COMPENSATION AND RETRIBUTION, HERE OR HEREAFTER, FOR ALL GOOD AND EVIL DEEDS DONE ON EARTH
The sixth of the seven principles of Spiritualism sounds rather forbidding, yet combined with the seventh principle of ‘Eternal Progress Open to Every Human Soul’, it contains a wonderful promise.
Some years ago I was asked to talk to a couple I did not know, about spirituality. The husband had, out of the blue, received a terminal diagnosis. The doctor had said to him, 'I should consider your spirituality'.
The couple were charming and intelligent and I felt they had lived good lives without feeling any interest in religion or the afterlife. We got on well in general conversation and then I outlined the Spiritualist view of death and living on and some of my own experiences of communication.
Feeling that the idea of Divine judgement after death might lie somewhere at the back of their minds, I said that I thought that the evidence showed that, in fact, we judge ourselves after death. There we see our past life totally objectively and feel the emotions we caused other people to feel by our thoughts and actions throughout our lives. This was, I felt, all I could say in a brief visit so I left them some reading material and a favourite tape recording in which a lady who died in a hospital in Bath gives a beautiful account of waking up in hospital in the next world and finding firstly that she has recovered and secondly that her pet dog and then her husband come to greet her.
It struck me afterwards that Judgement is not often mentioned in the Spiritualist churches I attend and it is surely a salutary fact for each one of us to face, as the Seven Principles remind us.
It was in their teachings of Heaven and Hell that the Christian priests found the power to control whole populations so that even kings would confess sins and wear sackcloth and ashes for fear of burning in hell for eternity if they were excommunicated by the Church.
By contrast, ideas of judgement after death in ancient Egypt were fairly mild. The heart of the departed soul was said to be weighed against the feather of truth. If found wanting, it would be devoured by the fierce beast Ammunt, but if it passed the test the owner could live for ever, mingling with the Gods and spirits of the dead in an ideal life with an ideal companion.
Even as late as Victorian England, people were terrified by dreadful descriptions of God's judgement; of fearful agony for eternity in the burning flames of hell for sinners and atheists. Even unbaptised infants were said to crawl about the red-hot floor of hell forever. Hence the panic to have babies baptised as soon as possible in those days.
A lady I knew had had a strict Catholic upbringing and when an inn, close by, caught fire in the night and she woke to hear the crackling of flames and cries for help, she thought she had woken up in hell, and in her intense fear had a heart attack which, fortunately, was not fatal.
Even Buddhism, that most humane and logical religion, has acquired vivid tales of hell for the wicked although not all Buddhists believe them. The amazing English woman, Diane Perry, became a famous Buddhist teacher after meditating alone in a cave for twelve years at a height of 13,200 feet in the Himalayas. When she was asked about the Buddhist hells she said,’ They were tales made up to make people behave.'
In Islam the Koran teaches that the departed have to cross a sort of tight rope over the flames of hell and non-Muslims, and hypocrites will fall in and only the truly faithful will reach the gates of Paradise. The Paradise is clearly described; wonderful gardens with eight gates where beautiful girls, the 'Houris', meet and give every kind of pleasure and comfort to the faithful- especially to warriors who have died in battle for the faith. In the Gulf War we comforted an Iraqi who cried through our trance medium,’ The Paradise, the Paradise, I cannot find the Paradise'
Where does the truth lie in all these mind-controlling stories? From hundreds of spirit communications a picture emerges of several stages of judgement which we, and all the other inhabitants of earth, will pass through in our progress onward and upward in the spirit world.
Firstly the level of our own spirituality seems to decide the type of people and surroundings we find immediately after death. For many ordinary people this is an improved version of the earthly life where they meet friends, family and pets again. However Rescue Work teaches us that a few folk find themselves in a very grim world of darkness, where people are selfish and cruel. 'Wilf' was the worst case my group has helped and he found himself in a semi-dark world, foul smelling and slimy, where there were only holes and ruins for shelter. The other inhabitants were rude and aggressive to everyone
These are a small minority. On the lighter side, Ted Olsen came back to the Leslie Flint group to say: I'm perfectly happy and I wouldn't come back if you offered me all the gold in China. I'm perfectly, well, perfectly happy and I can't tell you how marvellous it is to be dead!'
When I asked Dr. Raynor Johnson if he found anything unexpected about his new life in spirit, he said: 'The only thing unexpected is that it is more wonderful than I thought it could possibly be!' The Shakespearean scholar, Professor Wilson Knight, our Church's Honorary Vice-President, came back to say: 'Michael-it's better than we thought! This arriving at our proper level in the infinite word of Spirit is only the first part of Judgement. At some stage we shall review our past life as though we were re-living it. It depends on how we have lived whether we enjoy this bit of the afterlife. One rueful communicator through the medium A.H.Burbidge said: 'Suddenly to my startled gaze appeared a picture of my early childhood with my father and mother. Every little detail was there. I could hear the voices of my parents and my own voice answering them. I knew it was real and I was seeing the life I had lived many years ago. It continued moving as if it were an actual living thing. I saw all my early training and how I reacted to it. The whole length of my life was laid before me and I re-lived it within myself. It was all there, the good, the indifferent and, worst of all, the neglect; the neglect to use purposefully the responsibilities I should have undertaken. At the portrayal of many of the episodes I squirmed; at others I felt meaner that it is possible to describe - I had to see and re-live it all'.
The good religious lady, ex-nun, Sister Frances Banks, described two types of life review she had. In the first, she saw two blue prints. One the ideal she had set out to achieve: the other what she had actually achieved in life. She said,’ It was a shock to me and a very salutary experience to find these differed so exceedingly... that you went wrong so often when you were sure you were right'.
The second review, when the soul is ready to face it, runs the other way, from death backwards to birth. This is very testing and detailed but one has a wise counsellor who guides one through and advises one. My first wife, Nancy, told me that she. 'looks at her life a bit at a time, not to regret but to learn!' She seems so gay and happy now that I think she has little to regret.
In 'The Barbanell Report', Maurice Barbanell tells how he had a slightly different review of his life. He said, ‘I had never felt so good before, there was almost a state of ecstasy, a feeling of, ‘I’ve made it’, but a little later on he said,’ At this point I found myself reviewing my life. This was not an easy period... I saw it as a pattern. It was like those railways you have as a child where you watch the trains going in and around all the different tracks, cutting back, going forwards, only it was me I was watching rather than a train.... Even now I feel there are certain things I have not got to the bottom of regarding my own temperament, my own weaknesses. During this period the state of ecstasy seemed to diminish. It was still there but not so paramount’.
The great difference between this real Judgement and the Christian version is that Judgement is a means to a wonderful end - the end of perfecting ourselves so that we can progress on to the glorious states of life which lie ahead. As we move higher and higher in our eternal life, this loving process will allow us to reach states of bliss which at the moment we cannot even imagine. And still we shall journey on, judging this higher life and progressing on to still higher states of
You may ask me, if I am nervous of the Judgement after death. Yes, I am. I expect it will be humbling to find out what my life was really like, but also very interesting to see again in the life review all those scenes we can no longer remember - to see again ones parents when young and one self as a child. To see all those occasions which we only see glimpses of in old photographs and cannot now fully remember. For parents to see their children little again and watch them growing up. How fascinating - and we mustn't forget the good side. Every good and kind action will be there and we shall feel all the emotions we caused others to feel. And afterwards -the ecstasy will return again.
So Judgement is process leading to progress. Friend - not Foe - as we shall all know in time.
Check out "Dead Rescue" by Michael Evans
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