I became conscious in a small, claustrophobic, untidy flat above some kind of grocer's shop. Everything was dirty and the smells were vile: rotting food and human waste.
White Owl extended his straight arm and silently pointed into a corner of the drab bed-sit, where I saw a crumpled form, twisting and writhing in the bed. It was a woman of great years, thin and pale, with short-cropped greasy grey hair, and a tight thin mouth. Her hands were long and mean, her eyes like slits in her yellow skin. In her troubled sleep, she groaned and wrung her hands. Her heart was giving out.
I sensed she was just about to die.
I watched her last breath, and then, slowly, she gave up her spirit, which vacated its bitter and twisted shell in urgency. Instantly she scrambled to her spirit feet and rummaged around the room, trying to lift papers and objects, bits of shredded matting and stained tea-cups.
'Searching for money', said my friend.
'Of what good is that to her?'
'None whatsoever. She thinks she has woken from her usual sleep. She does not realise she has died.'
'The poor soul died alone,' I lamented.
'No - we were here.'
We watched as she scratched and pulled at objects, trying to find her banknotes, getting more flustered by the minute because her bony fingers kept passing through the furniture. Then suddenly she disappeared.
'Come! We must follow!' said White Owl, clasping my hand, and immediately we were walking through a neglected, overgrown graveyard. The night was pitch-black, only the moon lighting grasses and weeds through the scurrying clouds. 'She is yonder.' And he pointed towards a gravestone, where the bedraggled old woman was kneeling, scrabbling at the earth, moaning and weeping. 'The tombstone of her husband. She is childless.'
'But where is he?'
'Far away. Death for him was a grateful release from bondage.'
'Why is she here?'
'To recapture her past. She is lonely, frightened, afraid. And now, unsure whether she sleeps or has died. We must wait in case realisation comes.' But no sooner had he said this, than she vanished once again. For quite some time we followed her. She called on people who owed her money, none of whom heard her or reacted, causing her further distress. One young man was living in a derelict apartment she owned; she hurled wicked abuse at him for not paying any rent. But he clearly didn't live in the flat, it was too filthy, damp an unclean, and being homeless, he only sheltered there at night. But like the others, he couldn't register her belligerent ravings, which angered her all the more.
'Now she mourns, for she knows she has died.'
Then the scenes changed once again, her greedy thoughts instantly transporting her back to the dreary bed-sit. She was kneeling by the dishevelled bed, weeping profusely, not even noticing her 'dead' body within it. White Owl quietly bid me stay at one end of the room, and he stepped forward. In a twinkling of an eye, he raised an outstretched hand and all his body glimmered golden-white. He was now visible, and she looked up - then immediately cowered down in utter fear, as he spoke.
'Woman, why do you weep?'
'I think I have died, or...is this a dream?'
'No, you have indeed crossed into the land from whence you originally came'.
'But I felt nothing, no pain.'
'God is kind.'
'God!' she suddenly spat at him. 'Don't talk of God to me! What did God ever do for me in my old age? I'm lame and weak and have no friends or lovers.'
'In order to be loved, one must first love others.'
'The only man who ever loved me is dead...' Sudden panic gripped her. 'But where is he? Why hasn't he come for me, if there's a life after death?'
White Owl stood motionless, his kind eyes shining while full realisation dawned. Then, having read her thoughts, he gently said, 'In your heart of hearts, you know he did not love you, and that your feelings for him were born of possession. Your soul knows that death for him was a happy release.' She immediately howled and wailed and buried her head in the dirty bedsheets, because he was right. He stepped a little nearer to her. 'Why not follow me out of this place? I will befriend you in your hour need.'
'Go away!' she hissed. 'Get out of my house - leave me alone! All you want is to rob me of my things! Just like that good-for-nothing tenant in my flat! Get away! You're nothing but a bad dream!' And she tried to push him aside, but her hands went through his legs and he remained unharmed. She screamed and cried and ran from the room.
'Where did she go?' I asked.
'To a field outside, where she buried jewellery and semi-precious stones several years back. She now wants to retrieve them. Those who cry for their heart's desire which they have lost will presently seek to find it again. This woman is Earthbound. Her lust for material things binds her to these well-frequented surroundings, and she will not come away until she loses these desires, then wishes for a better life, one of giving and not always taking.'
' "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also",' I quoted.
'Just so, There are many millions like this soul in my world, trapped by their greed and thoughts, "haunting" or frequenting places and possessions all over the Earth-plane. They do not wish to progress, even though it is open to them; many will not even accept they have made the transition.
'This poor soul believes herself old and lonely and unloved. She has trapped herself on Earth, until such time as she changes her thought-patterns. She will not find happiness until she does. No one can grant contentment to another soul; everything has to be earned.'
'I perfectly understand...'
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