(M.J.E. Spirit / Sat., 14 Mar., 1998)

Spirit Dialogues

Explorations of Spirit
by Michael Edwards

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      I strongly suggest that, before you read this dialogue, you read the immediately preceding one, Friday, 13 March, 1998, first. The dialogue on this page was written the very next day, and continues discussing the same events that the previous one did. The two dialogues should really be regarded as a single dialogue, interrupted and the second part deferred for a day only because of other things I needed to attend to. This one will probably make more sense if you read it with the previous one fresh in mind.

Saturday, 14 March, 1998

      Michael: Hallo, Bivalia. I'm a bit late coming back.

      Bivalia:[a] It doesn't matter.

      Michael: I hope you are well.

      Bivalia: I am.

      Michael: Perhaps we could skip the conventional formalities at the beginning of our session, because I want to be as continuous as possible from last night's session.

      Bivalia: Certainly. You were telling me about various insights that seemed to come to you on Thursday afternoon before you left your mother's place.

      Michael: Well, I had finished on that; I decided to make that a convenient pausing place when I realized I had to go to bed soon last night. My mother's been and gone now, and I am free to continue for 6 or more hours, except for a break to get something to eat at some stage.

      Bivalia: That is no problem whatsoever.

      Michael: I think what I really want to do is just to give a leisurely account of the rest of that day, describing the thoughts I had, because I had a great many thoughts that were prompted by things I did, but which thoughts seemed very connected to Spirit.

      Bivalia: That sounds like a good idea to me.

      Michael: Well, I went to Trumper St. and got various things ready to put in the back of the car. It was very difficult, because I really am in an awful mess at Trumper St., mostly because of extreme lack of space.
      Just to seemingly digress for a moment: round about April, 1996, I discovered Japanese haiku poems. Earlier I had heard a couple of haiku read out on an A.B.C. program, and was intrigued by their cryptic, poignant evocation of atmosphere in nature. I knew Basho was one of the best-known writers of haiku, and I made a mental note to look out for any books that might contain some of his work. Later, in April of that year, I saw a little book in a book shop which had several dozen of his little three-line verses (in translation, of course), and I got it, and found some of the verses quite fascinating. They seemed to stir up the kind of inner longing and wonder I have spoken of before in our sessions together.
      Some time later I went to Camberwell library and looked up every haiku I could find in various books, by various authors, and I actually copied them all down on paper. It took me quite a few hours. Later I typed them into the computer so I could print them out neatly. I have since then shared them with various people I thought might be interested, sending them printed-out copies.

      Bivalia: The haiku is a wonderful form of expression of spirit, isn't it? It is fascinating how so much subtlety of observation and feeling can be compressed into so few words.

      Michael: Yes. Anyway, a bit later, I had a certain feeling that prompted me to compose a haiku, or at least a haiku-like verse. Haiku are apparently very subtle, and it takes years to master the art of composing them, and I don't presume that I can skip that training and just produce ready-made haiku.
      But nevertheless, the verse appeared to me, and I wrote it down. They are so short, and so focused on a single feeling, a single moment in time, that you don't really sit down to compose them; they just appear fully-formed in your mind in a moment, and you then just tinker with the wording to refine it as best you can without changing the essence of it.
      Anyway, this haiku went like this:

                              Moon waning:
                                  Lonely nights

     I won't try to analyze what it might mean rationally; but I think it conveys a certain feeling I have about the moon, and about nights.

      Bivalia: It certainly does.

      Michael: The feeling I tried to express there is one I've had occasionally for years; but perhaps this was the first time it crystallized into a sufficiently clear form to be expressed in words.
      From time to time, other haiku occurred to me, and I wrote them down, although I've never actually sat down intending to compose haiku. But they gradually accumulated, not in huge numbers, but just occasionally.
      Haiku seem now to have become one of the many streams of what I might term my inner spiritual landscape. I won't quote them all, but I will give a couple of what I think are the best ones. Some of them exist in a few different forms, and although I haven't yet finally decided which form I will keep permanently, I will now quote the forms that seem best. Here they are:

                              Such a lonely night;
                                  but there's the dusk,
                                  and the trees.

                              Midnight: half-moon tilted,
                              setting amid the trees;
                                  life is half over - yet nearly gone.

      These tend to have a rather sad, lonely feel to them, and I think they relate to my actual state of mind at that time. I seemed to have left Spirit behind, and did feel lonely and lost in an empty world; night seemed very dark and foreboding somehow.

      Bivalia: My dear friend - you may feel like that, but I can assure you that you have many friends in Spirit, even if your view of them is at times obscured. Yet, in these rather sad haiku, I nevertheless detect a continuing awareness of Spirit, an unbroken continuing of the thread of light Sananda asked you to keep going. Remember, at the Crea workshop?

      Michael: Yes. I hope you're right.

      Bivalia: Sananda has nothing to worry about.

      Michael: Doesn't he? Anyway, that's just leading back to my account of Thursday two days ago.
      My Trumper St. place is not a very nice or glamorous place, and everything about it is shabby. My place itself is a dog-box. These things are probably the only reason I could afford to live there, up until recently. The garden is almost non-existent, the grass poor-quality, often unmown. Outside my front door is the back of the driveway, with a strip of grass and weeds between the concrete strips where the tyres of cars rest. It's all very seedy, and none of the tenants really give a damn (as I must admit I don't myself). It occasionally even seems to have a rather depressing astral presence somehow, and the behaviour of a couple of the tenants there (quarrelling with each other quite audibly, giving me verbal abuse on one occasion, and the like) have only accentuated it all. But one thing I like about that place (about the only thing) is that it is very quiet there, and that is very valuable to me.
      I set to and found things that I could make ready to put in the car. (A lot of stuff will have to be gone through and packed suitably before I can move it.) It is a very difficult job at the best of times, and it was made all the more difficult by the fact that it was a blisteringly hot day, perhaps nearly a hundred degrees, with one of those searingly hot north winds that make your eyeballs sting. I knew a cool change was expected later that day, or perhaps in the evening, and I was looking forward to that.
      Anyway, as I was putting things outside my front door, preparatory to putting them in the car I just noticed a few dandelions growing in that strip of grass, only a few feet away from my door. Well, that's nothing unusual; there are often things like that - little white daisy-like things, too, at times. But I seemed to see these dandelions with new eyes somehow, and they struck me as quite beautiful amid all that seediness.

      Bivalia: Yes, indeed Spirit was very active in you that day. You have known about those dandelions for years - they are completely commonplace, just considered ugly weeds - yet in another way you saw them for what they were for the first time.

      Michael: Yes. Well, a haiku popped into my mind. (I don't remember if it did so at that instant, or whether it was a bit later, as I was driving; but it doesn't matter). It went like this:

                              Summer dandelion -
                                  springing up like magic
                                  in the neglected grass.

      I think this contributed to the general level of activity of Spirit within my mind. I almost wondered if I should pull over to write it down, but finally trusted myself to remember it until it was more convenient to write it down.
      I went eastwards along the Burwood Highway, intending to turn left into the Mountain Highway, until, by means of a short dog-leg, I could switch to Canterbury Rd., which leads into Swansea Rd., into Lilydale, from whence I take the Maroondah Highway to Healesville. It is a route I commonly follow.
      Anyway, I had been half thinking of making a detour to Belgrave, because there was an old second-hand bookshop I used to go to 15 years or so ago. It was called Kerr's Book Exchange, and the books were actually at the rear of a gun shop. But I somehow lost touch with that over the years, even though I found lots of interesting books there. When I used public transport only, Belgrave was very difficult to reach, and this had its effect.
      I wasn't sure if the book-shop was still there or not, but I wanted to go there one day when I wasn't in too much of a hurry. I had it half in mind to do it that day on my way back to Healesville, but I forgot and turned into the Mountain Highway as usual, instead of continuing along the Burwood Highway as I should have done. However, when I started to approach the right road to turn off the Mountain Highway I decided to go on to Belgrave after all, but it would have to be by a longer route. I would follow the Mountain Highway all the way along (and had to stop to get petrol), curving up the hills until it reaches Sassafras near the top. From there, there are various ways of reaching Belgrave, which is sort of in the hills, although not all that high up, and further to the south.
      I thought I might also stop somewhere along the way to have some iced coffee, as it was very hot. The whole thing would be quite a pleasant drive.

      Bivalia: You would really be immersed in the spirit of the mountains.

      Michael: Well, I probably was - and the spirit of the forest, too. This probably added to my overall level of mental activity, or maybe even spiritual activity.

      Bivalia: You have a great affinity for the various spirits of nature, and are very sensitive to their presence.

      Michael: I went through Ferny Creek, and went along a steep downwardly-sloping road to Belgrave, and emerged at the steeply-sloping approach to the main roundabout in the Belgrave shopping centre. By this time, clouds were starting to come into the sky, although it was still quite hot.
      The bookshop was just fifty yards or so up the main road from the roundabout, and I parked opposite it. It was about a quarter to five by now. The bookshop was rather different, now called the Colonial Exchange, and was sort of combined with a New-Age store selling spiritual books, offering Tarot readings, and the like. I went and looked through the second-hand books, and found a few of interest, plus a book about Beethoven's works.
      (I'm sorry if I'm giving too much mundane detail; but I'm trying to evoke the totality of my feelings of that time, to bring out the spiritual part, and I can best do that by relating everything I can remember. This feeling is perhaps strengthened by the unavoidable couple-of-days' delay in channelling you, because by this time, my desire to channel you as soon as possible was already growing stronger.)

      Bivalia: You don't have to apologize for that. You can relate anything you like when you are with me.

      Michael: Anyway, I went to pay for my books when I thought I had done enough looking, and spoke with the woman a bit. I asked her if she had any books on shorthand (because the subject kind of interests me, and I once intended to learn shorthand, before I started using computers, although I never did it in the end). She didn't have any, but she told me she used to do shorthand, and used to enjoy it.
      Amongst the New-Age books, I noticed that book Conversations with God which I had already bought a few months earlier, and commented on it. She said it had sold quite well, and people often got it to share with others.
      Normally I am very sceptical of anything that claims to be from God, but this book really does seem to impress me; it is one of the best spiritual books I have ever come across. It really stood out when I first found it; unlike most spiritual books, where I have to really think about whether I want it sufficiently to pay the price, I knew very quickly that this was one book I had to get. Its view of God is so loving and gentle and wise and understanding I could almost believe the messages in it are from God (although, as with all channellings, filtered through the author's own consciousness). The view of God expressed there is closer to my own than in any other written source I have ever read.
      I knew from the first book that the author planned to bring out two further books in a similar vein (or rather, God had planned for this to be so); and the lady in the shop told me the second book had already come out, and the third was due in October this year. She didn't have the second, but thought she would be getting it in again some time soon. I will certainly look out for it, and the third one later on.
      I asked the lady whether she was into all the New-Age stuff, the Ascension (on which there were a couple of books in the shop), and she said it was sort of in her mind, but no, she wasn't really deeply into that. But we talked a bit about spiritual matters and religion, and she seems to be a very open-minded person who thinks it a mistake to be so dogmatically devoted to a particular religion or spiritual view, even though it might be good enough in itself. If only I could find more persons like that. I find that so many people, even people I'm close to, are just not receptive to the kinds of spiritual ideas I seem to be following nowadays, and sometimes exude a degree of disapproval, although they don't usually say outright that they disapprove.
      The funny thing was that there was something about this woman that seemed vaguely familiar, even though I was sure I had never met her before. I don't know if it was her voice, or something about her appearance; I don't know what. It's funny.

      Bivalia: This can happen for a couple of reasons. One is that it can be someone you have known in a previous life-time. They would have had a different body, personality, appearance, and so on, but there is something about their essence or spirit that you pick up at an almost-unconscious level. Another possibility is that you have never known them before, but recognize a spiritual kinship because there are points of spiritual outlook that you have in common. This can cause a person to seem familiar in that elusive sense you mention.

      Michael: I suppose so.
      Anyway, I emerged from the bookshop perhaps over an hour after I entered, and crossed the road to my car, directly opposite. The cool change was visibly imminent, although it was still hot.
      I remembered that Mum had given me some sandwiches for lunch, and I still hadn't had them. I hoped they hadn't been spoilt by the extremely hot conditions, made worse by lying in the hot car. I was feeling very hungry by now, so I decided to eat them before moving on; but I had already been in that parking spot for more than the allowed 60 minutes, and hadn't got a parking ticket so far, so I thought I'd better move somewhere else.
      I relieved myself at the public toilet that was right there next to my car (amazingly - public toilets seem to be a rarity these days), then drove along the road that leads back to Melbourne and found a parking spot just a quarter of a mile on. I ate my sandwiches, and they were hot and the butter melted into the bread, but they were all right other than that. I then drove on, looking for a spot to turn in the busy road, but decided to turn left into a side street and do my turning there. Also, I noticed more activity in the western sky, with clouds really gathering in earnest, and I wanted to get out of the car to have a look at that, and to feel what the weather was like.

      Bivalia: Ah - the spirit of the west was already starting to get at you.

      Michael: Yes, I think it was. I was becoming increasingly aware of the precise feeling of the west, and of the spirit of wind-changes, if I can put it that way - both intertwined, because the weather change was coming from the west. Together, I suppose they also comprise, gestalt-like, a combined spirit of "wind changes of the west". To me, spirits of any entity exist at multiple levels, and are not always cleanly divisible into separate compartments (although you can do that, as a construct of the mind).
      I turned into the street and got out of the car for a few minutes just to experience it better than you can cocooned in a car with the air-conditioning on. I knew it wouldn't be long before the cool change came.
      I turned round, turned back into the main road the way I'd come, and drove back towards the roundabout, intending to look for a café to have some iced coffee (which is my favourite drink). I decided to go into that place which is just next to the book-shop, and went in out of the blistering heat and oppressive wind.
      I emerged perhaps 10 minutes later (I'm never one to linger long over food or drinks), and was slightly surprised to find it was much cooler, windy but in a different way, mixed with light but rather slashing rain. Perhaps I hadn't expect it to happen quite so soon. But in any case it prompted another haiku from me. Once again, I don't remember the exact moment it came to me; it might have been while I was driving out of Belgrave a bit later.
      This haiku, in its final form, after trying out variations, goes like this:

                              Out of the hot wind into the café;
                              slashing rain upon emerging:
                                  the spirit of the wind-change.

      Bivalia: A nice evocation of the spirit of wind-changes.

      Michael: Yes; that kind of thing seems to fascinate me - always has. I don't really know why.
      I had my laptop computer with me (the old one, that is, not the new one I want to buy). It was in its carrying case, and I didn't want it to get wet, and I'd say I just got into the car with it in time, before the rain got really heavy. As it was, I had to expose it to a couple of seconds of still-not-too-heavy rain. (I had it with me, because I don't like leaving things in cars, especially things that might tempt thieves. I can hardly think of a more tempting little morsel for thieves than a packed-up laptop computer. To be sure, it was so old it would be of practically no value; but they wouldn't find that out until it was too late from my point of view. More importantly, the case also contained many disks with various files on them, many of which I would have had no other copies of.)
      I started up the car, went through the roundabout, and out the other side on the road that goes through Kallista and on to Monbulk. On the way I passed through one of those forests of tall straight trees that have an almost cathedral-like atmosphere. The rain was really coming down now and I had to have the wipers going all the time.
      I had to stop every now and then to study the street directory, because I wanted to choose the right roads: not so much to choose the shortest route, but because I thought there were particular roads I would like to explore.
      It might surprise you, but I was fascinated by roads as a child, and used to draw elaborate maps of imaginary cities and islands and countries, marking in all the roads in great detail, and often using contour lines to indicate hills, plains, and other features of the terrain.

      Bivalia: It doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

      Michael: I learned about contour lines from one of those Army survey maps Dad got me of part of the Adelaide hills when I was perhaps 10, or even younger. It fascinated me, and I loved the detail of those maps. I was fascinated by the way the contour lines twisted round in almost infinitely complex patters, reflecting the topography of the hills, yet never intersecting with one another. Drawing my imaginary maps was one of the great imaginative activities of my childhood, and that Army survey map was perhaps quite a formative influence on my childhood, although I've never thought about it in those terms before.
      I also liked constructing cities with very complex systems of roads: side-streets, main roads, and superhighways of the complex sort like in Los Angeles, where the interchanges almost resemble a plate of spaghetti. I was fascinated by the complex American superhighways, and imagined great glittering wonderful cities when I drew my maps. I think I even vaguely had fantasies about futuristic, super-modern cities even before I started reading science-fiction. They had all the advantages of cities, but none of the nasty aspects we so often see in real-life cities.
      The cities seemed to have a certain atmosphere or spirit that was quite exciting, and it was all bound up somehow with the feeling of the roads and highways I weaved through these cities. I imagined far more detail than I actually drew into the maps.
      Roads even seemed to me, as a child, to have a kind of spirit. I wouldn't have put it in anything like those terms at the time; I am translating my feelings of the time into the kind of language I might use now.

      Bivalia: But it is quite accurate. Roads, cities, things like that, do have a spirit. They have their own individual spirit, but they also, as a whole, have a collective spirit, which comprises their essence. And you did tune into this as a child, although you didn't have the conscious knowledge of what you were doing, nor perhaps the skill with language to describe it clearly.

      Michael: But cities and roads are man-made. So they have spirits, too?

      Bivalia: I take it your question is rhetorical, just a device to bring ideas into our discussion. Well, that's okay. Everything has spirit in it on various levels, or is spirit, which might be a better way of putting it. The spirit of something is its real essence, and what you can see and touch in this world is simply the projection of that spirit into your dimension.
      Perhaps it's something like Plato's concept of an ideal table or an ideal chair. I can't talk in detail about that, not knowing much about it, but from what I pick up from your own mind (which has a vague knowledge of this Platonic concept), it seems that this ideal table or chair was something like what I call spirit in this connection: kind of like the embodiment of pure tableness instead of merely one particular table, pure chairdom instead of just one chair. The spirit of the table is nothing shadowy and vague: it is more like a table than the table itself is, if that makes a kind of sense.
      When you write music depicting something, like an atoll, for instance, you are seeking to evoke the spirit of an atoll, as the title of one of your planned symphonies says in so many words - not merely to depict it in conventional terms. This spirit of the atoll sort of represents pure atolldom in something like the same way. It works on various levels: each atoll has a spirit, or is a spirit projecting into your world, which embodies the essence of that particular atoll; but each atoll is also part of a generalized spirit of atolls which embodies the essence of atolls generally, with all their various characteristics.
      Well, when you talk about the spirit of roads, it is something like that. That roads are man-made makes not one whit of difference. Humanity - each individual human - is a co-creator with God, and is creating spirit all the time, which includes its manifestation in your world. You are a creator of spirit, whatever you do; whether you use that stupendous power well, or misuse it in a destructive way, is up to you. One of the results of increasingly spiritual awareness is that you increasingly use that power well, and misuse it less. But make no mistake about it: you are creating spirit all the time; one of the ways God creates, in fact, is through humans. Putting it another way, you are creating God, or parts of God, all the time. God is evolving, and he does part of this through the medium of human beings (and beings elsewhere in the universe).

      Michael: That's something to think about. But I can't help thinking that some of what I call the spirit of roads (as I experienced it as a child) is not intrinsic to them, but a construct of my own mind; I might find that no-one else has exactly the same feeling about roads.

      Bivalia: It doesn't matter. Every time you think about roads (or anything at all, but we'll stick with that example) you are modifying, adding to, the generalized spirit of roads. Every time you drew your maps, you were doing that, whether you realized it or not.

      Michael: What a strange idea.

      Bivalia: The universe is a strange place. You can't even scratch your big toe without creating something in the astral or higher planes. I suppose that would be (being perhaps a little less facetious than you may think) modifying the spirit of scratching-of-big-toes.

      Michael: [LAUGHS.] That's weird. So verbs have spirits too, as well as nouns.

      Bivalia: Everything that you can put words to has spirit, everything that you can think about in any way: people, animals, plants, rocks, actions, ideas, concepts, intentions, groups of any of these, aggregates, combinations, gestalts of all kinds, subsets and supersets of any of these things. And all these spirits are a part of some others, as their nature dictates, overlapping and intersecting like some fantastically complex Venn diagram of the sort you might have used in mathematics classes when studying the rudiments of set theory. You know, the intersecting circles labelled A, B, C, and so on, which you used to do in school, which you would then shade with a pencil to indicate certain unions and intersections, supersets and subsets of the basic sets.
      And your thoughts and actions (and those of everyone else) are constantly modifying huge numbers of these spirits, so that they are constantly changing, interacting, expanding, contracting, twisting in and out of each other in full 3D motion. And of course, natural events have their effect on these spirits too, as do the natural cycles of night and day, the passing of the seasons. For instance, you can be sure that the spirit of summer is far more evident in summer than it is in winter, and will overlap with more spirits of other kinds.
      You are all the time modifying various spirits, for better or worse, whether you like it or not. That is why it is a good idea, as you grow in awareness, to do more and more of your thinking and activity consciously, with awareness of the effects you are creating, rather than in a semi-conscious, unthinking kind of way.

      Michael: You're the first person I've ever met who has read such profundity into roads, and gone from there to a whole deep spiritual concept.

      Bivalia: Oh no I'm not; you have done so as a child, only you didn't realize it. All children do so in this kind of unthinking way; some adults manage to keep something of that awareness going, and to hone it into a more conscious form.
      Isn't it true that children see magic in just about anything that takes their fancy? Everything seems larger than life somehow, has a special feeling about it that can't be expressed in words, which the physical characteristics of whatever it is can't reasonably account for. They are tuning into the spirit of the thingummy, or creating or modifying it - probably all these at the same time.

      Michael: I guess so. I don't have any trouble with that. I certainly had these strange feelings of wonder about lots of things as a child. I am now convinced I was very aware of spirit, but just didn't call it that. I think I've lost some of that, but perhaps I've kept a bit more of it than many people have done.

      Bivalia: A lot more, I would say.

      Michael: Another thing that has seemed to intrigue me is the old-fashioned country general store. I can't think why. Roads at least lead to far-off wonderful places, and perhaps have a magic (and as a child I did much travelling with my family along roads between Adelaide and Melbourne, until I got to know every mile of the Western and Duke's Highways (Highway 8)); but general stores or cafés are less easy to account for. Indeed, with the tendency these days to have radios blaring in such places (not so much general stores, but certainly cafés) I often find them very unpleasant places to be in; but that doesn't change the idea of general stores and cafés, perhaps like Plato's ideal tables, which remains untouched by that outer-world unpleasantness caused by the radios.

      Bivalia: Well, yes; once again, you seem to have something of an affinity for such places, which probably formed during your childhood, maybe during your childhood travels. You probably ate meals there, and they were places of refreshment and relaxation during a long journey. It might have arisen in some way like that.

      Michael: These things that seem to have hidden significance or depth often manifest in my dreams. I very rarely remember the detail of my dreams now upon awakening, but I can be left with an impression of something or other. I've noticed that places in this world can have a counterpart in my dream world which is like them, but somehow not entirely the same: a sort of purer version of them, full of hidden meaning and significance which is obscured in the real-world version of them.

      Bivalia: Ah - once again, it is the spirit you are in touch with there. The feeling that something like that is more real than real is a classic sign that you are aware of its spirit.

      Michael: Some of these places come up more than once in a dream and I recognize them from a previous dream. A few of them have no counterpart in the everyday world, but seem to exist purely in my dream landscape, but have a real presence and identity of their own.
      For instance, there is a café in my dream world I'm sure I must have visited at least 10 times over the years which is situated in the city near Myer's; but it is totally fictitious: in the real city, there is no café there at all, never has been as far as I know; even the arcade or walkway that leads to it is not there, and never has been.
      There are other dream locations which are not in the city, country areas, which have no counterpart in the physical world, even approximately like the café did, which come up again. It's as if there is a whole world in my dreams with its own locations and geography independently of the physical world, which I could almost draw a map of if only I could remember them clearly enough upon awakening.

      Bivalia: Well, this is so. You have just as active a life during your sleep in other realms as you do in your so-called real world; perhaps more so, considering the rather uneventful nature of your physical life. And you do visit some of these places again from time to time, and they are familiar from previous visits.

      Michael: Sometimes in dreams I do things which I can hardly remember, but which (to the extent that I can remember bits) totally lack logic or common sense, yet those activities have a very distinctive feeling, and a weird kind of consistency or sense to them that is totally indescribable in words. It's almost as if that other world I spend my dreams in has totally different, alien laws of nature compared to the everyday world, or even a totally different mathematics or geometry.

      Bivalia: Once again, this is so; you are struggling to describe logically in physical terms things that simply cannot be even imagined in those terms. Yes there are aspects of higher realms that work according to different laws or different mathematics. Of course, there are other parts which are the same, more deeply universal principles; but, naturally, the things that differ tend to register more sharply in your mind, because of their weirdness.

      Michael: It rather surprises me that people usually think the strangeness of dreams is evidence that they are mere chaotic nonsense, with no significance whatsoever. I can tell you that occasionally (not all that often) dreams can evoke in me quite sharp emotions that I would be unable to summon up out of nothing just by thinking about it, and often with a distinctive atmosphere I could never make up deliberately. Where I don't feel I have any absolute proof of the reality of spirit, I feel these aspects of dreams are one of the more persuasive pieces of evidence of the reality of spirit, even though such evidence is not absolute.

      Bivalia: Well, you are quite correct there. It is good to see that you are open to thinking about what your dreams might be pointing to, and that you don't close your mind to them simply because conventional wisdom says they have no meaning, or, at best, have a limited meaning depicted in orthodox psychological or Freudian terms.

      Michael: In fact, I have little interest in the usual psychological explanations of dreams, Freud and all that.

      Bivalia: It was valuable in its day, and still is to some people; I think you've moved beyond a need for explaining dreams on that level.

      Michael: Do you know, we've wandered awfully far from the topic I was supposed to be exploring?

      Bivalia: Isn't it great fun? We can wander round as freely as you wandered round the hills the other day.

      Michael: Well, to continue with that, I passed through Monbulk and to the east of the Silvan dam. I got glimpses of it on my left, and perhaps even got a glimpse of that flat sheet of water, with the rain slashing down on it. The whole atmosphere of the countryside was different from the main part of the Dandenongs, and seemed to have a different spirit.
      I continued north towards Mt. Evelyn, and passed a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, and wondered why I had previously, at two different times of my life, been quite deeply involved with Jehovah's Witnesses, even though right from the beginning I had decided their way was not to be mine. I saw people arriving there at the time; obviously, at about 7.15, they were about to have a meeting there.
      I reflected on the curious fact that I seemed to have a certain rapport with Jehovah's Witnesses, and still do to some extent. They do seem to fascinate me a little, even though their path is very different from mine.
      The thought has occurred to me that perhaps I work with them in the astral, sharing with those of them who are receptive enough bits of my own truth, as far as they can accept it.

      Bivalia: Well, it seems to me this is so, and that may account for your feelings. You wanted to help them, and actually got involved to learn what they were on about, so that you could work with them with a background of really understanding what their view was.

      Michael: Strange. I wonder why, out of all possible types of people, I should have been drawn to working with them.

      Bivalia: Who knows? There can be a thousand subtle factors at work that make us feel drawn to one person or group, and not to others.

      Michael: Anyway, I finally arrived at Lilydale, and kept glancing over to the west, as much as I could do safely while driving, just to see what was happening. I couldn't see much though; the sky seemed fairly grey there.
      But, quite impulsively, I decided to turn left at the Maroondah Highway, westwards, instead of right (eastwards) as I should have done to go to Healesville. I just wanted to go over the hill to the west of Lilydale to get a better view of the western horizon, to see what the sky looked like. It was still light, but the sun was well behind clouds, and the sky looked ordinary from where I saw it in Lilydale. But nevertheless I felt like having a clearer look.

      Bivalia: It looks, doesn't it, as if the spirits of the west and of wind-changes got together and called to you, grabbed your attention.

      Michael: That's a rather whimsical thing for you to say.

      Bivalia: Well, I mean it.

      Michael: But why would they do that?

      Bivalia: Who knows? Things happen for a million different reasons. I may come to you with various insights about spirit, but I am not omniscient. Spirit is truly, deeply mysterious, and I do not always know the reasons why it operates the way it does. Perhaps you work with certain spirits of nature, just as you work with Jehovah's Witnesses, and just as work on various other projects you don't know about consciously yet. Perhaps they help you with inspiration that will one day (maybe years off) result in writing or music that you are well-suited to produce. Who knows why? Just enjoy it when it happens.

      Michael: Anyway, I went over the hill and got a better view, but there was absolutely nothing special to see. I didn't really expect there to be; but for some strange reason I was moved to drive several miles out of my way to see that view. When I got my view of the western sky it wasn't what I was looking for. It's almost as if I was searching for an ideal west, not the real one, the spirit of the west more than the physical view of it. And this episode prompted yet another haiku from me.
      That's three haiku in one day, which I don't think I've equalled before. I know they're tiny, and nine lines of verse sounds exactly the opposite of impressive. But they're concentrated, highly focused, expressive of subtle feeling, and you can't just churn them out like sausages.

      Bivalia: I know exactly what you mean. These haiku are evidence of your high level of spirit on that day - not to mention the multitude of thoughts that churned through your mind for hours that day, most of a very uplifting character, only a proportion of which you have touched on in this session and last night's. Anyway, let's see your haiku.

      Michael: It went like this:

                              Chasing the setting sun -
                                  the magic of the West
                                  beckons us on.

      That one came very easily, in an instant; I didn't have to fiddle with it at all, try different ways of phrasing it, or anything like that.

      Bivalia: It's wonderful. It evokes a variety of hidden longings.
      Why the "us"? You were by yourself, which would be "me".

      Michael: Oh, I don't know; that's just the way it came to me. It seemed more right somehow. Perhaps it's just the royal "we"; maybe it was you and me; or perhaps, even though I was alone at the time, I perceive the ideal search of the magic of the west as something I would do with someone, either in person or in spirit. Perhaps it's something I think everyone would benefit from doing: to stop at times and spend some unhurried time looking at a beautiful sunset, instead of rushing about their harried routine like mice on a treadmill.
      Quite often I have noticed a lovely sunset in the middle of a shopping centre or car-park or some such place. Perhaps there is a sliver of new moon, or the evening star (the planet Venus) shining brightly in the western sky. All around me people are rushing about their shopping or other tasks, and it is a source of sad wonder to me that not one of them gives so much as a glance at the beauty surrounding them; they are totally oblivious to it. I feel like shaking them and saying, "Look around you, damn it".

      Bivalia: Yes, I know the feeling. But I notice the haiku you created that day have a much more peaceful feel to them than the rather lonely ones you quoted earlier. This is a good sign; although of course I don't say you shouldn't write the sadder ones if that's how they sometimes come to you.

      Michael: Yes, I think the ones I wrote the other day have a nice feeling to them.
      The magic of the west evoked in one of them is an old idea with me. I have always liked sunsets, which of course are closely connected with it. There were a couple of stories I was going to write about this, but I never started them. I suspect the feelings I wanted to explore were so subtle that I couldn't even get a start on them.
      One story was to be only a couple of pages long, sort of concentrated like a haiku. It was to be one of a series of six very short stories, called simply "North", "South", "West", "East", "Up", and "Down": the six directions in 3-dimensional space. In each I wanted to try to evoke the special magic of each of those directions, probably in the form of a journey in that direction taken by a group of people, in which they acquire an almost-mystical awareness of the special magic of the direction they were following: its spirit, I suppose.

      Bivalia: That's wonderful; I hope you come back to that one day. Perhaps you are better able to do it now.

      Michael: I actually started "North" and "Up", although they became much longer than I planned; but I lost the thread of those too. But they were good as far as they went, especially "North".
      "Up" had a few plot difficulties which I never ironed out, but it was about a journey of discovery from the centre of a planet where a colony existed, unaware of anything outside the hollow centre of the planet. Obviously this is a science-fictional setting, and I felt a bit insecure about handling that. The people making the journey were going to climb up through the layers of the planet in a tunnel-digging vehicle called a mole, and literally didn't know what they were going to discover. They were going to reach the surface of the planet, and then continue going up into space in a space-ship of some kind.
      "North" was about a family's sudden journey north from a vaguely-defined threat which was going to transpire (later in the story) to be some sort of political threat, which would have been unimportant to the story except for providing a compelling motivation from the journey which meant abandoning home forever; but it also meant exploring the magic of the north which the boy who is the central character had always been fascinated by.

      Bivalia: This is good stuff; I wish you would go back to writing stories like this.

      Michael: "East" was going to be about a mystical journey of some sort to the east, and although I never planned the plot, I had a list of symbolism to include in the scenery, and so on. "West" was going to be about a group of people driving westwards for a so far uncertain reason, and I had a couple of settings in mind, both at the time of sunset.
      There is no rhyme or reason whatsoever behind these scenes except that they came to my mind unbidden, and I made a note of them to use in the story.
      One was of a general store (a theme I mentioned a couple of pages back), where the group (perhaps a family) would meet a couple of people who ran the shop. I'm not sure if they knew each other, or were meeting for the first time; but either way, they are (or become) great friends, and spend some time together. Perhaps there are a few tables there, and they eat dinner; they spend a few hours together there, talking and enjoying each other's company before the family drive on. Perhaps customers come in from time to time, but it is not very busy, and this doesn't make too much difference.
      It is summer, and the shop has a big front window which gives a wonderful view of the countryside on the other side of the road and of the sky. It is a rainy afternoon; the sky is covered with great sheets of flat white cloud, stratus clouds probably - but the sky is very bright, and the sunlight manages very nearly to break through openings in the clouds. There is no wind, and it is only slightly cold. The whole scene, the very air, seem to be yellow, and the raindrops glint yellow as they catch the sunlight that almost breaks through.
      The entire landscape is flooded with peculiar-coloured light like you occasionally see once every year or two when the weather conditions are just right. You can have grey evenings, or red evenings, or orange evenings, or blue-and-grey ones, or even yellow-and-grey ones; but this was a yellow evening.
      Despite the homely rural scene, there is a great sense of anticipation present, as if wonderful things might be preparing to happen later on. This is probably contributed to by the strange configuration of weather conditions. The feeling is difficult to define, but it is perhaps a little like the wonderful feeling I might have had in childhood during the holidays when we used to get up before dawn to make an early start so we could travel from Adelaide to Melbourne in a single day; or perhaps like those times I used to get up in the dark to walk in the moonlight or to watch the sun rise on an absolutely clear day.
      Of course, such peculiar-coloured weather as I wanted to put in the story can happen in real life, particularly at sunrise or sunset. I always enjoy such conditions when they happen in real life, and I often spend half an hour or more just absorbing it, just putting aside whatever I was doing at the time. I almost go into raptures of delight when I see a red evening, or yellow one, and so on. Your whole surroundings seem to be bathed in exquisitely-coloured, iridescent liquid light. These are amongst the times I feel closest to spirit, the times that ancient sense of wonder and longing are most acutely aroused.
      The second scene I had in mind for my story was at sunset (maybe a few hours later, perhaps the next day), by the seaside, but high up in craggy rocks and cliffs overlooking the turbulent sea. (Perhaps the Indian Ocean or something, if I want to define the location geographically; but I have a tendency not to locate my story in any definable place, often not even in any particular country.) The sun is about to set in a blazing sea of reds, oranges, and yellows, and maybe the whole spirit of the scene speaks to those people (or one of them) in a mystical kind of way.
      That sounds pretty vague as I tell it just now; but that's the skeleton out of which I intended to build that story.

      Bivalia: Just your description shows an unusual sensitivity to the kinds of spirit that would be involved in such scenes.

      Michael: The other story about the west I was going to write was to be on a far-distant planet in another solar system. It rotated so slowly that it would be possible to travel ever westwards, and have a perpetually setting sun, because your speed of travel just keeps up with the planet's rotation.
      I had no real reason in mind why anyone would take such a journey; but a possible reason might be that if you strayed too far away from the twilight zone on the planet, the temperature would get too hot for people to live in. This would condemn you to a perpetual twilight journey, presumably hunting and gathering your food along the way, because agriculture would not be feasible in such a situation. Although, I suppose you could set up gardens and visit them once on each journey around the planet, provided they could look after themselves in the meantime. You could have natural cycles of plant growth determined by night and day more than by yearly seasons. I suppose there would no limit to the details you could work into a story of that kind, once you got going. I was going to call that story "Eternal Sunset".
      In my typical, perhaps over-even-handed way, I was also going to have another companion story called (you guessed it) "Eternal Sunrise". But I would have to make it significantly different from the other story for it to have any credibility.

      Bivalia: Well, I for one think you could pull that off if you set your mind to it.

      Michael: It would also be nice to write something about the east. But, because I tend to go to bed very late, and rise late, I am not so well acquainted with the spirit of the east, although I like it very much, and love sunrises. But this spirit is at its most active at a time when I am dead to the world. I sometimes feel I would like to change that, but it's not easy.
      On the subject of the west and wind-changes, I might mention another haiku I composed a couple of weeks ago, on Tuesday, 28 February. It's perhaps a bit clumsy, with lines that are too long for a proper haiku, but I can't pare it down any further without weakening the subject matter. It goes like this:

                              Summer twilight outside the hamburger shop,
                              angry grey clouds blowing in from the west;
                                  down the street, the last cicada is chirring.

      Bivalia: Yes, that's nice too; the bit about the last cicada seems to fit in just right.

      Michael: Cicadas are another thing that can evoke that sense of spiritual longing, and I have past memories associated with them.
      I'm still not sure about the second line; there might be a less prosaic way of evoking the rain and wind coming in from the west, but it's something I'll have to think about.

      Bivalia: You have yet again tuned into the spirits of the west and of changes of wind. You seem to be interacting with such spirits quite a bit in recent weeks.

      Michael: The changing of weather seems to fascinate me. I was once going to write another story called "When the Wind Changed", a very short one only a couple of pages long. I got taken up with the idea of such a story; even the very title has a wonderful feel to it. But, again, I couldn't even begin to work out what sort of plot would be required. I wanted a plot in which the change of wind could play an important role in the story, and not be merely a colourful backdrop to a conventional plot, which could manage quite well without the change of wind.
      This reminds me of something I omitted to tell you earlier, back while I was still at my mother's place getting those insights about spirituality that we discussed earlier. Round about that time a way occurred to me of making that story "When the Wind Changed" work.
      I could have a character, or perhaps a pair of characters, who either don't think much about spirit much, or who are disillusioned and jaded about it, or who are perhaps hobbled by conventional doctrines, but not so badly that they can't open up and shake that off, given a suitable stimulus.
      I thought they could perhaps be outside in stifling summer heat doing something or other, and they experience the sudden change of wind, all within a minute or so, and they can be totally overwhelmed by the spectacle, which I can describe in loving detail. They could so obviously notice the particular atmosphere of the overall scene, of the sky, of the wind, of the rain, and so on, notice the particular feeling of each of these phenomena, and of the way they interact, and it could lead to some kind of awareness of the sorts of concept of Spirit I myself have been developing over the last few years, which I have described in these channellings at various times. This awareness about the spirit of the change of wind could lead to greater things and have a life-transforming effect.

      Bivalia: I look forward to reading the story. You can make that plot outline work if you get onto it, perhaps once you are settled after your move. You are very good at that kind of writing, the mixing of natural phenomena with a subtly-expressed spirituality.

      Michael: Thank you for saying so.

      Bivalia: I only say it because it is true. I don't say things just for the sake of praising you. For instance, I would never say you have the makings of a great footballer, because you don't. I cannot think of anyone less suited to football than you. But you do have the makings of a great writer or composer, if you choose to develop that.

      Michael: Well, that's nice to know, only I don't always believe it myself.

      Bivalia: I know you don't, but that belief system is itself one of the biggest barriers standing before you.

      Michael: Well, I think this covers most, if not all, of what I wanted us to cover, and once again I have to go to bed soon: earlier than usual, because I have to get up early to go to the Church of Antioch. It's my day to play the organ there tomorrow, and I'll have to leave Healesville before 9 a.m.
      If there's anything I meant to go on to, but have forgotten to, please hang on to it and bring me back here in a day or two, will you?

      Bivalia: Certainly; I am glad we have re-established communication in this manner once again. I am sure you will find that resuming it at the beginning was the hardest part of it.

      Michael: If I think of small enough things that related directly to main topics we have already discussed, I will just quietly insert them into the text, even though they didn't come out at the time. The intention was there, and that's what counts. I hope you don't think doctoring the writing up later is cheating.

      Bivalia: I certainly don't; it is a writer's privilege to do that, and an inherent part of the overall technique of writing to edit and polish and amplify and revise. Neither you nor I pretend that the dialogues as they appear in the text are exact transcripts of conversations that occur in real time, like a Hansard report of Parliament. Rather, they are an attempt to approximate a subtle communication that takes place between us; and if you later think of details that were a part of the train of thought but which you didn't think to include at the time, I would be glad to see them inserted later for your future reference. I completely trust your honesty in doing this properly as you see fit.

      Michael: Well, I might close on a lighter note. I've written 10 haiku altogether, and quoted 7 of them in this session. I omitted the others because they didn't seem germane to our line of discussion, and, in fact, don't seem very spiritual at all. But with only 3 to go, I might as well quote them now that the serious business of our discussions seems to have wound down.

      Bivalia: Well, let's see them.

      Michael: I've just got to copy them from another file into the file I'm typing now. One of them has a couple of versions, between which I haven't quite decided, but I will content myself with what seems at the moment the better version. Here goes:

                              A million T.V.s:
                                  a million minds possessed
                                  by the same thoughts, all at once.

                              A mosquito's drill -
                                  half a room away,
                                  yet boring into your ear.

                              A mosquito whining -
                              turn on the light:
                              mosquito has vanished.

      See what I mean? Not much about those that is spiritual, is there?

      Bivalia: [LAUGHS.] I don't know; there is a lot of truth in those, at any rate. I think you tuned into the spirit of mosquitoes all right, even if you didn't particularly want to. I don't know what your dentist would think of the comparison with his drill.
      As for the one about T.V., I disagree with your opinion that there is nothing spiritual there. There is a profound spiritual truth half-hidden there, and it is one of the reasons why T.V. has such a detrimental effect on your society.
      When people think any thoughts, they are creating astral forms which are the exact counterpart of those thoughts; you could say that they are the spirit of those thoughts. If you don't act on the thoughts, the astral forms gradually fade away; if you act on the thoughts, they become much firmer, more solid in a sense (on the astral plane), and much longer-lasting - potentially infinite in life-span. If you don't act on the thoughts, but think them repeatedly and intensely, they gradually become more firm on the astral plane, although in a different kind of way to the firmness created by acting on them.
      If a group of people are thinking similar thoughts in deliberate collaboration to accomplish some purpose, they can create very strong astral forms which can be used to great good (or great evil), and can exert very fine control on the way those astral forms are created and the way they behave. If a large number of people are thinking similar thoughts, but not in collaboration, but oblivious of each other, the astral form created is almost as strong, but it is out of control, and can take on a kind of life of its own, and behave very unpredictably. This is especially so when the people thinking independently of each other are nevertheless doing so simultaneously. The effects of this may be fairly harmless, or extremely harmful, depending on the nature of the thoughts which are building the astral form.
      Now people don't usually think the same things at the same time independently of each other; just by the luck of the draw, people usually think different things from each other. But this can be different if widely disseminated messages or ideas reach many people, who then think certain thoughts prompted by the message. A book, for instance, may reach many thousands of people, and may prompt certain kinds of thoughts independently in their minds. This is one of the ways certain ideas in popular or political culture become very widespread at certain times (such as economic rationalism (so-called) in your current time), yet may be almost completely absent at other times.
      But, in the case of books, this amplifying effect of many different minds thinking similar thoughts is broken up to a significant extent by the fact that at least all those people are reading the book at different times. The intensity of the thought-patterns is partly broken up by this.
      But consider what happens with T.V. programs broadcast at a particular time. Not only are thousands of people watching it, and thinking the kinds of thoughts the program might prompt, but they are all doing it at exactly the same moment, just as your haiku points out. This immensely amplifies the strength of those thoughts beyond what it would be in the case of the book. This can do immense harm if the thoughts in question are of a destructive nature, as is all too often the case with your mass media. This makes quite an alarming sight on the astral plane to anyone who has clairvoyant vision.
      You may know that when soldiers are marching in rhythm, they are ordered to break step when they cross a bridge, and resume their rhythm only after crossing over. This is because the vibrations of all those tramping feet would be immensely amplified by the simultaneity of the tramping, and it would literally shake the bridge to pieces. But when the soldiers tread on the bridge, but out of unison, the conflicting vibrations partially cancel each other out, and the bridge can easily support the line of soldiers marching across.
      Well, this is very similar to what happens with T.V., and all those minds possessed by it at the same time.

      Michael: Well, I did have that in mind when I wrote that haiku; it isn't an accident, or an insight I didn't know I had. And I must be honest and admit I didn't even think of the idea myself. Quite some time ago, I once heard or read of this astral ramification of T.V., although I completely forget what my source was. I don't claim the thought as my own, but just thought of that pithy way of expressing it.

      Bivalia: Yes, well it is a perfectly valid point. This is one of the reasons why T.V. seems to have so much power, as is generally acknowledged in your society; but it is also made worse by the fact that T.V., even apart from the amplifying effect on astral forms of all that simultaneous watching, seems to have a deadening effect on the human mind anyway. It seems to stifle creativity, damages one's powers of concentration, one's ability to entertain oneself, one's ability to engage in creative conversation, and various other things.
      The use of videos and of multiple "narrow-casting" cable-T.V. channels might improve the astral amplification effect, because people would at least be watching a wider range of things at different times; but it would do nothing to relieve the generally mind-deadening effect television seems to have on many people's minds. That is probably just a matter of human physiology and psychology. That is why spiritually-inclined people often advise against the excessive watching of television.

      Michael: I have a guilty twinge here; I suppose you would apply that to my many hours in front of a computer screen.

      Bivalia: There might be some effect on your mind, but no, I don't consider that to be very serious. I know some spiritual people would disagree; there seems to be a segment of New-Age people who have a dim view of computers for various reasons; but I don't share that opinion to any significant extent. I think computers could be a wonderful aid to human evolution; but, if misused (which I fear is already happening), they could be instruments of terrible evil.
      In comparison with T.V., the difference is that computers can be used creatively in quite a wide variety of ways: for instance, you can write letters or stories (or even channelling), as you do; or you can write computer programs, as you also do, which is creative; or you can work on spreadsheets, databases, and the like, which are often useful tasks. Even playing games (games of the better sort, anyway) engages the mind and requires interaction and decision-making. It may not be the same as playing games with a person, but it is certainly no worse than engagement with any hobby or activity in solitude.
      The difference with T.V. seems to me to be that, when you watch T.V., interaction and creative thinking are at a minimum, which effectively hypnotizes the mind; you just sit there passively soaking up whatever the box wants to pour into you, like a sponge. I think this is where the problem is, and I do have a rather dim view of T.V., although with wise programming and wise use I still feel it could be useful if kept in its proper place; but I fear your society does not very often manage to make wise use of television. Television far more often deadens your minds rather than stimulates them, and is all too often a terrible vehicle of conformity. The problems associated with the passivity engendered by television are acknowledged in some of your colloquial terms for excessive T.V. watchers, such as "couch potato" and even "vid-spud".

      Michael: I suppose so. Well, I think this is a good and natural place to close up. It's been a great channelling, and I'll see when I can come back, although, because of the time it takes, it will never be a daily thing, probably not even weekly.

      Bivalia: Thank you, Michael, for giving me your time and sharing spirit with me. I'll see you some time soon.

      Michael: Good night. [b]


[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] Saturday, 17 February, 2001; Thursday, 4 April, 2002 - [Apropos of the foregoing discussion about haiku written by myself]:
      The haiku quoted and discussed can be found on the main part of my web site, on various pages all accessible from
http://www.foxall.com.au/users/mje/Haiku.htm. As you will see on that page, there are separate pages which also quote the verses and give some commentary on how I came to write them.
      Please note that this page, and all pages leading off it, are quite separate from the dialogues web site you are presently in, and you will be leaving the dialogues web site. While there are links pointing back to this dialogues web site, they are not plentiful or prominent. I did this because, while I have decided to made the dialogues public, I do not want to give them an especially high profile, and would prefer to make the pages findable mainly by people who are interested enough in certain topics to read through certain pages and follow certain links. Therefore if you think you might want to come back to this page, or to any other dialogues-related pages, I suggest that you either open the haiku page in a separate window of your browser, or else, when you are finished with the haiku pages, use the "Back" button in your browser to reverse through any pages you pass through to arrive back here. [Back]

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