(M.J.E. Spirit / Sat., 3 Jun., 1995)

Spirit Dialogues

Explorations of Spirit
by Michael Edwards

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Saturday, 3 June, 1995

      Bivalia:[a] Greetings, beloved one. And how are you this fine day?

      Michael: Okay, I guess. How are you?

      Bivalia: I am very well, thank you.

      Michael: I don't suppose I have anything very important to say just now. Well, perhaps I do, but I'm not about to go into that now, because I won't have enough time just now. So for right now, I don't really have a lot of importance to say.

      Bivalia: It matters not; it is more than enough that you simply wish to be with me, and to have the consciousness of so many Masters around you, such as the ones you just called upon, and indeed the consciousness of God Himself. And, yes, he does understand why you don't speak directly to Him as often as you might, just as you have asked Him to understand a minute ago. He is full of love for you, and doesn't hold it against you at all. He knows how dense your world is at present, and understands how that can draw the veils across the spiritual awareness of so many people.

      Michael: It appears to me that I am coming to you in such sessions for more and more trivial reasons now. Once upon a time, I did so with a sense of some importance, because I had something important to discuss; but now I sometimes start a session with only a small reason in mind, or sometimes even no reason at all. Perhaps I am subverting the purpose of these sessions.

      Bivalia: No, my beloved friend; not subverting - merely broadening. It is entirely a change for the better. You see, in the beginning, you only came for big reasons, but not for small ones (not nearly so often, anyway); but now you have it both ways: you still come to me for the big reasons, when they come up, and you also come for the small reasons. I do not make a distinction between the big and small reasons, and count the big ones as more important; each reason you come to me with is important at that time.
      And what reason, big or small, brings you here now, beloved one?

      Michael: Well, it sounds odd to say it, now that it comes to the point. But it was such a distinctive day today, in terms of its atmosphere, quite beautiful in a way.

      Bivalia: Yes. Indeed it was. I am not unaware of such things myself, and I agree with you.

      Michael: I somehow just felt like discussing it with you; I don't know why. I suppose because it seems to remind me of that sense of magic or wonder, that hint that great and wonderful things are to be found somewhere, that a great and wonderful way of life might, if I'm lucky, await me one day, somewhere in the universe.

      Bivalia: You are lucky, my friend. It does await you, and you might be surprised at how soon it might come.

      Michael: It was a clear day, but sort of washed out in a sense. I went into town about a quarter to five, so, being out of doors, I noticed it round about that time. It was rather misty, the sky a hazy blue, and the sun (by that time) a golden-orange ball low down in the western sky. It was so muted by mist that its circular shape was quite distinct, about the size of the moon, unlike most days when it is so bright that you can't look at it even for a second, and if you glance it, you don't really perceive its circular shape. But this time you could. Of course, I didn't look at it any more than out of the corner of my eye, because it is dangerous to look at even when shrouded in mist like that. Everything seemed pastel-coloured somehow, as if all the colours (especially in the sky) were diluted with white and yellow and pale blue, and the colours looked as if they were starting to blur into each other a little, like the most delicate of water-paintings. The light itself seemed to be pale liquid light of various pastel colours. Distant objects (buildings, and the like) were smudged with blue-grey mist. And there was a very distinct atmosphere, one I've occasionally seen before on such days. It seemed to remind me of something, but I don't know what.

      Bivalia: There is a whole hidden world, hidden from your everyday 3rd-dimensional consciousness, that is, which a deeper part of you knows about. That deeper part is not only me, your Higher Self, but even parts of your 3rd-dimensional mind, especially parts of it known as the unconscious, but even little bits of your conscious mind too. You lack the 3rd-dimensional language to describe those hidden things, except in the most indirect ways, but those hidden things are interconnected in all sorts of ways with 3rd-dimensional things, the things of everyday life, the things of which they are the higher-dimensional equivalent, in a similar way to how I am the higher-dimensional equivalent of your 3rd-dimensional self.
      Those hints of wonderful and magical things that everyday objects or situations seem to suggest but don't actually manifest are those connections with higher dimensions impinging on your everyday mind. These connections are why physical objects or places or events, sometimes even quite plain ordinary ones, can seem to have a particular distinct atmosphere or personality beyond anything you would think the physical attributes of the object or place would account for. Sometimes you are quite unaware of why the ordinary object or place seems to have such significance, and it can be puzzling, but unconsciously (and sometimes even a little bit consciously) you are perceiving the connections between the object and its spiritual essence; for everything in your world has a spirit just as surely as a living being has a spirit. Ultimately, there is no distinction between the living and the non-living anyway; the so-called difference is simply a difference of degree. And connections exist between the physical object and its spirit, which comprises its very essence, which is not less real than the physical object, but more real. And as long as you keep being receptive to those connections, as long as you don't cynically dismiss them as so much nonsense, they will grow stronger and more real as time goes by. Don't give up on this, my friend.

      Michael: No. I don't think I will, anyway, although I probably come perilously close sometimes.

      Bivalia: You are more worried about that than I am. One day, those connections will become more and more real, and turn into reality itself. Keep on; I am longing to accompany you on some long and glorious journeys of exploration of those realms you dream about, both in your sleep and in your daydreams.

      Michael: It'll be good, won't it? But please be patient; it may take me longer than you think, because I have a lot of nasty stuff to deal with in this world that is (seemingly) trying to hold me down in the mire.

      Bivalia: I will wait as long as it takes, beloved one, meanwhile giving you all the help I can. There is no such thing as too late in the spiritual world, and you have no idea of how liberating that knowledge is, in contrast to religions which think once you die to your world it is forever too late to go the right way.

      Michael: Oh, yes, Bivalia, I have a pretty good idea of how liberating it is. That feature of Christianity (many branches of it anyway) is the main reason I am not a Christian.

      Bivalia: Yes; but it is even more liberating than you are now aware of. I have seen back-slid Christians in the next world, people who once really believed in hell, perhaps who still do, but who have just drifted over the years from Christianity as they understood it. I have seen them in the next world initially full of fear that they might be in hell, then I've seen the look on their faces as spiritual guides, full of compassion, let them know they weren't in hell after all, that the whole idea was just a horrible nightmare that was now over. It is heart-warming to see how liberating this insight is, and it makes my heart ache that so many people in your world believe in hell, that so many religious leaders still teach this doctrine, either explicitly or by implication.

      Michael: I'm sure you're right. Anyway, I didn't mean to get onto that; I'm not really in the mood for theology at the moment.
      Today somehow seemed like Indian summer, although I don't think Melbourne ever really has a genuine Indian summer; and it's a bit late for that anyway. But it was certainly like it, with the blue sky, tiny wisps of cloud, the hazy atmosphere, the muted colours, the orange sun, and all the rest of it.

      Bivalia: Yes, it is very beautiful, isn't it? Even if your part of the world is not one of those that regularly has Indian summer as a distinctive phenomenon, bits of it can come at any time, as you have seen. Nature does not always follow rules formulated by men, and you doubtless realize that the so-called rules are simply generalizations of what is observed to happen on the whole, not ironcast rules that must never be broken, and so you will occasionally see exceptions to them.

      Michael: I suppose the thing that didn't quite fit was that it was a bit colder than I would normally think Indian summer would be; but then, it's just into winter, and Indian summer usually (according to books I read years ago) happens in mid to late autumn, lasting from a few days to a couple of weeks.

      Bivalia: Never mind. If you are drawn to it, just enjoy it while you can, my friend.

      Michael: It's a pity I'm not out in the country to enjoy it properly, but stuck in this ugly city.

      Bivalia: You will one day not too far off be living in a wonderful place that will be much more beautiful than your country areas presently are. And you will be pleased to know that all the natural phenomena you find beautiful exist in the higher realms in analogous forms.

      Michael: Yes, I wonder about that. Some of the accounts of the after-life I've read say that there is no night and day, that light is always present, that there is no visible sun, the light is just there, and that the weather is always fine and bright, and doesn't vary. Sounds a bit boring to me.

      Bivalia: There are regions like that in the astral plane: very pleasant, but I agree with you, a little too lacking in variety for my liking. Some people like it that way, however.
      On the astral plane, matter responds to thoughts, especially ones accompanied by emotion, and those who expect that arrangement (or desire it) create it for themselves. The cumulative effect of many people thinking the same way (at least on this matter of a constant climate) is sufficient to make it so for many thousands of miles, for entire planets. Some of the inhabitants might believe that's the universal arrangement for the entire astral level; even if they travel far and wide, they would still tend to be attracted to similar regions of the universe. But there are other regions, both in the astral, and higher, where this constancy of climate is not the case, where people appreciate the variety of weather patterns, and other natural phenomena, which you enjoy on earth.

      Michael: I may often grumble about the weather, but what I would really want is not to have it always exactly the same, sunny, no clouds, no wind, and so on, but to be in a better position to protect myself from some of its effects: you know, to be able to warm myself better (or cool myself), have better transport arrangements on rainy days, and the like. I've often been aware of the paradox that I sometimes hate the weather that's on (storms, rain, wind, and so on - or, sometimes, too much sun), because it causes me such discomfort, yet at the same time somehow liking the atmosphere of it.

      Bivalia: Of course. I know what you mean.

      Michael: I think I said in a much earlier session how in a way I like storms and all sorts of things, if only I were better able to protect myself from their discomfort. Although I must say there are grey nondescript days that even atmosphere-wise don't seem much.

      Bivalia: Well, I suppose they do have their own atmosphere, but not every atmosphere necessarily appeals to you equally. And there might come a time when you may be able to appreciate those grey days. But at present, prone to depression as you are, it could be that those days have an adverse effect on your mood, and that may inhibit your ability to appreciate the particular atmosphere of such days. If you find thunderstorms, wind, and other conditions generally considered unfavourable, easier to enjoy, well at least something is happening there - storms especially have a sense of drama, of excitement; but on those grey days, nothing much is happening, and a gloom is just settling over everything, perhaps with a fine continuous drizzle. One day it will affect you less, emotionally, and you might one day see a quiet beauty in those days. It is possible, ultimately, to see beauty in almost everything, once you have the consciousness to be able to embrace them.

      Michael: What puzzles me is why a particular kind of day seems to have such a unique atmosphere. It's quite impossible to describe accurately, although I've tried on various occasions, in sessions with you, in letters to various people, and the like.

      Bivalia: Well, my friend, it is like I said before. Objects have a spirit, and the idea of things having a spiritual essence, a spirit like a living being has, also extends to abstract ideas. It is no fiction to talk about the spirit of rain, or of storms, or of sunlight, or of cirrus clouds, or of cumulus clouds, or of any phenomenon, natural or man-made, that you care to dream up, however specialized and particular it may be, or, on the other hand, however general it may be. For instance, in the day just finished which you described a little earlier, there are nature spirits and angels who are attracted by that kind of day, by those kinds of colours, and so on, who come in closer, and who make their influence felt (by those who are sensitive to them) more strongly on such days. They positively revel in it. I think one day you will delight in being able to see them, and even join them in their expressions of joy. This is momentous stuff, the revelries of these spirits, and in one sense their activities are what drives the universe; they play a big role in the very evolution of the universe. You are able to pick up the momentous nature of their activities, which is why something such as a day of a particular atmosphere gives you an unidentifiable feeling of something momentous, something great, wonderful, and exciting, even though rationally you cannot see why this should be so.
      These beings are so attuned to the particular conditions they are attracted to, that it is no exaggeration to say that they are the spirit or essence of that phenomenon. And yes, there is a class of nature spirits ranging from fairies to devas who could be regarded as the spirit or essence of that kind of misty washed-out day with wispy films of cloud and mellow orange sunlight, and all the rest of it. And there are others who are similarly the essence of any other kind of day you are capable of thinking of, or of any kind of natural occurrence or phenomenon.
      Many of the indigenous peoples of your world, who are (in some cases) still closer to nature than Western man is, and closer to things of spirit, are quite right in talking of the spirit of a tree or of a place or of anything at all. It is not merely figurative, not merely mythological, although many Western people, in their ignorance, may choose (sometimes rather patronizingly) to see it that way.

      Michael: Well, that would seem to explain a few things that occasionally have puzzled me. From what you say, it would seem that I am one of those people who are sensitive to these spirits you're talking about.

      Bivalia: Why, of course you are, beloved one. I thought we both took that for granted. You may not yet be consciously aware of the spirits themselves as beings (that is only a matter of time), but still quite a high degree of sensitivity on your part to them is demonstrated by the highly-tuned sense with which you feel an "atmosphere" in a place.

      Michael: It is puzzling as to why the idea of Indian summer fascinates me so much. I mean, prosaically, it might seem to be little more than simply a period of warmer, dry weather occurring in mid to late autumn, and thus usually surrounded, both before and after, by colder wetter weather, perhaps even by storms. Well, it might be a little more, because one or two of the encyclopaedias I consulted about Indian summer years ago described it not only as this, but also described specific weather patterns and conditions, about warm air being trapped over a certain region, about mists building up, and the like; but even if we grant this slightly more specific definition of Indian summer, it would still hardly seem to account for its fascination for me, hardly seem to account for its very distinct atmosphere. It would even less account for the way Indian summer (something I've never experienced in its pure form, as described above) seems to have so much of a momentous feel, an excitement about it. But your theory about everything having a spiritual counterpart, its very essence, seems to account for it. You would in effect talk of the spirit of Indian summer.

      Bivalia: Of course I would. There is indeed a class of nature spirits, of great variety in many other ways, which nevertheless have it in common that they are strongly aligned with the sort of conditions that prevail in Indian summer as you just described it, which are indeed at their most active in autumn. Yes, one can describe them, collectively, as the spirit of Indian summer. And it happens that there is also an attraction between them and yourself (and myself, too, remembering that you and I are not really separate entities, deep down). This is why you feel that fascination, which is so strong that you have for many years wanted to write music about Indian summer.
      I made it sound as if Indian summer occurs for purely physical reasons to do with the weather, and that this attracts those spirits. Well, this is true, on one level; but, as usual, things are not quite as simple as that. In another sense, these spirits go through life-cycles of their own, and at times they, on a certain level, beyond the physical, could be said to cause the Indian summer conditions. When you have a higher perspective than the purely physical, logical one, there is a sense in which causality is different from its everyday perception, and in which you can say that A causes B, and B simultaneously causes A.
      Yes, the Indian summer (which on a certain level does have perfectly ordinary physical causes) does cause the Indian summer spirits to gather (and you should see how they revel in it!), and at the same time, the spirits, at the appropriate times in their lives, do things spiritually which have their effect on the physical world which mirrors their activities, and these effects can include the causing of Indian summer conditions on the physical level.
      And of course, we were only using Indian summer as an example. The same kind of reciprocal relationship between matter and spirit occurs in every other phenomenon or event. It makes no difference if it is natural or man-made, although the exact nature of the spirit, or of the "atmosphere" people like you might perceive, changes according to how closely linked with humanity it is. There's no denying that, for better or worse (sometimes both at the same time), humanity is one of the most prominent influences on your part of the universe, both physically and spiritually. (And I use the term "spiritual" there as a convenient catch-all term to embrace the astral, the mental, the Buddhic planes, and so on, although this is not strictly speaking correct; those planes have their own nature and identity just as much as the physical does, but that is rather difficult to describe in words, and I'm not sure I can do it now with the way of using words you habitually use, which, generally speaking, I am constrained by in channelling through you.)

      Michael: Well, I'm sorry to throw a wet blanket over all the nice poetic ideas we've been discussing, but I'm afraid it's quite likely the misty effect, the washed-out colours, the orange sun, all the Indian summer effects, and so on, were caused by something as unromantic as pollution, at least here in the city.

      Bivalia: Possibly. It doesn't really change what I said. Humanity does have its effects on your planet, and even when some influence is on the whole not good, it can have pleasant side-effects. And you might recall that in earlier times, before industry was so heavy, the misty effects were caused by the wood fires that were once much more common. Didn't Indian summer get its name in North America because earlier settlers in that region noticed the misty effect in calm weather caused by the fires of the so-called Indians?

      Michael: Something like that. I do seem to recall reading that, but the details escape me now.

      Bivalia: Never mind.

      Michael: In any case, the name derives from the American Indians, not the country of India. Perhaps the name "Indian summer" is a bit of a misnomer, in that calling the indigenous Americans Indians was a mistake anyway, way back in history; but for all that, the name "Indian summer" really has a mystique, a personality, almost.

      Bivalia: Well, what I said before applies to names too, whether or not they are historically mistaken. A name has a certain spirit too, which can modify the spirit of the thing being named, in a rather subtle way. More precisely, it modifies the interface between the spiritual essence of the thing and its physical manifestation in your world, so that changing a name often changes the way people perceive the thing. We discussed this aspect a couple of sessions ago, with regard to the names of trains.

      Michael: Yes, I see your point. Although we seem to regard smoke of any sort now as pollution, somehow the earlier causes of mistiness, such as wood fires, seem more innocent, and a lot more wholesome, somehow, than the modern causes of pollution, which carry connotations of nasty poisonous chemicals. I find it a bit of a paradox that the lovely misty effects I like so much, which really seem to have that sense of wonder, are caused by something as unclean and undesirable as pollution.

      Bivalia: Well, misty weather conditions do exist in other realms beyond the physical, and they do not always have their origins in pollution. There are so many natural processes in higher realms which are not found in your world, and the whole realm of nature covers vastly wider possibilities, and some of those conditions do indeed cause mistiness, which is not tainted with those connotations of pollution. No doubt your dim awareness of this accounts for your liking of mistiness, because I don't think I'm mistaken in saying you don't like pollution as such, even if you like the misty conditions it can cause.

      Michael: No, I see nothing romantic in pollution itself, no suggestion of wonder or magic. Well, almost nothing. I must admit there is a certain grim mysteriousness to those scenes of pollution which might be described in a science fiction novel of the future, where pollution is really bad, which might even be depicted on the front cover in garish lurid colours. Such scenes can be intriguing, and have a rather dark atmosphere which (from a distance, at least) can be appealing (in a sense), but that is quite a different sort of appeal, and I suppose not as strong. But it illustrates the truth of what you said before, that even undesirable conditions can, almost accidentally, have side-effects which can be intriguing or fascinating, even enjoyable sometimes.

      Bivalia: You are learning, my friend, not to see things in such black and white terms. I think at times you have been like this, perhaps still are in some matters. Learning to see attractive aspects of pollution (just as an example) is a good exercise in getting beyond the limitation of seeing everything as all good or all bad. Life itself is not usually that neatly classifiable.
      But you may be sure that the side-effects of bad conditions (like pollution) which nevertheless have an appeal, a fascination, an atmosphere which you can enjoy (even if only from a distance), also exist in the higher realms and have a more wholesome origin there. The very fact that a part of you finds them fascinating, even "good" in a sense, indicates that the fundamental origin of those side-effects is more wholesome, more aligned with good, with what we call the "light". If that was not the fundamental origin, it is difficult to see why those side-effects of something bad might nevertheless appeal to you. You are able to think of things, are you not, that undeniably have their own atmosphere, their own identity, which you can recognize, yet which do not appeal to you in the slightest, even in the vague obscure sense in which a polluted landscape might have?

      Michael: Yes. Oppression, deceit, conformism, power games, commercialism, destruction, torture, murder, pain - lots of things.

      Bivalia: Of course. Those things are not of the light at all. Pollution (to continue that example), is not either; but it is at least possible that some of its side-effects do have an origin on higher levels that is more of the light, or at least not opposed to it. Things can have more than one cause from one instance to another. Life is not black and white, not all-good here and all-bad there. Good and bad are woven together intricately, sometimes in very intimately linked patterns.
      Now, I am not of the persuasion that good and bad must eternally co-exist in the universe, each being a foil for the other, like yin and yang which must be balanced in equilibrium, and which, if the balance is upset, must be restored to equilibrium. I do believe good must eventually prevail and evil banished, but it may take its time. The good and evil that are so intimately and intricately intertwined will eventually be sorted out, but the knottiest parts of such tangling might have to wait for the universe to evolve to higher planes (or at least for the parts of the universe where the tangling is located to evolve to higher planes); meanwhile, yes, the good and evil are (for the present) inextricably linked, and this has led some people to believe they must be so linked for ever. I cannot bring myself to believe that, however, if you want my opinion.

      Michael: I agree with that. At least, I don't really know, but that is the attitude I am strongly attracted to. I want it to be so, and the sooner the better.

      Bivalia: Alas, parts of the totality of evil cannot be removed as quickly as you or I would wish. You might ask why God cannot snap His fingers (so to speak) and make evil vanish in a puff of smoke. Perhaps now is not the time to go into the question of evil, which we have discussed before anyway; but it might be apposite to say in this connection that God Himself is evolving, and that perhaps He cannot eliminate evil, but is learning how to do so, as we are. He is helping us evolve, but we are also helping Him evolve.
      Perhaps we are all in a forest, and He is ahead of us, scouting the way. He is more powerful than us (for now), because after all we are not-yet-fully-realized portions of Him, and is better placed to see the right way to go, and He sends back whatever information He finds out, to guide us.
      But we, further back, also support Him in a sense. We give Him logistic support, so to speak, supplying Him with the resources to serve the common purpose of evolving, growing in awareness, reducing the role of evil in the universe. Every time we do good in this world, we are serving His cause, and our own. Every time we hurt others, or repress knowledge, or impose conformity, we hinder that purpose, create another obstacle that needs to be overcome, which will be overcome, but which slows things down.
      That is a rather inadequate analogy to how I see the whole business of evolution, and the role of good and evil in it, but you may find it a useful image to use at times. The important thing to realize is that God is on our side, not putting stumbling blocks of evil in our path. If you could see even just as much as I can, no more, how full of love He is, you could not possibly believe He would want to do anything with evil other than to eliminate it as fast and as completely as He can. But there are limitations here even for Him, although they may seem far less than your limitations as a human, or even mine as a Higher Self.
      There are questions of free will involved here also, and although I know you have difficulty with many of the conventional explanations as to how free will is interlinked with good and evil, and perhaps I have difficulty with them too, I can at least say that free will does have ramifications which do have a bearing on the problem of evil, from God's point of view. But it's certainly not as simple as some of your theologians have made out.
      I know you think I'm copping out when I give vague answers on this most bothersome question of evil. But I can assure you that a correct view is very subtle, and the words to describe it scarcely exist in physical languages. If this were not so, some of your thinkers would have stumbled on the correct view, or at least something like the correct view; and most of them haven't done so, and the few who have come reasonably close almost cannot explain their view clearly and convincingly. Also, I might add that although I do see this matter more clearly than do most people in your physical world, that is only relative, and I am far from capable of seeing the entire question of evil in full clarity. So you must excuse me if I can give only what seem to be maddeningly vague explanations; I am doing the best I can.

      Michael: I appreciate that, and I don't criticize you. But it is a real thorn in the side of life, to suffer at times, to be aware of the overall suffering in this world, to hope for an end to it, seemingly in vain, and to constantly hear explanations that don't seem to get it right.

      Bivalia: I understand how it appears to you; I truly do. But one day you will see more clearly; and one day evil, suffering, and pain will come to an end.

      Michael: I hope so.
      To come back to Indian summer (which I seem to have on the mind at the moment), it is funny how the various features of it (the mistiness, the orange light, the types of clouds, and so on) seem to have their own particular identity, but when they all come together into Indian summer, they also fit together to make a bigger identity which is the identity of Indian summer, which is like a gestalt, a totality which is more than the sum of its parts.

      Bivalia: All of nature is like that; the whole universe is. This is true spiritually as well as physically. All the spirits in the universe, of any type, do not exist on the same level; it's hierarchical. You have more basic or fundamental spirits, which are comparatively small and particular, and more numerous; they come in a great many varieties. They have certain relationships with certain other spirits of the same level, and if you consider a community of such spirits, that community can be considered as a spirit on its own, but on a higher level or a more complex one.
      And yes, such a higher-level spirit is more than the sum of its parts. It goes both up and down for many layers, always in that hierarchical sense. For instance, one of the most fundamental spirits is the spirit of a quark. Then you have the spirit of a neutron, for example, or of a proton or an electron or a neutrino, and so on. Now neutrons, etc., are simply combinations of quarks, but the collection of quarks makes a bigger particle with its own identity.
      Particles make atoms which are more than the sum of their constituent particles, atoms make molecules, molecules make minerals or living tissues, depending where they are found, those make bigger things; and you can keep going up. Living things (if we follow that branch of the hierarchy) make families, families make communities, communities make species, or perhaps they make an eco-system, if we consider a closely-knit community of many different species, eco-systems and species (in different ways) make up what we might call a macro-environment, these make up a planet, planets and stars make up solar systems, which make up galaxies, which make up clusters of galaxies, which make up universes, which make up what we can only call super-universes; and so on. For all I know, the hierarchy continues downwards for ever from quarks, down to ever-more fundamental particles, and upwards from super-universes, one of which might for all we know be like a quark in some unimaginably huge entity on a higher level. And a quark in our universe might (for all we know) be an entire universe on a much smaller level, with its own sub-sub-sub-microscopic components.
      You had it right, more than you realized, in a story you started quite a good many years ago called The Atoll, where you had an ecological character called Jim expound a theory of the environment very much like this. He spoke glowingly of the spirit of the atoll he had visited, how loving he found it, and regarded it as more than the sum total of all the life-forms found there. He was absolutely right in speaking like this, and I suspect you knew this at some semi-conscious level, otherwise you probably wouldn't have put the concept into your story.
      It's a pity you never finished the story; perhaps I can still live in hope of reading it one day.

      Michael: Perhaps, but don't hold your breath. My writing of fiction seems to have died away for reasons which it would cause us to stray too much to go into. You know, to do with the seeming pointlessness of physical life, and of writing about it.

      Bivalia: Yes. I hope that phase will pass one day soon. Your description of the spiritual aspects of nature in that story was quite enlightened and showed a deep intuitive understanding of these things. And you threw it in as almost a throwaway detail, because it was perhaps not totally relevant to the plot of the story.

      Michael: Well, no, but it was like background detail, and once that's there, it can influence the story in ways you can't foresee, and I think I did have it in mind to do that. Anyway, it came naturally, and it seemed right to put it in.

      Bivalia: Quite right, too. It is interesting that you selected the title The Spirit of the Atoll for one of those proposed symphonies you wanted to write, The Spirit of the Oasis for another, and so on.

      Michael: I intended the term "spirit" to be largely figurative, at least to begin with, to convey the sense of "the essence of" or "the atmosphere or feeling of".

      Bivalia: You were more perceptive than you realized. What you sought to convey was quite literally the spirit of the atoll, the oasis, and so on. It is that which gives those environments that distinct atmosphere you wanted to depict in music. Just as you had the character in the story The Atoll say; he referred to the spirit of the atoll, meaning it quite literally, not merely as a figure of speech. Just like I meant the spirit of Indian summer quite literally too, which gives it its atmosphere.

      Michael: I appreciate your point about the hierarchical nature of the natural world, but it's even more complicated. It seems to me that something can belong to more than one gestalt at a time. Like the orange sun, for example. We've already said how it belongs to the group of things associated with Indian summer; but it seems to me to belong to at least one or two other groups. It also belongs to what I would call the things of the evening, along with a full moon rising (which is always very early in the evening or very late in the afternoon), the evening star (actually the planet Venus), which always sets within a couple of hours of sunset, the red sky on certain evenings, and so on. All these things belong to the evening, and although each has its own identity, they seem collectively to have an "evening" sort of atmosphere.

      Bivalia: Of course; you're absolutely right. There is such a thing as the spirit of evening: both the various spirits of various types of evening, and the spirit of evening generally which comprises all the evening spirits of various particular kinds. And these spirits are gestalts which are made up of more fundamental spirits of things which are characteristic of the evening, or in harmony with it.

      Michael: And of course the orange sunset also belongs to the class of solar phenomena.

      Bivalia: Yes, the spirit of the sun.

      Michael: And you can branch out in yet another direction. I mentioned the full moon rising. Not only does it belong to the evening, but it also belongs to things of the moon generally.

      Bivalia: Yes, of course. The spirit of the moon, or the lunar spirit if you like. Yes, you're right. It goes on forever in a great interconnected web. That's how the universe operates. You become more aware of these links as you grow in spiritual awareness. I am pleased by the sensitivity to these things you seem to show.

      Michael: Oh, it's nothing. It becomes pretty obvious over the years if you're a daydreamy sort of person like I am.

      Bivalia: Well, it may be obvious to you and to me, but there are many people who never notice it, who never give it a moment's thought, even if someone points it out to them. They dismiss such ideas as impractical mystical nonsense.

      Michael: I have probably been guilty of doing so at times, when I'm feeling a bit jaded. You obviously have no idea of how at times in the past I've thrown off at the New Age generally, of what I called irrationality.

      Bivalia: Ah, but the difference is that you still think about such ideas; you don't dismiss them completely. Very likely when you've got over your blue funk you even consider such ideas more openly, you discuss them with like-minded people. A lot of people wouldn't be seen dead discussing ideas like you and I have been doing.

      Michael: True. I can think of a few myself.

      Bivalia: And you yourself have stopped in the street and looked at a sunset or a rainbow or a moonrise or some unusual clouds or a spider's web or a bird - lots of things, big and small - and have wondered that so many people scurry around you like ants before a rainstorm, seemingly quite heedless of the beauty which is right before their eyes, if only they look up. But if they look downwards, at all the things of this world, and often the less inspiring aspects of this world for that matter, well they miss the beauty. Beauty tends to make you look up (either figuratively or literally), but if you never look up (figuratively or literally) you often miss it, then wonder why you feel so harried, even if in a worldly sense you are very successful.

      Michael: I guess so. You have a funny way of summing things up sometimes.

      Bivalia: I am a very funny person at times.

      Michael: Funny peculiar or funny ha-ha?

      Bivalia: Either, or both! It's very refreshing at times to be funny, in either sense, or even both at the same time.

      Michael: We've strayed from our topic.

      Bivalia: Isn't the diversion fascinating?

      Michael: We might get lost from our home base, so to speak.

      Bivalia: We are at home wherever we find ourselves.

      Michael: Speaking of things of the evening, another thing which once fascinated me was the planet Vulcan, which (according to astronomers, and based on well-established principles of physics) doesn't even exist.

      Bivalia: How little they know. It exists astrally, if not physically. Why do you think you were so fascinated? Are you in the regular habit of being fascinated by things which don't even exist?

      Michael: Well, I might do it a bit more often than you think.

      Bivalia: No matter. What is existence anyway? Very few people can say whether something non-physical really exists anyway. And if enough people believe in it, they create it astrally if it wasn't there to begin with.
      However, Vulcan does exist, and has life on it. The life is so different from life as you humans recognize it, that, assuming astronomers could visit the planet, they would not notice the life-forms at all.

      Michael: Well, Vulcan was originally postulated last century by the French astronomer Urbain Leverrier, as the only way he could account for certain disturbances of Mercury's orbit which still remained even after the Sun and all the other planets had been taken into account. He thought there was a very small planet in a very close orbit of the Sun, even closer than Mercury, fearfully hot, and zipping round it even quicker than Mercury's orbit of 88 days. He, and a few other astronomers, claimed to have seen Vulcan in the telescope, moving across the face of the sun, but the sightings couldn't be repeated later either by them or anyone else.
      This was before Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which (amongst other things) gave the equations by which matter could be transformed into energy, and vice-versa: you know, the famous "E equals M C squared" formula, which I have even seen on T-shirts.
      It turned out that Einstein's theory accounted exactly for the disturbance of Mercury's orbit. I don't recall the details, and I'm not physicist enough to understand them, but it seemed like part of Mercury's gravitational field (or was it the Sun's? - I forget) could be considered as matter in an Einsteinian sense (in which sense energy and matter are considered the same), and that extra "matter" could be thrown into the equations by which planetary orbits were calculated; and when you did that, it accounted for the perturbation of Mercury's orbit to a high degree of accuracy; in fact it was one of the very earliest proofs of the accuracy of Einstein's theory. After that, there was no need for any hidden planet, and astronomers dumped Vulcan practically overnight. A very good instance of Occam's Razor. Anyone who believed in Vulcan today would be considered in the same class as astrologers, a few of whom still believe in Vulcan. (I don't think even most astrologers do, actually.)

      Bivalia: Well, perhaps the astrologers (those who believe in it) are right. Or perhaps it doesn't exist physically. Perhaps it did once but fell into the sun after being disturbed in its orbit, perhaps by a stray asteroid, and the astral planet still continues in its orbit. Perhaps the planet has ascended and is not physically detectable any longer. But if you once felt a strong fascination for the planet, you may be sure there is a reason for it, that it does exist in some form. Once again, it has a special atmosphere which almost seems to call for a spiritual explanation.

      Michael: Yes, I wanted to write a story set there; and I wanted to write a piece called The Lost World of Vulcan -

      Bivalia: I wish you'd actually write some of these stories and music you tell me about from time to time. You have great ideas for such things, which would be absolutely wonderful if followed up. The world needs the sort of art you can create, both in music and stories, things which have a sense of wonder, which can inspire people.

      Michael: I am conceited enough to agree with that; but there are difficulties in doing as you suggest.

      Bivalia: Yes, I know. But I can wish, nonetheless.

      Michael: So can I. Believe me; so can I.

      Bivalia: Art and music often play a prominent role in the evolution of your planet, even of bigger parts of the universe, sometimes for the better, only too often for the worse; and what I know you can produce if you put yourself into it would be a powerful force for driving wonderful advances in the evolution of your planet and solar system. I wish you would organize yourself to do it. Even some of the ideas you've discussed with me in this and previous sessions would do wonders for your world if expressed in music or stories. The spirit of the atoll, Indian summer, Vulcan, whatever.

      Michael: And I used to look up at the evening sky and daydream about Vulcan, even though I couldn't see a thing. It really quite obsessed me at one point, about the late 1970s. I even got an idea for a grand opera on a science-fiction theme called The Fires of Vulcan, set on the planet, and with romantic soaring music, and even worked out the plot in part (which was to have a strong spiritual theme also, not only a rational science-fiction element); but opera's not really my thing, so I suppose that project was stillborn.

      Bivalia: Well, maybe not. Perhaps one day, although I can see that project is not for right now. Given the hugeness of opera as a musical form, and the economic constraints (getting ever tighter in your society) in mounting big things like operas, it seems more like something for after you ascend.
      One day, after you ascend, you and I are going to have fun visiting Vulcan. You and I, in a manner of speaking. I mean with you and I fully integrated as the one person we really are fundamentally. But those will be great times we will live in one day.

      Michael: Yes; I hope so. My vision of that is not as clear as yours, though.

      Bivalia: Just hang on, and don't give up hope, not completely.

      Michael: Once again, we digressed. I just gave Vulcan as an example of the things of the evening. But of course many of those things are also things of the morning. The evening star is also the morning star at another juxtaposition of Venus's and Earth's orbits, and Mercury is also a smaller evening and morning star, and I suppose Vulcan too, if it exists.

      Bivalia: Yes. That is yet another interconnection. The way you are aware of all these sorts of things, you obviously have an inner life much richer than your physical life.

      Michael: Well, that wouldn't be difficult. It would be quite an accomplishment for it not to be richer than my physical life.

      Bivalia: You know which is of more value, don't you?

      Michael: Yes, I suppose so; at least, I know what answer you have in mind to that question. But that doesn't stop me from wishing my physical circumstances were a whole heap better, and doesn't change my conviction that physical circumstances have a real effect on supposedly spiritual activities such as writing music or even on just my inner life generally.

      Bivalia: Yes, I grant that. But it might help for you to be aware that many of those people, perhaps not all, but more than you think, who achieve worldly success, do so at a considerable price. They have to accommodate themselves to the ways of the world in order to succeed, in most cases, and if they had a vision like yours to begin with, that is likely in the process to become weakened; and such people are apt to feel pressured and harried all the time in a hundred ways. Because worldly success often means having to conform to other people's expectations, they are never really free to be themselves, and always feel obliged to do things they would rather not do, even to adopt values they don't really like.
      It happens more than you imagine with those successful people you occasionally look at with a degree of envy for their material prosperity. Some of them are much unhappier than you, you know, but they have learned the skill (if that's the right term) of hiding it and putting on a cheerful front. You may feel depressed at times, but you have no idea how liberating it is, even at such times, to be able to feel free to just be depressed if you feel you must, and not have to take on the additional burden of hiding it from other people, or even from yourself, as some depressed people do. Some of them end up being incapable of feeling anything at all, because they are so used to suppressing their feelings even from themselves.
      It might be good to think about that before wishing you could trade places with someone else who appears superficially to be much better off than you. What I have said is not true of all successful people (in the worldly sense), but it is true considerably oftener than you tend to think.

      Michael: Maybe.

      Bivalia: Perhaps I'm lecturing you too much, but it is true; and I say things like that to try to make you feel better. I'll leave it now; when you give one-word answers like "Maybe", it tends to indicate you don't entirely agree with what I say, but don't want to say so; or else you're just losing interest in discussing the matter further.

      Michael: It's all right; I guess I can take lecturing from you more than from anyone else. It doesn't always make me feel better, though.

      Bivalia: No; I see that it doesn't. But you will feel better one day. Your present situation can't continue forever. If only you knew it, but your sense of wonder, your wonderful vision of things like Vulcan or Indian summer, would be the envy of many of those whom you at times envy. They would desperately like something wonderful outside of their own small lives to look up to, to be inspired by.

      Michael: Aren't you putting too much on my daydreams about such things? After all, they're not real in any important sense. I mean, things like Indian summer are real in the sense of existing, but it plays no real part in my life. I mean, it's mostly daydreaming, and perhaps can supply ideas for music or stories, but that's about it.

      Bivalia: But those things of the imagination are much more real than you're assuming there. The inner world in a way is the one that counts most of all. Don't underestimate it. You wouldn't give it up for a few more dollars, a little more power or prestige, would you?

      Michael: Well, try me with a few million dollars...

      Bivalia: If I were in a position to make the offer, I think you would still have doubts. And if you accepted the trade, and lost your vision, I think you would realize you had made a big mistake. Millionaires, powerful people, successful people, often have great difficulty dying, leaving your world, and adjusting to their new situation - much greater difficulty than you are likely to have even if you botch up the rest of your life.

      Michael: Perhaps. You're right that that spiritual sense of longing for something great has been the driving force of my life. It goes right back to childhood, even before I put a name to it, even before I gave a moment's thought to anything spiritual. And there was such a time, because I only gave more than superficial thought to spiritual things after I met and made friends with my school chaplain at Scotch College here in Melbourne, and I didn't start at that school until the beginning of 1967, when I was nearly 13.

      Bivalia: But you still had a spiritual life before then, but just didn't know it consciously. That is of relatively little importance. One does not expect children to be so aware of everything spiritual, even if they have it all along.

      Michael: I think my fascination with atolls goes back to those school years, a few years later than 1967 perhaps. I used to read up about them in the school library back then. There's no doubt, even then I had a keen awareness of the atmosphere of atolls, at least what I thought the atmosphere was, because of course even now I've never visited one.

      Bivalia: That isn't really all that important, although it would be nice if you could visit one. (You might like to consider flying to the Cocos Islands (a genuine atoll) for a holiday one day; it is now part of Australia, so travel arrangements would be fairly simple, and the fare would probably be within your reach if you saved up). But, regardless of visiting atolls or other places, the point is you have an awareness of the spiritual dimension of such things. You know, if you really analyzed your mental and emotional life, you might be surprised how much of it is spiritual in one way or another.

      Michael: If spirituality is what you've been describing, I suppose almost all of it is.

      Bivalia: Yes; it is.

      Michael: I've been aware of the way today's weather (yesterday's, now, if you want to be chronologically accurate) has reminded me of Indian summer, although what we had isn't a real Indian summer. I was thinking vaguely of the sort of music I might put into the symphony in D minor, Indian Summer, which I've spoken of before - just thinking vaguely of the sort of dreamy, misty sort of music I might put in it, thinking of the type of harmony, orchestration, and the like. Dominant-7th harmony on D sustained on muted strings, muted trumpets playing a soft, almost distant, E-major passage, and the like.

      Bivalia: I hope you wrote down what came to mind.

      Michael: No. It wasn't anything like definite enough to write down, nothing concrete. Just vague daydreaming.

      Bivalia: Well, if you sat down some time and thought it through more deliberately, but not choking off intuition, you might come up with ideas you can write down, and they might be very good. This daydreaming sort of thinking about music is not enough by itself to actually produce and complete any music, but it is the essential starting ground for such music, the ground it germinates in, so to speak. I would like to see you follow up such ideas more, you know.

      Michael: So would I. My physical conditions are not favourable to composing, though. We've gone through this before.

      Bivalia: Your world needs the sort of work you can produce, you know.

      Michael: I wish I could oblige, just as much as you wish I could. But it would be too difficult at present.

      Bivalia: Perhaps you should try to do something about it. Organize yourself and your place better. You can probably do more, even as things stand, than you have got into the habit of thinking. Ask me or the Masters, or even God Himself, to be with you continuously if it would help you get on with it. Ask your guides, ask for some angels. Ask all of these beings; go the whole hog, if it helps. You mustn't ever hold back because you think you've already asked enough, or invoked enough Masters, and thus feel reluctant to go further. God helps those who help themselves. Trite as it may sound, the old saying is true. It isn't that God is too miserable to help those who won't help themselves; but those who do invoke powerful spiritual forces which almost can't help calling in God, regardless of whether they think consciously about Him, and those who don't help themselves tend to get progressively cut off from this spiritual power, and can find themselves in a degree of darkness. It seems to be a natural law of the universe, and both of these effects (helping yourself and invoking spiritual power, or failing to do so) are cumulative, and their effects tend to multiply over a period of time, like exponential growth.

      Michael: Yes, perhaps.

      Bivalia: That's why I asked you to work with your dreams; and I notice you haven't done your homework of deliberately trying to influence your dreams, then writing down what you remember. I suggested that two sessions back.

      Michael: Yeah, I know. It isn't that easy to change, and the whole exercise at that time just seemed rather pointless.

      Bivalia: Perhaps. But what seems pointless now may not later, and I would like you to reconsider doing what I suggested back then. I still think it would be a good way for you to work on yourself; and without working on yourself, your progress will be slow and difficult, although perhaps not come to a complete halt, because I happen to think you have enough innate spiritual awareness to make progress anyway; but I can practically assure you that your progress, if you don't make more effort to try to help yourself (with much help from me and God and the Masters, of course), will be slow enough to be thoroughly frustrating, and to even be almost invisible at times. So please think about it some more. And do write down any musical ideas you get, however hopeless you feel about composing in general at that time. I suspect that if you rethink the musical thoughts about Indian summer you had earlier on, you might come up with at least some sketchy ideas that you can write down.

      Michael: Yes, I guess so. It's not much, but it might serve as the basis for some good ideas.

      Bivalia: I'm sure it will.

      Michael: Well, you know, I'm getting a bit cold, and I want to have a bite to eat before I go to bed, and I think we're winding down anyway, so I wonder if I might excuse myself.

      Bivalia: Of course; but although you might close this session, I will still be with you. Just keep talking to me, in the first or the third person, as you see fit. That will help you become aware of me, and of our fundamental unity with each other.

      Michael: Perhaps. I find you more difficult to talk to than the Masters, I suppose because I'm not sure how much you are me, exactly, and how much you are to some extent different, and that makes you seem illusory altogether.

      Bivalia: If it helps you any, I can take on the persona of a completely separate individual, like the Masters can. But at an even more fundamental level, they and you are the same, just as you and I are at a not-quite-so-fundamental level. It's all relative, and it's all done with mirrors anyway; a lot of what you see is illusion and reflection and distortion, anyway. Don't bother yourself too much about who's who, and who's real, and whether someone is "really" someone else at a more spiritual level, and so on. Just speak to anyone at all, including me, in whatever way feels best.

      Michael: Well, I think cold is taking over from whatever scattered thoughts I still had. If I think of anything else, I might add it in the morning (later in the morning, I should say). Good night, Bivalia.

      Bivalia: Good night, Michael. Sweet dreams. And you know what I mean by that.


[a] Tuesday, 26 March, 2002 - "Bivalia:":
      See the first
note at the end of the dialogue for Monday, 13 June, 1994, for the meaning of the name "Bivalia", and why I adopted it in these dialogues as the name for my Higher Self. [Back]

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