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Do we have to carry the burden of what we did in a previous incarnation?

Posted on 29 January 2018, 19:48

In the next two conversations with the spirit of Stephen the Martyr, he leads us from anxiety about what we may have done in previous incarnations, and this present life, to embrace our true nature as an thought in All That Is.  Stephen’s words cannot be lightly skimmed as if we were reading a newspaper. They need   to be treated as poetry attempting to help us feel and know the truth.

Stephen: The atmosphere of inquiry! Therefore, let us inquire.

Michael: Are you aware of the conversation we have been having?

Stephen: Of parts only.

Michael: (Concerned that he may have been X in a previous life) Would you speak of the drama, the part that X had to play in the drama?

Stephen: Your choice of the word “drama” does, I am afraid, cause amusement. But it is correct, nevertheless, for the events were dramatic. Two concepts you must have: firstly, the conscious physical being that was X; the second concept is the cell that must influence. The cell being part of the Whole influences to a purpose.

Therefore, we are in a position when we must say two things of X: firstly, to use a concept that you often use, [from the point of view of the cell, or soul] X must have indeed been a saint! But were physical thinking beings to judge him a second time then surely X must be a sinner!

The cell that was influencing X of course was part of the Source and the purpose of that Source was achieved by the influence that was placed upon the physical X.

Can you not see how this can be so? 

Let us not think of X, let us think even of “Geoffrey” [or the reader]. 

Let us consider the actions of Geoffrey, be they good, bad, or even ... questionable: the cell that bears influences on Geoffrey, influences for a purpose. That cell has (these words are not quite apt) corrections that itself must make. It does this by influencing the physical mind, causing probable noticeable actions of that physical mind and body. Success in doing this assists not only the Divine purpose but also the correction of that cell. But it will be sufficient to say that the cell that was influencing the physical X at that time was indeed successful in the purpose of the Source. It is known and must be realized that because the cell must continue exercising such influence through other incarnations, it follows that the cell did not complete the correction of the mis-arrangements or disorder that was desired.

Therefore, we have the free and thinking will of the conscious mind that was X, we have the cell disorder that must be rearranged and we also have the purpose of the Source. The first two must and always will be subservient to the latter.

I must leave you with the concept here:

That you should think of yourself as the root of a plant which to grow has to experiment and explore to gain the food for the plant.

It does not sink into the soil with certainty. It senses and feels and instinct guides it.

Not all the roots are successful in their quest for the nourishment of the plant but by spreading in all directions they enable the plant to remain upright in the ground.

Therefore, do not always expect that, before you undertake the mental search, you will be instructed.

The direction in which you are probing is not necessarily to bring the nourishment that you are seeking.

For remember that even the cell that influences you or your conscious mind must be subservient to the purpose of the Source.

But let us think more of what troubles you and that of which I feel you would have your mind eased.

The purpose, the Divine purpose, the purpose that is from the Source, the purpose of the actions of X at the time, that purpose has been fulfilled and therefore it would hardly be necessary to re-enact our drama even for practice!

Be not concerned, for should each conscious mind know of previous actions that it had taken, even though by its own free will, each conscious mind would prefer not to believe that it had been reincarnated.  They would disassociate themselves very promptly from what had gone before. For that reason, it is not considered advisable for conscious minds to have knowledge of previous happenings and associations.

You can see why it is avoided except for a purpose which is generally the purpose of the Source. It is only when instruments such as ourselves are directed, and my receiving is such, that these things are disclosed. You will recall that when left to my own judgement, quite often I decline to satisfy curiosities such as this!

Michael: But when you spring X on me it arouses more curiosities.

Stephen: Unfortunately, but in your case I assure you, fortunately, what is, can never be sprung upon us! No more than I could disclaim what I know of my previous incarnations although well I may wish. But that is another story.

52. Stephen reminds us not to see our incarnations too concretely. 

Stephen: We say many things that repeat themselves throughout the ages; they tell us the same thing. Is this surprising? For what we are, in truth, is no more than what we are. We may if we wish continue to clothe ourselves and seek for ourselves even finer garments than those which we originally had. But with the age [Aquarius] that we are in now, when we talk of ages, we shall find that with the water, the foundations of this clothing we have cast upon ourselves will be as firm as those of the house that was built on sand, and will wash away. For no matter how often we clothe ourselves, the [spiritual] garments, like the physical garments with which we clothe ourselves, can never be permanent. Even if we were to paint our skins it would not hide us for long. For we are there but we cannot feel the sun for often we are clothed. The helmet that we have upon our heads often has the visor covering the face and if we were to speak in such a position we would hear but echoes and we would hear the same thing again. We might say, “This is what I heard, echoes”. The echo will continue until the helmet is lifted, for there will be no need to echo or no need to speak of what is, for we will see, feel the warmth, breathe in the air that is there, that has never gone, that can never be taken away.

There, that is serious, is it not!

Michael:  Unfortunately, my helmet, dear Stephen, is still on my head therefore I have to ask questions.

Stephen: Therefore, dear Michael, I shall echo what you ask!

Michael:  Well, you have spoken of the reincarnation thread with perhaps a hundred-thousand time-names, of the droplet of rain in the ocean. Can you give me an image which will combine these in my feelings?

Stephen: Rather that I should take away a little of the echo, for the image that we build [repeated] even a hundred thousand times, brings to mind the thread *that we seek.

[Elsewhere Stephen cautions against taking the thread image too seriously and also the tapestry made from the threads.  The tapestry itself could be seen as a sheet of glass, even as an ocean]

Your ocean I shall heat for you
and it shall become steam and the steam shall vanish
and become the whole of the universe.
For you will not restrict me, Michael, to even an ocean!
You have taken me now from a thread,
to one that was stoned,
and down through the ages until I, and we, Michael, were first guilty of the separation [eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge].
I will not stay there; I will take you with my Stephen
until now we are the universe.
We often look from the sky invertedly,
backwards, to dispel that whence Stephen comes.
Turn and face the sky!
The stories that we are shown,
the teachings that we are given,
and the things we had learnt,
show to us whence we came
so that we might know where to go.

Let us look at the elements of the Stephen; for which came first - the Stephen [or]  the pool [or ocean] that became wet, that became heated, that became the steam?

So we might say, “In the beginning we were wet, then we became warm, now we are coming away - I know this because I have been there and I am travelling from there, not to there.” It is this that we must know; we say this is the truth. 

But when we have done this often enough in our mind we will see and be clear that it is a pointless journey, for we do not change; we have travelled nowhere.

Let us stop the movement and become what we are - all of these things. For we are neither separately the steam, nor the wetness, nor the invisible, not separateness but together, we are what is.

Therefore, Michael, and Thomas and all others, we do not go back to be Jacob or Judas; we go forward to what we are - where the vision must expand, as does the steam.

We might take care lest we even ascend the ladder of Jacob -to get nowhere! - lest we say and know “I am here” as with Thomas and his exercise when he, without his body, travelled across the room, to open his non-existent eyes and see what was there, what he knew was there, from a different angle. Needless to say, he did not succeed in his attempt to travel. For all that was there was Thomas. Without needing to use a mirror each of you look at yourselves. You can but see part of the Whole.

It is pointless to travel the journey, in which you might stand off to look at just who you are and then to have this knowledge. To stand off from yourself cannot be, for we are one: we cannot separate from each other, or be different. We may recognise parts of us but we cannot stand off to see all of us. Nor can we ask, “Should I be this, or this?” Or say, “That is good and the other is bad.” Or ask, “Which is me?” Or say, “The good will balance the bad.”

Should I perhaps say that when I speak like this I am speaking nonsense! For in this vision I have of me I create a falsehood that bears no relation to the truth. I am neither good nor bad, except as I would see myself in relation to this… or this.. [gesturing]

So the question becomes, “How should I look at myself?” The answer is, of course, “You cannot, for you are unable to.”  The limitations of what your physical body can see and know are the limitations that your search for knowledge imposes on yourself. These imaginings and judgements are the clothes by which you cover yourself.

Let them wash away.

As for me, I shall clothe myself in the clothes of a saint and depart, leaving Thomas with his body that he might be a saint also! God bless you all!
. Michael Cocks edits the journal, The Ground of Faith.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.

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Stephen the Martyr: What is the distinction between a mental disorder and a spiritual disorder?

Posted on 04 January 2018, 13:16

In this extract from Afterlife Teaching from Stephen the Martyr Stephen talks about the distinction between a mental disorder and a spiritual disorder.
Stephen: You might recognize me as distinct from Thomas! You have questions?

Michael: What is the distinction between a mental disorder and a spiritual disorder?

Stephen: Your questions, Michael, can be apparently simple. Try to imagine the concept that the physical mind is a manifestation of the physical body. Then with regard to our true self, or cell, should the body that is being used have physical or mental defects, it does not necessarily follow (in fact it is most improbable) that the cell which is part of the Whole would manifest any defect of a similar nature.

Michael: This is what I have felt on two or three occasions this week when, to my surprise, a service of worship went, what I felt, entirely right! It surprises me when things go completely right. On Sunday night we had ten people and it appeared to me that at least two of them were speaking with your voice or with the voice of the Source. We felt close to each other in love and caught up into the Whole. Although with our physical selves we might have disagreed, yet we felt one so I felt no disorder. And I felt this again on Wednesday, that there was no disorder when we had been bickering almost and yet underneath there was no disorder.

Stephen: And this surprises you, Michael?

Michael: Yes it does…Although, when I say that we felt caught up into God, of course then there can be no disorder…

Stephen: Pray continue.

Michael: Well, there are two things that would relate to this. Let us take X. (A person from 2000 years ago of bad repute.)  Was there a disorder in him? In his cell (soul)?

: Again, you have asked two different questions. Was there a physical (and this includes mental) disorder within the person, or is there a disorder in the cell that was known as X? Now why each cell and soul has been separated from the Source and has come away as such…

Michael: As you have said, to correct a mis-arrangement, or disorder. Therefore, the cell is disordered.

Stephen: The word disorder is only the best concept available but you do have the correct concept. Do not confuse cell disorder as being the same concept as physical disorder*

*Remember Stephen’s words already quoted “the mis-arrangement of the self-consciousness, or cell, that acts as I have said, through the emotions, taking and acting upon the emotions or the sense-consciousness of the body, and not of the spirit, or God-consciousness.”

Michael: We are not to think of “badness” or “sickness” with regard to the cell?

Stephen: That is correct…X.

Michael: What did you say?

Stephen: X, to continue; to answer your question. The re-arrangement that was necessary for the cell and the cell’s choice in the purpose that it should serve in the body of X, though unconsciously so, and any disorders that the physical body of X may have had, can be considered two entirely separate discussions. Of the physical body that was X I know little.

Let us think about the experience and the guidance necessary to carry out the purpose, not only of the cell that was X, but also of many close cells that were in physical bodies near what was the body of our Lord:

I would have to start even before the birth of our Lord’s body, and explain happenings which have neither been written down or in most cases even been remembered.

Therefore let it be sufficient to say that X the man, or the physical manifestation, may indeed have caused experiences that added in a minor degree to those things that needed correcting but the consciousness of the cell that chose and was assisted in doing those things that needed to be done, was the cause of other mis-arrangements being corrected.

On the one hand, we have the separateness of the life experience that was X. It was not unique, it gained way and lost way, as all of us do whilst we are in the physical body.

This was the pattern.

This was no more startling, in that it was X,  than it would be even in yourself.

The purpose and the usage for the Lord’s purpose of the cell that was recognizable as X is another story which at some time you will know of.

Am I clear with this answer? For I wish to be.

Michael:  I think when I hear it [the recording of this conversation] it may become clearer because as you speak my mind flits back to the name you called me by.

Stephen: We have again now, Michael, developed our separateness. If we did this of course the burden of Nero could fall heavily on a non-illustrious shoulder at some later time. Therefore do not be concerned for the burden that may be thought of as being X.. it would not rest upon you.

Michael:  It sounds like saying that I was that cell but that we are yet one and share it.

Stephen: You have answered yourself well. We are but one and share it [the burden]. Is there clarity in the concept of the two actions that are now possible: that which is the mental-physical attitude and its actions and those actions that are required by the cell, from the cell to the group, to the group from the Source?

Michael: This feels clear to me. Now could I approach this question from a different angle? You - talking to me. It seems natural, and feels natural but is miraculous to my mental self.

Stephen: Indeed, it is miraculous. That Thomas should speak in the same manner is likewise. Let me explain more. Consider Thomas. For it is necessary that this time he is not with us. Let us consider the physical mind of Thomas.

Then we add to that the cell that has knowledge of what requires re-arranging. That knowledge must work in harmony with but with influence on the physical mind.

The cell chose that body which we see here now for the probabilities in time, environment and many other things.

The experiences that happen to the physical mind and how the influence of the cell can guide, the influence the cell exerts on the physical mind and the success or otherwise of that influence,
are the means by which that mis-arrangement may be corrected. Therefore, we have a mind that is completely free in choice to think and act as it wishes.

The exercise is then that the cell records experiences and gains knowledge on how to influence [the physical mind]; the cell’s success is measured and the mis-arrangements are corrected by the influence that the cell has on that mind, leaving it always, the physical mind, with its free will.

Michael:  Just as you are having practice in doing now.

Stephen: Exactly. But whereas I the cell have the body of Thomas I am not hampered (poor word) by the physical mind which has choices of its own. It is the cell that activates. The cell, as you see, is (not to use another wrong word) as dextrous as the physical mind in manipulating the body. It can but physically stimulate some simple electrical impulses that operate the features and voice. When the physical mind is not currently attached, or present, (and again, please do not think that Thomas may be a distance away) when the physical mind is not attached as it normally would be the cell-mind can only operate limited bodily functions.

Michael: Hearing this makes me feel like a puppet; when I die is it that the strings are cut and I the puppet fall lifeless to the floor…and where am I? All my thinking is gone!  Yet I guess, dear Stephen, that this will not be so.

Stephen: Michael, dear Michael, this is exactly what happens, of course. When the cell is rearranged or the body can no longer function for the purpose or becomes aged or is destroyed, then all that is left is the shell. 

The mind for a short time relatively speaking is still in a mind body and can gain further experience whilst the cell transcends finally out of its separateness to the Whole.

If there are further rearrangements to be made, then the cell does not transcend completely into oneness. It retains separateness until what has remained of the mind, such as personality, and I think you might say some character traits and some traits that will influence the shape of the physical features in a minor way, are then, with the cell, transferred into another physical body.

[Following on after his own previous words, after a break when we changed the tape and Stephen rested Thomas. He takes up the body of Thomas:] 
Therefore, as we have just demonstrated, the whole process can begin again.

Michael: Might I ask, Stephen: you are here when we request that you talk to us, but what are you doing when we are not requesting? Because you have a life of your own. You cannot just be there, day after day, waiting for us to call you.

Stephen: I can explain this better. Michael. When you are not talking where are you? I do not have a life of my own but I have a life of our own. Where does Michael go when he is no longer conscious?

Michael: Where does the candle flame go when it is blown out?

Stephen: Michael delights me at times. For, Michael, you know your answers so well.

Michael: I don’t know - to talk about the candle-flame only confuses my material mind. Because Stephen, you are me, I am Olive and Olive is you and so on. We are part of the tree and we are caught up into the whole when we receive and yet, surely, you said, I remember, you said to be you is like swimming in the ocean and to be a thousand miles away and to caress a friend.

Stephen: This is the conscious (or what is remaining of the conscious) mind of Stephen, not cell. Not the cell as such.

Michael: Yet the conscious mind of Stephen remains?

Stephen: In part. Think of it like this. I shall demonstrate. [Lifts leg.] In this body as a whole we have nerves that we can think of as the conscious mind of the individual person.  We have in this body, muscles that we may think of as the cell and its conscious mind.

Therefore, if I move this body, my [Stephen’s] conscious mind has activated the conscious mind of the cell (the muscles) which has moved the body. The feeling that has come to the conscious mind (of the individual) is the nerves. In the demonstration, the nerves represent the personality of Stephen, the muscle is the conscious mind of the cell.

Michael:  I begin to understand, so… I think perhaps that we can experience this now, in the physical body. Would this be right?

Stephen: This would be correct.

Michael:  Because when we had the experience of group receiving, the group all reported that they felt caught up into the spirit of God. Perhaps this is the muscle?

Stephen: This is very close to correct. Remember that I give the closest approximation that I am able, and that approximation that you have given is sufficient.

I must soon depart. Even I begin to talk of departing. I must return this body to Thomas.

[ I see this session as containing some of Stephen’s basic teaching. Remember his earlier words: “The knowledge of this part of the Whole (which is also called Michael) which was to be gained through experience was decided before the separateness of Michael was felt.” We could substitute the name “X” here, or, in general, the name of the reader. “We are all each other” and, as we have noted from Stephen’s parable of the Reflections in a pool, we are basically spiritual entities learning about ourselves and experiencing by immersing our consciousnesses in the pool, or in the physical.]

Michael Cocks edits the journal, The Ground of Faith.
Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr by Michael Cocks is published by White Crow Books and available from Amazon and other bookstores.

Paperback               Kindle

For more on Stephen go to



Read comments or post one of your own
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