(Concluded from Part One, yesterday.)
The Ascension of Dr. G.
“There are natural periods in our time here and … I am approaching one of them. I could perhaps disregard the intimations and stay on here, but if I did so I should be perverting the pattern. So you see that even paradise may not be enjoyed for too long lest it thwart one’s proper growth. … I am growing old in this body and shall soon be done with it. Then I shall go on to explore this wonderful universe in another level.” [Spirit whom Lawrence refers to as “Dr. G” discussing his approaching ascent to a higher plane.] (1)
Even as he spoke, … the illumination of his wise spirit made a glory all around him and was more convincing than many words. [Not Ascension yet.] (2)
[Dr. G.] is continuing his usual work with his students and is always available to his friends but we watch the progressive concentration of his life into a glowing interior brightness. It is as though the light and warmth that normally flow out from him to bless his friends is being withdrawn and collected within so that this illumination burns through and is wasting away his outer lineaments. (3)
I had heard of this second death (4) and transition to the next sphere but my own development is as yet so imperfect that I had not given it any serious thought. Now it seems that I may be privileged to watch it happening to another. (4)
Death bears an aspect of gloom while one is on earth and cannot see beyond it, but now one can see that death [i.e., ascension to a higher plane] is a simple change of condition necessary for growth. As our present [spirit] body fulfils its purpose and is outworn the succeeding and more glorious form glows through it and a gradual metamorphosis begins which finishes in a period of unconsciousness and an awakening in a higher sphere (i.e., Ascension). (5)
The end came suddenly. I called on him and was told that he was sleeping. We stood around and watched his still form and the light which waxed and waned there. In a breathtaking second the change came. The light gathered itself together and burnt itself to a keen thought of light so intense and inward that we gasped and turned aside. Then it had gone and only a wraith of our friend remained which shrank away and disappeared as we watched.
We sat speechless, absorbed in the beauty and meaning of the transition. It was long before anyone broke the silence and then one said: ‘I have heard that some time is needed for a spirit to get used to the new conditions, just as we needed time to adjust when we first came here, so we must not expect our friend to come to us yet. I suggest that when an interval has elapsed we should meet here again and wait and hope for his coming.’ We agreed to this and went off full of thought to our various occupations. (6)
Dr. G. has kept his promise to come to us but he appeared when we were least expecting him. Some few of us were sitting quietly talking when his voice suddenly took up the parable and as we looked up, startled, we saw the outlines of a form which speedily filled in and took substance and there he was among us again.
He brought with him an exalted air and we felt his presence as a spiritual baptism, a stream of pure joy absorbed hungrily by our thirsty beings. Light and happiness glowed up in us too with the pleasure of heightened being. He stayed only a short time, made a characteristic remark about the “sordid fog” in which we chose to live and left us again. We knew how to interpret this; his finer being could only with difficulty tolerate our conditions and to try to detain him would have been unkind. (7)
As to the questions we put to [Dr. G., from a distance], they were at first mainly to do with the conditions of his new life and he did his best to describe them to us. He had the same difficulty in conveying the differences to us as I have in making our conditions clear to an earth intelligence. (8)
In the transition from plane to plane alterations in the scope of consciousness produce baffling changes in the very framework of thought; categories of space and time are radically modified so that to an unchanged consciousness, more limited in its scope, these are almost incommunicable. His world was like ours, he said, but matter was more fluid and more easily influenced by thought.
Here on this plane, as I have said before, a desire to find any person or place sets one’s feet moving in the right direction; there, Dr. G. told us, transit is swifter and more independent of the time-space factor. One’s movement is almost simultaneous with one’s thought so that to desire to be with friends is to find oneself among them. The speed with which thought is translated into act and the lessening of material hindrances to desire is all part of the increased tempo of living and since one’s body is now far lighter and more responsive, such a speed of living feels right and natural to it.
Language is less used and thought and feeling are directly and fully apprehended. Ease in all the processes of living speeds up its rate so that even the swiftness of exchange among [Lawrence’s group] is to [Dr. G.] tedious and sluggish. Light, the concomitant of life and an index of its speed and intensity is far more keen and pure. Colour, he tells us, is less to be seen by the eye, but its essence is piercingly known by the spirit. So with all the joys of the senses; they are there in a purity of essence which makes all our slower, more outward enjoyment like a vague dream. We got here a swift glimpse of an entirely different way of sensing one’s world: by a direct and immediate spiritual awareness of its spiritual qualities. (9)
(1) T.E. Lawrence through Jane Sherwood, medium, Post-Mortem Journal. Communications from T.E. Lawrence. London: Spearman, 1964, 76.
(2) Loc. cit.
(3) Ibid., 78.
(4) Ibid., 77.
(5) Loc. cit.
(6) Ibid., 78-9.
(7) Ibid., 83-4.
(8) Ibid., 84.
(9) Ibid., 84-5.