In the Inbetween
Talk by Tom Baker

December 27, 2009, Christ Unity Oceanside Church

We are in the in-between time between Christmas and New Years.  For me the year culminates with Christmas Day.  Christmas is my personal Super Bowl, the big cherry on top of the year when I allow my self to do nothing.  My wife and I spend the day in our pajamas, eating and reading and talking and laughing.  Now we are in the week between the final day and the beginning of the year next Friday.  It is a time when we are reminded by the media of who died this year, who made the transition, who took the big trip:  Teddy Kennedy, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Walter Cronkite, all known to us, the author John Updike, the actor and dancer Patrick Swayze, the painter Andrew Wyeth, and the sidekick, Ed McMahon, who was no doubt welcomed into spirit by Johnny Carson with the greeting, "Heeere's Ed!"  I bet that's the way it happened, happy like that, welcoming, robust, a celebration.

I love death.  I don't love dying, I'm not a Hospice fanatic or worse, a necrophiliac, but I do love what comes after death.  I have a fascination with what it's like after we die; for about 35 years I have studied near death and between life experiences .  What I have discovered I could sum up in one sentence:  What happened to Teddy and Michael and Farrah, and Walter and Mr. Updike and Mr. Swayze, Andy Wyeth and Ed Mahon, what happened to them we call death, but when it happens to us we will call it getting born.

The first thing you get is that you don't die.  There is no ending, not even a break in consciousness.  It's so smooth some people don't even know they're dead.  You lose your body but you don't lose your life.  Jesus said life was eternal.  I'd say it's continuous, non-interrupted.  People say, "Hey, I'm OK."  Everybody tries to tell everybody left behind they're OK, fine, I feel great.  Nobody seems to listen.  But it starts to feel familiar.  You've done this 70 or 80 times.

For a hypocondriact like myself this is a little disconcerting:  so I'll never battle cancer, never survive a heart attack or soldier through a chronic condition.  All the redemptive suffering possibilities are gone.  No next ordeal that I can put up with heroically.  Nope, you're dead. 

Then you realize that you're not only OK but you're happy, but happy without a reason to be happy.  Very childlike, "It's morning, I'm alive, wow.  Ekhard Tolle calls it uncaused joy.  We try to duplicate it with alcohol and drugs.  Here it's magic that grabs and controls us, in spirit its grace that frees and simplifies us.  Death does not end your life but it does liquidate all wishes.  Suddenly you are without reasons to be unhappy.  Sickness and death are out of the way, so you start beaming. 

"But not so fast," your ego says.  Then you have your life review.  When you look at your life you concentrate on what went wrong, the mistakes and missteps.  You judge yourself.  But when your guide and God come in they see only when you loved or meant to love.  That's all God sees, the love or love's intention.  Like John Wooten, basketball coach for UCLA:  he only pointed out what his players did right, totally ignored their mistakes, but celebrated to the rafters their accurate shots, tight dribbles and clever moves to the basket.  They won like crazy.  John Wooten was like God.  So as you examine your life you learn to put judgment aside and simply affirm your loving choices.  We stand before a council soon after we get to spirit and soon before we go back to our next life and they give us tips and encouragement and generally let us know that we are loved and deeply respected.  Mistakes they say, only point the way to love.

There is no death and there is no judgment.  So what's the point? The point is always love.  You go to your group, the souls you always return to, and you're loved just for being you and you love them just for being them.  They are the people here you always have something to say to or don't need to say anything to at all.  You start to feel the Course In Miracles saying, "Teach only love, for that is what you are."  You have that here at the church.  It's like being dead isn't it?  It's why we come back.  We have a message.  The Beatles had the message:  all you need is love, love is all you need.

Anyone who comes to the earth school is extraordinarily brave.  For in the earth school we remember to love in a place where love has almost been forgotten.  Where love is replaced with all the reasons not to love:  When I hear couples argue they prove to one another that the other does not love them.  You see!  I'm right.  There are always good reasons not to love and there are never good reasons to love other than, "I just do."  As Emmanuel, the mystic says:  "You did not come here for contentment.  You came to remember."  The deep remembering is that love is not only all we need, love is all we are.  So as you turn the tarnished key of love in the lock of circumstance your soul says:  "I am love remembering that you are love even when you look like a stranger and I feel like a fool."

The stranger thing is a big problem.  Before you're reborn you go to a class in recognition where you learn the cues for special people and crucial events:  a song, a certain perfume, a gesture.  I recognized my wife Kathy when she laughed, it was like, "It's you!"   When I went to the seminary the oddly familiar smell of bee's wax candles let me know I was in the right place.

There is as much or more trepidation surrounding getting born again as there is here about dying.  Yet the earth is where we make real changes.  In spirit you know what is real in theory.  In the earth, as you experience longing and striving and losing and loving and losing again, judging and being sorry and trying again, you bring the theory of love into the living of love and this makes us less forgetful or, as we say, happier.   If you can remember here, you will never forget again that love is what you are.   So as the new year approaches, let this year be the year you decide to really remember.  Let 2010 be the year you remembered for good, the year you remembered for love.  Happy New Year. 



© Copyright Tom Baker 2009