(M.J.E. Spirit / Fri., 3 Apr., 1998)

Spirit Dialogues

Explorations of Spirit
by Michael Edwards

Front page: Foreword - Site Map
    <-- Previous dialogue
    Next dialogue -->

Friday, 3 April, 1998

      Michael: Hullo, Spirit. I thought I'd come back again; I think I have a couple of things I'd like to talk about with you.

      Bivalia:[a] Good evening, Michael. Glad to come and talk with you. What's this calling me "Spirit" bit, now? Would you be broadening your view of who or what I am?

      Michael: Oh, I don't know; maybe. I just decided to call you that to see what it felt like. I think I've told you before that I do feel some unease about calling you "Bivalia" (or probably any personal name at all), so I just decided to try something else. I hope you don't mind.

      Bivalia: Not at all. I would in fact encourage you to try new things if the old ones make you feel uneasy for any reason, or if they simply cease to serve you as well as you wish. I am a part of Spirit, as are you, so it is quite appropriate. You could even try calling me "Michael", because you and I are really the same ("Michael" and "Bivalia" just being two different aspects of the same entity, or like viewing the same thing from different angles); but I suppose you would feel uneasy about calling me "Michael", too.

      Michael: Not to mention the semantic difficulty we would have if we were both referred to by the same name.

      Bivalia: Quite so. Of course, I think you realize now that we don't need to get hung up about the matter of names at all; we simply need to adopt a convention that you can feel reasonably easy about, and which will avoid confusion about identity - because, although you and I are really the same entity, it is obviously convenient for the format of our communion to have different names for the two aspects of that same entity, namely what you are calling "Michael" and "Bivalia".

      Michael: Well, perhaps I feel uneasy about "Spirit", too. Although I accept that we are a part of Spirit, I do see a sense in which Spirit covers broader territory.

      Bivalia: Well, I would say that that is so, and also not so, in different senses. But perhaps we won't go into that now, unless you want to. But obviously, you find it convenient at present to regard Spirit as being a broader thing than Bivalia or Michael, a superset as computer programmers or mathematicians might call it. That view of things will serve us quite well for now. I will not seek to debate it further now, especially as I can sense that this is not the topic you came to me now to talk about, but that you are just using it to warm up, to ease into our discussion.

      Michael: I guess you're right there. I do sometimes need to warm up with something that is not too important. But it does remind me that, whatever terms we use, and however we define them, we sooner or later end up bumping hard into the sheer limitation of words, however they are used. Words simply were not designed to discuss spiritual matters in any depth.

      Bivalia: Quite right; but it can still be very productive to use words to discuss even the profoundest things, just so long as we realize that limitation, and don't take the words too seriously. That is one reason why those religions based on some book, such as Christianity or Judaism or Islam, do have an inbuilt tendency to foster limitation of outlook, or even outright narrow dogma. They are trying to put Spirit, which is illimitable, into a little box of their own designing (or of the designing by ancient prophets). I'm not saying all members of such religions are so limited; merely that there is that tendency in such religions.

      Michael: I do actually have quite a respect for the written word, used properly, as a means of communicating ideas, but I also have to say that this idea of a religion whose very basis is some scripture regarded as the infallible word of God is quite alien to my concept of Spirit, or my own spiritual way. I may have a high regard for the written word as a medium, but only if it does not exceed its limitations.

      Bivalia: Well, I would say that we are both pretty well agreed upon that.

      Michael: Anyway, I try not to get too hung up on what to call you, although it does seem to be a persisting minor problem.

      Bivalia: That is not really as surprising as you might think, because the reason for that is that you intuitively, as well as rationally, realize that any name for me is limiting. It's just the same as how you have a bit of a problem with using any name at all for what we might call Spirit (with a capital "S") or God, or the source of all being, or the Light, or whatever other terms you may occasionally use, or hear others use. You realize that any name defines God into a narrow typecast, and you also realize that this is not an accurate picture of God, so you tend to feel uneasy about any name. However, I wouldn't worry about it, because obviously you have to use some name if you want to use words at all to talk about God; I would just use whatever name comes to you, or whatever one seems convenient, and quite consciously realize that too much importance should not be put on it.

      Michael: That's what I try to do. I'm quite inconsistent about how I refer to you, or to God.

      Bivalia: Inconsistency can be quite gloriously liberating at times. If you do that, it matters not one iota what name you call me, or what you call God, or what you call Spirit in any of its aspects.

      Michael: It's the exact opposite of Jehovah's Witnesses, who seem to imply (if not state outright) that God's personal name is Jehovah, and that if you don't call him that, you are not really talking to him at all, and he will ignore you.

      Bivalia: Well, I don't really think either of us have any more to say about that. You don't see it that way, and I don't either. I hardly need to tell you that "Jehovah" is a name that could be applied to one aspect of Spirit, and people are at liberty to use that name exclusively if they so wish, and it is up to them whether they choose to severely limit their own concept of Spirit by thinking about it in only one way, and by attributing to God a very specific list of characteristics. Equally you are at liberty not to do so, if that is what you wish.

      Michael: Quite so. Anyway, when I was equating you with Spirit before, I suppose I was in a way saying you are God, or a part of God, and therefore I am, too, because you and I are the same entity seen from different perspectives.

      Bivalia: Yes.

      Michael: Well, I have a book which I bought a while ago by this American man, and it consists of conversations between himself (using his ordinary mind) and a spiritual entity which he really believed was God.[b] Normally I'm very sceptical of anything which claims to be directly from God (whether channelled messages, or the Bible itself); but in this case, from the bits I've read so far, I'm quite impressed, and seriously entertain the idea that the message may be from God (or from some aspect of him at least). Even though there are bits I can't quite agree with, or about which I have severe doubts, it somehow feels like it's from God; it's got the right tone or outlook somehow. (As for the bits I don't agree with: I suppose I just might be wrong there, or else the channelling might not be completely pure.)
      Anyway, I just wondered if I could one day try the same sort of thing, or would that be just getting a bit too big for my boots?

      Bivalia: No, it would not. But in a sense I think you might be a bit disappointed with the results, even though I think it would work well enough. What you have already been doing for more than 200 pages is much closer to that than you might think. If you approached it expecting something greater and profoundly mystical, something different from our discussions, you might not get quite what you expect, at least immediately.

      Michael: You're saying I'd just get what I've already got 200 pages of, are you?

      Bivalia: Yes, I am. Not because you are inherently incapable of doing anything that is so-called "more profound", but because the mere fact that you are not already producing something more profound (whatever that might mean) is a sign that that is not what you need at present.
      If you channel God, you get those aspects of him that are in harmony with your own spiritual outlook, those insights which you need in your particular situation, those parts of God which can best lead you closer to him from where you are currently situated. Remember, just like the Melways maps you mentioned a couple of weeks ago? With the maps, it obviously makes sense to refer to the page that depicts the location where you are currently situated? Similarly, you get from God what you need, not some kind of generic universal truth. Whenever people get from their religion something they think is universal truth that must apply to everyone, they merely limit themselves: they simply get dogma, and then chain themselves to it. That's not the way it works.
      Well, perhaps it's what such people need at that time, and is right for them in that sense; but it doesn't change the fact that it is limiting, and, if you can transcend that limitation, there is so much more to Spirit, and to God, and to a spiritual life.
      If you channelled God instead of me, you would get very similar messages to those I give you. In fact, if you went back through your 200-odd pages of dialogues, and used the search-and-replace function on your computer to replace each occurrence of "Bivalia" with the word "God" (and perhaps deleted the references to God being your Higher Self), you would have something very similar to what you would get if you tried to channel God as such. There would be very little if any difference. The difference between channelling God and channelling me is largely illusory.

      Michael: I wouldn't get something broader because I am channelling God, which I said before I am regarding as a superset of you?

      Bivalia: No, because, however you think about it, whatever name you use, you would get what you need. Even if we grant that God is infinitely greater and broader than me, the mere Higher Self of one earthly mortal (if you want to think about it like that), it doesn't matter; you would still get from God what you need, and what is in harmony with your own consciousness. And that is what you get from me, anyway. You will get something different (profounder, if you want to call it that - I don't want to myself) when you are ready for it, and it won't make any difference whether you are channelling God as such, or you are channelling me in the manner and format you have already followed for 200 pages.

      Michael: I guess I sort of know this. I don't know why I'm putting you through these hoops.

      Bivalia: It is good at times to clarify matters by going through them in full detail; and I have all the time you wish to spare for doing this with you, if you choose to.
      You mustn't ever think you can only come to me for things you don't know. There is a sense in which I can only tell you things you already know, at least at some level. But that knowledge may be unconscious, and I can help you bring it to full awareness.
      If you are not ready for something, if that something is truly alien knowledge to you so far, I cannot magically tell you this knowledge in a way you can accept; the most I can do is, over a period of time, to help your consciousness generally to increase until finally you will be ready to receive that knowledge which is alien to you now.
      You and I are constantly in this cooperative process of growth in awareness, and have been all your life. You may not be at a stage now where you have a whole set of positive beliefs about spiritual things that you can claim to believe in (and that matters a lot less than you sometimes think), but you are very open now to ideas you could not possibly have entertained, at least more than passingly, even 7 or 8 years ago.
      Anyway, you wanted to talk about something else, didn't you?

      Michael: I guess so; but when I come to you to talk about something, it kind of reminds me of a little child taken up with enthusiasm for something bursting to tell his friends or parents all about his pet project.

      Bivalia: I see nothing wrong with that. The need to share one's interests, one's news, is a basic human need, one which in your busy society is all too often suppressed; you then wonder why drug use and crime and mental illness and bigotry and hatred are burgeoning in your society. If more adults took that so-called childish approach, your society would be a great deal saner that it presently is. It is my feeling that many in your world are far too busy and pressured to be able to take the time to enjoy things for their own sake, the kinds of things you sometimes come to me to talk about: like the people you've mentioned before who can walk right past a wonderful sunset completely oblivious of it. You wouldn't want to emulate that, would you?

      Michael: No. But I suppose it is only fair to point out that those people may be so busy as to miss a sunset out of sheer necessity: their life circumstances, their work, their need to support a family, and so on, may compel them to keep their nose to the grindstone. Appreciation of sunsets and the like probably goes by the wayside almost of necessity.

      Bivalia: True. I don't want to suggest that people have moment-by-moment control over these things. The nature of your world is that you make choices about what to do in life, then you have to live with the circumstances and obligations those choices lead to. By thinking about choices before making them, the choices made might be better; and, if people thought about it in advance and decided they didn't want to be so busy, they would make choices differently before it is too late to change them, and perhaps take on fewer obligations in life. They might decide they don't need so much money to live on, and therefore can take a more easy-going attitude to work, not do so much overtime, not take on such a demanding career; they might decide to have a smaller family if they thought that with that less-demanding job approach they couldn't support as many children; and so on.
      On the other hand, some of them may enjoy being busy, and may therefore take on heavier work burdens, and may decide to have a large family. I'm not saying one is better than the other: merely that I think one has a better chance of making the right choices by thinking about things carefully in advance. It is my feeling that many people get into a bit of a mess in their lives because they don't think sufficiently about their choices before making them (as against after them).

      Michael: Well, some people may like being busy; but I don't know how many times I've heard people who are very busy grumble about it and wish like anything they had more time for friends, or to appreciate sunsets, or other things like that. But I would also say that sometimes things just don't go as planned, and that it's not always due to choices being made hastily or without thought.

      Bivalia: To be sure. But it is due to that sometimes, and I would say that people's lives, at least on average, would work out better if more thought was given to choices before making them. I think it's a shame so many people end up being so run off their feet they don't have time to appreciate sunsets or other natural things, because I really feel at least some of them would like to have the time for such things. If someone wanted more time to live in, instead of running on a treadmill all the time, making life choices more carefully is the best solution.
      Of course I grant that many choices once made (however unwisely) cannot be undone. You can't cause children to be unborn again; you are stuck with them; at least sometimes, especially later in life, careers can't be changed, or not without a heavy penalty; and so on. That's why it is so important to make choices about one's life very carefully in advance.

      Michael: I do not seem to have made life choices that preclude time for looking at sunsets, at least; in fact, I have immensely more time than anyone else I know, and I suppose it is arguable that this is because I have tended to retire from life, and have refrained from making choices at all, and therefore lead a rather empty, static life.
      Anyway, I don't know how we got onto that. I began by talking about how it seemed a bit childish for me to come to you when I had something I wanted to talk about with someone, as if you were an imaginary playmate like children sometimes invent.

      Bivalia: You might be surprised how often those so-called "imaginary" friends are spiritual entities they are in tune with (perhaps without fully realizing it), or maybe some aspect of their own higher selves.

      Michael: I concede that you may be right about that. I suppose we have certain conditioning about such things in our society, namely that it's okay for young children, but would be poorly regarded in anyone older. My discussions with you do seem a bit in that category, and I guess I can't completely shake off the idea.
      So it does seem pathetic in a way that I come to you, my Higher Self, but in a part a construct of my own mind, to tell you news because I don't have friends accessible to do so.

      Bivalia: I think it is a very good idea to do that; I don't find it in the least pathetic. Once again, if most people came to their higher selves occasionally, as you do, your world would not be in the bad way it is in. Indeed, if at some time in the future you do have more easily accessible friends to share your news with, I hope you will not neglect to share it with me anyway.

      Michael: Well, I suppose I hope so, too; but I am realistic enough to realize that if I could just go straight to some friend and share my news with him or her, it would probably sufficiently take the edge off my news to cause me to neglect coming to you with it, especially when I have to rely on the process of typing out dialogues, which is far more laborious and time-consuming than a discussion with a friend would be.

      Bivalia: If that happened, I would accept it. This is the way your world works at times: you cannot always find the time to do the things you want to do. Even if you never explicitly came to me at all, I still think you do quite a good job of living with an awareness of Spirit (of which I am a part). That is really what is important.
      But, on another tack, these dialogues between us (which I think are quite important to you) could be made almost as easy as a discussion with a friend if you got one of those computer programs which can listen to one's voice and translate that into text in the computer. You could just speak the dialogue in perhaps a tenth of the time it takes you to type, and the words would magically turn into text, just as if you'd typed it. All you would need to do then would be a bit of minor editing made necessary by the fact that such programs are only about 90 or 95 percent accurate.

      Michael: I suppose so; but, as you probably know, I feel a bit uncomfortable about talking to a machine like that, like with recording my voice, for example.

      Bivalia: Yes, I know about that. But my feeling is that you could adjust to speaking to a computer more easily, because that is a technology you feel more at ease with. I think you could do it. But it is just something to consider if you can feel comfortable with it. It's up to you.

      Michael: I suppose so. I'll think about it; but speech seems quintessentially human, somehow, and talking to a machine seems to be permitting machines to encroach on human territory, and seems vaguely shocking somehow, even sacrilegious in a sense.

      Bivalia: I think you might find that it seems so merely because you have developed that idea. There is no universal law that says it is so.
      But you have every right to develop such ideas if you wish. Humans have to develop lots of ideas out of practical convenience or necessity, and they can be useful, regardless of the fact that they are not natural laws. The only thing you have to consider is whether these ideas serve you well or not. I cannot make a ruling on that for you.

      Michael: I guess you're right about that. But that's how I feel about it anyway, even if a better view of it might be possible.

      Bivalia: Well, that's all right. It takes time sometimes to change ideas to more useful ones. And I'm not even saying that adjusting to the idea of talking to the computer instead of typing on it is necessarily a better or more useful idea. You may find that it is not. I am merely raising it as a possibility for you to consider.

      Michael: Anyway, perhaps I might move on; I'm in danger of blunting my urge to talk with you on matters that are not of first importance. I'm on my fifth page for today already, and I haven't got to the thing that actually prompted this session.

      Bivalia: Please proceed. Have you been communing with Spirit again, like two weeks ago?

      Michael: Perhaps, in a sense. I went for a drive this afternoon for a few hours, for no particular reason; I just wanted to explore certain roads around Healesville. I've perhaps always been a bit fascinated by roads that wind in and out of mountains. That even goes right back to early childhood.

      Bivalia: So it does.

      Michael: I went south along Don Rd., which, after a straight stretch out of Healesville, starts winding up into some mountains. It begins by winding back and forth up the mountainside in a couple of great zig-zags a mile or so long; and before long I was able to get a wonderful view of the entire valley Healesville is in. It was a lovely autumn day, sunny and warm (before you got too high); but, seen from high up, there seemed to be a fine mist over the valley, although you couldn't detect it when you were down in the valley.
      There was a little bay off the road where you could stop, and I got out for a better view. I think I was beginning to feel the spirit of the mountains. Perhaps I'm getting to talk a bit too freely and loosely about the spirit of this or that.

      Bivalia: No, you're not. I think it's good to think along these lines. These things really do have spirit, or are spirit in essence, which is a more technically accurate way of putting it.

      Michael: Perhaps there is not much point in giving you a blow-by-blow account of my doings like I did a fortnight ago?

      Bivalia: I would say there is, but it's up to you.

      Michael: I wonder if my telling you such things gives you much opportunity to impart your wisdom to me.

      Bivalia: Maybe; but maybe not. You would be severely limiting our relationship if you only came to me to get wisdom. You are in less need of it than you realize. Perhaps, for a change, I could listen to your wisdom instead.

      Michael: As if we were equal in wisdom, is that it?

      Bivalia: It's more true than you realize, Michael. You never know, your wisdom and mine might become indistinguishable, interchangeable, and that would be a sign of how we are progressing in uniting together, which of course is our ultimate goal.

      Michael: So when that happens, I suppose it would be pointless to write dialogues like this, because the division into Michael and Bivalia would be a pure artifice; instead I would just write continuous prose in the name of Bivalia, in the first person.

      Bivalia: Exactly; when you are ready for that. But the dialogue format is fine while it feels right for you and yields results.
      But please continue what you were telling me.

      Michael: Well, when I come down to it, there's not a lot to say.

      Bivalia: You're thinking very rationally in saying that. On the factual level, what you did was little more than a drive through the mountains. But focus on the feelings that caused you to want to speak to me in the first place; and you can't tell me there weren't strong feelings that prompted this session, because if you do I won't believe it.

      Michael: Well, okay; but I have mix it in with the factual account. Anyway, Don Rd. leads to Launching Place, a small town on the Warburton Highway to the south. The distance is probably 10 or 15 miles of winding road, perhaps a bit less as the crow flies. The Warburton Highway is in another valley, so about halfway along Don Rd. you start going downhill again. About at this point, another road branches off to the left (roughly eastwards) and leads to the top of Mt. Donna Buang, after turning into a dirt road and doing much winding amongst huge forests. I think the spirits of both forests and mountains were already starting to get to me. Those trees (mountain ashes, I think) are so tall and huge that the atmosphere of being amongst them is positively cathedral-like. They must be well over a hundred feet tall, straight as a ramrod, with branches mostly at the top, towering way over you - perhaps millions of them over many square miles.

      Bivalia: The energy of trees is indeed awesome, isn't it?

      Michael: I've often thought that trees make up quite a large part of the intangible atmosphere or feeling or spirit of a place.

      Bivalia: This is absolutely so. That's why, as you've noticed, when trees are cut down in a particular location, the place can feel dead by comparison with before. Part of the spirit of that place has literally been killed.

      Michael: Yes, I noticed that in the Salvation Army place near my place in Camberwell, where a few pine trees were cut down for some reason. I think I did mention it to you at the time.

      Bivalia: I know the incident to which you are referring.

      Michael: Well, those pine trees (and there were just a few) had a certain atmosphere; and after most of them were cut down, that feeling just vanished somehow, and it was not so enjoyable to walk through there.

      Bivalia: I know what you mean.

      Michael: Well, this was on a smaller scale; the atmosphere of the trees here in the mountains was far stronger, almost overpowering. I suppose there have been millions of those trees there for millions of years; and perhaps their aura builds up over that time or something.

      Bivalia: It certainly does. If you had clairvoyant vision and could see the astral aspect of that forest, I think you would be quite amazed (not to mention yet higher levels or dimensions than the astral).

      Michael: If only.

      Bivalia: It will come one day, maybe in this life, maybe after. Such abilities will be mainstream for humanity at some future time.

      Michael: Anyway, I passed through some kind of pass onto the other side of the mountain, and continued eastwards. I was now facing onto a different valley, and was very high up now, perhaps a couple of thousand feet. The steepness of the slope downwards was quite awesome, and I think the spirit of the mountains was perhaps vying with the spirit of the trees for overwhelming me.
      I seemed to reach a high point, perhaps 7 or 8 miles after leaving the road to Launching Place (definitely not as the crow flies). Although I seemed to have reached a high point, I was not at the peak of the mountain, after which the road seemed to go downhill a bit, and I assumed that I had just been as close as I was going to get to the summit of Mt. Donna Buang. But I was wrong. Perhaps 15 miles after leaving the road to Launching Place, the road turned back to bitumen and then I came to another junction: the road to the right went to Warburton, down in the valley to the south, and the road to the left went right to the summit of Mt. Donna Buang, and that was only a mile or so up the road, and I decided to drive up there to see what there was to see.
      A minute or two later I reached the top. It was perhaps 4 p.m. now, and the sun was starting to get a bit low. (It's already past the autumn equinox by a couple of weeks, and we're not on daylight-saving time any more.) There were one or two other people there. There wasn't much in the way of man-made structures up there: a few acres at the top were cleared and there were some toilets and a barbecue area, and a look-out tower perhaps 60 feet high with steps going up in a kind of square spiral.
      I got out of the car, and it was much cooler than it was lower down. The top of the mountain was well over 3,000 feet above sea level, I think the highest I've ever been (other than in an aeroplane). And of course I could feel the atmosphere of the mountain much more clearly now. I could already see down the sides of the mountain on a couple of sides, but not all that clearly because of tall trees growing nearby, around the clearing at the top, which partially obscured the view. I climbed up the tower to get a better view, and it was quite stunning. I could see much further now, mountains in various directions for miles and miles, all covered in those same tall trees, and, in other directions, valleys, fading away in the golden autumnal mist that pervaded the whole countryside.

      Bivalia: I think, as you did, that there was a bit more than a touch of the spirit of Indian summer, what with the soft sunlight, the hazy air, the still autumn day, and all that.

      Michael: Well, perhaps. But not entirely: Indian summer is usually regarded as a period of unseasonably warm weather late in autumn, perhaps after the warmer weather earlier in autumn has already broken.

      Bivalia: Well, this is so; but spirit is not limited by human definitions. And even if the spirit of Indian summer is most active at the time you say, late in autumn after colder weather, aspects of that spirit can be active at other times, too.

      Michael: Yes; in that sense, I could certainly detect aspects of that spirit, even if I don't think we had Indian summer today in its full sense.
      I'm rather fond of the idea of Indian summer, for some reason I can't quite identify: I have this mental picture of it that goes beyond merely a period of warm weather late in autumn. There is soft warm sunlight, at times not without a slight touch of cold, especially at night, and there is a lovely iridescent mist over everything, and red sunsets and a giant orange moon rising over the horizon: things of that sort. I suppose this may to some extent be my own mental construct, but it is at least partly based on what I read about Indian summer in encyclopaedia articles and the like, where such characteristics of Indian summer were mentioned sometimes. Apparently it is caused by a layer of warm air that gets trapped in some location, or something like that.
      I once planned to write a symphony called Indian Summer, in which I wanted to depict all that imagery, and evoke the essence or spirit of it (even though I've never really experienced it, because Melbourne is not in an area that often has Indian summer). I've even written fragments of the music, although so far it hasn't come easily, and fragments is all they are.

      Bivalia: I think it would be very good if you could write some of this music. Perhaps it's not coming easily, or even at all sometimes, but I think you should not give up on it.

      Michael: Anyway, I definitely had this idea of Indian summer as being flanked both before and after by colder, stormier, more wintry weather. I even decided to incorporate this into the music (although it was an afterthought, after I conceived the symphony itself). I decided to start the symphony (which is going to be in one continuous movement, not several like in an ordinary symphony) with an introduction which would consist of ominous, rumbling, almost stormy music. But after only a minute or so, it fades into the distance, giving way to a hazy, dreamy, misty sort of music which emerges from that. Most of the work will be in this kind of mood, very romantic and colourful in style, kind of soft and understated, with subtle harmony.
      Then, at the very end, the soft music dies away into an ominous silence, perhaps underscored by sinister, almost inaudible rolls on bass drum and gong. A storm is brewing up in the distance, spelling the end of Indian summer, and I wanted to evoke that eerie silence that can sometimes be experienced just before a storm breaks. The stormy music is going to come back again for a minute, but soon after that the music will come to a close, because it is about Indian summer, not about the storms that might come before or after it. As the storm music fades away at the end, I will have just a brief reminiscence for half a minute or so of the dreamy Indian summer music again, as a kind of reminiscence or afterglow, before it fades away into silence.
      Well, I've got off the track a bit, but the slight Indian summer atmosphere of today sort of reminded me of all that.

      Bivalia: I think it would be wonderful if you could write that music, and other things you've had plans for since the 1970s. It would not only help your own spiritual awareness, but I dare say it would help the planet, especially the nature spirits of the Earth, the devas, the fairies, the spirits of sea and river and forest and mountains and wetlands and islands and deserts and the like. Even if the worst happens and humanity completely ruins such places, writing music or books or anything about them would help build them up on the astral and higher levels, and this may facilitate their eventual regeneration on the physical Earth, or maybe on other physical planets.

      Michael: But I haven't visited most of those places; I would be weaving my spells (as I hope they would be) purely from my own imagination.

      Bivalia: That does not matter one whit. You can do it that way if you want to. I think you still have quite a feeling for such natural places, even if you have not visited them.
      Just remember the author you once heard about who was renowned for the intense local atmosphere he injected into the exotic locations he set his novels in. It turned out he never travelled, and had never visited any of the locations he wrote about. In fact, he explicitly and quite deliberately avoided visiting the settings of his novels, in case seeing the reality broke the local atmosphere he was able to weave into his prose purely from his own imagination and research.

      Michael: I forget who it was; but, yes, I did hear about that some years ago.

      Bivalia: Well, it doesn't really matter who it was. But the fact is that, according to one's temperament and outlook, some people, in evoking a place in some art-form, work best from personal experience; but others probably work better from their own unfettered imagination, backed up where necessary by book research, photographs, and the like. I don't know which of those two patterns you would follow best, but I would not make up my mind about that if I were you. Until proven otherwise, I would remain open to the possibility of either of those general methods working well for you.

      Michael: I suspect the mental method might work best for me; I seem generally to live life more in my mind than in the physical world. I've often noticed that while the idea of something can fascinate me, stir up wonderful but obscure longings, the reality itself, even if it's everything I expected it to be, will not fully satisfy me. I may like it, and may not be able to pinpoint anything lacking in it, but it just somehow doesn't seem enough, compared to the idealized concept of the thing; it has a certain prosaic, humdrum quality to it.
      But maybe not always: I have to say it made an impression to see the awesome quality of the mountains as against merely think about it. Although I suppose I knew intellectually what mountains were like, I had to some extent forgotten what they felt like.

      Bivalia: Well, as in most things, perhaps a balance is best, not all one way or all the other: have some experience of what you want to write books or compose music about, if that is possible, but also to use your imagination freely.

      Michael: Of course, Mountains is another of that series of symphonies I want to write (and, once again, of which I have already written a few fragments). A drive through the mountains certainly might inspire me once I am ready to do serious work on the music.

      Bivalia: Well, when you are ready, be sure to call on me to be with you, to help. And be sure you call on Kuthumi and St. Germain, both of whom had lives as musicians in your world, and both of whom would like to help you.

      Michael: Thank you. I will remember that.
      Anyway, I was at the top of the look-out tower; that's where I'm up to so far in my account. I spent 10 minutes or so up there, and looked around. It was quite awesome. The very dimensions of space, the three basic directions, or lines of reference all at right angles to each other, seemed to fade away in distortion, owing to the great height; it was like being on the roof of the world somehow.
      I tried to tune into the spirits of the mountains and the forests. I seemed also aware of the spirit of the sky or air, being so high up. Although I didn't think of it at the time, perhaps in retrospect there was a spirit of sheer height, if such abstract concepts have spirit too.

      Bivalia: I think you know my answer to that.

      Michael: Three other people came up, but they left me to my own devices. I tried to be aware of these various spirits, tried to see them as a world of their own, which seemed aloof from the everyday human world. I tried to imagine that they might have their own purpose in living, and tried to feel what that was. I couldn't directly get into that, but there is undeniably something slightly alien about deep nature, far away from human habitation.
      I felt I would like to really enter that world, but couldn't. I could only dabble on the edges, look on as an outsider. I almost felt I would like to fly off that tower and soar into the sky, over the trees, and amongst the mountains; perhaps, if I could do that, I could really enter into that world, really participate in its unfathomable goings-on, really mingle with the spirits behind it all and have joyous communion. But of course I can't fly, and I have no real way of knowing that that would make me feel I belonged anyway.
      But there is a strange conflict of feeling upon beholding such a scene. On the one hand, such scenes of nature can awaken in us a deep inner longing, for what we don't know, as if we feel we really, in essence, belong to that world, and if only we could enter into it properly, we might at last find some intangible thing for which we've been searching all our lives, even though we didn't realize it. But on the other hand, there is that essential alienness, the profound feeling that we just don't belong there, unlike the trees and animals and mountains.
      Man alone doesn't seem fully to belong to nature. All other life forms live there naturally, know instinctively what to do to survive; but most people would die if they were left alone in such a place. Man seems to need houses and clothes and other artifacts to survive; without them he would die of exposure or thirst or starvation. Man is physically weak compared to many animals, can run only slowly and clumsily; he cannot even sit comfortably without those artifacts known as chairs.
      I was struck by the fact that Man doesn't really belong in such an environment, even if maybe there is something in it for which he deeply longs. It seems a deep contradiction: we both belong in some deep spiritual sense, and yet we are deeply alienated, physically as well as mentally.
      I'm just telling you what I felt; I don't have any explanation for it.

      Bivalia: I think you have quite a good perception of the situation. If you look at the higher levels of existence, this dichotomy can indeed be seen. It exists to at least some slight extent with all creatures: for instance, they do fit into their environment in many ways, they are self-sufficient to a degree humanity is not, and they know instinctively how to survive, what foods to eat, where to find them, and so on. But their lives are not secure: they have to struggle to find food, to run away from predators, and the like. However, for the most part, animals are not aware of this dichotomy.
      However, when you look at humanity, the dichotomy is much deeper: you are indeed right that humanity deeply belongs to nature, yet is at the same time alienated from it. And it is all the more poignant for the fact that humanity has the capacity to be fully aware of this contradiction, and to be aware of how little can be done to remedy it. It's as if Man longs for something he cannot hope to join. Man likes to be in nature (when he doesn't completely obscure that longing with worldly concerns, overwork, anxieties, and the like), and it is almost a commonplace thing to hear people in your society say they like to go fishing or to the beach or up into the mountains to unwind; and yet Man does not fully belong to nature, even while being dependent on it, and cannot feel truly at home amid nature. Man is probably the least self-sufficient of all creatures on your planet, the most dependent on his own artifacts, the least able to fend for himself in the wilderness.

      Michael: Yes, I see what you mean. Yet there seems something profoundly wrong with that state of affairs.

      Bivalia: Well, there is and there isn't. (Don't imagine you're going to get an unambiguous answer on that from me!)

      Michael: To use a very old-fashioned turn of phrase, it's as if Man is fallen in some sense, the way conservative Christians sometimes say, which they get from the Book of Genesis, the Adam and Eve story.

      Bivalia: Well, I would be the last to agree with such literalistic interpretations of the Bible, or of any other writings or teachings, but there is more than a grain of truth in the idea - but in quite a different sense from how those conservative Christians think of it. Let me explain; but I will have to circle round it a bit with a few ideas, then home in on the central point.
      You, and many other people over the millennia, have wondered why there seems to be so much suffering and hardship in your world. Various explanations have been offered by mystics and religious leaders for this, and they may satisfy some people, especially those who don't feel inclined to do a lot of deep thinking on their own about such questions. But the questions themselves keep going on being debated, with new answers being proposed all the time - or more precisely, new variations on the same few old answers, because there seem to be only a few basic kinds of answer to most of the deep questions of life.
      It's as if people instinctively can't accept the basic answers already known, or any of their variations, or else the issue would die, and some particular answer would just become commonly accepted. Accepting any answer at all to such questions almost seems to legitimize the unacceptable, namely the existence of suffering and pain. That is why, when you stubbornly refuse to accept any answers at all that you have so far heard, it is more significant than you think. (Well, perhaps it's not so much a stubborn refusal to accept answers as much as a deep and sincere inability to accept them.) It is not merely that you are puzzled, and can't work out the answers; it has deeper spiritual roots than you may realize (although I think you suspect it most of the time, anyway).
      The truth is that suffering was not meant to exist, and your deep refusal to accept any explanation at all is largely due to your reluctance to legitimize it, and your instinctive, deep knowledge that it was not meant to come into the universe. Once you accept any explanation at all, it does make it seem as if that was how things were meant to happen. Accordingly, I would not agree with explanations of karma that seem to be based on the idea that pain was meant to be in the universe, that it was all planned by God, or the Lords of Karma, or by one's own Higher Self, or by whatever powers you believe in. I agree with you that the mere existence of pain in the universe is a blot on the whole universe, as you so passionately argued in that piece of writing you wrote in 1994, pretending it was from your ascended self in the future - the letter to all your friends from the future. Remember?

      Michael: I do.

      Bivalia: Perhaps we can't just casually dump overboard the whole idea of karma, which has been worked on by many fine minds over millennia. There are probably aspects of that teaching which are very true, when interpreted correctly; but my feeling is that the concept is limited (as are all human-devised concepts), and that, in the forms you have most commonly heard it, it does not accord with the highest reality as I see it - or as you see it, either.

      Michael: So why does suffering exist if it wasn't meant to?

      Bivalia: It is very difficult to give a definite answer to that. I'm not sure that I can do that now, and it is not the main point I'm leading up to here. Perhaps things don't always happen as they are meant to; the universe is not a giant wind-up clock whose every movement, once started, is completely pre-determined; it is a constantly evolving process. It is my feeling that our ultimate destiny, to fully re-unite with God, and to evolve with him for ever, is certain - there is no way that cannot happen, because it is the nature of the universe to move to God, even though there may be many detours away from God, just as all water must eventually fall downwards until it reaches the sea - but what happens in between is not so certain. Sometimes general trends can be seen, and God can guide things so as to get the best results; but it is not possible even for him to totally determine every detail. That is perhaps the best answer I can give you at this time.
      So if the universe was meant to be free of pain, yet it has pain, that is a kind of falling-away from what was meant to be. We can really only talk about your planet, Earth, which certainly has much suffering; we don't have the information about other planets to know if they have similar problems or not. So, yes, your Earth is fallen in a sense. It wasn't meant to be, in the sense that God, or any other powers close to him, didn't mean it to happen, and were dismayed by it happening. Yet, seeing it from another point of view, perhaps it was inevitable. Perhaps there is truth in the common idea that, in order to evolve, there are stages of hardship that have to be gone through, even though I know you don't particularly like to hear me say that.

      Michael: The problem seems to be especially acute with humanity, perhaps because, with greater consciousness, pain and suffering hurt more, and also, because of man having greater free will than the animals, never mind the plants, he has greater capacity to create further pain for himself.

      Bivalia: This is so. It is one way of interpreting the Adam and Eve story. It is very nave to read that as a story of the first rebellious humans defying God's will - as if God would make such pointless rules as banning the eating of a certain fruit - and God punishing them (very heavily, it seems, for such a trivial offence) - and so on. And why condemn Adam's and Eve's descendents as well as Adam and Eve themselves? - under this nave interpretation, it is only Adam and Eve who sinned. This whole approach doesn't make sense.
      But there are other ways of reading the story. Adam and Eve didn't so much rebel against God, as much as they took control of their own destiny. They made their own decisions about what to do, instead of unquestioningly accepting the status quo. Staying with the status quo is probably very safe and comfortable, but you will not learn much, nor grow, but just stay the same, at least until you die of boredom. But making your own decisions may lead to unlimited possibility for growth and learning, but it does have certain dangers inherent in it, especially when you are still inexperienced.
      You could say that Adam and Eve (if we accept those characters as archetypes for humanity generally) didn't rebel against God so much as they grew up and took responsibilities for their own actions, instead of being like unthinking pets of God, kept safely in the Garden of Eden. This course of action brought them much pain, but it has the potential for enormous growth that would never have happened otherwise. Adam and Eve are humanity, not just a particular couple who happened to be the first on your planet. Humanity is evolving (even if at present it appears to be devolving), and the future potential is wonderful and awesome.
      God is on your side, and he is helping you, not chiding you for making your own decisions. It hurts him to see you hurting yourselves and each other through unwise decisions, but he is standing by you all the time, waiting to help you when he can. He is helping you evolve, and you are helping him evolve; and in the end you are God and he is you (and all other life in the universe), and the distinction between God and creature vanishes in the end.
      So in a way the pain of your world shouldn't have happened, was never planned or anything like that; but it is a direct consequence of that enormous step in evolution of taking your fate into your own hands. And although it may lead to much pain along the way, it cannot fail to work in the long run. Ultimately, you (either humanity as a whole, or you considered as an individual) will have complete control over your destiny, and you will live your life exactly as you wish, and there will be no pain in the universe at all.
      There is no contradiction between the idea of living life exactly as you wish, with no limitations, and the absence of pain. In your present world, completely unfettered freedom to live as you wish would result in the hurting of other people, because there are many people who do not care much how they affect others, and there would be many others who do care about this, but who do not yet have the wisdom to make their choices in such a way as to avoid hurting others.
      But at the stage of evolution I am talking about, such a thing could never occur; beings at this level would never even want to choose actions that would in any way hurt anyone else - it would be totally repugnant to them; and they have enough wisdom that there would not be the slightest chance of their hurting others through ignorance or by mistake.
      You are a Master at this level, and Masters do not behave like that; they have complete control over their own thoughts and feelings and actions, and they have a complete understanding of how they relate to others, and of how we are all ultimately a part of God. They realize you cannot hurt others without hurting yourself, and they have the self-control to implement that in practice. (Indeed, a Master is a person who has complete self-control; that is what the term means. The mastery of a Master (I hardly need tell you) is not mastery over other people, but over himself or herself.)
      So yes, humanity is fallen, if we accept my interpretation of things; but rest assured that this is only a passing situation, seen in the overall scheme of time, and nothing is more sure than that will, in the fullness of time, be remedied in a more glorious and satisfying way than you or I can presently even imagine.

      Michael: So this fallen condition is normal, is it, at least in the sense of being the result of making your own decisions?

      Bivalia: I don't rightly know. We only know about one sentient species, namely humanity, and any statistician will tell you that a sample of one is not even remotely a representative cross-section of the whole: you have no way of knowing whether that single example is typical or exceptional. As I said, we really don't know the situation with regard to other intelligent species on other planets. There may be other species who have worked out ways of taking a comparable step in evolution in other ways that don't bring about this condition of fallenness, or separation, or pain, or whatever you want to call it. We simply don't know.

      Michael: Well, what about animals on this planet? We've already considered that they seem to be less fallen than humanity.

      Bivalia: We can't make the comparison with animals; that's comparing apples and oranges. Animals are evolving, and indeed they are a part of the same evolutionary stream as humans, in the sense that they later incarnate as humans, and humans once incarnated as animals. Plants are also a different (earlier) stage of this same evolutionary stream. In contrast, there are other evolutionary streams, such as that of fairies, nature spirits, devas, and angels. For the most part, these never become humans or animals, and humans or animals never become fairies, angels, and the like. (There are exceptional situations where such crossing-over of different evolutionary streams can take place, either temporarily or permanently - but, broadly speaking, we can say it doesn't happen.)
      But even though animals are a part of your evolutionary stream, there are important differences. Even within a single evolutionary stream, there are different stages that differ in major ways that are not properly comparable.
      One of the big differences here is the presence or absence of a moral sense: by and large, animals cannot be considered as moral agents. Animals cannot in any important sense be either moral or immoral, good or evil. We may call our pet dog bad when he disobeys us, but there is no real sense in which a dog is good or bad as humans understand such terms. All we are saying is that the dog's behaviour is convenient or inconvenient to us at the time. (I thank C. S. Lewis for this metaphor. [c]) There is no way you can say a dog is obliged to act morally, but you can say that of a human being. So that's one major difference between humans and other animals.
      Another big difference is the question of free will. Humans have it in abundance (not by any means complete free will, but still in abundance); but animals don't have it to any significant extent. The lower animals have near enough to none, and simply react to stimuli, guided by instinct. The higher animals do have a certain rudimentary degree of free will, which does impact to a degree on their evolution, but that free will is largely confined to ephemeral matters such as "Will I go to sleep now, or try to find some food?". They cannot make real acts of choice about really deep significant things in their lives the way humans can. The higher animals may have moment-by-moment free will, but the overall course of their lives is governed mostly by instinct. Humans' free will not only covers moment-by-moment events, but also the overall course of their lives. So this is the second important difference between humans and animals: differing degrees of free will.
      I would make a partial exception for animals such as dogs and cats who are kept as pets by humans. This does humanize them to some extent (if you doubt that, just take another look at Priscilla, your mother's cat), and it is in fact an extremely important step in an animal's evolution to become attached to a human; it is often the immediate prelude to incarnating as a human for the first time. And it is quite a responsibility to an animal's evolution for a human to take it on as a pet. It is more than just fancy when proud, doting pet owners say their pets are almost human; in a very real way, they do take on human attributes in some degree. This can include such things as intelligence, free will, depth of emotions, even a rudimentary moral sense. But, for the most part, animals don't have free will in significant amounts (or the other attributes just mentioned, either).
      I suppose there is a third difference between humans and animals of some importance, and that is intelligence or rationality. Basically, humans have it in abundance, and animals are very limited in that area, even the higher animals.

      Michael: What about the possibility of whales, dolphins, and porpoises being intelligent, even at the human level or higher as some people believe, especially New-Age types of people?

      Bivalia: Well, I'm as open-minded about that as anyone, but I think the jury is still out on that one. For simplicity's sake, I am ignoring such possibilities in this discussion, and talking about the main body of animals on your planet. If such animals as those are highly intelligent, with a high degree of free will, and if they are moral agents in the way humans are, they are very much the exception, not the rule, on your planet.

      Michael: What's your feeling about that?

      Bivalia: What's yours?

      Michael: I don't know. It could be true; I'm open-minded about the matter, and will take note with great interest if information about those creatures is discovered that sheds light on the question.

      Bivalia: There's the answer to your question; that is exactly my view of it, too.

      Michael: Well, anyway, we've had many diversions; but I feel we were working up a page or so ago to the question of how the evolution of animals is different from that of humans, and whether that's connected with the seeming fact that humans are fallen to a degree animals are not.

      Bivalia: Yes, we were leading up to that.
      The fact is that what you are calling the fallen condition of humans, the special degree of pain they seem to experience, the degree of alienation from nature that seems to be humanity's alone, is connected with free will, moral agency, and so on. (This is one of the allegorical points the Adam-and-Eve story was intended to make, as we discussed earlier.) I would say that, by the very nature of things, it is not possible for an animal species to be fallen if it does not have those specifically human attributes we have been discussing.
      Animals are evolving, and making an important contribution to the overall evolution of God; but they are basically doing their evolving in a way that conforms to a pattern not of their own making. They are fitting into an overall pattern of nature, and do not have the ability to depart from that. What they are doing is very important, but limited in its scope; there are certain aspects of spiritual growth that cannot be achieved within that scope.
      Humans have the ability, because of their rationality and their free will and also (in many individuals) their quite conscious longing for Spirit, to depart from that pattern, to forge new paths of evolution, which will be of enormous benefit to God in the big picture, not to mention enormous benefit to themselves, considered as humans. Humanity has already started to forge those new paths, but they are still in an embryonic stage now compared to what they will achieve in the future. But such radical paths will enable all of life (God, if you like to think in those terms) to make huge short-cuts in evolution, and to save many millions of years of painfully slow evolution by the unconscious, non-free-will methods of nature at large.
      The fact is that it is almost a necessary part of forging these new paths of evolution to feel alienated to some degree from what surrounds you, that is, the overall pattern of nature. This stage of evolution has to be done, and so there is a sense in which that alienation is a necessary part of the whole evolutionary process. Humanity has been chosen by God to forge these new paths: not because humanity has any special status or privileges over other species, but because it happens to be at a more advanced stage of evolution that suits it for that purpose.
      When life hurts you, I don't suppose I expect you to take comfort in the fact that it is because of your role, as a human, to help God forge these new paths of evolution. But it may be of minuscule help to at least keep it in mind, and to realize that the pain will not last forever, that the rewards one day will be immensely greater than the pain you now suffer at times.

      Michael: I see what you mean; but you're right - when something hurts me, I do not take much comfort in that.

      Bivalia: If you do not find that comforting, you are not expected to find it so.

      Michael: But I have to go through it all the same?

      Bivalia: No, you don't. You have free will; you can opt out, by committing suicide, for example. It is not true, as you have heard and read, that there are terrible punishments in the astral world for doing this. Indeed, people who commit suicide are usually deeply troubled or in a lot of pain prior to their suicide, and they receive compassionate, loving help in a way that is appropriate for them. But someone who commits suicide is effectively choosing to drop out of the evolutionary stream for a while. They have every right to do this; they might just want a break or a rest; but I think that such a person, especially if he is fairly highly evolved, might realize, if he thought it through a little more thoroughly, that, more often than not, pulling out of evolution is not what he wanted after all. And if it is, generally it is less messy to take your break between incarnations rather than to suddenly tear yourself out of incarnation before your affairs for that life are complete. That can be a messy, painful procedure. So I would agree with those authors or teachers who suggest that you should think very carefully before committing suicide.
      But of course people desperate enough to do that are not always in a good position to think it through clearly. Once they arrive in the astral plane, they may regret their decision which they can't undo, and this can cause pain; but such people are helped to the best extent possible to find their feet again and continue their evolution in whatever way seems best.
      So, no, you don't have to continue in this evolutionary path which at times can cause pain. But if you were to opt out, I think you might change your views and decided to come back again. And of course you would be allowed to do that.

      Michael: So you think, in summary, that what I am calling our fallen condition is just a necessary part of free will, of striking out on new paths of evolution that depart from the status quo of nature, which is largely unconscious and unthinking.

      Bivalia: No, I'm not saying it is a necessary part of all that. That's the way it has happened on your planet, with your species, and it does seem to have a connection with that role you play. But I don't necessarily know that it was inevitable that it happen that way, and I still feel it wasn't intended to happen that way, and that it was a mishap or mistake of some sort. Maybe God (who is evolving himself) slipped up somewhere in the past (and I don't even know if I'm being flippant there or not), or perhaps humanity has gone dreadfully wrong somewhere in a way it shouldn't have, or maybe there are dark forces somewhere which are trying to trip you up. I really don't know the full answer. But we have to accept that that's how things are, and we have to work with it, and try to improve the situation, which I think we both agree is not what we would like it to be. Also, we have to avoid committing ourselves to finding an answer we may not find (at least in this stage of our growth), and be willing to let that sort itself out in its own time.

      Michael: You're very wise and understanding, you know - to a degree that somewhat surprises me, considering you are really just me in a sense.

      Bivalia: Well, you have more wisdom yourself than you sometimes realize - but it doesn't surprise me, even if it does you.

      Michael: So all this has come out as a result of considering the feelings I got on top of that tower on top of a mountain, looking out at the raw beauty of nature surrounding me, and considering how I both longed to belong to it, yet felt irrevocably alien to it.

      Bivalia: The contemplation of nature can often lead to great insights that will assist in one's spiritual growth if one is prepared to take the time to reflect upon them.

      Michael: I want to challenge your statement a little while ago that by the nature of things you thought only an intelligent species like humanity could be fallen, not animal species lacking the attributes we consider human.

      Bivalia: Challenge away.

      Michael: I think there's a sense in which all of nature on this planet is fallen, although in a different sense to what you were saying with regard to humanity. Look at another contradiction in nature: incredibly beautiful, evoking deep longings of Spirit of the sort I have often discussed with you before, seeming to have a benevolent, spiritual aspect in some indefinable way (we talk about Mother Nature, and have romantic notions about the unity of nature, in an almost mystical way); yet, looked at in the hard cold light of day, nature is incredibly uncaring and cruel, animal lives filled with hardship and struggle and competition and predation. This is a level of suffering and imperfection that is not due to the special status of humans as free-will beings, but seems to be a basic flaw in the entire planetary ecology. If we compare that to what we might think should be the proper situation, we might say that this entire planet is fallen.
      I have a certain theory to explain this; it is very tentative, nothing more than a speculation, yet I cannot think of any better explanation.

      Bivalia: Please share it with me.

      Michael: The fact that nature seems to stir these longings, despite its obvious flaws, seems to me to indicate that maybe nature is not what it was meant to be; and we long for what it was meant to be. Or perhaps the physical nature we know is an imperfect copy or reflection of an ideal version that exists on some higher plane of existence, maybe the astral, or even higher.
      Prior to coming into this world, we have known this bigger and better version of nature; perhaps it is our spiritual home. We don't consciously remember it when we come into this earth, but we seem to have these longings for something that seems intimately connected with nature, but which doesn't seem to exist at all. These longings are the remnants of memory of that better version of nature that still linger deep in our unconscious minds, and surface in the form of that unappeasable longing.
      There is an obvious discrepancy here: on the one hand, there is something we long for, and which (maybe) exists elsewhere, or once existed on earth, of which nature seems to be an imperfect version; on the other hand, you have the hard cold reality of nature's uncaring cruelty and harshness. It's as if nature was meant to be like the first thing, but ended up being the second. In that sense one might say that nature is fallen, that our whole planet is fallen. This disagrees with your statement that I challenged.

      Bivalia: It does; but we are talking here about a different kind of fallen condition than I was referring to earlier. You are indeed correct about your interpretation of why we seem to long for something connected with nature that is nevertheless not to be seen there in harsh reality.
      I was not unmindful of that earlier, but I was trying not to complicate our discussion too much by bringing in all sorts of ideas not central to the point being discussed at the time. I was talking about a special condition of humanity which directly stems from the ability to make moral choices (and the ability to make mistakes, which requires intellect - an action cannot be called a mistake unless it departs from conscious intention). When we were talking about a fallen condition before, that is what we were referring to; and indeed I still say that only a free-will species can be in that condition.
      The fallen situation you say all of nature is in is indeed valid, but it was a little outside the scope of discussion we were having at the time. You've brought it up now, and I acknowledge your points, and feel you are probably quite correct in all you say.

      Michael: So effectively there are two kinds of fallen condition on Earth, or states of affairs that we deeply feel are not as they should be. One is specifically human, and derives from the fact that humans have free will and can therefore be destructive, either by choice or by accident; this has in a sense corrupted human nature, but may be an unavoidable part of human evolution. The other fallen condition is common to all life on this planet, and stems from the fact that nature is not fully meeting the idea standards that perhaps it might have done, or perhaps once did, or perhaps does only its in astral or higher counterpart; this causes suffering amongst animals in a way that is not connected with free-will, because animals don't have it.

      Bivalia: Exactly right; I think you have summarized the situation quite well.

      Michael: So why has this other fallen condition occurred?

      Bivalia: That's a very difficult question. Perhaps this is so on all physical planets, and stems from the inherent fact of the physical plane that it is very limited. Perhaps life cannot be otherwise on the physical plane. Pain and limitation might be an unavoidable part of physical life. I don't really know.

      Michael: Just before, after you said you thought I had summarized the situation quite well, I went on typing. I started to put these words into your mouth: "But it might be that the other kind of fallen condition, the one common to all of nature, plays a somewhat parallel role in the overall evolution of life, or of God, as the first kind of fallen condition does; that perhaps, in a group fashion, it is a consequence of nature as a whole forging new paths of evolution, just as humans are doing in the first situation we discussed" - then I broke off and removed it, because it didn't feel right, and I thought I was channelling you wrongly. Any comments?

      Bivalia: Your intuition serves you well in causing you to break off. I would not have wanted to say that; it doesn't feel right to me, either.
      I can see what you were driving at, though. The thought occurred to you that maybe, on a nature-wide scale, there is some broader sense in which nature, considered as a being in its own right, has free-will, and is therefore making choices which forge new paths of evolution, breaking away from the status quo, but causing pain and imperfection to pervade nature in the way you mentioned before. (This is the thought you had, but you mistakenly started to attribute it to me; but obviously you have doubts about it yourself.)
      While I suppose this thought you had is possible, it is not my feeling at present that this is so; I have too many problems with that, and at best it is a distorted and oversimplified picture of the real situation. Mainly, I am not quite convinced that nature has free will, taken as a whole, in the same way that humans do; therefore the flaws in nature do not result from such putative free will, but are built in somehow; this would reflect on God (who either created it this way, or let it happen unhindered) in a way I would prefer not to reflect on God. At the very least I want to wait for some indication that this is so before I commit myself to believing it. I don't find it a helpful idea.
      In the meantime, I would prefer, like you, to regard the question as not fully answerable now with our present understanding, but to think that perhaps limitations inherent in the physical world are more likely to be the cause of this seemingly fallen condition of nature.

      Michael: I guess those are my thoughts on the matter too. You and I are seeming to agree on more and more; it makes me wonder occasionally if there is any point in writing dialogues where both persons think the same, where there is less and less to distinguish them.

      Bivalia: If your primary objective is the writing of dialogues in their own right, this may be so; but if your primary objective is spiritual growth and more awareness of your Higher Self, this is a very good sign. When you and I become sufficiently indistinguishable, you might like to think about changing the method of channelling, to just channel me straight.
      When you began channelling me, I think you had quite clearly differentiated roles and personalities and outlooks for the two members of the dialogue. Words you put in one mouth couldn't have been put in the other, because it would be out of character in some way.
      But now there are times when you know what to write, but it seems almost an arbitrary choice as to whether to attribute those words to Michael or to Bivalia; the words fit just as easily with either. It's a very good thing; it means you are growing closer to union with me, which is what all beings are aiming for, consciously or unconsciously.

      Michael: I guess you're right. But we've strayed far from the main line of discussion. Perhaps I should continue with my account of what I did in the mountains; I hadn't quite finished.

      Bivalia: Please do so.

      Michael: Well, I came down from the tower, full of rather profound thoughts, and decided to drive on; there was nothing much to do on top of the mountain other than look at the view and reflect upon it, which I had already spent enough time doing. (I was also getting steadily colder in the quite stiff breeze up there on the mountain-top, because I had neglected to put on my jumper which was still in the car.)
      I also used the toilet there, but it wasn't very nice. It was a funny kind of toilet. There was a sign there saying that this toilet didn't use water or chemicals, and was a composting toilet. Instead of a normal toilet bowl, there was just a chute leading down below into some area where presumably the waste was processed somehow. I could hear a faint hum of something mechanical somewhere below. Nearby was a container of wood chippings and a cup; there was no indication of what it was for, but I suppose you were meant to throw a bit down to cover up what you had just deposited. There was toilet paper, but I wonder if the day will come when the use of paper is considered environmentally insensitive.
      I found the toilet smelled a bit, not very nice; but I suppose this is some kind of environmentally friendly toilet, perhaps some kind of New-Age idea. I found myself wondering if this was the trend of the future, especially as the environment comes under more and more stress. But I can't think of any reason why water and toilet paper are harmful anyway, unless it's just that perhaps both commodities will become rare and expensive in the future.

      Bivalia: Well, time will tell. I suppose people involved in conservation are more interested now in trying out new ideas than they were in earlier years.

      Michael: I guess so. I guess one has to consider such things, but I would be sorry if the need to preserve the environment led to life being made more uncomfortable, but I'm afraid that seems very likely. All the same, I have more than a smidgen of sympathy with the sentiment behind those car bumper stickers that say "May all you ecological bastards freeze to death in the dark".

      Bivalia: [LAUGHS.] My friend, I certainly do not want you either to freeze to death, or to live in the dark, never mind both at the same time.

      Michael: Well, you get the impression from some of the conservationists that that is our destiny, if we do things their way.

      Bivalia: I would not take that too seriously if I were you. The need to preserve the environment is real, and indeed urgent, and new ways of doing things have to be looked at, and adopted in many cases. Perhaps these ways look clumsy or uncomfortable at first. But scientists will, in due course, devise innumerable refinements that nevertheless keep the essence of the new way of doing things.

      Michael: I hope you're right. You could easily get the impression from some of the green people that technology is evil, and we must turn our backs on it if we are to save the planet and live in harmony with nature.

      Bivalia: You will find, before too many years, that this is completely wrong. For one thing, it is only because of high energy use and technology that your planet can support nearly 6 billion people (after a fashion). If that was given up, perhaps more than half of those people would have to die. Given that there are not likely to be that many volunteers willing to die for the sake of the others, you would have a real human crisis. It would seem that humanity is locked into continuing high energy use for at least some years, until the population can be reduced gradually and humanely through natural attrition combined with a lower birth-rate. That of course means you are committed to continuing the use of high technology for at least several more decades. The ecological people who deny this, or simply don't mention it, are not taking this into account.
      And apart from that, the idea that technology is inherently evil smacks rather of ideology to me more than common-sense. Technology is merely the devising of artifacts or machines or techniques which use laws of nature to achieve specific purposes. There cannot be anything inherently bad about that; only about certain destructive ways of doing that. There is a bit of puritanism too in the idea that somehow we are illegitimately circumventing nature to achieve our own purposes, which are thought somehow to be improper.
      It's a little bit like those clergymen in the 19th century who railed against anaesthetics when they were first introduced, because God had ordained that humanity should suffer pain, and this was an impious attempt to circumvent that. Why, in the case of women giving birth, these pious men (and it was always men, who never have to give birth) actually quoted the Bible, about Eve and her descendants being condemned to give birth in pain, in their arguments against anaesthetics.
      The idea that technology is somehow inherently unenvironmental is not all that far removed from that sort of thing, and I don't think you need to take any more notice of it. The objection against anaesthetics is now as dead as a dodo, even amongst the most conservative churches, and people would just laugh if you suggested that anaesthetics are against God's will (even if we assume that the biblical pronouncement about pain is broadly accepted as valid). A mere few decades from now, people will simply laugh at the idea that technology of any sort is bad for the environment.
      Turning back the technological clock is not the way, and will lead to even worse catastrophe than might otherwise occur. Although it will be a tremendous problem to solve, humanity somehow has to reconcile environmentally sound practices with continuing use of technology, and indeed with the development of yet new technology aimed very specifically at being friendly to the environment. Your race will be in a good deal of deep trouble if this is not achieved within a decade or two.

      Michael: Golly, you are sounding a bit grim.

      Bivalia: Perhaps; but these are undeniable facts. Your scientists have warned of this for many years, and even before that, certain science-fiction writers wrote novels which expounded this. Yet, as a race, you ignore these messages, not to mention the obvious present-day signs that all is not well.

      Michael: Well, unfortunately, it's politicians and business that rule the roost here, not scientists and writers, and the politicians and business people seem to act as if such matters were invisible.

      Bivalia: One day, to their regret, they will find that these problems become only too visible. Only, sadly, it will probably be too late to avoid catastrophe by that time.
      But life on your planet is not meant to be difficult. If only you can get things right, you will one day find that it is possible to have both a prosperous life-style, with extensive use of technology, as well as an environmentally sound life-style. But, looking at current trends, I have to say it looks touch-and-go, to say the best of it.

      Michael: Well, I wish you could be a bit more inspiring there; but I suppose you can't.

      Bivalia: I can only say what I see in a situation; it would do no-one any good to say optimistic things that were patently untrue. But I can tell you that it is definitely possible to have a faultlessly green, sustainable way of life combined with high technology, and great prosperity and comfort. And you will certainly find that toilets are faultlessly green, and not smelly like the one you saw today. You need have no fear of freezing to death in the dark if your scientists and politicians and business people can do things right. If they don't, well, you could die, or find life very difficult.

      Michael: Golly, I don't know that I much like going into this.

      Bivalia: I won't harp on it, if you would prefer me not to. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know anyway. But if the worst happens, you can at least take comfort in the knowledge that the physical level of life is far from being the only one. Perhaps it is in a sense the least important. You will die in due course, and go on to higher levels of existence, regardless of what happens on your planet.

      Michael: What about the idea we used to talk about, of the Earth ascending, and us ascending with it, without the need to die in the ordinary sense?

      Bivalia: I have to leave it for you to decide how to regard that. I think the ascension became a bit of a fad, but I feel it could in fact be real. But I think some of the channelled messages erred in stating, or implying, that everything about that was completely pre-determined, right down to particular times and events, as if free will didn't exist and couldn't influence the course of events. But really, I don't know much more about this than you do. Sorry.
      In any case, following your insight which we discussed in our session of a fortnight ago, to the effect that one's sense of spirituality should not be completely dependent on specific teachings, I think you are wisely not pinning everything on ascension. You are developing a sense of Spirit that will be no more than slightly dented if it transpires that the whole ascension business was a complete wild goose or red herring. Four and a half years ago, I feel your sense of spirit might have been severely damaged if you encountered proof that the whole idea of ascension was wrong. In that sense, you have made much progress, even if some might choose to regard it as scepticism. Yet if ascension turns out to be a reliable idea, you have lost nothing, because you have remained open to the idea, even though you are perhaps focusing on it less than you did before.

      Michael: So, if for argument's sake we leave ascension out of the picture, and further suppose the worst happens ecologically, our main hope then is for the realm beyond Earth? Is that right?

      Bivalia: It is so whether disaster happens, or whether you solve those problems and prosper beyond your wildest dreams. Until you get indications that ascension is going to happen and your sojourn on an ascended Earth can be indefinite, you would do best to regard your stay on Earth as temporary, whether in disaster or prosperity. Human life at this time of your race's evolution is but a few decades, a century and a bit at the most, maybe a couple of centuries in rare instances, and the prospect of leaving the physical level and passing into new realms has to be faced, or (I would say) eagerly awaited.
      Although I have to say there will be serious repercussions if you fail to repair the damage to your planet, especially for those directly doing the damage, we can put it into perspective if we consider that your Earth is not all, that there are other realms of life.

      Michael: What did you mean about repercussions especially for those directly damaging the Earth? I didn't think you were into divine punishment, retribution, and the like.

      Bivalia: I'm not into such things; I find such ideas as repugnant as you do. That's not at all what I meant. No-one will punish destructive people for what they've done. The karma believers who say they punish themselves for it are not really right, either. (I may have a slightly New-Age image at present (mainly because the New-Age outlook is closest to how you currently think of me), but I don't necessarily go for the standard New-Age line on certain matters.)
      I would say it's like this. Remember that here we're talking about greedy people who are quite deliberately and knowingly destroying the environment on a large scale to serve their vested interests: powerful people who could make their living in other ways if they chose to, even if they had to sacrifice some of their ill-gotten gains. I'm talking about politicians who know better, who could make different policies, but who don't because they are serving vested interests in order to stay in power. I'm not talking about people locked into a certain life-style by circumstance, even if that results in damage on some scale. In other words, I'm talking about people who are deliberately destructive on a large scale, for selfish reasons not driven by the need to earn a few dollars for their next meal or the shirt on their backs.
      Just by the fact that those people are so destructive, they are obviously revealing that they are currently far removed from Spirit. Their consciousness is different, their values are different. Their behaviour is little more than a symptom of the kind of person they are.
      In various realms in the universe, the astral, the mental, and higher - even in the physical, if Earth ascends - there are stupendous opportunities for spiritual and personal growth in any way you could possibly dream of or long for. This process of growth brings you closer to God (or Spirit, if you prefer that term). God is, at bottom, the essence of all that we long for. If you think you long for something that seems to be quite separate from God, it is because there is something in its essence that reminds you of God, or which contains a spark of God. If you lose God, you lose all, in a sense. And I might once again give thanks to C. S. Lewis [c], who expressed these last couple of ideas in slightly different words. I don't agree with much of the theology he expressed during his earthly life, but these points are quite correct. (Of course, he thought that losing God was for good, that you went to hell forever, but it is not so. But if you lose God for a period of time, then, for that period of time, you have lost everything you ever longed for deeply; but then later, you may come back to God again; it's never too late, which is where Lewis was wrong.)
      Anyway, about the people destroying the environment, or indeed destructive or violent people of any kind: the simple fact that they behave like that is evidence that they have not yet grown close to God. If they were once close to God, they have moved far away, because God is not in harmony with the behaviour of such people. They effectively cut themselves off from the opportunities for growth I just mentioned.
      (I might make a comment about the question of whether they were close to God once upon a time, and moved away, or have just never got close to God in the first place. Indeed, some esoteric theories say that we all came from God, with his raw consciousness, but unevolved in some sense, that we will one day return to him, but we move away from him so that he can evolve vicariously through that experience of being separate, and we re-unite with God, but now with full consciousness. I won't go into the subtleties of that now, but you may find that a useful way to think about things. Another view might say that each living being begins like a blank slate, born out of nothing, and gradually developing from there - perhaps being created by God in some sense, but not deriving their own consciousness directly from him. I won't tell you which of those views is the better one to follow; use your own intuition and inner wisdom about that. You may even find your views on that change from time to time.)

      Michael: How right you are about that; I really do find that my model of how things are changes from time to time.

      Bivalia: Contrary to what many people think, especially the more conservative sort of religious person, it can be very good to change one's view of such matters from time to time. And a view on such questions that is not arrived at through your own reflection and insight, but merely given to you by some outside teacher or authority, is of limited use in your spiritual growth.
      Anyway, for whatever reason, destructive people are far removed from God. By continuing their behaviour, they are removing themselves even further from him. That process won't continue for ever, but it could continue for a long time, until they realize there are better ways of living.
      By so removing themselves from God, they are cutting themselves off from all that they deeply long for, which they are vainly trying to satisfy through their destructive or selfish behaviour, and they don't even realize it. Until they realize it, other beings, such as Masters, cannot force them to realize it.
      Even God himself cannot force it. The Masters, or God himself, can subtly help such ones, but it can be a long process, because there are limits of intrusion into a being's free will beyond which it seems they cannot go. (I honestly cannot tell you why this is so; it simply appears that this is the way the universe works.)
      I can tell you that the Masters, and God himself, long to help such desperate people (and they are desperate and unhappy at some level, even if they seem to be enjoying the advantages and seeming happiness their illegitimate and destructive behaviour brings them). The Masters, and God too, are confident that such ones will be helped in the long run; but meanwhile, in the short run, such people, because of their destructive and isolating behaviour, can go through some pretty torrid times.
      It is because of this that there will be serious consequences for destructive or violent people, including those now destroying your Earth - not because anyone is punishing them, even their own higher selves. I would not even see karma, as it is conventionally explained, as being a factor.

      Michael: Well, nor do I.

      Bivalia: Perhaps I can't be sure about whether the usual view of karma is valid, but I don't find it a helpful way to think about it. But perhaps there are more sophisticated views of karma that more or less agree with what I've just said.
      In fact, although I have tried to explain it the best I can, I don't even feel really satisfied with the explanation I've just given. Indeed, I cannot think of a totally satisfying explanation; but that is the best I can come up with off the cuff. If it is inaccurate (and I hope it is), I hope the truth is something more wonderful and hopeful, something perhaps even I cannot conceive of at this time.

      Michael: Well, all of that reflects my views exactly.

      Bivalia: [WITH A GRIN.] Strange, that. Well, actually it is no coincidence that we agree on so many things. After all, we are not really two separate beings. We are the one being, the one particular spark of God. Especially when one is doing well spiritually, one's higher and lower selves do come more and more into agreement with each other.
      By the way, I suppose you've noticed that I often admit to not knowing something, even things you would think to be of central importance, that you would think I have no business being ignorant of.

      Michael: Yes, I'm aware of that.

      Bivalia: I just hope you don't come to me principally to get definitive answers. You are coming to the wrong person, or coming to me for the wrong reasons, if that is what you expect. I might in that case have to tell you, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here". You're much more likely to get further questions to ponder from me than definite answers to the questions you already have. If you expect definite answers (or dogmas, putting it another way), you would be best off going to some fundamentalist religion or cult. You probably won't like their answers; but if you look long and hard enough, you might eventually find answers you like, or at least can live with.

      Michael: I'm not bothered by it. I'm going away from the idea of dogmatic answers myself. I might have cared a bit more about that once, perhaps even when I first channelled you; but it seems to matter less now.
      Well, to be accurate, I would still like the definite answers, but only if I can be sure of them, not merely having to accept them on someone else's say-so. But I've given up hope of getting that, at least while I'm in the physical world. So, although I would still like such answers, I am more prepared to let that resolve itself in its own time - after death if need be.

      Bivalia: I think you have a fairly sensible attitude about that.


      Michael: Well! I made an innocent remark about the toilet on the top of the mountain, and it led to all that.

      Bivalia: I don't think your remark was quite as innocent as you say. In other words, you already had an idea of how it could lead to some discussion about certain matters, like ecology, and decided to say it for that purpose. I certainly don't think you mentioned it because you casually thought you'd like to talk about toilets with me.

      Michael: I guess you're right. I did have some of that in mind; but, cross my heart and hope to die, I certainly didn't have the full amount of the above discussion in mind. But I do like to lead into a deep conversation naturally from something simple and spontaneous, even if I do have the intention to go into the deep matter right from the start.
      I suppose it's the writer in me: I like to produce polished, enjoyable, and readable prose as well as to gain insights, and I hope I succeed at that. It seems much better than just plonking myself into some obscure topic out of the blue. And I usually do have some agenda I want to talk about when I start a session, although of course I try not to pre-determine what you are going to say about it. And I must say you do often come up with interesting things I never knew were going to be even touched upon, and it does lead my own part of the dialogue into interesting new directions, too.

      Bivalia: This is so; it doesn't matter at all that you may have some agenda in mind behind a seemingly innocent spontaneous remark. Our dialogues are using the medium of writing, not speech, and it is part of the medium of writing that it tends to be more premeditated than speech. This is not either better or worse - just different. And I have no trouble with the fact that you sometimes go back over the writing and revise a little, add afterthoughts (even into my words, as well as your own). This is all part of the process of writing, and I am guiding the entire process and helping you to get my thoughts right.
      It is good that you are able to take the time to explore unexpected little by-ways with me during these sessions, and, although you have an agenda of sorts, it is only of a general nature, and allows plenty of flexibility to go into new areas as they come up. One of the charming things about channelling is the way you can be led into unexpected areas. I would say that the more that happens, the stronger the evidence of the genuineness of the channelling. Indeed, if your channelling sessions came out precisely as you expected, with nothing extra, it would give real ground for questioning the purity of the channelling. Those unexpected changes of topic may seem at times like little more than interesting diversions, but exploring them can contribute to your overall spiritual awareness just as much as those topics you think of as the main road.
      But had you finished your account about your trip into the mountains?

      Michael: Not quite; I'll see if I can pick up where I left off, which is after the toilets.
      I walked round a bit for 10 minutes or so; there were steps leading down the mountain-side from the summit, into the trees a bit; there were a couple of cleared dirt tracks and paths there; I think facilities are provided for snow sports, and it was probably to do with that. Just walking down there, I was impressed by the bigness of the mountain, just the bigness of everything there. It was almost as if I had been shrunk, a bit like the Incredible Shrinking Man.
      I went back up again, back to the car, and drove down the road again. A mile or so down, I came back to the three-way intersection I had passed through before. I had already decided I would go straight ahead, down to Warburton, not to the right along the road I had previously come out of.
      So I went on down, and the road went downhill all the time - not really steeply, but quite noticeably. I would say that the road had to descend well over 2,000 feet in order to reach Warburton. I was still surrounded by millions of those tall mountain ashes. The road was going down the side of the mountain, and the upward slope was on my left, and at times it seemed almost vertical, as far as I could see through the densely packed trees and undergrowth; but that may have been only for some feet where the road was cut out of the mountain-side. On my right, the ground dropped downward dizzyingly, and was just as thick with trees. I caught occasional glimpses of the valley below, but saw very little because of the denseness of the trees.
      A couple of miles on, while I was still very high up, I came to a place where some of the growth on the downhill side broke a little, allowing a better view. There was a sign saying "View of Warburton", and I stopped the car to get out and have a better look. Indeed I saw a view of Warburton far below, but it looked tiny, almost microscopic. I saw moving cars, but they were only tiny specks. I would say the town was only a couple of miles away as the crow flies, but I was to find out that the road took perhaps 10 miles or so to wind down to the town. Probably the vertical component of the direct distance to the town covered a couple of thousand feet.
      It made me feel quite dizzy to stand there and look down, or to look up at the towering trees all around me. The sense of height and grandeur was quite awe-inspiring, and maybe even just a little bit scary. It seemed to suggest to me ways I could evoke that feeling in the symphony Mountains I want to write which I mentioned earlier, how I could suggest those heights by dizzying staircases of arpeggios in the piano solo part, and stuff like that.
      Because the road kept on following the mountain-side, descending all the time, it was necessary to go way past Warburton then double back. I came to another similar viewing spot, not of Warburton this time, but of the Yarra Valley, according to the sign. I didn't stop, because the sun was getting lower all the time, and I wanted to cover further ground in full daylight.
      I eventually came to a junction where the Acheron Way joined from the left. This was at the point where the road doubled back. I took the right turn and continued down the slope, this time with the down side on my left. Houses started appearing amongst the trees, and obviously I was approaching the outskirts of Warburton, which seemed spread out over a wide area.
      When I was nearly into the town, I joined the Warburton Highway, which continues further into East Warburton; but I went west, into the centre of town. I drove round a bit, crossed a bridge over the Yarra River, really just because I wanted to turn round and I felt the traffic in the Warburton Highway was too heavy, so I decided to go into a side-street to do that. There was a clear area between the road and the river, and I saw a couple of dozen ducks there. On the other side of the road I saw a group of some other birds, long-legged ones I couldn't identify. It seems kind of strange to me to see such birds just hanging round in built-up areas; one never sees it in city areas.

      Bivalia: It reminded you, didn't it, of how limited and constricted a view of life one has living in big cities?

      Michael: Yes, I guess it did. That thought came to me at the time. In cities we are in a sense cutting ourselves off from life itself. Then we wonder why so many people in cities are going neurotic.

      Bivalia: Indeed. I would not suggest that cities have to inherently have this choking, claustrophobic, separating effect; but your earthly cities certainly do have this effect, and are not organized or designed nearly as well as they might be.

      Michael: That's for sure. I suppose, at bottom, they are designed to make money for rich and powerful people rather than to provide a congenial environment for human beings.
      Anyway, I went west along the Warburton Highway, staying in the Yarra valley, which is very broad, with many flat areas in it. I thought I'd go to Launching Place, which is perhaps 5 miles west of Warburton, then go back to Healesville along Don Rd. which branches off at Launching Place. It is actually the far end of the road I turned off early in my trip in order to go up to Mt. Donna Buang.
      I came to Launching Place after passing through a couple of small villages on the way; and I noticed that country towns seem to have a charm of their own, quite unlike any suburbs, even those ones that try (a little over-trendily) to affect a village atmosphere, where shopping centres call themselves "Auburn Village" or something like that. It's not even remotely like the real thing.
      I drove right through to have a look, but had to turn back to go into Don Rd., which branches off just east of Launching Place. (And I have no idea why it is called Launching Place.) Don Rd. heads north in a straight line for a couple of miles until it reaches the mountains, whereupon it starts winding up a valley. It turns into a dirt road until it meets the original junction I turned out of to visit Mt. Donna Buang. I then drove back down the way I had originally started. Much of the drive from Launching Place onwards was in deep shadow, because the sun was getting low and the mountains around me were high; but on the way down the slope back to Healesville I came back into sunlight again, and it was quite striking.
      I stopped again at that stopping point I had paused at on the way up, out of Healesville, and I once again looked out over that valley where Healesville is situated in. The sun was very low now, about to set, and I suppose it was about 5.15 p.m. by now. The mist was still there, and I was struck by how the whole valley just seemed bathed in liquid gold. (I'm not sure if the phrase "liquid gold" is mine or not, but it seems quite apt.)
      Do you remember how, several sessions (and more than two years) ago, I described a clear winter's day where there seemed to be a subtle mistiness and a kind of slightly washed-out aspect to the colouring of everything, and the light somehow seemed watery?

      Bivalia: I do indeed.

      Michael: I remember commenting at the time how such a day seemed to have a spirit of its own, and I even recognized that spirit from time to time when a similar kind of day happened. I think I discussed how certain kinds of days or certain types of sunsets seemed characteristic of certain times of the year, and that the spirit of a season seemed to overlap with the spirit of a day or a sunset, or so on, forming a complexly intersecting pattern of spirit. It seemed to be an insight I got at that time that Spirit is like this, and not simply a huge number of separate and discrete spirits belonging to this or that person or thing.

      Bivalia: This is right. Your observations of nature seem to have given you spiritual insights on various occasions.

      Michael: More than any scriptures or wise books or teachers or religious activities, I must say.

      Bivalia: Each to his own; but I tend to find that so for myself, too. We agree once again.

      Michael: Anyway, the scene I saw at this look-out point seemed to have such a distinctive atmosphere, which was slightly similar to that day a few years ago I just mentioned, but not the same. I suppose those two spirits are related, but not the same; perhaps they have parts in common. I suppose it's an instance of that interrelatedness of Spirit I just mentioned.

      Bivalia: Yes. All of Spirit is like this, but, until we achieve full awareness, we tend to notice it in some areas more than others.

      Michael: I think the exact kind of light present in a particular setting probably contributes quite a lot to the atmosphere or spirit of that scene. The light here just didn't seem like ordinary sunlight.

      Bivalia: Well, light has spirit too, is Spirit in a sense. It is no accident that Spirit is referred to by some people as "the light", or sometimes even "the Light", with a capital "L". It might be an oversimplification to regard light as merely synonymous with Spirit (at one level, after all, it is merely a bunch of photons); but light does have a very special relationship with Spirit, and people of many traditions tune into that, and it is amazing how many religious or mystical metaphors or analogies are concerned with light in one form or another.

      Michael: Very recently I was sitting reading or something, and I happened to look out through the window in the next room, which I could see from where I was sitting. It was about 6 p.m., and the sun was about to set soon. This was more eastwards than westwards, so I couldn't see the sun, but I saw the sunlight spilling onto the hillside, in the property next to mine. I went outside to enjoy it, because such special conditions only last a few minutes. And I was struck by the special atmosphere of that light - only it wasn't the same kind of light I earlier referred to as liquid gold. This light seemed orange-green - you know, that very mellow kind of light you can occasionally see at sunset, especially under a canopy of trees, where the greenery adds to the colouring in the light. Everything seemed so vivid and larger than life that the very light itself seemed four-dimensional. I could now see the sun, way down low on the horizon, almost amongst the distant trees.
      I thought of trying to write a haiku to capture the essence of that whole scene, but I didn't; other things came in the way, and it passed. But I might think about it soon, while the memory is still there, and see if I can do it.[d]

      Bivalia: I think it would be quite a good habit to write haiku about such things when they come to you. It would hone your keenness of perception of such things.

      Michael: I am fascinated by the way you can occasionally have evenings (or mornings, too, I suppose) that seem focused on a particular colour, or combination of colours. I have occasionally seen red evenings, grey ones, yellow ones, yellow-and-grey ones, orange ones, green-orange ones, blue ones, blue-and-yellow ones, and so on.

      Bivalia: You seem to be very observant about these things.

      Michael: People tend to think I'm not all that observant; but they're probably thinking about everyday things that don't interest me a lot, and they're right: I'm not very observant about those things. But this is different: it's not as if I have to peer at it intently to notice the details; I can't help noticing these things.

      Bivalia: Many people can help it. You have a valuable perception of these things which is not all that common. You have a close relationship with a very specialized category of spirit which will add much to your spiritual growth if you hang onto it. There aren't many people who are acquainted with the spirit of orange-grey evenings, or yellow sunsets, or Indian summer, or changes of wind, or other rare and specialized spirits. You actually seem to know them like friends, so that you can recognize the same spirit when it comes your way after a year or more of not seeing it, like the spirit of that clear washed-out winter day some years ago, or the spirit of a red evening, or whatever.

      Michael: I guess so. I think there are literally dozens of very specific, rare phenomena of this kind I have a distinct and clear mental picture of, which I can recognize instantly upon seeing them. It's more than just seeing something and recognizing it because I've seen it before. It's the whole feel or atmosphere of it. I think this is the reason I was prompted a few years ago to see Spirit in this, to regard these situations or phenomena as having Spirit. This is the sort of thing I ache at times to express in music.

      Bivalia: You should do so.

      Michael: I can't seem to compose music, however much I try. I either get stuck, or else produce uninspired stuff. I give up sooner or later and start a new piece, only to go through the whole rigmarole again.

      Bivalia: I know you have difficulty there. But now perhaps is not the time to be doing it, so soon after your life has changed a lot, and before you have even completed your move from Camberwell. But you will have more space now, more order, plus a financial security you haven't had before. I would wait for things to settle down before you reach conclusions about it being hopeless to try to write the music you want to. You may find it a good time within the next year or two to make a fresh start. You have a connection with Spirit which is better than ever before, and you have gained in the last few years a relationship with various Masters that you have not had before - consciously, at any rate. (You will see one day that your relationship with them is much older than you have believed it to be.) All these things will count in your favour, if you only call upon these resources. The Masters want to help you, I do, God himself does.
      Bear this in mind over the next couple of years, as you come closer to being ready to compose music again, or to write, or whatever else you feel moved to do. You have much to contribute in such areas that no-one else in the entire world can do. You have carved out your own territory of Spirit to explore, an area you feel much affinity for, which you can express better than anyone else. This is what all great artists do: they discover their own territory, which perhaps is not exclusive to them, but which they can express with special insight denied to others, who have to find their own territory.
      You have the ability to be a great artist, if you wish to, and if you remain connected with Spirit, and do it in the service of Spirit, and not solely out of ego. A bit of ego here and there is not a major problem (an artist probably couldn't devote himself unflaggingly to major projects if he didn't have the ego to think other people would admire his work), but making ego the prime consideration could well derail you for a time, until you rearranged your priorities. However, that is merely an observation; I don't see an urgent need to point that out to you.

      Michael: I think, at last, I am winding down. I am actually completing this two days later than the date at the top of this document, but didn't formally start a new session because the line of discussion appeared to be seamless and not easily split into portions like I did a fortnight ago. (I split that into two dates according to when I did the actual writing, because I seemed to have reached a natural pausing point where I could easily break it up without any damage.)
      Anyway, thank you for your time, and for helping me keep the thread of things. It is all the day-before-yesterday's session in the sense that it is the mere working-out of things I already had it in mind to discuss with you.

      Bivalia: Thank you for spending time with me once more.

      Michael: I must go soon; I'm visiting my mother today, and the next 24 hours would not be a good time for channelling, and I was determined to finish this before leaving. I'm fairly sure I've covered all the ground I intended to, plus quite a few areas I didn't intend to.

      Bivalia: That's the way our sessions together seem to go.

      Michael: I will now say good-bye to you, and start turning my thoughts elsewhere.

      Bivalia: Good-bye to you, Michael. I hope to see you soon.


[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, 6 April, 2002 - "... I have a book which I bought a while ago by this American man, and it consists of conversations between himself (using his ordinary mind) and a spiritual entity which he really believed was God":
      Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. There are three books of this title; but, since I appeared to be talking about this book as if it were something new I was reading, it was probably Volume 1.
      I conceived the dialogue format used in this and many other documents well before I knew of this book's existence, and the style and content are only superficially similar. But this book and its sequels remain the only material in print that I am aware of that is even remotely similar in either content or style to what I have been doing in these dialogues.
      Needless to say, I believe the concept of writing one's own dialogues with Spirit (God, one's Higher Self, or whatever) is one which should be the common property of all humanity, and not to be patented by any individual (and I feel sure Walsch himself would agree with me on this), so I'm not bothered by the generic similarity between Walsch's writing and my own. [

[c] Monday, 5 November, 2001 - "I thank C. S. Lewis for this metaphor."; "And I might once again give thanks to C. S. Lewis":
      It doesn't appear that Bivalia was implying that C. S. Lewis directly gave these ideas to him, although in writing his parts of the dialogue, I have occasionally mentioned him as knowing someone famous who has died (including C. S. Lewis in one or two other dialogues). (I do feel doubts about these claimed associations, but, in keeping with the intuitive way I try to write Bivalia's words, I leave the references in if they feel right at the time. I am the first to admit that these references could be a way of big-noting myself, although I don't knowingly do that in these dialogues. The supposed connections with well-known people indicate that I feel a certain affinity with those people, but is not an important part of the overal spiritual outlook these dialogues develop.)
      I myself have read the ideas attributed by Bivalia to Lewis in Lewis's books, and had these sources in mind when writing Bivalia's words. (There is no contradiction in knowingly using ideas like this and channelling my Higher Self: I have never claimed that the method I possibly get the information from my Higher Self is anything like hearing a voice say things or a perceptible agency of some sort putting ideas in my mind. The dialogues themselves, when occasionally discussing the way the information comes, make it clear that my Higher Self uses the processes of my own mind to convey the ideas to me.)
      Since no direct contact with Lewis appears to be implied in the mentions of him, it would appear that the wording I attribute to Bivalia in crediting C. S. Lewis is merely a convenient way of stating the origin of the ideas, following the generally accepted practice of crediting your sources when you use someone else's ideas.
      But I do not remember which books of Lewis's these ideas appeared in. [
Back - Back]

[d] Saturday, 6 April, 2002 - "I thought of trying to write a haiku to capture the essence of that whole scene, but I didn't; other things came in the way, and it passed.":
      I did write this haiku - from my records, it would appear only two days later. At the same time, I also wrote one depicting the incident described in this dialogue of seeing light like "liquid gold" from the mountain lookout, as well as one other haiku. See
Page 2 in the haiku section of my web site (nos. 11, 12, and 13). [Back]

Front page: Foreword - Site Map
    <-- Previous dialogue
    Next dialogue -->

This page created on Monday, 13 November, 2000;
annotations added or amended, or links to other pages added,
    on occasions up to Saturday, 6 April, 2002.