One cold winter’s night ten years ago, I was working late in my office in the foothills of California’s Los Padres National Forest. The phone startled me out of my soft, quiet mood. An ominous sign, a phone call this late, I thought.
I barely recognized my brother’s strained voice on the other end. “Johnny,” he said, “Phil’s dead.” I couldn’t believe his words. So I asked, “Paul, what did you say?” He repeated, “Phil’s dead.”
My mind and emotions whirled in a dizzy, crazy fog. How could this be? I’d just talked to Phil a couple nights earlier. He’d sounded really good that night, happy and healthy. Although, I must admit, that was not typical for him.
Phil, a childhood friend of Paul’s and mine, had apparently been murdered on Paul’s ranch in northwestern Wyoming. I said to my brother, “I’ll be there tomorrow.” In the dark early hours of the next morning, I was on my way to Wyoming.
After the funeral, Paul and I went out to the ranch. Just the two of us. I don’t know why. I guess we just wanted to be alone together out there. It was an icy, grey February day, and a cold, lonely wind was blowing over the hard landscape. As we approached the ranch far up in the high country, a mystical, misty shroud of clouds hung darkly over the mountains.
Paul had some business to take care of with one of the “neighbors.” Neighbors out here in this wide, wild country are often miles apart. He’d be gone a while. So I told him I’d go over to the place where Phil had died, and start straightening up the mess left behind.
It was about a mile from the ranch headquarters, but I was grateful for some time to just walk and gather my thoughts.
As I walked, my thoughts wandered back to our younger days and the little farm town in Western New York State where Phil, Paul, and I had grown up.
Paul and I grew up in a warm, happy, loving family. Phil did not. He carried the heavy sadness of his childhood into adulthood. I’d known him most of his life. And most of his life had been a bitter, hard struggle. Not much joy there. He was a wise and powerful man. But he didn’t know how to find joy in life.
And so he died as he had lived–hard and sad.
All these thoughts were twisting and turning in my mind as I approached the place where Paul had found Phil’s body. I stood there for a few moments taking in this familiar place I’d seen many times over the years. But now it seemed strange and unfamiliar.
And then something shifted. The energy of the whole place changed–it suddenly felt bright and happy.
Then there was Phil in front of me, laughing and obviously having one hell of a good time. We talked for a few minutes. He assured me he was in a good place, and feeling more joy and peace in “death” than he’d ever felt in life.
I walked–about two feet off the ground, I suspect–back to ranch headquarters. I knew Phil was okay. More than okay–he was safe and he was home.
Death does not exist. Death, as you perceive it, simply does not exist. It is a veil you cast over your lives–a veil of illusion. Beyond the veil is life’s other side.
There is no death. There is only life, eternal life. You, your souls, know this. You, the human beings, do not.
We realize you often face challenges and traumas in your physical incarnations. But it’s important for you to know this: Whatever your physical life circumstances were at the beginning of your current incarnation (that is, at your physical birth), those circumstances were chosen by your soul.
Your soul chose those circumstances because it saw value in the experiences those circumstances would make available to you. Your soul felt no fear, no trepidation, no doubt that it–you–could extract, if you will, from those circumstances experiences of deep joy and tremendous growth.
As often happens with humans, you forget your mission. Once you’ve been on the planet for a while, you lose sight of why you came here. And, more critically, you lose sight of who you are.
So often you blunder through your lives as if you were victims of circumstances, having no control over what happens to you. Phil had often told John his life consisted of “reeling from one crisis to another.”
And so it was for Phil. And so it is for many. Not all–but many.
But it does not have to be so. It is neither preordained nor predestined. You get to decide, either by deliberate choice or by default, what your life’s experiences will be. That includes your relationships, your level of financial abundance, your work, your health. Everything in this lifetime you’ve created either deliberately by conscious choice–or by default, if you do not acknowledge and own your power.
And so, having said all that, are we saying if you’ve screwed up your life this time around, you’re doomed forever? Not at all–not at all!
You see, you cannot fail. You cannot get your life wrong. You cannot ever go astray.
Oh yes, we realize you can make what your human minds may consider one huge mess of any particular lifetime. But your soul can find and extract value even from that.
You exist eternally, forever–and one lifetime does not define you. It does not define your destiny. It is merely one tiny and rather interesting point on the endless, eternal spectrum of your life.
Your souls exist in a state of perpetual bliss–they live in a place of ecstasy and joy your human minds cannot even begin to imagine.
And when you leave your bodies behind–as you’ve done countless times over the eons–you instantly return to your natural state of being. That state in which your soul lives for all eternity.
And that is a state of joy, of perfect bliss, of delight in knowing you have no end and no beginning. You are forever.