(M.J.E. Spirit / Fri., 13 Mar., 1998)

Spirit Dialogues

Explorations of Spirit
by Michael Edwards

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Friday, 13 March, 1998

      Michael: Good evening, Bivalia.

      Bivalia:[a] Good evening, my beloved friend. Long time no see!

      Michael: Yes, I know. There are reasons.

      Bivalia: I know about that; it does not matter. It's good to see you again.

      Michael: I'm glad you don't appear to mind the more-than-two-year hiatus.

      Bivalia: Good Lord, of course not. I didn't entirely mean it when I said "Long time no see".

      Michael: It's not like you to use a phrase like that.

      Bivalia: Oh, I use various turns of phrase. I'm not predictable. Just look at the closing greetings in various earlier channellings. They take various forms, just for the sake of avoiding boredom of routine. I work through your mind, and the exact phraseology is taken from your mind.

      Michael: But I don't use the phrase "Long time no see". I don't even like it. [b]

      Bivalia: You live in a culture which uses the phrase; therefore it is in your mind, even if you don't use it. By the chance of the deal, I happened to pick it up.

      Michael: Well, it doesn't matter, I suppose. Anyway, you didn't mean it entirely?

      Bivalia: No; only in the outward sense of seeing you during a formal channelling session. It is true we have not met like this for over two years; but in another sense we have been together every single day. You've made much progress in your awareness, in spite of the lack of outward spiritual activity or channelling, and in spite of the fact that sometimes you feel in a rut.
      But I have called you specifically, to come to me in this way; yesterday, to be precise.

      Michael: Yes, I know.

      Bivalia: You were very close to Spirit yesterday, were you not?

      Michael: I guess so. Well, ideas I identify with Spirit were tumbling around in my mind, and I suddenly wanted to share them with you.

      Bivalia: Yes, that is one way I use to call you.

      Michael: Well, after that, late last night, something went wrong which I had to attend to, and it took up a few hours, and I didn't get round to doing any channelling. I must say the impulse is less acute now, partly because of the delay, partly because of the thing that went wrong.

      Bivalia: It does not matter. I will see that the full import of it comes out, just as you asked of me and of Spirit before you started this session. These things happen.

      Michael: I have to admit I wondered if perhaps I wasn't meant to channel now, and this thing came to distract me.

      Bivalia: Well, I know there are people who believe things work that way; and, by believing it, perhaps they make it happen for them; they create the astral machinery to make it happen. But you don't believe in that, and I can tell you I don't work with you like that. Why would I let you get the urge to channel it, then stifle it in such a way? If there was a reason for you not to channel now, you simply wouldn't have got the urge to do it. You haven't channelled for two years; it would not have been difficult to prevent the urge coming now, if there was a good reason to do so.
      No, the incident which delayed you just happened to occur at that time, and I would attach no significance to it.

      Michael: It was pure chance, then?

      Bivalia: [LAUGHS A LITTLE.] Ah, well - that is a difficult question, and a rather loaded one, too. I know there are people whose whole philosophy says that nothing ever happens by chance, and I know you have certain problems with that; and there are people who admit that chance does exist, and that by pure fluke it can have great ramifications. I know also that you are not certain, but incline slightly toward the latter view.
      I will not give you a direct answer to that. If I gave an answer you could already accept, it would not tell you anything you didn't already know; if I gave you an answer you could not accept, it would not help you in any degree, would not convince you, and might give you misgivings to no useful purpose.
      To say that an event is just chance, or to say that nothing is pure chance, builds in a whole raft of hidden assumptions which people discussing the question don't always spell out. I would want to define the terms we use in discussing it very precisely before I could give an answer without the risk of being misunderstood. I would want to define chance itself - not nearly as easy a task as you may think; and there may be many other ideas or words I would want to define clearly first.
      If you reflect on the way a mathematician might define chance or randomness (such as Martin Gardner, for example, in some of those books of his you have), you will begin to appreciate the difficulty in saying what chance is anyway. As Gardner makes clear, it is not nearly so easy as it appears on the surface to say exactly what chance or randomness are. Along with you, I accept those points as valid. On top of that mathematical aspect, there is, in the connection in which we might talk about it, an additional spiritual dimension to that.
      I am here to share your spiritual journey, to help you open up new areas of consciousness and awareness, to show you new directions to think, feel, and live in - not to act as an authoritative source of final answers. I think I will defer on that question, as I don't think it is really what you want to discuss now anyway.

      Michael: Yes, I guess you're right in all that. The giving of a definite answer would actually buy into that old dogmatic model of spirituality I am in fact moving away from, and would just raise other questions that would demand to be answered in the same way, and if I continued that way, I could waste years on the pursuit of logical, self-consistent answers that can't satisfy, that can always be doubted anyway, and that lead to paradoxes that can't be resolved anyway (such as the old theological question of why evil exists). I would just box myself in a corner I can't get out of, and it would lead me away from the spiritual path I seem to be taking now, and make me very unhappy as it preoccupied me. I've tried dealing with spiritual matters in that kind of way for a couple of decades or so, and haven't got very far, and I seem to be trying to do it a different way now, using subtler feelings rather than beliefs which act like logical entities.

      Bivalia: Precisely! You took the very words out of my mouth. You showed considerable insight there. That's why I think it's best we leave that alone, and that we leave alone any doctrinal matters that bother you, but where no answer seems to satisfy you as being right.

      Michael: Anyway, about the event that distracted me last night, what happened was that I had just arrived here in Healesville with a load of stuff I was moving from my old place in Trumper St., and I partially unloaded the car, but a bit later had to go a couple of miles to a shop to buy a couple of things, with a couple of boxes still in the back of the car. When I got home I noticed the back of the car open, with the boxes exposed to the air. The back must have been loose, and must have gone up at some stage during the trip, and of course I was worried books might have fallen out the back, even though the only box with an open top still looked full. But I couldn't take any chance on that: I had to spend a few hours walking the entire route slowly, scrutinizing both sides of the road by torchlight, and the ground alongside the road, checking that no books had fallen out. Losing irreplaceable things is one of my greatest fears, and I just had to do it.

      Bivalia: Well, that's unfortunate. I can assure you I would never use such a way of distracting you.

      Michael: Well, I fairly quickly gave up that idea. Frankly, if you did work that way, I wouldn't want to waste too much time with you.
      Anyway, perhaps I can't be totally sure, but I feel almost sure nothing dropped out. The back may have come open just as I entered the driveway, where at the bottom of the slope there can be a bit of a jolt. I went back to the shop and asked the girl if she had noticed my car earlier, and she said she had. I told her what had happened, and asked her to watch through the window while I opened the back again and asked her how noticeable that was. She said she thought she would have noticed it earlier if it had been open. It therefore probably opened during the return journey rather than the outward one. Anyway, the only books that could have fallen out were old hymn books I don't really care a lot about anyway; but I still had to check, because I hate losing anything at all.
      Anyway, this isn't what I want to talk about. It jolted me, but I've put it behind me now, having done all I can, and being fairly satisfied no harm has been done; I am now turning my attention to what I wanted to channel before this came up. And, because I still feel a bit distracted, I am asking you to help me get back on track.

      Bivalia: And, my friend, I am delighted to do that, and to give you more than you ask in that regard.
      If I may hazard a guess, the main reason you told me that was not because I didn't already know about it, or because you thought it important to talk about it with me, but so that you yourself, upon re-reading this passage years later, would be reminded of it so you wouldn't be tantalized by the mention of something going wrong, but having no clue about what it was.

      Michael: I guess so. But having done that, I want to move on.

      Bivalia: Good.

      Michael: Of course a lot has happened since I last channelled you, which leads to me being in Healesville at all, and to having a car. My father died nearly a year ago, and I'm sorry to say that this is what led to my present situation. My two brothers and I inherited shares from my grandfather, who died perhaps 15 years ago, but, by the terms of his will, the inheritance didn't take effect until the death of my father.

      Bivalia: It is sad that good fortune, financially, can result from the death of a family member: you have the sadness of losing someone you've known all your life, and may have been very close to, yet you benefit financially, which can in some instances be a real stroke of much-needed fortune; but this is the way it happens in your world. I hope you are not feeling guilty about benefiting from your father's death, even though you didn't enjoy a very close relationship with him, and even though your inheritance has given you the only release from your bad living conditions that was likely to happen.

      Michael: No, no. But, in a general sense, I often think it is sad that things happen that way.

      Bivalia: I know what you mean. But it can hardly be otherwise. Someone dies, and doesn't need his worldly possessions or assets any more (or, in your case, your grandfather's assets, which your parents derived interest from). People who die would probably be glad to let their loved ones use the assets, and would certainly prefer it (in most cases) to letting the assets go into government revenue or something like that. Don't worry about it.

      Michael: No, I'm not worrying in that sense. I just made an observation.

      Bivalia: I am aware of the work you did for your father, both before and after his death, giving him love and healing, helping him to prepare for the next realm, and then helping adjust to it when he had arrived there.

      Michael: Well, I guess you are; I called on you to be with us, amongst many other beings, and Spirit as a whole.

      Bivalia: I was glad to help. You might like to know that he is much happier now than he was during the final weeks of his illness, and he would not want you to worry about things. He is doing very well in the realms beyond death now. As you know, for most of his life he was sceptical about anything spiritual, yet during his final illness he read a number of books about life after death, some of which you lent him. He would not hitherto have been open enough to even consider reading such books. Your work with him played a big role into bringing about this new openness.
      You were a great help to your father, you know. He was very touched by the love you shared with him, all the more because he knew you weren't close to him for most of your life, and didn't even find a closeness late in his life.

      Michael: Yes, I think I was just slightly bothered by the fact we weren't close, and didn't draw close near the end. No, I do not feel any guilt over that, but -

      Bivalia: I am very glad to hear that!

      Michael: - but, yes, I do regret it in a way. It is sad that it should have been so.

      Bivalia: Yes, it is; I understand that. But in a deeper sense, it does not matter at all. And I can assure you your father does not hold it against you in any way whatsoever. You both had personality difficulties which clashed with one another, and he is aware of that. He feels a love for you now that he was not able to express during his time on earth, and he greatly appreciates what you did for him; he will not forget it in a hurry. I have spoken with him about this at various times, and he is actually here at the moment, and says not to worry about it. You were the only person close to him who was in a position to do the kind of work you did, and he thanks you for it. You will see him again one day, in much happier circumstances than usually prevailed during your time together on earth, which we all admit were usually very strained.

      Michael: Well, that will be good.

      Bivalia: These personal difficulties are things of the personality; but spirit is able to go beyond this level of operation.
      It is often very difficult for people who are atheistic for many years to adjust to the next world: they not only have to adjust to the new conditions in the new world, which they haven't experienced since the last time they came here, but they also have to adjust their whole way of thinking, the entire mental and often emotional paradigm on which they built their world-view. This can be very painful. You can take comfort that your efforts in helping your father helped him to reduce this difficulty to less than a tenth of what it otherwise might have been. Love is indeed powerful.
      And it doesn't matter whether you actually felt warm feelings of love or not. That you couldn't feel this is just part of the difficulty the relationship between the two of you had, and you mustn't worry about it, as I think you did just a little at the time. Feelings come and go; what counts is that you intended to help him, and you succeeded very well there. Love can sometimes manifest as a warm emotional feeling. But it can just as easily manifest as a desire to help (regardless of your emotional feeling of the moment), and an intention to do something you believe will help.
      As for benefiting financially from his death, don't worry. (I think it troubles you just slightly, although I accept your word that you feel no guilt over it, that you could not help your lack of closeness.) He would like to have been able to help you financially more than he did while he was in your world, even though the two of you were not close. He knew lack of money was largely the reason for your poor living quarters, and he helped you as much as he could, but could only go so far. He is glad now that you have been enabled to move somewhere with more space, somewhere more congenial, and wishes you the best of luck in the future. He hopes that at last it enables you to succeed in the things you want to do that circumstances have prevented up to now.

      Michael: Thank you. It would have been nice if I could have succeeded before, and Dad could have lived to see that. I'm sure he would have liked that.

      Bivalia: Yes, he would have. But if you do accomplish things later, he will be able to follow it a lot more closely than you might think. Don't worry too much about that; but I can understand your feelings about that.

      Michael: Soon after he died I began writing a piano piece in memory of him; but I've had many distractions and haven't been able to get beyond a certain point. I think it will be a very good piece if I can continue in a similar vein.

      Bivalia: It will be; and you can call upon Spirit, or any of the Masters, to help you, when you feel ready to resume it. Don't worry that you have to be in a hurry to finish it really quickly. Your father will be interested to see what becomes of the piece as you make progress on it.

      Michael: All the same, I do regret that he didn't see me succeed at anything, although I suppose that feeling at least partly comes from ego.

      Bivalia: Well, never mind about that. It didn't turn out that way. But with your better living conditions that are now possible, you can have something of a fresh start, and perhaps do some wonderful things in the future. I know your father hopes you are able to do that.
      And he says for me to tell you to go ahead and buy that laptop computer you've had just a few doubts about whether you should get.

      Michael: Oh, okay. Thanks for that. And it might be a good time to say thanks to him for all the things he did to help me at various times during my life, even though I couldn't easily express that to him, even though I did express this thanks during my healing meditations around the time of his death, both before and after. Thanks, Dad; it's much appreciated, although I couldn't easily say it in words.

      Bivalia: Your father asks me to tell you, don't mention it; he's glad he was able to help you, and he knows you haven't found life easy.

      Michael: Anyway, so these events since his death have essentially led to my present situation, and that's why I drive now, and why I have a house in Healesville, and why I've been moving lots of stuff up here over the last couple of months. The events of the last year (adjusting my affairs, and all that) might be one reason why I haven't channelled you for the last two years.

      Bivalia: Quite likely. It doesn't matter. You have to attend to these things when they come up.

      Michael: Well, there's another reason, of course. It's what caused me to stop channelling in the first place. I suppose you know about it, but I have to get it off my chest. I've been putting this off for two years, and I feel I have to lay this ghost to rest before I can go on to talking about other things.

      Bivalia: Please proceed.

      Michael: As you know, I use a word-processing program on the computer to do these channellings. I finished the last channelling and some time later printed it out. I might have also made other adjustments to the computer file which I don't remember; but things have to be adjusted sometimes. I was shocked some time later to find that a whole page had been lost somehow, and replaced by a second copy of another page. The entire page was lost forever.
      I certainly would never do such a thing purposely, and there is no way I could do it by accident. To do it would require a series of computer commands it would be impossible to do by accident without intending it. It was a computer error; there must be a flaw in the word-processing program which does this sort of thing illegitimately in certain circumstances.
      The program I use is an old one, and not very reliable; it does occasionally do undesirable things, and the only reason I use it is because, when I was new to computers, it was introduced to me, and I started using it for all my stories, letters, and so on, and remained tied to it by the thousands of pages of files that accumulated. I've been meaning for ages to change to another better program, but I haven't decided which one to use, what one would be most suitable, and so on. Also, I would have to convert all my files to the new format, double-check them, and so on, and that's a massive job I dread, and tend to put off.
      Anyway, I was extremely upset about the lost page of text, and searched my entire hard disk for bits of text that might have been on the page. I thought it might be there, because computers sometimes write scratch files during their working, or write what are known as spooling files during the process of printing, and the like. I thought the missing page might be hidden somewhere, but it wasn't.
      When I finally realized the worst, I tried to reconstruct the page, typing out notes summarizing the contents as best as I could remember them, but it wasn't the same. Perhaps those notes contain the essential points, but the flow wasn't there, and probably some detail was lost too. I did these notes hurriedly in sketch form, just wanting to get the details down while they were still fresh in memory, and intended to do my best later to write them up fully in continuous text.
      However, I still haven't done that. The whole thing was just so painful (and still is) that I just couldn't face up to it, and just wanted to get away from it. In fact, it hurt so much that just channelling at all was too painful to face up to. I thought that because the text was now incomplete the entire series of channellings was spoilt forever now, and I had no desire to continue at all. I thought "That's it; I'm done with channelling for good now." I thought that perhaps I might interact with my Higher Self in other ways later on, but not in the form of channelling.
      That, essentially, is why I haven't channelled you for two years.

      Bivalia: I see. I'm sorry this should have happened.

      Michael: I tried telling myself that the things on that page were not especially important (and perhaps they weren't), that it didn't matter too much, but couldn't convince myself. One of the topics, I remember, was about some cult that thought the end of the world as we know it was near, and that the financial system, governments, banks, big business, and so on, were all part of a devilish conspiracy to enslave us all; they were going to put the Number of the Beast on us, in the form of implanted electronic chips which we would need to do any transactions at all, and horrific stuff like that.

      Bivalia: Well, I don't suppose you take that sort of stuff too seriously.

      Michael: No, I don't; but nevertheless, reading about this prompted thoughts that at the time I felt I wanted to discuss with you.

      Bivalia: Well, that's okay.

      Michael: Like I said, perhaps it's not an important part of these channelling sessions, but it didn't matter. For the text to be spoilt in any way at all was what mattered. I think there were one or two other things on that page, too, but I don't think they were all that important; but that wasn't really the point. So I'm sorry to have neglected you like this; but that's why.

      Bivalia: Goodness me, you don't need to apologize; you don't owe me any set amount of channelling time, you don't have any quota to fill. Just reflect on the fact that most people don't ever do a single word of Higher-Self channelling during their entire life-time. And they don't have to; they may still do a lot of spiritual growth, but have other ways of doing it.

      Michael: If I didn't know better, I'd ask you to restore the text, word for word.

      Bivalia: Well, that perhaps is possible; but unfortunately, I'm going to have to disappoint you by saying that it would involve in-depth hypnosis or advanced meditation or learning to read the akashic records or techniques of that sort. There are various ways of doing what you say, but they involve techniques that have to be learnt first.
      I'm not telling you anything you don't know if I say your world is one of severe limitation (for whatever reasons), and that, amongst other things, the effect of that is that what you would like to ask me to do can be done only with difficulty. I'd suggest that it wouldn't be worth the effort, and that it would be more profitable to simply channel new information.
      Just leave the notes you made at the time in place so as to provide some degree of continuity for reading purposes, and write it up a bit more grammatically if you want to, and leave it at that. It really shouldn't matter too much if you leave it like that.

      Michael: Can I assume that if the text in question was really important it wouldn't have happened?

      Bivalia: No, unfortunately, you can't. The computer works according to its own rules (defective though they may be), and knows nothing about the importance or lack of importance of the text. But if it were truly important, I can assure you that, if you wanted it to, it could come up again in a future channelling. Meanwhile, I would suggest that you either change word-processing programs, or assiduously back up every file as soon as you make changes to it.

      Michael: You're disappointingly practical at times, Bivalia, not at all mystical. Telling me to back up my computer files! What next?

      Bivalia: I have to be either practical or mystical as the situation demands. I can be very mystical, actually, as you know quite well, and as you can remind yourself by reading many of the preceding pages.

      Michael: I guess so.

      Bivalia: Anyway, all this so far has been preliminaries, hasn't it? I think you started this session on the condition, as it were, that you could deal with these things first. Perhaps it was stuff you had to clear away, but which is not really important in the present moment. (Well, the stuff about your father was important, but it is history now from our current perspective; you dealt with it at the time, but didn't cover it in our channelling, because you weren't channelling at all at that time.)
      Anyway, I would be pleased if you would now tell me something about your day yesterday.

      Michael: Yes, well I stayed the previous night with my mother, as I sometimes do, so that I could go to Trumper St. the next day to get some stuff to bring up to Healesville. I can't really do it in darkness, so it's a help if, after dinner, I can stay the night with my mother, and go and get the things and put them in the car the next day. (I suppose I could go to Trumper St., and sleep the night there, because my bed is still there; but conditions there are not very comfortable.)
      Anyway, Mum went out soon after midday, and I left a bit later. Already, in the half-hour or so before I left there, things seemed to be stirring in my mind. I was thinking about various spiritual ideas, about Spirit, and so on (without actually talking to Spirit or the Masters, or anyone like that).
      I seemed to arrive at a few ideas that almost struck me as insights, although I think I really knew them all along, and when you look at them in the cold hard light of day they seem rather obvious.

      Bivalia: It doesn't matter. This is important: there are different levels on which one can be aware of something, and this kind of experience you had usually signifies that your awareness of an insight has opened up for the first time at a deeper, more spiritual level. And I can say that before you've even told me what the insights were.

      Michael: Well, I was reflecting on the fact that, although for years I've been dabbling in spiritual ideas, talking about them with various people, and so on, I am really no closer now than I was ever before to having a firm belief in anything spiritual. I really don't know if you exist, if God (or Spirit) does, or whether there is any purpose to life, or whether there is life after death, or whether the world is just material and nothing more.
      Yet, in spite of all this, spiritual matters seem always to have been important, and, after a very sceptical period, have become even more important since 1993. I seem to be developing a distinct spiritual outlook that is important to me, that influences the way I look at life, yet without at all believing in it in the ordinary way. I mean, to believe something means to regard it as factual, to consider that it exists independently of whether we know about it or not, to regard anything that contradicts it as false. If you believe something, you feel sure it is real and true, or at the very least that it is very probable; and yet I can't say any of that. I don't know in the slightest that my ideas are true.
      I suppose I can say at least that my ideas seem to me to make more sense spiritually than other ideas I don't accept, that they seem plausible if any spiritual view can be true. But my position is not that I believe in those ideas firmly, or know that they are true, but much more that I hope (against hope, sometimes) that they may be true, or that something like them might turn out to be true.
      I've known this for a couple of decades, actually, but it has never changed, unlike most other people, who (if they are into anything spiritual at all) usually seem to grow more and more certain about whatever path they take. I could never seem to do this, even though I tried at various times, and I thought there must be something wrong with me.

      Bivalia: Go on. This is very interesting. This is your time to talk, not mine.

      Michael: Well, in 1993, I went to that channelling workshop where Crea channelled Ashtar, El Morya, Archangel Michael, and Sananda. Well, much of what I heard there went over my head, and I've forgotten much of it (except the remarkable past-life history Sananda spent 10 minutes giving me); but this really got me into all that ascension stuff and set my direction for the next few years. I think now the ascension stuff got a bit cultish at times, and I'm not so sure about that - or, more precisely, I'm even less sure of it now than I was at that time. But I went to other groups, especially Ra's Friday night channelling sessions, and got to know a few of the Masters a bit better. It also prompted new directions of thinking about spiritual matters. The ideas I now follow were directly prompted by all this New-Age involvement, but are not the same as the ideas I heard; the ascension stuff, New-Age stuff, and so on seem merely to have been a catalyst for the new direction I've taken. But I haven't directly followed the exact things the Masters have said.

      Bivalia: This is great. The Masters don't intend you to accept what they say without question, like a disciple at the guru's feet, or like a church-goer accepting everything the Bible says because it's God's word and just must be true. If you reject much of what the Masters seem to say (and remember that channellings can distort or oversimplify matters which are not expressible properly in words), but instead, by sharing their love, you are prompted in new directions that help you, they count that as a much more successful fulfilment of what they set out to do.
      Not that they tell you things they know not to be true, or appropriate, to test whether you can pick it up; but sometimes what they say is not appropriate for everyone, and reflects their own perspective (and Masters are not totally omniscient, and do have their own individual perspective, you know); or sometimes the message is coloured by the channel's own perspective or beliefs, even in the case of a pure channel who works with complete honesty. Channelling, by its very fundamental nature, is not pure, and cannot ever be totally pure.
      But the Masters don't think you've failed if you question everything they say, and even reject it, if it prompts you to arrive at ideas of your own which assist you in your growth and awareness; they consider that a bigger success than if someone just calmly accepts everything they say.

      Michael: Anyway, these channellings I do with you have played a big part in helping me develop my views, perhaps even more than what I heard from the Masters, although they started the whole process off, and I still appreciate their love, which is so different from the image of God I've usually got from more orthodox forms of religion, which may talk about God's ineffable love, but which frankly often portray God's characteristics as being not very loving at times, even quite nasty sometimes, working through fear more than love.
      Anyway, that was a bit of a diversion. What I was thinking yesterday wasn't by any means the first time I've thought about it, but, as I said before, it just seemed to come in a slightly new way that struck me as a valuable insight more than it had struck me before. And the insight I seemed to get was that spirituality for me was becoming less and less connected with what I actually believed, and more and more concerned with a way of thinking about life and Spirit and looking at it. I don't know that I believe it in anything like a factual way, but I seem to filter my whole perception of life through it: beneficially, I think; it seems to feel right in some intangible way.
      I'm fumbling for words a bit, as this is very difficult to describe. In fact I can't describe my spiritual outlook in a neat paragraph; I can only do much writing and sort of revolve around that outlook and hope that a reader can gradually glean what my spiritual outlook is. If I say the right things in my writing, this view should become clearer and clear as I go along; that is what I've been doing in the nearly 200 pages of these channellings.
      But what I can say about my developing spirituality (which is in a fluid, more-or-less constantly-changing state) is that it's very little concerned about believing certain teachings or doctrines, and very much about having a spiritual view which I use as a lens to look at everything through, and which I use as a guideline to interpret what happens in life.
      For instance, I am no closer to believing in the existence of nature spirits now than I was 20 years ago, but nevertheless I find the idea very appealing, and quite often think about it; and I think it has in some subtle but pervasive way influenced (for the better, I think) my whole outlook on life. I can walk amongst some trees, or watch a sunset, and think those things have a characteristic spirit of their own, and even fancy that I can feel it at some deep intuitive level. I've even been known to talk to those spirits (when no-one can hear me). But I still don't know if it is real, or merely a fiction of my own mind.

      Bivalia: Well, that is great. I can assure you that this is much more important than belief in something in the ordinary sense of that word.

      Michael: There are probably other instances of this sort of thing, where I don't really consider that I believe something, but that it nevertheless influences my way of looking at something or other.
      Well, the nub of this insight seemed to be that ideally one's spirituality should have nothing to do with what one believes on a factual level. Or, more precisely, you can believe something if you can persuade yourself that it is factual, and if you find it helpful, but that you shouldn't be too dependent on that belief. After all, beliefs of this sort can't usually be checked, and might conceivably be false. Perhaps one day a belief or doctrine can be shown to be false, or at least implausible and unlikely; or you can reach a point where it is no longer helpful, and merely seems to stand in your way.
      I thought that perhaps the test is this: if your beliefs are invalidated in some way, is your whole spirituality going to fall to pieces, leaving you shattered and in disarray? If so, your spirituality has been too dependent on them. However, if the loss of beliefs causes merely a readjustment in your spiritual outlook, and then you go on to develop your spirituality in new directions, then you have not been too dependent on your beliefs, and they have been useful tools at that time.

      Bivalia: I couldn't agree with you more....


      Michael: Is that all you have to say about it?

      Bivalia: Nothing more needs to be said. You've said exactly what I think about this matter. You don't really need to come to me for confirmation of that, do you?

      Michael: I guess not.

      Bivalia: And if, instead of agreeing with you, I said you had it all wrong, that you should adopt some firm belief, you would reject it and say, "I think you've got it wrong there", wouldn't you?

      Michael: I guess so.

      Bivalia: Well, there you are. You would reject it, and rightly so. Although I am your Higher Self, and therefore not really comparable to some outside spiritual authority, to accept my verdict as binding, meaning therefore that your own ideas must be wrong, would be to some extent to buy into the idea you are moving away from, that of letting your spiritual outlook depend on outside authorities. There is no sense in which outside authorities can determine spiritual matters better than you can; they are merely expressing their own opinions, just as you do.
      By choosing to channel me in this dialogue form, you are in a sense setting up a persona to represent me which is (slightly) a convenient fiction outside yourself, rather than pure unadulterated me, which would be your own inner essence. The fiction you've created is not too strong a fiction, and therefore nothing to worry about: it is little more than a convenient literary device for having dialogue about matters you want to work through. But it is an outside entity to some slight extent that you have created on the astral and higher planes, and if you misused it, it could take on the role of an outside spiritual authority, and it would be better to avoid that.

      Michael: I guess you're right. Of course it raises the question of whether I should simply write channelled material in the first person, saying "I do this" or "I think such and such" instead of talking as my ordinary self, addressing you in the second person like I might another person.

      Bivalia: It does not matter. Speaking in the first person as Bivalia, and not splitting your ordinary self from me in a dichotomous way is perhaps the ultimate ideal. But if you don't feel ready to do this yet, it is perfectly okay to continue the format you currently use. You will know that method has exhausted its usefulness, and you are ready to move on to other techniques, when you grow stale on it, and feel there is nothing more to discuss in that manner. But you mustn't worry about that, even if this method lasts for thousands of pages more. I think you enjoy it quite a lot, and I do myself. There are no time limits on these things, no comparisons with the way other people do things spiritually.

      Michael: For that matter, I have to say I have never quite felt easy with the name "Bivalia"; I occasionally wonder if that sometimes puts me off channelling, just a little.

      Bivalia: I suppose that's theoretically possible; but it doesn't seem to me to be a significant influence. But if you don't like the name "Bivalia", you are free to use any other name, or no name at all. Let's not get hung up on a mere name.

      Michael: The problem is that I wouldn't know how else to refer to you. Any other name I adopted would seem just as artificial; and so would a title such as "Higher Self". "Bivalia" is as good as anything else I can think of, if no better, so I will probably stick with it until I think of something better.

      Bivalia: As you wish. It really is a non-issue as far as I am concerned; I don't really think you consider it of great importance either. I really don't care what you do about that.
      But please continue with what you were saying.

      Michael: Well, I hadn't finished about the insights I seemed to get yesterday, early in the afternoon just before I left my mother's.

      Bivalia: Please continue.

      Michael: The next bit sort of follows on from that. I've often noticed that religions (including most of the great world religions) include many pieces of culture belonging to a particular region at a particular time, which masquerade as eternal, universal truth. This includes religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and probably many others. They are all chock-full of beliefs, customs, moral rules, mental outlooks, duties, ways of life, history, which are very particular to certain times and places, but claiming to be universal in some sense.
      I know more about Christianity than the others, so I can use that as an example. The whole Christian outlook is inextricably tangled up with Old Testament history and mythology that clearly belongs to the Jewish people in and around Palestine two and three and more thousand years ago, and extended by New Testament figures and events; it is inextricably bound up with figures like Abraham, David, and Jesus who lived in those times, and did certain things. (Whether these people were real or mythical is not relevant to my point; the point is that Christians believe they are real.) In particular, Christian spirituality is bound up with Jesus and who he claimed to be, and what his purpose for coming in this world was claimed to be. I suppose there's a similar link between culture and theology in many other religions, too.
      What is remarkable to me about all this is that often these religions absolutely accept every bit of their own culture as being binding, and look very dimly on anyone who doubts it; but they are often dismissive of the cultural part of other religions, or perhaps take on a fašade of being open-minded about it and tolerant of it, but in fact not giving it any serious consideration whatsoever as possibly being of great spiritual value.
      This cultural involvement in religion is something they are proud of; it is held up as being good, and a mark of the strength and reliability of the religion, that it has such strong and ancient cultural roots. The culture is regarded as eternal truth - turned into spirituality or theology, in effect.
      If there is some other system of spirituality that is not so much bound up with a particular culture, or which eclectically borrows from many disparate cultures (as New-Age spirituality often does), they are critical of it. Its lack of cultural specificity is a sign of weakness or flabbiness or vagueness or self-indulgence. It's neither this nor that, but merely a wishy-washy mish-mash of miscellaneous ideas, mere "feel-good" stuff. Or it's merely part of a spiritual supermarket approach to truth.
      Yet I would expect universal spiritual truth to be relatively, if not completely, free of specific cultural references. Or if cultural links can be made, they should be peripheral, optional, and even valuable, for those who are involved in that culture - but not part of the core of spiritual truth.
      I reverse the usual outlook there. I would regard the strong cultural specificity of religions like Christianity as a weakness, a limitation: it's as if you can define God in terms of a particular, limited man-made culture, or as if God defines himself in such terms; and, to me, the relative lack of dependence on culture of some New-Age views (or at least their cultural eclecticism) is a strong point, a sign that the spiritual outlook is not chained to the limitations of any one culture.

      Bivalia: I agree with you. I would not want to say, as I don't think you would either, that culturally specific religions are devoid of truth and insight. But I would agree that being bound to a particular culture strongly limits the degree of universal truth that can be found. I think it is especially unfortunate if people in such religions are so limited to their own outlook that they completely dismiss as worthless any spiritual outlook beyond their own, without even having studied it or considered it with an open mind.

      Michael: Well, it's all so obvious when you consider it; but at the time it came to me like an insight.

      Bivalia: It's like I said before; you have come to an awareness of this at some inner level where perhaps it had not clearly manifested before, even if with your conscious mind you have long been aware of this.
      I don't want to give the impression that culturally specific things are always devoid of real spiritual truth. It is perfectly true that certain spiritual beings come into this world to perform certain roles in assisting humanity's evolution; and, of necessity, they must come at a particular time in a particular place in your earthly space-time. Because of this, they can be very much involved in a particular culture, and in fact may be the origin of a whole stream of culture for centuries or millennia afterwards.
      So the culturally specific Jesus you mentioned before did indeed come from high spiritual realms to play a role in humanity's spiritual evolution. But so did Mohammed and Zoroaster and the Buddha, and various others. The mistake the followers of these spiritual leaders so often make is in seeing only their own leader as having such a role, while relegating the others to the background.
      There is more religious tolerance now in many parts of your world, and it would be a very narrow-minded person who would nowadays explicitly dismiss the other spiritual leaders as unimportant; but, by their attitude, by their simple failure to even consider or think about the others, they are in effect relegating the others to much lesser significance. They will probably concede their significance in human terms, but will be less likely to give the other leaders anything approaching an equal spiritual significance to their own leader.
      Just to illustrate: when is the last time you met a Christian who readily agreed that the Buddha was every bit as important as Jesus, and played just as stupendous a spiritual role in the affairs of humanity as they say Jesus did?

      Michael: Well, never.

      Bivalia: Exactly. That is my point.
      But also, in their religious zeal, they so often develop a limited, even warped, sometimes, view of what the role of their chosen leader is. They get caught up in tradition and culture and dogma and theology, and lose sight of the real role of these leaders.
      I hesitate to take sides about established religions, and don't want to buy into that too deeply; but (to give you an illustration of this) I can hardly help feeling quite firmly that, whatever Jesus came here to do, he did not come here as a ransom sacrifice to take the penalty for human sin that humans would otherwise have to bear, which would lead them into eternal hell-fire, were it not for the intervention of Jesus. It's as if God is some primitive deity who must be appeased with blood sacrifice, who must have his pound of flesh, whether or not it comes from those from whom it is really due. Jesus is innocent; but better to let him take the penalty than just let humanity off and be done with it. Also, to further confound the mish-mash of teachings, the penalty Jesus is supposed to have taken is not anywhere near equal to the penalty a single non-believer will have to take on his own back if he doesn't become a believer (that is, Jesus is not right now suffering eternally in damnation); and yet the whole idea of the doctrine is that Jesus himself took the penalty for us, because it had to be paid, one way or another. Like you, I can see no sense in it, no matter how believers try to explain it.
      In reality, Jesus came as a teacher to guide humanity, to share his love, to infuse humanity with a new consciousness. At the Church of Antioch where you play the organ every month or so, they may have an outlook you find very problematical in various ways; but I would regard their view of Jesus as one of a series of avatars who come at certain intervals to guide humanity, to uplift humanity's consciousness, as something reasonably close to the truth of the matter. It is more like this, in my view, than the Christian view of a ransom sacrifice to propitiate a demanding God.
      But I can see you getting jittery at channelling me on such doctrinally specific matters, so, if you don't mind, I really don't think I'll get into any deeper or hotter water here than I already have. I have to bow out here, because what I can channel is limited by your view of what channelling can and can't do, and I notice that, unlike many believers in channelling, one thing you think channelling is not effective at is imparting factual information, predicting the future, and the like.

      Michael: That is so, and my reasons are purely empirical: simply that channelling has a lousy track record on such matters of fact or prediction. Predictions can be checked when the time comes; and they usually don't happen; or if a few do, they were so obvious or so general that anyone could see them as likely, or else sheer probability would account for a small number of predictions happening. As for channelled statements of fact: they either can't ever be checked, or else turn out to be untrue or vague, or else their truth could be worked out by ordinary methods.
      I know someone whose whole spiritual outlook, and view of channelling, has been severely damaged because he expected channelling to predict events, and he was bitterly disillusioned when the predicted events didn't happen. I see no future in trying to follow this path with regard to channelling.
      I don't know why this is so, because I would expect you to know many of these things, and to have a broad enough of view of the higher planes to be able at least to see what is likely to happen in the future. But the facts force themselves on me: channels do not seem to have access to this knowledge, and when they attempt to convey such knowledge, they often give answers that contradict other channels, or which simply turn out not to be correct.

      Bivalia: Quite right; I think your view is quite so. And I'm afraid one of the things I can't channel to you is why this limitation seems to exist, except that perhaps I am limited, as I said before, by your views of what channelling can do. But of course that doesn't explain why, when a spirit being uses a channel who does not have the limitation of believing channelled predictions or facts to be impossible, the information nevertheless has very low reliability.
      I think this is another topic best left alone for now. Perhaps we can revisit it one day when you or I or both of us have acquired insights we do not have so far.

      Michael: I guess so.

      Bivalia: The problem is that some people put the Masters, or the technique of channelling, or some doctrine or system of belief, on an impossibly high pedestal. And anyone or anything put on a pedestal by humans is bound to fall off sooner or later; and the higher the pedestal, the more damaging the fall will be. Even God himself will become a source of disillusionment sooner or later if he is put on a pedestal.
      The Masters do not want to be put on pedestals at all. God himself does not. It may go against conventional wisdom, but he does not particularly want to be worshipped at all, as the term is commonly understood. While he will accept it with love if people want to do it, it is not what he is there for. Rather than being put on a pedestal, he wants to be down there on the ground with humanity, helping them at whatever level they need and can accept at a particular time.

      Michael: So it seems that I am being guided to continue following my tendency of letting my spiritual growth be relatively free of specific religious or cultural influences -

      Bivalia: I would say that is so.

      Michael: - although I would not feel any need to be puritan about that, to reject everything of that nature. I would be quite easy about accepting any cultural ideas if I found them useful, if they seemed to make sense at some intuitive level. But the point is that I would not make them the be-all and end-all, I would not let my whole spiritual outlook depend on them.
      For instance, I did get a little taken with all the Ashtar stuff a couple of years ago: you know, the Ashtar Command, the space-ships, and so on. Ashtar really does seem to have a certain glamour or charisma.
      Well, I didn't know at the time whether Ashtar really existed, and I still don't. But I heard him channel, and spoke with him, asked questions, even joked a bit with him during Ra's channelling sessions, and I developed quite a fondness for him. Even though I don't know if he exists, I still have warm feelings towards him, if that doesn't sound too weird.
      But now (intending no disrespect towards him), I have to say that it would now seem to me to be a mistake to turn my spirituality into a kind of hero-worship, a kind of Ashtar cult. I can't make him (or any other being) the centre of my spiritual outlook.

      Bivalia: He would be disappointed if you did. I happen to feel he exists, that I myself know him; but I wouldn't say that everything that has been said about him is completely accurate. Like Jesus, he is a specific cultural figure. I don't know what culture he originates from - perhaps from some U.F.O. group or something like that; nor do I know how knowledge of him became known to that original culture where he first appeared. But by now he has shifted into a sub-section of New-Age culture, and become linked with the Ascension, which is another sub-section of New-Age culture.
      But, whatever his origins (in human awareness), he is part of a specific culture, and you have obviously had the insight that culturally specific information about spiritual matters is almost bound to have some degree of inaccuracy, some degree of distortion, some degree of limitation.
      Most cultural figures actually do have some ground in reality - very few are totally made up by humanity; even mythical beings such as ancient Greek or Egyptian or Hindu gods do derive from actual beings. There is no doubt about that; the only question is how much have they been distorted? Sometimes it is only a little; but at other times the effect is to distort them totally out of recognition. And to make things worse, you cannot usually tell what the degree of distortion is in any particular instance; you can only use your intuition about that, and make a decision about how much importance to place on them. And it won't matter very much if you make a wrong decision about this degree of importance to place on them, as long as you are prepared to change your view when you get new information and see that you were wrong about that.

      Michael: As an extension about not depending too much on culturally specific information about spiritual matters, I might add that the same could apply to any information derived from other people which you don't feel the truth of inside.

      Bivalia: I agree.

      Michael: That is, the thing is not to necessarily reject it, but even to use it and value it if it serves you; but not to regard it as binding, not to let other people decide your spiritual opinions for you. One should not hesitate not to follow it if it feels wrong inside according to your highest feelings.

      Bivalia: Quite right. We can all enjoy fellowship and companionship along the spiritual path; I would not want to give the impression that spiritual growth is lonely, or that it need always be, even if it can be at certain times. But ultimately we have to work out our path on our own.
      You may feel doubts about whether your path is right because you don't know anyone else who shares it in full. But the issue is not whether it is true; the issue is whether your path is relevant to where you are in life, whether it guides you in your particular situation. And only you can decide whether it does or not.

      Michael: I sometimes use an analogy which I made up a year or two ago. Imagine the Melway street directory of Melbourne; it has several hundred pages in it, covering the entire metropolitan region, plus many nearby semi-rural areas. [c]
      All the different religions or spiritual outlooks are like the different pages of the Melway maps. There is no real sense in which one page of the Melway is true and the others false; it is dependent on where you are. If you are in Blackburn, trying to find the way to go where you want to go, the page showing Richmond is going to be totally useless and irrelevant to you; but the page showing Blackburn will be very useful, and its information will be quite illuminating. It will be the exact opposite for someone who is lost in Richmond.
      I think religions and spiritual outlooks are like that. If you are in Christian territory, as far as your own condition and outlook are concerned, Christianity will show you a way that will benefit you; but if you are in Buddhist territory, or atheist territory, or New-Age territory, it may not be so useful.
      I won't say it will be of no use at all, because I think there are considerable areas of overlap between the various religions or spiritualities, unlike the Melway maps, which are quite distinct. But, allowing for differences like that, I think the analogy is quite a good way of illustrating the way it works.
      I might also add that this doesn't automatically mean all religions are equally true, like the pages of the Melway are; like all analogies, it can be pushed too far. It is quite clear to me that some religions or outlooks might have less truth in them, some might even be downright misleading or harmful. But we are not called upon to make absolute judgements about which ones are or aren't in that category; we are only expected to make our own judgement about whether they are useful to us personally. I can make a decision to personally reject religion x; but I am not expected to make an absolute judgement about how much truth or falsehood it contains, and I cannot reliably make such a judgement.

      Bivalia: I would agree on everything you've just said; if you're not careful, you're going to put me out of work.
      If I ever find myself trying to explain these things to others, I must remember the Melway analogy. While you can't prove anything from analogies, they can be very useful for illustrating a concept in more concrete terms.

      Michael: Look, I hate to be a party-pooper, but we haven't even nearly covered all the ground I hoped we would, but it's getting late in the night, and my mother is calling at 2 in the afternoon, and I must get to sleep soon. Now is as good a pausing point as any, and I hesitate to open a whole new topic now.

      Bivalia: No worries.

      Michael: Just hold on to anything you wanted to say, would you, and help me keep my thread running, too? I expect I can come back here after my mother leaves. I don't know how long she'll be here, because she was going to get some paint I need for painting certain parts of the kitchen, and she wanted to get a colour match. That should only take a minute, but I expect she'll probably want to do other things too; people don't usually drive 30 miles or so, spend a minute at their destination, then go back, even if a minute would take care of their purpose for coming.
      But I will come back. So do you think you can please help both of us keep our threads and not let the delay weaken the import of what we were going to discuss?

      Bivalia: I certainly can see to that. We will continue just where we left off, as if nothing had interrupted us.

      Michael: Thank you. And thanks to any of the other beings I asked to join us before I began, even though I don't know who answered the request.

      Bivalia: They all did.

      Michael: What, do great Masters drop whatever important jobs they are doing at the drop of a hat to attend to any requests I make of them?

      Bivalia: They do and they don't. Unlike you humans (in earthly manifestation), they can sort of split themselves up into multiple portions or manifestations, and spread themselves as far as is needed, without spreading themselves thin. Each manifestation still contains their full essence. They can attend to many different tasks at the same time, yet the effect is as if each had the undivided attention of the Master. It doesn't matter to you that, as well as attending to you, they also attended to many other people in the universe; the effect is as if, for the moment, you were the only being in the entire universe they had to attend to.

      Michael: Well, tell them thanks, anyway.

      Bivalia: You can do it yourself, you know; you don't need an intermediary.

      Michael: Thanks, guys.

      Bivalia: They give you their thanks for calling on them and sharing your love with them.

      Michael: I'm getting a bit too colloquial, calling them guys; there were a few ladies there, too.

      Bivalia: I understand "guys" is often a unisex term in your world today.

      Michael: Quite so, although such a usage is rather too hip for my liking.
      By the way, I told you before I don't use the phrase "Long time no see", and don't like it. I was rather surprised to look at my second-most-recent channelling of two years ago, and see that the phrase appears there - and in my words, too, not yours. But I really don't like the phrase.

      Bivalia: Well, there you are. Perhaps you don't, but we can't help slipping sometimes into things like this, even if our better judgement normally avoids them.

      Michael: I must go now. I'll try and be back as soon as possible. I will just type out some notes to help me continue next time.

      Bivalia: Good. I look forward to rejoining you later on.

      Michael: Thank you. I've still got lots to say.

      Bivalia: And so do I. Thank you for spending time with me, Michael. Good night. Or perhaps it's morning now.


[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]

[b] Wednesday, 21 April, 2004 - "But I don't use the phrase 'Long time no see'. I don't even like it.":
      Nonetheless, I appeared to be unaware as I wrote this that I had used the very same expression only a couple of dialogues earlier, on
Friday, 16 February, 1996 - in the very first sentence - and in the part written by "Michael" too, what's more, which represents my ordinary self and ordinary way of speaking - not the "Bivalia" part, which, since it represents my perception of my higher self, could be filtered to some extent to fit that, and thus not fully represent my natural choice of words.
      This is really unaccountable. I really do not use the expression - yet I unquestionably did here - and I have no idea why I did. [Back]

[c] Tuesday, 28 August, 2001 - [Melway street directory analogy]:
      It's difficult to know why I mentioned the Melway street directory specifically, and apparently quite naturally. The particular reference could be slightly distracting, in that it could give rise to the idea that there was something specific about that particular street directory which would help my analogy. But if I'd just referred generically to a street directory, the analogy would not really be affected.
      Well, I'm not going to change it now - I am not concerned about whether I appear to endorse a particular product - but I suppose the reason I did it is that, in Melbourne, the Melway has become a de facto standard for street maps - deservedly so, because it is both very clear and detailed - and you often read of directions to get somewhere being given in articles, advertisements, and so on as Melway references, page so-and-so, with such-and-such coordinates. I probably made the reference quite naturally in writing the dialogue, without even thinking about it. [

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