I would agonise each and every week…
I had chosen to take Sunday services at spiritualist churches whenever possible as, rather than offer the congregations wall to wall clairvoyance as midweek services did, these also included a ‘philosophy’ section, which I considered to be the most important part of the proceedings. I viewed this philosophy ‘half hour’ as an opportunity to offer people something to think about; to present them with spiritual concepts they had perhaps not considered before.
Some mediums looked at the philosophy segment an aspect of the service to be quickly skimmed through, and their philosophies were basically the same basic message reheated and served up again each time they visited a church. Others put considerable thought and effort into what was said and worked hard to touch the hearts and souls of their audience.
I regularly sweat blood over my philosophies. I wanted, in those pre-Joseph days, to make each service count, and to leave congregations with concepts they could mull over and take home. ‘If I make them think, I’ve done my job,’ was my personal philosophy. Prior to each service I would take myself off into the countryside or head somewhere quiet, pace up and down and pray – ask that I be given something that would resonate and make a difference in the hearts and minds of those it was intended for.
Sometimes I would stay outdoors for hours until inspiration struck. Sometimes a theme would come to me ‘in a flash’. Uniquely, I would always be given teachings in story form, usually with three separate but linked parts to each tale, and I would memorise these prior to the service (I hate reading from notes).
Jane recently unearthed a whole stack of these stories as hard copies, plus a wad of testimonials and a sheath of notes from the various workshops I used to take. Revisiting these I thought it might interesting to offer, as this time’s ‘long read’ article, one such story from the philosophy pile – inspired by higher vibrations (by the soul group, actually, before Joseph made conscious contact and began to dictate his books through me) and offered here for the first time in at least twenty years.
Ladies and gentlemen – you are sitting in silence in a church, and the medium at the lectern happens to be me. The clairvoyant section of the service has been brought to a close with a hymn. It’s time for a change of gear, for the ‘philosophy’ section… I take a deep breath and begin by saying I’d like to share a story with you all, which goes by the title of:
…We’ll call him ‘the graduate’ – a clever and capable man.
Intelligent. Witty. In possession of a recently minted first class honours degree in Graphic Design.
Why, then, we find him wondering, is he still out of work almost two years to the day after leaving university?
It is yet another Monday morning and, as he has done every Monday for the past few months, he finds himself standing outside the Post Office with a meagre amount of currency in one hand, the result of having cashed the weekly benefits cheque that allows him to pay the rent but covers little else.
Stuffing the money into his pocket he walks slowly back up the street towards the block of flats where he lives. Ahead of him, by the side of the road, he can see a man anxiously staring at two flat tyres on a big silver BMW. They have been viciously slashed and the man seems close to panicking. His mobile phone is clamped to his ear but he’s obviously having trouble making the thing work. ‘Come on, come on! Useless piece of junk!’ he growls at the device. The graduate shakes his head in disbelief at the damage to the tyres as he passes by the man. ‘Whatever is the world coming to?’ he thinks.
A little further up the road he arrives at the newsagent’s shop where he sometimes invests in a morning newspaper. The owner is standing outside the shop with his back to him, sweeping shards of broken glass from the payment into a large shovel. The graduate is shocked to discover that the shop’s windows have been smashed during the night, doubtless an act of vandalism, and that pieces of broken glass have showered the interior, contaminating chocolates, papers, soft drinks – every item of stock in the place. He sighs to himself as he walks past. Things in this neighbourhood are going from bad to worse.
A little further up the street the young girl sits huddled in the spot against the wall and on the pavement she has for some months now claimed as her own, and from which she asks passers-by for money. He always avoids the young woman’s gaze as he doesn’t have enough money for himself, let alone a little something extra to give to a homeless person. He feels terrible on her behalf. People shouldn’t have to resort to begging in a civilised society.
As he mounts the steps that lead up to the block of flats where he lives he finds himself inching past the man with the florid face who lives in one of the flats on the floor below him. He is struggling with a large and heavy box that all but obscures his vision and is having difficulty negotiating the double doors of the entrance.
The graduate nods a greeting, rolls his eyes in a ‘what are you going to do?’ gesture and slips by his neighbour who is propping open one of the doors with his back. He trudges up the three flights of stairs that lead to his modest flat, unlocks the door and kicks it shut behind him with his heel. He makes straight for the half bottle of whisky a friend gave him for Christmas, seats himself at the worn Formica table by the window that overlooks the street and pours himself a glass. As he sips the liquid fire he closes his eyes for a moment, mulls over the troubles and problems he’s just witnessed and speculates to himself, ‘There must be somewhere better than this. There MUST be a better place than this!’
Opening his eyes he is shocked to somehow suddenly find himself standing back on the street outside the Post Office with the money from his cashed cheque clutched in one hand. Everything around him is exactly as it had been a few minutes ago. Got to be an hallucination – but it all seems so real. A slim man in his late fifties or early sixties with distinguished-looking, greying hair and wearing a smart business suit walks up to him and asks with a concerned expression: ‘Are you all right? You seem a little disorientated.’
‘I am,’ mumbles the graduate, preoccupied. ‘I know this sounds crazy, but I’ve already done this once… Today, I mean…Been to the Post Office. It seems like a dream.’
‘It’s no dream,’ replies the man. ‘Your wish has been granted.’
My wish? I don’t understand. What wish?’
“You wished for a better place. You longed for a better place than this.’
Reasoning to himself that he must, in fact, have had a great deal more whisky that he remembered drinking, that he must actually still be in his flat at this moment sitting at his table and dreaming, and that he’d better just go along with the flow of the dream and follow its logical course in his mind until he wakes up, he comments, ‘And this is your idea of a better place, is it? Exactly where I was in the first place? How can this be a better place?’
‘ That depends on you. It can be if you’re prepared to make it so,’ replies the man. ‘Come. Let’s take a walk back to your flat.’
The graduate walks warily by the side of the man in the suit until they reach the man with the BMW who is staring at his slashed tyres. Obviously this is a blow for blow replay of earlier events.
‘Didn’t you think to offer him the use of your mobile?’
‘I don’t know him,’ said the graduate with a blank expression. ‘And besides – what makes you think I can afford a mobile on my income?’
The businessman sighs. ‘There’s a ‘phone in your block of flats, isn’t there? You could at least have pointed him in the right direction. I’ll show you how it’s done. Watch and learn.’ And he walks up to the man, sympathises with his plight, asks if he might be of assistance and offers him the use of his mobile phone.
‘Oh, thank you. THANK YOU,’ says the man. ‘My wife’s in hospital and I don’t want to worry her by being late.’ The driver gratefully makes a couple of calls, one to his wife, the other to a garage.
The graduate and the man in the suit continue on up the road until they arrive at the newsagent’s shop. As before, the newsagent is standing outside, sweeping up what’s left of his windows.
‘Didn’t you think to have a word with him? To offer a few words of comfort?’ asks the man. Again, the graduate gives him a blank look. ‘Watch and learn,’ says the man. He walks over to the newsagent and says to him, ‘I think you’re very brave. It must be hard to carry on when something like this has happened.’
‘Third time this year,’ says the newsagent. ‘I wouldn’t call myself brave. Just a matter of having to keep going – wife and kids to support.’
‘Nevertheless, this must have been a difficult morning for you. I’m sorry I can’t help you in any way materially but I will remember you in my thoughts – my prayers, if you like during the day, if that’s all right with you?’
The newsagent’s eyes moisten. ‘I think that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me, he replies. ‘Thank you.’
‘There,’ says the man in the suit, returning to where the graduate is standing. ‘That wouldn’t have cost you a penny. The only thing you would have had to spend to make him feel better, to make his world a slightly better place, was a tiny amount of your time.’
They walk up to the spot where the girl is sitting on a blanket, knees pulled in to her chest.
‘Now don’t tell me I could have helped her,’ says the graduate. ‘I’ve barely enough money to keep things together myself.’
‘Money isn’t what she needs,’ says his companion, sitting down on the dusty pavement next to the girl.
‘I think you’re very brave,’ he says. ‘You must get a lot of abuse.’
‘No choice, really,’ she replies. ’This is the only way I can make enough money for a bed for the night and something to eat.’
‘How are you feeling today?’ asks the man.
‘I’m not too bad, I suppose’ she replies. ‘Legs are giving me a bit of trouble, but nothing I can’t handle.’
‘I’ve no change to give you, I’m afraid,” said the businessman. ‘But I want you to know you’ll be in my thoughts today. I’ll ask that you get what you need.’ The girl’s eyes moisten. ‘Thank you,’ she whispers.
As they walk onwards the man in the suit says, ‘See? No money required. Just a little of your time… and you have quite a lot of that on your hands at the moment, don’t you?’
They reach the bottom step leading to the block of flats. There, once again, is the graduate’s lower-floor neighbour, struggling with the huge box. It suddenly dawns on the graduate to help the man through the double doors.
‘There’s hope for you yet,’ shouts the man in the suit as the graduate dashes up the steps to hold the double doors open. He lifts some of the file folders, for that’s what the box contains, out of the carton and leads the way up the stairs to his neighbour’s flat.
A grateful neighbour thanks him and asks if he would like to come in for a cup of tea. As he enters the flat he looks down the stairs, expecting to see the man in the suit, but he’s vanished as though into thin air. The two men chat over a cup of tea and the graduate is surprised to discover that his neighbour is an artist. Paintings are stacked up against every wall, and a drawing board sits in an alcove. When he mentions he has a graphics degree his neighbour seems shocked. ‘I’ve been looking for a competent graphics designer to head up the art department of my print company for months,’ he says. ‘I can’t make you rich but you’ll be comfortable, and a couple of years with me should kick start your career.’
As the two men shake hands the graduate distinctly hears the voice of the man in the suit whispering in one ear. ‘…Oh, yes, and I forgot to mention. When you make this world a better place by giving out to it, it gives back to you. With interest.’
* * *
The woman’s alarm goes off at 3am precisely as it does every night. She pulls on her slippers and her dressing gown and heads downstairs to the little front bedroom where her husband, who, as a result of a fall from a ladder, has become paralysed from the neck down, needs turning in his bed. Nurses visit to take care of this during the day and right up until ten at night, but at three and seven it is up to her. Somehow she manages once again to turn her husband, who is a big, heavy man, and then returns to her bed to grab a few precious hours sleep ready for the next shift.
She loves her husband dearly, but she feels tired. Very tired. As she lies down, she can’t help saying to herself, half jokingly, ‘Stop the world, I want to get off!’
She closes her eyes for a brief moment, and when she opens them again finds herself not in her bed but, instead, standing on the street in front of her house. It’s light and, from the amount of traffic on the road, she guesses it must be around 8.30 in the morning. The traffic isn’t moving, however. Everything has stopped as though frozen in time. Drivers sit unmoving like tailor’s dummies in their cars. Mothers stand Lon pavements like statues, their hands entwined in the hands of their children, unmoving in mid-step in a frozen school rush. She approaches the nearest mother and waves a hand in front of her face. Nothing. The woman is completely oblivious.
Intrigued and bewildered, she wanders off into the town, still wearing only her nightdress and slippers. She somehow feels drawn towards the railway station as she moves through silent streets of motionless people and, having reached it, she walks under the big archway and out onto the platform.
There, where a train, or at very least metal rails should be, she sees instead a beautiful green, grassy lawn, which slopes gently upwards towards the most beautiful and enchanting landscape she has ever seen. In the distance are purple hills. In the foreground people in luminous coloured robes that seem to sparkle and shimmer in the overall golden light walk between and into striking, classically-styled buildings with fluted columns outside them and marble steps leading up and into them. This is exactly the kind of place she wants to be in. She’s had enough of the world.
Incongruously, a silver-haired man in a black business suit stands waiting at the point where the platform meets the grass. ‘Mind the gap,’ he says quietly, as she prepares to cross over to the grassy slope. She looks down and sees, between the platform’s edge and the start of the grassy slope, a gap of a few inches, and through it she can see stars twinkling against an inky blackness. ‘So,’ she reasons. ‘This magical land has nothing to do with the earth – nowhere on earth could be this beautiful.’
She hops across the gap then bounds up the grassy slope, rushing past the man in the suit in her haste to enter this special land. Halfway up the slope her body suddenly slams against an unseen ‘something’. It’s as though she has hit an invisible pane of glass or some kind of force field. She is thrown back by the impact and lands on her back on the grass where she lies dazed as the man in the suit runs up to her. ‘You’ll have quite a bump on that tomorrow,’ he says, pointing to her forehead.
She ignores him, gets up and once, twice more attempts to enter the beautiful landscape, each time being pushed back by the invisible barrier.
‘Well, how does it feel to have had your wish granted?’ asks the man.
‘I don’t understand,’ she says.
‘You wanted the world to stop. You wanted to get off. Your wish has been granted.’
‘Well, yes…’ she says, a little shocked. ‘I just wanted to go somewhere better… Somewhere just like this, in fact,’ she adds, pointing to the wondrous scene in front of her.
‘And so you shall, one day,’ he says. ‘But not today. Not by stopping the world. And not by getting off. …You see, the one leads to the other.’
‘I don’t understand,’ she repeats.
‘You came to earth as a soul to learn,’ says the man. You needn’t have done – we didn’t want you to… but here you are. I know present circumstances are difficult for you and your husband, but those circumstances are leading directly to this place for both of you. You see, in order to enter into this heightened state of reality, your vibrations as the spirits you really are need to become quicker, need to ‘speed up’, so to speak, to become more refined, and they are doing that whilst you are on earth as a result of you facing and overcoming challenges; as a result of you learning from your experiences. That is why you find yourself in your current circumstances. They are not around you by accident or coincidence. They are around you because you stand to benefit by negotiating your way through them. They are not a punishment from God – they are this life’s golden opportunities to become more than you were when you began your life here. Don’t ever wish that you could stop the world and get off. If that happened it might take a much longer time for you to enter this paradise and the ones that lie beyond and above it.
‘Through your choice in coming back here, the earth has become your gateway, your schoolroom, a means of returning to glorious realities in other, higher vibrations. So be brave. Go back and tend to your husband as you have done thus far with love. Let’s start the world again and resolve to go on with renewed vigour. And one day the gates to this place will open for you. And when you step through them on that day this world will stop – not for everyone, just for you – and a whole new adventure will begin.’
She thanks him and closes her eyes. Opening them again she finds herself back in her bed. The vision of the beautiful place she has seen remains with her through her sleeping hours and when it is time to get up and turn her husband again her heart feels so much lighter.
* * *
– She stares blankly at the photographs in her hand as the private detective’s car disappears down the street. They confirm her worst fears. Her husband is having an affair. The glossy ten by eights, which are date-stamped, show him leaving some strange woman’s house on the morning when he had told his wife he was away on a business trip. They show him kissing the unknown woman.
Tears begin to run down her cheeks. She sits at her kitchen table and sobs uncontrollably. Her mascara runs and her hair becomes matted with moisture. She sits there for an age, shaking and becoming more and more depressed until, finally, she declares from between clenched teeth, ‘I wish I was dead. I wish I was dead!’
She closes her eyes in despair, and when she opens them again, finds she is no longer sitting at her table but, inexplicably, is standing with a group of mourners watching a coffin being lowered into the hole in the ground which has been prepared for it.
‘Well,’ a man in a black suit standing close to her enquires softly, ‘How does it feel to have your wish granted?’
‘What?’ she cries.
‘You wished you were dead,’ he says, gesturing to the coffin. ‘And now you are. Behold your mortal remains. How does it feel?’
‘What?’ she says. ‘I… I was upset. It’s just a turn of phrase.’
‘One with serious consequences,’ says the man. ‘I know it must have seemed like your world had ended, but it hadn’t… So much that was positive was to have come to you in future. …Of course all that is now irrelevant…’
‘So much that was positive? In my future? I don’t see how.’
‘Well,’ says the man. ‘I’m not supposed to do this, but I suppose it can’t hurt… now that you’re dead and everything. Come… I’ll show you a little of what might have been.’
He takes her by the hand and suddenly she finds herself standing not by a coffin but, instead, on a soft carpet in a pleasant lounge in someone’s pleasant house. A kind-looking man in his fifties sits on the sofa watching television. It’s obvious he can’t see either of them. A woman comes through from the kitchen and sits next to him as he reaches for his mobile. Somehow she seems familiar.
The man selects a number and a sweet-looking girl picks up the ‘phone at the other end. The woman can’t understand how she can possibly see both the caller and the person at the other end of the call at the same time. Perhaps it’s because she’s dead.
The girl is obviously the couple’s daughter. She laughs and jokes with them and the scene is one of near-perfect family harmony. The woman takes in the girl’s features and, in amazement, turns to the man in the suit and says, ‘But that’s me, isn’t it?’
‘Close,’ laughs the man. ‘Actually she’s your daughter… or would have been, had we not granted your wish.’
‘But if that’s my daughter, then the woman on the sofa must be…’
‘Yes,’ said the man in the suit. ‘Don’t you recognise yourself? A few grey hairs, but I think you’ll agree you’re still a respectable looking woman.’
‘But if that’s me,’ reasons the woman, ‘then the man sitting next to me is…’
‘Your future husband, yes’ he replies. ‘Everything in this life changes. No situation is permanent on earth. The circumstances you found yourself in today were tough, but they would eventually have moved aside. They had something to teach you and your present husband, and when you’d learned valuable soul lessons from them they would have disappeared and your path would have led directly to this man, this home and your future daughter. Pity you’re dead. Now you’ll never meet him or give birth to her…’
For the second time that day the woman begins to cry, until the man smiles gently, touches her on the shoulder and says, ‘Fooled you! Forgive me…You’re not really dead. I just wanted to point out to you the folly of wishing you were. Now please go back to your life and remember all you have seen today. Your future is there for you if you just keep on keeping on. Be brave. Trust in God. Things will change.’
And she opens her eyes to find herself back at her kitchen table, still clutching the photographs. The pain is intense but, as she remembers where she has been, what she has seen, not quite as intense as it had been before. After all, there is a bright new future out there somewhere just waiting for her to walk into it.
* * *
– Ladies and Gentleman, we all, at one stage or another in our lives, say things like:
‘There must be a better place than this.’
‘Stop the world, I want to get off!’
‘I wish I was dead!’
Let’s take these one at a time:
‘There must be a better place than this.’
Yes, there are lots of places that are better than this one in the spirit realities but through our own choice we find ourselves HERE at the moment, and one of our duties as spiritually-minded souls is to work to make the place we are living in the ‘better place’ we would all like it to be, by treating others with respect and with love. By being helpful, peaceful, considerate, compassionate people.
‘Stop the world, I want to get off!’
Do we really want to stop the world and get off? Not if we want to progress to the worlds beyond this one, we don’t. We are here on this planet, through our own choice, presented with opportunities to grow and to evolve as the spirits we really are, and we are progressing as spirits by facing and overcoming the challenges along life’s path. We have placed ourselves in school. We are taking exams, if you like, and the outcome of those exams determines where we graduate to next.
‘I wish I was dead!’
Do we really? No, we don’t… or we shouldn’t. Everything passes, including the hard times you might be going through at the moment. Those ‘hard times’ are there for a reason, and that reason is not to pull you down, not to make you feel so bad about life that you don’t want to carry on, but to lift your soul up, to elevate your vibrations so that, when you return to your spiritual home, you will have earned the right to live a little closer to your God, both in mind and in location.
So…what of the man in the business suit? A guardian angel, perhaps? A spirit guide, maybe? Our Higher Self, certainly. He represents the guidance and protection we have access to throughout our lives if we actively seek it. The voice from within, from the heart, that encourages us through the difficult times. The adviser and protector when the path becomes rocky. The assurance us that our life is not only worthwhile, but is a golden opportunity to give out and to take in Divine Light. To become more than we were when we first incarnated here. To make the most of and get the most out of a journey we instigated and therefore have to see through, but which, if travelled wisely, not only leads back to our true home but places us further along the unfolding path to infinity and bliss.