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In AWAKENING, J. D. James shares his Spiritual experiences illustrating we are interconnected, while giving readers a new and different perspective to life’s timeless questions.

We believe AWAKENING’s stories are worth reading; and it’s worth your time to ponder, reflect, and consider the stories underlying messages. To read other stories click here.


After willing into existence the universe, every atom and subatomic particle by becoming matter Itself, the One and the Countless Many created mankind because, through man’s finite existence, It, the Creator, could do more and be more. Most importantly, It could experience beyond Its immortal existence.

Your Bible teaches that God created man after all of his other creations by taking the clay, water, and mud of the earth and molded man a physical form; and into that form breathed into the man’s body the breathe of life, thus man became a living soul. Clay became what we call flesh with the spark of life placed into it by the Creator God.

Consider this variation of this story. On a planet that we call Earth, the One created mankind. It could have, as the Bible teaches, formed man as depicted in the Book of Genesis, or through natural selection and evolution, or even alien intervention and seeding.

The point is, It created man and here we are. We have discussed the nature of the Void, of the One, of the Universe. Now comes the ultimate question, which can, if you are willing, lead to answering all the problems that beset our species. Who and what are we?

Man (and the word Woman is just as appropriate), is composed of three parts: the Body, the Soul, and the Self. Body, Soul, and Self. So you might understand, I will ask some questions and give the answers to make the dialog easier to follow.

What is the Body? The Body is the vehicle that encases the Soul in a cocoon of flesh that allows the Soul, which is the essence of God, to exist on this plane within the universe.

The Body is temporal. It will live and it will die, but it allows the One to interact through the spirit of the Countless Many that inhabits the Body of each and everyone of us.

The spirit or Soul of the Many is One with the Creator and the Creator is One with the Many. Within the Body of each and every human resides not just the spirit of the Creator One, but through the Many Without Count, the One Herself (a slight concession to the female reader). The One made Herself flesh and resides in the Body of each and every one of us.

What is the Soul? The answer is simple, the One. It speaks to you daily if you would only listen. When given the choice of doing right or wrong, It whispers to you to do the right thing. If you listen carefully, It guides you through this maze called life.

It is with you from birth to death, quietly waiting in the shadows of your being, an alert guide and partner through this experience. It is always there unless you choose the darkness thereby forcing It to leave. This is the choice of nearly all of mankind.

What is the Self? At birth, we are all like blank cassettes or CDs ready to be programmed and imprinted by our parents, friends, society, community and nation. The Body is made by the One, the Soul is the One, and the Self is who you think you are.

When I, J. D. James, write these words and you read them, your Self is absorbing the information, not your Soul. It has no need for the data because It already knows it; or, if I met you, the reader, on the street and we started a conversation, I, J. D., would be talking to Larry’s Self, that identity Larry created with the help of parents, community, and nation.

Larry would believe that the man-created Self was his Soul, but it is not. It is a fabrication of a lot of things that take place on this earth.

The Soul part of you, that we define as being Creator One Itself, acts as a guide to help form the Self that you will become. The objective is to create a new entity that will live in harmony with the life-giving spirit of the One that co-dwells within your human body.

The Soul’s charge is to create Selves that are worthy for ascension to unite with Creator One. That is how the One grows in this universe. Selves, which are new entities, are assimilated into the consciousness of the One upon death to this plane of existence in order for the One to expand Its consciousness and grow to more than what It is.

Let me expand on this topic. Have you ever been to an airport; and while waiting for your flight to board, notice how the toddlers react to one another?

Their parents are usually whacked out by the stress of the trip; however, something quite extraordinary happens when they catch each other’s eye. It does not matter if they are white, black, red or yellow. They naturally start moving toward each other.

No words are exchanged because they cannot speak; but they act as if they have known each other for eternities; and they have, and they immediately enter into the throes of free play. They exchange toys, giggles, and laughter, sometimes hugs in the joy of the moment, thoroughly content and at peace with each other.

What you observe is that in the toddler, who is made of the Body with a fresh-to-earth Soul, and no encumbering Self to deal with, those Souls recognized each other and are rejoicing in the pleasure of again being reconciled.

Let us take a lesson from the prophet Jesus who admonished his followers saying, “Ye must be again like little children before you can enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

What he meant was that, like the little toddlers who show love, sharing, understanding, and all of the good traits that a man can possess, who are not fettered by the restraints of the Self and who let the Soul, God’s essence, direct their lives, only upon returning to that state of the Soul dominating of the Self are you worthy to enter the Creator One’s kingdom.

The process of Self formation is long and arduous. Your mother looks into your eyes, holding your six-month-old body at arm’s length and coos to you, “Larry, you are such a beautiful baby and Mommy loves you so much! Please, smile for Mommy.”

Baby Larry smiles; and his mother explodes with joyous glee, lifting baby Larry up and down, from left to right, and finally hugs Larry to her bosom where her love and warm body fills her baby with utter contentment. Baby Larry begins to understand that he’s not just a baby, but Larry, one who is cherished by his mother.

As this action is repeated time and time again, a separate entity starts to form. A separation from his Soul begins; he is no longer Soul and Body.

He starts to become Self and Body alongside Soul and Body. And his Soul mate sensing this, knows it is good and smiles inwardly, knowing that his work has begun.

In the quiet, after the baby Larry’s body has had a good meal and is drifting off to sleep, in that twilight moment, his guiding Soul whispers to the beginnings of the new Larry, “Always remember me. I will be with you from everlasting to everlasting, from the Alpha to the Omega. Just don’t forget me and let me be your guide through this new life.”

At age five, the newly formed Self that recognizes and answers to the name of Larry starts to become acutely aware of his environment.

He is able to talk and convey his thoughts and feelings to family and those about him. He is still a product of the Flesh (interchangeable with Body), the Soul, but now the Self begins to dominate his other two aspects.

Larry begins to view his personal interest and himself to be at the center of his universe. If Larry can’t have his way, he pouts, cries, and rolls around on the ground in a fit of frustration with the intent of having some condescending family member meet his demands. Most of the time he gets nowhere with these antics, but occasionally, it does work and he gets his way.

At the end of one of these episodes, completely worn out by the tensions of the moment, Larry’s Soul whispers, “Was that tantrum really worth it?” Sometimes Larry hears his inner voice; most of time he does not.

Larry understands that he cries when he feels sad, angry, or frustrated. He laughs when he feels happy, greets his mother, sees a good friend, or is proud of a specific accomplishment, and bellows with delight at a Popeye cartoon.

His Soul, at this point, is more or less just going along for the ride. It is a passive companion experiencing Larry’s life and passing all of these experiences through the network of the Many Without Count to the One. All is One and One is All.

This is how the Creator One experiences all that it takes to make us human along with all of our strengths and frailties.

Larry hears his parents talk and absorbs their comments like a sponge. Larry’s parents don’t like Democrats; Larry doesn’t like

Democrats. Larry’s parents don’t like illegal aliens; Larry doesn’t like illegal aliens. Larry’s parents like Buick cars but don’t like Fords; Larry likes Buick cars and doesn’t like Fords.

Larry learns to parrot everything that his parents say and believe and is rewarded with gratuitous smiles, affirming pats on his head, and words like, “Larry, you are such a smart little boy.” Little Larry smiles but is afraid to ask, “What is a Democrat? What is an alien? What is a Buick? I know it’s a car, but what kind?”

In short, Larry adopts the belief system of his parents. If his parents are Christian, Larry will be a Christian. If his parents are Jewish, Larry will be Jewish. If his parents are Muslim, Larry will be Muslim. Larry will become mentally cloned to the ideas, concepts, and beliefs of his parents whether they are right or wrong.

They will fill the blank cassette of his mind with the same information that their parents passed down to them, and that their grandparents passed on to their parents.

As Larry intakes this information, occasionally his Soul is able to interject thoughts of questioning whether his parents are really right in their beliefs. At the age of five, there is not a whole lot of questioning of what they are teaching.

But it is in the schools where most of the Larry to be is formed, nurtured, and finally graduated as a contributing member of society.

At school, Larry learns the Pledge of Allegiance, salutes the flag, places his hand over his heart when Old Glory passes by in a parade. He learns that a man named George Washington chopped down a cherry tree, but could not tell a lie.

When asked who chopped the tree down, George showed his strength of character by confessing the truth that he chopped down the tree, and was prepared to suffer the consequences of his actions.

Larry did not know who George Washington was, but he did learn that one should never tell a lie, even while thinking George was pretty dumb to admit to the deed.

In his kindergarten class, Larry sees a little girl with beautiful large, dark, almond-shaped eyes; her lips are full; her hair is kinky; her skin is smooth and chocolate colored; and when she looks at him with her black luminous eyes and smiles, Larry’s heart skips a beat and he has to catch his breath.

He has never felt like this before and wonders what is happening. Her name is Tanya; and he thinks that she is the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. One day, when he thought no one was looking, he held her hand with a silly grin on his face, but yet she seemed to understand and squeezed his hand reassuringly.

Billy, the bully, saw what they were doing; and with his friends, Henry, James, and Isaac started taunting them, “Larry likes Tanya, Larry likes Tanya, Larry likes Tanya…Look at Larry. Larry is a nigger lover!”

Mrs. Merchant, the teacher, saw what was going on and grabbed Larry tightly by his ear, pulled him away from Tanya, and whispered to him, “White boys don’t hold the hands of little black girls,” emphasizing her comments with a stern twist of his ear.

Tears came to Larry’s eyes and rolled down both cheeks. He could not tell if it was from the pain in his ear of the pain in his heart. The only thing that he could think of was, “Why?” He knew, once he got home, his mother would answer his question.

That evening after supper, when everyone was in the front room and his mother was washing dishes, he embarrassingly approached her and related the story of what had happened that day in school.

For a long moment, she said nothing. Then finally, after drying her hands with the kitchen towel, led Larry by the hand to the kitchen table, seating him in one chair and sitting down in the chair next to him. “My poor sweet baby, you like this little girl, don’t you?” Larry affirmed with a slow nod of his head.

“You like her a lot?” Again, Larry nodded. “But you can’t. Larry, in this world there are white folks,” and she started to say black folks, but in mid-sentence said, “…and there are other folks.”

“Larry, you are white. God made you white for a reason. Because we are white people, God made us better than those other people. White folks and those other people just can’t mix. If God wanted us to mix, he would have made them white too. After all, the Bible teaches the separation of the races. So you see how it is?”

Larry really could not see the logic of it all. Then as a child must ask, he said, “But Why?”

His mother rose quickly and dismissively out of her chair and with a terse statement, said, “That is just the way the world is! And I don’t want you to have anything else to do with that little colored girl. Do you hear me?” and she walked out of the room.

The next day in school, Tanya approached Larry and extended her little brown hand for him to hold. Larry could not bear to look at her.

He was filled with all kinds of conflicting emotions. He wanted to hold her hand so badly that he had a sharp pain in his stomach. He started to tremble a little bit; but he did not reach out for her hand.

After a minute or two, Tanya let her hand fall to her side and slowly turned away. That is when Larry saw the tears silently rolling down her cheeks. They never spoke again.

In the third grade, her family moved out of town, and Larry never saw or heard from her again. On that day, a piece of Larry’s Soul withdrew from him with a farewell admonishment to him saying, “Oh, Larry! Larry be better than this; I know you can.” But Larry didn’t hear because, through his pain, his mother’s words kept resounding in his ears.

As Larry progressed from one grade level to the next, Larry’s Self began to realize he possessed certain attributes. Although he excelled in math and could read and write well beyond his years, he found school boring and not very interesting.

He was actually quite brilliant but chose not to demonstrate his academic abilities. He saw teachers heap praise after praise on certain “smart” students and almost ridicule the ones who had a hard time grasping the lesson.

He saw the praise-worthy students appear to get smarter and smarter re-enforced by the teachers and the not so bright students’ inner lights become dimmer and dimmer to the point that they gave up even trying to learn. It did not faze him one way or the other. He knew who and what he was and he did not care what they thought.

One day, all of the students were given a compulsory I.Q. exam that was required by the state. Larry decided that he would put forth a little effort and go along with this joke.

Immediately, he found the test to be quite simple. The test answers seemed to flow from his No. 2 pencil. The more questions that he correctly answered, the faster he went.

After 45 minutes into the 2-hour exam, he laid his pencil down and raised his right hand to indicate to the teacher that he was finished. The teacher saw his raised hand and asked, “Larry, did you break the lead in your pencil? Do you need another?” To which, Larry responded, “Nope, I’m finished.”

The teacher looked amused. “The school system requires all of our students to answer all of the questions, or at least as many as they can, keep going!”

Larry got up, walked up to the teacher’s desk, and placed his completed exam in front of her for review. His teacher was flabbergasted and thought, “This smart aleck just filled in all of the blanks; so be it. He is not the brightest of my beloved children.”

Two weeks later, she and the rest of the school was astonished to find out that Larry had answered all of the questions correctly.

Larry was in the third grade when his school system labeled him a genius. All of the teachers’ attitudes changed toward him. He was somebody special, no longer one of the marginal students doomed to the lower rungs of society.

What they did not know is that Larry could have cared less; school was still boring and uninteresting to him. But even he had to admit, that for a moment, he liked all of the special attention he received as being a true brain.

Larry’s Soul laughed with him as he was lauded with special this and special that. In single harmony, they laughed and his Soul whispered to Larry, “Well done.” Larry just smiled inwardly.

Around age eight, Larry began to notice how destructive and disruptive some of the children behaved. From a distance, and he made sure that he stayed out of his way, Billy was a one man wrecking crew at play and recess.

Billy, who was large for his age, mercilessly bullied the smaller children around him. If little Henry had a cupcake in his lunch bag that Billy liked, he would rip the bag out of Henry’s hands, grab the cupcake and stuff it into his mouth, berating Henry with, “Your momma sure knows how to cook, but tell her tomorrow I want chocolate!”

Then Billy would crush the bologna sandwich in the bag and throw it to the ground daring Henry or anyone else to say something. The only good thing that could be said about Billy was that he was an equal opportunity bully. He did not care who he picked on, boys or girls; they were all the same to him.

He bloodied smaller boys’ noses and yanked girls’ pigtails until they thought that he was going to pull their hair out by the roots. He seemed to relish the watery eyes and tears that his actions produced.

Larry thought that Billy drank up tears like a vampire drank blood. The only difference was that vampires did their dirty work at night and Billy operated in full daylight in front of everybody. Worst of all, the teachers did absolutely nothing about it. Larry wondered why they overlooked everything that Billy did.

After supper one evening in that quiet time before bed, when everyone seemed to be lost in their thoughts, Larry crawled into his mother’s lap, and almost afraid to ask, said to her, “Why is Billy so mean? He picks on everybody at school and the teachers won’t do anything about it.”

His mother was taken aback a little, but said, “Has Billy beat up on you?” Larry sheepishly responded, “No, cause I try to stay out of his way.”

“Good. You keep doing that; but if he jumps on you, don’t be afraid to fight back, even if you lose. You see, Larry, children like Billy never come to a good end in life. Now go on to bed and don’t you fret none about Billy.”

Larry lay in bed thinking about what his mother had said, and thinking to himself how could he fight back against Billy? He had seen a few boys try with disastrous results: black eyes, bloodied noses, busted lips and bruises all over their bodies. A good run was better than a bad stand because his mother had never seen Billy in action.

Larry’s Soul, the constant observer, realized that this introspection by Larry was good. Larry was indeed learning that there were actions taken by people that could have very adverse consequences on other people.

He saw that Larry did not approve of Billy’s bullying of the other children; and seeing the pain that Billy inflicted, he would not do so himself.

But the Soul in Larry was fully connected to the Soul in Billy, and they both knew why Billy behaved like he did. Billy’s mother was raising him as a single parent. She had a live-in, hard- drinking, dope-smoking boyfriend who regularly beat Billy when his mother was not around.

Billy tried telling her about the abuse; but his mother chose to ignore his pleas, preferring to believe her lover instead of her own child.

After all, she had certain needs that required a man to fulfill, and those needs trumped the needs of her child; and Lord knows that “spare the rod and spoil the child” was as true today as it was thousands of years ago. So, every time that Billy voiced a complaint, she beat him without mercy.

The Souls all knew that this was a recipe for disasters to come. Billy’s pain and confusion about how his mother could pick a strange man’s affections over his love for her could not be explained.

His pain was so great that the only way he could feel whole was by inflicting pain on others. Then and only then, in the mist of their crying, they would be able to understand him and his pain. Billy’s Self was distorted and ill formed to the point that his own Soul was being, little by little, forced to abandon him entirely.

Billy’s Soul was incapable of interfering with the direction that Billy’s Self had taken. Souls are not allowed to interfere in the progression of the Self.

They can only act as an obedient guide to the wishes of the Self. They must give the Self free will to do as it pleases for this is the core of creation. It is only through this process that the Creator One can expand and grow.

Larry’s Soul felt that Larry was on the right track. He was picking up life’s lessons and absorbing mostly the best of them into his Self at the appropriate rate. In the dust made flesh called Larry, all was going well until that pivotal Halloween Day.

Larry was ten years old that fall and needed a costume for the evening’s trick or treating. He walked into the local Woolworth’s with thirty-five cents in his pocket. The jingling of the money in his pants gave him a warm fuzzy feeling.

He walked first up the far side of the display counter and down the near side, kind of giving things the once over. After all, he had money and he wanted to make sure he made the wisest and most prudent decision.

Halloween was an important night, and a good costume could make or break you when it came to getting the most goodies. He saw a Superman’s cape, a Batman’s mask with long pointed ears, a Captain America shield, and even a silly Casper the ghost mask with a throw over paper sheet to complete the outfit; all priced under thirty-five cents.

But hey! Everybody would be wearing one of those get ups. He had to have something different! And then he saw it. Like a magnet drawing nails, his eyes moved up, and on the top shelf almost out of his reach, sat the Google Eye glasses.

They were a true work of art with horned rim plastic frames and lenses made of some miracle substance that had to come from outer space that hypnotically swirled around and around the small pin holes in the center of a pair of brown eyes painted on the lenses.

Larry moved one pace to the right and the swirling eyes followed. He moved back two paces to the left, passing his original position, and the eyes followed him still swirling.

No matter where he stood, the eyes seemed to stare into his very soul, whispering, “Buy me, buy me, buy me…” “Of course, I will buy you, of course!” Then he saw the price in letters almost too small to read – fifty cents.

It felt that someone had let all of the air out of the store. For a moment, he could not breathe. “Fifty cents! Fifty cents? I only have thirty-five cents!” His mind raced. “I could run home and ask Mom for the extra money, but the store is closing in 20 minutes. What to do? What to do?” Then the thought struck him. “Take the glasses, slip them into your pocket, and walk out the door.”

Was anybody watching him? He slowly turned his head pretending to examine the Superman cape and did not see anyone. He turned the other way and saw the coast that way was clear. No store manager or clerk was to be seen anywhere that he looked.

Slowly he started to extend his hand to pick up the precious glasses; his throat immediately dried up; his heart started to beat faster; and even though the Woolworth’s was air-conditioned, he broke out into a hot sweat.

First, his half extended arm started to tremble, then his left leg, next the right, and he started to have this terrible urge to pee. Larry stood transfixed, unable to move or speak, all the while the magical glasses intoned, “Take me! I am yours! Take me! Nobody will ever know!”

Time stood still for Larry. The only thing he could feel and hear was his racing heart. He felt that he was going to die. Then ever so lightly, he heard his Soul speak to his Self. “Larry, you don’t have enough money. The glasses are not yours to have this Halloween. Stealing is wrong and you know it. Leave the glasses and go home.”

Larry slowly dropped his hand; and in a daze, walked outside of the store into the twilight, took a deep breath of soon to be frosted night air, and walked home empty handed.

That night Larry trick or treated with an old sheet tied around his neck, his mother’s red lipstick smeared on his face, and soot from the fireplace thrown in for good measure. He received more Halloween treats that night than he ever had or ever would. And throughout his life, Larry would never be a thief.

Back at the Woolworth’s, the assistant manager forked over a dollar bill to the store manager. Both had been watching Larry all through his trial, and the assistant had bet a dollar that Larry would take the glasses.

As he paid the manager, he asked, “How did you know the kid wouldn’t take the glasses?” To which he responded, “I really didn’t know for sure. But something inside of me just knew that he wouldn’t.” And the manager’s Soul smiled.

The bitter winds and snows of winter soon replaced the chilly autumn breezes. The small town that Larry grew up in adjusted to the shorter sunless days and the long winter nights. The seasons had changed and his town, like decades before, waited for the spring solace.

In school, Larry just floated along choosing not to challenge himself in any of his studies. When the teacher presented a difficult math problem for the class to solve, most of his classmates with grim determination applied themselves to seeking the solution.

Larry, on the other hand, would look at the problem; and through some strange inner workings of his mind and without the benefit of paper or pencil, almost immediately knew the answer to the mathematical problem.

When the teacher gazed across her class randomly soliciting first one student then another for the appropriate solution, Larry would sit with his chin resting in the palms of both hands supported by his elbows and nearly asleep.

Through his haze, he could barely hear Ms. Smith calling, “Larry. Larry! Do you have the answer to the problem?” To which Larry gave his usual response of “No ma’am.”

Even though he knew the answer, he did not choose to share the result with the rest of his class. Ms. Smith, expecting this response merely moved on to the next student who did not have a clue as to the answer, abstractly thinking, “What a waste of talent.”

Larry and his Soul chuckled mischievously at her frustration. Larry’s Self never figured out that it was not his Self that immediately knew the answer to this trivial grade school math problem and the extremely complex problems that he would be asked to solve in adult life, but his all knowing Soul.

It was his inner guide that gave him the answers. His all knowing companion had decided that Larry would be quite advanced in his ability to ask intriguing, probing questions and understand the workings of complex mechanical problems and it is here where Larry’s problems began.

Although Larry could play mental games with the staff and teachers at school, there was one place where this was not allowed. That place was his church.

His family was devout members of a strict fundamentalist version of Christianity. Their credo was “speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where it does not speak.”

They did sing songs of praise in their worship service with no musical accompaniment, not even a piano. Instead, a strong-voiced and sometimes off-key male music director led the assembly in songs sung from weathered hymnals.

Three elders, supposedly chosen for their years of service, knowledge of the Bible, and their years of faithfulness to the flock, ran the church.

Women were not allowed to participate in the church services and were taught to remain quiet until spoken to by a male church leader. They could teach the little girls and boys in Sunday school, but even their adult women classes were taught by one of the male church elders.

The church did not have a pastor; the elders administered those duties. Instead, they had a trained evangelist who graduated from seminary school and who every Sunday preached the gospel of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus as lord and master of the universe.

He taught that non-believers were doomed to be cast into the lake of fire, to be eternally consumed by the fire, only to be reborn again in the flesh, to be consumed again and again for all eternity.

Larry sat in the second row where his family and father and his father’s father had sat for generations. He wore the same gray wool suit that his mother had already let out twice as he grew up.

In the summertime, he literally roasted inside the suit when temperatures reached 100 or better. The itchy material was so thick, that during some winter days, he would walk to church without an outer coat because the material would not allow any kind of breeze to pass through.

His mother would always hug him and say every Sunday that he looked so handsome in his Sunday go to meeting suit. Larry always thought that he just looked dumb and would have been more comfortable in a strait jacket.

Although the clothes made him uncomfortable and were intolerable in the non air-conditioned church during the summer months, it was the messages that he heard weekly from the little church’s pulpit that really made him uncomfortable to the point of being totally frightened.

He sat there in the pew scared to death of what he heard. God was not to be played with and took pleasure in destroying his enemies, which seemed to be everybody.

God gave out hell and damnation like Larry’s neighbors gave out candy during Halloween. The slightest indiscretion would doom a person to an eternal torture beyond belief.

After hearing that God was to be feared, and within the same sentence and without taking time to catch his breath, the preacher would tell the congregation how much God loved them and showed His love by giving the world His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, in order to save humanity and each and every one of them.

It seemed like, when the preacher spoke of the doomed sinners, he was always looking at him. Larry could not figure out how he knew how sinful he was. He began to review every action that he had undertaken each week to see if it met God’s approval.

When he placed his good deeds and bad deeds onto God’s scale of justice, Larry saw that no matter how hard he tried, he was destined to dance on the lake of fire.

Larry began to hate going to church and suffering in his heavy wool suit while the preacher admonished him to change his evil ways or burn in hell’s fire.

The preacher would say, looking directly at Larry, “I know that the fires of hell are real, just like I know the word of God contained in the Bible are true!

Can I get an Amen?” And with one voice, the congregation shouted loud enough to be heard at the gates of heaven or so Larry thought, they affirmed, “AMEN!”

Larry turned around and looked at the people assembled. There was Ms. Smith, his math teacher; Mr. Allen, the school principal; Jake Adams, who doubled as police and fire chief; Dr. Hennessey, the town dentist; old Doc Silverton; Harry Reams, who owned the small grocery store, and on and on.

Everybody that he knew to be upright outstanding citizens were there all vigorously nodding their heads up and down agreeing with the preacher. He thought, “If they all think that this is true then how come I keep thinking something is wrong?”

And someone else nodded in agreement with Larry. Someone, that not even Larry could see but only feel, his Soul, nodded and with a firm smile said, “Good!”

Larry’s parents continued to force him to attend the Sunday services; he did have to admit that he enjoyed the Sunday school classes taught by his regular schoolteacher, Ms. Smith.

In church, her lessons were more animated; and she was able to bring to life his favorite Bible story, Joseph and the many colored coat that his father gave him and the jealously of his brothers that followed.

He sat there in class dreaming of wearing such a fine garment and casting aside his prickly wool suit. He was certain that the magical coat that Joseph wore was light and cool in the summer, and in the winter, heavy enough to fend off the winter winds. He sighed to himself, daydreaming of the day, when he was all grown up, he would buy such a fine garment.

The regular church services were another thing altogether; he started to be disruptive and fretful playing around with everything that he could get his hands on in the book holder on the back of the pew in front of him.

He would pick up the worn Bible in the rack and ruffle the pages as if he was reading, knowing full well that he could not make heads or tails of the King James Version that resorted to using old English as its prose. When he tired of the Bible, he would switch over to the hymnal and do the same thing.

When his mother took the books from him, placing them out of his reach, Larry looked down at his empty hands for a minute, and then pinched his younger brother, who sat next to him, who would immediately let out a loud scream disrupting the evangelist in mid sentence.

This unruly behavior banished Larry and his two younger brothers to the back pews of the church after one of the Elders approached Larry’s father and demanded that he get control of his children.

The back of the church did not prove to offer any respite to the congregation from the shenanigans of Larry and his siblings. Things only got worse.

With a rear pew, that was always nearly empty, Larry and his brothers could slide along the dark walnut finished surface, play hide and seek under the pews in front and behind, and in general, create more bedlam than before their exile.

And then, one Sunday, “the wrath of God struck!”

The children were doing their usual Sunday play, when one of the parishioners sitting behind them, an elderly lady with a large gray hat with a peacock feather extending from the hatband, placed her forefinger in a vertical position on her slightly puckered lips, and admonished him with a loud and long, “Shhhhhhh…!”

Larry thought this was hilarious and could not contain his laughter. By now, all of the eyes of the congregation had ceased to look at the preacher and were turned to the back of the church staring at the out of control children.

Larry could not let this admonishment pass without a response. Although his body was facing forward toward the pulpit, he managed to rear up in the pew, and snap his head around toward the elderly lady, intending to return the “Shhhhhh” with a hail of laughter.

Instead God struck. As his head quickly turned to face backwards, a sharp excruciating pain froze him before he could bring his forefinger up to his lips. The pain! The pain! The pain! He could not move! The only concession that his body could make was a barely audible yelp and tears rolling down his cheeks from each eye.

Catching his breath, he gingerly eased himself out of the pew, and walking sideways, because he could not turn his head forward, like the mummy in old Boris Karloff movies, dragged himself out of the church and onto the sidewalk toward home.

With each step, the fire in his neck burned more intensely. With no one to watch him, he broke into a full cry, sobbing, and begging God’s forgiveness.

His mother, who had not been feeling well because of her pregnancy, was in the kitchen preparing an early Sunday dinner, heard his cries as he approached the back door.

She let out a gasp as she beheld her distorted baby with his frozen neck. She nearly screamed, “What on earth happened to you, Larry? Did you fall and break your neck?”

Between fits of crying, he managed to relate the story of what had occurred, to which his mother replied, “It serves you right. How many times have I told you NOT to play in church?

God punishes disobedient children, and you got just what you deserved. I hope you have learned your lesson — you don’t play around with God! Now get out of your Sunday clothes and get to bed. I will come to see you when I am done fixing supper.”

As Larry lay in bed, he thought that this was not the response that he needed from his mother. He really didn’t know what he expected but he didn’t think she would join God against him. Even when he lay still and didn’t move, the pain did not go away.

Now he knew the Old Testament words were true that God was vengeful and to be feared; he understood that at any moment, like a lightening bolt from heaven, He would inflict unbearable pain on anyone He chose.

After church services ended, his younger brother James, who also frolicked on the pew when he was struck down, entered his room; and with a serious look on his face said, “God struck you down but I can fix your neck. Sit up on the side of the bed.” Larry complied.

Then without warning, James grabbed Larry’s head; and with a hard fast twist, turned his head forward. Pain shot from the top of Larry’s head to the balls of his feet. The room started to go dark.

In agony, his full lungs let out an agonizing scream of pure torture. James stepped back somewhat amazed, thinking after all, it always worked in the movies, and with a laugh scampered from the bedroom.

This time the pain was so intense that Larry could only whimper; he was beyond crying or even moaning. He lay there in bed, missing two days of school, and it took two months before he was finally able to rotate his neck painlessly.

Larry’s Soul had stoically observed all of this and wondered what lessons would Larry take from this sequence of events. Each event in Larry’s life would mold his Self into a personality that had the potential to achieve ascension or the potential for Self destruction.

As a Soul guide, It had played a huge role in the early development of Larry’s consciousness. When Larry was a toddler and up to age four, like all of the other Soul guides, It was at first in complete charge of Larry’s Body. But as Larry’s Self began to form and emerge, Its role became less and less significant.

As Its ability to directly influence Larry’s development shrank, It resorted to being Larry’s conscious. It proudly remembered Its accomplishment in the Woolworth’s incident and the direction that Larry’s Self had taken, but it was Larry’s Self that had made the decision, not It. Its role had been of the wise adviser.

Although Larry’s Soul could not act, It was a full participant in all of Larry’s acts of living. It did things that It could never do as one of the Many Without Count even with the collective knowledge of the Creator One.

As a spirit, It was denied the pleasures of life. It could not feel emotions, sense pain, taste food, or live life. It was immortal never knowing birth into life or retirement into death.

It did not have life; therefore, It could not know death. It could not be killed because, in order to die, you must first be alive and It was never alive, only eternally conscious.

But It could live through Larry, because It was a part of Larry, yet set apart from him. They were the same, and yet, not the same, a duality of consciousness residing in the same flesh. Larry’s twisted neck and pain was exquisite to his Soul; It too felt the pain and relished every moment of it.

As a spirit, It could not experience anything but being. Now, horizons opened and opportunities existed for encounters that were limitless.

The love that Larry felt for the little girl, Tanya, and the pain of losing her caused It to try and choke back tears. Even though It had no tear ducts, It could cry along with Larry because of the symbiotic relationship. This was a sharing beyond belief.

As one of the Many Without Count, It had often thought about what life would be like even though through the Creator One’s collective mind, It had the knowledge of the experiences of the other Many Without Count who had lived. These remembrances were willingly removed from Its memory before Its earth-bound journey.

Each arriving Soul was thus given a fresh slate to write their experiences upon; and that slate was the formation of human Selves the likes of Larry.

Larry’s Soul knew, that if this adventure was successful, Larry’s Self, upon completion of his life through the death of his flesh, would journey with It back to total assimilation with the Creator One.

It also knew that upon the death of Larry’s flesh, if Larry’s Self proved to be unworthy, it would cease to exist and be no more forever. It had no desire to see this happen.

Larry’s Soul knew that the pain that Larry received in church was not the workings of the Creator One, but was self-inflicted by Larry’s foolishness.

It was amazed by the way humans could so ill conceive the true nature of the One; that their mythical God of retribution, vengeance and contradictory love was a reflection of themselves. They thought, since they were that way and they were taught that they were created in His image, He had to be that way too.

As for Larry, this entire episode of the twisted neck cemented into his mind the nature of God, or so he thought. From this point on, he fought daily not to commit any transgressions against God or any of his laws.

He knew with full certainty that the slightest failing on his

part could lead to instant retribution and eternal damnation on the lake of fire. He was on the verge of becoming a teetotaling Bible thumper.

The Soul that coexisted with Larry in the flesh found the latest turn of events to be somewhat unsettling. It thought that they had been making a great deal of progress in building a foundation for Larry to carry forward into his adult life.

It was concerned about the propaganda and dogma that he would be exposed to and its effect on Its charge. It saw that the church taught that God created the heavens, earth, and man in six days, rested on the seventh, and by taking His rest, He sanctified and made the seventh day holy.

Since Larry’s Soul was there at the beginning of Universe and with a wish caused it to begin, It knew that the church’s interpretation of the event was close but inaccurate.

It knew that as a spirit, a conscious being, It was incapable of physical exertion; therefore, It had nothing to rest from. The Universe was and is not made like a building of bricks and mortar, thus no physical labor was involved.

It was further disturbed by the reasoning of the men who wrote the Bible, that Larry had started to carry with him, who elevated the status of men above women by teaching that God had created man in His image.

Then later on, noticing that man was lonely, created woman as a reflection of His most noble creation, man. To further insult the integrity of woman, she came forth and was created from the rib of the man.

It was such a preposterous concept, that It would have laughed, had it not been for the fact that this misrepresentation had caused so much pain and suffering to be inflicted upon the female gender. And what amazed It most was that the women of the world bought into this false doctrine without questioning its validity.

How could they worship a God that thought so little of them and so much of the man? How could they marry and be obedient to men that took this interpretation literally to justify the abuse and degradation of their sex?

How could they allow themselves to exist to pleasure the man and produce his offspring with so little regard for themselves?

Following this false doctrine was a real danger to Larry’s Self to transcend his flesh at death and ascend to assimilation along with his returning Soul guide.

The Soul knew that It had to act and act soon or Larry would be lost, so It whispered to Larry’s subconscious a simple little question that would have some profound ramifications.

Larry was fifteen years old and had started high school. School was still boring to him and he spent most of his classroom time daydreaming about various mechanical problems and solutions; yet, without any effort, he always tested in the top ten percent of his class.

He had started to notice girls, the memory of little Tanya long forgotten, but had a fondness for a little redheaded girl named Susan Bartz. He blushed every time he walked past her or when their eyes met in class, but was too shy to approach her to ask for a date to the local movie.

Suzy liked him too; but like Larry, was too shy to offer him the encouragement that he needed to ask her out. So most of the time, they just looked at each other and grinned.

At lunch, Larry always sat in the first chair at the head of the table. No one ever sat in the end chairs of the table; lunchtime in high school was not a Sunday dinner at Grandpa’s house, and Suzy sat three chairs removed across from him, which was a formidable distance when you are trying to start a relationship.

On a daily basis, both of them had started to play with their food, too love sick to eat; and then one day, due to the flu, they found themselves alone at the ten-seat table. Now they were forced to talk to each other.

Larry got up, summing all of his nerve, moved to the chair across from Suzy. She just smiled and Larry started to come apart at the seams. Before he realized what he was doing, his lips started to move and he blurted out, “There is a new Christopher Lee movie playing at the Mars Theater. Would you like to go with me!?”

There, it was done. He had asked her out on a date. He waited; already heartbroken, braced himself for her no answer; when to his surprise, Suzy said, “I would like that very much.” Larry nearly fainted and remembered to start breathing again.

They went steady throughout their high school years and became the best of friends. Although they did some pretty heavy petting, they never had sex.

That was totally taboo in those days; when a boy had sex with a girl, they had to get married; and even though they liked each other a lot, they knew that, when their high school days ended, they would go their separate ways.

But Larry’s Soul and Suzy’s Soul delighted in the relationship; this was not a chance meeting, nothing ever is. Their Souls had planned this encounter eternities ago and took great pleasure in their reuniting in this temporal flesh.

Like the old friends that they were on a celestial plane, they rejoiced in each other’s company and compared mental notes on the progress of their charges.

Suzy’s Soul conveyed to Larry’s Soul how happy she was with Suzy’s progress. She was a good person; self-assured with an inquisitive mind that constantly asked the question, “Why?” Yet, she was somewhat leery about Suzy’s ambitious mind that always wanted to be the best at everything she did.

When she was not successful at a particular endeavor, she sometimes became overly depressed; then her Soul would plant a new idea into her mind and she would quickly move on putting her depression behind her. All in all, her guide felt that things could not be much better.

Larry’s Soul reported that Larry had a great deal of potential but was prone to conceal his formidable abilities. Larry enjoyed watching the game from outside the circle, which was fine, but held the potential for some serious pitfalls.

He knew that humans had a need for social interaction, and that it was possible to withdraw too far out and lose oneself completely. But overall, he was satisfied that Larry would achieve ascension.

Now, we must take a moment to clarify a point: The two Souls did not actually have this kind of a conversation. Being part of the Many Without Count, individual yet eternally united with the Creator One, they already knew the answers. What one knows, all knows. They all possess an individual consciousness as well as a universal consciousness.

Larry quickly found out that Suzy was not a fundamentalist Christian like him, but a Catholic. He was fascinated by her religion and how different her religion was from his.

He had been taught in high school history that five to six hundred years ago, Martin Luther had rebelled against the teachings of the Roman Church, and nailed the articles of protest to the cathedral doors under threat of excommunication and death, and thereby launched the Protestant Reformation.

When she told him that most of the Christian world was Catholic; he declared in astonishment and disbelief, “No way!” Suzy just smiled in her all knowing way and said, “If you don’t believe me, go ask your father. Isn’t he some kind of leader in your church?”

At the dinner table that night, Larry started a conversation that he would soon regret. He cleared his throat to get the attention of his mother, brothers and sister, and then, looking directly at his father, asked, “Is it true that there are more Catholics in the world than fundamentalists like us?”

His father’s fork, loaded with a delightful piece of roast beef, immediately stopped mid air before he returned the morsel to the confines of his plate and responded, “Now just who told you that, son?” Larry’s Soul thought, “Now why would he ask him, of all people, that question,” already dreading what was to come.

Larry gulped, “My girlfriend, Suzy.”

“Since when have you had a girlfriend?” Looking directly at his wife said, “How come I am the last one to know anything around here?”

His mother adjusted her seat but held firm with her eyes locked with his. She told her husband, “How many times have I told you that you need to spend more time with your children? Then maybe you would know something about their lives.

I have told you time and time again that it is not fair or right that I have the total responsibility of making them grow up proper.” Having said that, she placed her napkin in her lap; then showing her defiance, placed both elbows on the dinner table and rested her chin in her cupped hands, never taking her eyes off of him.

Larry’s father started to feel a burning in his face, and thought that it had sure gotten hot fast in the small dining room. He knew, that he could not win an argument with his wife when she got like this, so he wisely returned his attention to Larry.

“Now, back to this girl… what did you say her name was?” “Suzy.”

“Just how did you meet this Suzy girl?”

“She is in my classes at school.”

“Who is her father? Do I know him?”

“Suzy’s father is Mr. Bartz. He is a lawyer downtown.”

“Yes, I know him. Met him at the Rotary Club; seems like a nice enough fellow. Is he and Suzy Catholics?”

“I know she is so I guess he must be one too.”

His father did not seem to care for the idea that his son was dating a Catholic. He thought, that with so many pretty fundamentalist girls at church to pick from, why had his son chosen to date a Catholic girl? It just didn’t make sense. He decided to get back on point and answer his son’s question.

“Yes, Larry, there are more Catholics in the world than Christians. They tell me that there are more than two of them for every one of us, Protestants.

Of course, among the Protestants, the fundamentalist teaching of our church is the only true Christian faith. I am afraid that all of the others including Catholics, Protestants, and all of the rest are doomed to dance on the lake of fire when our Lord and Savior returns to judge the quick and the dead.”

Larry could not even think of Suzy being condemned to an eternity of damnation and punishment just for being a Catholic. It was just too much to bear.

There was something wrong going on here, something bad wrong, and that is when his Soul in a whisper repeated the seed of doubt question again.

Larry said, “How could that be? If our religion is right, how could God let so many people go astray and end up in hell?”

His father righteously replied, “Every man is given free will and chooses his own destiny. If they choose the wrong religion, now that’s their fault.

Nobody made them do it so they have to pay the consequences. End of story! And, by the way, I can’t have my son dating a Catholic girl. I don’t want you to see her again.”

The question Larry had asked his father was not the seed of doubt question that his Soul had whispered, but an excellent one nonetheless. “A good sign, a very good sign,” his Soul thought.

Larry would just have soon cut off his right arm before he could cut Suzy loose. He was mad that his father could suggest such a crazy thing. Knowing his father and the other students at school who attended his church, he knew they had to be careful, very careful, when they met from now on.

Early in the month of May, when Larry was in his final year of high school, he met Suzy downtown. From there, they took a bus to one of the isolated parks, away from the prying eyes of the people who knew them, to spend some private time together.

They brought a picnic basket of potato chips, bologna sandwiches, and Royal Crown colas with a couple of Snickers candy bars for dessert; the perfect meal for eighteen year old teenagers.

Larry found a huge oak tree in the back of the park that afforded protection from the rays of the hot mid-afternoon sun and spread an old brown army blanket at the base of the giant tree. That way, they could lean back against the tree for back support when they got tired of sitting cross-legged in the middle of the blanket.

After they had eaten most of the food, leaning back against the tree, holding hands, and with a RC Cola in their free hand, Larry said, “There is something that I have wanted to talk with you about ever since we first met. I don’t really know how to get started and I certainly don’t want to offend you.”

Suzy, who was relaxing in the comfort of his companionship, thought this was a little strange since they had discussed everything under the sun over the three years that they had been going steady.

She lightly smiled, gave his hand a gentle squeeze, and replied, “Go ahead and ask; and don’t worry, there is nothing that you can say that will offend me.”

Reassured, Larry said, “You know that I am a Fundamentalist like my Daddy and like his Daddy before him. I pretty well know the Bible inside and out or at least most of the important parts.

I know you are a Catholic, which I know absolutely nothing about other than my Father saying that you are all going to hell, which I find kinda hard to believe, but I want you to tell me what is it like to be a Catholic?”

Suzy giggled with relief. For a moment, she thought he was going to ask a really serious question. Pulling herself together, she said, “What is it exactly that you want to know?”

“Well first off, how come you pray to Mary? We always end our prayers, ‘in the name of Jesus we pray’.”

Suzy said, “We pray to Mary because she is the Mother of Jesus, and everyone knows that children listen to their mothers. We can pray directly to Jesus, if we want to, or God.

It all depends upon who we think will answer our prayers first. Some pray to the Saints or even to deceased relatives who are in heaven and can intercede with God on our behalf.

I know that you only pray in Jesus’ name but we have the freedom to pray to anyone in heaven that we need to so our prayers can be answered. And, besides it works. I pray every day that we won’t get caught and we can continue to see each other.”

Larry gave Suzy a determined look and said, “So do I. My Father says that you pray to the Pope. Is that true?”

“No, we don’t pray to the Pope, but the Pope is the head of God’s church on earth. God talks directly to him, giving him the directions for all of us to follow.

As the spokesman for God, he is infallible and cannot make a mistake in God’s teachings or revelations to His church. The Pope is someone to be revered. As Catholics, we are taught to be obedient to his teachings without question.”

“But, Suzy, isn’t the Pope just a man?”

“Of course, he is just a man. But when he is elected Pope, he becomes more than a man, he becomes God’s representative on earth. When he speaks, he speaks for God Himself.

The Pope has an awesome responsibility; he is accountable unto God for all of the members of His flock. In God’s absence, he must be a guiding light for all of mankind to find their way to God.”

“What if the Pope told you to jump off a bridge? Would you do that?”

“Don’t be silly, Larry. The Pope would never ask me to jump off of a bridge,” Suzy said with a smile.

Even Larry knew that the question was over the top. “Tell me, Suzy, does your church teach that there is a heaven or a hell?”

“Of course, it does. We all know, that when we die and have kept the faith, we will be rewarded by going to heaven. Those of us that fall short are not condemned to hell but have to spend time in purgatory until they are ready to ascend up to heaven to be with God.”

Larry said, “That makes more sense than what I have been taught. I could never figure out how could a God, that professes to love us, put us into a place like hell or on a lake of fire to burn forever and ever. What could anybody do to justify that kind of punishment?”

Then Suzy asked a question, “Why does your father hate us Catholics?”

Larry started to say that, “My father doesn’t hate Catholics,“ and then he thought again and knew that he did hate them.

The only thing that he could say was, “My Dad is a smart man when it comes to the Bible. He figures that everything that a man needs to know about how to live his life is contained within its pages.

The only thing that I can think of is that he is afraid of anything that goes against those teachings that he holds so dear. I think it must be his fear that the Catholics might be right and the Fundamentalists are wrong that drives him to hate them, or for that matter, anybody else that believes differently from him.”

They talked at length about the similarities and differences of their faiths; agreeing on some points and disagreeing on others; never getting excited or frustrated if the ideas and interpretations of one trumped the other. They cared too much about each other to say or do anything that would disrupt their relationship.

The evening sun had started to cast long shadows across the park so they folded their blanket, picked up the now empty picnic basket, and holding hands, walked toward the bus stop on the other side of the park for the ride home. The ride back to downtown was uneventful for the young lovers; but for their Souls, they were in a state of utter frustration.

They and the Many Without Count and the Creator One had been listening as always to the encounter between the young couple, and with One mind thought, “How could mankind keep getting it wrong all of this time?

Had they not sent prophet after prophet to enlighten them? How come they never listen to the truth?” They knew that there was no God, only the Creator One, who although omnipotent and omnipresent was not a God, there was no such thing.

They knew that Jesus was not the Son of God because the Creator One was a conscious being, or what humans called, a spirit and was, therefore, incapable of having children. Even though the Creator One was referred to in the male gender, it was neither male nor female; spirits are not sexual beings.

Jesus was one of the prophets sent to earth to help guide mankind; and for his efforts, was crucified; and upon his death, his Soul which is the pure essence of the Creator One, ascended with the worthy Jesus Self for assimilation with the One.

That newly created Self’s consciousness was transformed into another new Soul among the Many Without Count. And that is man’s purpose for living and that is how the Creator One grows.

Everything else is superfluous fluff, cannon fodder for the non-thinking. They know that humankind was a trinity of the Soul, which is the Creator One and the giver of life; the Body, which is the cocoon that holds the life force; and the Self, which is formed and created with the help of the guiding Soul and which is most directly influenced by its parents, peers, nation state, and its environment.

When people are asked, “What is your Soul?” and they respond, “It is me,” they are wrong! The Soul is what you call God. It has a separate and distinct consciousness from the consciousness of the newly formed Self.

The Self is consumed by the desires of the flesh; and, without the guiding Soul to give it the breathe of life and a conscious to know right from wrong, every Self is doomed to die and be no more forever.

Few Selfs are even aware that they have a Soul companion traveling with them through life’s journey. Rarely, if ever, do they look inward to contact the power of the Creator One and Its symbiotic Soul.

The power elites have always known this relationship of Soul, Body, and Self. They have kept it hidden for two thousand years in order to enslave mankind to a way of thinking that keeps you submissive and them in power with all the riches of the world.

Even with this knowledge and knowing, that upon their death they will die the death of being no more forever, the power elites have deluded themselves into thinking that their lives are eternal and that they will never cease to exist on this plane of existence.

And, the most powerful tool of control, which they have at their disposal, is religion. They know religion keeps the masses confused and controlled. They know that confusion is the seed corn of domination!

Then one day, Larry asked his Father, his Soul’s whispered question.

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