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Yield – Chapter Seven

The symbolism of the New Testament

Yield – Chapter Seven

Tony Crisp

Forest-A

I Will Lift Thee On a Cross

 

“And so at last I saw Satan appear before me – magnificent,

fully formed.

“Feet first, with shining limbs, he glanced down from above

among the bushes. And stood there erect, dark skinned, with

nostrils dilated with passion; (In the burning intolerable sunlight

he stood, and I in the shade of the bushes);

“Fierce and scathing the effluence of his eyes, and scornful

of dreams and dreamers (he touched a rock hard by and it split

with a sound like thunder);

“Fierce the magnetic influence of his dusky flesh; his great

foot, well formed, was planted firm in the sand – with spreading

toes;

“‘Come out,’ he said with a taunt, ‘Art thou afraid to meet

me?’

“And I answered not, but sprang upon him and smote him.

And he smote me a thousand times, and brashed and scorched

and slew me as with hands of flame;

“And I was glad, for my body lay there dead; and I sprang

upon him again with another body;

“And he turned upon me, and smote me a thousand times

and slew that body;

“And I was glad, and sprang upon him again with another

body -

“And with another and another and again another;

“And the bodies I took on yielded before him, and were like

cinctures of flame upon me, but I flung them aside;

“And the pains I endured in the one body were powers which

I wielded in the next; and I grew in strength, till at last I stood

before him complete, with a body like his Own and equal in

might – exultant in pride and joy.

“Then he ceased, and said, ‘I love thee.’

“And lo his form changed, and he leaned backwards and

drew me upon him,

“And bore me up into the air, and floated me over the top

most trees and the ocean, and round the curve of the earth

under the moon -

“Till we stood again in Paradise.” (1)

“And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come up to a place called Golgotha, that so to say, a place of a skull, they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

“And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, they parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

“Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, ‘Thou that destroyest the temple and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

“Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders said, ‘He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will save him: for he said, I am the Son of God.’

“The thieves also, which were with him, cast the same in his teeth.

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?

“Some of them that stood there, when they heard, said, ‘This man calleth for Elias. And straightaway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. And the rest said, ‘Let him be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.’

“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:’ and having said thus he gave up the ghost.

“And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, ‘Truly this was the Son of God.’ “2

And my Jesus fell three times upon that climb under his cross. I know this thing, brother, for I was there. For am I not that same Jesus, and the women watching, and the Cyrenian Simon, and the centurion, and even the whole multitude? Oh yes, brother, I was there. Three times I failed – even I, Jesus – failed, and failed and failed. But Life, even amidst its ruin, arises from out its destruction, its hopelessness and despair, and climbs on; and I too, even I.

And I laughed at the crowd lining the road even as I fell in the mud and groaned and wept. I laughed, for I heard them say, ‘This is not religion This is not the way to God. No, never!’ And I looked upon them tenderly and loved them, even I, patiently and with tenderness as they watched me. And I heard others say, ‘God is light and silence, beauty and wonder. Meditation and prayer, happiness and joy are the ways to God. What has all this to do with God? All this fear, and pain, and struggle, why?’

And I pulled myself up again, with Simon’s help, who though unwilling, yet came; who though not understanding, walked with me, and there grew a bond between us. Why? they ask. Why? Because we all have built this world – even you and I brother. Not our parents and our noble forefathers, but you and I, for we have walked the earth many times. Has your spirit not said, before Abraham was, I am? Listen and it says it.

And what have we built? We have built cities and we have drowned them in blood. We have torn babies living from dying mothers and trampled them. We have enslaved millions, we have hanged and raped and burnt. We have tortured even the saints, and murdered beyond count those who prayed, for they used a different name for God.

This is our world – or had you forgotten? No, not even forgotten, for with open eyes you see we are still doing it. And brother, hold this bloody cross while I weep, and tell you. Follow my finger where it points. Do you see the road winding into the distance? Do you remember it? You do? And well you might. It is the road mankind strode along as they walked away from their Father’s house. It is the road of history, brother, Then I Will Lift Thee On a Cross the highway of evolution, remember? And the way back to the Father’s house is along that road, past all that fucking misery we left in our wake. Yes brother – even you and I. Come then, help me up with this cross again, and let’s get going. It’s heavy, but no more than we can carry, with God’s help. And we’ve got to take it. Do you recognise it? Yes? Fibre by fibre we made it on our journey out. It is the very body of our past, and fibre by fibre it will pass away as we climb back to our Father’s.

Look at those faces, Simon. Watch them as I cry out next time. They’ve got no idea what a relief it is to be getting this over with; to be on my way home; to feel the whole bloody burden begin to fall away. All the blood and the screams are my past errors rushing out of me. I feel them yet I feel them not.

‘Thou heardest that I suffered, yet I suffered not; that I was pierced, yet was I not smitten; that I was hanged, yet was I not hanged.’

Ah John, you look so grieved. It’s a mystery John; perhaps you, my love, will understand it. I do suffer, yet I suffer not. I suffer the fear, the trembling, the pains of the little me that is passing away. Yet the larger me that is emerging only sighs with relief that this should happen. Veronica saw that, John. She came to wipe what she thought was agonised sweat from my face, and our souls were for a moment oned, and she knew the deep wonder of what I feel even as I groan. For it is a rapture to be cleansed, -even if cries break from us. You John, you know why I fell, don’t you?

Yes Lord; you fell because you love me. You fell because, unlike those at the roadside, who out of their littleness, thought this was not the way, your love made you capable of fully committing yourself to the mud, the pain, the weeping. Through love, and trust in God, you are ready to experience ALL that human life can give. To lose yourself in life. To come down; yes, even into our very being, experiencing everything, anything, so we may exist and share, first life, then heaven, with you.

Lord, your cross is our life, which you carry for us, out of love for us. Everything we do to ourselves we do to you. Every pain we suffer you bear with us, for you are the very Life in us, nailed willingly to our body that we may be. I love you Lord. I love you. I love you.

John, remember what I cried through one of you? ‘Oh soul, before the world was I longed for thee: and thou longest for Me still, and I for thee.’

But all of you, did you hear the cry that went up as I came here? They shouted, ‘Take the children away. Do not let them see this!’ But I tell you, it is only the children who understand, and then not with their minds. Only they are open to all their pain and wonder, crucified for love’s sake on their parents’ anger or condemnation, and calling out in their desolation, ‘Father, Mother, why hast thou forsaken me?’

But wait, I cry this cry myself, for the darkness is deep on me, and .. . oh God oh God . .. ooh God! God, why? Please God why? Why? Oh God, why this? Why God, why? Why hast thou forsaken me?

It is all dark. I feel so strange. So dark. Yet somehow I see clearly. I see nothing; that there is nothing. There never has been. But I don’t understand. It can’t be But there is no God. Wait though . . . there…is…no God. But.,. but… there is me. Oh God, NO; it can’t be No, oh No. What have we done? What have we done? Oh no, please no, not this . . not this. God died for us. God is us. . . God is dead, there isn’t anything there, it’s all in us. . . and what have we done, what have we done? God forgive us, we didn’t know; we didn’t!

Just before all this began to happen I dreamt I was taking part in a passion play, in the part of Jesus, and was about to be crucified. Then when the three of us came together I began to tremble. At first I thought maybe I was nervous or cold. But the next week when we met again to seek who we were, I began to shake again. Knowing this time that it was not nervousness or cold, lay down and surrendered to what I felt to be the action of God upon me. As I lay, my body began to shake violently. Yet it only happened because I let it, because I was willing to go along with it, and had surrendered myself trustingly to God. And as my whole body shook, cries began to come out of me, loud cries of fear and pain. So much so that they frightened my two friends, who were not expecting this in their search for God. They had envisaged quiet meditation together – learned conversation – but not agonised screams – not human pain. But they stuck with me even though at the time they perhaps thought I was going mad.

It was not that I felt the fear, the pain, or the cause of the screams. Bather it was as if some strange record had been put on within me; one which, if I let it, caused not just the sounds, but also the movements and something of the emotions of the past to play once more, and thus empty out. And in fact I relived the tonsil operation I had undergone as a six year old, with all its cries and movements, such as my mouth being clamped open. I then knew the operation had left scars of misery and fear in me which had remained all my life, and which in this strange way, God was now healing.

Gradually this subsided, with a most sweet inner feeling of release from all the pain that had been unconscious yet gnawing in me. It was like a melting into peace and relaxation – into healing balm.

But then I began to tremble again, and call out with fresh agony, at first inarticulately. Then the cries formed into words begging for mercy; begging in a tone of human collapse and terror I had never heard in all my life. And it was as if I stood and watched all this pouring up and out of me, experiencing it yet somehow apart from it. I felt pain, emotionally and physically, yet it was not bad. In fact there was a joy in it – a feeling of being in contact with the very deepest mystery of one’s being. For then, with the same inner certainty I had known I was re-experiencing having my tonsils out, there now burst from within me the realisation I was reliving a scene from a past life.

For the whole thing, I knew, had happened to me, but not to this present body. Fears I had never been able to account for now found their true source. I was being tortured for my religious views. I cannot describe what it is like to be tortured. Suffice it to say that it felt as if a knife were slowly driven up the back of my skull. This, I felt, was caused by some device fixed to my head. The pitifulness, the cries, the agony, were all there still in me, mostly because I had never forgiven those who did this to me. And I began to beat upon my head with my fist to smash the pain in my head – but I couldn’t. But the conscious me surrendered to God, saying, ‘If it be Thy will. I am ready for this to become more intense, for I realise you are doing this out of love, to heal me, not to destroy.’ Then the experience flowed on as I gradually sank because of what had been done to my body – sank in a dirty dungeon. And I experienced the death of that body, and the end of that life I had known. I knew then that God had healed me of it. I also knew that I was eternal.

For when we say to God – Thy will be done, not mine, and we hand over our whole being in the way I did, we are led through the events of the New Testament. Crucifixion is the reliving and healing of our past, in this life and many lives. In it we go through, in a mitigated form, the hates, pains, lusts, animal passions, fears and events in which our soul has become knotted up. That is, through holding on to malice, or self-will, or desire for revenge, or any human emotion or attitude, we block the ever-flowing life force in our being. Blocked by our fast hold on self, life becomes painful or stagnant in us. We stop growing in certain areas of ourself. Parts of our body, because our soul has cut off sufficient Life to it, do not grow or function as they should. Thus some children are born deformed, because that soul has wilfully or unknowingly blocked Life’s action. Of course, with God’s help, this can be remedied. And the world will see much of this wonder in years to come. For as the stream of Life is released, so the soul and body are healed sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

The earthquake at Jesus’ crucifixion is a symbol of this bodily shaking that sometimes occurs. The opening of the graves is the resurrection of our own past lives, cleansed of error, and thus now saintly. For in the process of this reliving, the negative sides are healed, and the positive lessons from that life released into one’s present consciousness. But while it is still buried under fear or pain, nothing but problems arise from it – as in my case, the torture had given rise to the fear of being condemned for my religious views; and the fear ‘someone’ was coming to get me, as indeed they had done in the past.

And the splitting of the veil is a symbol of what takes place as and when this cleansing and healing is complete. Namely, prior to this time, there is a division between our conscious self and its Source. We feel out of contact with Life, or either feel there is no God, or else have only fragmentary or ‘veiled’ contact.

Even more important, we tend to think of God as something apart from self. Prior to crucifixion Jesus talks to God as something other than self – Thy will, not mine. But as crucifixion takes place, this division breaks down, until there is that agonised and wonderful cry, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. The reason it pours out is because suddenly we are without God. There is no longer God and me – Thou and I – there is only Being – there is only oneness.

This is at first terrible loneliness, until we die to our old view, and rise again to the fact of our integration into All Life. The veil is truly rent from top to bottom, for there is no longer worshipper and worshipped – no longer the outer court and the holy of holies. Now there is only one Temple – our own being, truly integrated. Lost is our conscious and unconscious, unless we like to reintroduce it. We no longer worship God, for our prayers are God loving God. We become the eyes of God looking upon himself; the hands God loves and creates with; the voice he sings with; the arms he holds himself with, and the legs and feet he walks upon himself with.

What we often tend to forget is that we did not consciously create our ego or personality. Life, through unimaginable ages, gradually brought about our sense of identity and individuality. Yet one hears and reads so much foolishness about killing the ego – breaking down the personality to find God. ‘Crush the sexual urges, discipline the instincts, deny the passions.’ They say. Yet God has taken millennia to build these very things. People are like children, they repeat almost anything they hear, even if they do not understand it. And despite the claims to the contrary, most spiritual disciplines of meditation, prayer, yoga, fasting, and surrender, far from crushing the ego, actually are means of strengthening it. After all, what can be more egoistic and self-protective than extreme asceticism? The man or woman who says he or she is denying self by refusing food, shelter, clothing, goods and comfort, is really building a fantastically strong ego: so strong that it can resist the usual evaporation of self into objects, directions, food, and so on. And this contradiction exists in the other disciplines. They sometimes require tremendous effort – or else great perseverance or patience; and this builds strengths into the ego to a degree often not found in the man in the street. It literally takes more ego strength to do these things; certainly it does not demolish the ego.

In the taking of drugs, almost anybody can have a beautiful experience. In fact, the large majority of people on hallucinogens start off with an experience of delightful colours, visions or sense distortions. It is interesting to note that out of these, few can face and redeem their psychological or soul problems, their ‘bad trips’. Those who do are those with a strong ego, which has been to some extent centred or reinforced with either deeply-felt religious belief – self-confidence – or great strength. Even the self-confidence and strength are found to be ultimately based on a contact with Life. If an ego is scattered and lacks strength, it cannot face its own problems, or its own annihilation in God. True, many meditators say they have found God, without meeting crucifixion. But they are mistaken. What they find is deep relaxation and a quiet place inside themselves. It is an emptiness, a void, a womb of comfort. From this quiet centre of denial within them, there is only being, no God, no other people, nothing. It is for them a safe place, in fact, to escape themselves, God, the world, and other people. In it their ego can gradually gather its strength to meet Life face to face, and wrestle. The Christ way takes all these ways into account. Gradually the ego is strengthened through the discipline of surrender and inner birth. It reaches a peak of strength and denial in the wilderness, and delight in transfiguration. Only then it is ready for the work of Gethsemane and Golgotha. Without this strength t has not enough hold on itself to reach this depth of surrender.

We certainly cannot let go of those things we have not yet gripped. The denial and discipline leading up to the cross give the ego a firm hold on its instincts, passions, hungers, thoughts, and so on. Now God says, ‘Bring them to me!’

But the man or woman who is still possessed by fear, or anger, or ambition, cannot let go, for they are the ones-being held. This is why they turn away from the cross. It is not they but their fear, or dignity, or self-importance which says – No, crucifixion, with all its weeping, discomfort, failure and pain is the wrong way. Peace, respectability, authoritarianism, quiet meditation, these are the way. Nevertheless, Christ still calls to us, saying, ‘Take up thy cross and follow me!’

Strangely enough, this highest surrender, this trusting of self to God while going through the whole gamut of our inner contents, such as violence, terror, pain, mental breakdown, complete desertion, social ridicule, and so on, is the greatest ego strengthener of all. It is a mighty paradox. For as our ego gains strength, so it is capable of yet greater surrender and self denial. In its mightiest strength it achieves its greatest nothingness: and in its greatest nothingness achieves its greatest strength. Only in its might is it capable of the greatest impact of all – greater than any terror or pain or misery – the impact of God – of the universe hitting us: for without this mighty strength, we would be truly shattered in body and in mind. Thus the Jesus in us, through its own strength, faces the end, becomes as nothing, and dies. Yes, I watched a man dying. It was not his body that was nigh unto death, but his soul, and what I saw has been before me all my days since, For although he died, yet would he not die, but clung to life; for he had no faith that Life loved him or would preserve him, even through the gates of death.

And I looked upon his body and saw it in a new light. Yes, for lo, it was America before my gaze; and his face, covered in death, with white film upon the eyes, was the face of the great nation. Amazed, I looked on him more deeply, and saw the very nature of death upon him. For there, within his being, were the residues of his parents’ influence, of his education, of the American culture itself. And they were upon him like many diseases, affecting the different parts of his body, which was but his soul visible.

Diseases they were, for the lovelessness of his parents, the Godlessness of his education, the selfishness of his culture, were as great Life-negating forces within him. And so effectively did this stop Life from flowing through him, he was cut off from his source, as a flower might be from its root, and he knew his sickness as marital failure, homosexuality, depression, lovelessness, and the host of other parasites that fasten on a man’s soul when it is sick. Then I sighed, seeing that here was not a man, but only a collection of influences and dying energies, in which no living soul existed to bind and redeem what the world had given from its squalor. And I was afraid, for I thought his body had no soul, but was a thing in which his mother’s pain, his teacher’s ignorance, his nation’s agony walked and rotted like the living dead – like a being possessed of demons.

And I went in search of his soul, still with fear for I wondered how many men walked the earth not as themselves, but as vehicles of the devil’s possessing them. Thus did my gaze penetrate into his depths, yet found him not. And I gazed deeper, and with a sigh, came upon him, a small bright flame the size of my thumb nail, clear and wondrous, yet buried beneath death.

So mighty was death and so small the clear flame of his soul, I cried out to God, saying, ‘Father, what can be done to save this soul?’ And God answered me from within saying, ‘My son, his only hope is death. And even now I lead him toward this hope, but he will not come, he will not be lifted upon the cross, he will not die. Speak to him what I direct you.

Then I looked upon the man again as he lay on the floor with half-closed eyes, and I spoke to him. “Die, my friend”, I said, for there is nothing to fear. “Die, for all this great country which is your body lies rotting. To stay is but to live in this rottenness, this misery, this disease of the soul which you call yourself. It is not yourself, it is the sickness of your inheritance, and to die is but to give in to the processes of Life which will redeem it. To die is to surrender to sleep and trust yourself to the darkness and God; to be awoken refreshed on the morrow, To die is to let go of the belief that this is you, for you are a bright spark of Life beneath it all that has never grown.

“And to die is not to have all taken away, for ever in pain and error there is richness the soul can use. To die is to let this whole sick country rot, and the stink rise out of it like a heap of shit, until it changes into rich dark earth. Make of it a compost heap left to rot, and offer this heap to God, who plants the living soul in it. And the soul will put out roots, and with its wonder, lift up this sorry mess into a livingness, a beauty, a human life.

“So die, and look upon death not as destruction and pain, but as compost offered to your soul. And delight in the richness even of your sins as they rot, for from this rottenness the roots of your soul will lift up green stems and broad leaves, and build anew.

“Die like this”, I said, and I laid down as a seed might lie snug in a ploughed field, curled upon itself and dropped into sleep. But my friend would not close his filmed eyes in the face of America, for he was sore afraid.

Jesus was stripped of his clothing and hung naked on the Tree of Life. Willingly he did this, ready to be looked upon by any who wished; ready to be watched and minutely examined by all. So do we at this time open ourselves to the world, unclothe, undress, and stand naked. For to dress is to cover our real feelings in subtle thoughts and protective attitudes; to hide behind defences, to retreat behind illness as a way of gaining love and sympathy.

Yes, we are stripped in this healing of our soul. Our fears are laid bare to whoever watches, our cries for our mother and father, for God, are heard by any who stand by us. At last we enter into unprotectedness. We become vulnerable without the armour of our hate, revenge, unforgivingness, or fantasies. Here we are faced with Reality, with our own poor wounded self. With arms nailed open, no longer able to defend against the assault of threats, jibes, or misery, we let all come to consciousess. Gone is our privacy we once had when we lied, and hid, and masked our emotions of love or anger or disgust under the cloak of convention, or manners, or clever words. We cannot surrender to Life’s action on and in us, end block it at the same time. When we feel love, our hand now reaches out to hold as Life moves through us. When a man is a fool we laugh and tell him so. When one angers us or disgusts us we scourge and throw over his activity, his money tables. All our tenderness, sense of beauty, our hurt or longing is revealed. Thus we are hated, feared, plotted against, misjudged and tried. And we either clothe ourselves again, or go on our way still naked and undefended.

And I tell you God had spoken to me and I was full of Life, and seeing a woman sitting near I was shown her soul, in which was a sense of unworthiness, of shame. Then Life in me called out to tell her of her beauty: to speak to this unhappy wound within her, and tell it of its loveliness lest it pass by unknowing. And with my fingers I touched her face, and ran them upon her nose and eyes, upon her lips and ears as one blind, feeling the wonder of form God had given, and delighting. Then close I whispered, “You are beautiful” – and again – “You are beautiful”; but she thought I spoke of her body, and she judged me.

Then the fearful throng in me cried out, saying, ‘Desist from this, lest she judge you and condemn, and look upon you with scorn’.

But Life was full on me, and showed me her soul again, lonely within a prison of her own making. And the prison was seriousness, and self-condemnation, and false values. And wishing to free her, I sought to break these prison bars by pulling her to the ground to wrestle and tease and rouse up laughter in her, which is a great machine. But shock doubled the guard of her cell, and I was as one helpless against it, and strove not again with her that day.

The naked man may be thought mad, for he is one who acts from the impulse of Life within, and not by codes, or rules or logic, which are all blind to the needs of the human soul in each changing moment. And death by crucifixion is to yield to Life in us as it rouses feelings and acts, in our depths. Life did this to me one day: while visiting a friend she took me to a man and wife whom I had never met, and introduced me. They were from India, and we talked the minutes by with little subjects, and we left. But as we drove back to my friend’s home something stirred deep in me, and I knew it not. And it stirred again and rose up in me weeping loud so that I stopped at the side of the road lest I failed to drive. And I wondered at this thing not knowing what it was, or why. Then quieting it, for my friend also wondered, not understanding it, I drove to her house and we entered in. There her husband sat, quietly reading, and I sat with him, also to read. But in each quiet moment as I read the words, my anguish would rise up in me again and cry out, and I left the house lest her husband not know me.

Walking the street it cried out in me so loud people looked upon me and I could not release it. So, driving to a lonely place, I lay in the car and opened wide the gates of my heart, and sobbed; cries came out like a great torrent of sorrow and yearning and regret; and still I did not understand But the weeping, even in strength, went on for a great time. And watching it there came up knowledge from so deep within me I barely heard it. But I knew the stranger I had met had been known to me in another time. And I had loved him, perhaps as a brother, but at least with a brother’s love, and in argument and misunderstanding I had parted from him. Years passed and I forgave him not, and passed him by, although my heart had ever longed for me to run to him, and with the innocence of a child, tell him I loved him. But I went not, for I was a slave of dignity and self-righteousness.

Now Life in me called on me to go, and go soon before yet another life pass by and still my love be prisoned. Reason said to me, ‘You know him not. It is only today you met. What will he think, this Indian stranger? You will make a fool of yourself.’ But love said, ‘Be a fool for my sake; for you know him, and in his soul he knows you too. What matters if his little self mocks? Talk not to his smallness, but to his everlastingness, and amend your lovelessness. Go now, for I long to hold him and be held.’

And I went and knocked upon his door, trembling with my emotions. There was no reply, and reason rejoiced in me, saying, ‘Come away quick. You will only be misjudged. He will not understand, Why show yourself in this state?’

But Love in me said, ‘Please knock again. Is love so little a thing that you can turn from it at a moment’s desertion and be gone? Have you not yearned for love all your life? Yet here, faced by love you run away, unwilling to give love, and yet wondering why you never receive it. Is it not because you lock your own heart? Open it now. Be a fool for love.’ I knocked again, and still no reply. Yet how often love had knocked upon my door and I had not replied; and reason and love again spoke in me.

Once more I thought to turn away, but love now broke in me. There came a wondrous melting, a dying to love, a readiness to commit myself to any foolish or magnificent words or actions love might dictate. And in this melting strength I knocked again, and the door was opened to me, and I entered. With body shaking, and weeping bitterly I fell into his arms, crying out the words so long lain in me painfully. “I had to come back” I said through my cries “to tell you I love you,” and he held me tenderly, and sat with me, and through his eyes looked not his little self, but his everlastingness, and I was at peace.

“Then said Almitra, Speak to us of Love. And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said: When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your heights and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks. He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; And then he assigns you to his sacred tire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

“All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart. But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure. Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s thrashing floor, into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.” (3)

Dying to God is a great mystery. Whether it be prompted by much love or much pain, these are but the different hands of the one God, leading us to Calvary. If it were not for physical death, many there would be, who would believe themselves – truly self-sufficient, individual, a law unto themselves, and without need of fellows or Life. Death faces man with a great fact – ye do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

No matter how self-willed, omnipotent, terrible, creative, independent or Godless a man may have been during his life, death faces every one of us with the fact that despite all, we cannot escape the cycles and certainty of a higher will or law than our own, We may shorten or lengthen our life cycle by our acts and will, but we cannot escape. We are inseparably bound up not only in the processes of growth and decay of Life itself, but also with the common lot of all humanity and creation; for even suns and planets have their birth and death, and death is a perennial return to the mystery common to all, Death, as it draws nearer and more imminent, calls to us to reassess our opinions, our life experience, our relationship with Life. To the self-willed man who scorns the idea of a greater will, death appears as a terrible and threatening spectre. To the man who sits undecided on the fence of life, it comes as an inescapable question. To those who know themselves as a co-operating part of the changing and changeless God, death comes as the promise of yet another new experience in the spiralling life of the soul.

Without birth we would never have the opportunity to emerge gradually into the realisation of our own separateness, our own will, our own experience. There would be no choice for us, no learning to co-operate with or oppose Life in us and around us. Without death, we would perhaps never be faced by the greatest opportunity of all – the opportunity of consciously, and with our own will, dropping trustingly and lovingly into the unknown. We might never, either by force or willingly, be led to trust completely that great unknown and great unseen, which yet causes the great known and the great seen. It is like two lovers who have previously only met each other in letters, and talked of the delight they will give each other, now meeting face to face in the warm opportunity of a bed. Now all they have, or all they lack, is on show, Spiritual death is like these, but with one vast difference. It is not an experience we can come to in any other way than by our own design. Without our own joyful choice, our own love crying to meet our Maker, our own desire to shed the life we now lead, it does not come about. Only the physical death and birth comes unsought. But the twice-born achieves his second birth, from the spirit, by choosing to die – to loose the bands of a strong will – to open the heart to feel all – to stand back and listen to what Life asks of us, and to let its constant attempts to heal us go on without interference, That is the spiritual death leading to rebirth.

Sleep is the little death, repeated countless times between our birth and our great death. But these terms are confusing, for when we wake in the morning, which is a birth from sleep, we die to our dream life. And the self born to consciousness carries other days’ memories. Then in sleeping we die to our conscious world, and awake to our dream-life.

So it is that our birth into this life is a death to our wider life and universal consciousness: and our death to ;his life is but a birth back to that wider level of being, carrying with us the spoils of our experience. And why all this birth and death? The body limits consciousness, which without it is universal and unbounded, without a sense of self or individuality. In the body, God, or the universal consciousness of Life, dies to itself, and is born to the awareness of being John, or Margaret, or whoever we are. Gradually a personality is built through the experience of limited awareness. But human personality, like the human body, grows as a seed. As ourselves, we are aware of but a tiny part of our being. We are like great and wonderful flowers that have grown but a fragment of what they are capable of. The infinite love, wisdom and power that dies to be born in the body, when it dies in the body to be born into its own universality again, cannot maintain individual awareness to a greater degree than is realised in the body. Therefore, to further define this individual sense to the point of remaining aware throughout the levels of death, the eternal dies to itself again, and again, to be born in the body over and over.

Let it be put another way, perhaps more clearly. While we are awake, we realise who we are, and have some sense of self, and direction and cohesiveness of experience. But when we sleep, our self-awareness is so diminished we become what is generally called unconscious. Some of us, in dreams, cannot direct the progress of the dream images, but are swept and swirled by what is dreamt. Others maintain a strong sense of self, and consciously act even in their sleep. But even they lose awareness of what is occurring when the -dreams cease, and the imageless sleep is experienced. Where are they then?

If we say that sleep is a little death, during which we gradually widen our awareness, or drop back to ancient or primeval levels of consciousness, in which self-awareness did not exist, we have an illustration of death. In sleep, while we drop back to the very foundations of our being, to the very origins of consciousness, we cannot maintain self-awareness. Why? Experiments depriving people of their sensory impressions, (that is, cutting off touch by being suspended in blood-heat water; sound by ear muffs; sight, taste and smell by being in darkness) showed that people very quickly lost self-awareness. Our sense of being an individual depends upon our body and its sensory impressions. This is why repeated incarnation is necessary, for without it we would lose ourselves in God. But God brings us to birth again, for there is the desire to grow into individual awareness which can maintain itself after death, in the universal life.

Therefore, sleeping and waking is a swinging between two extremes. To wake is to emerge, for most of us, into intense self-awareness. We feel we are alone, have no conscious links

with God; no awareness of being constantly linked with all Life. In sleep we lose this self-awareness, and dreams show that there exists a level of being linked with other minds, living or dead; which wanders in timelessness, seeing past and future; which is in contact with the cycles and activities of nature and its creatures.

Imagine then, a man or woman who gradually extends self-awareness deeper and deeper into the levels of their being usually explored only in sleep. Imagine them never being unconscious in sleep, but literally awake at the very depths or heights of their being – awake in God – awake in Life and Eternity! For them, sleeping and waking are not periods of awareness and unconsciousness. For them, birth and death have lost their usual meaning, for they can never sleep again, or lose themselves in God. Instead, they are awake, and find themselves in God. But think of this exploration and what it means. It means those who have found God never lose awareness even in sleep. It means that those who have beautiful meditations, but lose themselves in sleep and dreams, are still paddling near the surface. It means that to become completely aware, and attain eternal life as a conscious being, we must make the inner journey through what is called our unconscious. To do this we have to face all he terrors, hates, monstrous fears, shocks, self-images, painful memories, longings, plans, ambitions and desires hidden there. We must plumb the very depths and heights of our being. And this is crucifixion. This is facing all the pain and misery, doubts, cynicism and dogmatism we have locked up in us. If we by-pass this in our journey to the Light, we will experience only partial awareness. Sleep and dreams will still claim us most of the night, with its nightmares too. Not that the awakened man does not sleep. He may sleep long and well – but he does not lose awareness.

But that is the distant goal. Our journey through spiritual birth to crucifixion and resurrection is the process of exploring our being, and gradually awakening, perhaps over many many years – or even many lifetimes? What then is this death upon the cross? How do we achieve it? Through hard work, facing all the circumstances life brings us, and surrender, surrender, and surrender.

Look at it more closely though. See how life acts upon us. Look how life opens us into birth and death. There are few better illustrations than sleep itself. How do we achieve sleep? We don’t, Life achieves it in us. We but yield to the process. The harder we try to sleep, the further away it becomes. The more consciously we try to make it happen, the more it evades us. All the good methods for inducing sleep are ones which aid us to let go of our efforts, our thoughts, our aims – our self. Our conscious will drops its guard, and some interior area arises, producing wandering fantasies, thoughtlessness, and sleep. The wider consciousness cannot arise while we are maintaining the narrow restricted one. A line of thought, a concentrated mind, a strong desire, anchor us to self-awareness only. But when the thoughts are left to wander as they will, when the heart is open, then sleep can claim us. Our invitation is our yielding. We make no effort, we give no thought as to whether sleep will come – only the insomniac does that. We lay us down in utter conviction based on daily loved embrace by this strange process. Neither do we seek it, for our conviction tells us if we wait then it will find us, and it does.

Doing nothing, seeking not, making no effort, giving no thought to success or failure, having no goal, we cast us down and sleep comes upon us. What did you do? Nothing! What happened – nothing. That nothingness, that inactivity, is sleep. That too is meditation and what happens is NOTHING, which is God. But the nothing is everything, and we cannot reach the everything by doing something. For each something we do is a limitation, a binding of self to narrowness.

And if this is meditation, surrender, and the way to God, what is so hard about it? Only that we start to seek God; to get somewhere; to be something; to do any damn thing except, repeat – DO NOTHING – SEEK NOT – MAKE NO EFFORT – GIVE NO THOUGHT TO SUCCESS OR FAILURE – HAVE NO GOAL – CAST OURSELVES NOWHERE.

We forget that just as sleep claims us, so God claims us, not we it. You cannot think sleep, imagine it, meditate it, contrive it, chant it or concentrate it. You can only be it. So you cannot think, imagine, contrive, chant, meditate or concentrate God. You can only be it. To take up this attitude we have in regard to sleep, and do it consciously, while staying awake, is the story of the whole journey from Anna and Joachim to resurrection and ascension. But just as there are depths of sleep, so there are landmarks in this nothingness.

In making our surface consciousness open – we do not fall into the deeps – the deeps rise up to us! Put another way, during surrender, consciousness does not drop into the depths and lose itself. The depths rise to consciousness and become aware in the individual self. But the surface has to be open to allow the process to go on and on. Thought after thought, fear after fear, level after level will rise and hit consciousness. And Jesus upon the cross lets it, and yields. ‘Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.’ For this openness must be maintained throughout this rising of the depths.

Trance is not this. It is a diving in a tiny cell of consciousness, and exploring. But the depths still remain the depths when consciousness returns to the surface. Here, the depths come to us. This is why ego and consciousness must be strengthened in trust, confidence, pliability, and other ways, or else this could not be undertaken. But the method is its own preparation, and the depths do not rise until consciousness has been prepared. Unlike drug methods, or ego-induced techniques, the Christ Way is slower. But it involves the whole being; not just one’s psychological, physical, spiritual or present self, but all. Therefore it goes slowly because there is so much to be done. Yet really it is going amazingly fast, because unlike other techniques, one does not have to keep returning to develop overlooked aspects of oneself. When we climb a mountain we will not get very high if we have a fear of heights. The fear holds us back, and is its own protection. When we have dealt with the fear we can progress to the next level. If an inability to work as a roped team shows up, again there can be no advance until the difficulty is dealt with – and so on up the mountain.

Similarly, opening our surface consciousness by our own act, faces us with the difficulties that preclude any further advance. And these difficulties in themselves close consciousness. The fear of our ego being threatened stops a person from even trying the technique, and until the fear has been dealt with, and the ego, in the process, strengthened, there is no journey. Then perhaps comes the fear of being possessed – as if we are not already bound, gagged and buggered by the devil in us – and again this will shut the doors of consciousness until dealt with. Perhaps there comes the conviction that unless we make great ego efforts, we will never ‘get anywhere’. Again the doors close until we see this for what it is. And so the process goes on, strengthening in the very act of doing nothing.

At last the whole mob of our inner rabble has thrown their stones; each one has slung its accusation, or jibe, or criticism: not only have we denied our own being, we have fallen from our self-allotted task under the burden. We have been betrayed by our own misunderstanding and unbelief. We have been pushed and shoved and bludgeoned. Yet, despite all, we have remained open. This act alone places us on the cross. We can keep on asking the question; what is the cross and the death? We ask because we can look at Calvary from North, East, South and West, and each view is different – and yet the same.

Is doing nothing permissiveness? Is it an allowance of our own vice and virtue to spill over into society, or onto our family and children? It is, to repeat, both a discipline and a permissiveness.

We permit our inner violence and dogma to hit us, but under conditions of our own choosing, and in a way that so extracts from them their energy, they are redeemed. The big difference is that, in surrender, we open our inner sickness to God’s healing, and experience it as it is redeemed, rather than as it possesses us.

Was Christ permissive in letting all and sundry do what they willed with him without defending himself? Where would he have drawn the line? In some ways, when seen from the view of the words below, it only makes sense when looked at as an event within ourselves. As history, what would Jesus have done? Here is my own reply, torn out of life experience: You ask me why you can’t suck my penis? Why do I push you away? The question, the whole incident is a shock to me, a deep shock. Even to this you will probably ask – why? – even as I did myself. The reason is so simple, the background to the shock so woven with the things I have done over the past few months, that I have to face an enormous mistake. But I have only seen it as a mistake because of your question. Because in trying to suck my penis, man as you are, you shocked not my intellect, but my deepest feelings. You attempted to grab and devour a part of me that is reserved only for those I make deep and spontaneous contact with. It is not the penis – that is incidental.

But the fleshy penis sends its roots down into my feelings – my soul. When you touch my penis you touch only a piece of my flesh. But when you demand that it connect with my passions and feelings you are trying to claim my soul; and who the hell do you think you are to do that?

You talk on and on about love and being loved. But I have never yet said I loved you. I have said I can be tolerant. But how can I love you when you are not loveable? I might love the immortal in you, but certainly not the way you are expressing it.

Suddenly, when confronted by your unfeeling, selfish grasping for the command of my love from my penis, I am sickened by some people’s idea of Christian love. That one has to go about loving every damn selfish roughshod bastard is all of a sudden hysterically funny in a grim sort of way. That you can just grab my prick and make it go through its tricks just to satisfy your greed is also grimly humorous. Grim because you choose to ignore that people have feelings that can be hurt or even destroyed: humorous because I had let us get to the point of asking.

There is more to it even than that however. Why the hell did I let us get to that point in the first place? I don’t have any excuse except ignorance. Somehow I had accepted the idea that to help others we have to go along with them, to let them do what they wish, to live out their feelings, and in overcoming them to overcome their fear or guilt that parts of themselves are wrong or terrifying.

Taken as an idea it can appear at first sight as terribly Christian and noble. To accept or be tolerant of other people’s perversities or anti-social behaviour, labels one today as a sort of cosmopolitan, well-read, -anti-war, enlightened lover of mankind. The idea is that if only you can love the brute of mankind confronting you, it will in some way make all things right between you. This impoverished idea of love being one of permissive tolerance, ‘don’t say a word to hurt them’, composite. This may be all very well while ‘they’ are bombing some suitably remote part of the globe,- or calling you names, spitting at you, even stealing from you or striking you. But what happens when they grab your codpiece when you don’t want them to – or if they try to slip you a length? Or worst of all, through your very permissiveness, start fiddling about with your sexual feelings? You might be able to forgive beating, or tolerate stealing, or try to understand murder. But when the glands start working under a strange unwanted hand; or something uninvited threatens the privacy of your anus, boy, you’ve got to relate, even if instead of a fist in their crutch it’s only a mild, ‘Please don’t do that – my mother wouldn’t like it.’

I even begin to wonder about Jesus; hoping at the same time he will take a lively interest in my bringing him into present company. So alright, he let them whip him and spit, crown him with thorns, take all his clothes off and bang nails in him. And he did it willingly. I mean some people might say, what sort of masochist was he? He even managed it without so much as an under-the-breath ‘Oooo, you bastard’; channelling his libido more into the line of ‘Forgive them Father.’ One might even get the idea from this that he was the world’s greatest permissive.

Okay, so I admit, I even said so myself. Since you asked me the fateful question however, I start wondering what would have happened in slightly different circumstances. What if one of those Roman soldiers had been mad on penises? As I have said, the organs are funny things. It’s all very well to touch them; but to stimulate them puts you in direct contact with all that is holy, or unholy, in that person. So what do you think Jesus would have done if one of the soldiers tried the same trick as you?

I mean it’s one thing to have nails banged through you. It’s quite another to have your inner integrity ruined. After all it makes it difficult to face yourself for a long time afterwards. Whether your integrity is ill-informed is quite another matter. Joan of Arc went through the living hell of torture and burning rather than allow her inner convictions and experience be ruined. I’m no Joan of Arc, maybe, nor are you. But by mistaking the results of permissiveness I find I have brought myself face to face with a threat to my integrity. That you did not take my feelings into account is no joy to you either. Because despite the fact you are twisting yourself into knots in order to avoid the conclusion, it is becoming pretty obvious most of your suffering is through as flagrant a disregard of your own scruples as for mine. For believe it or not, it looks as if you are constantly ignoring your own integrity to the point of madness. You are terrified half to distraction of the pain, and anguish of self-incrimination you will experience, if once you admitted that for years you have been rushing heavy-hoofed over the feelings of that Christ within you. Purposely you disregard its feelings in order to gain your own sick pleasure by sucking his feelings.

‘Whatsoever ye do unto one of these ye do unto me.’ Your sense of shame and guilt is surely that you hear the self-same inner integrity I call ‘the Christ’, crying for mercy while you bend down your head again to his thighs.

Then, if that Christ has not already been nailed down in a human being by their greed, or lust for pleasure, or disregard for other people’s feelings; if he can raise a hand and push your head away, you cry out, ‘Why? Why?’

Again I feel the answer is so simple it is ludicrous. If we know that the release and expression of our passions and appetites will only cause misery to others; if we know deep down our appetites are expressions of an inner sickness, is it not better to suffer the consequences of our own desire within ourself rather than release it whirlwind-like into the lives of others? Is that not what is really meant by the crucifixion?

I am not suggesting we hold back our soul-sickness with fear or misplaced morality. Compulsive morality does not cure compulsive desires. For we ourselves must admit what we are. But at the same time we must hold before us like a steel blade of discrimination, the realisation of what results the expression of our desires and greeds, our fears and anger, would have in other lives.

Then comes the burning, the anguish, as the desires and lusts we have built into ourselves rise and consume themselves in their own pain. And if we die on this cross of our own making; if we drop into the experience trusting God to resurrect us, we will be healed. So, friend, I will continue to be forgiving, but not permissive. In this way, I will offer you the opportunity of regaining your integrity through that burning. Others may feel they can help you through continued permissiveness. I do not doubt this. But I, for one, must now stop helping you to gain further misery. I stand now and refuse you. For in the end, this is what I believe the Christ did. His seeming permissiveness was in fact a great NO to untruth. It was a complete refusal, even unto death, to be moved from his conviction of God’s support. It was maintained even in the face of his own failure, refusing all attempts to rob him of that integrity which was not his to give, but Life’s. Christ was a great permissive, but to God, not to untruth. My mistake was to feel we must give way to every demand upon us, every whim of our or someone else’s nature. But you have helped me discover my mistake. To give way to every sexual attraction, every ambition, every fear, every passing urge, leads only to chaos. Such things in us and the world are cancerous and destructive to unity. They destroy marriage, they destroy family, they destroy nations, and, worst of all, they destroy souls. Perhaps we too often forget that survival depends, not on just adapting to and coping with our outer environment, but also dealing with the inner environment of our own mental and spiritual sickness. For if we build a better aeroplane, and are then urged from within-to use it for destruction, what survival is this?

Christ’s example is so subtle I could not at first understand. He did give way to the world, and I failed to see the difference between my own permissiveness and his. But now it is clearer. True, he let the chaos within and in the world, do its worst to him; but he was not surrendering to it or being moved by it, because he had fastened himself to God first. Now I have at last seen what this means in every day life. It means that we hold on to our innermost sense of being eternal and God’s children, and hold onto it, pledge ourselves to it, through thick and thin. In practical affairs it means this: in marriage, a couple who hold to the belief that life is physical, not a school for the eternal soul; that pleasures are things to be grabbed or else lost for ever; that we must take the easiest way out of things, as this is the only life we have; have no reason to stay together. As soon as greater pleasures offer themselves in the form of another man or woman, or freedom from duties and responsibility, they part.

For the couple who have glimpsed the eternal within, they see that our marital ties, our children, our promises one to another are not toys to be played with. They are expressions of God’s relationship with ourselves. To face difficulties together; to forgo immediate pleasures; to stay true to our promises to God and each other is not folly or asceticism. It is not out of cussedness the Catholic Church bans divorce, and all the great world religions look upon marriage as holy. It is because in staying true, we hold to the spiritual truth that our partner, beneath the layers of worrisomeness, thoughtlessness, and the problems presented – is God! And in facing each other we cut through these veils of illusion, of unreality, of untruth, and discover the beauty and love we sought.

This is Christ’s example, He held to the innermost realisation of God in all, and thus redeemed the untruth of the world. And if we hold also to whatever tiny sense of God we have, without running away from the world’s chaos, or denying our own lusts and fears, we will also be slowly redeemed.

Therefore, I say again, I will not condemn you. Instead I will keep saying to you – This is not the truth – you have sold yourself to illusion.

Standing before God there came movement upon me, flowing into a dance, for Life came through me and danced me, and the dance was the history of my soul. Seeking independence and self-assertion I had risen up against the influence of my Father in heaven and waged war against him. But such was his might I crumpled slowly before him, though I fought desperately. And I lay crushed, yet not completely, for my right arm was strong and withheld him; and a great fire rose in me and I stood, yea, even under the weight of God. With the strength of my manhood I rose up and cast God down and was full.

Then came upon me the devils from my own underworld, as fear pressing up from below, and again I waged war, and pressed them back, prisoners of my will. Standing before the great multitude of my within I raised my hand in victory, middle fingers pressed against the palm; index and little finger raised in the sign of one who has fought and been victorious. But as I stood before the throng with right arm raised, I knew of a sudden I had been wounded during the battle, and my left hand pressed to my heart as my life fled from me.

And slowly I fell upon the floor of that arena, and I knew death. Upon me death lay like sleep, and I fell willingly into its arms for an uncertain age. But there came in the darkness of death a silent visitor, unformed, unseen, not known, yet felt. For the Silence gathered me together out of the darkness. It drew out of the vast ocean of unknowing my essence. Yes, though I had melted like fragrance into the breeze, or ice into the lake, yet It knew me and gathered me out of Itself for very love of me, and brought me forth. I know! Oh yes, I know, for Love showed me, that even if we wage war against heaven itself, and scatter in death and destruction the dust of our being like stars across the void, yet will God gather us again from the tideless shore of death, and give us light.

For in the silent womb of death Life came to me and with its wonder stirred me. And it rose up in me, lifting me from death itself, flooding me with life, emerging me from the grave dancing and rising up.

I am a wondrous plant.

A seed in the womb of time.

And you shall know me for what I am,

the very sperm of God.

Raised from darkness to light,

Into the Everlasting.

For winning we lose and are wounded,

And dying we come to life.

“I was very ill at the time; dying, in fact, from a massive haemorrage following the birth of my daughter. I heard a voice counting and knew that when it reached five there would be sweet oblivion and release from pain and confusion. I felt I was being strangled and turned inside out at the same time. I remember thinking, in a clearer corridor of my mind, that I must have died and gone to hell. I wondered vaguely whether the torture and confusion would go on for ever, and wished for oblivion.

“The count reached five. For a time there was a great noise and flashing lights, as if every cell in my body was exploding. For a few minutes I knew nothing, and then – Awareness – no pain, no confusion; it was very dark, very quiet, very still. I could not speak or see or move. At first I thought I must be asleep. I made a great effort to wake up, but I could not. Why doesn’t someone wake me, I wondered. Or perhaps I am dreaming. But no, I knew this was not so, as I was conscious of my thoughts. I became aware also that I was not breathing. I did not feel any need to breathe, neither could feel any part of my body.

“Suddenly the truth hit me. I was dead. “Can you possibly understand how I felt? It was such a huge unacceptable truth. DEAD! DEAD I DEAD! “The word pounded on my c consciousness. NO. NO, I cannot be dead. I could not accept it. How could I think if I were dead?

I put the idea away from me. I thought of my family. I felt a deep regret I had not told them more often how very much I loved them, and felt a deep sorrow at not seeing them again. Then I thought about my life, about the things I had done and seen, about the people I had known and the places I had been. I knew I had had a happy life. I thought about everything worth giving a thought to. How long had I been here for instance?

Time seemed to have ceased to exist. Was it hours, days, years, or even centuries? “So far all my thoughts had been outward. I dared not dwell on the thought that I was dead. It was so unacceptable. But I knew I must search deep into myself to find help for the panic which threatened to submerge me. “Who am I,’ I asked. What am I? Where am I? Have I always been like this? Perhaps this is my natural state? If so, my life must have been a dream. But if it was, and suddenly the full force of this implication hit me, neither the world nor mankind really existed!

“I thought again about my life. Had it only been an unreal dream? Surely that was not possible? “It took ages for this probability to sink in. An eternity seemed to pass before I came to the next inevitable thought. I must be God!

“But no. God and any kind of philosophy were of man’s creation. Therefore, if mankind were only a figment of my imagination, God could not exist.

“I was alone. So utterly and absolutely alone. There was no space, no time, no anything. Even I did not exist except as a mind, a lonely consciousness, a still, quiet awareness. I had come to the very beginning of thought, the birthplace of the soul. My mind had gone round and round in ever decreasing circles and had at last come to this void where there were no more thoughts, only awareness.

“Then my soul cried out in utter despair and loneliness. ‘Is there no other consciousness, no love, no comfort? Please God, help me.’

“Then I heard the words from another Being, another Mind. ‘I am the Father. The world was my Dream. Come!’ “I was lifted up into the arms of God: a God whom I had thought must not exist. I knew then, that ‘peace which passeth understanding.’ It was Supreme Joy – Knowledge of Ultimate Truth – Absolute Ecstasy – which I cannot begin to describe.

There are no words for the complete Love and Light which enveloped me. I was a thought in the beautiful mind of God. I was in Heaven. It would be like this for eternity. And then I heard the words – ‘Go back now, and tell them all about it’. “Slowly – very, very slowly, my senses returned. I was very dazed for a while, and was told I had been under anaesthetic. The doctors had thought I would not survive, but I had come back!’ (1)

Yield Chapter Eight

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