First Steps

I have told the story elsewhere of how I met someone in a bookshop in London who initially opened my young mind up to the reality of the spiritual world. But briefly, this person was in his early sixties and had been at one time a Benedictine monk before later exploring Buddhism and Indian spirituality with the Ramakrishna mission. A typical spiritual dilettante, you might think, who had hopped from one thing to another but never stayed anywhere long enough to go deeply into anything. But that was not the case. He was a genuine seeker who had been unable to find a spiritual home. He was, and remained until the end of his life, a Christian and a churchgoer but he could not completely reconcile any outer approach with his inner feelings, something I think that is more and more common today. Now we have the opportunity to explore many different kinds of spirituality which is surely to our advantage but I wonder if it is an unalloyed good. In the past there was usually just one approach to spirituality so that is the way we would have taken. Now, with everything on offer, there is a tendency for confusion and the dissipation of energy in several different directions. Swings and roundabouts I expect, but even so when there is too much on offer we might miss the spiritual truth behind forms because of a preoccupation with all the different forms and an attempt to match them up to each other.  It can become a little academic.

This meeting set my life on a new course. It gave it a purpose and direction that had been lacking because it introduced me to the inner side of spirituality whereas previously I had only been aware of the outer side. I won't repeat here what I wrote in my book but I should say that eventually it turned out that the person I had met, Michael Lord by name, was a medium and able to act in this capacity for spiritual beings who showed themselves to be wise and profound teachers, as well as thoroughly conversant with my personal shortcomings and the lessons I needed to learn.

I am aware of the problems with channelling as it is called now, though I tend to resist that description in my case as it is so often associated with communications which largely come from discarnate beings in what Christians would call purgatory or limbo but who imagine themselves to be in higher realms and speak accordingly. However the baby and bathwater analogy applies here as it does in so many other cases and it would be a shame if faithful Christians rejected all spiritual contacts merely because some, or even most, come from dubious sources. Believing nothing is as mistaken as believing everything and if one exercises due discrimination as well as subjecting the fruits of any contact to the light of Christ, one should be well placed to extract some benefit from them.

At the same time, despite my experiences, I would not advise anyone to place too much confidence in any message or teaching received mediumistically. Always exercise discrimination and know that even if the source is genuine, in that it is not a demon or something issuing from the medium's own mind, it may well be overestimating its own spiritual stature. The realms beyond this mortal one are vast and can incorporate spirits of great intellect who are nonetheless still separate from God and whose metaphysical understanding, though 'spiritual', may yet reflect that, probably unacknowledged or even unrecognised, separation.

That this was not the case with the beings who spoke to me through Michael is obviously something I cannot prove, but I do think that anyone who reads their words as recorded in the book I wrote about the experience should be able to sense a little of their authority. As far as I am concerned they were members of the kingdom of heaven, part of that vast throng of spirits who are one with God and who comprise humanity's best saints and sages. They taught me in this way on and off for about 20 years, a lot at first, less as time went by as they are not ones to spoon-feed and it was assumed I had the sense to learn from them without the need to have the teaching reinforced by constant repetition. I am genuinely puzzled as to why they took what must have been quite a lot of trouble over me. But I suppose this dedication of service to their juniors is what distinguishes a real saint. As they themselves told me, 'sometimes the less evolved can only advance through the loving sacrifice of the more evolved'.

Looking back I would say that the chief lesson I learned from them was the reality of God. They did not speak of God that much but they demonstrated his reality in themselves. They also told me to think of them as messengers from God which I did and do. God sends his messengers to us in many forms, and though it may be in a direct way like this, that is by no means usually the case. We have to learn to keep our spiritual eyes and ears open. For a long time I didn't speak of them to anyone (except Michael, of course) and that was not only because I assumed most people would think I was naive, gullible, stupid or mad but because to speak of them while they were still speaking to me would have seemed a kind of profanation. I can't explain it better than that. If they had suggested I should speak of them to others then naturally I would have done so but they didn't so I kept silent.

Since Michael died and they no longer speak to me in any outer sense I feel it not only legitimate but right to talk of the experience. I am certainly not their ambassador but I have had the huge benefit of being talked to by genuine spiritual beings and it makes sense to share that, however amateurishly, in this benighted age. For I can confirm that such beings really do exist and in themselves are the nearest thing to a concrete proof of a loving Creator we could expect, short of personal revelation.

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