I am currently just completing my fourth reading of Through the Mists recorded by Robert James Lee, but the person dictating his own story is Aphraar and I have to say I have a growing love and an immense gratitude to this man, whose passion to share truth to the world that led to this book and the two that followed.: The Life Elysian and The Gates of Heaven.
My fourth reading immediately followed the third. Maybe because each time I read it I learn new things and my soul opens to possibilities and feelings. The books are really an autobiography of Aphraar’s life “beyond the grave.” On earth he was known as Frederick Winterleigh, who died suddenly in the 19th century, attempting to save the life of a young boy. He did not succeed in preventing the end of the boy’s life on earth, but he awoke to find himself still holding the young boy, on the slopes of a land he didn’t know. From the slopes he could view a large area of mists where people were appearing from as they walked through them. This was Aphraar’s entry into the spirit life, or afterlife as some call it: the point where our physical bodies dies, but we continue very much to live in our spirit bodies.
As I said, every time I read these books some new feeling hits my soul: my soul expands and a number of times I find myself crying – not with sadness, but with joy, relief and wonder. They are truly my favourite books: beautifully written and full of passion. I journey within myself, as Aphraar journey’s through spirit lands, travelling to places I can only dream of and not fully imagine yet. They are an affirmation of God, God’s goodness and Love. They are a confirmation that God’s truth is absolute, reliable, loving and designed to take us far, far, far beyond what we can even contemplate. We are in fact just sitting in the “twinkling of an eye” right now, only able to see a sparkle of the light God offers us, the life he wants to lead us too, the people God designed us to be.
I read these books and even the first book when Aphraar is at the start of his journey and I know that he starts his journey in spirit life in a place that is well above where I would be right now if I passed. Because of his desire to learn truth, to be educated he is shown by spirits in much higher conditions their homes – right up to the 7th sphere and because of that we are given a glimpse ourselves. I say a glimpse, because it is apparent that words are not enough to describe the beauty, love and peace in these places. I am a very visual person and I let my mind imagine according to his descriptions and I catch a flash of something, but then I feel this block in me and just have to understand that my current soul condition cannot comprehend such places, though I am grateful and moved by the glimpse’s that Aphraar reveals.
I have many things to correct in myself and many things to embrace too before I can fully embrace this wider panorama and I will admit when I look out of my window and compare the world as it is now and my relation to it – that I am in a similar condition, I do sigh heavily about what appears a very long road I have to travel to get there.
One of the key things that Aphraar learns in Through the Mists is that there is no instant spiritual growth and there are many passages referring to this and a beautiful poem that I will put at the end of this blog, but for now Aphraar summarises , “ Salvation does not guarantee a sudden transition from debauchery to the white-robed through, from the ribald profligacy to ‘sing the song of Moses and the Lamb’; it means ‘acceptance in the beloved’ when the penitent prodigal has carried out his determination to arise and go to his father – has made the pilgrimage from the far country to the homeland..”
In the book, Aphraar debunks the Christian beliefs about heaven being a place where everyone is sitting around playing harps and singing, “Glory, glory, glory.”
Aphraar’s story makes me long for the technicolour life: I love the beauty of nature here on earth, but I long to see the nature in its full, magical abundance as Aphraar describes it; I see the wonder of people changing here, but it feels very small compared to what he describes and experiences for him and others that he meets and observes there. A life of continual growth and change, rising us up and taking us home – our real home.
But a key point in this growth and change is US. God has provided the solid foundation and the means for us to grow, but we are the catalyst: we have to want it, desire it. Your will notice in the quote above that the prodigal “carried out his determination to arise.” The prodigal son story in the new testament is so touching and feels so personal to us all as the son who had been away using his desires and will in many negative ways hits rock bottom. He realises his mistake and that he had sinned – he faced the truth about himself and did what he could to return, even willing to return to his father’s house as servant. We must want to go home and like the father in the story, God will run towards us and prepare a feast to celebrate our return.
The story of the prodigal son is a wonderful story (Luke 15 v 11) – full of so much truth, hope and love and part of that truth is what we do with our will matters. We have free will and just as we put a lot of energy into using it in selfish and unloving ways, we can use it in more powerful, loving ways and this Aphraar’s book gives information on where that can take us.
I do feel I have a mountain to climb and I do feel I have taken myself a few steps up and then fallen down again at times and in that I have sat, stubborn, apathetic, tired and despairing at times. It’s my choice every time, as it would be on an actual physical walk up a mountain, to stop, to give up, to get up , to try again: something inside hopes and longs to see the view from the top.
The funny thing is I absolutely love mountains. The first time I came across mountains and climbed them I felt like I was flying: I didn’t care too much about the aches in my legs or the thoughts of ‘how much further.’ I just love the feeling of getting higher; the sense of achievement; the expectation of what might come next; overcoming challenges and the absolute joy of reaching the top and discovering that the view from the top was so much better than you even imagined! The air feels clear, the sense of space is incredible and then there is the beauty you witness: the surrounding hills, plains, forests and lakes, the sky, clouds and birds who feel close enough to touch. Then around my feet, rocks, grass, small mountain flowers: breathtaking. I never want to go back down, because I never feel as free down there and I want to feel free.
In those moments, I want to drop the weight of my pain, the armour of my facade and I want to see if I can touch the sky and I wonder who is in the sky: are you there God? Can I reach your from here? Can I feel your breath? Touch the sun and look at things through the soft light of the mountain: true or not, God feels closer on the mountain top.
When given a view of the seventh sphere, which is the sphere that those who are seeking a relationship with God, have received a large amount of His love through their desire to do so, are in a transition: from human to divine angel.
Aphraar becomes speechless with the atmosphere of “irresistible happiness,” and the sight of “some azure-tinted, celestial mountain.” He further describes,
“Heaven lay unrolled before me. I can find no other way to convey even a crude suggestion of the scene – its purity, its beauty and its peace…in the distance – however far the eye might travel – undimmed, distinct and vivid as the foreground, there rose to view chain on chain and tier on tier, the heavenly mountains – countless hills on which equally countless terraces were spread – terraces large as plateaus, each vying with other in mansion, parks and flowers, like models of angel cities standing in galleries Divine, all canopied with the smile of God. Each terrace was bathed in its own distinctive glory, the brilliance increasing with the ascent…“
And this is just the sphere before the true Celestial spheres. To give you some idea of the mountain to climb, the earth is currently in a first sphere condition and it only our growth in love that will take us higher. All of us can do it. Everything is in place for us to start the climb – it is just up to us now to make the choice. You can get to the 6th sphere, without God, or to go on beyond there and infinitely, if you have to want a relationship with God. Jesus describes the two paths as the natural love path and God’s way of Love. To me it’s like deciding to climb Ben Nevis or Everest: both have good views, but which mountain has the greatest view – the one that takes us to the greatest heights.
But there is no instant way, no quick fix; we are responsible for correcting our mistakes, for choosing to learn about Love, or wanting a relationship with God. The Father has a feast waiting for us and She has cleared the path for our return, but we have to investigate, to wonder, to want God’s version of Love and Truth and surrender our own: to be born again – not through the sacrifice of anyone, but through the example of the first man who found the way home to His father, to our Father.
You cannot pick up a violin and know how to play its beautiful harmony in a moment: only patience, desire and endurance will lead you to play it skilfully and passionately. You will make mistakes, you will learn from them just as every time your feet slip on the mountain, you become more aware of the right way to climb its great heights.
We can decide to climb the mountain and we can stubbornly say we know the way and insist we find our own way without help and guidance: we are likely to get more lost that way, to face more danger, to want to give up. Or we can take the advice of those who have travelled this path already and know the route well. The guiding hand is there – He’s just waiting for us to take it.
Maxine Bell Oct 2018
Here is the poem from Through the Mists: Chapter 17: A Poetess at Home
Waiting now upon the threshold,
Just within the porch of life;
Safe from all the storms and tempests,-
Hushed the discord and the strife;
Stilled the heart with its wild beatings,
Calmed the hot and fevered brain
Waiting now, and resting sweetly,
‘Til the Master comes again.
Waiting, where the rippling wavelets
Of life’s river lave my feet;
Washing off the stains of travel,
Ere the Master I may greet;
Till the voice is full and mellow,
And I learn the sweet, new song;
Till the discord is forgotten,
That disturbed my peace so long.
Waiting, til the wedding garment,
And the bridal wreath is here;
Till our Father’s feast is ready,
And then bridegroom shall appear
Till the seeds of life have blossomed,
And the harvest- home we sing.
Gathering up my life’s long labours
For my bridal offering.
Oh! ’tis not as men would teach us –
Just one step from earth to God;
Passing through the death-vale to Him,
In the gard that earth we trod;
Called to praise Him while aweary,
Or to sing, while yet the voice
With Love’s farewell sob is broken,
Could we, fitly, thus rejoice?
No! we wait to learn the music,
Wait, to rest our weary feet;
Wait to learn to sweep the harp-strings
Ere the Master shall we meet;
Wait to tune our new-found voices
To the sweet seraphic song;
Wait to learn the time and measure,
But the time will not be long.
Wait to understand the glory
That will shortly be revealed
Till our eyes can bear the brightness
When the book shall be unsealed.
Oh! the vision would o’er power us,
If it suddenly were given
So we wait in preparation,
In the vestibule of heaven.
Thank you Aphraar.