(M.J.E. Spirit / Sat., 2 May, 1998)

Spirit Dialogues

Explorations of Spirit
by Michael Edwards

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Saturday, 2 May, 1998

      Michael: Good evening, Bivalia. Could you please come to me now?

      Bivalia:[a] I am already with you; the prayer you have just said ensures my presence, and the presence of a good many others. I was with you at the moment you first decided to do some channelling now. I am in fact with you at all times, but forming an intention to channel concentrates my presence, so to speak, and saying the prayer concentrates it even more, and brings in much spiritual help.

      Michael: It occurs to me that my channelling sessions always seem to begin with my words, when, by the laws of probability, it should start with you 50 percent of the time.

      Bivalia: It doesn't work that way, my friend. I do not force myself on you; although I am always with you, simply as a part of my role as your Higher Self, you must call on me if you want my attention in any special way above and beyond that. The use of your free will plays an important role in your spiritual evolution at present, and it might hamper that somewhat if I were to come to you unbidden in that more concentrated way.

      Michael: Okay. I was merely commenting about it, not really raising it as a serious debate. But I did have a couple of questions I wanted to ask you about.

      Bivalia: Fire away.

      Michael: Well, in fact, I can't make this a long session, because I have things to do, and can't stay too long now.

      Bivalia: That's all right. Perhaps it is good to have a very short session sometimes. If you get to think too much that they have to be long and involved, there might be times when you wish to converse with me, but the work and time involved in a long and deep discussion might put you off. I wouldn't want that. It might at times be quite an interesting and useful exercise to aim to have a session no longer, for instance, than 4 pages. Or you might even sometimes decide to have a session no more than half a page, or even just 10 lines.

      Michael: I doubt that I would meet such restrictions, even if I set out to.

      Bivalia: It wouldn't matter; even if you ended up doing 20 pages or more, it would help break up that expectation that sessions must be long. It is good for your growth to break up as many such expectations as possible. I'm sure that at first you would fail to meet these space limits; but eventually you might meet the limit, and it might encourage the delightful practice of just coming impulsively to me to share a single thought. Of course you can do that without typing anything out, and you do sometimes; but I know you like to keep our discussions, at least our main ones, in written form to refer back to, and that it helps cement what you learn in your mind.

      Michael: You know, it occurs to me occasionally that I should try to channel Spirit, or God, if you prefer that term.

      Bivalia: I think it would be a wonderful thing to try that.

      Michael: Only a year ago, even 6 months ago, I would have never even presumed such a thing; but I think that book Conversations with God (which I think we discussed before) sort of makes me think it could just be possible.

      Bivalia: It would be more than "just possible" for you to do that; but I wouldn't get too many expectations about it being wonderfully different from and better than what we already do together. You might be surprised how similar it would turn out.

      Michael: Oh, come on. Isn't God a bit more than my own personal Higher Self (with all due respect to you)?

      Bivalia: Yes, of course, in one sense. But you are falling into the old model of God as a great, powerful, remote being separate from his creatures. By that model, it is insufferable hubris for a mere man, a creature of God, to presume to speak with the voice of God himself. In that model, there is always a sense lurking nearby of how lowly and insignificant humans are before the majesty of God, and how they must be kept very firmly in their place.
      But it seems that you and I both hold a quite different concept of God, of which all living things, or at least the higher aspects of living things, are literally a part of God; there is no clear distinction between creator and creature. By this concept, it should be the most natural thing in the world to connect with that greater God awareness, and receive insight from it, and communicate it to others. It is not at all a conceit, and it is actually something we should all be aiming to do, whether we write out what we learn, or talk about it with like-minded people, or simply learn from it.
      Seen from this angle, it is not so difficult to see that perhaps what I say draws upon God, and is at least somewhat similar to what God himself would say if you channelled him. Of course channelling is filtered through your own mind and uses your style of writing, regardless of whether it is I channelling or God himself. And what comes through will be tailored to your needs, and so may not have the anonymous kind of universality you might expect. C. S. Lewis said it well in his novel The Horse and His Boy, putting the words in the mouth of the great lion Aslan: "I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own."
      Why don't you one day do a channelling session in which you put "Spirit" or "God" instead of "Bivalia" in the appropriate parts?

      Michael: I'll think about it. Yes, I do hold that picture of God you mentioned, roughly, and I don't think it is arrogance to attempt to receive communications from God. Even some born-again Christians claim to do that. But I think it's quite an awesome thing to attempt, all the same.
      Anyway, I have a couple of questions, which perhaps I will now come to.

      Bivalia: Please go ahead.

      Michael: One question is the matter of where animals, plants, and humans stand spiritually. For instance, if you take the usual Christian model, humans are in a fallen state, but, depending on their degree of faith in Christ (defining "faith in Christ" in a rather rigid, narrow way), they may be in good or not-so-good standing with God, which I suppose is another way of referring to one's degree of spiritual development. Further, plants and animals don't figure at all in this model. Plants have no free will, and animals have only limited free will, but are not moral agents: I mean, you can't really talk about a good dog or an evil cat; we never encounter animals who seem unusually spiritually aware, or unusually spiritually ignorant; they just follow their own nature, and can't help the way they are, and can't of their own free will improve.
      Because of this, they are not deemed to have any spiritual status at all: they are not fallen, but not saved either; they are not spiritually developed, but not really spiritually dead either. Or, at least, if these ideas are not said, they seem to be tacitly assumed, and nothing is ever said about it. I think animals and plants are considered to have no soul or spirit; only humans do. Well, I suppose angels, demons, and the like do too, but they are spirit beings anyway; humans are the only beings on earth who have a spirit.

      Bivalia: Yes. I don't think we follow that model, though, do we?

      Michael: No; and I don't necessarily accept the assumptions I just said, either; I'm just bringing up a couple of situations for comparison.
      The model I would tend to follow would be a more New-Age one. It is even akin to the view held by F. and C. and the others at the Church of Antioch, even though there is much about their spiritual outlook I don't find helpful. According to this view, animals and plants do figure; according to some versions of this view, all matter counts - everything counts. All is evolving, and everything and everyone is at some stage of development.

      Bivalia: From my perspective, this sounds closer to how I see things.

      Michael: Me too. But according to this view, there is a definite hierarchy of spiritual development according to whether you are a plant or an animal or a human. Apparently plants (according to this view) are less evolved than animals, who are less evolved than humans, who are at the top of the tree, at least on this earth. If you figure in rocks, water, or other inanimate things, they would be even lower than plants. So you might suppose that a mineral entity has a spirit of some kind, but that spirit is at a very low level of development; then, aeons later, it might incarnate as a plant, and have many lives as plants of one kind or another; then that spirit might have a number of animal lives, working up the scale, with higher animals like dogs or cats or whales being at the top of the animal kingdom, in terms of spiritual evolution; then that entity might incarnate as a human for the first time, perhaps a rather unevolved, brutish sort of human. According to this view, many criminals, dictators, really primitive, savage people, and so on, are young souls in their first human incarnation. Eventually they become really saintly, highly aware people, full of love and wisdom; after that they stop incarnating as humans, and can in fact stop coming into the world if they wish, because that's as high as it gets on this planet. Some of these people do have further human incarnations to help humanity, or to become teachers, and the like, but it is not necessary for their own development.
      So this, roughly, is the conventional New-Age or Theosophical view.

      Bivalia: This is right.

      Michael: So you're saying you agree with it?

      Bivalia: No, I'm saying you're right in what you just said: that is the conventional view.

      Michael: I guess my question is whether you do agree with this or not.

      Bivalia: You obviously have doubts about it; it sounds like common sense, almost, but you must have doubts about it, or else you wouldn't need to ask me.

      Michael: Yes, when I think about it more deeply, I do have doubts. I don't know how many times I've heard New-Age people talk about the wonderful, powerful energy of trees, how spiritual they are, how we can benefit by taking the time to be with nature, to drink in its energy, and be uplifted. You've said such things yourself, and I'm sure I have myself. Yet does this make sense if trees, animals, and other parts of nature are at a much lower level than humans?

      Bivalia: I'm glad to see that points like this have occurred to you. You won't be surprised if I give neither a "yes" answer nor a "no" answer to your question. I cannot say in one word whether trees are less evolved than humans, or whether animals are, or any of the others.
      The problem lies in the assumption that spiritual development is a single-dimensional scale, like a number line, where you can always say that A is higher than B, or B is higher than A, or that A and B are equal. To use a mathematical analogy, it is like complex numbers, where you have pairs of numbers which describe the coordinates of a location on a plane. First of all, you must establish some particular location as your reference point, and then you might say point A is 3 miles north of that point and 5 miles west, whereas point B is 6 miles south of that point and 4 miles east. These pairs of coordinates could be expressed as complex numbers in the form (-5, 3) and (4, -6). If each bracketed expression is considered as a single entity, it is not so easy now to say which is bigger than the other.

      Michael: Well, mathematicians do have ways of establishing things like that. There are rules for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing such numbers, and I suppose for determining which is greater than the other.

      Bivalia: To be sure, there are rules for doing all that. Mathematicians find it useful to establish conventions by means of which to say that one number is bigger than another; but they are only conventions, and different conventions might be used for different situations. Such numbers don't seem, naturally, in and of themselves, without the help of elaborate conventions, to lend themselves to such operations.

      Michael: That is true.

      Bivalia: Well, spiritual growth is like that; quite likely it has far many more dimensions than the two we've just been discussing in the analogy of coordinates in the mathematical plane. You see, when you talk about person A being more evolved than animal B, you are assuming that spiritual growth can be accurately reflected in a score of some kind, and that the being with the highest score is the more evolved. But, if we assume that spiritual growth can be described in terms of numbers at all, you would need many numbers to describe the total spiritual situation for any entity; and you would find that A had the higher score in some attributes, and B had the higher score in others. This makes it almost impossible to accurately compare A's development with B's.

      Michael: Are you saying that you can't therefore meaningfully say that anyone is more spiritually evolved or aware than anyone else?

      Bivalia: No, not quite. Quite clearly there could be instances where A is lower in almost all attributes than B, and you could, broadly speaking, say A is less evolved than B; but you must be aware of the way you are defining terms, and you must keep a keen awareness of the limitations of such comparisons. But you can see it is far more complicated than simply a matter of comparing spiritual scores and seeing who comes out on top. (I'm assuming you can have spiritual scores here just for the sake of argument, because Spirit does not keep scores in anything like that way.) And the comparison is not one you can make without knowing everything about the entities involved. This knowledge is not given to most humans, which is one reason why Jesus admonished people not to judge each other.

      Michael: Well, then, what about trees and humans? Or animals, or anyone else? I would say, therefore, following on from what you say, which I agree with, that this is not a simple comparison. Perhaps if you use the scale humans tend to think in terms of, trees are less evolved (they don't even have free will, for goodness' sake); but perhaps there is some other scale, invisible to humans, for the most part, by which trees are far ahead of us. But people who perceive the spiritual energy of trees and think it so wonderful are able, at least to some degree, to sense this scale, even if they can't say what it is; and they can also sense how far advanced trees are along that scale, and that's why they seem to find this very wonderful, spiritual quality in trees.

      Bivalia: This is exactly so. I'm glad to see you are able to answer your own questions, at least partially.
      Think of it like this. Let's consider your schools; and we'll talk about primary school with its limited range of subjects, just to keep the analogy simple. You have various subjects like English, Maths, Science, History, and Geography. Each year in school, you study each of these subjects, at the level appropriate for the year you are in. But suppose that one day educational psychologists discover that certain years of childhood are best for studying English grammar, but a different year might be optimum for learning Maths, yet a different one for Science, and so on. If we make the dubious assumption that your school system could be flexible enough to accommodate such knowledge, it might be decided not to follow the old pattern. We might instead decide to devote one entire year to English, to do the entire primary school course in English in that one year, full-time, with no other subjects being done that year. Instead of having Grades 1, 2, 3, etc., you might have the English Grade, the Science Grade, and so on.
      Furthermore, it might be discovered that the optimum years for studying various subjects vary a lot from one child to another. One child might be considered (after careful psychological and emotional assessment) best off doing English in his first year, and maybe Geography in his second year; but another might be best off doing Geography, then English later on - and so on. Almost any order of doing the subjects, year by year, might be best for particular children.

      Michael: Well, maybe.

      Bivalia: I'm not saying this will necessarily be discovered to be a valid hypothesis, although I think it probably is to some extent. I'm just building up a simple analogy to spiritual growth. So at any given year, child A may be very good at Maths, but lousy at English; but child B might be writing brilliant novels, but can't do long multiplication. Which child is more advanced educationally?

      Michael: I see what you mean. You can't really say. Perhaps they're equal, but different. Not even equal really; just different.

      Bivalia: Exactly. And by the same token, taking up your point about some entities being obviously far ahead, overall, than others, the child who is just about to finish primary school is educationally ahead of the one who has only done two years, even though it is possible the two-year student has done subjects that the nearly-finished one is just about to start as his last subject. Don't take the analogy too far, but spiritual development is something like that.

      Michael: So it is possible I have had lives as trees or animals, and it is also possible a tree, or my mother's cat Priscilla, has had human or mineral lives, and so on.

      Bivalia: Yes, it is possible. There are many paths by which entities do their evolving, and although some might be commoner than others, it would be a mistake to regard any one of these paths as being somehow more right than another. Quite likely more entities do their vegetable lives before their human ones than the other way around; when an idea such as trees being less evolved than humans arises, there is likely to be some foundation to it. And maybe there are entities who have done many animal, plant, and human lives in frequent alternation, although I would not think this common. But we are being dominated by dogma if we assume that it can never happen the other way around, and I think you and I are beyond the stage of needing to use dogma as a spiritual crutch.

      Michael: But would you say the sequence I mentioned before - mineral, plant, animal, then human - is the usual one, if not the only one?

      Bivalia: I suppose I'll go that far; that is a particularly common pattern. Yes, perhaps it is the commonest, at least at this time, and on this planet. But the important point here is that Spirit is flexible, and no pattern of evolution, however common it might be at certain times, is the only possible one, nor even necessarily the best one.

      Michael: I guess you've said more or less what I expected you to say.

      Bivalia: That is not surprising. You have developed in awareness a great deal over the last few years, and you can sense many of these things.
      And, by the way, I would not attach too much importance to the fact that trees have no free will. For a start, they might have free will in spirit; you never know when the spirit of a tree might soar high in the astral and higher realms, doing wonderful things. It is only in the physical level that they have no free will.
      But even if we ignore that point, free will is far from being the only attribute that counts spiritually. You are probably aware that fairies and angels have little free will, yet they have their place in the scheme of things, and they do very important work, and they are equally sparks of divinity. That is a different stream of spiritual evolution, and it has its own multiplicity of attributes and scales along which entities evolve.

      Michael: Entities never cross over from the plant-animal-human stream to the fairy-angel-deva one, or vice-versa?

      Bivalia: It is not common, although I would not say it never happens. It certainly can happen if there is a good reason for it, or if an entity very much wants to make such a transition.
      Anyway, to come back to trees and their lack of free will: in the overall scheme of things, this is of much less importance than it appears to you. Developing the proper use of free will is one of the major tasks that entities in their human stage are working on, but it is not something trees are working on. Whether trees have worked on it in incarnations as other life-forms, or have yet to start work on that, is neither here nor there: life as a tree, with its attributes and limitations, is what they are doing now. And the same for plants or minerals or animals or humans or anyone else.
      Trees are very important to your world spiritually, you know, as well as ecologically. You have commented yourself about how much trees seem to be bound up with the spirit of a place. Well, trees are the channels by which huge spiritual energies of a certain sort are brought into your world and spread around. They are also working on various aspects of their spiritual growth which are just as real to them as free will is to you; but, because of the natural limitations of human thought, I cannot really describe that in words in any precise way.
      If that seems a cop-out, telling you there are various other spiritual attributes, but failing to describe them, just go into a forest like you did a few weeks ago and drink in the atmosphere. You will sense a whole other spiritual world which is real, yet quite different from the human world, although you will find it almost impossible to put it into words. You did this in fact, and came to me to talk about it for pages. Well, this just hints at the reality that there are other realms, and the human realm of free will and power and choice and desire, and all that, is just a tiny part of the whole spiritual picture.

      Michael: I guess I see what you mean. I guess I know this, and I did have it in mind when I first decided to talk about this with you. I first thought of talking about it with you a couple of weeks ago, but somehow didn't get round to it; but I have now.

      Bivalia: Well, as I've told you before, I never really tell you anything you don't already know. But it helps fix it in your being to explicitly talk about it, think it through in detail, and so on.
      My channelling through your embodiment is not much like the usual kind of channelling, where a Master or some great entity from up there in the nether realms comes through and imparts knowledge which the hearers have no prior knowledge of, and perhaps gives predictions about future events like Ascension. I don't do that; or at least I am not doing it at this time of your life.

      Michael: Well, I don't try to do that; I know my own limitations in that area. The fact that such predictions have a lousy record for accuracy suggests that maybe some of those other channels don't know their own limitations.

      Bivalia: Perhaps. I wouldn't completely rule out such channelling of truly new stuff, predictions, and the like. But obviously, when they come, they have to prove themselves as events transpire, show themselves to be reliable in practice. Perhaps it has happened in the past (although you can't think of an example), and, more importantly, perhaps it will come in the future. But you are right that it is not the right time now for you to be doing that, and you are probably right in suspecting that now is not the right time for that in your planet generally. The high failure rate of predictions is proof of that. The predictions would work if now was the right time to be operating that way.
      So you see I share your scepticism about predictions from on high; but even so, don't close your mind to it completely. If you read predictions, or hear them through channels, you may not want to stake too much on them; but listen to them with an open mind, and use your own intuition and insight to evaluate them. Even if now is not the right time for that, to completely discount them even in theory would be to allow dogma (namely, that predictions are impossible) to limit your thinking. You are trying to overcome limitation of all sorts, so you must remain open-minded even about things that seem to you never to work in practice. If you develop a dogma to that effect, a time might come when the thing in question does work, and you might miss it because of being blinded to it by your dogma.

      Michael: Yes, I agree with that. I wasn't in any way suggesting that I would become closed to the idea of predictions altogether. But I am waiting to be convinced, and until I am, I won't put too much importance on it.

      Bivalia: Anyway, you and I are not working on that level now. I am not imparting new knowledge to you (whether in the form of predictions, or just spiritual knowledge which is new to you), because you are perfectly capable of becoming aware of it in your own right. In fact, of course, because I am your Higher Self, I am, at an invisible level, helping you learn these things; but I am not sitting here dictating them to you. Perhaps I could do so, and I have done a bit, to help you along; but, by and large, you absorb that knowledge and make use of it far better if you arrive at an intuitional understanding of it in your own way than if I tell it all to you almost like I was an outside entity.
      I am not here to tell you things; I am here to help you come to a more conscious awareness of that which you already know deep down. That's the way most real spiritual growth takes place; very little takes place as a result of receiving knowledge from outside, even if the knowledge is perfectly true, and just right for your present stage.

      Michael: Perhaps a related question to the above about the relative spiritual status of plants, animals, or humans, is the question of group souls. The common New-Age view seems to be that humans are individual, but plants and animals have group souls: that is, a group (large or small) of plants or animals of the same species share a single soul.

      Bivalia: I would not want to be too rigid about that. I can see why that view has arisen, and there is some basis to it; but to simply state it that way is a gross oversimplification.

      Michael: I thought so.

      Bivalia: Of course you did. So do plants and animals have group souls, or individual ones? You're not going to be surprised at my answer, even though it might sound like a cop-out. The answer is, both are right. For that matter, humans are both individual souls and group souls. The difference is one of emphasis, and of different perspective.

      Michael: Yes, I remember talking before about the spirit of Indian summer, or of an atoll. You can see that such things have a spirit of their own, which comprises their very essence; yet, at the same time, each is made up of a number of other spirits of lesser scope, such as the spirit of various living things, or of the air, sun, water, and so on. The spirit of an atoll is a single spirit, or a group of allied spirits, depending on the way you look at it. Is it like that?

      Bivalia: Exactly like that. Certainly you can talk about the spirit of a family, a town, a religious community, or of a nation, and they often have characteristics which are widely recognized. Well, what are these other than human group spirits? On the other hand, perhaps cats have group souls, but you only have to spend a few minutes with your mother's cat Priscilla to see that she has her own individuality, and is quite different from any other cat. This cannot help but be due to the fact that she has her own individual spirit.

      Michael: F. at the Church of Antioch says humans are individualized, but animals and plants have group souls, in that clear-cut a fashion.

      Bivalia: People say many things; but it does not necessarily make them so. F. is not wrong, as I have already explained; but his view of the matter is not the only one, and I would think it is not the most useful or clear view of the matter. That is a dogma he holds, and dogmas limit one's view of things, even if they are true.

      Michael: Hey, that's almost a spiritual aphorism, an important insight expressed concisely. I've noticed others from you from time to time.

      Bivalia: You may collect my various aphorisms and teach them, or publish them, if you wish.

      Michael: I don't see teaching as my main role in this life.

      Bivalia: As you wish. I don't either at present, although that may change one day, in this life or another.
      But as to F.'s statement, that is how it appears from his angle, but it ignores the fact that other people, situated differently in life, see it from another angle, and it looks quite different from those other angles.
      But individuality of will is one of the big things humans work on, so it makes a kind of sense to see the individual spirit as being especially prominent; animals and plants are not working strongly on that, so perhaps the group aspect is more important there. But it is important to not make a dogma out of it, and to realize that humans have the group aspect, and animals and plants have the individual aspect, and on occasions these can be quite important.

      Michael: I suppose, therefore, I don't need to ask you what you think of the Christian idea that animals have no soul, period, end of story.

      Bivalia: I don't think anything of it; I can see it is not true, as you can too.

      Michael: Well, that's short and sweet.

      Bivalia: Nothing more needs to be said about it.
      You can see that the whole idea of regarding souls as individual or group ones is really an artificial distinction. They are either or both, depending simply on what you decide to focus on. Sometimes it is more useful to focus on one, sometimes on the other. It's like looking through a dirty window: you can either attend to the smears on the glass, or ignore them and focus on what's outside; it's as arbitrary as that. I leave it up to you whether the smears on the glass in my analogy correspond to the group-soul view or the individual-soul view.

      Michael: Are you making a distinction between "soul" and "spirit"? I have heard that the two terms are not the same.

      Bivalia: They are not, if you want to be technical, although usage of these terms does vary considerably. The difference doesn't concern us here, and I was using the terms interchangeably, perhaps unwisely. As I have said before, you tend (by the very nature of channelling) to filter what you get from me through your own thought processes, and you tend to use the terms interchangeably; this tendency will be reflected in the way you channel me. It does not matter for now; when you need to make such a distinction, it will come out naturally in our channelling.

      Michael: I suppose this question about whether souls are individual or group is related (on another level) to the question of whether God is a Trinity or not. Most Christians say he is, one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; but a few, like Jehovah's Witnesses, deny this, and say God is just God, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, although important, are something else. I understand other religions, like Hinduism, have their own version of a Trinity, and others do not, such as Judaism.

      Bivalia: Yes, this is so.

      Michael: Many of these believers, both Trinitarians, and anti-Trinitarians (if that's a word) -

      Bivalia: It is now.

      Michael: - many of these people, on both sides, consider their own theory on the Trinity (for or against) terribly, terribly important, and consider it a heresy to believe the other point of view. Although the fighting is now (thank God) done mostly verbally these days, I imagine whole rivers of blood have been spilt over the Trinity debate.

      Bivalia: Yes, regrettably.

      Michael: Even now, I have met people who consider one's eternal fate to depend on what side one takes on this debate, which seems so silly to me.

      Bivalia: And to me.

      Michael: Well, is God a Trinity, or isn't he?

      Bivalia: I'm sorry to disappoint you again, but he is and he isn't. Both sides of the debate are correct, which is one of the ironic comedies of the universe that makes all the wrangling almost funny if it weren't so sad a waste of energy.

      Michael: I kind of thought you'd give an answer like that.

      Bivalia: I'm sure you can see why.

      Michael: I think I have an idea of what your reasoning is.

      Bivalia: I'm sure you do; but let me tell you a little story. Don't take it too seriously; it's just like a little parable I'm thinking up on the spot to illustrate the point.
      Once upon a time, there was a great monolith in an expanse of wilderness. Several villages were situated around it in all directions, a good many miles away. Because the land around the monolith was harsh and barren, no-one ever went up close to the monolith; they were too busy attending to their daily lives.
      But the monolith often looked beautiful in the distant haze or in the sunset or in the moonlight, and some of the people from the various villages thought it had a kind of spirit (as indeed it would have). Because it dominated the landscape, this spirit came to be important to the people, and a time came when they regarded it almost as God, or at least as a guardian spirit of some kind. Great theological debate arose about the nature of this spirit, and different villages tended to be dominated by different views, and, sadly, the minority in each village who had a slightly differing view were persecuted, and even tortured or put to death sometimes.
      Some of the wise men and women turned telescopes onto the monolith to try to learn more about it. In one village, the wise ones arrived at the conclusion that the monolith was really composed of three rocks, set close together: after all, they could see the three rocks, side by side, in their telescopes. They developed an awareness of the individual characteristics of each of these three rocks, which were coloured differently, of different sizes, and had different shapes. They ascribed varying attributes to the spirits of the three rocks, and regarded the monolith as a single entity, but subdivided into three distinct parts.
      News of this view of the monolith spread gradually to other villages, and the view was accepted widely in some of the villages; but in others this view was never accepted by more than a minority. Indeed, the spiritual leaders in another village way over on the other side of the monolith made their own examination of the monolith through their own telescopes, and pronounced the Trinitarian theory about the monolith to be wrong: their telescopes showed with complete clarity that the monolith was a single rock, completely smooth from one end to the other, from top to bottom, with not the slightest hint of any division into smaller rocks, with no hint of even tiny hairline cracks. This became known as the Unitarian view. They denounced the Trinitarian view of the monolith, and branded the believers in this view heretics. In turn, the Trinitarians branded the Unitarians as heretics.
      So the debate went on over the years, and further examinations of the monolith were made by telescope, but the matter could never be resolved, and both sides stuck to their own story.
      A few very open-minded wise ones from various villages, perhaps the wisest of all, remained open-minded about whether the Trinitarian view was correct or not. At some stage, some of these open-minded ones from various villages all around the monolith sent letters to each other discussing the matter. Some were inclined towards the Trinitarian view, and others towards the Unitarian; but all agreed that there had to be a better way of resolving the dispute than endless theorizing and persecution of those who disagreed with their own views. In their letters, they finally agreed that it would be a good idea to make an expedition to the monolith to get a closer look at it.
      So they made the long journey out there, each starting from his or her own village, and, not content with what they saw immediately, they started walking around it, and, one by one, they met each other to discuss their findings. They kept walking around the monolith until they had seen all parts of it, and they at last found the truth of the monolith dawning upon them.
      They found that one side of the monolith was completely smooth, possessing the properties the Unitarians believed it had; but they also found that the other side was split by two great clefts pointing in towards the centre, dividing that side into three distinct portions, each of them indeed possessing the attributes of size and colour the Trinitarians believed in.
      So at last they realized the great spiritual truth that different views of the divine may be equally true if based on sincere insight and experience; it all depends on your point of view.

      Michael: That's not a bad story for one off the cuff like you said.

      Bivalia: I think it makes the point. What you see in God depends on where you are standing. There is no one view of God - or of lots of things in the spiritual realm.

      Michael: I suppose the story would end something like this. Exulting in their new insight, the wise ones longed to share their knowledge with the people, and they went back and told the people of their discoveries. The people rejoiced in this new knowledge and dropped their disputes, because they saw how useless the disputes were, and they saw that both sides were right. And they all lived happily ever after.

      Bivalia: Well, that would be a nice ending, but I have my doubts. Very likely the wise ones were crucified when they told their news, their followers were tortured, and the debate became even more bitter after that.

      Michael: [GASPING IN MOCK HORROR.] You are a cynic!

      Bivalia: I merely observe human history.

      Michael: [LAUGHS IN A SHOCKED WAY.] I can't disagree with you.

      Bivalia: But of course you can see how useless it is to debate such things as whether God is a Trinity or not. He has various attributes and personalities - after all, he is infinite - and if people want to divide those attributes into three groups and assign each its own identity, and if they find it useful to do so, they are perfectly free to do it. And they will be right; those attributes do exist in God, and there are ways in which it is useful to think of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with their own identities; or Father, Mother, Son (a slight variation on that which is sometimes encountered in New-Age or Theosophical circles); or Power, Wisdom, and Love; or Active, Passive, and Neutral, or any of many other models that exist. They are all aspects or views of the same thing.
      On the other hand, you may not find this useful; it is perfectly valid to regard God as a single entity, of course with various attributes, if you find that useful. It is just as true a view as the other. For that matter, there would be ways in which you could see God as a Duality, or a Quaternity, or a Pentad, or whatever. (If those are real words.)

      Michael: They are now.

      Bivalia: Touché. My, we're sharp tonight, aren't we? Perhaps it's to do with the waxing moon or something.
      In other words, you can see God as a set of 2 entities in one God, or 4 entities, or 5, or 658, or 42, or whatever takes your fancy. But historically, 3 seems to be the number of divisions that many cultures have favoured for seeing in God. It really is a non-issue, and you should feel free to take whatever view helps to clarify your view of Spirit; and the view you take may even quite validly change from one year to another, or even from one minute to another, or you might even (if you can perform the mental gymnastics, and find it helpful) have several views at the same time.

      Michael: Well, the Trinity has been a non-issue with me for over 20 years, although I've never been sure whether I believed in it or not. I'm inclined now to your view that the Trinity view is both correct and not, according to your view. I don't personally see a huge usefulness in the idea of three parts of God, so I perhaps don't think about it much; but I would certainly regard it as possible that that view could change in the future, and I certainly don't reject the idea as untrue.

      Bivalia: You seem to have a very open-minded view of the matter.

      Michael: Thank you. By the way, with your cynical ending to that little story, are you really saying there is no hope that humanity will evolve as a whole, and finally accept enlightenment, and drop its sectarian disputes?

      Bivalia: Certainly not. There is no way humanity can not, in the end, return to God, and reaching new levels of enlightenment, far beyond what you can even dream now, is one of the earlier steps in that process. Your nice idealistic ending, I'm glad to say, is the ultimate end of the story. If only you could see a hundredth of how wonderful the end will be; if you but got a glimpse, you would never suffer depression again, or worry about anything, no matter what happened to you now. But awareness of that will have to come in its own time. But there's so much I'm longing to share with you when you are ready for it.
      My cynical ending was looking more at the present situation; it doesn't seem that humanity as a whole is quite ready for really deep insights into Spirit, because I fear that my cynical ending is how the story would end today, as it did with Jesus; but enlightenment will come, perhaps sooner than you might think.

      Michael: I hope so. I like to think I have a modicum of it myself, although I have no illusions about having great enlightenment.

      Bivalia: You have more than a modicum of enlightenment, my friend. I don't think you need to lose too much sleep over that.

      Michael: Well, I want to finish up soon; I said I had rather limited time tonight. But I have a feeling there was another question I wanted to ask, which I first thought of a few weeks ago, along with the things I've already talked about with you. I thought for a moment it was about the question of whether humanity was in a fallen state, and whether there was another way of interpreting that; but I think we discussed that in considerable detail a few weeks ago, so perhaps there's nothing there we overlooked. Perhaps I'm mistaken, and I don't have more questions after all.

      Bivalia: Well, if you do think of any, I'll be glad to discuss them, either now or on another occasion.

      Michael: Well, can you tell me if there was another question I've forgotten?

      Bivalia: I'm sorry, but I can't really answer that. I said before I can't tell you anything you don't already know inside.

      Michael: But I know this, really; I've just forgotten it, and need reminding.

      Bivalia: There's no easy way to deal with that. I'm not a voice in the sky that can give you information magically out of thin air. We already discussed how our channelling doesn't work that way at present. I'm not being difficult: this is one of the limitations that exist in your earthly life, for whatever reason (which I don't think you want to discuss now).

      Michael: No, I don't; that's a debate all on its own, and, besides, I think I have written about that before.

      Bivalia: Anyway, as your Higher Self, I have to observe those limitations.

      Michael: Oh well, if the question is important, I suppose it'll come up again some time, and I'll ask you then.

      Bivalia: Be my guest.

      Michael: Until then, I'll say good-night now.

      Bivalia: Farewell until we meet again; and yet not farewell, because we are never apart. You know what I mean.


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

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