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Archive for January, 2012

January 15 through January 22, 2012

Beloved, I need to talk to you about an experience I had during the past couple of weeks that I don’t understand. The experience, itself, happened very quickly … but it took me almost two weeks to wrap my head around it … and then describe it. It was so difficult to express the emotion and spiritual … and just plain magical quality of it; the right words don’t exist in the English language, but I managed to write it up and post it here at With a Child’s Heart in response to a compulsion to share it with my readers. It was a similar compulsion to a couple of other posts from over a year ago … one in response to a song you recorded when you were a child (In Our Small Way, July 2010) … and the other a post regarding a legal procedure that (eventually) became manifest in the physical world (In a Perfect World, September 2010).

I wondered how long it would take before you brought this up. Are you referring to your visit to Everland?

Yes! What was that? Was it a dream … an out-of-body experience … an astral visitation? Was it all in my imagination? Was it a ‘visualization?’ Was it wishful thinking? I called it an ‘imaginary interlude,’ thinking that it was just that, but later … comments from readers of similar ‘visions’ … describing in their own words the same kinds of experiences … made me hesitate and wonder if it could have … somehow … been real. Of course, I knew it was real … for me … but I couldn’t encompass the mechanics of it; I just need to understand it.

[Michael laughs.] Why do you have to make it more comfortable by pigeonholing it … categorizing it … labeling it? This is a common factor in the human experience. It is not a requirement in the spiritual realm, as I believe I told you during your visit. It is what it is. Did you enjoy it?

Oh, very much … it was beautiful and so special … and I am so grateful for it. I consider it a very unique gift. Thank you, Michael.

See? Does it really make a difference if you call it a dream? Does the value of the gift change according to the label you apply? [Michael laughs.] Here … I’ll make a deal with you … I’ll trade you two dreams for one genuine astral projection! Don’t you see that these kinds of judgments are really just a means of applying value to your experience? It becomes almost an economic transaction, doesn’t it? Because, let’s face it … a dream carries less weight and lasting value than an out-of-body experience, right? What kinda sense does that make? [Michael laughs again.] How does that change the experience?

Does the naming of it make it more or less real? Or is the naming of it really just an excuse to judge yourself as more or less crazy … more or less in or out of touch with ‘reality?’And, if so, define reality.  What you are seeking is a way of judging what is a valid experience and what is an invalid experience. But isn’t any experience … no matter how far-fetched, whimsical or incredible … a valid experience to the person experiencing it?

Are you really not just seeking a way of using the experience as a mirror and finding yourself wanting because of your judgment so that you can dismiss the experience with comfort, filing it away in an unlabeled box in the attic of your mind where it can’t trouble you anymore?

Does it change the validity or significance if you call it an out-of-body experience … or an astral visitation? Does that give it more ‘logical,’ ‘rational’ reality? Does it make you more comfortable to call it a visualization or a vision experienced during a meditative moment? Would you learn more … or differently … from the experience if it was ‘just’ in your imagination … or wishful thinking? If it was ‘just’ in your imagination, does that make it less ‘real?’

You had the same kind of ‘vision’ almost twenty years ago when we first met. You saw me in my hotel suite in Bangkok. We’ve talked about this before and been all over, around and through that experience; and we saw how some of the ripples radiated out from it. But, at the time, it shocked you; it woke you up. You didn’t understand it. You asked yourself the same questions back then as you are asking yourself now. The vision you saw was so real; it haunted you … nagged you … until you acted upon it. Did you ever resolve the issue?

Yes, I did. I decided that all those questions didn’t matter. I knew what I saw and I knew it was true and I knew that I had to do something. That was all that mattered. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a name for it; the experience was real. And it really didn’t matter if I was crazy; I had to do something.

There ya go. [Michael giggles.] What is your overall feeling as a result of your visit?

Regardless of what I call it, I feel that I have been given a momentary, heart-opening, life-affirming glimpse of a different kind of dimension, but I don’t know why that glimpse has been gifted to me. I have no psychic training, no meditative expertise to facilitate out-of-body travel.

See? You are using the experience as a mirror to define yourself. I knew we’d get to this, eventually. You are so predictable; there you go … putting yourself down again. [Girl, close your eyes. Let that rhythm get into you. Don’t try to fight it. There ain’t nothin’ that you can do. Relax your mind. Lay back and groove with mine.] [Michael sings very quietly, whispering the words as if we are dancing and he is singing them in my ear. The hair on the back of my neck stands straight up in the air at attention in response to the warmth of his breath behind my ear … and his tender embrace. I am melting.]

Your soul knows and experiences truth; it recognizes that it belongs in truth. It is comfortable there. It doesn’t question or label. It experiences.

You don’t need psychic training to have such experiences. You don’t need meditative expertise to facilitate out-of-body travel. This is your natural state. All you need is a willingness and openness to these experiences. Your soul will do the rest. We’ve talked about this before. As a spiritual being involved in and committed to a human experience, you are a natural. There is nothing to be learned. There are no degrees offered in being a spiritual being … and, if there were, you don’t need one.

You like to make things so complicated. You don’t need a Ph.D. in Theology or Occult Practices or clairvoyance or clairaudience. You don’t need thirty years on a hilltop eating bugs to be spiritual. You already are spiritual. You just need to accept and acknowledge what you already are … make space for it … and get your human need to understand what cannot be explained out of the way long enough to experience it.

The human mind needs to label these things … to rationalize them. The spirit needs only to experience them. It’s only after the experience that the mind comes into play. During it, you didn’t question … you didn’t doubt. You trusted in me and in the experience. Then, when it was over, the mind took over and decided that there had to be a ’rational,’ ‘reasonable,’ ‘logical’ explanation. Your soul doesn’t care about ‘rational,’ ‘reasonable,’ or ‘logical.’ It cares about truth. And it was absolutely comfortable in the truth you were seeing and hearing and experiencing.

And as to why you were gifted with this experience … could it be that you and I shared these moments of NOW so that we could talk about them here? Don’t exactly the same questions and theories apply to these Conversations? For example, you object to the term ‘channeling’ very strongly. Why?

Because the word connotes some special psychic ability … or training … which I do not claim to possess. The word is loaded with assumptions and meanings. Our dialogs are unique. They do not conform easily to any restrictive pattern, with all of the baggage that comes along with them. For example, the term ‘automatic writing’ assumes that certain parameters have been met … and, according to the experts, if those parameters are not met the writing doesn’t fit the definition.

Our Conversations do not meet any preconceived pre-requisites. They come in different ways … at different times. Sometimes, your voice singing a line or two from a song you’ve recorded becomes the driving force behind the entire conversation. Other times, your voice plays a less significant role and the words tumble around in my mind. These dialogs do not readily conform to one static, parameter-laden, restrictive definition.

Exactly! Most labels are loaded with assumptions and meanings which imply increased or decreased value or validity. It’s how the human mind works and assigns meaning to the things it experiences. This holds true with experiences such as your ‘visit’ as well as any other labels you use to categorize people, places, events or anything else you try to stuff into some kind of stereotypical box. An illustration of this can easily be found in my life. The establishment was comfortable labeling me a ‘black’ man (less value) until my pigmentation problem became more obvious. Then, I wasn’t really black anymore … and I wasn’t really white (more value) … I didn’t fit into either of those definitions. So, since I was neither black nor white … they found another label to appy … freak (the least value of all). Again, I didn’t really fit the mold of the macho, urban male (more value) but I didn’t fit the mold of the female either (less value) … so, they found another label to apply … homosexual (least value of all) … or androgynous. Do you see how this works? Each of those labels helps them assign a value to me, as a person … and to my contributions, in general … and validates (at least in their minds) that assignment.

If we could just stop making such judgments and embrace the truth of things as they are, our world would be a much better place.

Sorry! [Michael giggles.} Kinda took a side trip there. Let’s get back to the main point of this dialog. Is it possible that by discussing your experience, we can ease the minds of some of your readers who are experiencing similar events and asking the same questions you are asking? Perhaps, they, too, are thinking they are going insane … or have thought so in the recent past.

We’ve already determined that you are insane, but in a very special and unique way … and have been for almost twenty years. [Michael laughs.]

Hey! I think I resemble that remark! Consider your arm punched!

Heehee! Consider yourself hugged! Have you noticed that there seems to be an epidemic of a similar brand of insanity going around for the last couple of years? Maybe by sharing your experience you can heal other’s fear and doubt, their feelings of unworthiness?

Michael … I gotta tell ya … you humble me … and I love you so much!

My Insane One … I gotta tell ya … you humble me … and I … LOVE … YOU … MORE!

Now, tell me … what stands out in your remembrance of your ‘visit?’

The thing that stands out most in my mind was the clarity of the experience. It … was … so … real.

When we walked through the waterfall, I felt the warmth of … I don’t know … LOVE … acceptance … welcome … drench me, although we didn’t get wet. When I looked around for just a heartbeat and fell into the pool, I felt the water tingling up and down my spine, buoying me up, wetting my clothing and seeping through my hair to my scalp. And everything it touched seemed to become enlivened by it in new and unusual ways. When I noticed the music proceeding from your thought, I heard it with my ears and with my heart … and every hair follicle responded … it thrilled me and surrounded me. And it thrilled and surrounded every blade of grass, every drop of water and every animal, including the strange bird which flew to your feet. When we entered the ever-renewing and shifting landscape, the colors were so vivid … almost alive. Every blade of tall grass seemed to exude its own melody; each of the animals seemed to contribute in its own way to the symphony you composed and the lush beauty of the place itself. They were not separate; without each and every one of them, the plain would have been denuded of their presence. It’s so hard to explain. Each was connected to the landscape and the notes of the music and the general atmosphere of welcome and perfection.

Yes, you experienced the interconnectedness of all of it. I’m glad. That is truth. It’s the same thing in the physical world, but we aren’t equipped to see it as clearly. There is so much that is hidden from our physical senses and we don’t know enough to honor and respect that which we cannot see, hear, feel, taste or smell. As a matter of fact, we fail to honor and respect even that which we can. We are taught very early on that we are the masters … that we have dominion over (as opposed to cooperation with) … that which sustains us. When, in truth, we are its servants … its stewards. We have been given the privilege of caring for it … and each other. And we have failed miserably at the task.

Just as The Master taught his disciples, he who would be the master must be the servant of all … and He illustrated his point by washing the dust of the road from their feet. When one of them objected to His servanthood, He chastised him. That is truth. The true King is the servant of his people; the true Master is the teacher of his followers. He bears the pain of their fear and doubt; He bears the burden of their guilt. He serves them … as their teacher … as their example … as their disciplinarian … sometimes, as their mirror. And through His service, they are healed.

It is there in the example of Jesus that I tried so hard to imitate and spoke about so often. It is the code by which I lived my life. And I do not regret doing so.

 

Yes, my Dear One … I do so see you in that example. And I am in awe of your level of service and humility.

Please do not be in awe of me. I am just another part of you … and you are a cherished and important part of me. What else stands out?

When we were magically transported to what you like to call your library, the change in the music that surrounded us and the shapes and colors of the buildings and the way the music wafted in, around and through the structures and us … weaving all it touched into the tapestry it created … it was so magical … simple, yet beautiful.

Being allowed to view and be a part of the scenes and events of your life … well … I am just speechless with the honor you pay me. I had always wanted to feel a real closeness with you … to be a part of your life … while you were with us in this physical dimension and the circumstances of our lives never allowed that participation. Viewing it on the little hand-held screen and placing myself into some of the important milestones and events of your physical life … even being present in the audience for your debut of the ‘moonwalk’ … and dancing with you as one of your dance partners … was a true … and unbelievable … blessing. It was so absorbing. It wasn’t like I was sitting and watching it all on a little screen.  It was like I was there!

[Michael laughs.] We are close! How much closer could we be? I peek out at you from between the molecules that you breathe into your lungs! I play hide and seek with you in the rhythms and notes of the music. I am there between every single heartbeat that pushes your blood through your veins. Our thoughts are intertwined in rich and diverse patterns. The only way we could be any closer is if I were you. We are ONE!

During my physical manifestation, you experienced our oneness … and thought you had gone insane. You tried to talk yourself out of that feeling, but failed. Don’t you remember? I do. With your vision of me, you placed yourself at my side as I paced that room in Bangkok. In your stories, you held my hand and lent me strength; you protected and nurtured me with your prayers.

“How could this be?” you asked yourself over and over again. You struggled to explain it to yourself … and here’s that need to label … to pigeonhole … that your mind employs to become more comfortable with the experience … to validate it … to place a value upon it. When that didn’t work, you finally arrived at the conclusion that we have been connected in some manner that is not explainable to the rational mind … intertwined. You accepted that … as illogical and impossible as it may have been … and you acted upon it. We explained that interconnectedness in the Symphony in the Key of Life analogy. It should not stretch believability too far that our connection remains through all of the eternal moments of NOW that we share.

But you have overlooked one of the MAJOR lessons of your experience. I want you to close your eyes and remember the experience of holding that little screen in your hands and placing those earbuds in your ears. You watched my life unfold, didn’t you?

Yes.

You were there while my brothers and I rehearsed. You were there when we auditioned for Berry. You were there in the room … on Jackson Street. You were in the front row of the audience when we performed on Ed Sullivan … and Motown 25 … and at concerts during my tours. You were there to comfort me in my hotel rooms after the shows. You heard the fans outside chanting my name. Was it real?

Yes, Beloved … it was the most real thing I have ever experienced. Yes. It was very real. I felt the excitement of each of those moments; I felt the fervor and exuberance of the audiences … and the waves of love that wove themselves in and around and through the audience as you performed … and were hurled back to you from them … and the sense of total mental, physical and emotional exhaustion that you experienced when the performance ended and you couldn’t sleep. It was very real!

You were there when I sat in that courtroom day after day, holding my hand and lending me strength. You were there when I returned home at night depleted and the pain was almost more than I could bear. You held me and comforted me. Was it real?

Definitely, Beloved … it was very real. I felt you squeeze my hand. Just as my vision of you in Bangkok was real! I felt your tears against my neck; I held you as you knelt to pray. Yes, it was real!

You were there at the Memorial Service. You were there and saw the ‘ripples’ as they radiated from my life, didn’t you? You called them ‘threads of light’ that wove themselves around millions of hearts and around an entire planet, dispelling the darkness in those hearts, letting in just the tiniest chink of light and beginning to illuminate the world. You experienced that. Was it real?

Yes, Michael , it was very real.

That’s a very good analogy for what you are doing right now … you are living a human experience … a movie … a play … a fantasy that you have created so that you could experience some aspect or facet of life. This life that you are living is a role that you have dreamed up … an illusion that you directed before you arrived here in this particular physical manifestation. The parameters by which you experience this life are changeable; all you need to do is change them.

In truth, you are sitting safely in a comfortable chair in ‘my library’ and you have projected yourself into this life, but not all of you is encased within your physical body. What is not required for your physical experience is here with me comfortably watching your life unfold in perfect safety and projecting yourself into the events and moments of this particular physical manifestation. And as the events unfold, the experiences are absorbed, enhancing and intensifying the colors of your energy field as you apply meaning … or validity … or value … to each of them as they progress.

You are perfectly safe and protected and nothing can harm you. You are invulnerable … invincible. The safety and security you felt in your wakefulness at the beginning of your experience is the truth. The illusion in which you are engaged is just that … an illusion … but, a useful one.

What is more, you are perfectly and sincerely LOVED and cherished with an all-encompassing, passionate, consuming, life-affirming, unconditional LOVE … beyond your wildest imaginings. And not just by me. The entire Universe bows before you … because, as we talked about earlier, the true King is the servant of his people. And the true Father is the servant of his children and willingly makes sacrifices to promote their welfare. And the true Creator is the servant of His creation. That is the model that has been overlooked for centuries in the human experience … and it is the model that we must re-establish on a global scale.

We have corrupted the archetypal model of the King and Father and Creator … and God … to encompass the tyrant who ‘lords it over’ or abuses his subjects/children/creation, who judges and dooms them to everlasting torture … the dictator who feathers his own nest at the expense of the discomfort and physical welfare of his subjects. ‘Dominion over’ … as opposed to ‘cooperation with.’

That is not a valid view of ‘reality.’ We’ve chosen it, but it does not suit our purpose or enhance our experience. So, let’s choose again. We can change it by simply choosing again.

There is no danger. There is nothing to fear … ever. You have placed yourself into the action; you have given yourself the lead role in this drama … or comedy … for a reason. And the reason is that your soul wants to experience all that it can … because experience is knowledge absorbed and applied … and you share with me an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Experience is always the best teacher and the most direct way to know a thing because it bypasses the mind (which wants to sit around and judge and label what is being taught) … and goes directly to the heart. The Universe is your classroom and stands ready to invest your dreams with ‘reality’ so that you can experience what you choose to experience. If you don’t like the results, choose again … just as we did with our visualizations leading up to the trial.

And do not be afraid … of anything. There is no judge. There is no jury. When your experience is over and your soul has been healed of the wounds inflicted upon it, you will find yourself sitting comfortably in ‘my library’ viewing the threads of light radiating from your experience as they weave beautiful patterns of ecstatic homecoming to rival the most intricately wrought tapestries, each thread enlivening another heart … each filament joining all the other filaments in joyous harmony like the lines of notes in our Symphony in the Key of Life.

Ah … you are all so beautiful … you bring me to tears. I wish that you could all see yourselves as I see you. My only consolation is … that you will …!

[I’ll plant you a garden of laughter and tears. With rain and with sunshine, love will grow through the years. The dreams that we’re dreaming have time to come true. Cuz we’ve got forever … and forever is meant … for so very few. Michael sings.] By the way, the words of the song are wrong. Forever is meant for everyone.

Thank you, Michael. Would you mind if we switched gears for a moment?

No, not at all.

Recently I saw an article which quoted one of the men who worked with you in the recording studio in Florida sometime between the Thriller and BAD recording sessions. The man’s name was George Atwell and he described your methods when recording. He, like everyone who ever worked with you, was astonished to watch you create your music. At some point, he asked you why you didn’t learn to read music and I quote him: “… he replied that God had given him this gift and he was afraid that learning too much about the intellectual side of music would mess it up.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard of you not wanting to learn about something, especially something that was so vitally important to you. Would you mind explaining what you meant by your response.

[Michael laughs loudly.] Actually, that’s not switching gears at all. You would be surprised at how my explanation will reinforce and enhance what we’ve been talking about in this entire conversation. If I can express myself clearly, that is.

Okay, let me ask you … what does it mean to ‘learn to read music?’

Gee, I don’t know (having never done it). I guess you learn what the notes and staffs and clefs mean … what they represent … how all the different notations, including the rests contribute to the piece of music. You learn what the timing and count means.  I’m not much of a music expert, but it means learning what’s called ‘music theory’ and how to compose music … oh, boy … [Jan giggles] according to the rules and definitions of ‘music theory’ … LOL!!! [Jan gets a visual of Michael with a big grin plastered across his face. He shrugs his shoulders with his hands held at shoulder-height, palms up.]

Exactly! I felt that I had been given a precious gift … the gift of music … and that it was given to me to express and bring into the world as clearly and as beautifully as I heard it in my head. How often did I say that I didn’t write the songs, that the songs wrote themselves? Does this ‘music theory’ with its rules and regulations and definitions allow that to happen? Can a person who is well-versed in established ‘music theory’ not allow that theory to get in the way of the expression?

I didn’t want to contaminate or dilute the gift God had given me … the music … and its expression through me … by trying to make it conform to well-established theories or rules or regulations or definitions. That doesn’t allow for true innovation, true creativity, does it?

If everyone is learning the same definitions and rules and theories, they end up writing the same music (with only minor variations). I didn’t want to be just another can in the assembly line. The songs I wrote (or I should really say that Music wrote through me) don’t really sound like anyone else’s music for the very reason that I did not know all those rules and regulations. I just knew what I was hearing in my head … and I struggled to reproduce it as nearly exactly as I could. My ignorance allowed me mad freedom of expression.

It’s the same thing we’ve been talking about from the beginning of this conversation. You were given a precious gift in your ‘visit’ to Everland … and in these dialogs. Why dilute it and contaminate it by stuffing it into a little box labeled ‘just in my imagination’ … or ‘astral travel?’ That gift does not have to conform to anyone else’s definitions of such experiences to be valuable. You know … and your soul knows … the meaning you place on the experience. It does not need to be labeled to assign it value or validity. It only has to be enjoyed and expressed … and shared … to help heal the world.

Always pushing those boundaries, huh?

[Michael laughs.] Pushing them … shoving them … redrawing them … vaulting over them … crawling under them … moonwalking through them … making them disappear. They don’t apply anymore. We got us a new paradigm requiring new definitions and boundaries.

There’s nothing that can’t be done if we raise our voice as ONE. Hee Hee!

Jan – January 20, 2011

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I don’t know if any of my regular readers are like me. All I know is that I, for one, am ready for an imaginary interlude. The past several months have been so emotionally chaotic and stressful with so many events occurring that have been emotionally and spiritually draining, that I need to be refreshed. So, without further adieu, please sit back and enjoy the ride. The captain of this inner intergalactic aircraft has asked everyone to fasten their seatbelts, the flight attendants have gone through the emergency exit procedures, the ‘no smoking’ sign is lit and the passengers have been asked to settle into their seats for the duration of our voyage.

The Middle Ground

I am entirely surrounded by a silence so thick that it has substance and personality. It contains promise and potential. I hold no fear of this dark stillness within my heart, within my body or within my mind. It is restful. Tiredness and physical sensation evaporate into this gentle quietude while I feel my entire being breathing in a peace the likes of which I have never experienced before.

A voice speaks softly very near to where I am resting. A moment of annoyance at this flagrant disturbance passes within the space of a heartbeat as I struggle to understand the words it speaks. “Don’t be afraid,” reverberates within this calm, resonating throughout my entire being. It is familiar, warm, comforting; as if it is a whisper I should recognize.

“You are safe,” the same gentle, melodious voice intones again.

I have to admit the truth of those words; I have never had such a sense of absolute safety and security. Cocooned within this prescient, pregnant pause, the thought occurs to me that no harm could possibly threaten me here in this precious, peaceful interlude.

I am conscious … awake … but my wakefulness holds no urgency, no compulsion to move from this blissful state of lethargy. I feel a sense of freedom … as if unconfined … expansive … for the first time in my life… and in ways that I had never understood the term prior to these few stolen moments. I breathe deeply, drinking of the promise surrounding me like a desert dweller too long between oases.

“Take your time. We’ve got forever.”

The words, spoken with such clarity, love and patience, pluck a chord of memory within me like a harp string played by trained, enormously skilled fingers and I hear a voice singing those very words from somewhere long ago. It was a child’s voice … a young boy’s … as I recall … just on the cusp of adulthood. Only one child could have packed the hope and promise and joy and faith into those words that now embrace my heart like a lover’s arms. “Michael?” I ask, hardly daring to hope that God has, finally, answered my prayers.

A lilting, melodious chuckle is the only response to my query, but I am comforted while, at the same time, exhilarated, excited, exuberant. That sense of urgency so completely lacking just a moment earlier now pierces my being. “Is it really you? How is that possible?”

I hear, again, that voice … still reminiscent of the child’s exuberant innocence, though the timbre and tone are that of an adult. Yet, as before, the entire gamut of human emotion … all the laughter … all the tears … all the wisdom of the ages … is encapsulated, expressed, redeemed within it. Clear and perfect, unadorned and unaccompanied, it sings, “Helpless and hopeless, that’s how I feel inside. Nothing’s real, but all is possible if God is on my side. When I’m with you, I’m in the light where I cannot be found. It’s as though I’m standing in the place called ‘Hallowed Ground.’”

“Have I died?” I ask timidly, slightly afraid of the answer.

Again, the chuckle so characteristic of the man, himself, greets my question like a long lost lover, making me feel totally known and completely cherished … warts and all … soothing and easing my momentary panic.

“That is entirely up to you. I always know when one of mine has entered The Middle Ground … between awake and asleep … hovering on the very edge of rediscovery … the second star to the right and straight on until morning … the cusp of remembering … and I am always here. You may choose to visit as a homesick wanderer returns to familiar territory to recharge his faith. Or you may choose to stay for this eternal moment of NOW.  Either way, we can continue our tour.”

Suddenly, I perceive a light piercing the darkness. It is just a pin-prick at first like a star on a moonless night, shades of midnight shrinking from its passage. One moment, my perception sees a brilliant blue flash across the light, another a wavy green hue decorates the face of the approaching beam. In another moment, a burnt orange peppered with brilliant yellow. Larger and larger it grows as it approaches until it fills my entire field of vision and stretches to the horizons on all sides. And still it rushes forward until it surrounds me … front and back … up and down … three hundred and sixty degrees. I find myself standing within this light that began as the merest dot and now stretches to embrace me within its three-dimensional field.

I feel a soft touch upon my hand; long tapered fingers trace the veins and fingers, finally grasping and intertwining fingers with mine. A small squeeze and then a slight pull and we walk through the loveliest, most beautiful … yet strangest … landscape I have ever seen.

It is forest and desert, plains and mountains, ocean and sky combined in surreal, ever-changing layers and patterns of colorful beauty. I watch fascinated as blue drips from the sky to color the endless orange dunes of sand in huge blobs of color … and purple from an iris is flung across the canopy of trees. He pulls me towards him and embraces me, shielding me from a large splotch of purple splattering from the tallest branch to land on the needle-strewn floor only inches in front of me.

I look up to find the source of the drop as he laughs gaily. “Hey guys, be careful. We have a guest.” I hear him whisper, though his voice echoes from the surrounding hills and ricochets from the earth and sky, enveloping everything in his light, cheerful buoyancy.

“You’ll have to forgive them. Today is mind-painting day. You know how children love to paint. They usually make a mess.”

Finally, I summon the courage to look at him and my breath is driven from my body in an ecstatic rush. No one and nothing I have ever seen could have prepared me for the rush of emotion I experience in that moment. My knees buckle and fold as I fall to the forest floor. His ethereal beauty beggars description. His thin, wraith-like frame glows brightly in various, rainbow-colored hues, sparkling and twinkling in a nimbus around his body like a halo and extending from his outline in varying depths ranging from just a couple of inches to almost a linear foot. He is dressed in a white t-shirt, white jeans and a white silk shirt unbuttoned and blowing freely in the slight breeze, his feet encased in white socks splattered with various colors as if they were dripped from a paintbrush and black loafers. His hair is black and hangs loose around his face and shoulders, framing them in gently-curling tendrils. His skin is pale and glowing and his eyes as he gazes into mine are hypnotizing. His smile is broad as he kneels in front of me, grasping my shoulders firmly, but gently. “Are you all right?” he asks. I nod in response and he reminds me, “Don’t forget to breathe! Welcome to Everland.”

“Michael,” is the only word that my mind will utter in response. In his gaze, I feel like I have never felt before. The aches and pains of my earthly body are forgotten. I feel like I can fly … like the burden of years and cares has been lifted from my shoulders, my heart, my mind. In his eyes, I feel loved, free, cherished, beautiful, youthful and eager to continue our tour. I want to say so much, but at the same time, I am aware that words are not necessary between us in this sacred place.

Smiling, he places his hands on either side of my face and lifts my head to bless me with a gentle kiss. “Come! I want to show you around,” he sighs softly.

We walk towards what appears to be a sparkling, shimmery, fabric curtain. As we approach, I hear tinkling musical notes dancing lightly over the roar of water heard from a distance. The sound of roaring water comes closer and closer. It cascades through my body, raising chills up and down my spine. The tinkling notes rise and fall within, around and through the crashing bass of the water, providing contrapuntal melodies that sparkle and glisten with ethereal loveliness.

“Beloved, I hear music!” I gasp.

“Oh, sorry!” he giggles and the music stops suddenly. “Sometimes, I don’t realize that everyone else can hear it. Is that better?”

I stare at him aghast. “Oh, please … make it come back,” I whisper. “It is so beautiful.” In that moment, I realize that the music I am enthralled by is being created in the moment in his mind. He needs no musical instruments or recording studios or amplifiers to manifest his creation. He is the amplifier, receiver and transmitter. I am witnessing instantaneous thought transference and translation at its finest … and its beauty goes beyond just the sense of hearing. It is visible; it contributes to the beauty of the forest and sky, weaving a magical spell over everything it touches. “Please?” I ask again more earnestly, gazing deeply into his beautiful eyes. Once again, the tinkling notes dance on the waterfall enveloping all they touch in a sense of joy and playfulness.

“I didn’t mean to distract you …” he says quietly, blushing.

I silence him by placing my index finger against his lips and shaking my head. “It is not distracting me,” I disclaim vehemently. “It is healing … entrancing … enchanting. It is you.”

At last, we walk through the shimmering curtain, only to discover that it is not a curtain at all, but a waterfall of iridescent, sparkling, living water that seems to dance on the air and in its joy has totally forgotten to wet us.  As we pass beneath, we are drenched in warmth and welcome. We find ourselves standing on a ledge large enough to hold us both securely, but with little room to spare.  The waterfall thunders behind us and pools at our feet only to form a new fall off the ledge upon which we stand.

Below us is spread a vast plain filled with animals of every description. Zebras and antelopes, giraffes and elephants, chimps and gazelles, lions and squirrels cavort in gleeful play. Mountain goats climb the ridges of the mountains across the plain and pure, snow white llamas graze peacefully in the valley. Large birds with extremely long tails fly circles around the mountain peaks and majestic eagles survey the scene with unruffled, regal dignity.

“Do you trust me?” Michael asks conspiratorially.

I nod, speechless at the stunning scene laid out before me.

He holds my hand, intertwining our fingers again firmly, locking his gaze intensely on my eyes … and steps off the ledge … and I follow. We ride the fall of water to the floor of a deep chasm and step from the waterfall elevator just in time to dodge a flying glob of yellow as it splashes into the water behind us. Michael yells, “Incoming,” … and ducks … and I hear giggling reverberating from the canyon walls and ledges. As this unusual elevator deposits us in a gurgling pool at the foot of the sheer drop, I glance away from Michael’s intense gaze momentarily … and very quickly find myself submerged in the pool and treading water as he stands above me, his hand still firmly grasping mine and laughs. “You really have to learn to stop doubting, don’t you?” He laughs gaily. “You stopped trusting for just a heartbeat to look around. Now, you’re all wet.”

I join him in laughter as I rise to walk across the pool with him. “Don’t worry about it, Michael,” I reply. “It’s not the first time I’ve been all wet!”

He giggles, “At least, you’re a good sport about it!”

The wonderful musical notes have followed us on our descent, seeming to coalesce and hover around us like fireflies on a warm June night. Emerging from the shadows of the cliffs we walk across the plain we have viewed from the ledge. The grass is high and a green so bright it almost seems lit from within each blade and stem. Interspersed in the long grass, radiant flowers of every color and hue bashfully offer their fragrances as a blessing of gratitude upon the glorious scene spread out before us.

We approach the animals which do not seem the least bit shy of us. As we pass, Michael offers his hand and many of them nuzzle near him to accept his gentle touch. Some of them, he rubs his palm against their noses; some he scratches behind their ears. While walking past one of the elephants, Michael crouches down below the giant’s trunk and pulls me in after him. Moments later, the pachyderm is pelted with what seems like a bucket of red and trumpets his dismay, his glorious tusks quivering in consternation.

He emerges from our lair under the elephant’s trunk and turns to offer me his hand. “Come,” he says quietly. “This place is dangerous at the moment.” The tinkling musical notes cascading all around us seem to have attracted one of the large birds that have been circling over our heads. Suddenly, one of the strange creatures lands in front of Michael. He approaches and ducks his head under Michael’s left hand, his long, brightly-patterned, iridescent tail spread out on the ground in his wake like a gaily-colored carpet. Michael laughs and pets the bird’s crested head.

The cascading, tinkling musical notes change to a more dramatic string arrangement and the roaring water that formerly made up the bass transforms to a more industrial, mechanically-driven, yet gentle beat.

Turning back toward the plain, I gasp in astonishment. The plain dotted with various animals at rest and play has vanished and we stand surrounded by tall buildings built in unusual shapes of fantastic materials that glisten in the afternoon sun, shooting sparks of color from their majestic, metallic skeletons. The sparks appear to be timed to the beat of the music that weaves itself around the towers and glides around our bodies, caressing us and making us a part of the symphony, the volume and intensity and modulations of which seem to always be in flux. These buildings are unlike any I have ever seen. Triangular buildings appear almost like pyramids and circular domes separated by tall, stacked towers makes one think of marbles being maneuvered in a pinball machine. They are fronted with gaily colored glass similar to the glass Christmas ornaments I have hung on my tree for years, each pane’s degree of opacity cycling from moment to moment … from totally transparent to shaded like the tinted glass in a limousine’s windows. Interspersed between the structures, park-like enclosures with water features and brightly colored trees and flowers lend an ambience of natural beauty.

I turn to stare at Michael wide-eyed and with mouth agape. He smiles, lifting his eyebrows in a questioning gesture. “We should be safer here … for the moment,” he whispers. “Let’s be real quiet and maybe they won’t find us for a while.”

Conspiratorially, I lean in to whisper in his ear, “Michael, what is this place?”

“It’s been called by many names in many different cultures throughout the ages. To some it is known as the Akashic Records. Others call these the Halls of Knowledge. Still others call them the Book of Life.” He gazes intently into my eyes and winks. “I like to think of this place as my library. One of the things everyone learns early in their individual experience is that names don’t really mean much here. Labels don’t apply. Basically, this is a learning place. If you’re curious about something, you can go into one of the buildings and learn about it. Each of the buildings is devoted to a different subject … like medical knowledge … or historical knowledge … or any subject you can think of. But instead of just reading words on paper, you can put yourself into the action … like playing a part in a play … and experience it firsthand … because experience is the best teacher. Would you like to see what I mean?”

“Oh, yes, please,” I respond.

“Okay, come with me,” Michael grins, grasping my hand again and leading me toward a building. “What would you like to look up?”

I hesitate a moment before responding. “Well, lately, anything to do with Michael Jackson has fascinated me. Can we look up Michael Jackson?”

Michael chuckles, “Sure … anything you want,” he says as we enter a large geodesic-dome like building.  At the entrance, he grabs a pair of earplugs and a small screen and leads me to a small, private area with a small, comfortable-looking recliner. After seating me comfortably, he hands me the hardware. “Here,” he says, “put these on and just think of what you are curious about … anything at all … and then watch the screen. If you want to put yourself into the ‘movie’ just think that you want to be there and view what happens. I’ll be right back.”

Within the buildings, people sit in comfortable seating areas or walk about freely, reading small hand-held ereaders or viewing small screens and listening to something being transmitted through earplugs. Each is surrounded by his or her own nimbus of ever-changing, brightly-colored hue, but each of the nimbi seem to be connected by affinity (sharing the same dominant color) or proximity to its neighbors so that their movements shape and re-shape a living tapestry that changes and adjusts and fluctuates so quickly that at no time does it remain static.

Settling myself comfortably into the chair, I place the earbuds into my ears and think “Michael Jackson.” Instantly the screen in my hands comes alive and I am watching as Michael’s life unfolds before me. I watch as his mother cradles him in her arms after naming him; I watch as he grows to maturity; I watch as the world notices him and he begins his life mission. This is so much better than a play or a movie because I can place myself in the audience front row seat at the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever performance; I can hear and see and feel all the excitement of that moment with him. I can attend the shows during his concert tours and even dance with him on stage during You Are Not Alone. I can be present with him in the courtroom, my hand resting in his as he squeezes it in pain listening to the lies being told by the child on the witness stand. I am there … and it is real.

I am there at the Public Memorial Service as his brothers wheel in his flower-draped casket … and as they wheel it out to speed it towards Forrest Lawn Memorial Gardens. I am there as his beautiful body is laid to rest in the Holly Terrace mausoleum. But to my astonishment, that is not the end of this experience.

I watch … stupefied … as threads of light weave themselves around hearts around the globe … in every country … on every continent … in every generation … every denomination … every creed … every culture … hearts are lassoed by the threads of light and grace emanating from this one Great Spirit and one Great Love. I feel the curiosity they experience … the compulsion to know more … the birthing of a wave of pure, undeniable, unconditional love that envelopes the globe, weaving its way around the planet in bright, shining, light-filled tendrils.

The small screen goes dark. I am left gasping at what I have experienced. Disoriented, I pass my hands over my eyes and remove the earbuds from my ears, still clutching at the reality represented by the small screen. I feel like I’ve been taken from a warm, safe, nurturing place and thrown out into the cold of a reality I don’t want to recognize anymore. This must be what it feels like to be born into the world as a newborn.

Of course, Michael is at my side, groping for my hand. All I can do is look up into his eyes with tears rolling down my face and whisper, “It stopped; it’s over,” like a child whose parent has turned off his favorite cartoon.

“Now, you know better than that,” he whispers, smiling broadly, his eyes twinkling with merriment. “You’ve seen as much as you are allowed to see, for now. Nothing is ever over … but no one can see the future. Come with me. You need refreshment.”

Exiting the remarkable structure we had entered it seemed like moments before, we walk through one of the park-like enclosures. I sit, still somewhat dazed and disoriented, on a comfortable tufted bench situated among the lush greenery and listen for a moment to birdsong backed by the symphonic music which seems to embody the pulse of “Michael’s Library.” Butterflies flit between the branches of the trees and flowers and hover over our heads. A blue swallowtail lands on Michael’s shoulder and he reaches his index finger towards it. The beautiful creature hops onto Michael’s finger and he offers it to me. Our eyes lock.

“It’s almost time for you to return,” Michael says with a beautiful smile. “Are you ready?”

I nod, but say, “I don’t really want to go back. This has been such a beautiful visit. May I come back again?”

“Oh, yes,” he replies, “as often as you like. There’s still so much for me to show you.”

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a huge glob of blue paint sails through the air and into the enclosure we occupy, landing smack dab in the middle of Michael’s forehead and splattering to coat his white silk shirt and white jeans with color. Michael looks up and rolls his eyes! “See you, later,” he says to me with a smile and a wink.

“Okay, you guys,” Michael says, his voice echoing throughout the space. “I’ve tried to be nice about this, but this means war!”

I awaken in my own bed about five minutes before my alarm is set to go off. The soft memory foam molds itself to my body, my down comforter is warm and I snuggle further into the sheets, wishing I could go back to Michael and help him drench those dratted kids with paint!

Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has asked for all seats to be returned to their upright positions and all carry-ons to be secured under the seats for landing. The weather at our destination is cold and snowy, but we are assured that the roads have been cleared. We want to thank you for flying with With a Child’s Heart this evening and look forward to serving you again.

Jan – January 12, 2012

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