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
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