One of the knocks on Science of Mind and New Thought in general is that it can be “too heady”. I recognize that frequently the topics that interest me and that I write about can be overly intellectual. Yes, I enjoy linking different concepts and models of thought together and having a beautiful “a-ha” experience. For me, such moments carry a degree of transcendence.
But there are times that call us away from our heads and into our hearts. Our all too human pains that come from loss and death and illness break us open and leave us asking repeatedly “Why?” We seek answers and meaning that tend to be overly elusive when we are in the throes of our sorrow. Our history of such heartache tells us that the relief and understanding will come in time. Such knowledge rarely deadens the hurt.
I know that many of us are facing or have faced such challenges in recent times. Over the past year and a half, both my wife and I have dealt with the loss of a parent. I know that many of us have lost loved ones to the pandemic. Recent intimate conversations with several of my friends and family have been about the loss of loved ones or serious illnesses that remind us of our physical mortality. I so want to conjure up the right words to mitigate the pain at those times. More often, my words fail me.
Many years ago, I picked up on eBay a copy of a book by spiritual teacher Ernest Holmes which had long been out of print. The title was You Will Live Forever. Here, Holmes speaks to our pain.
“But we are all human beings and we all do long for “the touch of a vanished hand, or the sound of a voice that is still.” Yes, we are all human. We miss our friends, we miss their presence, because love, friendship is the greatest thing in the world. Love is the lodestone of life, it is the greatest gift of heaven and the highest treasure of earth.”
You Will Live Forever was published in 1960 shortly after Holmes’ death by Dodd, Mead and Company. At the time, they were the publisher for many of Ernest’s books. The inside dust jacket reads “This last book by Ernest Holmes will give the reader many hours of inspiration and comfort.”
Inside, one finds an essay by Holmes on immortality from which the volume drew its name. The bulk of the book contains selections from the Bible — pulled from Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, and the words of Jesus — all chosen to offer us inspiration at times of loss. Although I am positive that this book has given comfort to many, I am sure that it has remained out of print due to the limited content actually written by Holmes.
“It is merely this physical body, this physical instrument that passes away, this thing that disintegrates with death. It is not that which makes for the warmth, the color and the responsiveness of the person himself that thing which forever more eludes us, that which responds to us and that to which we respond is as eternal, as God, as everlasting as Reality Itself.”
Throughout the essay, Holmes reminds us that these physical bodies are simply temporary vessels for our usage as we pass through this human experience. “Who we are” at our essence is not lost when we set aside these physical forms.
“All men are incarnations of God and the soul can no more be lost than God could be lost. What more can life demand of us than that we do the best we know, always trying to improve, and if we have done this, we have done well indeed and all will be right with our souls, both here and hereafter.”
Much of my writings and teachings have been infused with the idea that we live in multiple realms simultaneously. For years, my mental picture was of our having one foot in the human realm, one foot in the spiritual realm and with moment to moment shifts as to which realm we are focused.
Recently, the Hermetic concepts in The Kybalion that I have written about have shifted that picture just a tad. Now, I tend to see us moving along a polarity of human/material to emotional to mental to spiritual. We slip and slide in our focus among the various “bodies”, shifting our attention as our needs and our growth permit.
Illness shifts us immediately into our physical bodies without concern for any “higher bodies”. The death of a loved one calls to seek solace in our beliefs of our transcendence into and continuity through these non-material realms. Perhaps, we think, they simply released the form but carry on in dimensions to which we simply are not able to easily communicate. Illness and death both carry the reminder that our time here on Earth is all too fleeting and send out the clarion call to completely cherish our loved ones with the time we have.
“Death loses its sting and the grave its victory when we realize that the eternal being of that which is within ourselves and nature will not let us stay too long in any one place, just long enough to gather the experience necessary to the unfolding and advancement of the soul. This is wise, for should we stay here too long, we would become too set, too rigid, too inflexible. Nature demands the change that we may advance and when this change comes, we should certainly welcome it with a smile on the lips and a song in the heart. And while it is that we weep for our friends, we should know that their life goes on or as the Eastern poet said, “loving friends be wise and dry straightway every weeping eye, what ye lift upon the bier is not worth the wistful tear. Tis an empty seashell one out of which the pearl is gone. The shell is broken, it lies there, the pearl, the all, the soul, is here.””
On some level if we are truly honest with ourselves, the pain we feel is not for the other person who has moved on. After all, our faith and beliefs fill us with the feeling that we know they carry on somewhere beyond our reach. No, the real pain is for us as we continue here in this dimension without the companionship and caring relationships that permeated our existence with the power of love.
To our feeling of loss, Ernest offers us some poetry of comfort:
They are not dead.
Those we have fondled to our breast
Have found sweet peace and quiet rest.
They live and move among the blessed.
They are not dead.
Beyond earth’s slowly setting sun
Another life has just begun,
Another course of action run.
They are not dead.
Beyond earth’s storms and mists and rain
Beyond all sorrow, fear and pain
New life, new joy, shall spring again.
They are not dead.
They have but found new songs to sing
New life and laughter there to bring
To love’s eternal spring.
For those of you who are dealing with the pain of loss, may you to some degree be comforted by these words. In the passage of time, the hurt will diminish. No passage of time will ever erase the love. The relationships we miss and cherish will continue on forever both in our hearts and in realms beyond our earthly forms. The Divine Love forged in our relationships with other expressions of the One are everlasting and eternal.
Note: Although the full book You Will Live Forever is out of print, Holmes complete essay from which the above quotes were pulled are in the public domain and can be found online for nominal costs. The best source for getting a copy is through the following link and the resources of the Science of Mind Archives.