A Pre-Joseph Philosophy.
Metaphor is a very powerful tool. Both Rod Serling, creator of the Twilight Zone, and Gene Roddenberry, creator of the original Star Trek series, understood that power. Understood that they could present screenplays that at core examined and commented on the human condition by anchoring them in fantastical settings and on other planets, thus making them acceptable and entertaining to their audiences. Wrapped up in the guise of science fiction and fantasy drama, they could offer morality tales regarding sex, drugs, war, oppression, spirituality and many more highly relevant themes in a weekly format that became essential viewing for their devotees.
When I took Sunday services many years ago at over fifty spiritualist churches across the country, the ‘philosophy’ segments of such meetings presented me with an opportunity to air – as metaphor – many spiritual concepts important to me and of great relevance to all souls here, couched in stories that the congregations could hopefully relate to and be drawn into. Each ‘philosophy’, one of which is below, came into being as a result of me first asking the Divine and Joseph’s soul group for something relevant and appropriate to say during each service. Sometimes the theme would eventually come to me following hours of pacing with a blank mind and an increasing sense of despair. At other times a story would arrive quickly and fully formed, and would be anchored in my mind as ‘whole cloth’, enabling me to recall it without notes over the course of what was typically a twenty- to twenty-five minute address.
A measure of the success of these ‘philosophies’, which I attribute almost entirely to higher authority rather than to my humble self, was reflected at the time in the fact that a dedicated group of people would follow me from church to church to hear them – much preferring something that offered them some spiritual concept to consider during the service as opposed to a sole focus on clairvoyance which, due to time constraints, could only be offered to a limited number of attendees during each service.
Here then, is ‘Collateral Damage’ the third in the Soul Group Parables series – a story recalled from those far-off days which I hope many readers can relate to, considering parallels of unrest on both the domestic and global fronts and the consequences, from a spiritual perspective, of such occurrences.
It wasn’t much of a marriage.
Technically, it wasn’t a marriage at all currently.
Oh, they’d kept the piece of paper in a drawer – the certificate – and there’d been a ceremony some years ago. With flowers. And confetti. And a cake. And champagne. But right now there really wasn’t a lot of love lost between them.
Most evenings they argued, and tonight was no exception.
‘…What do you care what I think?’ Sam – the husband in name only – bellowed.
‘Think? You? That’ll be the day!’ Mary – the aggrieved wife – screamed in reply.
Half a world away, somewhere very hot, a bearded man in a simple white robe stood quietly by a river.
He watched and took note as a few small pebbles vibrated and trembled, dislodged themselves from the river bank and skipped and bounced down into the water.
He slowly walked away, sadness in his eyes.
Back in England the situation got worse. Much worse. Sam’s mind was finally made up. He would divorce Mary. There was simply no alternative, he considered grimly, as the garden simply wasn’t big enough to bury a body in! In all seriousness he wouldn’t have done anything like that, but he had to admit there had been fleeting micro-seconds lately when his thoughts could only be described as murderous. It was time for him to get out.
Around a year later, just as the divorce papers were being finalised, he was once more called to active duty. He had served in the Army Reserve, and was now required to take part in what his recall-to-duty papers termed a ‘peace-keeping exercise’, in a country with sun and sand and palm trees.
He knew quite a lot about half-track vehicles, and also quite a bit about the ordnance they could carry and how to operate it, and in a matter of weeks he found himself standing on the flat bed of a swaying half-track gripping the handles of the large gun mounted there on the day when the terrorists had finally been tracked down.
They’d been picking off members of his platoon for days, but slowly the tables had been turned and the reservists now had them cornered in a rundown block of flats located at the end of a dusty street.
It was fully intended that they should be taken prisoner but it quickly became clear that the terrorists were, initially at least, much more inclined towards a fight to the death.
Suddenly, as soldiers surrounded the building in armoured cars and half-tracks and bullets pinged out from the windows of the building in response something in Sam’s head just kind of snapped. It was as though all his pent-up frustrations regarding his failed marriage and the lousy life he’d been living at home, plus the grinding down effect of long days spent crouching behind rocks in this God-forsaken place in blistering heat had come to a head. Logic went out the window and he exploded with rage. He found himself quite unable to remove his hands from the trigger mechanism of the big gun. He swung the gimballed firearm from left to right in great vicious, sweeping arcs, aiming at the building and screaming at the top of his voice as the volley of shells he unleashed tore into the flats, shattering window panes, pulverising wooden doors and reducing the cement of old walls into little more than a ragged lace curtain.
He was still screaming at the top of his voice when the surviving terrorists ran out, finally accepting the inevitability of their position, weapons tossed out ahead of their emergence from the building, hands laced behind their heads in surrender.
Still screaming as he shot them down.
Still screaming as he watched their bodies crumple into the dust.
Still screaming as he struggled against the strong hands dragging him away from the gun.
His screams turned to bitter, hopeless tears then, and from that moment onwards his life changed forever.
At the exact point the blind rage had seized Sam, in another far-off and very hot place, a bearded man in a white robe eyed the modest little river beside him with a worried look as a large boulder dislodged itself from its banks, rolled down and splashed into the water. Hairline cracks could be seen in the compacted soil where the rock had been sitting. And they were growing in size. Travelling. Opening up across the Earth-like wounds.
Nerves could be seen working in the man’s jaw. His brow furrowed. Trouble was brewing.
* * *
There hadn’t been a court martial. Any embarrassing unpleasantness had been carefully avoided, the reasoning from higher up being that the terrorists would never have survived the encounter anyway, and that any action taken would likely have led to the same, inevitable conclusion. Sam was, however, forced to resign from the Army Reserve. Pensioned off. Ushered out quietly by the back door, so to speak, with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of secrecy regarding the event and with his reputation still intact.
Each night from then on he suffered from recurring nightmares… Visions of the terrorists. Their faces looming large at him from out of the surrounding darkness. The dreams always ending in the same way: he would jerk bolt upright in bed; awake, drenched in sweat, eyes wide open. Conscience stabbing at his mind and heart like a knife. …What had he done? …What had he done?
Sam returned to civilian life but, growing increasingly unhappy, he decided to leave his secure occupation of many years and set out for a certain hot country, into the unknown. Not to destroy this time, but to build. A builder and carpenter by trade, he knew as a result of extensive research that the inhabitants of this particular part of the world badly needed adequate shelter. The pay wasn’t much, but that wasn’t important. As he cemented one brick to another, and erected walls instead of tearing them to pieces, he felt he was in some small way doing something positive to atone for what had happened that day amidst the heat and the palm trees.
A peaceful little river ran close to the village, and in his rest periods he would take himself off and sit on its banks, watching the smiling faces of the children as they splashed and played in the water and washed and watered the community’s livestock.
* * *
The wave came from nowhere.
It beat against the river’s banks, pounding them into nothingness and spreading rapidly to completely submerge the surrounding countryside.
Adults, children and animals were swept away in the blink of an eye.
Instinctively Sam found himself clinging to the trunk of an ancient tree with firm roots and hauling himself up into its topmost branches as the water clawed and sucked at his legs and ankles.
As he hugged the branches for dear life, he could see the massive wall of water turning buildings into matchwood and sweeping people away like dolls, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake and reducing the village to a saturated wasteland of debris, mud and murky water.
Suddenly everything went quiet.
And Sam screamed into the silence as he had done during that fateful incident with the terrorists.
This time, however, he addressed his rage at the sky. He shook a tightly clenched fist at the heavens. Bellowed in anger at God. ‘Why? Why!! Why did you let these things happen? How can you allow things like this to take place?!’
Through his tear-stained eyes the clouds looked blurred, but then he focussed on something extraordinary, suddenly becoming aware of someone standing beside him.
He must be hallucinating, he thought…because how else could a bearded man in a simple white robe appear next to him and seem to be hovering calmly in mid-air at tree height above the wave of destruction below?
The man uttered the single word ‘Come’, offering Sam his outstretched hand.
So compelling was the tone of his voice that Sam let go of the branches he had been clinging to, took the man’s hand and discovered that, instead of falling as he had fully expected to, he, too, was suddenly floating in mid-air next to his robed companion.
‘Walk with me,’ was the spirit’s next instruction, and Sam did exactly as requested without question, convincing himself at this point that he must be dead… that he must have drowned in the tsunami and not realised it. What other possible explanation could there be for his current circumstances… for his ability to ‘fly’?
They treaded thin air and moved silently forwards together, rapidly leaving the scene of devastation below them far behind. The landscape of the hot country spooled out beneath their feet, but then, as their forward motion continued and increased they also began to soar upwards, momentarily becoming immersed in cloud before emerging into a deepening blue sky. Climbing higher still, they eventually came to a gentle stop at a point so elevated they could observe the whole of the Earth below them from their vantage point. Not even wondering why he was still able to breathe in Earth’s orbit, Sam looked down in awe at the magnificent spectacle below him, taking in the blues and greens of oceans and continents he had only previously seen from this perspective in school books and maps. Then he began to take notice of a curious phenomena below him: little outpourings – little ‘bursts’…’explosions’ of dark energy that seemed to be erupting here and there from every continent. From every sea. Puzzled by what these grey and black clouds could possibly be he turned to his companion.
‘You are observing the effect that humanity’s violent and negative thoughts and actions are having on the planet,’ the spirit explained. ‘The build-up of such vibrations, pushed out daily and repeatedly by billions of souls, falls to Earth, as it were, as an irritation that penetrates and wounds and infuses the planet and eventually results in what you perceive of as heaven-sent natural disasters. Humans are not the helpless victims of such occurrences they believe themselves to be… they are, in fact, the cause of them. God did not generate or cause the violence of nature you just witnessed. Your thoughts did, in conjunction with the combined thoughts of a similar frequency generated by so many others…’
Sam looked crestfallen. ‘But come…’ said his companion. ‘Let me show you something far more positive…’
He then experienced the sudden sensation of rapid upward movement for a second time. It ceased as suddenly as it had begun, and Sam found himself immersed in a dimension and an atmosphere and a landscape so beautiful it took his breath away. He sensed this could be nowhere on Earth. He was definitely in a ‘somewhere else’ situation. The fields around him were a delightful purple. The sky above him a perfect, cloudless blue. Trees, bushes and flowers, exquisite in colour and form, glowing with shades he had never seen before, punctuated the gently rolling hills on all sides.
He could hear carefree young voices behind him, and turned to discover, to his surprise, children he recognised from the village… children he had seen swept away by the wall of water just minutes ago… now at play, under the watchful eyes of serene looking souls dressed in robes of the same white as that worn by his companion.
The man in the white robe smiled at him and gestured towards the children. ‘Unharmed,’ he said. ’All of them. …Spirits returned to their true ‘Home’. Such a pity they had to arrive here as a result of such violence, when a change in thinking and approach to life by humanity would quickly eliminate such untimely and distressing deaths forever.’
‘Come’ he said. ‘I have much more to show you.’
Again the upward movement as the spirit took him to other fabulous destinations in the spiritual spheres – in higher vibrational realities.
He found himself witnessing an impressive building being thought into existence by people – spirits in robes – sitting on lush green grass in groups, their eyes closed. He watched as the building constructed itself out of thin air as a result of the group’s wishes and creative thoughts and intentions taking form.
Next he was taken to another sphere where, in a kind of pleasant hospital, a middle-aged woman lay, eyes closed, on a bed and was being thought back to health by people grouped around her bedside. He could see energy – Light – streaming out from them and towards the woman. As he watched her face changed – became younger – until eventually she opened her eyes and smiled.
‘She just recently arrived here,’ the spirit explained. ‘She hadn’t up until this point fully realised that, as a spirit, she could not be ill. She could not be unhealthy. The love-energy being streamed to her by these souls has helped her to remember that.’
‘Time to go back, but before we do so let me reiterate: God doesn’t cause the disasters you are experiencing on Earth in big and in little ways every day. …Humanity does. You do. They happen as a result of your negative thinking and actions.
‘You contributed to the disaster you found yourself involved in today via your negative and discordant thoughts throughout your life. …A few pebbles here. …A crack in the rocks there… Negative thoughts, added to the negative thoughts of millions of other people, quickly become a potent and destructive force.
‘If you would change things positively on Earth build new houses by all means, but also begin to build a different type of future for yourselves and your planet by thinking in the right way. Violence causes more violence. Aggression perpetuates aggression. Each day you can make a positive difference by thinking and acting in a different way – in the right way. By acknowledging, recognising and sending out the Divine Light that is to be found within your heart. By visualising it surrounding everything and everyone in your mind’s eye. By choosing love instead of anger. Light rather than darkness.
And with those words the man disappeared and suddenly Sam found himself clinging to the tree again, holding on for dear life as the waters swirled and churned below him. Then he heard the sound of a helicopter approaching him.
He waved frantically, was spotted and was quickly winched to safety.
As he was being flown to hospital he considered the life-changing things he had seen and all that the spirit has said to him and, for the first time in his life, he reached within himself and discovered the Light in his heart, which he then tried to send out into the world, something he would do each day from that day onwards.
* * *
Halfway across the world, at that very moment, a tiny flower pushed its way through a patch of rough soil and struggled upwards into the light.
It was watched by a bearded gentleman in a white robe, who crouched down next to it, cupped his hands around it and added his thoughts of love to its life force.
It slowly began to unfold its petals.
And he smiled.