The Gate of Hell (Upper and Lower Mental Plane, Causal Body)AC 239: October 28, 2004 (Boston)
A foray into the Afterdeath Zone, which appeared to me as a huge national park that combines elements of Olympic National Park (the rain forest) and the Grand Canyon.
I was hiking along a trail that ran on one side of the canyon. The terrain was relatively flat on my left and sloped suddenly downward on my right. The trail was surrounded by huge old trees, moss, lots of undergrowth, all very green. To my right, the forest continued into a mist as it sloped down into a deep valley.
As I hiked, I occasionally came upon streams that crossed the trail and headed down into the valley. Before I crossed each one, I tested its temperature by putting my hand into it.
One of the streams seemed warm, as if it had issued from a hot spring. I followed that one down into the valley. [Movement from the upper mental plane to the lower mental plane.]
The green that surrounded me indicated that I was in an area of nonphysical reality dedicated to growth. The stream was what I call an energy stream, which functions as a means of travel from one part of Otherwhere to another.
Although I hadn’t consciously chosen a destination in the Afterdeath Zone, at some level I must have known that I needed to visit a specific area. I recognized the energy stream that would take me there by its apparently greater warmth--almost like the children’s game, “You’re getting warmer.”
After descending the forested slope of the valley by following the energy stream, I came to a cleared area at the bottom. Train tracks followed the valley floor, coming in from my left.
Before me was a small train station, consisting of an open-air platform and a guardhouse. Beyond the platform, to my right, the tracks continued in the direction of a high mountain face and passed into a tunnel at its base.
The scene was impressive. It reminded me of a place in the Swiss Alps where I once had to take a train through a tunnel in a mountain.
When I arrived at the station, I was surprised to see that the Gatekeeper in charge was dressed to resemble the palace guards of the Wicked Witch of the West in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz. He had sharp, silver-toned features and was wearing a high furry hat, a kilt, leggings, and boots.
A man and woman were sitting on a bench on the platform staring vacantly off into space. They were apparently waiting for the train.
When I climbed the stairs to the platform, which was slightly elevated above the surface level of the valley, the Gatekeeper challenged me: “Who goes there?”
I didn’t know what to say. Although my journey up to this point had been full of decisiveness and self-assurance, I didn’t know where I was or why I was there.
“I’m a Dreamer,” I explained. “I’ve been exploring the Afterdeath Zone. Where is this place? I haven’t come across it before.”
“This is the Gate into the Deep Life Review Zone,” the Gatekeeper answered. “Some call it the Gate of Hell. But you know our humor over here. The only hells are self-created.
“This is the area of the Afterlife in which you go over each moment of your life to determine what it had to teach you and how, if at all, your thoughts and actions in that moment were aligned with the soul’s master plan for your growth.
“We call it Hell because so much of people’s lives are based on selfish motives that have nothing to do with the soul. It’s often painful to have to relive and accept responsibility for the unfortunate thoughts and behaviors that result from self-will--by which I mean putting the pursuit of one’s own happiness, or what one imagines happiness to be, before the satisfaction of the soul’s needs and those of other people.
“But let me show you a map.”
The Gatekeeper led me over to a wall of the guardhouse, on which was posted a topographical map of the area.
“Here’s where we are,” the Gatekeeper said, indicating a place near the lower left-hand corner of the map. “On the other side of this mountain, after passing through this tunnel on the train, you come out into a much larger valley. Through it runs what we call the Great River, a powerful energy stream that pulls everyone along in the direction of their growth, no matter how much they may have resisted it while they were alive.
“As you can see, the Great River has many tributaries, flowing down the sides of the valley it runs through. This means that there are many ways (or energy streams) of gaining access to the Deep Life Review Zone [lower mental plane], or valley of the Great River. It also means that everyone who dies will eventually pass through here, just as all of the rivers in a watershed will eventually empty into a larger river like the Mississippi.
“You may have noticed that the Great River meanders through its valley, reflecting the many twists and turns and individual human life usually takes.
“Up here,” the Guide pointed to the upper left-hand corner of the map, “the Great River empties into a huge lake, similar in function to the Acherusian Lake described by Plato. At this point, the Shades of those who have passed on have been purged of everything that stood between them and their soul’s plans for their growth in life. They are in effect reunited with the soul, the larger nonphysical aspect of themselves [upper mental plane].
“Since all souls are connected here in nonphysical reality, when you’ve reached this stage in your Afterlife journey, you get a chance to bask in a sense of union with other like-minded souls at your level of spiritual development. Because so much of the pain and confusion of life is a result of feeling separated from other people, the sense of union experienced in the Acherusian Lake is like a healing balm. For many people, the feeling of love and connection that they’ll experience here will feel like heaven.”
“So, it’s Hell on one end and Heaven on the other,” I said. “That sounds more like Purgatory to me.”
“Yes,” the Gatekeeper replied, “Purgatory certainly defines the function of the Deep Life Review Zone. But you would be surprised at how useful it can sometimes be to describe where we are right now as the Gate of Hell to certain individuals.
“For example, that guy over there, on the bench. He died a couple of years before his wife did, after a long marriage that was moderately unhappy as a result of his narcissism. He came here alone a while back, before his wife died, and decided he couldn’t brave the Gate of Hell alone. His narcissism was so strong that he assumed his wife would join him in Hell. Just as she made him more comfortable in life, so would she in death.
“His wife was actually more deserving of Heaven after so many years of loving and serving this man, which she did in full knowledge of, and despite, his selfishness. But, of course, at this stage in his Afterdeath journey, he wasn’t willing or able to see that.
“We give people the choice of doing the Deep Life Review alone or with their partners in life. So he has been waiting until his wife’s passage to return here. And now, here they are.”
As the Gatekeeper explained all this to me, I kept looking over at the couple on the bench. They both appeared to be in their early forties, even though it was clear from what the Gatekeeper had said that they had not died young. He was about six feet tall, I guessed, with a full head of curly blond hair tinged with gray, and a full beard. She was much smaller, a little plump, with a kind, round face, and a modest disposition. Her hair was dark. She looked very motherly.
Both of them stared vacantly off into space, as if absorbed in thought to the point of being unaware of the scenery that surrounded them, my conversation with the Gatekeeper, and even each other. I found myself wondering why they hadn’t reacted to any of the unflattering things that the Gatekeeper had said about the man.
“Don’t worry,” the Gatekeeper replied to my unspoken thought. “They can’t register what we’re communicating to each other. In the first place, they’re too absorbed in the idea that they’ll soon be on their way through the Gate of Hell. But you should also understand that we’ve been using a feel/think communication band that they don’t have access to.
“Their present state of consciousness and their level of spiritual development limits the range of their own feel/think abilities. We would have to go to a great deal of effort to alter their state of consciousness sufficiently for them to register what we’re saying to each other--and even then they might have no frame of reference for understanding the information that we’ve been passing back and forth. They would probably represent it to themselves as a foreign language.
“But look, the train is approaching.”
Sure enough, coming up the valley was an old-fashioned, coal-burning train like the narrow-gauge train in Durango, which takes tourists up to the town of Silverton and back. The train was belching out clouds of black smoke. The open tourist cars contained a few Shades, all of them as stony face and self-absorbed as the couple on the bench.
“The train will stop here,” the Gatekeeper explained. “Everyone who is on it will get off for an orientation. That couple on the bench will board it and the train will head through the tunnel into the valley of the Great River, the Deep Life Review Zone. You’ll learn a lot if you accompany them on this journey.
“Come here a moment and I’ll adjust your consciousness in a way that will allow you to experience the Deep Life Review Zone exactly as the man does. His is perhaps the more interesting perspective, since it’s the most out of alignment with the soul’s plans for his growth.”
With this, the Gatekeeper touched the front of my head at the third eye and the back at the occipital region at the base of my skull. I experienced the opening up of another awareness in my consciousness, like opening a new window in a computer program. Somehow it was possible for me to straddle two states of consciousness at once--my own, and this new one.
The Gatekeeper continued, “He won’t be aware of you. Now, wait over here so that you can get on the train with them without getting separated by the incoming crowd.”
I did as I was told. The couple on the bench arose vacantly when the train had stopped and the passengers had gotten off. The Gatekeeper announced, “The Gate of Hell Express, now boarding”--and gave me a wink as I entered the train. It pulled away from the station, putting enough black coal smoke into the air that the idea it was headed for Hell certainly seemed plausible.
I caught a last flicker of feel/think from the Gatekeeper before the train entered the dark tunnel. “The smoke is their fear of the soul. The soul’s love pulls them on. The labor of raising their level of consciousness is symbolized by the upward slope of the tracks. The smoke represents the need to burn off their resistance and yield to the locomotive force of the soul’s love.”
On the other side of the tunnel, the train stopped to let the three of us get off. There was no station. The train went on and we found ourselves surrounded by heavy fog, through which it was possible just barely to make out the green of the rain forest.
We were in a flat grassy area. There was no sign of the Great River--unless it was the source of the fog. As I stood there wondering what to do next, the married couple, moving like zombies, somehow located what looked like a heavy old grey wooden picnic table, such as I’ve used at national forest campgrounds in the West.
The couple seated themselves opposite each other at the table. I went and stood behind the man.
At this point, I allowed myself to focus more deeply on the window into this man’s consciousness that the Gatekeeper had created for me. I sensed no mental activity other than passive waiting. He hardly seemed to be aware of his surroundings.
Through his eyes, I could see his wife looking at him. She had more animation in her face. I saw love and sadness in her eyes, and a sense of expectancy. She seemed to be waiting eagerly for what would happen next.
He, however, seemed to be indifferent, even helplessly dejected. He evidently took the idea of having entered the Gate of Hell quite seriously.
Going deeper into his mind, I had a strange sense of time opening up and slowing down. My own thoughts, in my window of consciousness, continued at what I would call a normal speed, which I never would have noticed without the comparison that my straddling his awareness and my own allowed me to make. But this man’s thoughts felt to me like what physicists say about the temperature of absolute zero, at which all atomic motion stops.
After what I experienced as a few moments and he experienced as centuries, another man emerged from the fog and approached the picnic table. He was dressed like a forest ranger. He tipped his hat to me and raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. He turned his attention to the couple at the table, examined them for a moment, and then addressed them.
“Folks, I’m the Facilitator on duty, and I’ve come to explain the rules.” The Facilitator’s tone was much like that of a park ranger, official and disinterested.
“If you want, you can think about your progress through the Deep Life Review Zone as a kind of game. This is your starting point, or square one. Memories will show up from time to time. When you’ve seen what you were supposed to learn from them, you’ll advance to the next square.
“This process will continue until the fog disappears. Then you’ll see the Great River that you’re progressing along.
“Each square, like this picnic table, will show you another view of the Great River--another perspective to take on your life. These perspectives are arranged thematically, not by the sequence in which you experienced the events of your life.
“The present perspective represents the sense of not getting what you wanted out of life, which for most people dates back to infancy--the first time you were hungry and didn’t get fed immediately. This is the main origin of self-will, and the first and greatest block erected by the ego against the soul’s intentions for your growth. Often, this block grows in size, as resentment, on a daily basis, until the soul is almost completely silenced.
“When you’ve seen all the incidents of your life that are traceable to self-will, you’ll move on to the next square, or perspective. If either of you completes this task before the other, you’ll move on to the next square and wait until your partner catches up with you. The love between you will draw along the one left behind. Any questions?”
Looking through the eyes of the man, I saw that his wife seemed to have heard and understood. She rubbed her hands together in eager anticipation of beginning.
Then I checked in on how the man himself had registered and responded to these words. He had paid as little attention to them as to a radio broadcast going on in the background while he was doing something else. He was too preoccupied with the idea of being condemned to Hell to notice what was happening around him.
The ranger looked at me and rolled his eyes. I got a hint of feel/think from him that was clearly designed to register only in the me-portion of my divided consciousness: “Looks like we’ve got a slow learner here.”
“Then, once again addressing the couple, the Facilitator said, “Let’s try a little demonstration of what I mean.”
Two figures emerged from the mist. At first, my man didn’t notice them. But they approached the picnic table until they had come within his line of vision.
Through my man’s eye, I saw that they were male. One was taller than the other. They were clearly brothers.
With what seemed to me like infinite slowness, my man recognized them. “It’s the Russell brothers,” he thought. “I grew up with them. They treated my like shit. Pete, the older one, always looked down his nose at me. He could always get the girls. I hated him. Big man on campus, too proud for his own britches.”
I could feel old resentments rekindling and flaring up. My man’s mind was completely taken over by them.
“Now, what’s the lesson here?” the ranger asked.
I wasn’t sure that my man heard him. He kept repeating to himself, “Too big for his own britches, got to take him down a notch somehow.”
Suddenly, his wife said, “I know! I know! It’s the sin of pride.”
“Not quite,” the ranger replied. “Pete Russell was a reflection of your own husband’s self-will. That’s what needed to be taken down a notch. Instead, your husband tried to make his own self-will bigger, so that he could ‘get the girls,’ or whatever else he wanted, without leaving anything left over for Pete, or others like him. But he really lived in Pete’s shadow, just as did Pete’s younger brother.”
“I see,” the wife said primly. Something in the ranger’s reply had pressed her buttons. I could tell by the way she pursed her lips.
“Then she burst out, “If, before we married, he could get all the girls, why did he chose me?”
The ranger replied, “Because he knew that you would satisfy his basic needs without a fight. He was looking for a mother figure who would take care of him while he went after all the girls--and who would say nothing for fear of his anger.”
The wife’s eyes got very large. For a moment, it seemed as if she was vacillating between striking the Facilitator and bursting into tears. Then, suddenly, she disappeared.
“Well, they’re off,” the Facilitator said to the me-portion of my divided consciousness. “That was her only resentment, which she kept to herself. The combination of that fact with her low level of self-will makes her a fast learner, at least at this square. There are others that will be more challenging for her, such as the fear and lovability squares.
“Meanwhile, she’ll wait at the next square until her husband shows up. Judging by his degree of self-will, it might take awhile.”
The Facilitator tipped his hat to me and vanished into the fog.
My man continued to brood over his resentment of Pete Russell for what seemed to me like an eternity, but only because his own thought process was so slow. Suddenly, he became alert to his surroundings.
“I’m cold,” he said to himself, standing up, stamping his feet, and rubbing his hands. Somehow I knew that this was his first awareness of and response to his wife’s disappearance. Her love was gone. He’d felt its loss. Perhaps this feeling would eventually propel him through the work of this square and on to the next.
By this time the images of Pete Russell and his brother had vanished into the mist. The man began to look for wood to start a fire, as if he were on a camping trip. He started with twigs and eventually collected some good sized logs.
Periodically, this process was interrupted by other silent presences coming through the fog, stimulating angry memories, and then disappearing. After a while, my man had built a roaring bonfire.
It occurred to me that he was picking through his resentments. like twigs and logs, letting himself feel them, and then seeing how they had consumed him as he added them to the fire of his awareness. Inwardly, it felt like an orgy of gloating hatred. My man was intoxicated by it, as if he’d been sitting by a real-life campfire, feeding and staring into it while getting drunk on beer.
He must have done something like this while he was alive, because he never seemed to perceive that what he was doing was symbolic.
Then, it was time to empty out the whole process. He got up from the fire and wandered off into the woods to pee.
Just then another figure emerged from the mist--a blond man, without a beard, very handsome, in his twenties. This young man moved lightly, quickly, deliberately, unlike the memory people. The latter had been as mute and unmoving as wax figures rolling through the fog as if on a conveyor belt. The young man glowed with health and vitality, as if having just emerged from a refreshing hot bath.
“Hold on there a minute,” the young man said. My man looked up at him and started. A look of terror spread over his face, as if he were seeing a ghost. He had already undone his zipper and had his penis in his hand, preparing to pee.
My first thought was that he was simply embarrassed at being caught in the act. I couldn’t tell whether this was true from his own thoughts, though. They were too jumbled and incoherent.
The young man projected something to him in feel/think that I heard in two ways at once. The me-portion of my divided consciousness registered the following message: “You’re stuck. They sent me back to rescue you. I’m your future self--what you’ll be at the end of this process.”
The part of me that was attuned to the older man’s consciousness couldn’t seem to take in this information, which came through garbled and full of static. But I could understand his terror now. To him, he seemed to be in two places at once, confronting an image of what he’d looked like as a younger man.
Hi future self continued: “Put that thing away,” referring to his counterpart’s penis. “You’re dead. You don’t have to do that here. Besides, you paid way too much attention to that thing while you were alive.”
This information seemed to get through to him a bit more clearly. My man sputtered a couple of times, then burst out with, “Huh? What?”
The young man went on, “You’re almost done here. You’re tired of being pissed off from resentment over the times in your life when your self-will was obstructed. That’s why you feel the urge to pee.
“But it’s not a physical urge. It means that you’ve traced out the patterns of resentment in your life from twig to branch to trunk, to root. You’ve burned off the gloating that developed in your relations to other people when you bested them and the hatred when you failed or they got the advantage of you.
“You’re wife’s waiting for you at the next square. Come with me. I’ll show you the way.”
My man still looked like he was seeing a ghost. But he allowed this younger, freer, more aware version of himself to take him by the arm and lead him away from the fire into the fog.
As the two of them passed me, the younger man nodded his head at me and rolled his eyes. To the me-portion of my consciousness he sent an energy information packet that outlined the later stages in the process that his charge would be going through.
At this point, I awoke to use the bathroom. It was 5:05 A.M. When I returned to bed, I fell asleep again and found myself tuning into and unpacking the energy information packet.
I saw images from a series of relationships with women, some that occurred before my man’s marriage, some after. There were six, not counting his relationship with his wife.
I couldn’t distinguish which were pre- and which extramarital, only that they had all been initiated by, and failed as a result of, my man’s self-will. They were conquests that fed his ego and did little for the women he’d been involved with but hurt and disappoint them.
How easy it was for him to take advantage of his good looks to woo them. He seemed to have a penchant for younger women, often waitresses in cheap restaurants or diners. They were flattered by his attention. He’d give them presents, lie to them--and to his wife--so that he could get them into bed. He would see them for a few months until he got bored, or they got pushy or suspicious, and then disappear.
It was clear that he had a lot of healing to do in his relationship with his wife. I was glad to know that eventually he would get to the end of the process. His beginning certainly didn’t seem that auspicious.
I remember reading in Robert Monroe’s Far Journeys about future selves coming to one’s rescue--something that is hard for our earthbound consciousness to understand, but that seems possible in Otherwhere, where the laws of space and time operate differently from ours, or not at all.
I have no idea what prompted this adventure. I haven’t been thinking about the Afterdeath Zone or the process of Deep Life Review. Sometimes I can trace my adventures in consciousness to a thought or question that had arisen a few days or weeks before it occurred--but not this time.
I awoke from my second sleep period at about 7:45 A.M. I’ve never experienced an adventure in consciousness that continued, as this one did, after a bathroom break. Although I didn’t return to Otherwhere, I was in a state of consciousness that differed from the usual dream state, allowing me to unpack the energy information packet that I’d received before waking up the first time.
This is an interesting new development. I wonder how it will play out in future adventures.
Another startling aspect of this adventure was the two levels of consciousness I was able to operate on, in particular the two different senses of time that I experienced simultaneously, one operating in the consciousness of the man who was going through the Deep Life Review experience, and the other in my own.