Published
 
 "I clearly cannot do justice, within a review of a few hundred words, to the wisdom presented here in more than 300 pages of questions and profound responses. Many answers are given in enlightening but thought-provoking metaphors. This is not a book to be skimmed through – it is an intense wisdom teaching about how and why we should live our lives the way we do. Although there are many references to Jesus Christ, the underlying messages are relevant to those of any religion – or none."
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The author of this book was formerly the Anglican vicar of a parish in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is also one who is enlightened enough to accept that there are people among us who can access the thoughts of discarnate souls. The author obtained a Master’s Degree in philosophy from the University of New Zealand and a Master’s Degree in theology from the University of Oxford.

The text has arisen from spiritual sessions attended by the author in New Zealand during the 1970s at the home of Thomas and Olive Ashman. The Ashmans had emigrated to New Zealand from Sevenoaks in Kent. Thomas was a trance medium with a Catholic mother and a Jewish father but apart from a little Yiddish he picked up at home he spoke no languages other than his native English, but in trance spoke Latin and, on two occasions, in an ancient Greek dialect. The text is presented here in more than 170 short sections on a range of subjects.

When Thomas went into trance his spirit guide called himself Stephen. It soon emerged that this guide was in fact the Stephen who became the first Christian martyr. Stephen was a deacon in the church in Jerusalem who was stoned to death for blasphemy by members of local synagogues. The only primary source for information about Stephen is the book of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament.

In the trance sessions, the ten or so members of the group, including Rev. Cocks, asked questions of ‘Stephen’ and elicited replies. The conversations covered a wide range of subjects, beginning with: our purpose on Earth. Unsurprisingly, Stephen confirmed what other mediums have transmitted – that material comforts, though important to us in mortal life, are of no importance in our spiritual development. He compares the human body as carrier of the soul to the clothes that we wear in earthly life: we are still the same body without the clothes; we are still the same souls without our bodies. As immortal souls in Spirit we look back on our mortal lives and see ‘many images that we might learn of ourselves’ like ever-changing reflections in a pool. The circumstances we encounter in life influence our decisions: the path we choose to follow is the path determined by karma in Spirit decided by us before incarnation. Our earthly knowledge is limited: we can measure the water in a jug or weigh the sand in a glass but we cannot measure the water in the oceans of the world or the sand in all of its beaches.

I clearly cannot do justice, within a review of a few hundred words, to the wisdom presented here in more than 300 pages of questions and profound responses. Many answers are given in enlightening but thought-provoking metaphors. This is not a book to be skimmed through – it is an intense wisdom teaching about how and why we should live our lives the way we do. Although there are many references to Jesus Christ, the underlying messages are relevant to those of any religion – or none.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness