Once from far away I saw paths that lay between rows of trees. Young people were gathered there in discussion groups to talk about topics related to wisdom. (This was in the spiritual world.) I moved in their direction, and when I was close enough I saw that all the others revered one person as most important among them because he excelled the rest in wisdom.
When he saw me, he said, “I was astounded when I saw you coming along on the road, because one moment you would be in view and the next you would disappear. One moment I can see you, and then suddenly I cannot. You are definitely not in the same state of life as we are!”
Tickled by that, I said, “I am not a trickster or a magician, but I do come and go! One moment I am in the light for you, the next moment I am in the shade. In this world I am both a foreigner and a native.”
The sage looked at me and said “What you are saying is strange and amazing. Tell me who you are.”
“I am in the world you used to live in and have now left,” I said, “which is called the earthly or physical world. I am also in the world where you are now, called the spiritual world. As a result I am in an earthly state and a spiritual state at the same time. I am in an earthly state with people on earth and in a spiritual state with all of you. When I am in an earthly state, you do not see me. When I am in a spiritual state, you do see me. This circumstance of mine is a gift from the Lord.
“As an enlightened man, you know that people in the earthly world do not see people in the spiritual world or the reverse. Therefore when I put my spirit in my body, you do not see me, but when I take it out of my body, you do see me. This happens because of the difference between what is spiritual and what is earthly.”
When he heard me mention the difference between what is spiritual and what is earthly, he asked, “What is the difference? Isn’t it like the difference between something more pure and something less pure? What is something spiritual then, except something earthly that is just more pure?”
“That is not the nature of the difference,” I replied. “No matter how subtle something earthly becomes, it will never get close to becoming something spiritual. The difference is like the difference between something on a prior level and something on a subsequent level–there is no finite ratio between them. The prior level is present in the subsequent level the way a cause is present in an effect; and something on a subsequent level is the result of something on a prior level the way an effect is the result of a cause. This is why the one does not appear to the other.”
The wise person’s response to that was, “I have meditated a great deal on this difference, but so far without results. I wish I could learn about the difference!”
I said, “Not only are you going to learn about the difference between what is spiritual and what is earthly; you will even see it for yourself.”
Then I said, “You are in a spiritual state when you are with your people, but in an earthly state when you are with me. You talk to your people in a spiritual language that is shared by every spirit and angel, but you talk to me in my own vernacular. When any spirits or angels communicate with a person, they speak the person’s language. With a French person, they speak French. With a Greek, they speak Greek. With an Arab they speak Arabic, and so on.
from True Christianity, Section 280 (will be continued next two days)