Sunday, 13 November, 1994
Bivalia:[a] Hullo, Michael. I am very well; you don't need to ask, do you?
Michael: Perhaps not. I didn't know whether to date this session the
13th or the 14th, because, as I start this, it's about midnight, Eastern
Standard time, in between those two dates. Actually, Victoria generally
thinks it's about 1 a.m., because of so-called "daylight-saving" time, but
calling it 1 o'clock doesn't make it so, and Eastern Standard time is at least
closer to mean solar time, if not exactly right on the nose.
Anyway, I settled for the 13th, partly because, even when it passes
midnight, I still tend to think of it as the same day until I go to bed, and
also because I opened the document slightly before midnight (real time), and
had been thinking of doing this session before that. I don't give
"daylight-saving" the dignity of even recognizing it as valid.
Bivalia: You don't like it?
Michael: No. I totally disapprove of it, because it's false, like so
much in our society is false. If people want to have more daylight in the
evening, they should start their day earlier and finish earlier, but let's not
delude ourselves that we can change the time itself to suit our own
timetable. If people want to start work at 8 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., and
finish at 4 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. (or whatever), by all means let them do so;
but let's be honest and say that's what we're doing, and not have
this crap about calling it 9 o'clock instead of 8 o'clock, and so on.
Bivalia: You obviously feel very strongly about this.
Michael: I suppose so. It upsets my sense of the rightness of things to
see the sun appear to rise at about 5.30 a.m., but set at about 9 p.m., in
midsummer, for instance. That makes the middle of the night some time after
1, whereas, by definition, 12 midnight should be the middle of the night, or
at least reasonably close to it. It's just illogical.
Bivalia: You must admit that a great deal of what happens in your world is
Michael: That's for sure.
Bivalia: I sense you sometimes get upset over it.
Michael: I suppose I do sometimes.
Bivalia: But you realize, don't you, that if you expect other people to be
logical, or even sensible, all the time, you're setting yourself up for much
grief, because you can't make people logical or sensible. You might be better
off to just let some of this stuff go, and just realize you're not responsible
for what others do, and don't take it on emotionally. Although I wouldn't
normally advocate a snobbish attitude of regarding the masses as stupid, and
looking down your nose at them as if to say "What more could you expect from
them?", it could be that a little of this (as long as you don't think like that
continuously) might yet be preferable to constantly feeling annoyed yourself.
Michael: It's when other people's stuff is forced on me that it really
galls me. The instances of illogical, stupid, or distasteful behaviour that
others choose to do which doesn't affect me I'm perfectly happy to leave
alone, and do largely. But some people inflict things on others against their
will, and of course some instances are just general practices or standards of
society at large that it's almost impossible not to constantly bump into.
Bivalia: I think you'll just have to try not to take it so badly when it is
forced on you, and just hang onto your truth, and don't regard this stuff as the
status quo in your own reality, even if it is the status quo in your society.
Perhaps you have expectations of society that are never going to be even remotely
met (at least for the time being in the present order of society), and you feel
hurt when those expectations are not met.
Michael: Yes, but I can just tell you that living in this society hurts
in a thousand ways, sometimes in quite big ways, but also often in little ways
which may themselves be trivial individually, but all of which add up to a
constant stream of little stabs of pain or anger, occasionally punctuated by a
big stab of agonizing pain. You must realize that; and hearing platitudes
from you about how I must accept it, and how I should not have such high
expectations from society, isn't going to make me feel any better about it. I
realize society is not going to change for the better, and I think the only
relief I'll get is when I either die in the normal course of events, or
ascend, whichever comes first.
Bivalia: I'm sorry if I sound as if I'm giving you platitudes. I think
you're a little annoyed at what I said, and I certainly don't aim to annoy, but
only want to help you. But if you can't accept what I say, I suppose what you
just said is true, that only those events you described (death or ascension) will
give relief. It simply isn't realistic to expect your society to change
radically in the near future, with only the possible exception of completely
Perhaps an interim and at least partial remedy would be to physically move
out of society and live in the country, where these things would annoy you less,
even though they continue to exist.
Michael: Don't imagine for one moment that I haven't often thought of
that myself; but unfortunately, while you may be able to go anywhere in the
entire universe with the merest thought, such a move for me would require
resources I simply don't have, such as a car, and much more money than I could
hope to muster. To live in the sort of location I would like to live would be
simply unthinkable without running a car, and if you think otherwise, you have
obviously forgotten what public transport is like in this society. I would
probably also have to buy a house, which takes lots of money, because I've
been told there's very little rental property in the country, and it would
have to be a house, at least some distance from the nearest neighbours; and a
flat would be no good, even if available, because it would then be just like
where I am now, and just as surrounded by neighbours.
So, while in principle I agree entirely with your suggestion, the
circumstances of my life do not make it even remotely possible.
Bivalia: It may become possible one day.
Michael: Perhaps; in fact, I know when it will be possible, but it would
not be good form to build plans on that.
Bivalia: Why is that? If you don't mind my asking.
Michael: Because the circumstance that will make it possible will be the
death of my father. Barring unforeseen mishaps in his affairs, I expect to
inherit money - not from him personally, but from his father, who died quite
a few years ago, but the inheritance, by the terms of his will, only takes effect
upon my father's death. It won't perhaps make me rich, but it will likely be
sufficient to allow the proposal you made, and perhaps leave enough to invest to give
me a modicum of financial security. But, although I've been aware of this for years,
I don't consider it proper or in good taste to plan what to do after the death of a
Bivalia: I understand your feelings about that.
Michael: It's made worse by the fact that I don't get on with my father;
so you can see the potential problems with guilt about making such plans, as
if I'm assuming he'd be more useful to me dead than alive.
Bivalia: I see; you don't need to spell that out. I certainly don't want
to induce you to do something you consider wrong. But if even if you do the
right thing and don't make such plans or even think about the issue much, this
potential guilt is something you might have to face one day and deal with.
Michael: I'll deal with it when and if it comes up.
I think we'd better not continue on this topic. While I agree with you
in principle that the issues this raises are things I should be able to talk
about (because I believe, as a generality, that one should be able to talk
about anything honestly), nevertheless in practice I find that talking about
this brings me uncomfortably close to what I said before, about planning in
advance what to do after someone dies, and I don't want to do it.
I think it's nasty and cheap to plan what you might do when someone dies
and you inherit money, where it might even look as if you were waiting for
them to die. I would hate to be thought by others, or even just to think
myself, to be money-grubbing and mercenary, and I hope I'm not like that. I
don't think I am, but I suppose I like the things money and only money can get
in this society, as much as anyone else does.
But I cringe when I read those stories in newspapers occasionally about
families wrangling over a dead person's money and property, and occasionally
having acrimonious court battles over someone's will, as if an inheritance was
a right rather than a favour. It's all just so unspeakably sordid and
horrid. I would be utterly ashamed of myself if I ever did such a thing
myself. This is why I feel uncomfortable talking about this. Even just as
far as we've come, I feel uncomfortable, and I would be horrified if my
family, especially my father, were to read the discussion we've just had.
Bivalia: In that case, I suggest you don't show this to them; but I won't
press you on the matter if you are not ready to talk about it now.
Michael: I really think we should just leave it; and if problems come up,
perhaps after my father's death, then will be the time to deal with them. At
least then it would be proper to deal with problems that have already become
Michael: In starting this session, I didn't even mean to get onto this
admittedly rather troublesome area. It came up because of your suggestion to
move to the country. So, you see, you have to accept that it's just not
possible, and for reasons I've made clear, it's not possible to think about a
future time when it might be possible. So meanwhile I just have to stew in a
stinking corrupt world full of false values which I think is just eating me up
mentally and spiritually.
Bivalia: You've very angry, aren't you?
Michael: I suppose so; and with good reason. I've got 40 years of
messed-up life, 40 years of wonderful plans I wanted to follow that if I could
have followed them would have yielded much good work in my own areas of talent
that would have done other people good as well as given me fulfilment; and
because of the miserable circumstances of my life I've just had to let those
plans rot, because of all sorts of other distractions that plague me:
emotional and psychological problems, the society surrounding me whose aura
(so to speak) leaks into me despite my efforts to keep out of the thick of it,
even my financial situation. And don't you believe it if anyone guided by
spiritual impulses tries to tell you money doesn't count. For instance if I
had money I could live somewhere decent which would be more conducive to
composing and writing. It's quiet where I am, thanks to quiet neighbours; but
because they're so close, I don't dare to listen to music or play the piano
too much because it doesn't seem fair to inflict it on others, so my musical
life is just rotting away as a consequence, and I can't do a goddamn thing
So yes, I'm angry, and I have been for many years. My life is wasted,
and too much of my life is now gone for me to set any store by grand ideas
such as I once had, because those plans would need time, and time is less and
less on my side as I get older, especially with the best years already behind
Do you realize that, according to today's criminal sentencing practices,
I have effectively lost nearly two life sentences in terms of lost time which
could potentially have seen much accomplishment? It's common for murderers
sentenced to life imprisonment to be released on parole after 20, or even 15
years, now; and the wasted years of my life (if we ignore the earlier years of
childhood) amount to almost twice this. And I haven't even committed a petty
burglary or anything, let alone murder, and I don't feel I deserve to have
lost all this; but nevertheless I have, and that's what life has done to me,
for a number of reasons which have just happened to combine that way to have
Perhaps I'm haranguing you too much, kicking the cat, so to speak; but
you don't seem to have much to say about this.
Bivalia: I don't think I can say anything about this that you would be able
to accept at this time. I'm just listening to you, giving you my love and
understanding. I can see you have a great deal of hurt stored within you over
many years, and I agree you have good reason to feel hurt; I'm not going to tell
you you shouldn't be angry. If it makes you feel better, you can curse and swear
at me, curse and swear at Sananda, curse and swear at God Himself; they, and I,
love you none the less for that, and are able to accept your temporary treatment
of us in such a way if you feel you need to in order to release some of the
anger. I think I can speak for God and Sananda on this in saying that if you
even do that to them, they will just return their wonderful love for you and do
their best to help you feel better. They long for you to come through this, and
long for your fellowship and company, just as I do.
Meanwhile, I admit the difficulties of your life are a problem not to be
whitewashed with spiritual-sounding platitudes, as New-Age believers are
sometimes prone to doing. Your difficulties are another variation of the pain
problem we've talked about before, this time complicated by the fact that you
have much personally at stake in this, which therefore makes it more difficult to
think clearly about it; and we both agreed there are no easy answers to it from
your three-dimensional perspective.
I only say to you, once again: hang on to your vision of spirituality, and
all this stuff will pass one day, whatever happens to you, however much you lose
in your present life. In the long run nothing is lost, at least nothing you
value. If you've lost the magic you've spoken of before that seems to embody all
that you regard as good and spiritual, then just hang on to the memory
of it; even that will suffice until things change and you have more to go on. I
don't think I can say anything more about it now than that.
Michael: How did this come up? Once again, this wasn't something I meant
to get onto anyway; and here I've had a real griping session, bitching about
this and that.
Bivalia: There are occasions when the really important things to discuss
are the things we didn't intend to go into, and where the things we did
intend to discuss are a cover story, so to speak. But still, what did
you want to talk about?
Michael: I had a telephone conversation with Shirley R. last night
(Saturday night, the 12th, that is). And I don't remember how it came up, but
she ended up telling me some of the stuff T. [b] had said at that weekend a
few weeks back. I think her philosophy is being more and more influenced by
the sort of things he said, and I found it extremely disturbing. It's so cold
and inhuman, quite repulsively austere; not at all my thing.
Bivalia: Well, what was the essence of T.'s philosophy, in a few
Michael: Oh God, I don't know if I can say. It's so abstruse and obscure
I wouldn't even know where to begin. I almost decided not to have this
session with you now, because I knew I wanted to discuss this with you but
wondered if I could possibly find the words to do so.
Bivalia: Well, now you're here, have a try.
Michael: Well, I can't give you an orderly logical description. This
totally defies logic, and I dare say it defies human thinking altogether. I
will just have to start somewhere randomly, move from one idea randomly to
another, just following my nose, and hope that I circle round the essence of
it, and get close enough that in the end you get the idea of what I mean.
I wasn't at the T. weekend, but Shirley was, and so was Ra Lyah;
so I can only give it to you second-hand. But T. seems to be on about
just being one with everything. I tried asking Shirley what this meant, but
she couldn't tell me, beyond such vague things such as "Just be". I asked how
you do that, and she said there's nothing to do. Doing is not what it's all
about; just be.
And you can imagine how useful I find that advice. I'm "being" already,
and have been "being" for 40 years, and it hasn't got me anywhere. As I see
it, one has no choice but to be, barring suicide. Being means to exist, and
we all exist, and I don't need a guru to tell me that. (And I certainly don't
need to pay $60 or whatever it was for that advice.) When I say just being
hasn't got me anywhere, I can imagine Shirley saying that doesn't matter; you
don't have to go anywhere.
I told Shirley that, regardless of all these abstruse matters, the fact
is there are things I like in life, and other things I don't like, and I want
something that can help me get from the situations I don't like to the ones I
do. All she had to say to that was that this very thinking indicated I was
still into duality, and that's not what it's all about. Apparently, according
to her philosophy, the very concepts of liking or disliking anything are
irrelevant. This sort of philosophy boxes me up with clever-sounding words,
but totally fails to commend itself to me, totally fails to answer legitimate
queries by dismissing them as irrelevant. It has no human understanding, and
is cold and alien. I hope I don't become like that myself.
For goodness' sake, does Shirley think I'm in things - the spiritual
path, ascension, and so on - or not? She seems to accept at times that I'm a
starseed (as I've been told I am by various Masters), and she sometimes tells
me I'm doing well. But here, I'm expressing a view that (according to
Shirley) indicates duality, fear of loss, and other things she definitely
regards as "not what it's about". I don't know whether Shirley thinks I'm
still in it or not; but certainly the things she told me made me feel totally
out of things, that I might as well forget all about ascension. If things
were as she said, I even wondered if ascension would have the slightest appeal
to me even if I could do it.
There was another bit, it just occurs to me, about entering a void, a
complete nothingness. It seems (as best as I remember) as if being absolutely
nothing was the ultimate in spiritual awareness. I think it's grotesque, like
something out of Sartre or Kafka or some of those other weird writers who seem
to totally deny everything. But Shirley seems to go along with all this stuff.
Apparently another of T.'s ideas is that everything is an
illusion. I don't know what this means. If this is so, in that case, what is
reality anyway? I don't even see how the question is meaningful or relevant.
If the things that happen in my life are, in some fashion, only illusion, they
certainly give just as strong an impression as if they were real. It's purely
an academic question. Given that things happen that affect me in various
ways, I don't even care whether they're real, or whether they're just an
illusion in some obscure sense, but such a strong illusion that they seem
totally real. I think the whole thing sounds like a great big wank. Even if
it's true, I just don't see any use in such an idea, anyway. It doesn't seem
to say anything important, doesn't seem to give you useful information or
insights of any sort.
There were other bits too which I forget, equally empty and depressing;
but I suppose what I've been able to scrounge from my scraps of memory give
you at least the flavour of what I'm struggling to tell you, if not the detail.
I like Shirley, but I could feel lots of walls come crashing down between
us as we talked around these metaphysical problems in circles that offered no
release; I felt as if I had been put into a prison, and the walls were slowly
closing in, and not even all the power of the universe, of God Himself, could
do anything to stop it: the space I was trapped in now the size of a room -
closing in - now the size of a car (beginning to look ominous), the size of a
cupboard, the size of a suitcase (now starting to get really painful and
claustrophobic, squeezing me tighter and tighter), the size of a shoe-box, a
matchbox, ultimately closing right in, in, right down to a black hole of zero
size, yet forming an infinitely deep hole of nothingness, out of which you
could never emerge. Ideas which (figuratively) give me feelings like this do
not seem to be real spirituality to me, and it feels deeply wrong somehow,
even if I can't put my finger on exactly what it is; and, I don't know what
Shirley would think of it, but I don't think alienation from other
people is what the spiritual game is all about, and I don't see how a
philosophy like the one Shirley is advocating can fail to alienate 99 percent
of people, even many who are open-minded about spiritual things.
This view of life just seems to deny everything. It rejects even
spiritual things because they "hold you back". You're expected to do without
the Masters even, and do everything yourself. It sounds insufferably lonely
to me. I don't think I even want to be that totally self-sufficient. I
don't know about Shirley, but I enjoy the company and fellowship of kindred
spirits. It's one of the few things that makes life worthwhile. I would
rather share my journey with others than do it all myself. I'm already lonely
enough as it is; I certainly don't want to pursue a spirituality that is based
so much on being alone.
Bivalia: I see what you mean. If Shirley finds this fulfilling, we must
respect that, although it is not clear to me whether she would consider the
concept of it being fulfilling even to be relevant; but I agree with your feeling
that this is not for everyone. It's one thing to say "This is for me, it works
for me", but quite another to suggest "This is the only way for anyone".
Michael: Well, I don't think Shirley said that, exactly. The whole
conversation was so obscure and empty of anything concrete that I find it
difficult to recall exactly what she told me; but at least I got the feeling
she regarded this as the only way, even if she didn't say so outright. I
found the whole thing extremely depressing, and more than a little
frightening; and I don't believe in spirituality based on fear.
Bivalia: I must say I tend to agree with you on this. I think Shirley is
obviously onto something she finds worthwhile for herself, in whatever terms that
may be, but I think she may have overstated things a bit as they apply to you.
Michael: You agree with me?
Bivalia: You sound a bit surprised.
Michael: I suppose, however cold and forbidding this philosophy is, it is
spiritual in a sense, and I half-expected you, being much more in spirit than
I am, to agree with it.
Bivalia: You shouldn't find my position in the least surprising. After
all, I am your Higher Self, not just another person. I have a special
relationship with you that no-one else in the entire universe has. At the most
spiritual levels, you and I are the same being anyway, so it shouldn't be at all
surprising if my concept of spirituality is very like yours. You may feel cut
off from all spiritual understanding, but you can't deny that the vision you have
of how things should be, might be, is spiritual, and it would be distinctly
strange if it was wildly at odds with how I see things. It would not be an
exaggeration to say that my vision of spirituality is the very source of all the
spiritual things you hold dear, different only in that it is a clearer vision
than your present one, perhaps even bigger and better than your view of things in
your limited world. So, you see, it is not surprising that I share your views on
what you have been telling me.
Michael: When Shirley and I were talking, I thought of that letter I
wrote as if from you: the one I did mostly in March and April, but which I
finished just a couple of weeks ago and printed. Shirley hasn't read it yet,
and Ra Lyah's still got it.
Bivalia: Yes. I did have a hand in that, you know. It's more than just
"as if" from me, as you so modestly put it.
Michael: Well, whatever about that, that letter, pretending to be my
account from the future of what ascended life is like, is pretty well my
spiritual testament. It is as definitive a statement as I can presently put
into words of all that is most precious to me spiritually, what my idea of
spiritual fulfilment would be (as best as I can imagine it with a
3rd-dimensional mind, that is). And it doesn't at all talk about "being" and
the other stuff T. was saying. It does talk in places about unity with
others, and with the universe, but only in a broader context that gives it
meaning. And it talks very much in terms of fulfilling desires I have now
which I feel to be basically spiritual; it doesn't try, or pretend, to be so
lofty as to be beyond mere desire. It takes the view that desire for the
right things is entirely in accordance with the highest spiritual principles;
it even says that such desires originate from the Higher Self, and your deep
recognition of their spirituality is precisely why you desire them. It even
says God Himself desires certain things, such as longing to enjoy fellowship
with His creatures who are presently obscured from perceiving Him.
And everything Shirley told me seemed to be implying that all this was
just so much nonsense, that I've completely missed the point of what ascension
is all about, and what spiritual things generally are all about. Shirley's
philosophy almost made my sense of wonder, the hints of spirituality I've
described at various times, seem rather cheap and grubby, my longing for great
and wonderful things that hint at the eternal seem just as ephemeral and
meaningless as a child's desire for a lolly. Shirley didn't say any of that,
but it just gave me that feeling. She seemed to take no account whatsoever of
anything that is meaningful to me, even though she does know from previous
conversations we've had about some of these things. Obviously they mean
nothing to her, for all I could tell from her conversation.
Shirley obviously thinks the very concept of desiring something is
irrelevant, because the very fact of desiring something, however spiritual,
means you're admitting you don't have it now, but hope to get it in the
future. And that is an example of dualism, which is only a 3rd-dimensional
thing. Yet that entire document is really talking about something I hope to
accomplish, but which I haven't done right now. Moreover, half a year after I
wrote the bulk of that document, I still stand by everything I said there. If
the ideas expressed there are not spiritual, because they are based on desire,
and duality, then I don't know what is spiritual. I think
spirituality in that case can only be a tantalizing mirage.
This is one of the things that frightened me: the possibility that
everything I've ever thought might be spiritual is completely missing the
point. If I lose this, I lose all. If I accept what Shirley told me as being
what spiritual things really are, then I have lost all. I have not
even the slightest inkling of spirituality, and my whole basis for living
crumbles into delusion. That's what it would mean for me if someone were to
prove to me that Shirley's version of things were true. And I don't need to
spell out to you what a disaster that would be for me.
Bivalia: I see what you mean. You must stick to what you think is true.
There is nothing in the universe that says you have to be wrong and Shirley has
to be right. It could just as easily be the other way round. I understand why
it was so disturbing to hear her say these things, but perhaps you are making a
little too much of it. Perhaps in a few days' time it will not seem so
important; it will simply be one possible view of things out of many
alternatives, any of which might be correct. After all, this view isn't really
as new as T. may be appearing to make it sound. You suggested to Shirley
it sounded a bit like Zen, and she agreed with that.
Part of the frightening thing about what you heard from Shirley is that it
sounded so omnipotent, as if it were a giant trap from which there were no
escape, and it was all so slippery and elusive that there was nothing to grab
hold of to get leverage, so to speak, in beginning to understand it.
Michael: Shirley even said it was not the way to think about it, to have
anything by which to grab hold of it; that was another form of dualism. It's
as if she were saying (and I'm only paraphrasing it here, not quoting) that
there's no actual process by which you can understand these things; you had to
just understand it all in one instant, or not at all - but there was no series
of steps you could take to understand gradually, no starting point. Good luck
to her if she can do it; but I find it all unbelievably obscure and perverse.
The whole thing is to me a remarkably good example of mental torture. I think
the majority of people by their very nature learn things gradually rather than
all in one instant - especially something as big and difficult as this.
Bivalia: Yes. And if I may ruffle the feathers of a few people who are
devoted strongly to one particular view of things, I see in you a valuable asset
that is exceedingly rare amongst people generally, even those who are very
spiritual in one way or another. And that asset is that your spiritual view is,
in a sense, inclusive of all people: you strongly resist any spiritual view that
either intentionally or as a by-product leaves anyone out in the cold, that
considers people with certain views to be without hope of making it, spiritually
Michael: Yes. I have resisted that all my life, even long before I heard
about the Masters or ascension or T. or anything like that, and even
though most people with spiritual beliefs don't seem to share my view.
I could never accept Christianity because, in varying degrees of
explicitness, it rejects all those who do not accept a particular set of
Christian beliefs or doctrines or ways of looking at things. You sometimes
meet Christians, even clergymen sometimes, who are sensitive enough about this
matter to sense something wrong, and who seem to have a more inclusive view
with regard to non-believers, but they are in fact going against the doctrine
of the Church they belong to, and this raises contradictions, and you can
sometimes perceive in their way of talking a vague awareness of this
contradiction. They are, after all, flatly contradicting their claimed
authority, the Bible, which makes it quite plain that non-Christians are
excluded from God's grace. I've often found Christians to be rather uneasy on
this whole subject, putting forward rather spurious and contradictory ideas in
this area, trying to reconcile their more open and compassionate views without
too explicitly contradicting the Bible.
And there are strains of New-Age thinking that are a bit like Shirley's
view, although not so extreme, that give the outer appearance of being
all-inclusive; but when you scratch beneath the surface, so often you find
that the believers in this philosophy subtly seem to exclude people who are
unable to see things a certain way: the kind of view that says if you don't
understand the real nature of karma, or you make mistakes in life, however
understandable and even excusable those mistakes might be, you must then
simply go on suffering pain in life after life until the insight dawns on
you. This is just the order of things, and you never hear from these people
even a murmur of protest at the outrageousness of such brutal use of pain as a
way of teaching people their spiritual lessons, lessons which are far from
obvious, so that you could not by any stretch of the imagination see it as
reprehensible not to understand those lessons and therefore deserving of the
suffering that karma brings, however terrible it might be. It's just accepted
unquestioningly by these believers.
When discussing such matters with these people, I often feel like shaking
them hard, to try to shock them into seeing this obvious point. They are
accepting without blinking an eyelid a system or order of things that they
themselves would probably be outraged by if a human dictator were to implement
it, instead of the Lords of Karma, or Masters, or God, or whomever they
attribute this system to. They would probably be outraged, because, very
frequently, the sorts of people who believe in karma and other New-Age things
are themselves gentle, compassionate people; yet they believe in a system of
karma which, when you look at it (as they present it), is of almost
unparalleled savagery in its ways of delivering spiritual lessons to people
via things such as grief, starvation, crime, torture, illness, disability, and
so on. And almost never do they have any sense of outrage that things should
be this way. It's a blind spot that has astounded me for many years, and a
blind spot which appears in so many people too.
I mean, I would accept this view if someone, or just experience, could
give me strong enough reasons for accepting it as true, regardless of my
feelings about it (this hasn't happened yet); but I would still protest
against the wrongness of it, the distastefulness of so much suffering being
involved in spiritual growth, and still hope that one day a better way can be
found. I have never once in my whole life met a person of any kind of faith,
Christian, New-Age, or anything else, who explicitly expressed this idea,
which has been painfully self-evident to me for as many years as I can
remember. I often think atheists, humanists, and the like, are closer to my
thoughts on this, more compassionate about suffering; but of course, by
definition, they lack a sense of spiritual vision, and of course don't have
the problem of trying to reconcile suffering with God, because they don't
believe God exists at all.
Bivalia: Quite so. I quite understand why you feel alienated from most
systems of belief or religion or philosophy you've so far encountered. You not
only resist examples of spiritual views which seem to exclude others, or which
seem to use or at least endorse suffering -
Michael: Which seems to be just about every spiritual view I've ever
encountered, to one degree or another.
Bivalia: - but you actively try, nearly single-handedly, to construct a
view which includes everyone, which tries to arrive at a more acceptable view of
suffering and pain. You set yourself a difficult, although admirable task, and,
although you interact with the views of other people and find some of them of
some help, you really get by with remarkably little help when it comes to the
inner details of this view which have little in common with many of the
established beliefs within various groups of people. You have a vision that sees
everyone as being included, that is not dependent on accepting one particular
view of reality, that does not make spiritual growth conditional upon accepting
certain specific beliefs, that is tolerant of differences of opinion, tolerant
even of outright mistakes people may make in their spiritual belief.
My dear one, this is a very precious attribute you have, and I urge you not
to abandon it. The Masters themselves treasure this quality, yet do not see it
in many people. This vision shines throughout that document you wrote, the one
cast as a letter from the future we were discussing earlier. I did help you
write that document, and I do endorse the views expressed there; and I salute you
for your efforts to write it down clearly, endeavouring to make it understandable
to other people, and for striving to believe those views which I helped you
express in it, and for your efforts to cling to this vision over the years, in
spite of, well, not the active opposition of other people, but the implicit
opposition that can be perceived in the views of those who do not have such a
clear ability as you to see a broader vision than some set system of beliefs or
some particular view of life. Even in rejecting ideas which with all sincerity
you just cannot see any truth in, you stop short of stating dogmatically "This is
wrong", but instead make the milder statement that "Well, I suppose it
could be true; one must be open-minded; but for myself I can't see how
this could possibly be true - it just doesn't make sense to me, anyway".
Michael: Well I have to put it that way, because after all I have no
evidence in support of my views, and no evidence against the other views. But
I do seem to cling to a principle of reasonableness, of considering how
reasonable a certain idea or attitude is; and I must say I sometimes find
reasonableness to be in rather short supply in some types of belief system.
Bivalia: Well, never mind. That simply explains why you state things the
way you do, and does not in any way detract from its merit, does not detract from
the open and undogmatic attitude which motivates the way you express your views.
You, my friend, are one of the least dogmatic people I know with regard to
spiritual things. It is unfortunate that you have to pay a price for this in the
constant uncertainty and doubt you feel about everything spiritual.
But this openness, combined with an effort to be inclusive of all people,
and an effort to take a more sensitive attitude to the admittedly difficult
problem of suffering, is not a very common combination of qualities in people
generally, with regard to their spiritual life. You can be sure that when it
does occur in someone, the Masters take keen notice of it. It stands out like a
beacon in these higher realms where the 3rd-dimensional limitations don't swamp
everything with density.
And, laugh if you like, but the Masters count on people like that to do
certain types of important work which some of the other people may not be suited
to do. They have other important work, but you have yours, and in some cases the
other people would be quite unable to do that which you are in a good position to
For instance, people such as yourself are sometimes better able to do
rescue work in the lower astral region for certain types of individuals there,
than are those who have a more definite and firm belief in some particular set of
beliefs, but perhaps accompanied by less ability to consider competing ideas
open-mindedly. You may not believe it, but too ready an acceptance of the
rightness of pain in the karmic system of things sometimes limits an individual's
ability to deal compassionately and understandingly with the pain of those who
suffer, whom they may want to help, but simply don't have a sensitive enough
understanding of the problem of pain to do so. It's very difficult to help
someone in trouble if you have an underlying attitude (however well-hidden) that
they really deserve what they've got because that's their karma, and it must be
right beyond question. With your keen awareness of all the philosophical and
moral problems surrounding pain, you are in a better position than many others to
help those who suffer, and in a very real way to ease their pain, if not entirely
And, another example: it sometimes turns out that people such as yourself
are better able to awaken a sense of spirituality in people for whom that is
dormant, than are those who are too strongly devoted to some particular system of
belief. Too strong a belief in certain ideas (regardless of whether they are
right or wrong) can limit their ability to understand other systems of belief,
never mind their ability even to see merit in the other ideas. You have a keener
awareness than some others of the degrees of truth that may exist in different
traditions or beliefs, as against seeing things in a black-and-white sense as
either true or false.
You may at times think you are wishy-washy because you seem to see sense in
certain New-Age or metaphysical ideas but can't for the life of you accept
certain other ideas that usually go with them, or because you can't accept
certain central doctrines of Christianity, yet firmly side with the Christian
view on certain other matters. But we don't see this as wishy-washy; we see it
as open-minded, and we delight to see people who can free themselves of dogma to
the extent of being able to take this fair-minded approach of considering each
item on its merit, instead of feeling the need to either affirm or reject the
entire system of belief as a whole, regardless of the varying merits of its
parts. You may at times feel you fall between two stools; we regard you as being
able to straddle both stools at once. If unfortunately you do always
fall between the stools instead of straddling both of them, you do not have to
choose one of them and reject the other; instead you should learn how to straddle
them both properly, to push the metaphor a bit further.
I know you are feeling discouraged because of the things Shirley told you,
and you even find them quite surreal and nightmarish; but it doesn't undo what I
have just said. And it doesn't undo the fact that many of us in the higher
realms are very pleased with the steadfast way you cling to your vision, and
gently, undogmatically, reject that which does not seem in accordance with it.
Who knows, Shirley might even agree with much of what I have said here;
perhaps you are reading more into what she said than was intended, and making it
seem darker and more sinister than it really is. (And if she doesn't agree with
the things I have said, that after all is her perception, not the voice of God
Himself.) Obviously what she told you is not for everyone, and I feel sure she
would totally agree with that: she is where she is at, and you are where you are
at. She has her strong points, and you have yours, and you should not think you
are inferior to her, or less advanced. It is not for you (or anyone else) to
judge the relative merits of people against others. You will notice that I have
refrained from that myself, even though I have been telling you things you find
very flattering: I've been telling you where your strong points are, but haven't
been judging as either better or worse than anyone else.
Shirley may have stated things in a way that unfortunately rubbed you up
the wrong way (which I'm sure she did not intend - these things just happen
sometimes); but notice that she didn't actually state you were inferior or less
advanced, in any way. You both have important work to do, but hers is not the
same as yours, and someone else's is different yet again.
We should not be too quick to apply the same rules and principles to all
individuals. What applies to one may not be suitable for another, and if someone
ever makes it seem otherwise, I would suggest first of all that you examine
whether you have misinterpreted their words; and if it seems that you haven't, I
would take their views with a large grain of salt, and just take a very light
attitude to it.
Michael: Well, I don't want to project too negative an outlook onto
Shirley; maybe, like you said, I just misinterpreted what she said; but I must
say that what you've said does seem a bit more encouraging to me. I was so
troubled by it that a bit earlier on (Sunday evening - it being well into
Monday by now) I had to ring Ra Lyah and tell her, and see how she felt about
it, and it does seem that her attitude was rather similar to yours. She
thought quite strongly I must honour my own vision of truth, regardless of
what others think; and now I think about it, I'm sure Shirley would say that
too, has said it, in fact, at various times. But somehow what she
told me recently really got to me in a bad way.
Bivalia: Well, I'm glad you shared this with me, and I hope I have been
able to help you feel better about it. But Ra Lyah is absolutely right about
honouring your truth. As I said, you have a particular vision of truth that is
your own, that is not often to be found amongst people generally. You have, by
virtue of this, important work to do that few other people can do exactly the
I might add that a very important aspect of your work is the vision you
will be able to share through composing music and writing stories, exploring a
territory in these that is uniquely yours, for which the vision of truth you
have, however much it seems to disagree with just about everyone you meet, is
vital. I urge you to remain true to that, no matter how discouraged and lonely
you feel because no-one else seems to understand it or agree with it in various
ways. You've done much work with Hilarion on truth over the millennia, and it
should hold you in good stead; and I am sure he will help you further on the mere
call of his name if you ever feel a bit shaky. And of course the same goes for
any other Masters whom you know, whom you may feel drawn to on a particular
You don't have the vision you do simply by accident; it is there for very
good reasons which you will gradually see more and more clearly. It matters not
in the slightest that it seems to go against orthodoxies of various sorts. You
suffer various disadvantages because you often seem to be going against the
direction of many others in certain respects; but be assured that this
difference of direction also gives you advantages over those others, advantages
which will help the special work you have taken on. Please remember this always,
no matter how bad things may get at times; in fact, remember it
especially at such times.
However bad things may get, you will not lose this vision, if only you do
not deliberately reject it. The circumstances of your life alone cannot rob you
of this vision, without your deliberate rejection of it. And I mean
deliberate, not merely losing sight of it just because the cares of life
weigh you down until you forget it. That is only temporary; for that matter, so
would a deliberate rejection be merely temporary, but it would have
further-reaching ramifications which I don't think either you or I would enjoy.
But short of deliberate rejection, your vision is yours for keeps.
Always remember this, my friend, and call on any Masters you choose if this
truth ever seems to become obscured. You have much help from on high, if only
you call on it. But you must do that; we cannot force ourselves on you. It's
not that we're too miserable or too rule-bound to do it that way; it's just that
the universe seems to be so constructed that we can't impinge on you beyond a
certain limit until you call on us.
Michael: Thank you. You know how to sound inspiring, Bivalia. But for
all this high-flown talk about the work that is entrusted to me, the fact is
that I'm not doing much in life at all, and the circumstances of my life are
far from conducive to any decent sort of work. One look at my living
conditions would give you an idea of what I mean.
Bivalia: I can assure you I have had much more than one look at your living
conditions, including the bits you would be ashamed to show your mother or a
favourite aunt; and I stand by what I say. You do seem to think you can catch me
out rather easily; but I've been playing this game for many thousands of years,
and I've learnt a thing or two in that time. I don't exactly let the grass grow
under my feet.
Okay, let's talk a bit about the sort of work you do now, and which you
might do in the future, but don't yet, or don't do much of yet.
First of all, when I refer to the work entrusted to you, I am including the
sort of work you do out of your body, during your sleep, of which you have no
recollection save the scattered fragments of dream memories. This is very
valuable work which you do regularly, for which your particular spiritual vision
assists in a special way and is not wasted. You do this voluntarily, as such
work is never compulsory for anyone, and not all beings do volunteer to do it.
You don't do just any old spiritual work; you select those tasks (as we all do)
for which your particular vision is particularly helpful, sometimes to the extent
that no more than a handful of others could do the job if you were indisposed for
(Perhaps I should say we do it, with your subconscious consent,
because you and I are one, precisely in this kind of situation; but for the sake
of convenience, I will continue to address you as "you", if only to make the
grammatical problems of writing clearly a bit more simple. But you could put
your foot down and say "No" if you chose, and I would have to abide by that. The
only work I can do without your consent is disembodied work which does not
involve you as a 3rd-dimensional being in any way at all. Many sorts of rescue
work, and other jobs too, are not of this sort, and require the cooperation of a
being on all his various levels. It's all bound up with the law of respecting a
being's free-will on matters which involve him or her directly.)
You do a wide range of spiritual work, of which rescue work in the astral
is a part. This is the easiest part of your work for me to give you pointers
to. Surely some of your dreams convince you of this? Some of those rather
disturbing dreams with a sinister feel to them, perhaps. Like the one where
someone seemed to be trapped in some sort of pipeline system (but not exactly
that), and you were repeatedly going through certain procedures which can't be
put into words, to try first of all to get to the people in trouble, then to try
to put together elaborate mechanisms or contrivances for rescuing them from an
extremely tricky situation, and the whole thing was strung out and out for ages,
and there seemed to be these recurring bits in the dream where you were
consulting Sananda, and a group of other beings, from time to time. Do you
remember that dream, a few weeks ago?
Michael: Vaguely. I suppose that's the gist of it, although I can't
really describe it. The whole thing had the drawn-out feel of a tricky
disaster situation, stringing out and out like a suspense novel with one twist
after another, and Sananda was in it at recurring intervals.
Bivalia: This was rescue work, and you were working with a group of beings
headed by Sananda. When you get dreams of this sort, fragmented though they are,
I don't think it's possible to get much clearer indications of rescue work. That
one even spelled itself out quite explicitly, with no need to look
for subtle clues beneath the surface. You sure take a lot of convincing.
And I think there have been a few others too. Let's not get bogged down in
too many details, but I will jog your memory slightly. These ones may not be
quite so explicit, but don't they have the kind of feel that might indicate that
they were either rescue work, or other incidents connected with it?
What about the whale in one dream, and the desperate fugitive who seemed to
be torturing the whale? You told Kuthumi about that one a month or so ago at Ra
Lyah's, and he thanked you for your work. Both the whale and the man needed
rescuing, but I'm afraid you were less successful with the man than the whale.
The man was totally closed off from you, totally engrossed in his dark manic
vision. The whale was also panic-stricken, and is not quite out of the woods
even yet, either.
Not your fault; this work can be tricky and comes with no guarantees
whatsoever, not even for Sananda. Other beings are helping the man, though, and
no doubt you will offer your services generously again if you feel you can be of
some help once more.
What about the man who kidnapped you in a car, perhaps a week or two more
recently than the whale dream, pretending to be someone scheduled to pick you up,
who took you to this place on a tall grass-covered hill, where there was a tree
with some sort of layered platforms high up, stacked up somehow on branches or
pillars - and in one or two of these platforms there were two, I think it was,
pools of water, one above the other, innocent-looking but unspeakably sinister in
some way you couldn't identify - and this man tried to imprison you up in this
tree somehow, for unknown reasons? But with a bit of patience and care you
managed to climb down or float down or otherwise escape by means that can't quite
be put into words. The dream, vague though a verbal description would be, had a
totally recognizable atmosphere, and you just knew there was something
extremely nasty about that pool of water, and you were absolutely sure you didn't
feel like a bathe just now. Even the water itself seemed unnaturally clear, and
almost crystalline in a liquid sort of way. Perhaps it was even alive in some
These dreams seem nonsensical only because they are scattered memories of
events in a completely non-physical realm, which your physical brain tries to
visualize in physical terms but can't do so properly. But the emotional
feel to these dreams is not nonsensical at all, is it, but very real?
You would recognize that pool of water up in the tree if you saw it again, even
now, wouldn't you, especially if you could experience it directly and astrally,
not translating it into inadequate physical imagery? And you would recognize it
not merely because it was any old pool of water up any old tree, but because of
its distinctive unmistakable feel or atmosphere. It was not merely sinister, but
sinister in a totally individual (although completely indescribable) way that you
would easily be able to distinguish from any other variety of sinister atmosphere.
Where do you think such powerful imagery comes from? Is it just the random
meanderings of a tired brain, the emotional rubbish left over from the day, the
bowel movements of the mind, to use Phillip Adams' almost elegantly ugly
metaphor? You laugh at his jokes about this, and a laugh does you a lot of good
too; yet you often notice, with a hint of wonder, that the distinctive atmosphere
of dreams is sometimes so subtle and powerful that you could never think it up
consciously yourself, say, for purposes of writing a weird science-fiction story,
even though you would love to create such scenes for such stories.
If you, with all the imaginative power at your conscious command, can't
(yet) conjure up such imagery, what hope would your poor tired brain in a state
of slumber have of doing so, if that were all there was to dreams? And yet your
dreams conjure up such powerful and distinctive imagery and feelings with such
ease and prodigiousness that it almost awes you. Bowel motions of the brain?
What a joke! - but not in the sense Phillip Adams jokes about it. It must be
obvious to you by now that dreams come from realms outside, and that you have
more than a passing connection with those realms.
You get the idea. I don't think you should too quickly underestimate the
spiritual life you have, the spiritual work you do. You may be unaware of most
of it, but it peeks through your awareness every now and then, doesn't it?
Michael: What can I say? You come out with all this so fast you don't
even give me time to think up any doubts.
Bivalia: Don't. Feel, don't think. You'll never penetrate these matters
by thinking alone. Perhaps there are people who think you are stagnating,
rotting away, yes? Boy, you have powerful dreams, and a powerful inner life; how
little do those people know the truth about your inner life, if they think you're
rotting away. And I haven't even begun to mention nicer dreams such as the green
planet which we've already discussed previously. You have much more
spiritual life than you tend to think.
Also, when it comes to more overt things like composing and writing, which
I said were also amongst the work entrusted to you, I admit your present
conditions inhibit that. But it need not necessarily remain so. It would be
good if you could get down to that and do something about it, but if it doesn't
work out that way, no matter. We in the higher realms understand why these
things turn out that way (even though we can't always see it in advance), and I
have contingency plans, anyway. Even if you don't compose another note in this
present stage in your life, it might mean that that is not planned for this stage
of life, but that you are already invisibly preparing for the time when that will
be right. Time will tell; it may be that you're not meant to do that
now, and would be jumping the gun to force it now. I don't know.
I know you tend to think of us in the higher dimensions as omniscient, able
to predict the future with total accuracy, and the like; but it is not so.
Predicting the future is almost as problematical for us as it is for you, even
though perhaps we can predict probabilities (not certainties) a little
more easily than you because we have a clearer view of the overall scene. So
even we don't know what you are going to do about this. I of course have certain
powers to decide the course of your life (provided you cooperate willingly), but
I also accept guidance from higher beings, and I don't always know what they have
in mind, but trust them to know what's best.
So I can't tell you definitively what plans are afoot for every aspect of
your life, and I don't always know the timetable that is planned. It's not that
the high-ups bureaucratically withhold the information from me, but rather that
there are higher dimensions I have difficulty perceiving, just like you have
difficulty perceiving the realm where I am now. The universe has no ceiling, no
top; no matter how high you go, there are always further reaches.
So I regard it as unknown at present exactly what course your present life
is going to take; I suppose I have to admit that there is a possibility that it
might be less productive than both you and I hope for. But even if so, just by
following your vision, letting it develop as it is already doing (and I can be
definite at least that that is happening), and remaining true to it, and
by doing the other things you are already doing, you are preparing for this
creative work, regardless of when the actual time for doing it is to come. We
have a long-range perspective on these things, and, while we would be happy to
see you doing creative work successfully now, if you don't, it doesn't wreck the
plans which are in train for you, but instead present a new situation which I and
those I work with have to adapt to, and make the best of.
And whether you ascend, or die in the ordinary way, at the end of this
phase of your life, there is still life for you after that, with further
limitless opportunities for you to do those things you missed out on in your
present life, for whatever reasons. The whole situation does not look nearly as
calamitous to us as it does to you. I think Sananda has already told you this,
but I suspect you still don't believe it.
Michael: That's a very clever answer to the problem of the work I do; but
it seems to me to have a hint of buck-passing, getting out of a sticky
situation, namely that my life is very likely stagnating, certainly at least
not a shadow of what it should be, by saying there are even higher-up beings
than you, and therefore you simply don't know the answers to the things whose
strings are held by the high-ups.
Bivalia: Well, I suppose you can think of it that way. It's no skin off my
nose; I made it quite plain that I do not know absolutely everything about these
matters. I haven't yet united with God in the ultimate sense, and for all I know
complete omniscience doesn't come before that stage. At any rate, I'm not there
Michael: Your explanation gives you a face-saving way of not being able
to tell me details about the hidden side of my life.
Bivalia: I don't need to save face about that. I don't know all those
answers, and the ones I do know I can't convey to you for reasons we've discussed
before. This isn't like a telephone conversation; it's more like a radio
connection where the clarity of reception, and the precise topics on which we can
be clear or not, as the case may be, are closely correlated to our preconceived
attitudes to the respective topics. There are things you are not ready to
receive, and even in those cases where I know the answer, I cannot get it through
without being drowned in static. Perhaps, to elaborate the metaphor further, we
are speaking different languages, and each of us has only partial knowledge of
the other's language, and so there are topics we can't converse about at all, and
others we can converse about, but only within certain limits.
I'm not being obtuse; but I'll just have to ask you to take my word for it,
because this is one of the things where my ability to explain it to you is rather
limited. Rest assured, this is just for now; the communication lines
will improve, and I look forward to it just as much as you do.
Either you jest, or give way to scepticism, or still have misunderstandings
about the nature of our contact - perhaps all of those at different times, or
even the same time. I'm not an oracle, but your Higher Self. If you
want your fortune read, I suggest you look for a good Tarot-card reader, or
astrologer, or some such person. I'm not a magic wand; I'm your main guide in
your growth in spiritual awareness. I'm not a book of answers to everything you
ever wanted to know about your past history or your projected future course; I'm
here to help you find the answers you need now, and to share my love with you and
share your journey of discovery. I'm not a tourist guide, but your companion.
You may wish I were some of these other things, but I can assure you that
in the long run the best arrangement will be the one we actually have, and there
will come a day when you will be glad of that, and not regret that we didn't take
shortcuts that in the long run won't be helpful and might even prove to be
time-wasting diversions from the real path.
And, finally, I certainly don't have to make any excuses about things that
are simply outside my province at present, and I certainly don't have any concern
about saving face. You joke, surely, with remarks like that?
Bivalia: Not that it upsets me either way; don't think I'll be offended
whatever you meant by it.
Michael: Perhaps I'm being a bit sceptical. Earlier, you were speaking
very persuasively about the importance of keeping my vision, and about how my
work will depend on that, and all the keep-your-chin-up-and-hang-in-there kind
of stuff. You can be very inspiring when you choose to be. Why (I'm a little
embarrassed to admit), some of those things you said almost seemed to give me
that funny feeling that you sometimes get if you're afraid you might be about
to cry if you lose control of yourself.
Bivalia: Inspiring you is one of the things I am here to do, and I can do
it better than anyone else because I am your Higher Self and know you better than
anyone else. It is not as strange as it may seem that I know the right things to
tell you. However, sometimes I think you merely need a good kick in the bum.
And if I were instrumental in giving you a good cry also (difficult job though
that undoubtedly would be for me), it would not be nearly such a disaster as you
Bivalia: The hard shell you have built around you might die; that is all.
Think about it.
Michael: Serapis Bey advised Hans to have a cry the other night.
Bivalia: See? It's not just some weird idea of mine. Your society has
many strange and limiting ideas about crying. Serapis Bey was able to cut right
through all that, and, motivated by love, give the advice that each person
needed. And I notice he gave you some advice which you haven't yet carried out.
Bivalia: Can't? Perhaps you mean you don't want to. He simply
asked you, each day, to look at your eyes in the mirror and say "I love
Michael". Can't you do that, not even if a Master asks you, just for your own
benefit? He only wants to help you accept yourself better; it's not a power trip
he's trying on you, making you do his will.
Michael: I know; that's not at all the issue. But I somehow can't bring
myself to do it. It seems so soppy and self-indulgent.
Bivalia: It presses a few too many buttons on you for comfort, doesn't it?
Michael: If you want to put it that way. In our society generally, that
sort of carrying on is not encouraged and has all sorts of connotations.
Bivalia: Doesn't there come a time when it is advisable to get beyond all
that? You give society a lot of power over your feelings if you let such
considerations influence you. You are often highly critical, scathingly critical
in fact, of your society; nothing in it is too sacred for you to criticize. Why
do you let it dominate your attitude on this little thing when you so openly
reject many other, more important sacred cows?
Michael: Well, looking at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself how
much you love yourself (apart from the fact that from me it would be an arrant
lie) has all sorts of connotations of conceit and obnoxious self-love (in a
slightly different sense to how you would understand self-love); I think the
thing is I half-believe society's attitude on this myself. And also, I've
always had the nagging wondering if I am a selfish conceited person anyway. I
don't exactly think I am (except perhaps a bit occasionally), but just wonder
at times, and I don't need to make that even worse.
Bivalia: We have a little guilt over feelings of conceit or selfishness, do
Michael: If you say so. You're being very hard all of a sudden.
Bivalia: Not really. I'm simply drawing your attention to things it would
be best for you to know about. But I'm not going to push you into doing things
you have resistance to. Good Lord, the last thing I want is a battle of egos
with you. I have drawn your attention to it, and that is my job, nothing more.
Michael: You ought to become a Sunday-school teacher, talking like that.
Anyway, for your information, yes I am critical of our society in many ways,
but yes, it does influence me in certain ways, and I see no inconsistency in
that. You can't live in a society for 40 years without picking up all sorts
of things from it, despite your best efforts.
Bivalia: I couldn't agree more. I never said or implied otherwise; nor do
I criticize you for taking on stuff from society. For goodness' sake, I'm on
your side. Don't take it so seriously; let's just laugh about it. We're not on
opposite sides on matters like this.
Michael: Okay; well, one of the things I picked up is that you don't go
round saying "I love myself" while staring into a mirror - I think even a
woman who did that would be considered soppy, imbecile, rather - never mind a
man; and another thing is that you don't cry for trivial reasons, and
especially men don't.
Bivalia: It is men who are the poorer for that belief, no-one else. It
could be a contributing factor to the shorter life-expectancy of men in many
Michael: It's the men who impose it, much more than women, who I often
think are more accepting and tolerant of such things. It's a man who
would be most likely to jeer at another man for crying; a woman would more
likely be concerned and ask "What's the matter? Can I help?" with genuine
Bivalia: It matters not. It is common for limitations that one would be
better without to be self-imposed, bolstered by a sense of peer pressure.
Michael: Well, you are probably aware that I have almost no sense of peer
pressure as such. But one of the realities of life is that breaking certain
taboos can attract particularly unpleasant treatment or scorn from others, and
I don't suppose I like that, don't like humiliation, any more than anyone
else. And I can therefore decide that on a particular matter it's not worth
the pain to break some particular taboo.
Bivalia: If that isn't peer pressure, I don't know what is.
Michael: Well, I don't believe in it in principle, even if sometimes it's
easier to go along with it in certain matters. You know what I mean.
Bivalia: I don't, actually. I don't think you're too clear yourself. I'd
be surprised if any more than a small fraction of those who habitually give in to
peer pressure, even those who do so much more than you do, go round thinking, "I
believe in doing things because others put pressure on me to do it, or make it
appear glamorous", or anything of that sort.
But look, I don't want to antagonize you. Perhaps I'm playing the
smart-arse a bit. I'm perfectly aware that you do indeed have much less sense of
peer pressure than average in your society; but that doesn't mean it is zero.
No-one at all is totally immune to peer pressure. You quite rightly consider
peer pressure distasteful, and in your distaste, you are trying to persuade me,
and yourself, that you absolutely don't feel it at all; but it's not true. You
feel it much less than many people; but in the areas where you feel it, it comes
out in the things you feel insecure about yourself.
Take your school years, for instance, where these things were perhaps a
little more transparent than they are now. You flouted peer pressure by spending
most of your time in the library composing music and writing stories instead of
playing games with the other boys. You got a certain amount of ridicule for
this, but stood firm and didn't cave in to the pressure because you were
absolutely sure of what you were doing. This is more than many of those jeering
boys would have done, many of whom would have caved in even when they knew they
were right - and probably despising themselves inwardly even while allowing
themselves to be manipulated into doing things they don't want to do. You
didn't, with the composing and writing; they were your lifeblood, and you knew
you were doing the right thing.
But when it comes to something like crying, you are more likely to give way
to the pressure (the pressure to suppress crying), because it is something you
don't feel sure about inside yourself. So you do succumb to peer pressure on
this particular thing, and a few others that are perhaps not of great importance.
Don't be so defensive about it, denying it to me, and all that; you can't
fool me about these things anyway. What you are doing (yielding to peer pressure
on a few of these things) is quite natural, and I apologize for needling you a
bit about it. I'm not totally perfect either, and perhaps I make a mistake every
now and then. I like to think my occasional little bits of imperfection, my
occasional little mistakes, actually make me more approachable to you.
Michael: Look, it's all right. I'm not really offended. I've just
talked straight, like you have.
Bivalia: Shake on it. No hard feelings?
Bivalia: You're tougher than you think you are, my friend. You're no
delicate little pansy. You've stood up to much pressure of considerable variety,
before which many supposedly brave men and women have quailed. And you still
haven't knuckled under to the more questionable parts of your society's ethos. I
hand it to you.
Michael: I think this conversation has gone quite weird.
Bivalia: Why, I do believe you're right. So it has. Isn't that great?
What does it matter? I don't think a little weirdness does us the slightest
harm. But worrying about weirdness is another form of peer pressure.
You are wondering what others would think if they read this section of our
conversation. But I can tell you, it would curl your hair if you could be a fly
on a wall when so-called ordinary, straight people were having conversations
which they thought were private. You would realize there's nothing whatsoever
eccentric about what you say or do; and, yes, I include the things you do in
private, little habits you have, that you are careful not to mention to me, out
of embarrassment, and which I will scrupulously avoid naming for fear of
embarrassing you, and because I'm mindful that others will very likely read this
at some stage, people you don't want to go into details with. You know the
things I mean, though.
But I can assure you, there's nothing to worry about. I'm aware of those
things, but I barely give them any thought, because they are simply not nearly as
much an issue as you think they are. Your self-consciousness about your supposed
eccentricity is more of an issue than the eccentricity itself, and even then only
a little bit of an issue. You're allowed to be self-conscious about certain
things. In talking about self-consciousness, peer pressure, and the like, I
haven't in the slightest been saying you shouldn't do those things, or if you do,
that you should feel bad about them. I don't think you should feel bad about
anything you choose to do; just make the right choice though, otherwise you might
feel bad. Make the right choices, then feel good about them.
Lighten up. Don't be so intense about these things. Allow yourself to be
as eccentric as you like; you're not hurting anyone, so what does it matter?
Just do the things and enjoy them, if that's what you feel like.
Just think of Prince Charles, who had the misfortune to be eavesdropped on
while having intimate telephone conversations, and for his alleged words to be
published. He was much ridiculed for some of the things it is alleged he said
(if the reports are authentic, and not trumped up, faked), and you had
psychiatrists pontificating on his mental condition, and saying the most absurd
and pompous things about his instability, his unfitness to be King, and so on.
The poor man - if one took all this nonsense seriously, one might almost
believe half the tripe that was said about him. When by chance you came across a
published copy of this conversation, you might have expected the most appalling
things to be disclosed. You had the good common sense, and sense of proportion,
upon reading the material, to see that what Charles and Camilla said was
perfectly normal lighthearted lovers' talk that is quite appropriate for a little
bit of fun which you don't expect to be overheard and published, and you quickly
saw all the journalistic nonsense for what it was.
Michael: Yes, you're right. I expected to read dreadful things, because
everyone was saying how damaging the material was to Charles' and Camilla's
reputations, particularly Charles' (of whom much more was expected). When I
read it, there was almost a sense of anticlimax mingled with gladness for
Charles that it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. It was the journalists
themselves who had done much more to damage Charles' image than Charles' own
words; they did this by making insinuations just barely on this side of
legality, and by selectively quoting the more colourful bits out of context;
but after this, I found that reading what Charles was really supposed to have
said, in context, improved his standing in my eyes, not the
opposite. At the end of it all, my attitude to him is not dented in the
slightest compared to what it was before all this nonsense came up in the
first place. I just feel sorry he had to suffer the embarrassment of being
dragged through the mud like this by journalists who were motivated by nothing
more than the greed for money, or perhaps by political agendas of their own,
in some cases.
Bivalia: Exactly. You see what I mean. The point of it is, why not just
take that attitude to the various things about yourself you seem to feel
self-conscious about, perhaps even occasionally guilty? Realize that it's
nothing: just a little bit of fun, an endearing foible, or whatever. Be as
charitable to yourself as you were to Prince Charles.
Michael: In an odd way, it almost increased my respect for him, convinced
me he had a whimsical sense of fun, and didn't go round acting stuffy and
dignified all the time, standing on his status as Prince (other than the
public occasions when he must do so, of course). And, although perhaps my
feelings about this are irrelevant to the main topic of our conversation, I
always felt a little bit of attraction to Charles; he's someone I've got time
for. He seems to me to be a thinking sensitive person who dares to be
Bivalia: This isn't a school lesson; you're allowed to diverge to talk
about incidental things with me whenever, and as often as, you like. That's one
of the things I love about you, that you do that, and don't always grimly focus
on the main topic that supposedly we should be concentrating on.
Michael: Yes. And it doesn't bother me in the slightest that he goes in
for New-Age stuff, talks to plants, and the like. In fact, it tells me things
about him that I rather like.
Bivalia: Of course. You have an understanding of these things yourself,
and are open enough not to scoff at even the bits you do have doubts about. I'll
tell you, quietly, just between you and me, I have no qualms about him being the
King of Australia either, despite the doubts that exist about that, on at least
two different fronts. [c]
Michael: You mean Charles' own personal situation with regard to his
future Kingship, and the Australian Republican issue, which might de-King him
for Australia, anyway?
Bivalia: Yes; those are the two fronts to which I'm referring. Now I'm not
getting political there when I say I have no qualms. I'm not going to take sides
on the Republican/Monarchist debate, and I have no special feelings about that
either way, in any case. I just mean that, if he becomes King, I would not
consider him any less suitable than other possible contenders for the job. I'm
talking about him individually, not about the politics of the monarchy. I share
your view that the whole thing, the Charles-bashing of recent times, is very
largely a media beat-up, although perhaps it has to be admitted he was a little,
how shall we say it, careless or indiscreet in a few things he did (and you
notice how careful I am being to talk about it discreetly myself).
But aren't we all careless at times, not just Charles? None of us can live
on a tightrope all the time, but royalty are expected to; they're never allowed
to make human mistakes, but they do nonetheless, because they are human,
all the same. You can see the arrant hypocrisy of those who criticize what
Charles has done, yet who wouldn't bat an eyelid at anyone else in the whole
country doing those same things and worse, and who (the critics) in some cases
probably do the same things themselves.
If a society puts someone on an impossibly high pedestal, quite
precariously, against his will, that society cannot complain if their idol
occasionally falls off. Least of all should they kick him while he's down; call
me naive if you like, but I would dare suggest that the right thing would be to
extend him a helping hand to climb up again with dignity, if they must insist
that he live on a pedestal at all.
But I'm not about to turn into a royal watcher. Here I could be straying
into dangerous political territory, and it's not really my job to buy into your
society's political disputes, and I want to be careful what I say on such
matters. It could set a dangerous precedent if I comment too closely on public
affairs, and I only do it even to this extent because I can perhaps let my hair
down a little with you, whose Higher Self I am.
Michael: Thank you. I'm glad you feel free to do that; I find you an
interesting person to talk with, even about things like this.
Bivalia: In some matters I'm a bit like the Queen, who one must admit with
wonder never puts a foot wrong. I'm like her in that I may have views on certain
things, but deem it best to remain silent on them.
Michael: All the same, you have an interesting slant on these things,
rather like my own in fact.
Bivalia: Of course it's like your own, for reasons we've already
discussed. If it were wildly different from your own, I would regard it as good
reason to question either your sincerity or mine, or perhaps just wonder if
you're nearly as good at channelling me accurately as you think you are.
Michael: I suppose I'm not doing too badly. It's a pity it just doesn't
feel quite real, but rather like a child's imaginary companion who you know is
Bivalia: Have patience. This isn't the same thing, however much it may
appear to be. In due course, your perception of our real relationship will
become clearer and clearer; and writing our conversations like this is one of the
best ways you can assist that.
Michael: I must go now. I think we've finished, have we? I hope you
have, for now. I know I have, because I keep making mistakes, and I keep
having little instant mini-waking dreams even as I sit here typing, where I
get these instantaneous mental impressions that have that dreamlike property
of being utterly indescribable, or at best only slightly like some concrete
thing but also quite unlike it too. And I don't want to start another new
page, because that'll mean I'll have to set up a new tab-stop line to
accommodate 3-digit page numbers, which is beyond me just now.
Bivalia: I think I had finished at a convenient stopping-point; and I
suspect that even if I haven't, you are simply unable to receive me clearly any
longer. You'd better a get a couple of hours' sleep at least before visiting
Michael: Yes. Good night, morning, or whatever. I don't know the time
even to the nearest hour, or even whether it's a.m. or p.m.; I'll find out
from the computer when I quit this document.