The difference between experiencing and realizing. Bertha Harris pays several visits to the World Beyond while on the operating table.
Most of us visit some level of the World Beyond every night in our dreams, and on other occasions, less frequently, during a religious experience, NDE, OBE, in trance or meditation, and if we have second sight or other psychic or mediumistic ability, we may see inhabitants of the Afterlife worlds as they come to visit us. So we are often in contact with the spirit worlds, and although most researchers will not admit it, so are they too.
It would be so much easier for all of us if we accepted the fact that life goes on after bodily death. We would clearly see purpose, continuity and meaning to our interweaving lives. We could also look more closely at the contact we have with our deceased loved ones, and discriminate between what is pure fancy and imagination and wishful thinking, and what is solid, actual contact. We would not be making statistical analyses, or arguing if this could really be possible. Extraordinary as some paranormal experiences may seem, they do happen.
Now this is where we are put to the test. What is appearance, what are we experiencing, and what really is happening, what is the essence of life? As we advance in our spiritual practices, prayers, routines, healing work, teaching and meditating, and developing what mediumistic skills we may have, we come to distinguish between what seems to be, and what IS REAL. This is the difference between the deepest experience, and the deepest realisation. In Eastern terms, it is the difference between sabikalpa samadhi and nirvikalpa samadhi, or in our terms, a religious experience and a spiritual realization.
In a religious experience, after living in the material world with all its vicissitudes, and going through all our routines of work, worship, family business and artistic, sporting and recreational endeavours, we may finally be lucky enough to have a glimpse of something further. It will be all too brief, but at least we will have hope of better things to come after death.
This sequence of events is illustrated in the set of Ox-herding pictures, again from the East, where the ox, or in some versions a bull, represents the ego, which the master gradually trains and tames from an unruly selfish blundering bull-in-a-china shop, a very young soul, until in time there is calm and peace, in one picture he vanishesand after this, he returns to the market-place of every-day business, a self-realised being, taking part in daily activities without being attached to them.
Realisation then is discovering that one is not just a material body-brain machine, indulging in every type of experience for its own sake, but realising one is here to learn by experience, and beyond experience lies the wisdom of the infinite mind and spirit. When we visit the World Beyond, while we are still alive here, and when we return there more permanently after bodily death, we lose attachment to possessiojs, and enjoy the realisation of the mind, imagination, the power of thought beyond experience. and infinite, all-embracing love.
The contact we have with the world of spirit in the various ways mentioned helps us develop our spiritual mental abilities, and gives us some knowledge of the variety of activity that will be available to us when we pass, so that we don't become stuck in a rut or lose our way, or become earthbound, not even realising we are dead when the time comes for us to pass. So these accounts will be a great help to us, and this is the reason for circulating these review articles, to put the reader in touch with various accounts that are available at the present time. Accounts of religious experiences collected by Frances Banks, Alister Hardy, and earlier by Richard Bucke and William James all help to encourage us to look within, think for ourselves, and realise that we too have the opportunity of reaching the top of the mountain of enlightenment. It may be a struggle, if we are really attached to too many distractions, but the better the quality of our life-style, the nearer will we be to reaching the top, and realise that in essence we are pure spirit. Meanwhile, we will come to understand that there is no death for our mind, personality, memory and mind-set. We become the result of our thoughts and actions, and our back-pack will contain our deeds. Our climb will be helped, or hindered, by what we've packed inside !
Some accounts of ther Afterlife seem a little too good to be true. In the novel "Meipe" by Andre Maurois, heaven is described as a place where dreams come true. Lord Dowding thought that Vale Owen's books on the heavenly realms, and many others like them describing a summerland and a blissful existence Beyond, were just wishful thinking. After a turbulent life here on earth, we can understand a person wanting to rest, to find some peace, at least for a time. But before boredom sets in, it seems that most spirits move on to enjoy more activity, work, and visits to further planes beyond their starting point and rest home or hospital.
In trying to build up a more realisitic pictures of the real world beyond, we could piece together the impressions related in the countless messages transmitted through mediums to the bereaved, as in the book by John Edwards "Afterlife", and in "Dead Rescue" by Michael Evans, which include several 9/11 cases. I have mentioned other books on the subject, and there are also many more accounts in the "Rescue Circles" series of articles on this site classified under the subject of Spiritualism. In these articles about the World Beyond, I have tried to compile some of the lengthier accounts so that we can start to paint a consistent picture of the Afterlife.
Many other books about the Afterlife often give only secondary information about what different religions teach about life beyond death. This is not very comprehensive, and we are left with little information, like stranded passengers when an airline declares bankruptcy. We really have to think for ourselves, and make our own investigation. That together with our own experiences will provide us with the most practical information, so that we can come to realise the truth !
Now here as promised is a review of a small pamphlet, "Journey into Spirit World" written for the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain in the 1940s by Bertha Harris, the well-known medium. She was hospitalised for fourteen days to undergo a series of operations, during which she left her body and made several trips into the Spirit World. In seven chapters she gives us a wealth of information about the other side.
Each time, after being anaesthetised, Bertha found herself standing outside her body. She writes:-
I felt so light and free and seemed to want to move so much quicker than those who trundled my bed towards the operating theatre. I cried out to them...but no-one seemed to hear me or be aware of my presence, and thus we reached the theatre door, where inside that theatre each one took up his or her position and commenced their task in the usual calm, efficient manner. I realised that I was fully aware of their intentions even though there was little or no conversation. I seemed to know their thoughts and with much curiosity,devided to watch the procedure. It was then I became aware that there were other jpeople in the room besides those who were undertaking their respective duty in the theatre. I noticed that closely in attendance to each physical person was a Spirit and I could clearly define the difference in a way that was most surprising to me, for all those in physical bodies, including my own body, seemed smaller in stature than the accompanying Spirits.
Then I suddenly became aware that there were other Spirits in the room. They included my own family, friends and guides, and thus this amazing spectacle began to unfold before me as I wtched the operation proceed. How truly I realized that the Spirit World interperses and interpenetrates this our earth world.
Bertha Harris goes on to tell how a former loved one on earth, now in the spirit world, talked with her and accompanied her on her visits to the World Beyond. At that point she lost consciousness, a feeling of numbness closed in upon her consciousness, and when she came to herself, she found herself on the other side.
[to be continued.
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