Never Ending
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Trouble in Heaven
And on Earth
The Method
The Fall
Symbols of Self
Hard Problems
Flesh of the Gods
Free Will
Ever Beginning
Never Ending

Chapter 30

Our ideas must be as broad as Nature if they are to interpret Nature.

                                                    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1888

"Greetings. It is time that you have finally come."

The last E-group was different from the start. Victor had us come to a beautiful tree house in the wilderness, but he was fidgety and on edge. He didn't really know how to greet us and paced around like an irascible bobcat while we all climbed up to the wooden platform. Suddenly he sat down, shut his eyes and blurted out his words, almost harshly.

"It has taken us much too long to get you together. It is not for fun we have caused you to know each other. There is much to be done. You have all been chosen to be our emissaries. As you have been given many gifts, so you have many responsibilities. The time is near and you have little to spare.

"You, Howard. You are to bring all the books on your shelves into one volume. Our words have been echoed through the ages. You must bring your religious knowledge into one core theme of Truth, so all the world can know that it is we who have led them all these years. Our words, as brought to them through this remarkable E-group, must be their doorway to understand the true universe, the one true God."

Howard's mouth was open. His eyes were wide, and I could hear his chest pounding in excitement.

"Mindy, you must continue your important work and understand how it is but a part of the whole. Your chimps are to you as you have been to us. We have guided you in growth over decades of millennia. Your discoveries are but the earthly face of a grand project, the fulfillment of which will crown your species' glory."

Mindy looked around to see how others took these complimentary words.

"Maria, you will be our group's heart and soul. Their direction will be your care. Your instinct, coupled with our guidance will make wise counsel. No one must cross you. Allow no one to challenge our effort."

Maria nodded, seriously with her task and looked at all of us, her new charges.

"Lovejoy." I remembered an electric shock in my chest with the stern utterance of my name. "You have dedicated your life to the search. It is time to say to yourself that you have 'found'. Your mind has been your savior, preventing the brainwashing of worldly knowledge. It is now time to train your brain to serve the spirit. We will show you each step unfailingly. Your brain will be great but your spirit greater still."

I didn't know how I looked to the others. I was enthralled. I knew my time had come. The excitement was almost painful in me.

"Sidney, your logic and your discipline have pleased us. You have applied your rigor to science and found its paradoxes. Now apply them to Logic itself and find the path of the heart. The volume we give to Howard shall explain it to your mind. And Maria shall help you experience it, with our guidance."

I looked at Sidney. She was as immobile as a boulder. No shiver. No breath.

"Ludwig. We want to help you. Open your will to us. Your glimpses of insight are peaks in an otherwise barren valley. Let us grow nourishment on that land. The rain of our precepts will teach the flowers to grow. Do not resist us so."

He was beet red. I could see it through the impending darkness of night. He rocked back and forth on his crossed legs.

"We welcome you, all of you, to the Order of the Diamond Inter Universal Spirit. Great is this moment for Earth's future. The success is already seen across the galaxies. Instead of wallowing in mire, you will bring our words of spirit to the planet.

"You will teach not millions, but billions. You will serve as transducers of cosmic energy. Your lives must be impeccable. Your words must fulfill the one truth as brought to you by us. And your thoughts must never leave ours.

"We have found you seven unique. We have set you apart from the rest of humanity; to serve and help and teach. We have arranged a special dispensation of the laws surrounding this Earth to meet with you weekly and to point you in the right directions. We can help your knowledge from astronomy to geology, we can help your affairs of the heart, your daily recipes for meals and even help you build your house. Trust us.

"We will meet with you again in one week. Until that time, make plans to live in one home."

Victor collapsed. The room, a wooden platform in descending darkness edged with a loose railing of branches, was silent. I was stunned by the session. I crawled over to check Victor's pulse. I dared not stand up. I couldn't see well and we must have been thirty feet above ground.

It was Sidney who lit a match and Maria who found a candle. By the time we had lit several candles, Victor had still not revived. I checked his breathing again, and his vital signs were in order.

Maria started with, "He'll be OK. Let me hold him." I put his head and shoulders on her lap. She stroked his temples as she began to rally the troops. "Ludwig, you and Lovejoy will need to move your things up to Massachusetts. Who has the largest place right now?"

She looked around. Howard chimed in, "I have a spare room and my own bedroom is quite large."

Sidney spoke up. "If we are all going to live together, we will need a new place, a much bigger place than any of us has."

"And we need it near public transportation, perhaps even near a news organization." Mindy said.

My heart was sinking. I felt like I was living a dream. One with a bad ending.

Victor woke up; slowly. His first word was "Ow!" Maria shifted him to relieve pressure. "I ache all over." he said. "What happened?"

"You had another session." Maria said.

"And it was a doozy!" Howard added. "Your guides, the Light of the Spiritual Diamond, or something, will take us on as students and help us lead the world to peace." Victor still looked pale. "Are you OK?"

"I don't feel like I usually do. I feel nauseated."

"So do I." said Ludwig. "Something's not right. Do you remember anything Victor?"

"No, I never do."

"How about before the meeting?"

"No. Only that...only that I've been restless for days'because of you actually. I've been trying to get us together and you've been blocking me, Ludwig."

Ludwig was silent.

Maria spoke up. "Victor we have been selected. We are the spokespeople for a New Age. We need to focus on getting into one place to live so we can be watched over and guided."

"I don't think I believe them." Ludwig said.

"What do you mean?" Mindy seemed horrified. "They said I was on the right track. I just need to look at my discoveries from the spiritual side. What's wrong with that?"

"The greatest lies are littered with little truths, Mindy. These guides want us to stop thinking and start parroting their words. Where's the truth in that?"

Ludwig was hitting the nail on the head for me. My talks with God had always left me with the responsibility to discern the truth. "How can you get to know God if you have to talk to someone else first." I said.

"Look we all need teachers." Sidney said.

"A teacher in English is one thing, a teacher in truth is something else altogether." I found myself angry. "If we set ourselves up as translators between God and the rest of the world, how will anybody experience God. All they'll do is hear our rules."

"Even if there is a God, they won't be talking to Her. They'll be talking to us." Mindy started to understand.

"I like the idea of being unique." Sidney admitted.

"Yes, but we're no more unique than anyone else. People all through the ages have thought they were the only searchers. And they turned out to be the most dogmatic of all." Howard's tune was changing too.

Ludwig was mumbling to himself. Maria, visibly upset at the turn of the conversation, barked, "What Ludwig? What did you say? Speak up."

"We must have been getting close. Somebody, or something, wants to stop us. What have we been uncovering that we're not supposed to?"

We all sat silently. The wind whirled around us in the darkness and I felt as if there were no one else in the universe but us. Somehow I felt that this riddle was ours alone. If we did not solve it, no one else would. I looked around at the faces lit by candlelight. Victor was shifting restlessly on the floor boards. Ludwig's brow was furrowed; he was obviously thinking hard. Sidney seemed absent in her meditation. As I looked over to Mindy, she looked up and caught my eye. I wasn't sure if the quizzical look on her face represented the same grand concern I felt, or if she was confused about this evenings E-group. It was Maria who spoke first, sounding maternal.

"Let's review what we discovered since Lovejoy came. First we were trying to be in the minds of religious people and scientific people alternately."

"They were different ways of looking at the world. The scientific person ground everything down to its physical elements. And the religious person tried to find meaning in every event. For them the whole world is full of inspiration." Howard continued with his bias.

"Inspirational perhaps, but a fantasy world nonetheless." Mindy added.

"I think Sidney showed that neither system was more true in any absolute philosophical sense." Howard replied.

"These different world views tell us as much about what's inside our head as what's out in so-called 'reality'." Sidney focused his point.

"You mean like right brain processing versus left brain." I put in.

"I think we showed that the left brain scientific processing was the final, superior method chosen by evolution to analyze situations." Mindy opined.

"Only in a closed system. Once we find out all there is to know about the universe, then we can use your method exclusively Mindy." Ludwig said. "Until then we need both ways of evaluating the world."

"What about the emotional component? I mean if we have no inspiration, no motivation, in life; what point is there?" Maria asked.

"My scientific research gives me inspiration." Mindy said.

"You're science has become your religion." Sidney concluded.

"What was next?" Ludwig interrupted, avoiding the escalating conflict. "I like Maria's idea of reviewing."

"Well, just as we were getting to the point that science's strength comes from measuring the physical materials of the world, Victor came and started channeling." I remembered.

"Right, which triggered a discussion about whether or not such processes as telepathy, psychokinesis and invisible beings ..."

"Like angels." Howard interjected.

"...might exist." Sidney finished.

Maria started up. "Well if science can't prove these things are impossible, then maybe religious ideas don't conflict with scientific laws as much as we think."

"Maybe we can even prove them with scientific methods?" Victor asked. "Like a better understanding of how electromagnetic and other energy fields interact with our biology."

"Even if we are able to scientifically prove some religious notions, there may still be ideas which science, by its very nature of relying upon the physical process of measurement, can never properly study." Ludwig went on.

"You mean like consciousness?" Mindy baited.

"Well, some of the discoverers of quantum physics thought consciousness was beyond analysis." Ludwig answered.

"That's because they didn't understand neuroscience." Mindy retorted.

"If you think you can explain consciousness, then maybe you can put the magic of religion in the scientific vernacular." Sidney challenged.

"No problem. Interpreting religion just takes an advanced psychology. The 'Hard Problem of Consciousness' is harder to crack than religious motifs."

"Oh, we've been going over consciousness. Mindy's got it all worked out. I thought the E-group had heard all this before." I concluded.

"Partly, but Ludwig still can't concede that consciousness is only the result of biological processes." Sidney said.

"Nevertheless, her explanation may be a clue. We're trying to figure out what we've been discovering that seems so dangerous that some impostor feels it necessary to break through into Victor's channeling." Maria was still on task.

"That rubbish isn't channeling." Mindy seemed sidetracked. "It's just his own personal issues coming out. Besides my theory of consciousness shouldn't be threatening to anyone. I'm just trying to sort out how we think. Isn't that important?"

"Muscles, muscles. Doesn't your theory start with muscles?" Maria was ruminating.

"Well, yes in a way. We learn about the world by our motions within it, and thus our model of the world is based upon the proprioceptive system. Actually not just us; all higher animals. Then we use this model to test out plans of action."

"So the state of our muscles reflects the state of our mind and vice versa." Maria proceeded stepwise.

"Clearly." Mindy answered.

"Victor thinks the electromagnetic field around our body is the key to understanding some paranormal processes like'even life after death." Maria said.

"No doubt in my mind." Victor agreed.

"Muscles are the biggest contributor to the body's electromagnetic field. No?" Maria asked.

Nods from Mindy, Victor and myself.

"So... there's a basic connection here. Because muscles reflect the state of mind and muscles make the electromagnetic field; the electromagnetic field reflects the state of one's thinking." Maria concluded, looking very happy with herself.

"I'm not sure this is new, Maria." Sidney pointed out. "I think those who believed in auras, always figured they reflected the state of mind."

"Yes, but we haven't added in the other half of Mindy's thesis yet. Self-consciousness is also closely linked with the pro-system and muscles. So by using our human capacity for self awareness, we can intentionally modify our aura as you call it; our electromagnetic field." Maria took it the next step.

"It may be more than just electromagnetic, you know." Victor cautioned.

"That's not the point. She's onto something." I said. "For the energy field of the body to persist after the body dies, it has to be, well, 'harmonious'. I mean it has to flow smoothly, with no rough edges to waste energy away into space. It has to feedback on itself like the electron orbiting around the nucleus. And the field has to all work together and not be broken up into several subdivisions."

"I'm with you there." Victor went along.

"If that's the case, then there's a real crossover here for the 'equivalency principle'." I said.

"Why? You lost me." Victor said.

"If the energy field is our connection to the spiritual world, and our thinking patterns drive our energy field, then perfecting our own psychology is also perfecting our spiritual evolution."

"You mean all those morals we were taught because they were 'proper', have some basis in science?" Sidney asked cynically.

"I always thought they had a basis." Maria said. "I just felt that their basis was in the social imperatives we had evolved with."

"Such as it makes us happy to help others because our brains are wired to think of the needs of the entire tribe." Mindy said.

"But then we'll keep fighting wars between different tribes." Howard pointed out.

"Or gangs, or nations or corporations." Sidney added.

"Well, we'll just have to enlarge our definition of tribe to include all humans, or perhaps all living things." Ludwig suggested.

"The social responsibility thing may be hard-wired into our brain. And that is a good reason to follow the golden rule. But I'm thinking that something more is going on here. Those old proprieties may have been a sort of aura hygiene. Look at the eastern concept of karma." I said.

"What goes around, comes around." Victor said.

"Something like that. We don't have to believe there's some certified spiritual accountant in the sky, tabulating all of your deeds. If you look at it from the point of view of thinking and your energy field, every angry thought you have, leaves its mark on your own field. Sooner or later you have to iron that wrinkle out. And if you do more than think, if you act on that anger; well, you use more muscles and the wrinkle in your field is bigger and deeper."

"There's an old saying about the spiritual path. When you begin, your karma comes to face you sooner than before. Students on the path would get upset because they thought that since they were now acting more "spiritually", they should get a break. Your theory explains why it doesn't work that way. Actually when you clean up your aura, you do it by dealing with your own karma head-on." Ludwig said.

"And Mercy. Mercy is a spiritual concept. But maybe it makes sense from a scientific selfish point of view too, if we add in the aura component. Say we're angry and don't want to forgive someone. By holding onto the anger, we have to hold onto all the thoughts and memories of what someone did wrong to us. Holding onto these thoughts makes a permanent change in our aura. Certainly that's not a happy or harmonious change." I ventured.

"If we want to improve our energy field, we have to let those thoughts and emotional reactions go." Maria said.

"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." Howard quoted the Lord's Prayer. "I like it. When I think of the seven deadly sins, each one would warp the field in its own peculiar way."

"Holding onto anger would make a field full of angles and explosions." Mindy joined in. "And sitting in a melancholy mood would create a real sagging, droopy energy field."

"Almost no field at all. The energy just dissipates in space." Sidney added.

"When we hide certain thoughts or fear things, energy walls come up and one part of the field can't communicate with the other parts." Victor imagined.

"On the other hand, when we feel love, relax and open our minds to possibilities, the barriers come down; in our body and in our fields." Ludwig said. "Joy would fill the field with strength. And when we are fully focused on one task, our field is not scattered."

"Does that mean we have to work to be saved?" Howard said still pondering this dilemma. "What about faith and grace? Simply opening your heart and mind, your whole self up to God is supposed to be enough according to many religious traditions."

"That may be trouble for your equivalency principle, Ludwig." Mindy said. "The scientific method is going with the works approach to salvation and the religious people can just go on faith."

"I don't really see that this changes anything, Mindy." I remarked. "Religious people argue among themselves. For example, the apostle Paul and others in the Bible talk about how faith without works is no faith at all."

"In Buddhism, there's the big path of works and the quick path of sudden illumination through surrender." Howard added.

"It seems this controversy isn't really between religion and science. But now I'm thinking that our model may give us some insight." I continued. "If you want to let the 'grace of God' change your life, you have to have faith that it will happen. When you have faith, you surrender to the 'wisdom of God', which is to say, whatever happens.

"Once you do this, the energy field associated with your thinking changes dramatically. Instead of reacting with anger, fear or sadness to the happenstances of life, you see it all as part of the plan. Instead of making new warps in your field each day, you actually let old ones go."

"Without becoming apathetic or uncaring." Ludwig added.

"Right. When we surrender to what the universe has in store for us, we don't have to surrender our willingness to help others. We're just giving up all those painful reactions, and barriers to energy flow."

"Or at least not holding onto those natural reactions." Ludwig interjected again.

"Yes, if all you can do is hold onto the thought connected to the emotion, the thought-muscle loop just keeps cycling, sending out strong electromagnetic waves, and creating walls within our field." I continued. "As we find joy and a feeling of unity with others, the barriers come down. Our field becomes stronger and we move closer to some sort of spiritual enlightenment."

"Or salvation." Howard added.

"How about just happiness? If we're going to talk about outcomes, let's talk about something that we can at least remotely measure." Mindy said, exasperated with all the religious talk.

"We would be much less subject to the vicissitudes that life brings us, if we accepted it in this way." Sidney said.

"So how does a scientifically oriented person do this, without resorting to, 'Oh, God will straighten everything out.'" Mindy asked.

"That's the reason for understanding all this from an energetic point of view. By adopting the graceful approach, you understand that it modifies your aura in a way that is helpful to you. It's an enlightened self-interest. You will be stronger and more patiently able to help others. And on a worldwide energy level you are contributing to the harmony in general." I answered.

"Yes, you know, it seems to me that when we have all these internal conflicts, and our mind is not made up, then we have competing lines of thought. These would create a split in the energy field." Maria added.

"Right, but when we are single-minded, our focus of attention is one. Every element of the subconscious, conscious and superconscious mind is doing the same thing. The nerves and muscles will be coordinated in their actions and execute them gracefully. And the energy field may act in ways we haven't yet discovered. It may reach out beyond the body to push, pull, send information or perhaps even draw the attention of invisible beings to help." Ludwig responded.

"That's like the toddler who seems so much stronger than their size would suggest." Maria suggested.

"Or an animal when it's cornered. It's completely focused." Victor added.

"That's why people with a passion and faith can accomplish these paranormal feats, whereas those of us who are more cautious, weighing one option against another, would never make good prophets." Mindy said.

"That rings true." I ventured. "This sounds like people who can stay in that 'primary consciousness' you were talking about, Mindy. Instead of their attention being divided between inside and outside viewpoints. When your focus is complete, your energy field would be united. Mystics were capable of feeling wholly consumed by one thought or feeling and magical things did happen to them. But I'm more interested in the life after death part. I mean, if we could really make a strong field in the best possible configuration, then we wouldn't have to die."

"Or re-incarnate." Howard said.

"That's it!" Maria shouted. "We were starting to understand how to surpass this earthly realm. That's what someone doesn't want us to discover."

The dark forest started to feel more dangerous. Talking about dark Angels was a fine enough exercise. But when we actually contemplated some evil intention directed towards us, it seemed a little chillier. We were quiet for moment, then Victor stiffened again. I could see his eyes to roll upward in the candlelight. He arched backward and would have hit his head on the boards of our tree house but he went beyond the edge. I thought surely he would fall off and I dove to grab his belt.

I never was able to fully explain what was happened next. In mid-dive, I felt as if someone stabbed a knife in between my ribs. At the time I thought I must have landed on a poorly trimmed branch from the floorboard of the tree house. But I've since been back to check and it all seems smooth. Whatever it was, my body contorted in reflex and leveraged me off the edge, instead of Victor. As I fell through the air, time slowed and I lazily thought that this was not going to end well. I tried to wrench myself around like a cat in the air, to land on all fours. That I did, and but for the stump rising up to meet my forehead, I might have been fine.

My trip into the tunnel with a light at the end happened much faster this time. The buzzing sound rose like a din in some inner ear and I thought of the bullroarers of the Australian Aborigines. Their instrument to recreate the oncoming noise of death was accurate I thought. It occurred to me that the ritual of death had to be ancient and universal.

At the end of the tunnel it was my father who greeted me; at least for a moment. And then in dreamlike fashion he morphed into Jesus, then Buddha, then Moses, and finally an Ancient One, who spoke with Jay's voice.

"Welcome." he said. "You're here a bit soon."

"I wasn't planning this either. Am I here to stay?"

"I think not. We'll see. What have you been doing?"

"We've been sorting out how the energetic field around our bodies is affected by our thoughts. And how all the old spiritual teachings were like an auric hygiene. The mechanics of it make so much sense to me now. As we move away from anger, bitterness and desire; toward patience and compassion, our field gets bigger, stronger and more connected to all parts of itself and other...."


"Yeah. Everything. Is that the way you are? Always part of everything."

"Are the fingers on your hand individual or are they all part of your hand? The world has many particulars but at some level, we're all part of each other.

"Look at it this way." Jay continued. "Mindy has taught you about how, with your self-awareness, you can imagine yourself in the place of someone else. Therefore in your brain, if you want to hurt or kill someone else, and then you imagine yourself in their place, your processing goes haywire.

"Your processing is designed to find actions which enhance your survival, but now your capability for empathy links hurting anyone else with injury to you. Self-consciousness begins to make you feel one with all the beings in the universe. So, unless you want to partition your energy field off into little sections, you have to learn to love all other people, in fact any being that you can imagine."

"So why are there trespassers who go out and cause trouble?"

"They have cut themselves off from their inner sources of energy long ago. They need other sources. So they made a garden of strife. They keep you people corralled. Your emanations of anger and desire can sustain them. They never let you learn how to clear the aura, so you can stop feeding them and can start living forever."

"Why don't you teach us how to clean our aura after we die and come to see you."

"Your physical body is the key. You have to make changes while you are alive in it. Ellie developed your body to give you leverage over your energy field. When you live in our non-material realms; what you think, you immediately become. You can't choose between two courses of action, because as soon as you think of one, you become it.

"With a physical body, your energy field reflects more what you act upon than what you think about. So you can think about two choices and take the better one. Once you've acted, the effect upon your aura from the thinking is overwhelmed by the energy changes coming from your choice, the action from your muscles."

"You told me to learn from Mindy about the muscles. She said we learn about the world using our muscular system."

"She also told you how you developed self-awareness. It was this closed loop in your thinking that lead to a closed loop in your aura. Until then, it couldn't feedback into itself. This was necessary for life beyond the body.

"And this extra loop in the thinking cycle gives you the delay necessary to have choice. Your thinking may still be reactive but your actual choices forge a new pattern in your aura. We spent millions of your years evolving your physical vehicle, which is the key to redesigning your aura."

"You used evolution?"

"Sure, how else would we build your vehicle? We have to field test it."

"When did the trespassers come here?"

"You mean, when did Prometheus give you the mental fire? About 50,000 of your years ago."

"And that caused all the strife."

"You weren't ready. You didn't need to learn about all those tools so fast. Your consciousness was, and still is, immature."

"Can't you go back in time and redo it, I mean undo it."

"It's not so easy. If we do, we won't cancel out the strife, we just create a third parallel Earth. Then we'll need to assign more students to watch over it too. And people on your lifeline will still exist and have to find their own answers to suffering."

"Do we have an answer?"

"Sure. Remember the Garden of Eden?"


"What happened there?"

"We ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil."

"Wasn't there another tree?" Jay asked.

"Yes. Yes there was. The Tree of Life. You kicked us out before we could eat of that too."

"We didn't kick you out. It was the trespassers, who didn't want you to find the answer."

"What is it? What is the answer?"

"You've just spent the last two months rediscovering it. Opening yourself up to a Godly awareness every moment. When you do that the Karma and suffering just fall away."

"You mean we just have to harmonize our thoughts in order to live forever in your world?"

"Everyone knows that in theory. The hard part is learning the value of your stint in the third dimension. That's the only place where you can really rework your energy patterns by using your body as the wrench."

I imagined my body as a vehicle for some ethereal core. As all the dents and angles were worked out of the body, the nebulous energy field within started growing brighter and bigger. Finally it pulsated rhythmically, ran through a rainbow of colors, and drifted away from the physical shell which it now dwarfed.

"So what happens if we complete this Earthly class? Do we get to come to your school?"

"You're already in our school. You have to help the others at your home succeed to get to the next grade."

"Sounds like the pledge of the Bodhisattva; to stay with the planet until all beings are enlightened." I said.

"Well, you are all connected. Your hand can't claim to have climbed Mount Everest if it leaves a finger behind."

"That's not really fair." I protested. "I can't make some of the fools I've lived with see the light."

"Once you've organized your thoughts and energy patterns; waiting patiently isn't a chore. Look at it this way. The universe is full of possibilities, and any type of life forms that can exist, do. You think you're an individual; but sometime long ago, two cells worked together by specializing. One cell found the food, the other turned it into energy. Now look at you. Trillions of very unique cells, yet cooperating; giving up their individuality, to make a greater being. If some cell goes on its own path, you call it a cancer, and eliminate it.

"As Soltrey, your Earth, grows up, the life forms have had a chance to become bigger and more complex. Now you humans are self-aware. You can modify your own energy pattern.

"Just as you look out from your planet on a dark night and see a sky full of stars, we look down on our Garden and see a host of twinkling lights. As they become greater in number and brightness, we see a new being form. It is one being, made from the energy of all life forms on your planet.

"Someday it will be more than a planet. It will be many single cells working together. You self-aware individuals will cooperate to create a life form grander than all of you, your 'Gaia' if you like. Your material planet will be a thing of the past, as a new student joins our grade. And you Lovejoy will be there."

"Is this true? I mean, for you the future is just another location. Did we make it past this exuberance of weapons and destructive toys?"

"Well, it's right over here, isn't it. Let's just go have a look."

I felt a sudden jolt of motion and heard a rushing sound. Jay started to fade and I thought he was actually going somewhere to check on our future. Not wanting to lose the connection with him I yelled, "Jay, how's it going with your world? Weren't you reassigned?" When he didn't answer, I thought very hard, trying to project. "Jay? Where are you? And where is Buddy now?" Back came the reply in my mind. "Buddy? Why, he's down there with you. Haven't you seen him? He calls himself 'Ludwig'."

Before I could answer again, I thought him I heard him say, "Here it is. Oh my!" Then his voice trailed off in the din of cascading water. Out of the blackness, a faint great globe appeared and grew in my vision. Little pinpoints of light were spread all over it, becoming more intense as I plunged headlong towards it. The image was at first chaotic. All of a sudden I recognized the continents of Earth coming towards me. The east side of North America loomed ahead as I found my way past clouds and buildings and trees into a small room with wires and switches all around. I heard a human voice and then deciphered "...Blood pressure 160 over 100, pulse 120 and regular, respiratory rate 20..." I recognized a dispatcher's office and noticed a photograph on the desk of three young boys, probably brothers, all with red hair.

I felt my navel tingle and I became a lightning bolt of electricity heading through the air to a scene of flashing lights, an ambulance and all my friends. They were bending over someone. I immediately tensed as I wondered who was sick, and why they were dowsing him with water.

Another jolt and I felt myself cough. I opened my eyes to see so many faces looking down at me. I suddenly remembered my fall as they placed a neck brace on me, then my body on a backboard. I first recognized Mindy. My heart seemed to grow in size as I gazed at her. I remembered what she must have thought and quickly said, "I'm all right."

"Thank God." She sighed, visibly relaxing.

"Mindy, I just talked to God." I said.

"Relax, Will." Mindy said, stiffening again. "I'll meet you at the hospital."

"Which is it, Lovejoy? Grace or works?" Came Howard's anxious voice. Somehow he knew where I had been.

"You won't believe it." I turned to see him when they put the head of my stretcher into the ambulance. Straining against the collar I looked down. Instead I saw Ludwig's smiling face. As they rolled me into the shiny metal carriage, I yelled, "Ludwig, we have to talk!" 

But I couldn't tell if he heard me.


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