In Slice Of Life: A Self-Help O dyssey (page 33) Rikki asks Old Soul if he´d be willing to be his fylgja. Old Soul agrees. A few days later Rikki tells his uncle Siggi about this arrangement, and Siggi confirmed that it was common that close relatives once deceased, would often assume the role of a personal spiritual guide or fylgja, as they are commonly referred to in Icelandic folklore. Rikki‘s odyssey then unfolds throughout the novel, which include vivid conversations with Old Soul until the very end, when it is revealed that Old Soul is in fact Rikki´s over-soul and not his personal spiritual guide, or fylgja.
(In contemporary Icelandic folklore, the fylgja is usually seen to be an accompanying spirit; a deceased relative who anticipates the person‘s fate, who acts as a guardian, and who sometimes appears to their charge in harrowing circumstances to provide solace. In this description, the fylgja is synonymous with what is commonly referred to as a personal spiritual guide in western culture. There are, however, numerous other definitions of fylgjur (i.e. plural of fylgja) in the Icelandic sagas and in Norse Mythology. In those texts the fylgja, or fylgjur, are invariably female. They appear in numerous forms – both human and animal, and also in dreams. They are variously associated, both with protection and as aids to individuals (such as to a mother during childbirth), and as harbingers of one‘s own death or of someone else’s. Their alliance is also coveted in battle.)
…Over time, following the odyssey as it was told in the book Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, Rikki often wondered about the exact nature of his relationship with Old Soul and why Old Soul had said he‘d be his fylgja, when in fact he had been his over-soul all along.
Rikki frequently experienced vivid dreams, most of which centered around mundane everyday concerns. During one of these dreams Old Soul had appeared to provide him with some insights. It was a dream centered on the theme of responsibility and the heavy burden responsibility sometimes exacts on a person during their lifetime. At the time, Rikki had been worrying about common issues, such as the debt he‘d accumulated in student loans, some overdue taxes, and promises and obligations he‘d made to some friends and family which had become burdensome to him.
At one point during the conversation Rikki asked Old Soul; “Who would hear my prayers if I were to pray for help during these stressful times?”
Old Soul replied; “You are an aspect of All That Is, the essence of which is LOVE. A prayer for healing is always appreciated and embraced by the one to whom it is intended. You should know that when you lovingly pray for someone, it always has a significant effect on them.
A prayer requesting help for yourself however, is a more complicated affair because, as I’ve explained to you before, you are solely responsible for your life and for the circumstances you find yourself in. I know you can’t see the greater circumstances and reasons for your predicaments during your lifetime, but if you were to look at them from my vantage point here from within the Spiritual Dimension, you would understand perfectly why you choose to experience the dire circumstances you now find yourself in.
You are no doubt familiar with the saying ‘God only helps those who help themselves’?
Rikki replied, hesitantly; “Yes.”
Old Soul continued; “You alone are responsible for the predicaments you find yourself in and you must find a way to resolve them and to move forward, while learning from the experience.”
He continued: “Of course, I hear your prayers when you pray for something.”
Rikki replied; “But you are my over-soul. You are not God!”
It now occurred to Rikki that this would be a good juncture to ask Old Soul why he’d implied that he was his fylgja when they first met.
Old Soul immediately picked up on Rikki’s question and answered even before he had time to articulate the question and said;
“If you recall, I never did say that I was a deceased relative of yours.”
Rikki replied surprisingly; “You didn’t?”
“No. At the time you asked me to be your fylgja I had not had an opportunity to educate you sufficiently about the wonders of the world. You, however, were familiar with the existence of fylgjur, as they were understood in Icelandic folklore, so I made a decision to fold our relationship into that framework. Your assumption that I was a deceased relative of yours was made by yourself on the basis of your experience at the time. Your uncle Siggi also reinforced that impression when you told him about our meeting.”
As Rikki thought back to their initial meeting many years ago when he was twelve, he realized what Old Soul said was true and replied; “Yes, you are correct. I remember it now, and I can see why I made that assumption and why you didn’t correct me. I would not have understood, and it would not have made sense to me to consider that I was in fact talking to myself!”
Old Soul smiled and said; “Yes, I knew that. And now, as we speak, you continue to do so. That is, to talk to yourself – so to speak.
The fact is, you and I are one, yet we are not! My relationship to you is analogous to the one I have with my over-soul, who, in turn, is connected to his over-soul, and so on, up the spiritual pyramid until ultimately all souls are one.”
Rikki then asked, enthusiastically; “So is that God? Is the ultimate over-soul God?”
Old Soul replied; “The occidental religions (i.e. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) suggest that God can be personalized in the sense that your question implies. But there is no such God. There is no fuzzy-feeling personalized God; no God who can be disappointed; no God who will punish you; no God that causes catastrophes, disease, or bad things to happen. There is no omnipotent God, as you might wish to imagine from your ego perspective.
It would be more accurate to say that God is ‘All That Is’, as I’ve suggested to you on previous occasions. All That Is is omnipresent. All That Is includes the entire cosmos and everyone and everything within it. It is a vast sea of consciousness imbued with an extraordinary presence of LOVE, and a divine balance in relationships between all that exists, both animate and inanimate.”
Rikki asked further; “So does All That Is look after me? Is there any point in praying to All That Is, or to God…or to any god for that matter?”
Old Soul responded in a vague round-about manner; “You are an aspect of All That Is. Your soul cannot be destroyed. You never cease to exist. All That Is is represented within you.”
Rikki then asked pointedly; “So is there any point in talking about a god, or about God, as people traditionally think of him, or of her?”
Old Soul replied; “No there is not. Not in the sense of a specific someone who is separate and omnipotent. Or someone who listens to your prayers and makes decisions about your fate and tells you what to do. Or someone to whom you must bow.”
Rikki relented and then asked; “So are you telling me that I am solely responsible for what happens in my life?”
Old Soul replied; “Yes you are. Keep in mind, however, that you are much more than meets the eye. You exist dimensionally. As I’ve explained before (see Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, pg.39), you are a combination of your ‘outer ego’, your ‘inner mind’, your ‘soul’, and your ‘over-soul’. I am your over-soul and you are conversing with me now. Your prayers for assistance come to me, not to a personalized God who exists independently. And as I am able to view your/our entire existence from a vastly greater perspective, I am able to guide you along the path that will ultimately yield the most beneficial learning you can acquire during your lifetime on Earth.
Your soul’s ‘outer ego’ is the point of decision making within the physical world. The outer ego is the YOU which you are consciously aware of while awake, and which you identify as yourself. This aspect of YOU bares the sole responsibility for the actions and decisions you make during your lifetime.
It is impossible for me to describe the vastness of what you are. For purposes of explanation, however, imagine that your soul contains within it two copies of YOU; one as you know yourself that now exists within the physical dimension and another identical copy that exists outside your dimension (i.e. in Framework 2)(See the blog/article En Route to Evil for a definition of Framework 1 & 2). The copy outside the physical dimension assembles a set of circumstances from a seemingly infinite set of probabilities, which you then syphon into your physical dimension and materialize within your physical world, at your behest, in accordance with the decisions you make. I, your over-soul, assembled your soul out of my own and guide your soul intimately in this endeavor. Although YOU (i.e. your outer ego) exist relatively independently and have ‘free will’, we are at the same time intimately connected, and I communicate with you through your intuition.
We are one, yet we are not! From your perspective, this may appear as a divine paradox.
The aspect of me, which you identify as YOU, has ‘free will’ within the physical world. YOU are at the center of your control. Through the gift of ‘free will’, YOU are able to make independent decisions and determine the course your life takes during your finite lifetime. Simultaneously, all of your experiences are integrated into mine.
At the conclusion of your lifetime you retain your own individuality and continue onto other adventures of your own – yet connected as we are now, and, eventually, you will also make a decision to become an over-soul to other souls, as I am to you now.”
As on numerous other occasions, when Old Soul began to explain the dimensional vastness of his actual existence, Rikki always felt awestruck, and he implied; “O.K. I get the big picture. It’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around such a huge existence, as I go about my life, taking one day at a time.
But what can you tell me about fylgjur or personal spiritual guides? Who are they and what role do they play during a lifetime?”
Old Soul replied; “Fylgjur, or your personal spiritual guides, are usually the souls of your relatives who lovingly observe you from a distance throughout your lifetime. They provide you with emotional support in harrowing circumstances and they may appear to you in person or as if in a dream, at those times. They, however, do not make decisions for you or guide you in any way. YOU are the architect of your life and you bare sole responsibility for the course your life takes during your lifetime. I, as your over-soul, however, will provide gentle suggestions to your ‘outer ego’ by way of intuition when you request my guidance, and when I feel it is imperative.
It will interest you to know that you have a fylgja, as do all people. Prior to your mother’s passing, it was your maternal grandfather and your paternal grandmother. Now your mother is your fylgja.”
(Please read Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, as well as previously posted blogs/articles, for further insights on this topic)
Please take a few moments; during these dark months in the Northern Hemisphere, during your long days of light in the Southern Hemisphere, in the unchanging balance of light and darkness at the equator, or anywhere you find yourself in between, to reflect on your life and its gifts.
Light a candle, sit quietly, and listen to this music, and know that all humanity is one – as fingers of the same hand. Our nature is to be loving and peaceful. Resolve to settle your differences, with vigorous discussion and debate when necessary, but never with a drop of blood!
For Christianity, a beautiful rendition of Shubert’s ‘Ave Maria‘ sang by the Russian contra tenor Vyatcheslav Kagan-Paley.
For Judaism, a heartfelt piano recital for Chanukkah by Roy Zu-Arets.
For Islam, a beautiful anasheed titled; Saahat al ‘ilm. (no musical instruments).
For Hinduism a astakam extolling the beauty of Lord Krishna composed by Sri Vallabhacharya around the 15th Century AD.
For Buddhism, a Tibetan chant/song of peace and hope, titled Om Mane Peme Hum 1.
Enjoy this holiday season.
Peace be with you.
Old Soul continued; “When man loses trust in his intuition, he begins to experience the universe as unsafe. Then, instead of having the trust to explore his own abilities creatively, he begins to withdraw, and to over-control his environment; he becomes afraid.
He compulsively seeks to reduce this fear by finding purpose and meaning in his life. But because he is afraid, he struggles to experience freedom of thought, and will tend to gravitate to a definitive set of rules. He is frightened of experiencing himself as himself, or of acting according to his own wishes. He prefers not to think freely and to make decisions on his own. He wants to be told what is good and what is bad.
Now, as he no longer trusts his own intuition, he seeks out leaders – political, scientific, or religious – who will order his life for him. He looks to fulfill his innate desire for purpose and meaning in establishments that have idealistic philosophies and practices. And in so doing, through his participation, he inadvertently helps to create the dogma, or system, or cult, characteristic of these organizations, to which he falls prey. He expects the leader to act for him. In turn, the leader adulates in his admiration and soaks up his paranoia. They reinforce each other, and the march towards their shared ideal becomes an unquenchable thirst. In this way, you could say, that the entire organization is a victim; the leader and their followers alike – to their own paranoia.”
Old Soul continued; “Frightened people join organizations that espouse ideologies with which they can identify. And under their cover, be it a political group, a mob, a cult, or an extremist religious organization, their responsibility for whatever actions they take become shared in the comfort of the other members, all of whom do not trust their own intuition sufficiently to act independently. In these conditions, and in the desperation to fulfill an ideal, the psyche of the mass takes on its own momentum, and corners are cut in the pursuit of a collective ideal. The end is pursued by any means necessary – even if it involves killing others.
In this instance, the frightened idealist, in a desperate attempt to find purpose and meaning, has evolved into a fanatic. Acts of violence are perpetrated. Evil acts are sanctioned under the shared responsibility of the group, as any means necessary, including the killing of others, is seen to be a necessity in pursuit of the ideal. In this instance, one man’s ideal becomes another man’s nightmare. Morality becomes inverted.
In fact, every idealist who is a fanatic believes in his heart-of-hearts that he is doing the world some ‘good’. That his intents are virtuous.”
Rikki commented; “I now see why it took so long to arrive at this outcome. The stairway to evil is not a simple one?”
Old Soul replied; “There are many factors you must consider, in order to understand the concept fully. Evil is an absolute – at the opposite end of a continuum from good – if you want to look at it in those terms. And there is no simple way to define evil, other than to reduce it to a single statement, such as; any willful act that kills another human being, for whatever cause, for whatever end, is evil.”
Rikki asked; “So I am correct in assuming that Hitler’s concentration camps were examples of evil?”
Old Soul; “Yes, most certainly. But there was a lot more taking place in those circumstances, than first meets the eye. Hitler, along with all his frightened idealists who became fanatics, obsessively believed that the world was getting worse with every day that passed. Hitler’s obsession gradually narrowed his vision to the point where he only noticed events in the world around him that confirmed his beliefs. In his mind, he began to visualize disaster and mass tragedies if he did not fulfill his purpose and bring meaning to his own life, and to his followers, in his service to humanity. To him his ideal seemed so remote and unreachable through civilized dialogue, that any means, however reprehensible, eventually seemed justified.”
Rikki said; “I can now see how this situation could develop.”
Old Soul replied; “This fanatical mindset is occasionally present in political leaders and in some religious leaders as well. The fanatic is always afraid of opposing views that question his ideal. In modern day society, these paranoiac views are often masked under the polite clothing of conventional acceptance, and hidden under nationalistic banners. In times of conflict, leaders will send thousands off to war, or on a religious crusade, to right the wrongs of the world, and the death of their soldiers are accepted by their supporters almost as a matter of course.
These are victims of war. It seldom occurs to anyone that these leaders and their soldiers are, however, in the first instance, victims of short-sighted beliefs!”
Old Soul paused, then continued, “Wars are basically examples of mass suicide, carried out through mass suggestion, by men who do not trust their intuitions, and have become convinced that the world is unsafe. To them, strangers, usually raised by different sets of myths, are always hostile. At the same time, the myth is taken for granted that the species is aggressively combative, and only the fittest will survive. The challenge for them, then, is therefore, to outthink the enemy nation before they themselves are destroyed. With these beliefs, for the fanatic, the end always justifies the means.
Anyone who believes that killing for the sake of peace does not understand peace. Those who kill for the sake of peace, only become better killers. And it can be said, that it is also true in any war, that both sides are fanatical, to the extent that they are involved.”
Rikki commented rhetorically; “Well, if the allies hadn’t stood up and fought the Nazis, Hitler would have killed millions more.”
Old Soul replied; “I am quite aware that war often seems to be the only practical course to take, because of the set of beliefs that are, relatively speaking, worldwide. Until those beliefs change, war will seem to have some practical value – a value, however, which is highly deceptive and quiet false.”
Old Soul continued; “As I said earlier, when you no longer trust your impulses and your intuitions, your belief in your spontaneous being is sabotaged. And as the great power of impulses and intuitions become dammed up, probabilities are closed off bit by bit, until you find yourself in a closed mental environment, in which it seems you are powerless. It seems to you then, that you cannot impress the world as you wish and that your ideals are always stillborn. In circumstances such as these, the desire for suicide is often the last recourse left. It is the only intuition that the individual feels able to express, for it seems that all other avenues of expression have become closed. A war provides a riverbed for that ultimate expression, and a socially acceptable excuse for death.”
Rikki commented; “I see what you mean. So did everyone who died in WWII die because they saw no other recourse left?”
Old Soul replied; “People die for ‘a cause’ only when they have found no cause to live by. When it seems that their world is devoid of meaning, some people opt to make a certain kind of statement through the circumstances connected with their own deaths.
Remember, death is merely your exit from a given lifetime back to the Spiritual Dimension. The importance of how you choose to die varies according to the individual – and in a certain fashion, death is your last chance to make a statement of import in any given lifetime, if you feel the need to do so.
People who feel powerless, who have lost trust in their intuitions, and who, consequently, find no cause for living their individual lives, do sometimes come together and ‘die for a cause’, such as a war. They are normally not consciously aware of the greater dimensions of their sacrifice. Neither are they always aware of their loss of will, and reason for not wanting to live. However, immediately upon their death, they become reconnected with their impulses and intuitions, as they pass over into the Spiritual Dimension, and become aware of the error of their ways.”
Old Soul continued. “Some people’s deaths are quiet periods. Some others’ are exclamation points, so that later it can be said that the person’s death loomed almost greater in importance than the life itself. John Lennon was an example of this, although he had made significant contributions in life towards peace, his manner of death served as an exclamation point to his message of peace and love. On a societal level, the death of all participants in WWII, including; the Jews, homosexuals, the disabled, and the children who were grotesquely experimented on in the name of science, as well as the death of the allies, served as a statement to humanity about man’s inhumanity to one another. The repercussions of this conflict are still being felt, adjusted to, and integrated into society, and into the cultures that were involved.
The manner of every death is turned into a lesson for other people who cared for them, and it forces them to ask questions that would not have been asked otherwise. In terms of a war, these deaths also serve as mass statements, in the same way.
People die when they are ready to die, for reasons that are their own. No person dies without a reason. You are not taught that, however, so people do not recognize their own reasons for dying, and they are not taught to recognize their own reasons for living- because you are told that life itself is an accident in a cosmic game of chance, and that your impulses and intuitions are not to be trusted.”
Rikki commented; “This is a lot of information to chew on, and some if it is difficult to swallow. Surely not everyone is so detached from their inner knowledge, on account of the mistrust they have for their intuitions?”
Old Soul replied; “No, most people are not. Fortunately, most people have a healthy skepticism about mistrusting their intuition, in spite of what they have been taught. And it is rare to see a complete mistrust of this inner knowledge. We have spoken here of a small, but a large enough segment within most populations, that given the opportunity, would, in their desperation to advance their ideal, commit evil acts, individually, or under the umbrella of an organization.
There are, however, great men and women involved in causes who recognize the importance of their own beings, and add vitality to causes in which they believe. They may often join political, religious, or scientific establishments, but they do not submerge their individuality to these establishments, but assert their individuality and became more themselves. They extended their horizons by their own merits and through their valuable work with social and cultural organizations. They stretch themselves beyond the conventional mental landscapes, and are driven by zest, vitality, curiosity and love, and not by fear.”
Rikki commented; “That is nice to know. I was beginning to think that the world is going to hell in a hand basket?
Rikki asked, thoughtfully; “You once told me about my over-soul (see Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, pg. 39). What is the relationship between my over-soul and the source of my impulses and intuitions?”
Old Soul replied; “Keep in mind that these divisions we’ve talked about between your over-soul, the soul, and your impulses and intuitions, are fluid and that there is a constant flow of information between all these aspects. There is a great sophistication of consciousness involved.
In these comments I’ve made about evil, we have mainly been talking about the workings of the soul, your inner identity, and the outer ego. Together, they are responsible for determining your journey within Framework 1 while simultaneously pulling together the aspects that are needed for that journey from Framework 2, before they are, at your behest, materialized into your physical world. You could say that your over-soul stands aside and does not involve itself with the details of this process. However, it oversees, and provides this process with guidance, which you experience through your intuition.”
Rikki commented; “O.K. I see. I needed to understand this relationship a little better.”
Old Soul replied with a smile; “Yes, I knew that.”
Rikki replied; “So let’s get back on topic.
Tell me. How do I recognize a fanatic?”
Old Soul now continued his explanation and said; “There are a number of characteristics you must look for. For one, fanatics always deal with grandiose ideals, and they speak in the highest terms of truth, of good and evil, and particularly of retribution and in punishment for those who do not follow them.
Those of religious persuasion may believe in man’s sinful nature and are convinced of its duplicity. Those who mistrust their intuitions on account of scientific dogma, and believe in the survival of the fittest, may commit evil acts in the name of science. In both instances, shared responsibility is sought by a group, as neither fanatic believes that the individual is ever effective on his own.
The fanatic calls others to social and political action. But their groups are not assemblies of private individuals who have come together in order to pool their individual resources. They are instead congregations of people who are afraid to assert their individuality and who hope to find it in the group, in the establishment of a joint individuality – if that were possible. But all they find is an exaggeration of their own powerlessness, espoused in terms of righteousness. And it is a fact that no one can be more cruel than the righteous fanatic.”
Rikki commented; “Okay I’m beginning to see the big picture. So far, from what you have said, I understand that everyone has ideals, and is also inherently motivated to better himself, and to better others. However, if he mistrusts his intuitions, then his inner connection with his greater being is lost.
He, however, retains his need for a purpose and an ideal, which he may look for in political and religious groups. If he is desperate and pursues his ideal obsessively, he may become a fanatic. And a fanatic on his own, or through the support of an organization of likeminded individuals, may commit evil acts in pursuit of what he believes to be righteous and good. His morality becomes inverted.”
Old Soul replied; “That is essentially it.”
Rikki responded; “So, in the final analysis, what you define as evil only depends on your point of view?”
Old Soul replied; “Yes, an evil act in one person’s eyes is usually seen to be virtuous by the perpetrator. The concept is fleeting; both depending on the culture, and over time, as attitudes shift about these issues. There is, therefore, no universal unequivocal definition possible for evil.”
Rikki commented; “Aside from the one you mentioned, in terms of killing other human beings?”
Old Soul replied; “Yes. That is the only practical working definition that will reduce this concept into a manageable framework in the final analysis. A general shifting of the societal and cultural myth that stipulates that everything that exists can only be perceived through the physical senses, would also help prevent the existential fear that in the final analysis leads some people to commit evil acts.”
Rikki asked; “What about individual acts that are commonplace in society, such as; bullying, spousal abuse, sexual abuse, and torture? Are these not evil in all contexts?”
Old Soul replied; “In western society, as it is today, these acts are considered evil, or at the very least, very bad. But this is not a universal attitude throughout the world today, and these acts have certainly not been considered evil throughout the course of history, even within your western culture.”
Rikki asked; “What about Stanley Milgram’s experiment, where subjects shocked volunteers with what they believed was a lethal level of electricity, and Philip Zimbardo’s study where students acting as prison guards, relished in their cruelty towards mock prison inmates. These studies seem to suggest that virtually anyone can be persuaded to commit evil acts, given the right environment?”
Old Soul replied; “These experiments are illustrative of the powerful effects of the myth of science. The students, who knew they were participating in a scientific experiment, did not question what they were told and assumed without thinking about it critically that certain behaviors are permitted under the protective intelligence, logical thought, and impeccable reason of science. Scientists are trained to be unemotional, to stand apart from their experience, to be objective, to separate themselves from nature, and to view any emotional characteristics of their own with an ironical eye. The power of this myth allows them to compartmentalize their affect quite efficiently, where, for example, a scientist without an inkling of emotion will sacrifice dogs in his laboratory experiments in the name of science, whereas he will cry over his family dog when it dies. In a similar way, during WWII, Josef Mengele and his team of scientists were easily able to turn off their emotions while they carried out horrific experiments on imprisoned children, whereas they continued to feel a normal level of parental compassion for their own children, when they returned home from a day’s work at the laboratory.
People are normally not aware of the powerful effect the myth of science has over them in terms of dampening their affective experience, and the cruelty that it can lead to when experimenting with animals and with human beings.”
Rikki replied thoughtfully; “I understand how this happens.
What about the acts I committed; for example, my experiments with rats when I was an undergraduate at university. Were those evil?”
Old Soul; “No, they were not. They were not willfully malicious, or considered to be immoral within the university establishment. However, there were people who viewed some of the experiments you did as unnecessary and cruel – while others did not. In terms of your other musings about evil while you were a child, you probably realize by now, that at the time, they were not?”
Rikki replied; “Yes, I do. I wish I hadn’t though.”
Old Soul; “I hope that reflecting on these acts you committed in the past has made you realize how rapidly the morals of society change over a short period of time. Often, acts that were not considered immoral a decade ago are seen to be evil today. An example is easily found in eugenics (i.e. the study and belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species through reproduction), which has often gone array. You are familiar with the recent policy of sterilizing mentally challenged people, in order that they would not reproduce. There are many other examples, including attempts by the Third Reich in WWII to cleanse the German people of undesirable genetic predispositions.”
Old Soul stated. “Also, with regards to homosexuality, you are aware that there are individuals, as well as political and religious organizations, who view it as unnatural. Some view it as an evil and would seek to eradicate all homosexuals, or imprison them, if they had the opportunity.”
Rikki replied; “I know. That’s truly a sad state of affairs. But fortunately it does not exist now – here in Iceland!”
Old Soul smiled and said; “No it does not. And fortunately you do not mistrust your intuitions and you will, therefore, know if such danger ever existed, and you could avoid it if you wished to do so.”
Rikki, steering the conversation away from himself said; “From what you say, many people are born into situations that are virtually guaranteed to teach them to mistrust their intuitions. And from there, the slope is slippery towards eventually committing evil acts?”
Old Soul; “Yes, that is true. But most people do not. Societal values and morals appease these urges, and legal and religious doctrine are also helpful in steering the individual, mobs, and organized institutions, away from evil acts.”
Rikki, looking contemplative and somewhat mystified, said; “Life, when you look just below the surface, is woven with intrigue and complex detail that is virtually incomprehensible.”
Old Soul replied; “Most people do not concern themselves with these issues of spirituality and of life and death. However for those who do, the search is always an evolving spiritual process. For some it leads to a spiritual understanding that recognizes the ultimate sanctity of life; i.e. love and peace for all of mankind. For the fanatic it leads to the enforcement of his will onto others, and domination by any means necessary. But for the vast majority, who don’t concern themselves with these questions, they participate happily and blindly within the myths of their religious, political, and scientific organizations that span the gulf between these extreme ends.
By nature, you are a cooperative species, and a loving one. Your misunderstandings, your crimes, and your atrocities, real as they are, are seldom committed out of any intent to be evil, but because of severe misinterpretations about the nature of good, and the means that can be taken toward its actualization.
People will often condone quite reprehensible acts if they think they were committed for the sake of a greater good. That is why so many seemingly idealistic people can be partners in quite reprehensible actions, while telling themselves that such acts are justified, since they are methods toward a good end. Most individual people know, however, in some inner portion of themselves that this is wrong.”
Old Soul continued; “There is also a tendency in society to look for outright evil, to think in terms of ‘the powers of good and evil’ – an evil force. But evil does not exist in those terms, as I’ve said earlier. The truth is, very few people really act from an evil intent. Situations arising in the fields of politics, science, and religion, where evil acts are committed, do not occur because of any determined effort to commit evil acts, but instead because men are blinded by their own myths and often believe that ‘any means necessary’ is justified in the pursuit of their ideal.”
Rikki replied; “Yes, I believe that to be true!”
Old Soul continued, and concluded; “The night is getting old, but before we close, there are a few comments I would like to make about what I call ‘natural law’ – i.e. the inner laws of nature that pervade existence, which everyone should sense intuitively. These will be helpful for you to keep in mind as you go forward.
Understand to begin with, that:
1. there is a copy of you that exists in Framework 2, in the instant before it is materialized, that is indistinguishable from the one that is born ‘living’ into the physical world; you are, in effect, one and the same. You have at your disposal probable outcomes about your physical health and your emotional well-being in Framework 2 before they are materialized. That is one of the reasons why it’s so important for you to trust your intuitions, because they will guide you to materialize the most appropriate decisions
2. you were born with an in-built recognition of your own goodness and an inner recognition of your rightness to exist in the universe
3. you were born curious about yourself and about your world
4. you were born with a desire to fulfill your abilities and to act unapologetically in the world
5. you were born compassionate
6. you were born knowing that you possess a unique intimate sense of being, that is, therefore, and by default, irreplaceable
7. you were born to seek your own fulfillment and the fulfillment of others, and to lead yourself and the rest of humanity to the actualization of an ‘ideal’
8. you were born seeking to add value to the quality of life, and to add characteristics and abilities to life in general, that only you can individually contribute – as your own unique contribution.”
Rikki replied, thankfully; “Thank you. This makes me feel better. It places what you have said in a better overall context. Life can be so complicated, and it is depressing to think about the consequences of evil.”
Old Soul replied; “Life is meant to have its ups and downs. Remember, the main reason for anyone choosing a lifetime, is the experience of negative emotions. And the challenge you have, is not to bring harm to yourselves or to others when you experience them.”
In that instant, having delivered his comments on ‘natural law’, Old Soul disappeared. This lesson, En Route to Evil, had come to a close.
Before you sign off, I’d like you to take a moment and listen to this song by John Lennon, titled ‘Love’ – as it echoes the sentiments of these postings on ‘En Route to Evil.’
(This article was mainly inspired by Jane Robert’s Seth book; The Individual And the Nature Of Mass Events. Many of the concepts (not referenced specifically, as well as a few partial quotes) are based on material from this book, as well as on lecture notes from Prof. J. Hall’s Philosophy Of Religion, Prof. Charles Mathewe’s Why Evil Exists, and on my book Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey).
The Mesmerizing Influence of Myths.
Old Soul continued; “There is more to this. In addition to the surface physical manifestations I’ve just described that are produced through the energy-manifestations of consciousness, there is an ‘emotional’ manifestation which is equally important for you to understand.”
Rikki replied thoughtfully; “How is that experienced?”
Old Soul replied; “It’s difficult to describe, as there are many layers to it. On a very general level, you can view its effect as an emotional manifestation in the form of a myth. You may remember, I once told you about trance states and how you could view yourself as always being in a trance that changes depending on your activity and your mood (see Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey page 87). On a more general level, each person is also born into a specific psychological/emotional mindset that is characteristic of his culture. This mindset, a conglomeration of traditions, customs and beliefs, is a reflection of the culture’s history, and it is embedded into every person as he comes of age within that culture. As a consequence, every individual within a particular culture acquires a specific perspective on life which he then defends with a steadfast attitude, making him blind to alternatives. This mindset is similar to a myth, in that the individual is taught a worldview that is internalized as he grows-up, and he does not question it.
Take gender as an example. In your western culture it is thought to be normal for all young men to find themselves sexually attracted to women, and for women to be attracted to a man. And by the same token, it is considered deviant for individuals of the same sex to be attracted to one another. It is also assumed to be normal for a young married couple to want to have children, and conversely, it is deviant if they chose not to. If you see a pink car, you automatically assume it must be owned by a woman and not by a man. Girls prefer to play with dolls, whereas boys with cars. The list goes on in regards to gender and gender roles. These myths were assimilated by you during your formative years, and you did not question them until you were older.
Most people are unaware of the degree to which these myths influence and shape their view of reality, and how, in a similar way to a trance, these myths block them from viewing reality (or creating their reality) other than from their own culture’s perspective. There are often insidious consequences to this, especially when a culture’s religion advises or dictates specific moral practices that are not shared by another culture, or by everyone within that culture. Individuals from opposing cultures, brought-up with different mindsets, will often view one another with suspicion and scorn. Extremists within these cultures (both political and religious extremists), especially, will take a particularly dark and fearful view of each other.”
Rikki commented; “I understand and I can see that occurring.”
Old Soul continued; “Yes. Myths also operate at other layers. For example, people interpret their experiences, such as their triumphs and their failures, their health and their illness, their fortunes and their misfortunes, in terms of myths that are assumed, but not really understood. You have been taught to view your world in accordance with these myths since childhood and you, therefore, accept them without any critical thought. You create your reality, then, in accordance with these myths, along with the ideas and beliefs they generate.”
Rikki commented; “I wasn’t aware of the degree to which these myths influence my perspective.
Can you give some other examples?”
Old Soul replied; “Most people aren’t aware of the profound influence they have.
The most prevailing myth, and the one that is mainly responsible for the lack of humanities advancement, is the myth that tells you that all perception and knowledge must come to you through your physical senses, i.e. through objective reality.
This myth then precludes and dismisses any information that you might be aware of that cannot be proven to come through your physical senses. An example would be an intuition that suggests to you that you existed before birth and that you will continue to exist after your physical death. You are taught that this is not the case, as evidence of this does not come through your physical senses, but is experienced intuitively.
It is this myth that hampers your understanding and closes you off from the greater nature of those events with which you are most intimately concerned, such as your triumphs and failures, your health and illness, and fortune and misfortune. All these events exist in Framework 2 before they are made physical to you, at your behest, and none of them can be seen objectively through your physical senses before they materialize into your physical world.
This myth that stipulates that all knowledge must come through objective reality is the backbone of science. And while great advancements have been made through scientific methods of enquiry, it is not accurate to say that other phenomena that do not lend themselves to the testing methods required by this method, do not exist.
Science, in its enthusiasm to account for everything, has unfortunately assumed, without scientific proof, that the universe is an accidental creation. A chance conglomeration, where the accidental bubbling of primordial chemicals formed a stew, out of which consciousness was created. And that out of this stew, and over millennia, modern man eventually developed, through a process of natural selection.
In this view, man is assumed to be a chance encounter that continues to propagate. He is seen to be innately aggressive and to fight for his survival by any means necessary in accordance with the laws of natural selection. Science therefore proposes, by default, that there is no meaning or higher purpose to mans’ existence and no existence outside the physical world. All that man has at his disposal, then, is an attempt to gain whatever pleasures or accomplishments he can wrestle from his lifetime.”
Rikki looked a little startled and said; “I hadn’t thought about it this way.”
Old Soul stated; “As you have no doubt experienced, there is a great idealism proposed by the scientific view. It is based on ‘reason’ and deductions about the physical world – which have already been perceived – and there is nothing wrong with that. However, science cannot accept knowledge that comes from ‘elsewhere’, which does not fit into the cause-and-effect patterning required by science. For this reason, it is not the only way to ‘the truth’. The problem, as you may surmise by now, is that it separates man from his inner nature, and any vision of a meaningful life beyond his corporeal objective existence.”
Rikki was beginning to wonder what connection all of this information had to the topic of evil that he had been thinking about, and asked; “How does all of this relate to my concerns about evil?”
Old Soul replied; “Be patient. I’m building up the background, the context, which you must first be aware of, before you can understand evil.
Old Soul continued; “There are also unhelpful myths postulated by religions. One such myth is that of ‘original sin’. It teaches that every human being is born with the burden of sin on his shoulders, because of Adam and Eve’s deplorable act of having eaten a forbidden fruit from a tee, in the Garden of Eden. As punishment, God banished them from the garden and condemned all of man in perpetuity, to share in their offence against him. Those who believe this tale, spend their entire life atoning for this act.”
Rikki replied; “I doubt if anyone would take this story literally. Is it not meant as a metaphor for what will happen to those who give themselves over to evil, as opposed to virtue?”
Old Soul; “That is correct. It advises you to be good, but at the same time, it tells you that you must question your nature, for unbeknownst to you, it is wicked. It was Eve’s naiveté that made her pluck the forbidden fruit from the tree. She should have known better! So as a reminder, to keep you alert to your wicked impulses, your religion teaches that you are a sinner, right from birth.
This story, of course, undermines your inner nature, as it advises you to mistrust your intuition, which would normally tell you that your nature is loving and kind, and not wicked and sinful. In this way you are taught from a young age to be suspicious and to mistrust your intuition.”
Rikki commented; “That cannot be good.”
Old Soul replied; “No. When you add this to the myths we discussed above, relating to science, then man is truly cut off from the connectedness he should normally have with his soul.
This inner connection is the royal road to inner knowledge. It gives you access to Framework 2 and to all probable opportunities that are at your disposal throughout your lifetime.”
Rikki sat looking contemplative, as Old Soul continued;
“There is also an innate desire for purpose and fulfillment in every individual, and when this inner avenue to knowledge is mistrusted or blocked, the person loses direction in life, and existential fear begins to creep in. To compensate, he looks out through his eyes into the physical world, and as he is fearful, he tends to gravitate to organizations that will tell him how he should think, and how he should live his life. These are usually political, religious, or scientific institutions, all of which have an established view of how one should look at life, and how one should wrestle meaning and purpose from one’s existence. These organizations often have charismatic leaders at their helm, who seek the support from these lost and frightened individuals.”
Rikki commented; “I’m beginning to see what you mean. But breaking through the veil of these cultural myths, and the hold they have over people, is no small task. To persuade people on mass is an insurmountable task. It would require a complete paradigm shift in today’s culture!”
Old Soul replied; “That is correct. But understand, I’m not suggesting that man do away with science or that he turn his back on religious institutions, and on political organizations. These establishments are central to the development of culture and through their organization enormous creative ventures and discoveries have been possible through millennia. What I am suggesting, and all that is required, is to turn the dial just one hour past the existing dogma espoused by these establishments. Just one hour past dogma. That will set the ball rolling and, eventually, lead to a better balance in belief between the dictates of science, religion, and politics vs. inner knowledge.”
Rikki commented thoughtfully; “That might be possible.
Can you tell me a little more about impulses and intuitions. I suppose the mistrust of these impressions are at the crux of what you have said.”
Old Soul replied; “Yes of course.”
Impulses and Intuition
Old Soul continued; “There is constant communication between your outer ego and the inner workings of your being, which are active in Framework 2. All aspects of who you are that exist in Framework 2 are, of course, outside the dimensions of space/time and matter. And as I showed you earlier, there is a continuous ‘impulse’ of energy-manifestations of consciousness flowing into your physical universe from Framework 2 that maintains and sustains your physical body.
These impulses provide urges to motion and to action, not only at the cellular level but throughout all levels of the organism. And as I said earlier, these impulses maintain the harmonious functioning of your body on every level, without requiring your conscious awareness.
On another level, these impulses also help the individual to impress the world – to act upon it and within it – effectively. This occurs through a type of impulse that carries emotional and intellectual information into your awareness, in the form of ‘intuitions’. These intuitions often involve the bringing together of associations of diverse ideas that exist within Framework 2, creating insights that would not have been possible with your mind’s cause-and-effect reasoning alone.
To sum up, you might say that your intuition, as well as your impulses, then, provide life’s guide to action. If you are taught that you cannot trust them, then you are set against your emotional, mental, and your physical integrity. “
Old Soul continued, “Now, as I just said, in the normal course of events, you don’t question your impulses because they operate independently below your conscious awareness. However, you can question your intuitions. And this you should do. While trusting their altruistic nature, you should choose among them the most promising events, as they represent a myriad of probable futures available at your disposal. You have ‘free will’ to make these choices. But in order to do that, you must first be aware of your intuitions and acknowledge their altruistic intent, for they do lead you to your own true nature, even if they may appear contradictory at times. They are representations of inner aspects of your being, and unbeknownst to you, overall, they do form constructive patterns toward action that will point you toward your own path of fulfillment and development.
Rikki commented, thoughtfully; “I see. And when these intuitions are mistrusted?”
Old Soul continued; “Then man questions his inner nature. He stops believing the validity of his intuitions and he ignores them. He becomes disconnected from his inner mind, and gradually begins to experience existential desperation.
The reason for this, is that in addition to intuitions, there also exists in every man an innate desire to feel that their life has a purpose and a meaning that is their own, and yet greater than themselves. This innate desire is sensed intuitively, and causes the individual to feel driven to better the quality of his life, and that of others. Through this innate sense of purpose and meaning, man sees himself as a force in the world, and of good intent.
When he mistrusts his intuitions and becomes disconnected from his inner nature, he, however, continues to sense this innate need for a purpose in life, and he begins to look for it in something else, or in someone else. He looks to find it in any cause with which he can merge his own unfulfilled need for purpose and meaning.”
Rikki replied; “Okay I understand that. What happens then?”
Old Soul continued; “Well, as I just said, all human beings are innately drawn to discovering purpose and meaning to their lives, and to better their own lives and those of others. There is then an ‘ideal’; an ideal that seeks fulfillment. And it is in the desperation to fulfill this ideal that evil may take place, in instances where the ideal is obsessively pursued, by ‘any means necessary’.”
Rikki replied; “Okay now I see where you are going.”
(to be continued) (Image above: Gargoyle, Notre Dame, Paris)
Then there were a couple of psychological experiments Rikki had read about in his training as a psychologist that conjured up only more disturbing questions on this topic. These experiments looked at blind obedience and cruelty to others. The following is a summary of these experiments quoted from professor Charles Mathewe’s course guidebook on Why Evil Exists:
“In 1961, Stanley Milgram, a psychologist at Yale University, conducted a series of experiments designed to highlight the power of authority. Subjects were recruited to administer a series of electric shocks of escalating voltage to victims strapped to a chair in another room, out of sight but not out of hearing. As the subject thought they were giving the victims increasingly powerful shocks, a tape recorder in the other room played a series of desperate cries while an actor banged on a wall, then fell ominously silent as the shock rose above a certain level. Ultimately, the subjects were directed to give three-450 volt shocks in succession to the now-silent victim.
In Milgram’s first set of experiments, 65 percent of participants delivered the final series of shocks, though many were very uncomfortable doing so. At some point, every participant paused and questioned the experiment. Only 1 participant out of 40 steadfastly refused to administer shocks above the 300-volt level. Later studies showed that roughly two-thirds of all participants inflicted what they thought to be fatal voltages under orders from the experimenter….
Another psychology professor, Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University, explored humans’ tendencies toward brutality in the Stanford prison experiment. Here, 21 undergraduates deemed psychologically stable were chosen to act as guards and prisoners in a mock prison. The guards were given uniforms, mirrored sunglasses, and wooden batons, meant to be worn only to signify that they were guards. The prisoners were given ill-fitting smocks and stocking caps, were called by assigned numbers, and wore chains around their ankles. All participants understood that they were taking part in an experiment.
The prisoners were “arrested” at their home, then brought to the mock prison, where the guards quickly lived into their roles to a much greater degree than was anticipated. From the first day, they enjoyed demonstrating their status to the prisoners and, by the end of the experiment, roughly one third of them showed clear sadistic tendencies; that is, they clearly enjoyed inflicting pain and got pleasure from the infliction of pain itself…
Zimbardo and others have argued that the experiment suggests…the malleability of the human personality, that is, how readily we inhabit a role when were are provided with a rationale for it and a suitable set of surrounding social structures. Zimbardo believed the experiment revealed that people are inherently creatures of context, even if that context is temporary and, perhaps, implausible.”(pg. 125)
Rikki was clearly wrestling with many question pertaining to good and evil, the social context in which these behaviors come about, and the negative emotions they entail. He recalled quite clearly what Old Soul had told him about the ‘divine dichotomy’, which is the soul’s challenge to experience the negative emotion, but to contain it before it causes harm to oneself or to others. So what did these experiments demonstrate? The challenge not to cause harm to others was clearly not met in either of these experiments. Perplexing, as Rikki thought to himself; “What is going on here?”
As always, Old Soul was quite aware of Rikki’s challenges in life, and, now, his musings about evil. The time had come to provide him with some insights on these issues. However, as Old Soul was making preparations to communicate with Rikki, he ran into his old friend Oreon. Oreon resides on a higher tier within the Spiritual Dimension and he normally works as a teacher with souls preparing for new incarnations (see some of my previous blog postings).
Old Soul used this opportunity and asked Oreon if he’d be willing to meet with him and discuss the progress of his spiritual guidance with Rikki. Oreon was happy to oblige and suggested, in order to make the experience authentically human, that they meet in a quiet coffee shop in Reykjavik, near to were Rikki was currently living. For the occasion, he also suggested that they adorn human forms, instead of maintaining their usual pulsating orb appearances that they have within the Spiritual Dimension.
They made an appointment, and at the set time they both materialized one afternoon at Café Mokka in downtown Reykjavik. No one could tell they were apparitions, and to the normal eye they were inconspicuous, as they sat in a sunlit corner of the café sipping a cup of coffee. Old Soul had taken on a six-foot tall muscular form, familiar to him from a distant incarnation as a Viking, whereas Oreon adorned a body of average build and more gentle in appearance. Of course, telepathy was their normal form of communication, but on this occasion in an effort to appear authentic, they supressed their broadcasting and spoke using human language, so as to appear normal to other patrons at the café.
Oreon commented; “Well, my old friend, looks like your Rikki has immersed himself in to the age-old study of evil.”
Old Soul slurped his coffee and replied; “Yes, he’s been spending some time studying the topic.”
Oreon noticed how clumsily Old Soul sipped his coffee and commented as he drank delicately from his own cup – with his pinky in the air; “I see you’ve never drank coffee from small cups like this before. You sound like a barbarian guzzling mead from a horn.”
Old Soul laughed and said; “Yes, it’s been a few hundred years since I incarnated on Earth and I haven’t done this before. The hands of this large body are not well suited for picking up small cups like this.”
Oreon replied; “I’ve made this a habit over the centuries. I always meet spiritual guides at the Earth locations of their charges, and in their timelines. It gives me an opportunity to experience contemporary culture, first hand. So I have some practice sipping coffee from these types of cups.”
Oreon continued; “I don’t think I’ll be telling you anything you do not already know. I know you are familiar with all these issues pertaining to the topic of evil. However, since you’ve asked for my advice, I’d begin by telling him that there is, of course, no independent force, or entity, or consciousness that could be called evil. Like many people, Rikki is likely to confuse some scary situations, which he assumes are of evil intent, when they are not. For example the appearance of; apparitions, lost spirits, entity attachments, and bumps in the night.”
Continuing, Oreon stated; “Human acts can however be deemed to be evil. I would recommend that you begin by providing Rikki with some relevant background information on this topic, so that he can place it in a proper context. You might begin by telling him a bit more about (a) the nature of consciousness and how it becomes physical as it is strung out in time by means of the ‘unfolding harmony’. Then, follow-up with (b) the mesmerizing aspects of myths, and how they are imparted to the citizenry of every culture, via traditions, customs, and beliefs. At this point you might also tell him about the prevailing myths that are currently the main obstacle for the advancement of humanity. Then tell him about (c) impulses and intuition, and what happens when these perceptions emanating from his inner nature are mistrusted or blocked. Following that, you might say a few words about (d) ideals and fanatical behavior, before you conclude with a discussion on the topic of evil.
Following a discussion on these four topics, he’ll be able to place the concept of evil in a proper context. This introduction will also help him to understand how evil is not an independent force, or a consciousness, as he now believes it to be. It’s not easy to face up to the fact, that in the final analyses, only human beings can be evil!”
Old Soul commented; “Yes, this is a good outline. It will provide for a good start for my protégé. I’ll then begin with an explanation of how consciousness creates physical reality.”
Oreon replied: “You may tell him about my friend Seth. He communicated most of this information through a medium by the name of Jane Roberts, during the 1960’s and 70’s. Jane is back in the Spiritual Dimension now, but all of the information given to her by Seth has been compiled into books which he can also read.
Oreon continued; “There will be no shortages of events for Rikki to tap into over the next little while, as far as evil is concerned. Evil acts will continue on Earth, until humans discover that killing or maiming one another only leads to more of the same. There is a truth to the sayings; “what goes around, comes around,” “peace begets peace,” “violence only perpetuates violence”. “
Old Soul commented; “I haven’t checked out the Akashic records recently. Are there probable conflicts scheduled for Earth in the near future?”
Oreon replied; “Yes, there will be more of the same to come. As you know, there is a great relief in the hearts and minds of individuals in the western world at the moment, now that the Berlin Wall has been torn down and the Cold War is over. But this is temporary. Barbarism, greed, and a disregard for the health of the planet will continue for some time. Ethnic, religious, and politically motivated wars will also continue to rage. The conflict in Yugoslavia has commenced, marking the 3rd Balkan War in modern history, and there will be atrocities of ethnic cleansing in that conflict. Also, next year, in the African country of Rwanda, there will be a genocide. These atrocities will hopefully wake some complacent people up to the need for a fundamental attitude change, in terms of how to live in harmony with their neighbors.
Efforts of integration will also be taking place in Europe; the sectarian conflict in Ireland will be resolved and a sincere effort will be made to integrate the economies of the European nations so as to prevent conflict erupting between them in the future. The Middle East will then have its turn, where the toppling of autocratic leaders, long overdue, will begin to take place. Things will be looking particularly ugly by the end of 2012 in that region.”
Old Soul commented; “The journey to universal peace is a long one.”
Oreon replied; “Yes, but it needn’t be. The answer is quite simple. Refrain from killing your neighbor – and by neighbor I mean, every single person on the face of the planet. Humans must learn to understand that they cannot kill in the name of peace; the end does not justify the means – in any circumstance!
The body and soul are one; you cannot condemn one without condemning the other. And, until every human being realizes that their existence transcends the objective physical world – and that all souls are connected on a grander scale as if fingers on the same hand, they will not realize that killing one person has a negative effect on all souls. Until this realization is commonplace, universal peace will not be possible. “
Oreon continued, “Rest assured, however, knowing that in spite of all the seemingly horrific events that happen on Earth, the process of life always unfolds with an intent that leads to the common good for all. There is a conscious universal unfolding of All That Is, and it slowly drifts towards the ultimate good of all its aspects, simultaneously.”
Old Soul commented; “Humans would avoid a lot of emotional strife if they were to wake up to this reality. I know Rikki has been wondering why this has taken so long?”
Oreon replied; “A lifetime on Earth is no cake-walk for our souls. They all seek the unique experience of negative emotions that are available for them on Earth. And as you and I have learned after our numerous incarnations, once we reached sufficient emotional maturity to transcend those emotions, there was no longer a need to incarnate on Earth. Every soul must graduate from Earth in order to evolve spiritually and each one will, eventually. If there existed an understanding on a mass level, of the connectedness that each soul has with one another, many souls would certainly have an opportunity to graduate much sooner, following fewer incarnations.”
And so they continued. Old Soul and Oreon talked throughout the afternoon in this quiet sunlit alcove at café Mokka, until their apparitions suddenly vanished into thin air.
Rikki had been working at an HIV clinic in Canada for a couple of years, when he moved back to Iceland. After his arrival, he began to work as the director of the local AIDS organization, and opened his own psychotherapy practice.
On weekends he would often travel out of town for scenic hikes in the mountains. On one such occasion, after an arduous climb up a mountain slope, he lay down to rest. As he sank into the soft moss amongst the arctic flowers and birdsong in the distance, the sound of water that trickled along a gentle stream, caused him to doze off. He immediately fell into a vivid dream. Within an instant Old Soul appeared and handed him a capsule containing a thought-bundle, and said;
“This is an interactive lecture about the topic of evil. I see you have been wrestling with this topic recently.”
Rikki was surprised at seeing Old Soul after so many years, and replied; “I had planned to come and visit with you at Heather Hill sometime soon, but I suppose you read my mind and knew I wanted to talk?”
Old Soul replied; “Yes, of course, you know I’m always around in the wings, as your fylgja (see definition in Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey page 33).
“Later tonight before you drift off to sleep, take a moment and study the contents of this capsule. You will find it helpful. As you view it, we’ll have an opportunity for a brief chat about some of the aspects of evil you’ve been contemplating.”
Old Soul then vanished, and Rikki was fully awake and rested.
The Nature of Consciousness.
Later that evening before drifting off to sleep, Rikki opened the capsule Old Soul had given him. Within an instant he found himself seated within a holographic theatre where he could see whirling spirals of energy-manifestations of consciousness as they orchestrated events within an invisible universe of pure consciousness and syphoned them into the physical universe via the ‘unfolding harmony’. He saw how a copy of every manifestation from the tiniest subatomic particle to the most complex biological organism was formed and then materialized into his world of time, space, and matter.
The detail was infinite. Among other things, Rikki could see that individuals prepared their lives prior to birth – aside from modifications that emerged instantly which corresponded to the effects of their ‘free will’ during their lifetimes. He could see how every person chose their experiences, and that they were at the center of their lives’ drama, as their own hero, villain, and victim. He saw how these energy-manifestations of consciousness flowed continuously into the physical world and sustained the cohesiveness of the planet and everything that existed within it.
As Rikki observed this process, it was obvious that no organism would survive for more than a few minutes without this continual life-charge of consciousness. Everything appeared to be maintained automatically through this continuous action. We take it for granted and are unaware, for example, of how this energy-consciousness maintains our bodies – our breathing, the inner mechanisms of nourishment and elimination, the circulation of fluids, and the cooperation between the workings of all the organs within our bodies.
There is a lot of planning that takes place, on all levels, in the preparation for physical existence. Not only at the subatomic level, the cellular level, and the individual level, but at social and societal levels as well. There were disasters in the making, educational programs, religious dramas, and festivals of all sorts. All of these were scheduled to appear from within this hidden dimension, and to be carried out into full-blown physical reality by the ‘unfolding harmony’.
It was also clear for Rikki to see that these events would, however, only occur at the bequest of individual beliefs, desires, and intents. And there was communication and cooperation between all these events on all levels; a conscious awareness, from the falling of a leaf from a tree to the most complex societal event. And because of this, there were no secrets and no chance encounters. No advantage could be taken to the detriment of another: All events were wished for; no births, no accidents, and no deaths occurred by chance.
In fact, everything was known to all participants in this hidden universe. All decisions on every level of existence were taken cooperatively, in unison, and in consideration with all levels of consciousness.
This invisible dimension functioned as an infinite information service that instantly put you in contact with whatever knowledge you required, and set up connections between you and others with loving intent that had your best purposes in mind, and also those of every individual – including members of every species, every organism, and every molecule. You could not force an event upon another that was not agreed upon. This invisible dimension, which Old Soul referred to as Framework 2, in contrast to Framework 1, denoting our physical world, appeared as an invisible version of our physical world. However, it was far more than that, for it contained within it probable variations of our physical universe – from the most cosmic scale, down to probable versions of the most minute events of any given physical day.
As Rikki sat back and tried to personalize this experience, Old Soul suggested; “Take a moment tomorrow evening while you are sat in front of your television set and imagine yourself orchestrating what you see on your television screen, as if you were doing it behind the scenes within Framework 2. Think of programing every physical, mental, and psychological detail, including the physical setting in which the drama takes place on the TV. The time of day, the season, the music, the lighting, the narrative of the drama, the emotions that take place – every detail of everything in each scene in your television drama. Then picture yourself as the central character in the show you are watching and how you are infused with the emotional energy of everything that takes place around you. This is the sort of thing that is constructed in precise detail in Framework 2, before it is made physical in Framework 1 – your physical world.
“And as you can see, your physical world is maintained through the continual infusion of energy-manifestations of consciousness from Framework 2. It maintains all physical manifestations in your world, essentially, by cycling and energizing the biogeochemical compounds of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, as well as a few other less prevalent compounds, all of which are, of course, unfolded into your physical world from Framework 2. This biogeochemical cycling process, together with the continual flow of energy-manifestations of consciousness from Framework 2, sustains all life on your planet down to the smallest microbe. That is the enormity of operations within the invisible dimension of Framework 2.”
Rikki replied; “I’m beginning to see what you mean. That’s amazing!”
Old Soul replied; “Yes, you are at the center of your drama, and through your intent and beliefs, you determine everything that happens to you throughout your lifetime.”
(to be continued)
(Image above: Gargoyle, Notre Dame, Paris)
Before you read this article, I’d like you to take a moment and listen to this song by Leonard Cohen, titled The Future – it will put you in the right frame of mind!
In the spring of 1993 Rikki returned to Iceland after having lived abroad for 20 years. It was a fulfillment of a longing; a sort of itch that had grown stronger over the years – a tugging to return to his birthplace of arctic flowers, glaciers, and the midnight sun. There had been reasons for leaving in the fall of ’72 (See Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, page 137), but now the time had come to test the waters again, and to satisfy nostalgic desires that wafted within his senses like a fresh breeze beckoning him to his birthplace.
Following his last meeting with Old Soul and Old Soul’s comment that no death was an accident, had been a difficult concept to swallow, and it had made Rikki wonder about the dark side of life, where many people die in gruesome violent ways. Meeting death by those means may be no accident for the soul while viewing its physical death from the vantage-point of the Spiritual Dimension, but death by those means from our perspective, down here on Earth, seems to be inhumane. Gruesome and violent deaths often seem to be perpetrated by inhuman motives, wholly unnatural to a loving soul. Are these the workings of evil?
Rikki had often wondered what this phenomenon of evil was about and also what purpose it served, in terms of learning about negative emotions, which Old Soul had explained was the main reason for having a lifetime on Earth in the first place (See Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, Page 77).
Although the year was 1993, Rikki was still able to recall quite clearly a crisp winter’s morning thirteen years earlier while in England. It was in the fall of 1980, December 9th to be exact. He was sitting in a cafeteria at York University having breakfast, when the reporter on the radio announced; “…John Lennon is dead. He was shot on the door-steps of his apartment building in Manhattan last night and died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.” In that moment Rikki thought; “Oh my god…how could this happen! All John Lennon wanted was peace on Earth. What is the meaning of this? The assailant must have been deranged? This is evil!”
This happened around the same time the Yorkshire Ripper was on the loose in England and women lived in fear as night fell, when The Ripper prowled. He had the habit of sneaking up behind as they walked home at night, and strike them over the head before dragging them off into the bushes, where he did unspeakable things to their bodies. Rikki had wondered; “is this the face of evil?”
Over the intervening ten years, questions about the nature of evil had lingered in Rikki’s mind, as other seemingly evil events continued to take place in the world. The time had arrived to look at this issue more seriously. The first hurdle would be to arrive at a working definition, as he asked; “How do I define evil?”
After doing some preliminary research at the library, the consensus seemed to suggest that evil could best be described as an absolute – and the opposite of ‘good’. As he thought about it, it seemed to make sense to Rikki. It didn’t seem possible for someone to be just a little bit evil, or nearly evil, or for some event to be almost evil? It had to be all or nothing – either ‘evil’ or ‘not evil’. However, an act that was ‘not evil’, didn’t necessarily mean that it was ‘good’. So he thought; “There are obviously gradients to what can be considered ‘good’. For example, an act can be ‘good’,’ very good’, or ‘extremely good’ – where an ‘extremely good’ act is synonymous with a ‘virtuous’ act. Also an act can be ‘bad’,’ very bad’, or ‘extremely bad’ – where an extremely bad act is synonymous with an ‘evil’ act.”
For Rikki it seemed to make most sense to view this phenomenon on a continuum, with the absolute of ‘evil’ on one end and the absolute of ‘virtue’ on the other. The relative opinion as to what is considered to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ could be seen to fall anywhere on the continuum, aside from on the extreme ends where an ‘extremely bad’ act takes on the absolute of evil, and an ‘extremely good’ act delineates a definitive mark of ‘virtue’.
But Rikki hesitated, as he clearly recalled that Old Soul had once suggested that ultimately, there is no right or wrong, and that all that matters is what works (Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, pg. 124). “What did he mean by that? Is it a misnomer to talk in absolutes of evil and virtue? I’ll have to ask him to clarify that for me sometime”, he thought to himself.
Rikki decided to set that question aside for now. He had conceptualized a continuum with virtue on the one end and evil on the other, but these extremes needed to be defined more precisely. Historically, the concept of ‘virtue’ had been tackled by many philosophers dating all the way back to Plato and Aristotle, and so had evil. But evil became more of an obsession later in history, especially with the monotheist religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Evil had also been associated with a wide range of phenomena, including acts of nature, as well as those performed specifically at the hand of humans. So to narrow the scope of his study, Rikki decided that he would only consider an act to be evil, if it was (a) committed by humans and (b) associated with profound immorality (i.e. the extreme opposition to morality, or virtue in this context).
This definition of evil, then, excluded what people had referred to as ‘natural’ evils, i.e. (a) climatic disasters; such as, earthquakes, floods, tidal waves, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, droughts, avalanches, lightning bolts, meteors falling from the sky, etc., and (b) acts of nature having to do with the survival of a species or an organism, such as; the violence when animals kill their prey for food, cellular organisms causing the death of their hosts in disease (as in the case of AIDS), and malfunctions due to genetic aberrations that cause specific human ailments (such as sickle-cell anemia, downs syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.).
With these qualifications, the definition of evil had narrowed to acts that were specifically human and that were associated with deliberate wrongdoing and immorality. Provisionally, these then included acts, such as; murder, sanctioned killings (e.g. state executions and killings in a war zone), discrimination and humiliation of people designed to diminish their psychological well-being (e.g. bullying), and malicious acts that cause pain or suffering (e.g. torture, spousal abuse, and sexual abuse). After arriving at this narrowed definition, Rikki was able to limit his pondering specifically to human events.
The evils that sometimes emerge in the political arena were the first come to mind; i.e. deadly conflicts that occur when politicians or heads of nations are unable to solve their differences. In these instances, the prevailing strategy seems to be to declare war and then to send young soldiers off to fight, until a sufficient number have been slaughtered to either; defeat the opponent, propose a compromise, or retreat from the battle field. Rikki wondered; “Are these acts of evil? And if so, who do you blame; the politicians, the soldiers, or the citizenry of the countries who support going to war?”
On the other hand, Rikki continued to speculate; “Maybe the argument can be made that nations must occasionally purge evil from the planet, by means of deadly conflict, in order for a common good to prevail? In other words, sometimes a nation must call upon its citizens to commit evil acts, such as to kill others, in order to preserve what is believed to be good, decent, and virtuous?”
These were pivotal questions, as Rikki thought to himself; “Thank god the Cold War is over, and with it the worry of an imminent nuclear war, or a nuclear disaster.” The Berlin Wall had been torn down 3 ½ years ago, in November, 1989, and hundreds of nuclear missiles that had been ready at the trigger to blow up the Soviet Union, or the Allayed Nations, were now going to be dismantled.
As he thought about nuclear war, Rikki was mindful of the fact that the Americans had been the only country to ever deploy nuclear weapons. They did this during the last days of WW-II when they dropped a bomb on Hiroshima and another on Nagasaki, in an attempt to end WWII, and in the minds of some, in retaliation after Japanese soldiers –probably high on the newly developed drug ‘crystal meth’(which had been developed in Japan at the time to boost their courage), launched aerial Kamikaze suicide attacks on US naval ships at Pearl Harbour. The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in an instant. “These were acts of war. Both acts were evil – as killing, in the final analysis, always is”, he thought. “But the American response of nuclear obliteration of two large cities seemed profoundly immoral! But should I place blame? The Americans were presumably motivated by fear, as it was the first time they had been attacked by a foreign power on their home turf. That fear morphed into revenge, with a dreadful consequence.”
Then he thought, “Perhaps I should put the blame on the physicists who developed the atomic bomb? They knew it was intended as a weapon. Then again, there was an arms race at the time between the Americans and the Germans to develop the atomic bomb. If the Americans hadn’t won the race, the Germans would have, and Hitler would not have hesitated to use it! But come to think of it, neither did the Americans.” There was clearly a lot to think about, and much that had to be considered, in terms of deciphering what qualified as evil in this instance.
This wasn’t all. There was more – much more. As the war drew to a close, news began to leak out of Europe that the Germans had sought to exterminate the entire Jewish population, as well as all homosexuals, and anyone mentally delayed or physically disabled. The civilized world was stunned in disbelief and horror. Genocide, with the sole aim to eliminate a people for no particular political gain, had for the first time in human history emerged as a new form of evil.
As Rikki considered this, he thought to himself; “I was a victim of this genocide and so was my family, in my last life, as a Polish Jew (See Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, pg. 151). What on earth could have motivated the Nazis to commit such evil?”
(Other genocides had taken place in modern history, both before and after WW-II, but those genocides had been more politically motivated, though equally evil. For example, the Armenian massacre in Turkey between 1915- 1918, where 1.5 million Armenians were systematically killed – ostensibly for land claims in the expansion of the Turkish border eastwards. Other notable genocides included the Chinese cultural revolution in the late 50’s and 60’s that killed 30 million people, and Cambodia’s Pol Pat and the Khmer Rouge in the mid- and late 70’s that killed 2 million Cambodians – two thirds of the population!”)
Hanna Ardent wrote about the Jewish genocide in her books (The Origins Of Totalitarianism, and Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil), where she argued that Nazi Germany had embodied a new kind of ‘radical’ evil. She attended the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a high-ranking officer who had continued to send Jews to the concentration camp, even after his superior, Heinrich Himmler, had ordered him not to do so during the final days of the war. The trial took place in Jerusalem, following the war. At the trial, when Eichmann was asked why he did this, he replied “..that it was his duty”: His moral duty to do what was right and, presumably, what he believed was virtuous!
Ardent, in her books, reasoned that the Nazis not only experienced a moral collapse, but a moral inversion: A moral inversion where a moral act – a virtuous act – had turned upon itself. It had become an act of virtue to kill Jews and homosexuals, and the duty of every ‘good’ citizen. She reasoned that the Nazis had lapsed into an insane form of moral stupor – out of which emerged a new form of evil, hitherto, unknown in the 20th century.
Rikki wondered; “how was this possible? How could such a large number of people be mobilized to embrace this inverted morality? Jews and Germans, many of whom were homosexual, physically disabled, and mentally challenged, had co-existed in Germany until then.” As he thought about it, he realized that while the extermination of Jews had stopped following the war, the extermination of homosexuals continues to be a policy in many countries around the world to this day. Another recent example of moral inversion, was the sterilization of the developmentally delayed – a policy carried out in the USA and in Canada until the early 1970’s. Rikki concluded, sadly; “Moral inversion seems to be a common form of evil, and quite alive to this day!”
Looking back in an attempt to comprehend the big picture, Rikki thought; “Clearly there is something unnatural about these acts of mans’ inhumanity to his fellow man. I wonder if anyone ever recovers emotionally after committing these evil deeds?” Most soldiers who see active combat never recover, and suffer from Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder for the rest of their lives. Even the prison guards at the concentration camps during WWII are reported to have suffered both mentally and psychosomatically from their ordeal, having incinerated millions of their fellow human beings.
And lastly, more recently, while working with victims of the AIDS epidemic, the issue of evil had been brought to Rikki’s attention by religious zealots who claimed that God brought AIDS into the world to punish homosexuals for their unnatural behavior. This attitude was waning now, but it had persisted throughout the 80’s among religious zealots, despite the fact that the majority of people in the world who were infected with the HIV virus were heterosexual, and research had shown that the virus that caused AIDS had its origins in monkeys that were harvested for meat in the jungles of Africa.
As Rikki thought about these issues, it inevitably occurred to him; “Perhaps I am evil? Is the pot calling the kettle black? I have killed animals. When I was on the farm, I slaughtered a calf. I felt it was my ‘duty’ as a farmhand to help with the provision of food in this way, but I didn’t have to do it! The farmer would have taken on this task himself, but I volunteered. At the time I wanted to be brave and seen to be strong… but I wasn’t! I have always regretted this act. Was it evil?”
Rikki continued to ponder these thoughts. There was another incident he recalled, at the age of 9. A wild cat that had taken up residence in an abandoned basement in the house next door and she had a litter of kittens. The cats had eaten something rotten and they were sick with diarrhea, causing a terrible stench. At the time, the common practice for killing a cat in Iceland was to put it into a burlap bag together with a stone and throw it in the river, where it would drown. After talking to some of his friends about this solution to the problem, Rikki decided to be the leader and to carry out the deed, which he did.
Rikki now thought to himself; “Surely this was an evil act?” But in the context of the culture that existed at the time, cats were seldom kept as indoor pets, and it was also illegal to keep a dog as a pet within the city limits – some were shoot on sight by police. The attitude towards these animals, at that time, was that they should be kept in the barn; cats for catching mice and dogs for herding sheep. “So was I evil?”, Rikki asked himself.
Rikki continued to think; “On the farm, I was taught that it was merciful to behead birds who were found flapping about after their wings had broken, usually after having flown into a hydro wire. It brought a quick end to their suffering. I did this a few times. Was this evil?
I earmarked lambs causing their little ears to bleed. Was this evil? I killed fish after catching them, by giving them a quick thump over the head and slicing their gills. Was this evil? I assisted and held sheep as they were shoot at the slaughterhouse in the fall. Was this evil? I experimented on mice and rats during my undergraduate years, causing them a sure death in most instances. Was this evil?
Now it bothers me to kill a fly! What has happened? Why is that? At the time, I did not consider these acts as evil. I didn’t enjoy them, but it was my duty – my role. Now, I’m not sure. Was it ‘inverted morality’? The context has changed. I now buy my meat at the local butchers who has conveniently killed the animal for my consumption. I take sick animals to the veterinarian who euthanizes them if they cannot be saved. I now avoid all these situations. I think it would be immoral if I were to carry out these deeds now. I choose to leave these violent tasks to others. It appears to me that the definition of evil shifts over time?”
Rikki continued this line of thought and concluded; “To be honest with myself, the only truly evil act I believe I have ever committed was at the age of 8, while having one of my temper tantrums. I, with a pair of scissors, made a small cut into the drapes my mother had so proudly sewn and hung in the living-room window. The drapes were beautiful and I knew I would hurt her if I damaged them. Mom cried when she saw what I had done, but she did not scold me. In that moment I felt deep remorse and true guilt. In my mind, I had been bad – very bad indeed!”
Many years later, now four years ago, shortly before she died, I asked her, if she remembered this incident? She took a moment to recall, and replied; “No my dear. I remember the drapes. Did you cut a hole in them?” I was stunned and thought to myself; “She has no memory of this incident. My mother cannot recall my seminal act of evil! What is the meaning of that?
Now I ponder; “I knew I learned something about remorse and guilt that day. Was it then ‘practically necessary’ for me to commit this act, in order to experience those negative emotions? Also, I could only have experienced those negative emotions by way of contrast to what I held to be ‘good’. Is this a general principle in life? Must we commit something bad or evil, or experience something bad or evil, in order to have the negative emotion, which can only be perceived by contrast to its opposite, or what we believe to be good or virtuous? Is the phenomenon of evil then practically necessary?”
Rikki recalled that Old Soul had talked about contrast being the basis of everything we experience. He said something to this effect; “If you do not experience contrast, you will have no experience at all! If you haven’t toiled in the valley, then you cannot appreciate the mountaintop. If you haven’t experienced sadness, then you cannot appreciate the pleasures of joy, etc.”
“Then, what about virtues – located at the opposite end of the continuum of evil?” Rikki continued to speculate; “Can they be achieved in the absence of contrast? Is it possible to be generous, if there is no poverty? Is it possible to be brave, if there is no danger? Is it possible to show fortitude, if there is no hardship? Is it possible to be good, if there is no bad? Must there be evil in the world, in order for us to be good and virtuous?
From a practical perspective, maybe there has to be hardship in the world, in order for us to experience virtue? But does there also have to be evil? – i.e. acts perpetrated by humans that are profoundly immoral; such as, murder, sanctioned killing, discrimination and humiliation of people designed to diminish their psychological well-being, and malicious acts that cause pain or suffering – as I defined earlier in my definition of evil. Are these evil acts necessary in order to provide the ‘contrast’ if humans are to have the opportunity to experience the particular negative emotions associated in their wake?”
As Rikki continued to speculate on this issue of contrast, he recalled that Old Soul had once said while discussing ‘free will’, that All That Is gives us ‘free will’ to do whatever we choose, as it is only through this permission that negative emotions can be achieved and experienced. This presumably includes the perpetration of evil acts and the consequent ‘negative emotions’ associated with it, both for the assailant and the victim? “Maybe there must be bad in the world, in order for there to be good?”
Rikki was beginning to become a little overwhelmed with all of these considerations that needed to be understood in order to figure out the role of evil in the world. These were clearly complicated issues that required a good deal of thought. He had plans to ask Old Soul about this.
(to be continued)
(Image above: Gargoyle, Notre Dame, Paris)
In the eye of the storm, you may find the proverbial needle in the haystack!
In the eye of the storm, you may find the needle in the haystack – the elusive pearl of peace, buried in a labyrinth of negative emotions. But nobody goes there willingly, because the emotions you experience in order to get there are too overwhelming!
In this blog, I invite you to explore this labyrinth of painful emotions, because transcending them is the only path to peace. By peace I do not mean the ceasing of disagreements, of debates, of arguments, or competition; these are healthy and essential qualities of human nature – I’m referring specifically to the killing of our fellow man and malicious intent to cause emotional and physical pain.
Why has peace been so hard to achieve? Perhaps it has to do with the problem most people have in facing their own negative emotions?
No one enjoys feeling anxious, or depressed, or angry. Yet, paradoxically, most people seem to have an unconscious fascination with all that is negative. This fascination glues us to our television sets every evening, where in the comfort of our homes we learn about the crimes, the shootings, and the house fires, in our local community. And then, the following morning, we read about these awful events once again in our newspapers or internet and hear it on the radio as we drive to work. We all know that ‘bad’ news sells newspapers – that’s why we buy them! Reports of wars, killings, and natural disasters, are newsworthy – good news is not!
Also, you may have noticed that casual conversations are more likely to drift towards the negative. You are, for example, more likely to say to someone; “The weather’s been crappy”, than to comment on how good it has been. I’m sure if you take a moment, you’ll be able to think of numerous examples of this sort that have happened over the past week. Another common observation: Why do drivers slow down on the highway to have a peek at the gore of an accident?
What is this fascination? We seem drawn to observe the suffering of others from afar, but only for brief moments, because dwelling on these downers makes us feel upset. So what is going on here?
Let’s have a quick look at emotions.
All of us have had the experience where a contentious thought gives quick rise to a negative emotion. It seems to happen at lightning speed. Before we realize what has happened, we’ve become upset. Afterwards, as we contemplate our emotional eruption, understanding and reason usually set in, and we manage to settle down. And later, once the event has had time to ferment in our thoughts, we dress it with meaning. This sort of thing happens all the time. Something unexpected happens, you become upset, and afterwards you realize how meaningful that event really was.
This illustrates a common truth, i.e. the stronger the emotion – the more immature the thought, and the opposite, the stronger the thought – the weaker the emotion. At the extreme, a raw emotion is as equally void of thought, as a pure thought is void of emotion. It’s self-evident that emotion and thought are lousy bedfellows; one pushes out the other.
(As an aside, it is only fair to mention that most of our experiences, of course, do not involve surging emotions. In fact, usually, a thought will simply lead directly to an intended action, with no particular emotion involved. In that instance we experience fulfillment in the moment, and assured meaning is bestowed on the event in hindsight. In this blog, however, we will only be focusing on instances where negative emotions are involved. Because it is only in those instances that logic and levelheadedness struggle to prevail.)
In Slice Of Life, I proposed that the main reason for our lifetime is to (a) manufacture negative emotions and to learn from them. And (b) to face the challenge when these negative emotions are strong and overwhelming, and not to cause harm to ourselves or to others. This is of course no small task, as human history has shown.
Is it then possible that the key to peace is in the journey through our negative emotions? Or in other words, to use the analogy in the opening paragraph in this blog, must we, in order to reach peace that resides in the calm at the center of the storm, traverse the labyrinth of our darkest emotions?
Historically, philosophers and theologians dating back over 2500 years have sought to discover the meaning of life, with the sole intent to help people live in peaceful co-existence. There are numerous theories, all of which make propositions about how we should conceptualize our universe and how we should live our lives with meaning. These theoretical formulations are primarily intellectual, and emotions are for the most part relegated as secondary considerations. Also, all of these theories are essentially ontological. They all focus on a single lifetime, aside from Buddhist teachings which accept reincarnation (i.e. that the same soul reincarnates successively in Earth’s time-line), together with the ‘bardo’ (i.e. a timeless state of rest for the soul between incarnations, outside the dimensions of time and space). Finally, none of these theories propose that the soul has a multidimensional existence and that it exists simultaneously in other dimensions, away from our physical universe here on Earth. Perhaps this has been a shortcoming. In closing this critique, it is worth noting, that in spite of over 2500 years of time-honoured philosophical and theological perspectives, classic and modernistic philosophies have not succeeded in granting mankind with peaceful co-existence. Wars continue to rage, as well as the senseless killing of innocents.
Classic and modernistic philosophy in relegating emotions as secondary or a consequent consideration to thought, is, of course, a fait a compli in an intellectual argument, due to the fact that, as I pointed out earlier, thoughts push out emotions. But I believe, nevertheless, that not considering emotions more centrally in philosophical discourse has been a crucial oversight. Perhaps it is an unconscious pitfall. People, as I suggested earlier when I referred to man’s superficial fascination with all that is negative, only seem comfortable in facing dark emotions for very brief periods of time. And I’m sure most of us would agree, that it is much easier to intellectualize about life and about existence, than it is to work through, and to understand the reasons for our negative emotions.
Philosophers have asked traditionally, what is the meaning of life?, but perhaps we should first ask, what is the reason for our existence? If we understand the reason for our existence, the meaning of life should become apparent.
In Slice Of Life the issue of ultimate meaning is approached from a spiritual perspective, rather than from an ontological perspective, as philosophers have traditionally done. It is proposed that the human soul is eternal and a mere projection of an over-soul that exists within a Spiritual Dimension located outside our physical universe. It is proposed, furthermore, that as the over-soul is not able to experience the full thrust of negative emotions within the Spiritual Dimension, that the primary reason for a lifetime is to experience and learn from these negative emotions during an incarnation. There is also an assumption that the over-soul is far superior intellectually than what can be expressed through the human brain. Finally, the over-soul is seen to be a multidimensional entity which projects different soul configurations of itself into the human body during each incarnation (N.B. this is unlike the belief in Buddhism, where the ‘same’ soul reincarnates from one lifetime to the next).
With these assumptions in mind (which are based on the Seth Material and on Conversations With God) the ground is prepared for an a-priori question: What is the reason for our existence on Earth?, as opposed to What is the meaning of our existence on Earth?, as has been asked traditionally by philosophers.
I’d like to reflect on this question in the next few paragraphs. But I warn you, this may be a bit of a depressing subject for you to read about – but bear with me. Remember, I’m talking about your raison d’être or the purpose for your existence. What could be more important?
In order to explore this question, we must delve into the temporal nature of life and its inevitable end, in death. And in terms of a segue into exploring this issue, let me tell you briefly about my parent’s death:
My father had a perfect death. He got up one morning. Feeling a little dizzy and checked in at the local Emergency Outpatient Clinic on his way to work. He lay down on a gurney and drifted into a coma. A few hours later he died. He was 78. It was the 17th of June: Iceland’s national day of independence. On account that he had never been sick and that he died on the national holiday, his exit into the hereafter was praised as ‘grand’ by his contemporaries, many of whom had suffered for years from poor health.
My mother died of breast cancer. She passed stoically, at the age of 63, hastened in the final hours by an injection of Dilaudid to ease her pain. I later took her ashes to Iceland where she was buried in a graveyard, following a chapel service that included a soprano’s rendition of her favorite song; ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’. She now rests with her contemporaries; including a friend and her family physician, both of whom passed away a few months earlier.
My parents had good lives. They made strides in their careers, and lived unapologetically to cheers from some and scorn from others. They chose very different modes of death; mother chose to experience an illness in her final days, whereas dad chose to bypass illness as a mode of transition to the hereafter. We have our own reasons for choosing our death, the meaning of which I know was apparent to them upon their passing, and to us who grieved them, in time, as we came to terms with our loss. If I had asked them, I’m certain both would have said they flourished in life and that their lives had meaning and, also, that they would have liked to have lived longer.
In summing up, I think it would be fair to say that they experienced the following (intellectual) attributes during their lifetimes: Fulfillment in the moment; purpose in existence; a sense of well-being; depth to their toil; strength to endure; and sufficient will to roll out of bed every morning and face a new day.
Philosophers and theologians would normally be content with this understanding. My parent’s lives were meaningful, they were good people, and they lived their lives in harmony with their brethren. But what role did their emotions play in their lives? Would their arrows have hit closer to mark had they been aimed at expressing and working through their turbulent emotions, as well?
From the perspective of Slice Of Life, their emotions become central to our discourse. We ask, therefore: What significance did their emotions play in their lives? Did they learn anything from the negative emotions they experienced? Were they able to distill them and come to terms with the disappointments they experienced during their lives? Did they learn from and transcend these emotions?
I know they both had their share of up’s and down’s, as, indeed, do all of us, in the course of our lives. Neither of them, however, were brought-up to talk about their emotions in detail – especially the negative ones. They preferred to talk enthusiastically about tasks at hand, and only occasionally about barriers they encountered in achieving their goals. For them it was so much easier to intellectualize about life, than it was to delve into the negative emotions.
We have all experienced, that when we think about a person’s lifetime, our minds are inevitably drawn to the person’s death and how sad that experience was. And when that happens, most of us begin to tune out. We stop thinking when sad emotions surge and turn our minds to something more uplifting, in an attempt to quell the affective experience. Perhaps this is because emotions are void of thought. This is perfectly understandable, but is it advisable to ignore these emotions if, as I suggest in Slice Of Life, our mission is to understand the reasons for a lifetime?
Let’s take a moment and have a look at this very human phenomenon of avoidance, when it comes to thinking about death.
Life is so short. And it is an irony, as Tolstoy pointed out in his book The Death of Ivan Ilych, that as we stride to make gains throughout the course of our lives, death’s door inevitably moves closer. And during our lifetime there seemingly is a race to the end, while at the same time, there is anxiousness and anguish, as we realize that we are reaching the end of our lives. It is a truth (I’m not sure if it’s a ‘sad’ truth, however), that while we are busy making the most of our lives, most of us will bury our heads in the sand, as did Ivan Ilych, and imagine away our own inevitable deaths.
We much prefer to think about someone else’s death we don’t know, preferably in a faraway land. That way, we are able to feel less emotional about it all. And in the meantime, while at home, we make attempts to push mortality away by idolizing youthful looks, by engaging in pretence about how the battle-scars of our lives do not show on our faces, and we undertake surgical attempts at altering our physical appearance so as to appear younger. (And now on a somewhat political note; we carry on like this right up until the final hour, when death’s door is open, inviting, and our bodies beyond repair. Our heads still in the sand, like an ostrich, and on mass, we refuse to look up, and provide dignity to those who beg for it in their passing, less it remind us of our own mortality.)
Clearly, the individual in contemporary western culture prefers not to confront their own mortality. When the ‘grim reaper’ visits, their kin make a quick call to the local mortuary. They have established protocols for this sort of thing. They are most expeditious and caring in these matters.
Isn’t it odd, when you consider that everyone you know, including yourself, will be dead within a 100 years – give or take a few, why is it so difficult for most of us to think about death? And isn’t it true, that most of us experience emotions in the most dreadful way, when we turn our minds towards our own mortality and inevitable death?
This refusal, this lack of attendance to our inevitable fate, makes it all the more difficult to handle our emotions when unforeseen and awful events take place. Such as when innocents die in a massacre at the barrel-end of a rifle held by a deranged person, as happened recently at a Batman movie in the United States and at a prayer service at a mosque. Also, fresh in our minds, is the gun wielding psychopath in Norway who massacred innocents vacationing on an island near Oslo.
Death is assured. Most of us elect to die at an advanced age, and hope that by that time, we will have a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment of a life well lived. Not all do, however, as I note in my earlier blog post, titled: You are Unique – You’re first Responsibility is to Be True to Yourself.
Others choose to die earlier in life. Their passing is always mourned. See Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey for a discussion on this issue. Also an earlier blog post, titled: Teen Suicide – No Death is an Accident (How do we accept this as a society).
My overarching belief is that we exist in order to learn from the experience of our negative emotions, and that it is the only path to peaceful co-existence.
In Slice of Life I propose that the reason for existence is in the generation, the experience, and in the transcendence of negative emotion. The path to resolving negative emotions is to uncover the beliefs (or thoughts) that generate those emotions. Meaning, which is based on the individual’s philosophy, is discerned afterwards, once a synthesis has taken place between their thoughts, their emotions, and their beliefs. And as stated earlier, the philosophical context through which we interpret our emotional experiences is important, but it is not the raison d’être for a lifetime. A lifetime is first and foremost undertaken by the soul in order to experience emotion (especially negative emotions). Meaning is a consequent by-product of this experience and it is formulated on the basis of whatever philosophical ideas the person may have.
In Slice Of Life no one particular philosophy of life is espoused. However, philosophical ideas have been drawn from different schools of thought. The teachings of Buddhism, and echoes of Daoism and Zen, are salient in the text. As are the views of modernist philosophers, such as Kant and Nietzsche, and of course Victor Frankl who’s philosophy is quoted extensively.
In Slice Of Life the message is not theological, in the sense of worship of a god or a belief in a religion. It is, however, a spiritual message, and contains the foundational premise that the soul exists eternally, and that it is multidimensional.
Unlike traditional philosophical thinking, in Slice Of Life the royal road to understanding and transcendence is not, in the first instance, through a philosophical understanding of one’s life and the consequent meaning that endows, but in the firsthand experience of emotion, and in the decisions one makes when those emotions are strong and overwhelming.
It is in our travels through the labyrinth of negative emotions, as we make our way into the calm at the center of our emotional storm, that transcendence will be achieved. And it is only through this path that peace can be achieved – within ourselves, with our neighbours, and between nations. In order for this peaceful co-existence to happen, it is also imperative that all humans become aware that they are intimately connected spiritually, and that the pain inflicted onto another, is tantamount to pain inflicted onto oneself.
And finally, in the words of the late Freddie Mercury: “…there must be more to life than killing a better way for us to survive. …I live in the hope for a world filled with love then we can all just live in peace…”
(Album: Freddie Mercury – Mr. Bad Guy (1985).
If you’d like to listen to the song, check him out on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgKSv0gK_NA
“It’s a thin line between love and hate.”- Annie Lennox.
“Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense.”
- Mark Overby.
“We have just enough religion to make us hate,
but not enough to make us love one another.” – Jonathan Swift
In Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey the reader is introduced to the premise that love is the fundamental platform for all emotion and that our primary purpose for an incarnation is to learn from the experience of negative emotions. Fear is seen as the most fundamental of these negative emotions, as it speaks to the body’s physical survival and to the soul’s trepidation about its existence on Earth. Out of fear, emotions morph into secondary emotions such as anger, depression, and guilt. And while the objective of an incarnation is to produce the circumstances that give rise to these emotions and to absorb the learning experience they provide, the challenge for the soul is not to act on these emotions in such a way as to cause physical injury to others or to oneself, but to move beyond them by unearthing the beliefs that brought them about.
Hatred was one of the emotions not discussed specifically in the pages of the book. Hatred, or the experience of hate, is normally defined as an emotion denoting intense dislike or ill-will; a feeling so strong that it demands action. It is commonly experienced in juxtaposition to love, and often in the context of jealousy, anger, hurt, and revenge.
As in some of my previous blog postings, I introduce you once again to Oreon, a highly evolved soul residing in the spiritual dimension, as he prepares to give a lecture to a group of souls that are preparing for their next incarnation on Earth. Oreon opens his lecture with this verse:
Love & Hate
Love, A wondrous passion – swallows you. A reflection of your projection. A stairway to joy. Hate, A bloody passion – eats you. A reflection of your projection. A keyhole to fear.
Love + Hate double the passion, Love unrequited, hateful revenge. Emotions akin, a line so thin, between Love and Hate.
A soul in the lecture theatre raises a hand and asks, “In your last lecture you spoke of bullies, the bullied, and forgiveness (see earlier blog postings). Now, love and hate. Is it hate that drives the bully to abuse his victim?”
Orion replied, “Hatred, like all types of emotion has numerous antecedents. In the case of the bully, we spoke of powerlessness and the projection of aspects of character unacceptable to the self that motivate him to torment his victims. And you are right, similar circumstances occur when hatred is experienced.
“As you know, the main objective for your incarnation is to learn about emotions and, especially, about negative emotions. The mosaic of emotion is endless, where each circumstance you find yourself in infuses your feeling state with specific parameters, causing it to morph into unique emotional experiences. Your activities and careers during your lifetime create the backdrop for these experiences to occur. And as we discussed before, your emotions are a product of your beliefs.
“Hatred adds another wrinkle to the intriguing mosaic of emotion. Hatred, in its natural state, has a powerful rousing characteristic that initiates change and action. It can be seen as a wish for communication. In and of itself, hatred does not initiate violence. It is only when it is coupled with feelings such as powerlessness, jealousy, anger, and revenge that an outbreak of violence may occur.
“As with all types of emotion, it’s important for you to own the feeling of hate when it occurs and to attempt to understand the beliefs that cause you to feel that way. The source of hatred will always be found in inner psychological conflict.”
A soul in the lecture theatre asked, “What type of inner psychological conflict are you referring to?”
Oreon replied, “I am referring to the experience of unrequited love. Hatred always involves a painful sense of separation from love; of a love object that is idealized. Take, for example, a child’s love for his parents. When a child says that he hates his parents, it is because he idealizes them, and he expects that his parent should idealize him back. The child expects to see the reflection of his idealized love in his parent’s behavior towards him. When this does not happen, a profound fear sets in. The child may scream at his parents, “I hate you!” When a statement such as this is made to a parent, what the child is really saying is, “I love you so. Why are you so mean to me?” or, “What stands between us and the love for you that I feel.” In a strange manner, then, hatred is a quest for love. It communicates a separation that exists in relation to what is expected.”
A soul commented, “But love is unidirectional, isn’t it?”
Oreon replied, “That’s correct. Your love for someone is never reflected. However, it feels good when the person you love, loves you back, albeit for their own independent reasons.
“In this instance, in the case of the child, the source of the hate is in the mistaken expectation that the idealization and reverence the child has for his parents will be reflected. The child mistakenly expects to see his own idealization reflected in his parent’s behavior towards him. The source of the hate stems from his inner psychological conflict, where he believes that he should expect excessive kindness from his parents because of his own idealized feelings for them. Of course, in most instances, the parent loves their child and treats them lovingly, but the reason for their love has nothing to do with the idealization the child may have for them. Their love for the child, in normal circumstances, is not motivated by the child’s idealization of them.”
Another soul comments, “Hatred seems like such a complicated and dreadful emotion.”
Oreon replied, “It’s not an uncommon experience, especially while you are children. Most of you will experience it at one time or another during your upcoming incarnations. The key to understanding hate is to unearth the belief, or the idea, that justifies such a feeling. The hater is always attracted to the object of his hatred by deep psychological bonds in the same way a lover is to their loved one.”
A soul in the audience asks, “What do you mean by that?”
Oreon replied, “Love and hate are both based upon self-identification, or the attribution to yourself (consciously or unconsciously) of the characteristics of another person. You see in the other a reflection of yourself; a reflection you like in the case of love, and a reflection you hate in the case of hatred.
“On the surface, however, hatred is usually experienced in a social context and often coupled with feelings of jealousy, anger, and powerlessness. So, for example; you hate and feel jealous of someone who separates you from your lover; you hate and feel angry at someone who double-crossed you; you hate and feel powerless in relation to your peers at school, or at work. In all instances, it’s a projection of an idealization; in the first instance to your lover, in the second instance your idealized sense of trust in others, and in the third instance your idealized ability to perform socially, or to perform a specific task. The hatred is meant to motivate you to get back what you perceived you have lost, or to lead to a communication which brings you closer to a resolution. Hatred is not a denial of love (i.e. of yourself, or for someone else), but an attempt to regain it, and a painful recognition of the circumstances that separate you from it.”
Another soul asked, “What about feelings of hatred for your enemy in war. Is that hatred also a result of an internal psychological conflict due to idealization?”
Oron replied, “During your upcoming incarnations, some of you will be taught by your parents, by your religion, or your culture, that to hate is wrong and evil. A problem may then occur when you find yourself hating someone or hating something, because you try to inhibit that emotion. In that instance, you identify with those aspects of yourself which are gentle and demure, and pretend away or bury feelings of hate that are an equally valid part of you. But what you bury dams up. And as the dam fills, your denial will be projected onto others, e.g. your spouse, a family member, a friend, or a neighbor, to whom you act uncharacteristically mean. If you are conscripted to war, you may discover, to your horror, when these pent up pre-conscious, or unconscious, feelings of hatred are given freedom and encouraged in battle, that you enjoy their release as you kill the enemy with zeal and zealotry.”
The soul comments, “I’m not sure I like this.”
Oreon replied, “There are no absolute rules, but the experience of hatred is usually fleeting in the young child and subsides quickly in favor of love, as the child acquiesces to the terms of its corporeal existence. That is where the saying “It’s a thin line between love and hate” comes from, as the feeling of hatred in the child is easily replaced by feelings of love. In adolescence and in young adulthood when persons are in the midst of wrestling with issues pertaining to their purpose in life, hate may take on a more enduring quality, e.g. in response to a perceived threat for advancement, or a threat to normalcy and acceptance within a peer group, as we discussed in my recent lecture on bullying. Whereas later in life, hate rarely occurs, but when it does, it is usually focused on broader issues having to do with humanity.”
Another soul in the lecture hall comments, “I plotted to kill my lover in my last incarnation for screwing around on me. I hated him! I’ve realized since then, that this was a childish thing to do?”
Oreon replied, “Yes. This becomes blatantly apparent when you begin to study your lifetimes following your incarnations. The hatred you felt had the same antecedents as the child who hates his parents; i.e. of unrequited love. Many human beings do not evolve beyond this expression of hate, which is usually coupled with jealousy.
(“It may interest some of you that this expression of hate was studied by a well-known psychoanalyst in Vienna in the early 20th century. He proposed a transient developmental period during childhood to account for this type of hate which he called the Oedipus- and the Electra complex. In the Oedipus complex the boy fantasizes the death of his father in order that his mother will have no one else to love but him, and in the Electra complex the situation is reversed, where the girl fantasizes about the death of her mother in order that her father will have no one else to love but her. This theory was ‘couched’ (no pun intended!) in the sexually repressive era that existed in Europe at that time and is an exaggeration of the idealization discussed earlier which is responsible for this emotion.)
“In a similar way to the child-like hate I just discussed, many human beings do not evolve beyond the type of hate first experienced in adolescence and in young adulthood, which I discussed earlier, and will continue to hate others for their own shortcomings throughout their lives. Some of you will be on the receiving end of this type of behavior, e.g. when you will be bullied at your place of work. ”
The soul in the lecture hall now asks, “So what advise do you have for us during our upcoming incarnations?”
Oreon replied, “As with all emotion, your goal is to attain the emotional experience, i.e. of hatred, in this instance. Once you have been successful in achieving that emotion and experiencing its upsets, your challenge will be to let go of it and not to cause injury. The royal road to achieving this is to own and acknowledge the hatred, rather than to bury it or pretend it out of existence. Hatred is not a stagnant emotion and as soon as you begin to unearth the beliefs that produced it, you will automatically be led beyond that state, as your search quickly carries you into a quicksand of fear – which is always behind hatred. And as with all negative emotions, it is a fear of not being loved or a fear of not being lovable, and ultimately a fear of losing touch with your own essence of love that is terrifying.”
(Many of the concepts in this article have been adopted from Jane Robert’s Seth book The Nature of Personal Reality, as well as other resources. Please refer to my book Slice of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, for further reading on this subject)
All speech, action and behavior are fluctuations of consciousness. All life emerges from, and is sustained in, consciousness. The whole universe is the expression of consciousness. The reality of the universe is one unbounded ocean of consciousness in motion. – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
This expression of consciousness attempts to comprehend the unfathomable. Everything in our universe is an expression of consciousness, including our existence. And therein is the problem; our level of consciousness cannot comprehend itself, nor can it comprehend a consciousness greater than itself. We are like the toe of an elephant. We can only speculate about the foot and less so about the leg attached to the foot. And to understand the entire elephant is unfathomable. The only way in which we can attempt to comprehend consciousness is to speculate and to postulate what effects it has in our world and what role it has in our creation. And the only way in which we can do that is by inference, analogy, or metaphor.
In our attempt to understand consciousness we must, for example, go beyond an explanation of exactly why a reflection of ourselves appears when we look into a still pond, and ask ourselves how it is that we exist in the first place? Where do we come from and how does our consciousness serve us? And more fundamentally, how is it that there indeed is a pond, a flora and a fauna, a biosphere, an atmosphere, a stratosphere, and an entire physical universe?
In Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, an attempt is made to delineate the types of phenomena that emerge in our world that appear to be effects of consciousness. The concepts espoused are those of Seth, a discarnate entity channeled by the late Jane Roberts and published in her numerous books that have become to be known as the Seth Material.
Seth, in order to discuss consciousness, first proposes that consciousness is comprised of minute ‘consciousness unites’ that coalesce to form specialized fields, or groupings, that have specific functions. For example, specialized fields of consciousness units form universes. Others form dimensions. More specialized consciousness units are responsible for events that occur within those dimensions, such as the ‘unfolding harmony’ that strings events out within the space/time dimension. And yet more specialized consciousness units form everything that exists within those dimensions, e.g. the flora and the fauna – including humans.
In answer to the question, where do we human beings come from and how are we consciously aware? Seth postulates, furthermore, that the basic consciousness of the human animal is joined with a spirit (a highly sophisticated bundle of consciousness) which transforms the human animal into a human being – as he ascends, sentient. The spirit is further seen to have the fluid divisions of an over-soul, a soul, an inner mind, and an outer ego, which provide it with a link from the Spiritual Dimension, as it projects itself and emerges into the physical world.
In the following excerpt (a proposed Appendix for the 2nd edition of Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey) Old soul is explaining to Rikki how his existence emerges into the physical world, and how his physical image is sustained throughout his lifetime:
…Rikki asked, “Before we finish for today, can you tell me more about how all of this comes about. How do we leave the Spiritual Dimension and create our existence down here on Earth?”
Old Soul replied, “Yes of course. This is always a perplexing concept for people to understand. The reason for this has to do with the fact that your existence straddles the Physical Dimension – which intersects the space/time dimension, and the Spiritual Dimension, where space, time, and matter, do not exist. Imagine yourself (i.e. your soul) standing in a doorway, with one foot on either side of a threshold; one in the Physical Dimension and the other in the Spiritual Dimension. Your over-soul, firmly planted within the Spiritual Dimension, watches you as you do this, while it projects and sustains an energy beam that is maintaining the existence of your soul, as it stands in this doorway – throughout your incarnation. Your soul, in turn, creates your ‘outer ego’ (i.e. your waking consciousness or your mind’) which operates within the physical world by way of your brain. And finely, it also creates the ‘inner mind’ which provides a bridge between the soul and the outer ego. Through this arrangement, there exists a direct connection between your existence within the Spiritual Dimension and your body within the physical world. This connection is fluid and it operates continuously in both directions.”
Old Soul hesitated and asked, “Do you follow me, so far?”
Rikki replied, “Yes, you have mentioned much of this before.”
Old Soul replied, “Yes. Good of you to remember.
“Then let’s continue. You asked how you create your existence on Earth? Let’s rephrase your question and ask more precisely, how do you create your ‘personal reality’ on Earth?”
Old Soul continued with the following answer, “While stationed on Earth, your outer ego is able to initiate a process whereby it draws to itself events of non-physical origin, from outside the physical world. When these events are siphoned through the brain, they become physically valid. This is how you create your personal reality within the physical world. The appearance your personal reality takes is based on the beliefs held by your outer ego. When these beliefs receive your conscious intent, they cause a ripple in a sea of all possible non-physical events that could possibly occur in your life, and while acting as screening agents, separate certain probable events from others in accordance with your beliefs. Your outer ego then materializes them into the three-dimensional physical world, as they are pulled into your dimension and interpreted with the use of your brain.
“That is why it is so important for you to have a good grasp on your beliefs, because they determine which events you select and how you consequently constructed your personal reality. In fact, your beliefs not only determine everything you see as you look through your physical eyes, they also determine what you feel about everything that happens to you – they are responsible for creating your emotions as well!”
Rikki replied, “I see. This helps…spelling it out in this way.
“Is this how my dog creates his reality as well? Does he also have beliefs that create his reality?”
Old Soul replied, “No, not exactly. For animals this process is more instinctual – a basic biological consciousness. In order to answer your question, let me first tell you a little bit about the quality of consciousness in general.
“As you know, the entire universe is conscious. You also know that consciousness comes in a variety of forms. For example, the quality of consciousness varies considerably depending on the creature and it becomes increasingly complex as you move up the phylogenetic scale through the animal kingdom.
“We also spoke earlier about how the human animal becomes sentient in the melding of the soul’s consciousness with the basic consciousness of the human body. Sentience is attained due to the quality of the soul’s consciousness that is considerably more sophisticated than that of animals. As an example, unlike animals, human beings are endowed with an awareness that allows them to perceive past, present, and future. With that, you are, for example, able to predict the outcome of your actions based on past experience, and make educated guesses as to what those same actions would have in the future. You have the ability to believe. Also, the sophistication of your consciousness gives you the ability to think in the abstract, and to give names to objects and to events. It allows you to discuss issues and to differentiate your experience. Animals do not have any of these abilities. Their consciousness is primitive and relies for the most part on instinct. However, as you know, your dog for example, has a definite thought process, albeit elementary. Your dog will fetch a ball, he will fetch a toy on his own from another location within your home and bring it to you and indicate he wants to play, he will let you know when he needs to go out to do his business, etc. Dogs can be trained to do fairly complex tasks, as evidenced in dog training competitions. They are also able to sense types of consciousness most humans are blind to, such as the presence of discarnate spirits, your personal guide, your state of physical health, and your emotions at any given moment in time. And finely, dogs are loyal to their owners, they’re cute, and they are always happy to see you, and for these reasons, they have been termed man’s best friend!
“Old world primates are more intelligent however and they display fairly complex cognitive processes, but their level of intelligence is significantly less than that of humans.”
Rikki commented, “O.K. I understand.”
Rikki continued in an attempt to grasp onto these concepts a little bit better and asked, “I have another question that relates to consciousness, but it has to do with time. Can you tell me more about my existence in time…I’m still confused about that?”
Old Soul smiled and replied, “Well, to begin with, as I mentioned earlier, it’s important for you to realize that your consciousness, your thoughts, and your beliefs, are phenomena that operate within the Spiritual Dimension and within the Physical Dimension, but they are for the most part unhindered by the confluence of space with the time dimension – which intersects the Physical Dimension.”
Rikki replied, “Yes, but how is it that my physical body must operate within space/time, but my thoughts and beliefs do not…and neither is my soul and over-soul affected by space/time?”
Old Soul replied, “I realize this is confusing for you to understand from your perspective, whereas it is a most natural state of affairs from my vantage point here in the Spiritual Dimension.
“First of all, keep in mind that there exists no time or space here in the Spiritual Dimension. Whereas from your perspective, immersed as you are within space/time, your only way to visualize or imagine my world which is outside space/time, is to assume that everything on this side must happen at once. But that is not the case. It would be more accurate to say that events here in the Spiritual Dimension happen ‘simultaneously’ and, of course, in harmony. There is no chaos in the Spiritual Dimension.”
Rikki replied, “I hadn’t thought of it, but I assumed somehow that there was no chaos. But if everything doesn’t happen at once, how am I to understand it?”
Old Soul replied, “In your physical state and as you must rely on your physical brain to logically deduce your ideas, you will never be able to grasp it fully. But let me make an attempt to explain some aspects of your greater existence in terms you can understand.
“As an example, we spoke earlier about some of your past incarnations. From your perspective, they happened in your historical past, and indeed there exists a physical trace of these lives in your Earth’s history. From my perspective, on the other hand, as I am outside of time, it would however be more accurate to refer to your past lives as ‘simultaneous lives’, rather than successive reincarnations. The greater You (i.e. your over-soul) is a multidimensional consciousness. The extent of what that entails is, however, too vast to appear in any complete fashion within the consciousness available to you through your physical brain, which you now must use to converse with me. But in truth, your over-soul intersects with physical matter, space, and time, simultaneously at many points. Each of these immersions into three-dimensional existence are individual lives with their own souls. And you are one of these souls. Each of these souls are also a part of your over-soul, and like you, are maintained by its energy throughout their lifetimes.”
Rikki asked thoughtfully, “So are you saying that from my perspective these are my past lives, whereas outside of time and from your vantage point, they are simultaneous lives?”
Old Soul replied, “Yes, that is correct. And there is more. Each one of these souls also has counterparts, or existences that play out in non-physical worlds. These counterparts are probable scenarios derived from possibilities that were highly probable for example in your current physical life, and which you considered seriously, but chose not to make physical. They are creative visualizations of events that play themselves out to their logical end in parallel mental universes, which you often recall in dreams.
“All of your simultaneous souls (or past lives, as you understand them to be) and all of your counterparts, influence one another. Decisions you make in these other existences have an effect in your current life. Your spiritual evolution is a consequence of the combined experience and crosspollination between all of your simultaneous lives and all of your counterparts.
Rikki muttered with hushed surprise, “Wow”.
Old Soul continued, “You seldom recall your simultaneous lives when you wake up from a dream, but you will often recall the events experienced by your counterparts, who follow the paths you chose not to bring into your three-dimensional world.”
Rikki exclaimed, “Wow! My existence has suddenly become infinitely vast and much more complicated.”
Old Soul replied, “Yes, but only when you look at it from your current circumstance while immersed within the Physical Dimension and influenced by the confluence of space with the dimension of time.”
Rikki, eyes wide open, said, “You are going to have to help me understand this better.”
Old Soul replied, “Let me give you an example. You are already aware that during sleep, your consciousness is focused elsewhere. During those times you travel within other dimensions outside space, time, and matter, and your memories of those adventures are often recalled in the form of dreams when you awake. And vice versa, when you are on your travels in those dimensions while your body sleeps, your memories from Earth are recalled as dreams within those dimensions.
“Now, I can also offer you a similar explanation from a different angle, a grander perspective. In this analogy, imagine yourself sitting next to me as an over-soul here in the Spiritual Dimension while looking through a pair of binoculars. And as you project an energy beam (i.e. in the form of a soul) into the world you are observing, such as Earth, you create a holographic image of yourself within that world (i.e. your physical body). This image of yourself has an independence of its own, and you use it to roam about Earth with free will, as you go about your business. When the physical body requires rest, you induce it to sleep. In the meantime (or simultaneously from my perspective) you focus your binoculars into other worlds where you create a different holographic image of yourself, a different self, along with a different reality, based on your beliefs within that world.”
Rikki raising his hand and attempting to summarize what Old Soul had described up until now, asked, “So help me to understand this.
“My over-soul, which is in the Spiritual Dimension, projects aspects of itself into different worlds in the form of souls. When focused on Earth, the experience takes place within this Physical Dimension, where physical space intersects with a time dimension. But not all of the soul’s experience is hindered by, or affected by, the trappings of space/time. Consciousness and thought, for example, are not. And on a grander scale, this same scenario is repeated ‘simultaneously’ from your over-soul’s perspective, whereas from my viewpoint it appears as if it is occurring sequentially or historically, in other physical space/time periods.”
Old Soul replied, “Yes, that is correct.”
Rikki being a student of science and psychology, asked, “Can we ever have scientific proof of any of this?”
Old Soul replied, “No. As I said earlier, your consciousness cannot study itself objectively. But the effects of consciousness, when they have been made physical, are studied routinely by your scientists. Also, phenomenon such as what beliefs you hold, and what emotions you feel, can be delineated and analyzed in scientific terms. But the source of your ability to believe, and the source of your ability to feel an emotion, cannot be quantified and manipulated in ways required for scientific proof. Neither can a thought or the occurrence of an idea be quantified or manipulated. Nor can your ability to abstract, to differentiate your experience, or to perceive past, present, and future, be quantified to fit with the scientific method.
“The scientific method is dependent on the dimension of time; i.e. that one event follows another, reliably. To take one example familiar to you, consider the process that occurs in the brain when neurons fire across synaptic clefts and carry with them encoded messages from one area of the brain to another. When this happens, a time-lapse is seen to occur. And so it is held that all phenomena within the physical world operate on this principle, where one happening is seen to follow another in time, and one event is therefore seen to cause the other.
“This premise of ‘cause’ and ‘effect’, which most scientists believe to be universal, is the cornerstone of the scientific method of enquiry. There exists, therefore, a common belief that if a phenomenon cannot be shown to occur reliably within this experimental framework, that there is no proof of its existence, and, ergo, that it does not exist.
“The problem, however, is that phenomena that occur independent of, or are not hindered by, the dimension of time, cannot be manipulated to fit within the constraints of the time requirement imposed by the ‘scientific method’. In order to study those types of phenomena, all you can do as human beings is to relay on a single person’s account of their own personal experience; i.e. their subjective account. And that does not satisfy the principle of objectivity, nor does it yield objective scientific proof.
“Human consciousness is ultimately a spiritual phenomenon, a mental platform beyond thought and beyond time. Many of its creations that appear within the physical world can be manipulated and studied scientifically, but the phenomena we have discussed today, for the most part, do not lend themselves to scientific enquiry.”
(These concepts have mainly been drawn from Jane Robert’s Seth books; The Nature of Personal Reality, and Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity Of the Soul. Please also have a look at my book; Slice of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey, for further reading on this subject)
Another comment from the audience, “We set up situations on Earth for us to generate these painful and negative emotions. Yet our challenge is not to act on them when they are strong and overwhelming. That is a tough challenge.”
Oreon replied, “That is why it has been termed a ‘divine dichotomy’. On a spiritual level it is essential for us to generate negative emotions in order to learn from them, and at the same time, as all humans are connected spiritually, violence inflicted on one is an injury to all. So we must generate the emotion, but not act on it so as to harm another human being. That paradox has been termed the divine dichotomy.”
Another question from a soul in the audience, “What does it say about society on Earth in general, that bullying occurs in the first place?
Oreon replied, “As you know, Earth, as we now construct our reality within that physical dimension, makes for a rather primitive existence. Barbarous acts and posturing in pursuit of power are commonplace, and these activities fragment society on all levels, causing wars to ravage and hatred for the fellow man.
“As I’ve said earlier, bullying is motivated by fear and it is expressed as a quest for power. Adults are usually conscious of their motivations for bullying someone, but for the young person, as in the example given before with Rikki, the reasons for these acts are for the most part unconscious. They springs from an utter fear of annihilation and are expressed in the grasping for power by bullying someone. The bully is normally motivated by a need to restore a perceived imbalance in power within his social group and, in so doing, seeks to find acceptance among his group of peers. But the bully must resist acting on his fear. His challenge, as it is for all human beings, is to act in accordance with the highest ideal of who he understands himself to be, and to make responsible decisions when his feelings are strong and overwhelming, and not to harm to others. There is always a choice, as all human beings have free will.”
Oreon continued, “Now, despite best intensions, things do not always unfold with a positive outcome. And as incidents of bullying occur and as young people attempt suicide, and succeed in their efforts, society at large is reminded of its barbarous nature. It responds with efforts of research and education, with an attempt to bring about a culture of understanding, and to reprimand or punish offenders. But until humans become cognisant of the fact that they are all intimately attached on a spiritual level, and that causing harm to one is tantamount to a self-inflicted injury, acts of brutality on Earth will not cease to occur. All humans, all souls, are connected in the loving essence of All That Is, as are the fingers of the same hand – an injury to one, causes pain to all.”
A question from another soul in the audience, “What about forgiveness. Is the bully forgiven his actions?”
Oreon replied, “This is a good question. And, as in answer to many of your questions, there are two answers; one on the spiritual level and the other from the perspective of the human being while living a lifetime on Earth.
“From our perspective, the meaning of everything that occurs on Earth is understood. We design our experience within that reality; there are no unforeseen events, and there is no need for forgiveness. The actions your souls take during the incarnation are understood from the grander perspective of All That Is, of which we all are a part.
“Forgiveness during your incarnation, on the other hand, is an integral part of what you experience emotionally during your lifetime, and it takes on a very different picture.
“On Earth, forgiveness is a state of mind achieved through transcendence. It comes about through a quest for understanding, a need to be healed, and an acceptance that nothing can be gained by further questioning or feelings of revenge. It’s a rising above, a coming to terms with, and a letting-go. In your instance as bullies, or as victims, it is a coming-to-terms-with you must first achieve within yourselves. You will have to let go of the anger and the hurt you feel. And in order to do that, you will have to come to an acceptance on a spiritual level that your experience of being bullied, or your guilt of having bullied someone, was a fate invited by yourselves, in order that you have an opportunity to learn from that emotional experience. Only then can you forgive yourselves and move on with your lives.
“The road towards forgiveness is a little easier for you souls who will be victims, as compared to bullies. The reason for this is that the victim is usually able to achieve transcendence without having to communicate directly with the bully, whereas the bully must always receive forgiveness directly from his victim, before he can let go of his guilt and forgive himself. So please consider during this next lifetime that you are about to embark on, to offer forgiveness to the bully, who agreed – albeit for his own reasons as well, to participate in this scenario with you. In doing so, you will give the bully an opportunity for forgiveness as well. The bully’s absolution during the incarnation is dependent on your ability and willingness to offer him your forgiveness.
“As you can see, it is a lonesome journey for both the bully and the bullied to achieve forgiveness. In most instances, forgiveness, if it is achieved at all, is only achieved by the victim. The main reason for this is that long periods of time will often lapse before the victim is able to find resolution and forgive himself, and by the time that has occurred, the bully involved will have moved away and contact with him is lost. In other instances, the reasons for ‘no forgiveness’ are complex and have to do with personality characteristics, and with society’s attitude at large in regards to certain offenses. We may discuss this at a later time.”
A follow-up question from a soul in the audience, “This sounds like such a difficult task. Do you have any suggestions that will help us along?”
Oreon replied, “First you must achieve emotional transcendence through a dialogue with yourself, and in the case of the victim, seek to offer your forgiveness to your antagonist. As this process takes place, the link of hatred, or guilt, that has bound the two of you, is gradually severed – as you remove the hook from your heart and give permission for the pain to drift away. Only then will you find the freedom to move on with your life.
“Now I’ll bring this lecture to a close. Thank you for your audience. I look forward to meeting all of you again, after you have returned from your incarnations.”
(The thoughts in this 4-part blog have been drawn from The Seth Material, Conversations With God, The Journey Of Souls, Man’s Search For Ultimate Meaning, and the authors insights as a psychotherapist. For further reading on this subject, see Slice Of Life: A Self-Help Odyssey. A practical perspective for thriving within the trappings of the physical world.)