The following is an excerpt from my new book entitled O TERRIBLE! This is a story about how failure and unhappiness can sometimes be essential to the growth of the human spirit. In a place like America where everybody is after financial success, spiritual growth has been hindered, if not stopped completely.
by Matt Burns
She hovered down the long, white tunnel wearing a long, cute dress that she manifested to look like the one she used to love wearing. It was a black evening gown from Sak’s Fifth Avenue and she had worn it the night she was awarded her Pulitzer Prize at Columbia University. It represented a pinnacle in her life, one of the best nights she had ever had. A time when she was at her happiest. A time when she felt the most loved.
Her ankles and feet were visible at the bottom of her dress, but unnecessary. For a person who could virtually be anywhere at any time (within level three and below, that is), space and time were no longer a factor for her, thus rendering her feet sheer decoration possessing no practical use whatsoever. After all, she was merely energy and only as physical as she wished to represent herself. And seeing that it had only been a handful of years since she’d been on the “other side”, she was still used to thinking about her “self” in the way in which it was represented during her time on earth: that is, as a physical entity. However, once she got her wings and ascended to the higher astral planes, she would no longer feel the need to represent herself in this way. She would more than likely be represented as...well, NOTHING - maybe an orb, if anything. But most of the ascended masters on the higher vibrations didn’t represent themselves as anything at all. They were just energy. The higher one got on the astral planes, the more detached they were from their human existence. In their minds, human form was merely one possible way of representing oneself...not THE way.
But, yes, for now, Lillian was still representing herself as a form very closely resembling the way in which she looked during her time on earth - well, during her prime, that is. After all, who wanted to represent themselves as an old prune? Not Lillian. No, she was adamant about manifesting herself to be in her 30s, when she was young and beautiful, with long curly brown hair and eyes as green as a lawn in May. Her most distinguished feature was her lips because they always seemed to be puckered (even when they were completely relaxed). In fact, it was her lips that rendered her “cute” down on earth, and it was usually what would attract the men to her.
Lillian hovered further down the long, white ‘hall’ (call it what you will, as there was not a word that could describe it) and she listened to the beautiful angelic hummings emanating from the higher levels. It reminded her of being in a department store back on earth, where the music would be playing lightly over the intercom. But instead of banal, top-40 hits and one-hit wonders, these were the sounds of highly evolved musical spirits composing harmonies and melodies that were way ahead of anything that was happening on earth. One of these spirits would eventually volunteer for human existence and become the next Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix or Curt Cobain or Michael Jackson.
In fact, everywhere she went there was always word of new and fantastic arts/sciences being developed on the upper planes, all with the intention of eventually bringing them down to earth. They were supposedly the next Einsteins and Picassos and Bachs. The latter-day Socrates’ and Nietzsche’s and Shakespeares and Chekhovs. Their time on earth was imminent. New and exciting things were always on the horizon. There was a tremendous energy in the spiritual dimension. Creativity mattered so much more up there than she remembered it mattering while she was on earth. All people seemed to be concerned about on earth was money, and success, and fame. In the spiritual dimension, it was the exact opposite.
In fact, each day that passed, Lillian would find herself saying, “Oh, so that’s what it’s all about.” It was the expansion of her consciousness. Her gradual escape from the mind. Her baby-stepped departure from the earth’s vibration and preparation to ascend to the higher astral levels. She progressed a little bit more and more everyday. But she would be the first one to admit that she was still very much trapped within the human consciousness. It was a prison that was very difficult to escape.
Lillian would often fantasize about having her wings and ascending into the higher levels, but the fantasy itself only proved she was very far off from actually getting her wings. This was because the fantasy was very “human” in nature, as it involved popularity, power, envy and other man-made values. Essentially, she would envision herself flying high above New York City where every human being on the ground would look up and envy her for having wings. She was so popular and powerful up there. She was the queen of New York. And everybody loved her.
On one hand, Lillian knew that this silly little fantasy meant she still cared too much about what Man thought of her. After all, ‘Man’ was no longer relevant where she was. It was God she needed to please, not Man. But, still, she wasn’t yet at the point where she could rewire her mind differently. It was a very difficult mindset to shake. She still wanted to be loved by Man, perhaps even more than she cared about being loved by God. She didn’t want to admit it, but it was true.
Lillian started focusing her mind on the Archangels long and hard...thinking and thinking about nothing but them. Soon, she felt herself in the midst of a tremendous energy, which she soon identified as Gabriel, one of the Archangels that was operating on the vibration closest to God. She wondered how it felt to be that high in vibration and was somewhat depressed to realize she would never be there. The Archangels, after all, were of a breed of their own and were never manifested as human beings. Their energy was on a vibration way higher than what was on any of the seven astral planes.
No, the closest Lillian could ever get to Gabriel’s vibration was if she became an ascended master on the seventh level, but even THAT was far off for her. It would be a while before she would get there and would more than likely have to experience human manifestation several more times. Souls that were up for their ascended mastership had some incredibly grueling contracts to fulfill during their time on earth. Some of the contracts were so darn difficult it was a wonder how anybody ever fulfilled them. Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Confucius, Mary Magdalen (yes, Jesus’ wife)...these were just SOME of the ascended masters that once graced the earth with their presence.
“State your business,” said Gabriel, now slowly manifesting himself in a human form with no distinct characteristics. The Archangels would often lower themselves in vibration so as to communicate more easily with the lower-level spirits. This meant appearing to Lillian in a shape she was more familiar with.
“I need to speak with God.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“Well, you’re going to have to make one. He’s extremely busy.”
“Please, it’s very important that I speak with him.”
Gabriel’s energy glowed for a moment without saying anything at all.
"Please," Lillian repeated.
“One moment,” said the Archangel. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Gabriel glowed in silence and took a few seconds to communicate with God strictly by means of telepathically sending energy back and forth. This was the common means of communication in the higher levels. There was no verbalization of words. It was all just energy and feeling.
“OK, He’ll see you,” said Gabriel. “Come into my energy.”
Gabriel’s energy oozed out of its human shape and then transformed from a gooey ectoplasm to a blue ball of light. Although she felt nothing but warmth and comfort and peace and love from the light, Lillian still feared it, mainly because it was still all a giant mystery to her. She never believed in any of this stuff while she was a human and she still had trouble believing in all of it now, even though it was right there before her very eyes.
“It’s OK. Don’t be afraid,” said Gabriel with a deep warmth in his voice, one that would humble any radio personality down on earth.
Lillian cautiously hovered towards the light and soon became one with Gabriel’s aura. The energy gave her the feeling of a giant, warm hug from her grandfather, but multiplied by one-hundred or maybe one-thousand.
Without experiencing any physical sensation of traveling, Lillian found herself on a different astral plane before she even knew she had gone anywhere. It was a giant white space with a tremendous energy that was extremely difficult to explain in words. The best way to describe it was in saying it felt like the world and all the energy within it. All the good energy, that is. The rivers, the ocean, the trees, the butterflies, the bees, the artists, the mathematicians, the philosophers, the writers, the fools...the love...everything. It was Genesis, essentially. It was what the world WAS...before it soured.
“What is it, Lillian?” asked an overwhelmingly deep voice that made Gabriel’s radio voice sound like the squeak of a mouse. The voice came from behind Lillian and was startling at first. She turned around to see the outline of a man slowly manifest itself. He was sitting at a rectangular desk with some paperwork and a lamp. Could this have been how God was showing Himself to her?
“My name is Lillian. I’m Jeffrey Gray’s guide.”
“I know who you are.”
“Yes...right. Of course.”
“How is Jeffrey?”
“Um...well, not so good, I’m afraid.”
“What’s the problem?”
“Well, I think it’s getting a little too difficult for him.”
“Life isn’t supposed to be easy.”
“Well, I think he needs a little...maybe just a tad...of....”
She hesitated a moment before she finished her sentence.
Wow, she didn’t think it would be such a big deal, but she felt as though she’d just said a dirty word, like the ‘N-word’ at a NAACP meeting, or the “K-Word” in the middle of a Jewish Temple. Heck, she probably would’ve been more comfortable dropping a cuss, like ‘damn’ or ‘crud’.
“Absolutely not,” said God.
“Success is the artist’s greatest enemy.”
“But I had my first novel published when I was twenty.”
“That’s because it was a piece of garbage.”
Indeed, it was probably true. Well, heck, if God said it, then it MUST have been the truth. See, Lillian was an extremely successful writer during her time on earth. She wrote an entire series of titillating novels with all sorts of spicy romances and betrayals and back-stabbings and murders and affairs. They were all Bestsellers for the most part and a lot of critics even went so far as to call them ‘art’ (hence the Pulitzer prize). But there was always a voice inside her head that said she could do better. She should have listened to the voice. Yes, she should have listened.
It wasn’t until her death and subsequent “life review” that she was faced with the truth of her human existence: basically, that she was a literary hack who did nothing but distract people from more important things in life. Sure, she had the money, the nice house, nice car, exciting vacations and good-looking kids. She schmoozed and rubbed elbows with all the celebrities of her time. She even got to meet the President at a dinner. And shook hands with the Pope and Dalai Lama. But, after she died, she realized that all those things were absolutely meaningless. They didn’t matter...like, at all.
So, now, she was assigned to help Jeffrey with his own writing endeavors, partly because he needed the help, but also because she needed to help him in order to help herself. Because in assisting Jeffrey she would get her wings, and progress on a spiritual level. It was all a Karmic way of repaying the world for all the garbage she put into it while she was down there.
Of course, Lillian was well-aware that Jeffrey’s life had to be significantly tougher than her life was in order for the spiritual progression to take place. But she, still, thought it may have been too much for one man to handle.
“You don’t know how he feels down there,” she tried to explain to God. “He’s going crazy.”
“Life is tough. End of story.”
“But I think his contract is too difficult. It’s too ambitious. He’s over-extended himself.”
“Help him fulfill it. He can do it.”
“I’ve tried and tried. And tried. But it doesn’t work anymore.”
“Do what you must to keep him writing, but if you give him even a taste of success, you can forget about your wings.”
Immediately - with that threat voiced - the wings fantasy returned to Lillian. This time, however, the vision of her flying over New York City was accompanied by her favorite song from earth. It was a song she had heard at Sunday Mass. Incidentally, it was also the song they played at her funeral. “And He will raise you up, on eagle’s wings. Bear you on the breath of dawn!!!!”
Needless to say, the thought of never getting wings put a muzzle on Lillian. She became reluctantly complacent.
“Yes, God. I understand. No success.”
She took a few steps backwards, unaware that Gabriel’s energy was still lurking immediately behind her. The Archangel weaved his energy in and out of Lillian's energy and transported her back to the lower levels.