blind shall have their sight and the pastors shall be truly shepherds of My flock (saith our Father). Go ye therefore and prepare the ground, for at the harvest the powers of the earth shall be shaken and My Spiritual presence shall be made known." This is briefly a part of the Message given to the assembled hosts in the Temple of Truth. This prophecy will commence its fulfillment at the fall of the leaf and great good will be brought to mankind. [This letter was delivered on the 2nd July, 1906.] (John Heslop, FMABL, 22-4.)
Religion in Unknown, Exalted Spheres
Conceptions of God
Beloved, the nature of the Heavenly Father is greatly confused in the minds of men. For they have clothed the divine in a garment of mortality in their conception of the Supreme Being.
Divine Spirit permeates all men and all matter and knows only perfection. The evils you see around you, of discord and disharmony, are but the projections from the minds of men. They are not of God. (Unnamed Master of the Brotherhood of Light in LFM, 124.)
The Light is Within
The light is within. It will glow ever clearer. (The Unknown Teacher in PTS, 42.)
Man must prepare himself for spiritual light, for God never illumines a darkened soul. (Spirit leader Imperator in Moses, MSTTT, n.p.)
You will now have some idea of what aspiration and prayer and worship mean. They are the means of communion with the Creator and His High and Holy Ones Who (to put it in a way which you will understand) dwell in the highest, or outermost, of these spheres, and include within Himself and These all the zones within that highest Zone or Sphere. (Astriel in G. Vale Owens, LBV1, 217.)
God is Peace
Be at peace - my peace is upon you. It is directed from the source. It is the source. Feel it, breathe it, exude it, and you too shall be of the source. (The Unknown Teacher in PTS, 42.)
Spirituality May Not Involve Meditation
A person can lead a very spiritual life without having meditated a single minute. (Paramahansa Yogananda in POG, 127.)
There are a number of measures and ingredients to the spiritual life. It involves treating other individuals with compassion, love, wisdom and harmlessness, and acting with responsibility in handling the duties of daily life. The basic indicator of a spiritual life is that spirit is honored in everything the person does and thinks and feels. He reveals God. (Paramahansa Yogananda in POG, 127.)
[Contact with a teacher] need not involve [meditation] at all. ... Someone who is taking his responsibilities in life seriously and compassionately, who is trying to be the right person and do the best he can, tends to invoke this inner teaching. He may never go to a church or temple, he may never meditate, he might not even read much, but the singleminded focus of pursuing the responsibilities of life with care and love and thoughtfulness does ten to invoke guidance. It comes as a variety of inner knowing, not as a traditional psychic experience. (Paramahansa Yogananda in POG, 129.)
The Role of the Teacher
The role of the teacher is to help the spiritual child grow into the spiritual adult. But just as the physical child can only rely so much on his physical parents, and then must do some growing on his own, the same is true for the spiritual aspirant. Eventually, he must realize that he must exercise responsibility on his own. He must learn to meditate on his own, read on his own, and practice his own devotion.
There are a lot of people in the West who can move pretty quickly through the phase of needing a teacher and then be able to develop mostly on their own. You are at a point in civilization where you have the tremendous advantage of many marvelous books containing a great deal of spiritual and esoteric wisdom. So it is possible to do much by yourself and it is acceptable to develop the spiritual intuition so that you truly do find the inner teacher or even an inner planes teacher who comes to you. (Paramahansa Yogananda in POG, 129.)
Where Religion Went Wrong
In the early days of human history, the Divine Spirit was understood and contact with the Divine Spirit was maintained. Separation came later, through the willful use of the tremendous forces of nature.
Thus man caused his own destruction. Those who survived the cataclysm, knowing their guilt, created a religion of fear and blamed the wrath of God. They went still further. They fragmented their original conception of the Source of All, worshipping a multitude of gods and goddesses, from whom they begged both favours and propitiation.
The cult of human sacrifice was introduced by priests and their victims were those who opposed this doctrine. / This, as you are aware, has persisted through the ages. Any who retained their contact with the world of spirit were condemned as witches and sorcerers and destroyed. The power passed to the priests and your world was ruled by fear. (Unnamed Master of the Brotherhood of Light in LFM, 124-5.)
Errors Must be Corrected
All those who speak in your churches must one day undo all the wrong they have done. They do not escape the Law. (Silver Birch, TSB, 48.)