Sunday, 14 June 2009


What am I and why am I here?
What is God and where is He?
What am I doing here?
What is the purpose of life?
What happens when we die?

How often have you asked questions like this?

Life is a very confusing business, chiefly because our natural element is the spiritual world where we all came from and yet while we are here, the earth and everything physical seems to be all important. Our five physical senses are so powerful they make us forget our origins. The poet William Wordsworth explained this in his poem “Intimations of Immortality:”

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The soul that rises with us, our life’s star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, which is our home;

We really do come from God and deep inside we know this but in our moments of despair and confusion, even this inner knowledge becomes clouded and we forget. Earth’s mother, nature, has convinced us this life is everything and when we die there is nothing – we live on only in the memories our children have of us. As a result, the efforts of many, focus on ensuring those memories are as strong as possible by what has been achieved in purely material terms during their lives. Accumulating fame and material possessions becomes all-consuming.

In his poem “The Trial by Existence,” the American poet, Robert Frost, suggests a reason for this. The poem describes what happens in heaven as souls wait in line to be born and hear in exact detail everything that will happen to them in their future life on earth. They are then asked to choose again whether they still wish to be born. Always the answer is “yes,” despite hearing all the sad and hurtful things. Then …

But always God speaks at the end;
“One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits of no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you gave the assenting voice.”

If Frost is right, there must be a good reason why we are unable to remember that we chose this earthly life. We are eternal, spirit beings and yet confining ourselves to an earthly body that denies us any easy recognition of our heritage, must be an important stage in our evolution: Evolution from ignorance to knowledge and from darkness to light. In some wonderful way the spirit must have unique opportunities in our earthly environment to progress in ways that would be much more difficult to achieve in the spiritual world where we come from.

I believe at least part of this reason is the fact that on earth all types of people, good, bad and indifferent, are required to live together in communities, which is not the case in the spiritual world. This sets us many challenges, including the need for tolerance tempered with understanding. This does not mean condoning the distasteful actions of others but it does oblige us try to understand, to refrain from judging and to love without necessarily liking. It also helps us gradually to understand the operation of Natural Law and its superiority over man made laws. We each fail over and over again as we are faced with such challenges but, in spite of ourselves, we learn something more about others and ourselves each time it happens. The cumulative effect of these experiences is what makes the difference.

The paradox is that amnesia about our origins induced by the five senses, makes all the more wonderful the discovery that life is consciousness and consciousness is unaffected by death: This discovery, though made by comparatively few, is not deliberately hidden from us. It is available to all through the simple expedient of stillness. Take a few minutes each day to retire from the physical world, be still and look within. There will you gradually discover who you are, why you are here and become aware of the brilliant light that blazes within you, as it does all people. This is the light of eternity; the light that is the real you; the light which is all you can take with you on the next stage of your journey following physical death; the light that all too often is buried beneath layer after layer of ignorance, superstition, anger, hatred, avarice and greed.

By learning to be still amid the rush and panic that surrounds us we learn that God is not “out there somewhere” but is within each one of us, in that ineffable light. We learn to respect the brave decision each person made to be born, despite knowing all the bad things that will happen to, and/or around them. We learn that life does have purpose and it is a vital part of our evolvement as eternal spirits. Finally, we learn that after death we return to the world of mind, the spiritual world, which is our normal environment and that when we get there everything will appear to our spirit forms to be just as solid as material things appear here to our earthly bodies.

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