Hearing the Call of the Source (Upper Mental Plane)AC 221: May 11, 2003 (Boston)
An adventure in consciousness in the Afterdeath Zone. The space that I was in seemed to resemble both a multi-leveled parking garage and a middle school, with hints of the architecture of Boston’s Government Center. The walls were gray, of molded concrete made to look as if individual bricks were emerging from the concrete matrix, while remaining partially submerged in that matrix.
All of this imagery is symbolic of the function of the zone I was in. I was on a middle level of an area involving education (middle school). This area was divided into a number of other levels, like a parking garage. I was only aware of the present level--and, as will become apparent in a moment, by implication, of the one below it.
The image of the parking garage suggests that the soul remains (is parked) here for a while. Furthermore, the educational purpose of the zone seems to involve what governs us at the center of who we are (Government Center). The presence of green house plants around the perimeter of the zone indicated that it is one dedicated to growth.
The zone was occupied by a crowd of people whom I assumed to be Shades. They were interacting with one another quite volubly, like students between classes at school. I take this to be a reference to the between-lifetimes state.
Thus far, most of my visits to the Afterdeath Zone have involved individuals who were isolating themselves from others in order to look into themselves. They were attempting to discover how their just-completed lives did or did not realize the soul’s master plan for their growth.
Aside from the crowd of usually non-interactive souls in Immigration, this is one of the few times I’ve come across anything in the Afterlife that seemed to display the characteristics of gregarious sociability. The tenor of this gregariousness seemed to be that of a social mixer--people who had been thrown together without really knowing each other, who were comparing notes and getting better acquainted.
I noticed an odd sort of smugness about these people. They all seemed to have the same high degree of education and a certain snobbishness about it. Charles has talked about how in the Afterlife the different soul ages tend to separate themselves out like layers of milk and cream. I seemed to be in a zone of the Afterlife in which this separation had occurred. Everyone here seemed to correspond to what Charles would have called the mid- to late mature soul growth cycle.
There was a great deal of excitement in the crowd. Whereas on Earth one must search for one’s peers, with no guarantee of actually finding them, in this zone of the Afterlife, all the work had been accomplished for one. If one belonged to this level of spiritual development, one more or less automatically found oneself in this zone, surrounded by others of like mind, earthly experience, and spiritual awareness--so much so that my overall sense at times was of an alumni gathering for individuals who had all been to the same school and had more or less the same degree of educational experience.
At a certain point, a Facilitator appeared, looking like a somewhat harried academic administrator. She was tall, appeared to be in her mid-fifties, with gray hair cut in a somewhat longer than ususal pageboy style. She was dressed in a nondescript academic business suit. Clearly, here was someone both authoritative and approachable. I’ll call her Pam.
When I first noticed Pam, she was moving from person to person, group to group, identifying herself as the Facilitator on duty in this zone. How like a cocktail party the whole thing seemed--though it was noticeably without the cocktails.
Everyone appeared to be happy and well-adjusted, with the exception of one man. He was tall, good-looking, dressed in what appeared to be a well-tailored brown business suit. He kept showing up at the edge of the mixer, glaring around, as if somewhat offended by what he saw, then dramatically seizing a nearby exit door and disappearing through it. I could see him heading down a flight of stairs, presumably to a lower level, just as the door closed. In a little while, he’d be back.
This man interacted with no one. I seemed to be the only person who noticed him. I got the sense that he was looking for some kind of welcoming committee and was upset that no one paid any attention to him.
At a certain point, Pam indicated that she had something to say. She motioned for silence and all the happily milling individuals and animated circles of talkers settled down politely to listen.
Pam’s speech was made nonverbally. We all “heard” it in our heads, as if it were being broadcast over a PA system into personal sets of headphones.
“Welcome to the Shared-Values Zone,” Pam said. “Once you’ve completed the deep-life review [on the lower mental plane], which requires strict isolation from other consciousnesses, including those of family and friends on both sides of the life/death interface, you end up here [on the upper mental plane], associated with others of your kind. By ‘others of your kind’ I mean those who lived from similar sets of values while they were present on Earth.
“Please note the word ‘lived’ here. It does no good on Earth to hold a set of values and then not to act from it. Values, as you may perhaps have realized, are beliefs that motivate one to action. Every value that you’ve acted from is a lived belief. Lived beliefs become part of the structure of your personality and may be carried forward from one life to the next.
“Some values promote the growth of the soul. Others have little or no effect on it. An idée fixe is a value or set of values that actually works against the development of the soul. None of you here are suffering from any of those, thank God.
“Values can be quite useful in guiding one through life, in suggesting appropriate actions to take in the world to further one’s own growth or that of others, or to maintain the integrity of the personality or the stability of a social unit, whether it be a family, local, regional, or national grouping. As important as values can be in shaping the structure of personality and society, they can nevertheless become substitutes for the more crucial shaping force of the soul’s master plan for your growth, your life purpose, or place within All That Is.
“Up until this point, your progress through the Afterlife has involved recognizing the ways in which you may have intentionally or unintentionally blocked the development of the soul. That’s the primary purpose of the deep life review. Now you’ll have a chance to see which of your values supported or accelerated your growth, and which contributed nothing to it, or inadvertently drew your attention away from it.
“Choosing to act from values that seem to support the smooth running of society at the expense of the development of the individual can sometimes have the latter effect. You good call it choosing the lesser of two goods, instead of the lesser of two evils. Such choices can have a less than fully supportive effect on the development of the soul.
“At this stage of your Afterlife experience, you’ll be alternating between periods of interaction with others, thereby refreshing your awareness of what your values are, and contemplation, in which you’ll be testing these values against the decisions you made in life to see whether they were truly of value to the development of your soul.
“The lessons of this level are tricky. First, you’ll experience a strong sense of healing. In this zone, you’re isolated from individuals who hold values different from yours. One of the constant sources of pain in the world is your acting from a set of values that feels right to you and typifies your level of spiritual development while being surrounded by people who act from sets of values that often characterize some lower level of development.
“If you don’t make the effort to surround yourself constantly, while on Earth, with others who share your values, you may find yourself feeling hurt, betrayed, angry, frustrated, depressed, and desiring to withdraw from life itself as a result of all the apparently inappropriate behavior going on around you--behavior that often results from a less developed set of values than your own. Here, it’s easier to find people who share your values.
Your relationship with the Cosmic Normative Balance, as determined by your values, more or less commits you to a zone in which you’ll encounter others at the same level or distance from the CNB. This is a corollary to the law that operates here in nonphysical reality that thought more or less instantly creates your experience.
“Values are among the slowest evolving of your thoughts, the most apparently permanent and unchanging. It’s easy to mistake them for who you truly are and carry them with you from lifetime to lifetime without growth or change. This is who you are, with respect to the CNB. Therefore, these slowly evolving thoughts create your experience of the CNB, yourself, and others.
“Obviously, this is a well-adjusted group, therefore you lie closer to the CNB than many. Your values are more clearly aligned with its own--although it’s a bit deceptive for us to refer to values in connection with the CNB. These so-called values represent the actual structure of the CNB They aren’t beliefs that motivate to action, but the fundamental truths from which all action or growth derives.
“Your individual values represent the extent to which you’re comfortable with those truths, as well as the extent to which you may want to protect yourself from them for fear of losing your sense of identity. The more deeply you know and live from the fundamental truth of who you are, the less you will need certain values to protect yourself from the CNB--and the closer you’ll be able to come to it.
“See that individual over there?” Pam pointed to the apparently unhappy man I’d noticed earlier. “He’s trying to acclimate himself to a higher level of exposure to the CNB than his values in his previous life allowed him to experience when he first arrived here. He glares at you because he feels pushed out of this level--as if rejected by it--because his values aren’t completely aligned with it. He’s projecting his sense of rejection onto you.
“Meanwhile, most of you may not even notice him, because he hasn’t yet taken on full form or presence on this level. He keeps retiring to the relative comfort and safety of the next level below this one to recharge himself. Strange as his behavior may seem to you, he’s motivated by the core value of the CNB, which is growth.
“He’s determined to progress closer to the CNB, no matter how uncomfortable such progress may be. In a sense, he’s encountering and trying to work through the danger that I mentioned earlier, in connection with individuals who share your values. That danger is inertia--feeling too comfortable here, in the values you lived from in your last lifetime on Earth, to want to move beyond the sense of healing that comes from being isolated from those whose values are less developed than yours.
“It’s just as painful for individuals more advanced than you are to come down to this level as it is for less advanced individuals to move to the next level higher. The latter experience too much goodness--more than they can stand; the former too much randomness of thought--more than they can stand.”
Now I understood why Pam seemed rather haggard. Adapting herself to a level of values more distant from the source of the CNB so that she could serve the souls at this level must have been a continual strain. I now understood her official demeanor, as well. It was the perpetually stern and slightly pained expression of someone who feels or wishes that those around her somehow “knew better” than to do what they usually or naturally do.
Pam continued: “Moving beyond this level won’t be easy. If you’re unable to do it, you’ll incarnate again and again with a set of values little different from those you’ve experienced so comfortably here.
“Maybe a teacher will come along, or an admired friend, who will show you to a higher level of values. But that can happen only if growth becomes the most important value to you. Then you’re aligned with the CNB.
“I’m here to model a higher level of values to you, and certainly can answer any questions you might have about how to move forward. There are, however, two questions that you must be able to ask yourself if you want to move forward. These questions may seem to be simple and obvious, once you know them. The whole realm you’re in right now resounds to and resonates with them. But even if I were to repeat them to you over and over, starting now, you probably wouldn’t be able to hear them. Complacency, comfort, will prevent you from doing so.
“You’re condemned to the hell of experiencing the same distance from the source--or at least excluded from the heaven of the next level closer--as long as you hold onto the values you brought here from your lives in the world. Now, let’s see if you can hear me when I repeat the two fundamental questions.”
I looked around me. Everyone was smiling complacently, patiently. They didn’t seem that interested in what Pam had to say. They were too eager to return to hobnobbing with their newfound acquaintances.
But I heard something ring within me like a pleasant set of wind-chimes, distant, yet charmingly beautiful. I wanted to be able to hear it more clearly, without straining. Twice it came, each time with a slightly different order of sounds and overall resonance. How I strained to hear it again, more clearly. Then I realized that it was always there. Pam had simply drawn our attention to it.
These distant bell-like sounds never stopped ringing in my ears after that. And I realized, too, that even though Pam seemed to be done with her speech, echoes of it were constantly present in throughout the zone we were in. All I had to do was turn my thoughts in the direction of the speech she had given and there they were--all the words and concepts, as if they were woven into the energetic atmosphere of the place.
Indeed, I began to realize that Pam’s speech was something like the tolling of the hours on the bells of large cathedral clock. Perhaps the people at this level were so complacent as they succumbed to the pleasant healing experience of being surrounded by so many others who shared their values that they wouldn’t notice the call to growth or the instructions that went along with it--Pam’s speech--without periodic interventions.
As I mused on Pam’s speech and the distant tinkling chimes I’d hear, I noticed that the genial hubbub of the zone had resumed. Off to the side, however, I saw something I hadn’t noticed before--a set of levels like tiered seating built into the gray concrete walls. There were four or five of these levels, arranged stadium-style, though the ceiling was quite low. They were occupied by a few solitary individuals, who had retired from the mixer and seemed deep in thought. Some sat on the lowest of the levels, their feet on the floor. Others sat on the higher ones, with their feet on the next level below them.
Pam was sitting next to a young-looking woman with a distant gaze who was sitting on the highest of these levels. I went to sit beside here.
“Pam,” I said, “I heard something during that moment of silence in your speech.”
“What did you hear?” she asked pleasantly, having turned toward me after taking her hands from the shoulders of the woman beside her, to whom she’d apparently been offering a gesture of support–unless there were some more direct nonverbal communication passing between them that I wasn’t privy to.
I explained to Pam about the chimes.
“That’s the call of the Cosmic Normative Balance,” she said. “You heard the sense of harmony between all of its parts that lies at the center of the CNB, calling every part of it to find its place within that harmony.”
“I was surprised to hear it,” I said. “You’d told us that most of us wouldn’t be able to.”
“That simply means that your highest value is growth,” Pam replied.
“What are the two questions?” I asked.
“Didn’t you hear them, too?” Pam countered.
“Well, I seemed to hear the question ‘Who am I?’ But it seemed so insignificant compared to the beauty of the chimes.”
“That’s it,” Pam said. “That’s the first question. If we could just get the Shades at this level to ask it of themselves, they’d leave behind their complacency and move on. But, compared to the elaborate value systems they’ve constructed to help themselves navigate through life, it seems to hackneyed, too simple. They have no idea, in the higher than average level of intelligence and education represented by this level, how much such a simple question would accelerate their growth. What was the other one?”
“Well,” I said, “it didn’t seem to make sense after the first question. It seemed to speak out from the chimes, saying simply, ‘What is my place in the whole?’ It seems to me that who one is and what one’s place in the whole is may be essentially the same thing.”
“There is an important difference, however, that the language you’ve used to frame these questions in isn’t capable of acknowledging,” Pam replied. “Who one is has to do with the feeling of what it means to be oneself. It’s not a role. It’s a kind of living fully to the outermost edges of one’s consciousness, knowing its identity as distinct from all other consciousnesses, and its source in the whole.
“But one’s place in the whole is one’s function. That’s not a feeling about oneself, but a use one makes of oneself, a kind of service to the larger whole. Knowledge of this function isn’t really possible without the feeling I just described having come first, hence the order of the two questions.
“Until you know yourself as yourself, you can’t really know the service or function for which you were made--you can’t really live it. You see, you come from the source, and have an illusion of independence from the source that gives you a sense of identity. But you also have a way back to oneness with the source--that’s your function, or the service that you perform to the source.
“That function, which leads to a sense of union with the source, can’t be served without your seeming to dissolve into your sense of union with the source. Nor can you sense your identity without to some extent separating yourself from the source. Yet the ideal is to find the perfect balance between union and identity, so that you can both be your true self and serve your true function.
“I know it’s a paradox. I can explain it theoretically, but that doesn’t mean I’ve mastered it. I’m enough ahead of the Shades at this level to model a higher degree of awareness of self and function, but I’m still struggling with the lesson myself. And, of course, the same is true of you.
“We all hear the call that summons us back to the source. We may choose to act on it, as you and I have chosen to do–and the man I pointed out earlier, whose business suit, by the way, simply indicates that he “means business” when it comes to growth. He has made it the primary intention of his life. And so has the woman sitting next to me, who will soon be moving on to the next higher level of values.
“As for these others, they may get there eventually. But most of them will probably be stuck at this level for any number of lifetimes, until they stop looking for the comfort that comes in hanging out with those who share their values.
“By the way, you may have noticed that the people here behave as if they were just getting acquainted with each other, rather than as old friends.”
“Yes,” I said. “I’ve noticed that fact.”
Pam continued: “The temptation to affirm each other’s values is so strong from the last lifetime that when such friends are over here at the same time, they must be separated from each other for a while. At this stage in the process of preparing for their next lifetimes, they’re allowed to make the choice between growth and complacency.
“After they’ve made that decision, if their friends are still at the same level as themselves, they may meet again, and perhaps plan further adventures on Earth together. Or one may have advanced and will seek to urge the other along by becoming a role model of a higher level of development in the next life.”
With that, Pam gently disengaged her attention from me and returned to her work with the woman sitting next to her. I turned inward, myself, thinking about all that I’d learned–and awoke slightly thereafter, to discover that it was 3:00 A.M.