The message on the bench

‘Why not go through the forest today?’, the thought dropped into my mind on Saturday, April 23, 2022. Yeah, I had already taken a walk around the field in the sunshine just a day ago and now it was cloudy, so I wouldn’t miss any sunshine when I went into the shade of the forest instead of my usual walk around the fields. It would be the first trip to the forest this year.

With a little excited anticipation about what would be in store for me on that day, I got on my bike and took the short ride to the forest.

I had intended to put my bike right at the entrance of the forest and then walk the rest of the way, but for some odd reason my mind seemed to be wiped blank when I passed that spot and I ended up riding further into the forest instead.

‘Okay, never mind,’ I thought. ‘Who knows what this will be good for. I’ll just put my bike next to the little bridge then and walk from there.’

This time, I didn’t miss the spot. I locked my bike next to a small bridge and then took a walk around a lovely nature reserve area.

Even though the landscape was beautiful, my mood was rather brooding. Triggered by current events, thoughts about past stuff from work came up. Anger about not feeling appreciated enough in the past and my resulting intention to reduce my level of engagement at work. I still haven’t truly forgiven this issue. Regarding my day job, I am in a sort of detached, disengaged state most of the time. It feels peaceful on the surface, but if anything touches that old wound, emotions of anger and sadness come up again.

There are many benches along the way and I usually sit down often to rest and enjoy the view. I was glad that I was alone on this walk. Sadness came up and I let the tears flow. I didn’t even know whether the tears were sadness about the work anymore or whether they were a sign of release. Tears of relief as if someone hugged me after I had gone through a rough time.

In that brooding and teary-eyed mood, I got up and walked a bit to leave the nature reserve again where I suddenly saw a new bench at the side of the forest. The wood of the bench was old so it must have been there for a long time, but even though I had walked past this spot many times, I had never noticed a bench in this place. Maybe someone put an old bench in this spot?

So, I thought that I still had enough time since I rode my bike too far into the forest that day and shortened the way which I would walk and therefore I could rest on that new bench. And then a couple of minutes later, I decided to make a small detour. All because I still had enough time left.

As I walked a small, barely visible detour-path which I had never gone before with the forest on my left and the fields on my right side, I saw another bench. It was old, had a hole in part of the seat and was out of sight from the main path. How nice that there were so many benches in beautiful spots.

When I sat down, still teary-eyed, I saw that on top of some graffiti a (German) text was written on the old, weathered wood.

The message on the bench

Here is the German text:

Vertraue!

Alles ist gut.🤍

Du bist ewig!

Du bist wunderschön.

Es ist kein Zufall, das[s] du hier bist!

Wir passen auf dich auf!

Translation:

Trust!

All is well.🤍

You are eternal!

You are beautiful.

It is no coincidence that you are here!

We’re looking after you!

My tears welled up even more, this time because of wonder and gratitude. Until I was able to laugh again. Then I said to my guides, “Thank you. You guys are amazing.”

I don’t know who wrote this lovely message and for whom, but now it became clear to me how I was guided to this bench all along and why I was made to miss the first parking spot of my bike at the entrance of the forest.

At that day, I didn’t have any device with me to take a picture.
When I came back two days later to take photos of the bench, I also saw that several of the trees were marked with two white dots by the foresters. And someone had played with these dots and painted faces on a few trees like in this picture.

I think these kinds of stories happen to me, but they do not belong to me. They want to be shared. So, that’s what I do. I hope you also find some miracles in the forest or somewhere else in everyday life.

Results of working with divine guidance: a transformational journey

In the previous post, I discussed the coming into alignment as a result of working with divine guidance. I presented the octopus model (like an invisible giant hand which moves us) with strings with more or less slack representing more or less free will. I suggested that the spiritual journey is about shortening those strings, i.e. going from willfulness to willingness. From ‘my will be done’ to ‘Thy will be done’. From resistance to surrender.

What does the journey feel like on a personal level?

Understanding this journey from the bird’s eye view is one thing. Another thing is to understand what it feels like for the person who is actually going through this shift. Going from the macroscopic view to the microscopic point of view.

This is a transformational journey. Think about tadpole to frog. Or caterpillar to butterfly.

And the journey is very individual for each of us. But still, I think there are some commonalities that can be mentioned:

  • Awakening
  • Falling away of the old
  • Shift to something new

The stages / milestones do not necessarily happen in this order. Awakening can come before or after the falling away of the old.

And the term awakening might mean very different things to different people. While I would define it as the insight that consciousness is prior to everything and that there is a greater invisible force orchestrating events, other people might say that their awakening was that the mind feels very peaceful when it is clear and when there are no thought spirals running amok. Or that developing more self-compassion was the most important game changer for them. It is probably a combination of all of these viewpoints.

Regarding the transformational journey, I’m thinking about fictional example-biographies like the following:

  • High-achieving in a stressful career –> burnout with 40 years –> recover with alternative methods of healing –> change jobs to become an alternative healer.
  • History of being abused –> breaking point is reached –> recover with spiritual healing –> change jobs to help other victims of abuse.
  • Leading a pleasant life, but with the feeling that something missing –> become a spiritual seeker –> separate self falls away –> become a spiritual teacher.
  • Coping in life with alcohol abuse –> breaking point is reached –> recover with an AA group –> surrender to a higher power. Life is turned around and lived more in alignment with the soul.
  • Leading a sort of ‘normal’ life, but with the nagging feeling that something is wrong with one’s body –> inner coming out as transgender –> outer coming out as trans. And following that, a complete change of one’s life.
  • Leading a ‘normal’ run of the mill life with a job and family duties –> have an NDE –> experience a complete turnaround of life’s values and as a result, there are life changes.

My own transformational journey was triggered by rheumatoid arthritis after the birth of my first child which led me to homeopathy which in turn broke my materialistic worldview open. Then it was like a hike up to a mountain with a winding path uphill (- this represented the falling away of the old, e.g. former hobbies and former engagement at work). Afterwards it was like going downhill again, this time following the flow of a river – with more or less resistance from my side (loops at the riverside). This represented the coming into alignment with the new (e.g. sharing my experiences in this blog).
You can read more about my journey here.

So that is what the shortening of the strings in the octopus model can look like for the indivual person. A journey with the falling away of something old and coming into alignment with a new direction in life.

It can be deeply traumatic and heartbreaking.

It can be more or less dramatic with more or less messy upheaval.

It can be done with much resistance, kicking and screaming, or it can be done voluntarily and willingly.

It can be a sudden change or more gradual.

But it is usually transformational. And this transformation is one of the results of working with divine guidance.

Results of working with divine guidance: coming into alignment with the soul

In addition to the paradigm shift that consciousness is prior to everything (see last week’s post), another result of working with divine guidance is coming into alignment with what the soul wants.

The Octopus Model

Back in the early years of my spiritual journey around 2007/2008 when I became aware that there was an invisible force behind the veil like a giant invisible hand moving everything and orchestrating events like chance encounters and synchronicities, an image dropped into my mind. It was a something like a giant octopus with more than a million arms (or a hand with a million fingers) and each arm had a puppet sitting on the tip of each arm (like one would put a thimble on a fingertip while sewing). We were like divine puppets moved by a giant, invisible puppeteer.

The ‘octopus’ came into my mind with the color of transparent light blue and it represented the giant invisible force (consciousness/ awareness / the void) which moved everything.

The puppets or thimbles on the tips of the arms had the color of opaque bright red and they represented the things in the visible realm (other people, animals, cars, etc.)

At first, I struggled with the color coding of this mental image or vision. I thought if I am ever going to share this, wouldn’t it be nicer to have the octopus in red and the puppets in blue? Because most people are probably familiar with the red pill vs blue pill choice in the film The Matrix where the blue pill represents staying in the illusion and the red pill represents waking up. But even though I tried, the mental image didn’t want to be changed and somehow insisted on keeping the octopus in transparent light blue and the puppets in opaque bright red. So, I gave up and stayed with these colors.

When I was in awe and wonder about all the synchronicities but struggled with the question ‘How does this work?’, this model dropped into my mind as an answer. I gave me an explanation of how the world is not made up of separate bodies which move around randomly and bump into each other just by coincidence. But there was a hidden force which orchestrated everything.

The model could also explain how it would be possible to have a telepathic connection to someone else. The connection from one being to the next was via the route of up one arm to the body of the octopus and then down another arm to the other being.

What about free will?

Even though this model could explain some mysteries, I still struggled with the aspect of free will. If we are steered like puppets by the divine force all the time, then why is life on earth such a mess? And why can it sometimes be so hard to decide what the best next step would be to take?

Some years later, I read a Raj/Jesus channeling by Paul Tuttle which described the spiritual journey as starting with a connection to the divine like a string with much slack (i.e. a lot of free will). And as the journey progressed, the string would become shorter and shorter and exercising free will would become more and more uncomfortable.

I found the string analogy helpful and put this element into the octopus model. The red puppets were now tied to the octopus’s arms with strings which had more or less slack. As the spiritual journey progressed, the strings would become shorter. At a certain point when the string had no slack anymore, the red puppet would only follow the movement of the octopus’s arms.

Octopus model with puppets with strings with varying amounts of slack

I remember reading in one of Bernadette Roberts‘ books about the path to no-self or the experience of no-self that at one point in her journey any decision making process was like walking or balancing on a log of wood. It was completely clear where the next step had to be placed. Exercising free will and choosing any other direction would have resulted in falling off the log of wood. That is what I assume will happen in the journey and that is what I mean when I say that free will becomes less and less.

I had my own experiences with giving up free will. When I chose to act contrary to my guidance, things would break in the house or I would get sick. This was a precursor to the situation described by Bernadette Roberts.

There is free will. But choosing a direction different from what the divine would have us do becomes harder and harder as the journey progresses.

Coming into alignment

Following divine guidance leads to a coming into alignment with one’s soul. In the model discussed above, it is about shortening the strings. In the beginning, they are long and have a lot of slack. That means for the individual person there is a lot of wiggle room to exercise free will and go into all directions of which they think that it would make them happy (money, career, admiration, shopping, etc.)

After a while, if the person planned to have an awakening in that lifetime, their string becomes shorter and shorter when looking at the journey from a bird’s eye view seeing the big picture.

In the next post, I plan to write about what that journey of shortening the string and coming into alignment might look like from the person’s point of view.

Results of working with divine guidance: a paradigm shift

When one works with divine guidance, where does this lead to?

There are several topics that can be mentioned. And one of them is a shift in worldview.

Nothing actually changed when people started thinking that the Earth is round and not flat or that the Earth moves around the Sun (instead of the Sun moving around the Earth). In daily life, the streets and fields looked as flat as before. And the Sun still rose in the East each morning and went down in the West each evening. It was just a change in the worldview in people’s minds.

And yet it had large consequences because the way was paved for more scientific discoveries.

When working with divine guidance, there is a similar shift in worldview in store for us. Namely, that consciousness does not originate from the neurons of the brain, but that it is prior to everything material. That means the neurons of the brain (and everything else in the 3d realm) originate from consciousness.

Consciousness is another dimension. And much like a three-dimensional sphere would at the same time encompass and pervade a two-dimensional plane (for an entertaining story with examples, see book and movie Flatland ), so does consciousness at the same time encompass our world and also pervade everything.

This shift in worldview can happen before working with divine guidance. For example, for me, it happened when I read many stories about little children who started talking about their past lives spontaneously out of the blue, and also when I read many Near Death Experiences.

Or the shift in worldview can happen during the journey with divine guidance because so many things happen which cannot be explained with the former worldview.

In the former worldview where the world consist of separate objects and people moving around randomly and where consciousness does not survive the death of the physical body, it is hard to explain things like channeling dead people, telepathy, precognitive dreams, or synchronicities.

I came from a scientific/materialistic worldview, and it was a big shift for me to accept that consciousness is prior to everything. When this realization hit me, I remember that I felt the floor shaking below me. Suddenly my solid former world had become instable and I could feel it physically as some kind of vertigo.

I think that this paradigm shift is currently happening in society, but it is still located in the fringes of what is publicly accepted.

In science, people are still trying to find out how consciousness arises from the activity of neurons in the brain. For example, this article Decoding the neuroscience of consciousness (published July 2019) says,

Newly developed techniques for measuring brain activity are enabling scientists to refine their theories about what consciousness is, how it forms in the brain and where the boundaries lie between being conscious and unconscious. 
[…]

” “It’s still just fundamentally mysterious how consciousness happens,” says Anil Seth, a cognitive and computational neuroscientist and co-director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK.
[…]

As scientists have become more adept at detecting consciousness, they have begun to determine which brain regions and circuits are most important. But there is still much debate about what constitutes consciousness in neural terms, with particular disagreement over which brain processes and regions matter most.

So, that is what scientists think: ‘Just look long enough and close enough at the brain activity. Measure it, think deeply, discuss, and publish. And then finally one day, we should be able to really understand how consciousness is produced by the brain. And where exactly it is located. Because the fact that consciousness is produced by the brain is our assumption. Our infallible assumption which must not be challenged. And it is such an infallible assumption truth that there is not even a need to state explicitly that this is our basic assumption on which we operate.’

That infallible-assumption thing reminds me of the Catholic Church and how it was upset when Galileo said that the Earth moves around the Sun.

And the article quoted above was not written like 100 years ago, but fairly recently in 2019.

But within the new paradigm, studying the neurons in the brain to find out how consciousness happens is about as smart as if one would look at the electronic currents in the TV set in one’s living room trying to find out how the evening news broadcast is created in the TV.

Everyone would laugh at that fruitless attempt.

Isn’t that ironic how it was the church which said that the Sun revolves around the Earth? And woe unto you, Galileo, if you dare to challenge that belief!
And now it’s science’s turn to make a fool of itself and say that they believe that consciousness comes from the brain and woe unto everyone who dares to challenge that assumption! They might lose their license to teach at the university.

And in the meantime, some people who came from the materialistic worldview and were forced by their life’s circumstances to accept this paradigm shift that consciousness exists independently of a functioning brain are contributing to the shift.

For example, one of them is Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who had a near-death experience which changed his worldview. He wrote the bestselling book Proof of Heaven about his experience (with currently more than 16.000 customer reviews on Amazon).

Maybe enough stories like his will help the new paradigm to seep from the fringes into mainstream thinking. Or if that doesn’t work, maybe it needs personal experience for each and everyone. So, in order to shift the paradigm, maybe everyone needs their own near-death experience, out-of-body experience, past-life memories, alien abduction experiences, after-death communication experiences, ghost encounters, telepathy, etc.

Regarding the time frame, I was hoping that, well, maybe in a few decades this new paradigm that consciousness is the basis of everything has become mainstream.

But if I consider that it took the Roman Catholic Church more than 350 years to admit that Galileo was right, then if science takes the same amount of time to shift its paradigm, that may mean it may well take another few centuries instead of just decades.

So, if you are on a spiritual path and your paradigm shifts, then this might mean that you live in a different paradigm than the mainstream for the rest of your life. Which may have advantages and disadvantages. It can feel a bit like being a Hogwarts student and living among muggles. Sometimes lonely, at other times exciting.