This book was first published in 1990 under the title Whole in One - the near-death experience and the ethic of interconnectedness. The new title, Resonant Mind, with the subtitle referring to the life review, better expresses the purpose and theme of the book. About 10% of those undergoing a near-death experience also have a life review in which they re-experience events in their lives not only from their own viewpoint, but also as if they were other people involved in the same event. The very fact that this is possible indicates that our seemingly separate minds are in fact connected at a deeper level, and that in truth we are all aspects and expressions of the same One Mind. Each event has as many dimensions as there are people who experience it.
Other indications of a shared mind include psychometry, or the ability to read past events out of objects like rings; also telepathy, which for many of us is an everyday experience. Some medical intuitives are able to sense in their own bodies what is wrong with their patients. Twins and closely bonded people can also share experiences at a distance. For example, a mother may experience contractions when her daughter is giving birth. I call this phenomenon empathetic resonance. If mind were confined to the brain, this should not be possible. And yet it happens. So mind can be shared and non-local. It follows that any theory insisting that mind and consciousness are confined to the brain and body is quite incapable of explaining these well-attested experiences. We therefore need a new field theory of mind able to accommodate these experiences.
This shared mind or capacity to experience what is happening to another means that we are effectively each other. Hence what we do to others we are in fact doing to ourselves: what goes around comes around - we reap what we sow. I suggest that this model of a shared or universal mind provides a metaphysical basis for the Golden Rule and what I call an ethic of interconnectedness. We are told by the Golden Rule that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. Now we find that we are one another, so there is no fundamental separation between us. The highest expression of this insight lies in the principles of Love and Wisdom – loving one’s neighbour as oneself and realising that the cultivation and personal embodiment of Love and Wisdom is the ultimate human achievement, the one we most admire. I hope that this book will help you on your journey.
David Lorimer, St Colombes sur l’Hers, August 2017
Praise forResonant Mind: Life Review in the Near-Death Experience
The re-publication of David Lorimer’s pathbreaking reports on the new death experience and the phenomenon of the survival of consciousness beyond physical death are more timely than ever. More and more people are waking up to the realization that the popular saying is not true: we do not go around only once. We keep going around, and every time we do, we bring with us our inheritance from the preceding times…
A realization to make us think not only about who we are, but also about what we do - every minute of this life and every life.
~ Ervin Laszlo
About the author
David Lorimer, MA, PGCE, FRSA is a writer, lecturer and editor who is Programme Director of the Scientific and Medical Network. He has also been President of Wrekin Trust and of the Swedenborg Society and was founding Chief Executive of Character Education Scotland. Originally a merchant banker then a teacher of philosophy and modern languages at Winchester College, he is the author and editor of over a dozen books, most recently The Protein Crunch (with Jason Drew) and A New Renaissance (edited with Oliver Robinson) He has a long-standing interest in the perennial wisdom and has translated and edited books about the Bulgarian sage Peter Deunov. His edited book Prophet for our Times was republished in 2015 with a foreword by Wayne Dyer.
He is also a founding member of the International Futures Forum and was editor of its digest, Omnipedia - Thinking for Tomorrow. His book on the ideas and work of the Prince of Wales – Radical Prince - has been translated into Dutch, Spanish and French. He is the originator of the Inspiring Purpose Values Poster Programmes, which have reached over 300,000 young people. See http://www.inspiringpurpose.org.uk and http://www.character-scotland.org.uk He lives in France with his partner Marianne van Mierlo. Personal website: http://www.davidlorimer.co.uk
One day, when you return to the invisible world, you will be examined on how you have applied the law of Love … you will find yourself confronted by the film of your earthly life, you will see the smallest details and notice the tiniest errors and you will have to reform yourself. You must therefore reflect and concentrate on what you are saying and how you are saying it. Here, you are an actor on stage, being photographed and recorded all the time.
People do not need to think so much what they should do, but rather how they should be. If we are good, then our works are radiant. If we are just, then our works are also just. We should not think to find sanctity on doing things, but rather on a way of being, for works do not sanctify us, rather we sanctify works.
Death can be understood as the passage from one form to another, from a limited degree of life to another higher, freer one. It is wrong to assume that everything ends with death; what ends is only the temporary conditions in which people have lived on earth, that great school of purification and development towards perfection.
Beyond Human Personality
During his lifetime as one of the pioneers of psychical research, F. W. H. Myers wrote the classic Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death. After his death he was ostensibly instrumental in establishing the complex scholarly evidence for survival which came to be known as the cross-correspondences. A further work, entitled Beyond Human Personality, was written through the mediumship of Geraldine Cummins in 1935 and is subtitled: Being a detailed description of the future life purporting to be communicated by the late F. W. H. Myers … containing an account of the gradual development of human personality into cosmic personality. This is not the place to discuss the problems and pitfalls associated with mediumistic communication; suffice it to say that the above book, and others on which I shall be drawing, is clearly and intelligently expressed. We can certainly apply the canons of the coherence theory of truth – the internal consistency of the reports – even if some readers would rather stop short of the correspondence theory of truth – that the reports accurately represent another level of reality. We shall also be bearing in mind the Bergsonian filter-theory of mind, which predicts that mind untrammelled by matter is not extinguished, but finds its capacities extended and enhanced.
Myers’ defines death as the passing from one speed to another, ‘the adjusting of the soul to a more intense vibration, to a livelier, quicker state of manifestation’. Given that the phrasing is probably indicative rather than literal, the overall sense is that of a greater and more intense reality of thinking and feeling. Consistent with the filter-theory, ‘Myers’ comments that those whose consciousness is of a normal character will ‘enter into a wider freedom and find their ideas of space altered and enlarged’.
In an appendix there is a revealing commentary on ‘Prevision and Memory’, which will illuminate some of the themes of the final chapter of this book and provide a prelude to some of the material to follow. ‘Myers’ explains that the Great Memory contains the record of every vibration of universal life: ‘All experience has its duplicate in this register, this chronicle of eternity. Past, present and future may be said to be enshrined within the Imagination of the Supreme Mind.’ It is this Mind in which our minds life and move and have their being. ‘Myers’ explains that this Memory should not be confused with the memory of the individual, which is like a river within the ocean; even individual memory, as we have seen, is only partially accessible, but ‘after death, however, the mind is freed and less trammelled’, and at a certain point in development it becomes possible to enter into the experiences and memories of its ‘Group’ – ‘his wisdom and capacity for living intensely are thereby greatly increased’. This seems to be a learning experience, learning not just from one’s own life but directly from those of other people. It is possible for the individual mind to enter momentarily into the Great Memory and thus perceive ‘some image of a past or future event which is not contained within its individual memory’; the assumption here is that the Great Memory actually contains the matrices for future as well as for past events, and that it is possible for the future to feature in the extended present of an expanded mind.
Myers’ explains that imagination is the ruler and lawgiver of our being, that it has freedom to create and so ‘because of its limited character when enshrined in man, it creates evil as well as good, and destroying the beautiful, seeks ugliness, creating misfortune and sorrow for others.’ These cruelties invented by the human imagination are permitted by God, the Creative, Cosmic Power ‘because only through such excesses may the soul of man evolve and grow, opening into the greater awareness through bitter experience of evil on the earthly level’. The rationale of this statement is set within the context of the post-mortem life-review where ‘the soul is a spectator and perceives, at intervals, the episodes in the past existence. He dreams; sometimes the dream is a nightmare, sometimes it contains much that is beautiful and fine. The memories of evil must be considerable if these Hades-visions become acutely distressing in character’. This last phrase calls to mind the confrontation by Starr Daily of his past in the previous chapter.
The theme is illustrated in a section describing the fate of the tyrant, in true classical Greek tradition. Because the variety of the imagination is infinite, so too are the post-mortem experiences: a long gallery which contains scenes of the past. It is explained that the tyrant who gloated over the victim he cruelly tortured will experience similar pangs in his soul: ‘His imagination has thrilled with, and delighted in, the ugliness of pain, so that ugliness surrounds, penetrates and overwhelms, in the dark places, of his creation.’ The inner state is outwardly mirrored, the imagination mediates the empathetic resonance in this ‘echoing hall’. The moral of the story is to realize the centrality of creative activity in each human being and the responsibility for one’s creations, mental and emotional as well as physical.
Panoramic Memory and Life-review
Some of the most painstaking research into patterns of communications purportedly originating from the post-mortem world has been carried out by Robert Crookall. His analysis builds up a coherent theory about post-mortem processes, although he has been criticized for not being more selective in his resources. In The Supreme Adventure he differentiates between what he calls a review of the past life and the judgement. The first process is said to occur in the early stages of transition and is impersonal and non-emotional in nature. The language used to describe such experience is identical to that used for the similar event in the NDE: the events passing like a long procession or panorama, the life unfolding in a procession of images.
Such a stage is mentioned by Rudolf Steiner, the pioneering spiritual scientist to whom we shall return in Chapter 4. He speaks of the whole of the incarnation just finished coming before the soul of the dead as if in a great tableau of memories. He comments that the subjective experiences are omitted, the joys and sorrows connected with the pictures are absent: ‘The human being confronts this memory-tableau as objectively as he confronts a painting; even if this painting depicts a man who is sorrowful and full of pain … we do not experience it directly. So it is with these pictures immediately after death. The tableau widens out and in an astonishingly brief span of time man sees all the detailed events of his life.’ Steiner’s observations are certainly consistent with what we know about panoramic memory in the NDE.
Later in Crookall’s analysis comes the judgement, ‘an emotional and personally responsible review of the past earth life’. Typical features include:
1. The sense of a judgement of God through the higher self, similar to the experience of J. T. in the last chapter;
2. The judgement-bar being the innermost of oneself;
3. The reliving of past actions in every detail so that the pain and pleasure given to others is received back again;
4. The contrition felt by the soul at this self-revelation in which it is no longer possible to disguise one’s motives.
We shall find that the cases described below elaborate on these features and enable us to understand the process and its implications in more depth.
Maurice Barbanell was a leading spiritualist and medium. The book The Barbanell Report is supposed to be a report of his post-mortem existence and how it differed from his earthly expectations. The editor, Paul Beard, is in no doubt that he was communicating with his old friend. ‘Barbanell’ speaks of his life-review as a difficult time, ‘my first uncomfortable period’. Asked if he saw his life forwards or backwards, he replied that it was a pattern, and compared it to complex toy railways with many intertwining tracks. Certain critical events stood out, in which hard decisions had had to be made. He refers to instances where it became apparent that he had been proud and vain, in spite of not realizing this at the time. Excuses did not seem so convincing from his new perspective, viewing the whole of his life at one point. He thinks that everyone eventually has to undergo this process which leads to some fundamental self-questioning arising from extended self-knowledge and scrupulous honesty. One particular episode concerned the mishandling of an incident with a reporter on his staff.
Humility is acquired through seeing through to one’s underlying motivation by careful examination of past actions: cases of impatience and unkindness return as part of the learning process. ‘Barbanell’ adds another interesting remark about degrees of judgement when he observes that ‘the more aware you are, the more aware your judgement of yourself. This is why some souls over here seem quite content, while others experience a certain amount of anguish.’ In the light of his remark that everyone eventually faces this process, one can only surmise that the seemingly content souls are in a state of semi-sleep and inertia. He reiterates that the degree of self-judgement is proportional to one’s knowledge, a reflection of those saintly people who often show an acute sense of their own unworthiness. It all depends on the criterion of comparison: Divine Love is much more demanding than popularity with one’s cronies. In the end ‘Barbanell’ looks back on his period of self-analysis and disgust as a ‘refining process’ in which he became aware of characteristics of which he was previously unaware. Although he does not speak of direct experience of other people’s feelings, this much is implied by his reliving past events from more than the personal and subjective perspectives. The key for him is the revelation and assessment of his motives.
In her books The Country Beyond and Post-Mortem Journal Jane Sherwood reports communications from three individuals: her husband Andrew, ‘Scott’ (later supposedly identified with T. E. Lawrence) and ‘E.K.’ In describing his own transition ‘E.K.’ found his thought turning inward and moving at a surprising rate:
It raced over the record of a long lifetime which it lit up with a searchlight that spared no blunders, sins or weaknesses, but impartially illumined it all, as one holds up an old, finished garment to the light and notes with dismay its rents and stains. This clear blaze of recollection showed me the honest shape and cut of the thing too. I reviewed it as though I no longer had any special responsibility for it but had to understand clearly in what I had failed and in what succeeded. I was saddened enough and humbled by what I saw, and then, with a sigh of acceptance I was able to turn to other thoughts.
The impression of speed is quite apparent, as is a degree of detachment, although the event in itself caused ‘E.K.’ to rethink his whole religious outlook. The other noteworthy feature is the sense of meaning derived from seeing the life as a whole. ‘Scott’ also comments on the panorama as a ‘speeded-up run through of a film shown backwards, a swiftly moving vision of life from end to beginning, flickering rapidly past the mind’s eye until it ends in the unconsciousness of one’s beginning’. A later chapter explains the panoramic memory as part of a process whereby the etheric body (defined as the ‘life’ form which along gives sensation and power of growth and reproduction to what would otherwise be only an aggregate of mineral substances) is shed. The loosening of this body gives rise to the rapid survey of the lifetime: ‘The etheric is a necessary vehicle for the clear-cut, detailed earth-memory and as the real being draws away from it, the record of that memory is exposed.’ The next phase is a ‘sleep’ during which the subject allegedly loses the detailed memory of events, ‘although their traces in the emotional body remain and can be recovered’. The implication here is that the feelings associated with events remain, even without the detailed recall of the events themselves. This is certainly consistent with the account of purgation that follows.
‘E.K.’ gives an extensive description of the process. He begins by describing how the astral body (feeling-body, as it were) is gradually strengthened, and concern turns to the past life; scenes and events are re-experienced in terms of their feeling content and in a much more comprehensive fashion, since the reactions of other people form part of the picture: ‘Everything that happens to you affects others as well as yourself, and every event has therefore as many aspects in reality as there are consciousnesses affected by it.’ Thus events are multi-faceted, and understood differently by the various parties in question; the event in one’s own consciousness is only one facet. Therefore ‘as an incident comes back to one’s mind it brings with it the actual feelings, not of yourself alone but of the others who were affected by the event. All their feelings have now to be experienced in oneself as though they were one’s own. This means that the effects of deeds on the lives of others must be experienced as intimately as though to do and suffer the deed were one.’ Sorrow inflicted is sorrow actually felt rather than just known about; and it does not matter whether you were conscious of inflicting anything at the time; the process occurs regardless.
It follows that most of our deeds are performed in ignorance of their real bearing on the lives of others. Our normal perspective is to see and feel only our own side of the events, and to regard ourselves as fundamentally separate from other people. Such separation can be overcome by empathetic imagination or imaginative empathy, which enable us to put ourselves in others’ shoes. The profundity of this scheme of justice, in which one learns experientially of one’s connections with others, is that it is a form of redemptive suffering which breaks up any hard core of selfishness and cruelty. ‘E.K.’ comments that it is as if he saw ‘through a glass, darkly’ (I Corinthians 13:12) during physical life, but now sees things and himself in the light of a more comprehensive reality. Completion of the process leads to new possibilities for growth and expansion of consciousness.
‘Andrew’ takes up the theme and likens the process to traditional concepts of purgatory. Where the life has been definitely evil in the process is ‘longer and more awful’. He comments that anger against oneself is useless, while shame and guilt ‘come to be known as false attitudes due to pride’. The only solution is to accept and recognize one’s full responsibility, ‘stripping off all the pretensions’ while working to eradicate faults and weaknesses.
The final stage is said to be the emergence into consciousness of lives previous to the immediate past one, so that an overall perspective is gained; we shall return to this topic and its implications in a later chapter.
‘Scott/T. E. Lawrence’ speaks of the suffering caused by memories of the past which continually recur as a reminder of mistakes and crimes. On earth we rationalize them and excuse ourselves, but in the post-mortem state this is impossible: ‘We can no longer ignore the point of view of the man we have injured and we have actually to experience what he felt in the matter as though we ourselves had been the sufferer.’ ‘Lawrence’ comments that most people lack the imagination to do this, or else we might have been restrained from blindly ruthless actions. The intensity of feeling is said to depend on the fineness of one’s sensitivity, so that a courser being would not feel such pangs: a remark consistent with Barbanell’s observations above. Typically, the author pushes the implications of his purgative experience to their logical conclusion when he says that this process of resonant suffering ‘is really an illustration of the solidarity of mankind and proof that every deed affects the whole as well as the part’.
One poignant incident returns from the past, an incident which ‘Lawrence’ claims caused him infinite distress at the time, ‘but the agony of realization I am enduring is in proportion to my keener powers of feeling’. During guerrilla warfare in the desert he had thought it his duty to condemn a man for conduct likely to imperil the campaign. He felt that justice demanded that he carry out the sentence himself; he murdered the man under pretext of military necessity, and bungled the job in such a way as to prolong the man’s suffering. He could see no other course at the time, but now realized that he was driven to it by poverty of imagination and resource: ‘Now I have to endure all that I did to him; not only the physical suffering – the smallest part of it – but I have to know his despair and remorse and the awful blow to pride and affection inflicted by my condemnation.’ ‘Lawrence’s’ mentor comments that he now realizes the full extent of sensitivity. The event was part of a train set in motion by the condemned man ‘and carried on to a wrong conclusion by you’. It is a cross made by ‘Lawrence’ which he now has to bear. This cleansing ultimately bestowed peace and humility, ‘with all pretensions to superiority, cleverness and wisdom burnt out of me’: the fruit of the redemptive suffering already referred to by ‘E.K.’
We can add a postscript on the effects of war, written about in the closing pages of The Country Beyond, which was first published in 1944. The awful deeds of war pile up an enormous amount of evil and suffering, with the net result that the purgation period is lengthened and redemption slowed up. A great deal of suffering is inflicted in wars, but the reciprocal law of resonance works just the same: ‘All those who have inflicted suffering will in the after-life experience that suffering in their own being, not as a punishment but as a purgation, since in no other way can they free themselves of their own evil and pass on to a purer life.’ It is important to notice the careful insistence on the word ‘purgation’, rather than punishment or divine vengeance imposed from outside. The deeds have in all probability been committed unwittingly and certainly in ignorance of the full range of consequences, but the moral order is not thereby evaded.
Albert Pauchard lived his whole life in Geneva, and died in 1934. The book The Other World purports to be experiences and messages from him received telepathically over a two-and-a half year period after his death. One section deals explicitly with the exact mode of communication. ‘Pauchard’ explains that there is sometimes a time-lag between his transmitting the message and the sensitive receiving it, and that ‘information which is too strange for your knowledge’ is impressed on the mind in the hypnagogic stage – between sleeping and waking – when ‘the exterior world has not yet had the possibility of intercepting it’. As for the mechanics, it is not the words which are given, but the ideas, for which corresponding words surge automatically to the mind of the sensitive. Moreover, if there are no available words, the message cannot be expressed. Summing up: ‘I project the images of my truth into your mind – and your mind reflects them in its own way. Thus the words of my message are not from me. The message is from me – but the words are yours.’
As a postscript to this preamble on communication, it is worth noting what ‘Pauchard’ says about communication in the post-mortem dimension: that it is telepathic, a factor also reflected in the NDE encounters with a being of light or deceased relatives. He explains that he communes effortlessly with those in his dimension of many different nationalities: ‘Conversation takes place without articulate words – by means of telepathy – don’t forget this important factor; and each of the persons concerned is under the impression of hearing his own language.’ This remark and other reported experiences suggest two levels of language: one implicit and direct, in which there is a direct transfer or perception of ideas and images, and the other indirect, in which communication is mediated and rendered explicit by language. In terms of Michael Polanyi, tacit communication and knowledge is made explicit, or in Bohemian terms the implication is made explicit, the images are clothed in corresponding words (see Chapter 1).
In biblical terms we are reminded of a Babel and Pentecost. Genesis tells us that ‘throughout the earth men spoke the same language, with the same vocabulary’. They then make the mistake of settling down, baking bricks and building a tower, symbolic of their proud aspiration. This is too much for Yahweh, who comments that ‘This is but the start of their undertakings! There will be nothing too hard for them to do.’ So he decides to go down and confuse their language on the spot so that they can no longer understanding one another. The people are scattered far and wide. Now consider the account of Pentecost, with the appearance of the mighty wind and tongues of fire; those touched begin to speak in foreign languages (‘speaking in tongues’ is apparently not the same thing). The assembled crowd are amazed and astonished to hear what is being said each in their own language: ‘How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own language?’ Is it too absurd to speculate that the impression of hearing in one’s own language was the explication of a communication which was in fact telepathic? We shall never know, but the intriguing possibility has been raised by this excursus into telepathic communication.
To return to ‘Pauchard’. He seems to have some unusual experiences, which were at least in part a function of his own psychological make-up. Very early in the book he speaks of the burning of ‘scoriae’, the unacknowledged dregs in ourselves of which we are habitually unaware. The process described resembles a continuation of the Jungian individuation process in confronting and working through elements in the shadow. ‘Pauchard’ urges his readers to complete this process on Earth as far as is possible, probably because ‘here all feelings and impressions are multiplied a hundredfold’. By being brought face to face with ‘the various departments of our “I”’, one is confronting the unregenerated forces of the past which will create suffering in the inevitable process of transmutation.
While walking by himself, ‘Pauchard’ was suddenly attacked by wasps which threatened to sting him. He was given to understand that the wasps symbolized all the irritations and thoughts of criticism which he had passively borne while on Earth. As he walked on, the sky suddenly clouded over and he was overwhelmed by feelings of desolating solitude. This time he was informed that the cloud represented passively borne depressions and despondencies. Each time the emphasis is on the ‘passive hearing’ of the situation, which means that he had thought the feelings justified and had therefore endowed them with life; and this thought-form now apparently has an independent existence. It can only be countered and ‘exorcized’ by a calm and steady contemplation which drains such feelings of the vitality with which the person had endowed them in the first place. In case this whole scenario seems to incredible to readers unversed in the dramatizations of the unconscious, one has to understand that the mental world in which ‘Pauchard’ finds himself is one in which the inner is manifest as the outer, a feeling of misery being outwardly represented by a desolate landscape. Swedenborg has more to say on this topic, as we will discover below. The main lesson seems to be to withdraw energy from those negative feelings and not harbour the kind of secret grudges which in any event sap our energy and lower our morale.
The next episode can be taken as an example of the creative power inherent in desire put into action. ‘Pauchard’ had a meeting with his parents and saw them ‘as they were engraved in my memory. Scenes and conversations of the past become actual once more.’ He then wondered whether it was possible to go still further into the past, and reached a time when his parents in their turn were adolescents and then children. He insists that everything was historically accurate to its minutest detail and that it was experienced in inverted chronological order, a feature occasionally noted in the NDE. His conclusion was that Earth has a memory of its own, since he entered not simply into his own past but also that of his parents. He likens the record to a cinematographical film, an image which we have frequently encountered before.
Another passage picks up on the theme of empathetic resonance. It tells the story of a woman whose purgatory consisted of feeling for herself the discomfort to which she unwittingly subjected others in her household. ‘Pauchard’ confirms that ‘there comes a time for everyone here, when one has to become fully conscious not only for what is good and bad, but also of every joy – and every suffering – caused to another’. He makes the additional interesting observation that it is necessary to have attained a certain degree of development before one can actually pass through this kind of purgatory: ‘Less developed souls are not capable of it, for they have not yet acquired the faculty to feel the necessary degree of sympathy’ – a comment which goes to the heart of the matter, and implies the close link between imagination and empathy. Without imagination, it is impossible to put oneself in another’s place.
This lady had been kind and good, but lacked precisely this quality of empathetic imagination. She had saved a young unmarried mother from committing suicide and found her some work; but the work was in a dark, cold and polluted room. And one of her charwomen, taken in out of kindness, was terribly overworked; the mistress failed to notice how tired she always looked, and consequently did nothing to improve her conditions. She now experienced not only the gratitude and affection of these two servants, but also the conditions in which they worked: ‘At present this lady passed through a state of unconsciousness in which she personally and intensely identifies herself with the people and conditions I have spoken of.’ Once more it is reiterated that although it is only those with heart and imagination who pass through their purgatory at an early stage, there invariably comes a time when the process of imaginative and empathetic identification has to be undertaken: a stage in the expansion of consciousness and compassion.
Helen Greaves/Frances Banks
Testimony of Light, published in 1969, has established itself as a classic in the field of telepathic communication between the ‘living’ and the ‘dead’. Frances Banks was a nun, teacher and author of books on psychology, religion and psychical research. She died in 1965, and very soon made her presence felt to Helen Greaves, who transcribed the book. From the ‘other side’ she describes her death as a withdrawal from her worn-out body, with the immediate realization that she was the same in essence, although light and with a new sense of freedom. Her perception is more intense in the realm of thought in which she now is.
She then describes her own life-review. She starts by saying that she is beginning to realize the effects of her thoughts and to view the events that were set in motion by these thoughts and ideas. This is a ‘sobering exercise’, in which the mind stretches out to see all sides of a problem. Like ‘Pauchard’, she states that there is no compulsion to review one’s past life on arrival: ‘Some take a long while to tackle the problem. They dread to see the effects of mistakes and failures.’ These people get ‘stuck’. A case in point is a man who had been brutal and bitter to his wife and family. Having initially been tied to the places where he had exercised his cruelty and bitterness, he is now attempting to move on, ‘but the film reel of his life appalled him; and he has become completely immobile’. Such people, we are told, are often overwhelmed by remorse and choose to live ‘in the gloom of regret’, a literal gloom on the same basis as explained by ‘Pauchard’: the inner state is mirrored in the environment, so that they life in ‘self-darkness’. This state in turn cuts them of from ‘the very Light that could illumine their minds, dissolve their guilts [forgiveness] and bring a constructive ray to bear on their problems’.
‘Frances Banks’ speaks of two ‘blueprints’ which are brought forward into her consciousness: one is ‘the Perfect Idea with which my spirit went bravely into incarnation. The other is the resultant of only a partially understood Plan ... in fact my life as it was actually lived.’ A similar idea can be found in Plato’s ‘Myth of Er’, when the souls choose the lives they will lead and then pass through the waters of forgetfulness. We shall return to this in Chapter 5. The first shock was the great difference between the two blueprints, so little having been achieved when one set out to do so much; all this the result of the partial understanding and clouded judgement so hard to overcome in the physical realm.
The whole cycle of her life-term began to unfold ‘in a kaleidoscopic series of pictures’. She had the sense of being alone, and comments (as others have done in describing the NDE): ‘Yours is the judgement. You stand at your own judgement. You make your own decisions. You take your own blame … You are the accused, the judge, the jury.’ It was this searing experience which was too much for the people who got ‘stuck’. It is certainly more than the panoramic memory, but it is only the first stage.
The second stage begins when the soul feels strong enough to ‘take the earth life round by round’, at which point the blueprints are once more brought to mind, ‘only this time the start is made from the moment of departure from the body. The mind works slowly, oh! So slowly backwards through one’s experiences.’ This time, however, one is not alone but in the presence of a Being which she surmises may be one’s own High Spirit or a Great Helper, this being gives ‘strength, peace, tranquillity and [help] with constructive criticism’ in a way reminiscent of some of our NDE cases. The events are scrutinized for motive and result.
‘Banks’ also experienced a doctor’s review, that of a surgeon who for years had been aware of an Inner Surgeon working with and through him. One day while under considerable domestic pressure he had cut a vein during an operation and the patient had died. He felt that he was losing his inner contact and became afraid, resorting to sleeping tablets. Eventually he had a nervous breakdown, fell ill and died. When the doctor had told ‘Banks’ his story, pictures of his life began to form in front of them, showing moments of stress, triumph and failure. They then visited the homes and families of those on whom the doctor had performed successful operations and saw ‘the benefit to humanity, the healings, the resumption of happy, useful lives which were the result of this man’s skill’. As the film wound on, the doctor saw that, in spite of his failures and weaknesses, he had carried through his blueprint. His problem had been ‘a weakness in the soul’s contact with the personality’.
There are many profound insights in the book which fall outside our theme, but it is worth saying a little about what ‘Frances Banks’ calls the Law of Progression. One of the post-mortem tasks is to shed the clutter of personality, which is accomplished in three ways: ‘By self-judgement, and true assessment of experiences; by service to one’s fellows; and by aspiration.’ The self-judgement and resulting sense of proportion and humility have been our main focus; and we have also touched on aspiration, with ‘Pauchard’. One of the laws of progress is said to be that the subjective of the Earth-plane mind becomes the objective in the new state of being: the inner content of thoughts, aspirations and desires fashions the ‘outer’ objective state or environment. This thought should be becoming increasingly familiar. One of its key consequences is that only by an inner life of ‘meditation and contemplation and at-one-ment with Divine beauty and Truth’ can one possibly aspire to the kingdom of heaven. There are no masks, no façades: the quality of the inner subjective life and light is exactly reflected; the jewel in the heart will be a radiance for all to behold.
Publisher: White Crow Books
Published October 2017
Size: 229 x 152 mm