(M.J.E. Spirit / Wed., 3 Oct., 2001)

Spirit Dialogues

Explorations of Spirit
by Michael Edwards

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Wednesday, 3 October, 2001

      Michael: Good evening, Spirit.

      Spirit: Good evening to you, too, Michael. It's nice to hear from you again.

      Michael: I've occasionally felt the urge recently, after a period when I felt quite incapable of talking with you, or even thinking about anything spiritual at all. I wonder if the full moon's got anything to do with it.

      Spirit: It can have an effect on things like that.

      Michael: Well, I wonder. You hear how the time of the full moon is very stimulating on thinking and creativity, and you hear how mental hospital inmates are especially difficult at such a time; this is supposedly common knowledge amongst those who care for the mentally ill; and it's the historical reason why they used to be called "lunatics" from the Latin luna, which is "moon".
      But whether there's any real evidence beyond the anecdotal, I don't know. But it would be interesting to make a list of all the dates on which I've written dialogues with you, and see if a higher proportion of them than the statistical average are at or close to the time of the full moon.

      Spirit: It seems you are very attracted to the moon, and often enjoy the time of the full moon.

      Michael: Yes, this is so. Moonlit scenes are one of the commonest situations that give me that sense of wonder that I associate with Spirit.
      I also occasionally wonder whether the numerology of the dates of our sessions would show any interesting trends or patterns, at least to a trained numerologist (which I'm not).
      I name the computer files for these sessions out of the numbers representing the year, month, and day the session is begun on (ignoring it if it goes past midnight into the next day); so think of it as indicating the date the session is inspired on, even if the writing of it carries well into the next date. Thus, this session is 20011003, because it was begun on the 3rd of October, 2001. (I adopt the unorthodox practice of beginning with the year, not the day, because that enables the files to be easily sorted by year, which seems the most significant piece of information to base a primary classification on. Within any given year, further sorting takes place by month and day automatically simply by arranging the file-names in numerical order.)
      So it should be easy to study the file-names and detect any unusual number patterns. For instance, I notice a huge preponderance of 0s, 1s, and 2s. Of course many of these are due to recent years such as 2000 and 2001, which just pervade this entire time period; but others are more local, such as the 12 and 10 for the months of December last year and October, just now. And there was the 9 for the 9th of December, as well as all the nines in the 1990s decade. And my original impulse to do this dialogue came on 29 September, but I didn't do it. So there are more 9s, in the month and the day, as well as another 2 in "29".
      So recent dialogues seem to be crowded with 0s, 1s, 2s, and 9s. Perhaps a coincidence; but it struck me, anyway.
      And I felt a pang of regret at not doing this session yesterday, instead of today, which I half-intended to do: yesterday's date, using the format in which I name these files, was palindromic: 20011002 - it reads the same forwards or backwards. I don't imagine there are many dates like that - like perhaps just a few in a lifetime. I wonder if there is any numerological meaning to that.
      Not that it means a lot to me, anyway; as I said, I'm not a numerologist, and don't seem to have an intuitive feeling for these patterns of numbers.

      Spirit: Numerology is one of those things that speaks to some people more than others, just like astrology or the Tarot, and other things of that sort. They are channels for the intuition, and are not especially magic in themselves. They are attempts to codify and understand spiritual forces that would remain quite mysterious and incomprehensible without some method such as these of making sense out of them. But such disciplines, helpful though they can be, are far from being the last word on spiritual insight. Use them if they help you; otherwise, don't worry about it.

      Michael: They're kind of interesting, and I'm not sure if I believe in them; but I'm open-minded about them. I suspect they don't speak to me deep inside, though - at least, not yet. Some may find it a bit self-centred, but I have to say that these dialogues we do, and the ideas that come out of them, are the thing in all this world that speak to me most deeply of spiritual matters.

      Spirit: I'm glad to hear that. I am aware that the idea of deriving a spiritual view by such introverted means would strike some people as unhealthily introspective. But if your paradigm of spirituality is not essentially a judgemental one, you don't have to concern yourself about whether other people think that or not, although of course if they raise constructive new ideas, it would be good to consider them honestly. But in the end, if you consider things properly, and don't agree with what other people think, then so be it.
      I think some people see spirituality as some kind of competition where they are concerned at arriving at The Truth, out of all the possible spiritual ideas they might be aware of. So they are very preoccupied with obsessively following their own path, and seeing everything else as wrong. My feeling is that you are not quite sure what is right, and you see spirituality as an ongoing process of exploring and considering ideas, and not being especially concerned about judging them against other established ideas. It seems a pretty good approach, for you at least.

      Michael: And these dialogues seem at present to be my main vehicle for exploring that whole world of ideas and changing (and I hope growing) awareness. I don't know if I am growing in awareness; but I do know that the way I see things is different from 10 years ago.

      Spirit: Indeed it is; I would say it is growing, although in a gradually evolving way, not as a dramatic change that is obvious to everyone, or even to you. This can be seen just by reading the dialogues you've written, and even the diaries you kept before that.
      For instance, I notice that your idea of whom you're talking to in these dialogues seems to be changing a little. If we go right back to the very beginning of your dialogues (or perhaps "multilogues" in the beginning, a dialogue properly being, by definition, only between two people), you had these extended conversations between the multiple personified parts of your own personality, and you included God and your Spirit, and others. Then in 1990 and 1991 you had dialogues (true dialogues now) between ME ("Me" or "Michael Edwards", depending how you like to read that), and C (for "Counsellor"). He (she?) was a kind of imaginary ideal counsellor, perhaps even psychotherapist: although you tentatively linked him perhaps to God or your own Higher Self or Spirit, such links weren't too rigid; but I can tell you that I was not far away when you wrote those dialogues.
      You fell silent for a few years, then after the Crea workshop where you made your first overt contact with the Master Sananda, and further sessions with Lady Hilarion, you started furious work on a long series of dialogues with Bivalia, who was, according to Lady Hilarion, your Higher Self, and that was his name, which you accepted provisionally until you found out a better name or description, although you never felt deep inside that this was the right name.
      Again another silence, then more Bivalia dialogues; again another silence, then, towards the end of 2000, you did two dialogues with "Higher Self". This was essentially the same entity, but you were doing away with the name Bivalia because it didn't feel right, and you didn't want to keep using it. (I think you were put off it also by the discovery that "Bivalia" is the biological name for mussels.) "Higher Self" was not completely adequate either, but it would do for the time being.
      And now you come back again, and this time I'm just "Spirit". What's going on here?

      Michael: Oh, nothing much. I don't think my essential concept of you is all that different. Even the Counsellor from 10 years ago is pretty much the same being in my mind, although perhaps my mental concept of you is a little more focused now. I guess I'm getting a little wary of the idea of a person having a dialogue between their ordinary self and their Higher Self. It sounds a bit schizophrenic somehow. Well, not really, because it seems schizophrenia is not like a split personality, where one part has dialogues with the other - but it's the popular stereotype of schizophrenia. And I cringe a bit at the opening line of my most recent dialogue: "Hallo, my Higher Self". I mean, that does sound a bit narcissistic, a bit too self-adoring - which I don't think I am, anyway - but it sounds it.

      Spirit: I wouldn't worry about it too much; it is a mere form of words, and could have been written a bit differently. But an overall reading of the dialogues makes quite clear what your purpose is, and that it is a search for spiritual awareness, not mere self-worshipping.

      Michael: Well, be that as it may. I guess the dialogues can be seen in a lot of different ways. And I guess, by doing this, I should be prepared for a lot of criticism (if they get noticed by anyone, that is), just as Neale Donald Walsch has been criticized for writing his Conversations with God. His books have hundreds of reviews from readers on the Amazon.com web site, and the way some people described the books, I might well wonder what terrible, evil things Walsch has said, might wonder if he has horns growing out of his head and a forked tail and a pitchfork. One reviewer who seemed to be a Christian fundamentalist described his books as "soul poison" that would lead unsuspecting victims to Hell. I think another described one of the books as the most dangerous book ever written.
      I certainly don't see it this way, and in fact I tend to find fundamentalist bigotry and narrow-mindedness as more poisonous than the loving, open-minded views espoused by Walsch.
      Anyway, just to come back to my use of the term "Higher Self" in my two previous dialogues, I guess it was just a stopgap until I thought of something else better - and, today at least, plain "Spirit" seems better. Perhaps having discussions with your own Higher Self just seems a bit navel-gazing somehow.

      Spirit: If by that you mean it is introspective or reflective, what's wrong with that? Your society tends to be puritanically suspicious of that, we both know; but, if anything, your society has too little reflection, not too much. So why would you try to distance yourself from that? You've been introspective all your life, and never worried much about it up until now.

      Michael: Well, I'm not exactly trying to distance myself from it now, although I think I probably am more solitary now than ever before, and occasionally I think it's going a bit too far, although I'm not sure what I can do about it. But, as you know, I've long held the idea that our Higher Selves are not just tiny little spiritual islands floating up there somewhere in the ether, but that there is a higher sense in which they are linked - in fact, in a sense, all linked to God (or Spirit) - even a part of God.
      I guess to me "God" and "Spirit" are practically synonymous, but I often prefer the term "Spirit", and sometimes shy away from "God" because of all the voluminous religious baggage that term carries, which I discarded years ago, bit by bit, perhaps even beginning in childhood. I guess my use of the term "Spirit" now is an attempt to stress that connection with Spirit or God, and perhaps stress a bit less (although not deny) the aspect that identifies with my own Higher Self. I suppose it's a slight change of viewpoint or perspective - and I don't really think a very radical one.

      Spirit: Well, that's fair enough. It seems quite a good way to go.

      Michael: I guess in a sense I've having a conversation with God, or an aspect of God - although I say that with an acute awareness that the concept of the conversation with God is almost the personal property of Neale Donald Walsch, who wrote a series of books called Conversations with God, plus others such as Friendship with God and Communion with God.

      Spirit: This is true, and he is a man very close to Spirit. But you must never think of the concept of having conversations with God as his, or anyone else's, personal property; and I am sure he himself would be the last to think of the concept as his own property - although you probably do well to stay away from the title "Conversations with God".
      The act of conversing with God is the birthright of every being in the universe; and that most people in your society who bother to think about it at all regard it as monstrous arrogance to presume to talk with God is a sad commentary on the sorry state of their concept of God and of the place they believe humans occupy in the grand scheme of things. I am glad you are not being sucked into that way of thinking.

      Michael: I find that whole concept of God as being remote, and so impossibly above humanity that we cannot presume to approach him directly, but instead must subserviently believe unquestioningly in an intermediary as our only possible Saviour, to be a rather repulsive view of things. And of course it's all bound up with the common idea that God allows those who don't believe to go into eternal torment, although it's perhaps a slight sign of hope that some churches are tentatively groping very slightly away from that kind of thinking. But the churches have a million miles to go along that path before they begin to look attractive to me.

      Spirit: That's for you to decide; but I put no premium on organized religion as such myself. If it helps you, go ahead; if it doesn't, ignore it. But, as I see it, one of the great religious lies that is most common in your world is this idea that other humans, in the form of the writers of scriptures, or religious leaders, actually have control of your ultimate fate, according to whether or not you believe the things they say. I am as definite as I can be about anything that this is not so; no human controls any other human in that kind of way - even if what they say is true in other respects.

      Michael: In the months since we last talked, I haven't felt close to Spirit (which means you, I suppose), and have in fact been having a rather dark time subject to much depression. I really felt I would never again have another dialogue with you.
      Then, a little more recently, I've occasionally felt an urge to have a dialogue with you - when actual bits of dialogue between us spontaneously run through my mind, it's usually a sign that I'm ripe for a session with you. But in each case, the urge seemed to pass, and I found myself with nothing to say. (Sometimes I was away from home or otherwise engaged, and couldn't do it straight away.) I really felt as if I were sliding into a bottomless black hole.


      Spirit: Speak your thoughts, my friend.

      Michael: I'm just debating whether to delve into the theology of black holes with you or not.

      Spirit: If it's on your mind, it might be better to bring it out.

      Michael: I just mean, is it possible for anyone to fall into a black hole in a spiritual sense? Of course the Hell of Christianity and (I believe) Islam, is the most complete and ultimate kind of black hole: total hopelessness and pain, with no hope of release, ever.

      Spirit: No. There is no such thing, although people can find themselves in a state which, because of their long-standing beliefs, they perceive for the time being to be that. And of course religious teachers use the concept as an instrument of fear by means of which to control people's thoughts and actions. But that has nothing to do with either truth or spirituality.

      Michael: But wait - there's a bit more to this than that.
      I've occasionally read books about the hereafter: what the life after death is like, and how things work there. These accounts are either based on information channelled from a being who is over there, or it comes from near-death or out-of-body experiences. And I take this kind of information more seriously than I do the vague references in the Bible to a Hell or dark region, or the teachings of dogmatic religious leaders. And, while these accounts are overwhelmingly hopeful, there are accounts of people ending up in dark regions which could be seen as very like Hell. These regions often seem to be dark, cold and clammy, with nasty things slithering around, and people there seem to be immersed in a kind of profound stupor, hardly able to act or even think.
      One account I read many years ago, in a long-forgotten source, described someone as being at the bottom of a huge black pit, perhaps thousands of miles deep, and even just to climb a few feet out was a huge effort, and he tended to slide back down again.
      A few years ago I saw the fascinating film What Dreams May Come, which is set largely in the after-life; and I had earlier read the book by Richard Matheson that it is based on. Most of this story, which in the book version claims to be based on authentic after-life research, is set in a very pleasant, heaven-like region; but in both the book and the film version, there was a journey into a very gloomy, horrible, Hell-like region. The book and the film described this totally differently, but they do seem almost classic examples of the kind of dark regions I've sometimes seen described in books. (Golly, I don't think I'll ever forget that creepy image in the film of the infinite sea of tormented human faces stuck in mud.)
      So I guess what I'm saying is: is this vision of a gloomy after-life true for some people? Or can I just dismiss it all as yet more fear-based, negative spirituality? Can I just dismiss all the careful research that sometimes tells of this? If I do, then do I also have to dismiss the accounts which give an inspiring vision of the spiritual realm?

      Spirit: I see. You've put me on the spot, haven't you?
      Of course you can accept and reject whatever you like, based on whatever criteria you see fit to use. There is no law in the universe that says you must either accept all of something or none of it. If there are things that your sense of Spirit just tells you intuitively don't make sense, don't feel right, then you don't have to take them seriously. If there are other things that inspire you, that feel deeply right in some inner sense, then you would be crazy to discard them. That is what spiritual truth is; that is a part of what Spirit is, and the most accessible part of Spirit on the physical plane. If you discard what feels right, what is left? Mere dogma expounded by other people? There is nothing else beyond those two alternatives: either inner experience, or things said by other people - and even that ultimately comes from the experience of someone else, or sometimes just their uninformed, bigoted opinion of things. And whether it is right for them (and sometimes it is not, if only they knew it), that is them - it may not be right for you. The multiplicity of valid spiritual paths is ample evidence that it is by its nature a highly subjective question what is spiritual truth; there is no way known on your earth at present of arriving at a single, objective version of truth.
      Now to your questions about those dark astral regions. This is my take on it, although it may be limited itself. While I am Spirit, I am that part of Spirit you are capable of perceiving, and therefore anything I say is coloured by your own perception of things, and by your own intuition. This is as it should be - there is no other way on the physical level - and you should accept that that's the way it works.
      Bearing all this in mind, this is how I see things:
      I think some of these descriptions may be exaggerated, although I cannot deny that people can find themselves in trouble in the astral plane, just as they can on Earth. The whole point about the astral plane is that it is the plane of desire, and its counterpart, fear, and what you think in a very real sense becomes true. Because of this, it is not easy to set down limits to what one can encounter or experience there; it depends very much on what you think. If a person imagines himself in horrible, murky, dark regions full of horrible monsters or scuttling, slimy creatures, then he can conjure up entities of that sort; there are dark astral entities in existence, and when by thinking about such situations you create a kind of empty astral shell, they will rush to fill it and give it life. I know it's probably not what you want to hear - but this can happen.
      But just as such situations can be created, they can be destroyed, too - or transformed into higher energies. A person in such a situation can use the power of thought to weaken and disperse those energies, and can call upon help from Spirit in doing so. No-one is ever beyond the reach of Spirit if he wants to reach Spirit. And even if he has become so immersed in that dark astral level that he has lost the capacity for the time being to even think about Spirit, and is therefore incapable of desiring Spirit, all is not lost.
      For a start, because he does not (for the time being) desire something higher, he is perhaps not suffering as much as you might imagine, although I don't suppose he is exactly enjoying it, either. It's a bit like wallowing in self-pity: you're not enjoying it, and you wish you could do away with whatever it is that is causing the self-pity - but you do in a perverse kind of way enjoy it. In at least a mild form, I'm sure most humans have experienced this ambivalent state of suffering it, but sort of enjoying it at the same time.
      Furthermore, even if the person is incapable of calling on Spirit because he has sunk so far, the natural processes of evolution in the universe, which no-one can ever fall away from, tend to work on the person anyway, and eventually, even without any active participation or even awareness on his part, his consciousness would rise anyway. Nothing can stay that low indefinitely. And the rise in consciousness is exponential, too: the more you've risen, the faster the rate becomes. Eventually such a soul reaches a point where his consciousness is able to become aware of what is happening - in fact, eventually, cannot avoid becoming aware - and his natural desire for Spirit, in whatever form he conceives that, awakens, and he is able to work towards that, and help himself. The various angels or Masters who help such people are able to help once the person is open to that degree, and things get much better then.
      You are, I suppose, wondering if you are close to reaching such a state yourself?

      Michael: I don't suppose I seriously think I am; but, yes, the thought has crossed my mind.

      Spirit: I don't think you are remotely near it, myself. Considering that such a state is the end result of a person's consciousness - in fact, literally created by it - I would say you are light years from it. I will leave it to your imagination what kind of person we might be talking about whose thoughts and actions would create this kind of situation.

      Michael: I've heard that suicides end up like that, quite routinely. Lobsang Rampa wrote a detailed account (about 50 pages) in one of his books about what happened in the afterlife to someone who commited suicide. It was pretty awful, and all the time I was reading it, I felt an inner feeling of revolt against the injustice, the unfairness, of it all. And the Masters were really portrayed very harshly, a bit like some of my memories of the worst kind of schoolteacher.

      Spirit: Suicide can cause problems; but I don't see them as being of that order. I can't help feeling that this account has a rather pessimistic and jaundiced view of things.
      A person who suicides is either deeply disturbed or has been suffering badly, and needs help - and gets it in the next life. It is true that he cannot do the things he might otherwise do for a while - just like if you have a serious illness in your world a stay in hospital is required, and you have to postpone certain things for the time being. But I see suicide itself as a consequence of a serious problem - not as the problem itself.

      Michael: I don't suppose I'm likely to commit suicide, because I'm afraid of death; but I have at various times thought of it, and wished I had the guts to do it. I believe it is the right of anyone to do it, and I have strong feelings about the related issue of euthanasia, which has had quite a high profile in Australia in recent years - so, because of all this, I feel rather defensive about the rights of people to self-determination, including the right to end their lives if they see fit, if they find life unbearable or without hope.

      Spirit: It is their right; it is not always the best thing to do, though. I would agree that secular laws should not stop people making their own decisions in this matter - especially since they seem to be religious in inspiration. A lot of the opponents, including those in political power, oppose it for essentially religious reasons, and they are perfectly happy to enact laws that enforce their religious beliefs on all people. This is wrong, and laws which are enforced on everyone should be secular, and based on principles of obvious rightness or fairness - not on spiritual concepts that some people can accept, and some cannot.
      But, to answer your point, I would say that suicides receive the love and compassion and help they need, and are not treated nearly as harshly as some accounts seem to indicate.

      Michael: Anyway, I didn't really mean to go into that stuff about black holes and what leads you into them. It seems to me to be yet more fear-based spirituality; yet I can't dismiss it quite as easily as I can other fear-based ideas, because these accounts come from those sources of spiritual information which, taken as a whole, I find more credible.
      But I guess I have felt a bit on the edge of a precipice at times. And this is partly why I haven't been having sessions with you much.

      Spirit: Would you like to tell me why you've been feeling this way?

      Michael: Perhaps - but I don't know where to begin. Life just seems dark and hopeless, somehow. And I'm not even thinking primarily of recent events, such as all the unease arising out of the recent terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, although it does worry me what kind of world might grow out of this, and politicians are getting a bit too free and easy with proposing new laws that to my way of thinking flirt dangerously with fascism or totalitarianism, and I can't rid myself of the suspicion that they've long been looking for an excuse to curtail individual freedoms. I dislike and profoundly mistrust politicians, and think they simply long to exert power, to control our lives, and deprive us of freedom. And now we have little Johnny Howard's conservative government in Australia introducing sweeping new powers for ASIO [a], such as increased powers of surveillance, and the power to detain people without charge for longer periods of time (48 hours instead of the previous 4) - and various other things such as the issue of a compulsory national identity card raising its ugly head yet again.
      But don't let me get started on that. Let's just say that the current trend in politics, at least in this country, has worried me for some years, but recently it seems to be getting even worse.
      But, as I say, this is not primarily what worries me about life, although it doesn't help. It's more personal things than that. And it's causing depression in such a way that I'm not even sure I can tell you effectively what I mean. I mean, I can describe things all right - but my emotions seem so flattened that I just can't work up much passion for anything (whether it be inspiration or anger or even sadness), and I'm not sure I can really give you in words the feeling of what I mean.

      Spirit: I'm quite happy to settle for the plain description.

      Michael: There are various things - most of them old, and one comparatively new. I'll start with the new.
      I think, in our previous two dialoguges, in December of last year, I mentioned once or twice that there was something I thought I might mention to you, but perhaps not at that time, but which I might come back to later. I think I wanted to put it off, because I thought it would raise pessmistic thoughts, and would severely challenge your ability to respond in a helpful way, and thus destroy my rather fragile belief in you as a possible channel for Spirit.
      I checked those dialogues before starting this one, and I couldn't find all the references; but I think I did mention something to this effect a couple of times.

      Spirit: Yes, that's how I remember it.

      Michael: The fact is, for nearly a year now I've been bothered by a health problem which worries me very considerably, and which just about wrecks what quality of life I had, in the form of a persistent ringing in the ears that goes on most of the time. It started in November for no particular reason that I could see, although it did coincide with a time when my ears became slightly blocked with wax, as happens from time to time anyway. I thought it possible it could be causing it somehow, and hoped (without much faith) that having my ears syringed might fix it. I went and had it done, and it didn't.
      I really don't feel like running through with you the tedious round of appointments with doctors I went through, the tests I had done, and so on - but it hasn't got better, and I don't really think any of these doctors know what to do, although there are a few things to try I haven't got round to yet.

      Spirit: Well, don't you think it would be a good idea to try those options?

      Michael: I guess so. You'd think I'd try anything at all - but I think I have so little hope that anything will work that I just somehow can't be bothered. It seems so obviously like a drowning man clutching at straws. Now he might do that in blind panic, but would never do so as a result of a reasoned decision, because it would be so obviously futile. Well, the metaphor taken literally is perhaps a bit extreme; but I guess I'm feeling a bit like that. I'm sick and tired of going to doctors to no end (it often means having to get up painfully early for me, which makes me feel like death warmed up), and so I just put it off and put it off.

      Spirit: I suppose I'm just saying the obvious, but I think you should rethink that. You are obviously falling into a kind of lethargy and loss of hope that leads to you doing nothing, even when you know what to do.
      I see now why you were asking about whether you might fall into a black hole. But you know what to do. You don't know - and I can't tell you - how effective it will be; but you do know several things to do about this.

      Michael: Yes, I guess I should try that oil given to me by Christine S., the kinesiologist I saw a few months back. I don't actually much like the idea of rubbing oil onto myself, and am not sure if I believe in that anyway, and for those reasons I haven't used it yet, although I never at any point decided not to - I just didn't get around to it. But I guess I should at least try it. I went to her knowing the kind of treatment she would give, but I think I really went not so much for that, but because I felt the urge to talk with her about things. You see, when I saw her years ago, I found her a very spiritual person who seemed to understand me, and she somehow seemed a kindred spirit, and gave me that funny feeling I very occasionally get that someone seems deeply familiar somehow, even though I've never met them before.

      Spirit: In this life, at least. Yes, you have had much to do with her in the past, and have been very dear friends.

      Michael: I'd really like to be friends with her now; but it doesn't seem likely.

      Spirit: You never know what might arise; but it doesn't seem to be in the offing for at least the time being. But in future lives - well, that's another matter. I believe you will meet up again and be close to her again. Those rare, wonderful feelings of familiarity you have with people don't arise for no reason; they do have a real cause.

      Michael: Coming back to the tinnitus, I guess there are other options to try: tinnitus masking devices, dietary advice (I know I'm eating far from properly), maybe hypnotherapy, and various stuff. But, as I say, it all seems rather without hope.

      Spirit: I think you should try those things, plus any others you think of or are advised about, before reaching that conclusion. But still, I do understand why you think that way.
      You also know there are other aspects of your life that you are letting slide into stagnation, too - it might all be connected. You said you are not eating properly; but that is not simply due to laziness, but because you still haven't got your house in order, so you can't move your fridge into the kitchen yet, so you can store food properly - even though you have been in that house for nearly four years -

      Michael: Yeah, I know. It's grotesque, isn't it? I've been here for years, and still haven't got things in order. And there's a bit of painting I have to do before I can cook (to avoid, so I was told, damaging the woodwork with fumes).

      Spirit: WELL, DO IT THEN! Don't think about whether life seems futile and pointless, and you wonder whether there's any point in doing such things. Just do them becuase it will make life easier in the here and now. Perhaps cooking is not your favourite activity, but you can accept it, and certainly enjoy food, and are getting tired of takeaways all the time. You can't be too averse to the idea if you've been looking at your mother's recipe books, and typing into your laptop all your old favourite recipes. If you can get yourself organized - the paint, the fridge, the table, and so on - you can cook your own meals, and those old ones you like would be a good place to start. And your health might improve, too.

      Michael: I know all this; you're not telling me anything I haven't already thought many times.

      Spirit: Everything I tell you, on any subject, is things you already know at some level. That's the way Spirit works with humans. Genuine revelations, direct from Spirit, conveying genuinely new, life-changing information, are an extreme rarity for even the most spiritual person. And I think, if you could look into the minds of people who claim life-changing spiritual revelations coming all of a sudden, especially when a series of revelations are claimed, you would probably find that the majority of them are spurious in some way: either an outright hoax, an overactive imagination, or perhaps self-delusion. Once in a great while, it might be what it appears. But it's not the usual way things work: the kind of gradual growth and changing insight that your dialogues plainly expose are the usual way of spiritual growth, whcih is why I think your dialogues are such a valuable thing for you to do. But, I say again: everything I tell you is just stuff you already know; you just need to be reminded of it, need to be stimulated into thinking about it again, or in new ways. So don't be surprised if I tell you to go ahead and try to organize your life: not because it will lead to further spiritual awareness (although it could do that), but because it will make your life better in a very practical, immediate way - it will help you enjoy life better.
      Can I put it any more bluntly?

      Michael: You could - but thank you for not doing so. You can be disappointingly practical at times.

      Spirit: Only when I need to be. I can go along with the wildest flights of soaring imagination at other times, and our dialogues contain plenty of this. Perhaps that is not always the best response to a situation, though.
      You've thought of various things that really you should do, but they seem pointless and tedious, so you don't bother. It may be that some of them are pointless in the current context of your life. But I've seen you think this is pointless, that is pointless, and so on, in several different matters. But perhaps if you did all these things, they might interact in various ways and help create a new way of living, and have a point within that new context. When deciding whether something is worth doing it, evaluate that from the perspective of the way you want to live, not the current way you don't want to live.

      Michael: A lot of them are relatively small things, though.

      Spirit: It doesn't matter. Life is often small things, and the small things can lead to big things, especially in combination, in ways you can't foresee until it happens.

      Michael: Well, what about the tinnitus? That's the thing that most worries me, and I don't mind telling you that I've thought about suicide a few times. I don't mean seriously contemplated doing it, because I'm scared of dying - but thought about it as a serious option to take later, perhaps. I'm talking about a lot more than idle thoughts about whether it might be a option to consider. My fear is that not that I will commit suicide; but that, because of my fear of death, my despair will have to be all the higher before I actually do it. Basically, while I'm scared of death, suicide would be a real option once my fear of continuing to live outweighed my fear of death. And at times, with this hearing problem, I've felt dangerously close to reaching that point.
      It's ruining my life: I've been using sleeping pills most nights to get to sleep for a couple of months, and I can hardly read anything other than short simple stories or other items, and I'm a million miles from being able to compose music. (I need to get into the right emotional space for that, and I'm nowhere near it now.) And if this presages future hearing problems, as seems possible, then I obviously have no future in music. I'm no Beethoven in terms of sticking to it in spite of his hearing problems, and I'm haunted by the uncomfortable comparison with Beethoven with respect to hearing problems: he had tinnitus, then went totally deaf.
      I want to go to Adelaide to see Bob and Judy D.[b], and at one point was going to last autumn; but I have indefinitely postponed any such ideas, because my depression has made me feel that I might not be able to socialize wtih them without engaging in gloomy talk. I don't know whether they would merely put up with it politely, or whether they might even be genuinely interested to hear what's worrying me - but I just don't want to relate to them like that anyway. I want to go and enjoy good times with them, and talk about pleasant things.

      Spirit: Yes, I know what you mean. But you are basing these fears and possibilities on speculative ideas about the future. You don't know how you might cope with the D.s until you actually go there. And if you are gloomy and can't shake of depression even when you are with them, it won't be the end of the world. And it is certainly not a sufficient reason to avoid seeing old friends you feel close to, but have been out of touch with for many years, and long to see again. They could die within the year, and you would then kick yourself for not going while you could. I hope they won't, of course - but such things do happen, and people then spend years of torment regretting that they didn't act sooner.
      If you really can't shake off the gloom, you could always make the stay shorter, and at least you will have seen them. I'm sure they wouldn't mind at least a little of your expressing your current state of mind, and they might very well be far more help to you in dealing with it than you are currently imagining. Knowing the kind of people they are (yes, we all know each other up in the higher realms of consciousness), I would think it highly likely that seeing them again might be very helpful to you.
      As for the other things: you are disturbed that you cannot concentrate to read - but just because that is how it is now, you can't be sure that won't improve. Your emotional state is not good: but, like I say, the tinnitus could be caused, or at least affected, by psychological or emotional problems, diet deficiencies, and the like. You should at least try addressing those problems before being swamped with despair; they might all be interconnected in ways you're not aware of.

      Michael: Well, I don't know about emotional problems causing it. If anything, it's the other way around: the tinnitus is causing the emotional problems.

      Spirit: You are feeling worse because of this; but, before it came last November, your mental state, and the confused state of your life, were already far from satisfactory; you already had other things on your mind, and have had so for many years. That could have caused the tinnitus somehow, or at least made it worse, and that in turn is making your emotions worse now. You should take what steps you can to break this vicious circle soon. The sooner you do it, the easier it will be.

      Michael: Well, there are other problems that worry me, too.

      Spirit: There have been for years. None of them are new.

      Michael: I'm thinking about things like my fear of death. I'll admit it: I'm scared shitless of death, and have been for years. The only reason I'm not in a state of panic is because it has seemed distant enough that I could just put it off. But as the years go by, it seems more and more immediate.

      Spirit: Why are you scared of death?

      Michael: For two reasons: one is that I'm scared that death might be slow and painful and preceded by a horrible or disabling illness. I'm also scared of what might happen after death, too.

      Spirit: The black hole we mentioned earlier? Or even the Christian Hell?

      Michael: Well, something like that. Yes, I know we've had all this nice talk over the years about how loving God is, and how the spiritual truth of things is wonderfully far better than we can even imagine - but in the end I don't know whether all this stuff is just flowery rhetoric or not; I can't be sure that the real truth isn't, for instance, what the most narrow fundamentalist Christians say. I don't know for sure that I may not be headed straight for an eternity of torment in Hell because I'm unable to believe the Christian version of things.

      Spirit: I suppose, from that point of view, anything that someone or other claims to be true could in fact be true, so I don't suppose, out of the hundreds of mutually contradictory things that people believe on spiritual matters, that Hell has all that high a probability of being one of the true things. And, as I'm sure we've discussed many times, it just doesn't stand up to reason. It just makes no sense whatever for God to condemn anyone to a meaningless eternity of torment (meaningless because, being eternal, it can't serve any useful purpose). And if God is loving, as those people say, well, it's just contradictory. In other words, this whole system of belief makes no sense, and does not meet even the most modest standards of reasonableness. Because of this, I share your surprise that so many millions of people believe it.

      Michael: Well, I'm not saying I take the idea seriously. It's just that I can't shake it entirely. I have been exposed to it at various times, and I think it's done me damage. I think it damaged my view of God for years early in life, and I just have the niggling little feeling: "Just suppose, in spite of everything, it is true?"

      Spirit: Obvioiusly, any idea when focused on too much can take root and grow. Perhaps you don't think a lot about it now; but you did grow up with a Church-taught concept of a punishing God. And in the 1970s, probably mainly from loneliness, plus searching for some kind of truth, you did associate with groups such as the Jesus people and a Pentecostal church, who are strong on such ideas - and also Jehovah's Witnesses, who, although they don't believe in Hell, do have a rather punitive, strict view of God. Maybe you needed to do this at that time, although perhaps you overdid it a bit. At least it did help you in your spiritual growth, albeit in the negative form of telling you what God is not. Simpler than finding out what God is, although nonetheless important. But no doubt those experiences have left their mark on you. It will fade, and not cause undue trouble, if you don't fall back into constantly associating with such groups. You've been there and done that, and I don't see any need for you to associate on a regular basis with churches of that sort.
      But the fear of death is something we all have to deal with. It does seem to afflict you especially strongly, for reasons that don't seem clear. I would suggest that you just remain as close to Spirit as circumstances allow, and that you keep those inner hopes alive, however faint they may become at times. And you know what hopes I mean: those very deep longings you can't always identify, but which various things can give you elusive, poignant reminders of, which seem to embody the whole purpose for your living. Where that is, Spirit is never far away. If you can hold onto that, I feel the fear of death, although it may not go away, shouldn't become too troublesome.

      Michael: You hope. I don't find that one of your most convincing statements, and it didn't feel quite right even as I typed it, although it's the best I can render it.

      Spirit: I'm sorry if that's the best I can convey to you at present. I think what I was trying to say is very similar to things we've discussed before, and perhaps you can receive ideas from me better at some times than others. Like anything in your physical world, channelling information from Spirit is not perfect, and seems to work better at some times than others. But I think you see what I was getting at.

      Michael: Yes, I do. It's one of the themes our dialogues have explored again and again. I often feel as if we're just covering the same old ground time and time again.

      Spirit: Sometimes it is necessary to do that, perhaps to explore the same ideas from a different angle. Living is not easy, and you need to be prepared to come back to things again.

      Michael: I guess there are other problems that worry me, too - not only the fear of death. For instance, I worry about the pointlessness of life, although I guess that's at least related to the death question. Life seems overpoweringly pointless and futile. I alternate between feeling there's no point trying to do anything creative with my life, and feeling that maybe there is, but I don't have enough time left. (You might say there's plenty; but when you realize I'm so far behind in music composing skills, for example, and they take many years to acquire and hone, maybe my years don't seem so much after all.)

      Spirit: You could still try, although I agree that, compared to most composers, you are leaving it very late. But perhaps you are putting too much importance on composing as your main achievement. It might be that it is not the main thing you were meant to follow. And even if it was, you will not be judged on that - or on anything at all.
      Not that I mean you can just hurt anyone you like and get away with it. There are consequences which are not always pleasant, and the wrongdoer has to confront the true nature of his actions sooner or later - in the astral plane after death, where you cannot conceal your own feelings from yourself, if not in physical life - and has to change his ways. But no, people are not judged in the way it is commonly thought of.

      Michael: Well, that idea, while I don't know for sure if it's true or not, does not feature prominently in my outlook.

      Spirit: I know it doesn't; but the way you talk about achievement, about how you should compose this or that music, it does sound a bit at times as if you think life is an examination where you have to get as many marks as possible. And it seems you regard composing as your main trump cards, and you worry about not playing them well enough. Well, perhaps I need to correct this a little: but there are no trumps. Life is a no-trumps game.

      Michael: [LAUGHS A LITTLE.] You ought to have T-shirts made with that on them.[c]

      Spirit: Perhaps. But what I'm saying is that life is not an examination or a competition, and you don't have to win anything by making sure you play trump cards to best advantage. Life is about learning and growing in awareness and helping others when you are able to, and (needless to say) avoiding hurting others. These are things anyone can do, and they are not dependent on whether you achieve this or that.

      Michael: Difficult. I've always seen music, and especially the music I wanted to write, as a vehicle for exploring spirituality, for sharing it with others.

      Spirit: It can do all of that; but if for some reason you can't make it work, I know it disappoints you; but it doesn't really matter in the long term. There are other ways you can do all the spiritual stuff, too. But even if you can't find anything else, it doesn't matter nearly as much as you think. You don't have to do everything in this one life-time, you know. And progress can be invisible, anyway. Your writing of hundreds of pages of dialogue is evidence that you have more than a passing interest in making sense of all this stuff, which admittedly can be very confusing, and you are making more progress than you think you are. And no-one will judge you on this anyway, except possibly yourself - and you don't have to judge yourself.
      Every soul learns various things, and becomes aware that they made various mistakes along the way, and eventually they make progress in correcting that; but that needn't involve the kind of judgement that people in your world tend to engage in, and tend to think the spirit world uses as its main weapon in making people do the right thing.
      You aren't overtly into a judgement mode of thinking, but I still sometimes get at least slight feelings that you evaluate your own life too much in judgemental terms: you really should do this, you really should do that, and so on. Your apparent inability to write music is disappointing; but it is not as bad a thing spiritually as you seem to think. If you are still interested, you will merely pursue that at a later time (in this life or another one), and do other things now.

      Michael: You seem to be dealing with my problems one by one. I have to say that I don't find some of what you're saying quite as inspired as I've found other things we've talked about; but perhaps it wasn't quite as bad as I feared. You see, I think one of the reasons I've been putting off talking with you is that I knew these problems would come out in our sessions (they were already in mind in the two sessions of last year, but didn't actually come out then), and I feared you would either give me unconvincing advice that didn't give me any sense of hope, or didn't seem credible, or that you would just say nothing at all - that is, that in trying to write down your response, I would just run dry with a writer's block because I couldn't get anything from you on it. This would be likely to cause me to feel that our dialogues are just a charade (maybe they are), and that even the idea of conversing with Spirit or with one's Higher Self is nothing more than a figment of my imagination. That would strengthen the feeling that life is pointless and hopeless because nothing spiritual is real, and the physical world is all there is.

      Spirit: I see. But, if I had come out with either nothing or a reply that lacked credibility, you would also have to consider the possibility that the reason was just that you were not receptive at that time, and therefore couldn't receive what I wanted to tell you. In that case, you would just simply try again later, perhaps when you were feeling a bit better. It's not the end of the world if it happens. As it is, I'm glad that at least you haven't found it as bad as you feared.
      Any other problems? We might as well run through them all now.

      Michael: Well, this is beginning to sound a bit of an act we're doing, although the problems are real enough. I'm feeling quite emotionally neutral at the moment, so I can't feel much inspiration about anything, or much sadness or worry either.
      There are things like loneliness, too. I don't seem to make friends easily, and feel that I am probably unattractive to many people I might meet who could be potential friends. And I worry about old age: not only the possibility of illness which I mentioned before, but intense loneliness, too, because many of my few friends have died. They tend to be older than me, you see. I suspect it's going to hit me very hard when Mum dies, for example, and leave such a painful hole in my life. I think it's true what people say, that no-one cares for you like your mother does.
      Look, I want to finish this session now. I think I'm starting to get onto things that are important, but I feel so flat somehow that I don't think I can talk intelligibly about them, and I would prefer to defer them to when I'm feeling a bit fresher, and not spoil them by trying inadequately to talk about them now.

      Spirit: As you wish. Yes, I think you are flagging a little, and it's perhaps best not to go on for too long once that happens. I would suggest you come back in a day or two to finish what you had in mind to discuss further. Possibly your ability to receive the full clarity of what I want to say is a little impaired at the moment too. But I might perhaps make a general comment about these problems now, and leave it at that for tonight.
      All these problems certainly can seem formidable at times, and I don't have easy answers to them. In a way, these dialogues are your attempt to work through some of them. But I can tell you that they seem more oppressive at some times than at others, and that a lot is dependent on your state of mind and emotions at the time.
      I can't give you any magic bullets to directly solve those problems; but I can help you work through your general state of mind, and can make suggestions to help you improve that. I still think that if you do some of the more practical things I suggested earlier, about getting your life into order, the other things might either fade away, or resolve themselves in some way you can't foresee now, or you might just accept certain realities of life with greater peace of mind. It's very difficult to suggest more than that: thousands of years of philosophers and theologians have not come up with any better answeres.
      I know you had a few more things you've been wanting to discuss for a couple of months, and I hope you will come back to those soon.

      Michael: Maybe; the way I am now, I make no promises about anything.
      I suppose you might be tempted to think that I'm backing out of this session relatively suddenly because of a refusal to confront important stuff I should face; I don't think so, but if it were unconscious, I couldn't, by definition, be sure that wasn't the real reason.

      Spirit: In some situations this could indeed be the reason, although I had no particular reason to think it is the reason now. If you either didn't come back to the issue, or tried to come back but without success, I would begin to wonder if a refusal to face certain things were involved.

      Michael: Well, be that as it may. Whether or not it is the reason, it is a fact that I cannot discuss much more now, as for some reason I'm beginning to feel quite scattered, and peculiarly flat emotionally. I've been typing this for about five hours now, and I don't consider that too bad a session to resume contact with.

      Spirit: Indeed it isn't at all bad. You've done quite well tonight, although I know you're vaguely disappointed, even while realizing my response wasn't quite as bad as you feared it might be.
      My love is always with you, and I am always ready to help you in your life whenever you need it. Even when you don't think of me, I help you behind the scenes whenever I can, although I cannot directly violate your freedom of will.
      I will bid you good-night now, Michael, and ask you to come back soon.

      Michael: Maybe. Until then, good-night.
      Just an afterthought: seeing that I'm calling you "Spirit" now: are you my Higher Self, or are you God? Or something in between?

      Spirit: All of those. I appear to you in whatever form you are thinking of me at the time. Haven't you heard the New-Age saying?: The universe rearranges itself to fit your belief system. I think your belief about who I am, and the exact relationship between an individual's Higher Self and God, is in quite a fluid state.
      I think the question of whether I am God or your own Higher Self is perhaps a little less important than it may seem, because we are all a part of God in the end.

      Michael: What about those who insist that God is always, eternally separate from his creations, including us?

      Spirit: If you look at things from a certain perspective, that can be true. There is a sense in which you (and I too) are not the totality of God with all his creative power, life essence, and so on. But in my opinion, all life grows towards greater union with God, and eventually could be said to merge with God. The question itself doesn't seem all that important to me, and I think the universe will benefit more if people think in terms of oneness than in terms of separation, which has done your planet so much harm. And that includes focusing on oneness between all life and God, too - not separation. People can separate themselves from God if they choose to, or by default if they think in terms of separation. But they can bring themselves closer to him too, if they choose to, and think along those lines, and act it too. And the ultimate destiny of all life is this final union with God - it can't not happen.
      But I don't think you want to delve into theology at great length now; that was just an afterthought, wasn't it? And we have covered this topic before.

      Michael: Yes, it was only an afterthought prompted by the way I called you "Spirit" in this dialogue. I couldn't bear an in-depth theology debate now.
      Yes, I'm sure we've covered similar ground before. Much of what we discuss has a familiar feel to it now. I think I've passed that wonderful magical period early in our dialogues when we explored exciting new ideas and territory. I still feel there's more new stuff, but I can't seem to find it, or merely get faint hints of it.

      Spirit: Perhaps that phase is over now, although, as you say, there is new territory to explore. In fact, there is a universe full of new things, and you can't possibly exhaust it all. But you can exhaust those areas you are capable of perceiving now, and reach a kind of plateau. If that happens with us, our dialogues could drop off a little. This wouldn't matter nearly as much as you might think; but you could make some growth in awareness, and that could open up whole new areas to explore. It comes and goes in cycles.

      Michael: I sometimes feel that simply running out of things to discuss could be one of the reasons our sessions have dropped off a bit, or sometimes feel a touch stale.

      Spirit: It doesn't matter if that happens. You aren't necessarily meant to do these dialogues for ever, or even for the rest of this life.
      Perhaps one day we will achieve a union in such a way that you just write with my voice, and it's not a dialogue at all. That's what Neale Donald Walsch did: first he wrote a number of books in the dialogue format; but a more recent one appears just to be God speaking. You might one day want to do that, too, but shouldn't force yourself to until it feels like the natural thing to do. Least of all should you do it merely because Walsch has done it. It's not a race, you know.

      Michael: I never thought for one moment it was; and I don't feel ready to do that yet.
      I don't actually compare my dialogues with Walsch's work at all, although the format and some of the premises that I assume practically invite such comparison. If I published these dialogues (well, beyond the web site where I already have them), I bet I'd get a lot of flak as a kind of bandwagon-jumping "wannabe". The main reassurance I have about this is that my dialogues are not really very similar at all, in any detail, to Walsch's books, and I did conceive the dialogue idea and format well before I even knew about Walsch's work.

      Spirit: There may be a general similarity in format and premise; but, as I said before, the concept of having a dialogue either with one's Higher Self or with God is such a basic and fundamental one, a human birthright that ought to be taken for granted, that I don't anyone could rightly consider it the property of someone who happened to put it down on paper first. I think it would be marvellous beyond words if everyone jumped on the bandwagon and decided to write conversations with God - even the cynical kind such as the God: The Interview Terry Lane[d] published some years ago, using God as a prop to argue his atheist (and quite cynical) view of life. But at least he's thinking about the issues; and I would actually agree with much of what he said, as I know you do.
      But if everyone wrote conversations with God, even as a mere literary device, or as a kind of pretence or game, it would be wonderful beyond words. God would speak to humanity with a power and love without precedent, and Earth would become a paradise.

      Michael: Look, although this last bit was an on-the-spur-of-the- moment afterthought, I got the feeling I was warming up a bit after all, and was tempted to continue with some of the other stuff after all.

      Spirit: I don't think that's a good idea. You've had enough. Perhaps you can exchange light-hearted quips with me now - but I don't think you'd do sustained stuff proper justice. Make a note of anything you want to say, add it to the notes you already have, and come back when you're fresh. It'll be better that way.

      Michael: Yes, you're probably right. I think if I went ahead, I'd falter sooner than I'd like to.
      But this is one of the funniest dialogues I've had with you. I'm sure it will come out all scattered in thought - but it will just have to do.

      Spirit: It will do fine. Once again, you're comparing one session with another, instead of just letting each be what it wants to be. I don't think that's the most helpful way of viewing it.

      Michael: After a good night's sleep, I might look over it, and touch up any obviously bad bits - keeping the essence of what is conveyed of course.

      Spirit: That's up to you; you don't have to, though.

      Michael: Anyway, I think I'll say good night now, Spirit.

      Spirit: Good night, Michael. See you soon.


[a] Thursday, 4 October, 2001 - "And now we have little Johnny Howard's conservative government in Australia introducing sweeping new powers for ASIO":
      It's not important to the content of these dialogue - but, just in case you're not Australian and are wondering, ASIO, or the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, is one of Australia's main spy agencies.
      I don't normally introduce party politics significantly into these dialogues, although I might at times discuss the issues behind politics if they seem germane to the line of discussion; but it seems I couldn't resist a dig at Australia's current conservative government, which I deeply dislike. John Howard is the Prime Minister, and, perhaps because of his short stature (and also, according to some, his supposedly small mind), "Little Johnny" has become a fairly common put-down for him. [

[b] Thursday, 4 October, 2001 - "I want to go to Adelaide to see Bob and Judy D.":
      I spent over half my childhood in Belair and Stirling in the Adelaide hills, from about 1958 to the beginning of 1967, and Bob and Judy were family friends then. During the 1970s I was keen on riding in interstate trains, and made several brief trips to Adelaide on The Overland, and also stopped off there on the way back from two longer trips.
      On each occasion I visited Bob and Judy, and I feel quite close to them - even though I've not seen nearly so much of them since 1980, when I seemed to stop train travelling. But I really feel a connection with them, somehow, and it does seem to me there's always something very special about people you've known from very early in life. [

[c] Sunday, 9 February, 2003 - "... there are no trumps. Life is a no-trumps game.":
      For non-card-game-players, the analogy here is with a Misère bid in a card game such as Solo. Most rounds are played with a particular card suit designated as trumps, and any trump card, however low in rank, outranks any non-trump card, however high in rank - so the trump card will always in the trick (unless outranked by a higher trump card played by someone else). But if a player makes a Misère bid, and is not outbid, then the round is played with no trumps: all suits are equal in status, and a trick will be won only by the highest card in the suit led.
      This presumably makes the four players closer to being equal (if a player is dealt many trump cards in a trump round, that gives the player a considerable advantage), and Spirit appears to be using this no-trumps analogy to suggest that we humans are not as unequal as it appears, in the ways that ultimately count, because (it appears to be suggested) the talents some of us may have are not so important from the point of view of one's spiritual growth. [

[d] Thursday, 4 October, 2001 - "... to write conversations with God - even the cynical kind such as the God: The Interview Terry Lane published...":
      Terry Lane is an A.B.C. radio interviewer and current affairs program presenter. The book is in the format of a long interview with God, with an additional autobiographical piece explaining how Lane arrived at his views about God. He trained for the priesthood early in life, but the suffering he witnessed in institutionalized retarded people as part of his pastoral training stripped him of any faith in God, and, going by his public utterances on his radio program, he now seems to be quite hostile to religion and belief in God.
      The book uses the interview format purely as a vehicle for explaining his views about God and religion, which amount to a quite militant atheism and deep cynicism about religious institutions or churches. The stuff about church history would make your hair curl, and appears to be quite well-researched, as far as I can tell.
      The book is written in a rather wise-cracking style that might possibly to some extent disguise the serious points it makes; for instance, an aunt of mine read the book, enjoyed it hugely, but she thought it was mainly an entertaining joke, and apparently didn't see the serious and perfectly valid theological points it makes.
      Just because someone is an atheist doesn't mean they can't come up with valid and perceptive points about God; and I have to admit there's a lot that can be argued in favour of atheism. [

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