Michael Cocks, Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr |344|

#21
The concept of a 'soul cluster' also figures in Michael Newton's book, "Journey of souls", but there the idea is that we do reincarnate but that we have a cluster of other souls that tend to populate key roles in our lives.
Hi David. That's interesting! I haven't read Michael Newton but after meeting Michael Cocks and reading his first Stephen book a few years back I came across the Silver Birch quote that Jim Smith posted earlier - which also seems to reference a similar concept:

http://www.angelfire.com/ok/SilverBirch/lights.html
It is a rather complex subject. I would prefer to use the word “individuality” rather than “personality.” I draw distinctions between the personality, which is physical, and the individuality which is the soul or spiritual make-up, the reality behind the mask, so to speak.

Persons are persons so far as your world is concerned, but you cannot separate spiritual individuality in the same way. There are, for example, affinities, two kindred halves of the one soul, and sometimes they incarnate at the same time.

There are also what I call facets of the one diamond. This is the over-soul, the greater individuality, and the facets are aspects of it which incarnate into your world for experiences that will add lustre to the diamond when they return to it.

Also there are people who, although separate persons, are aspects of the one individuality. For instance, my medium, his wife and myself are parts of one individual. So you can have facets of the one guide. You can call these extensions if you like, but it comes to the same thing. Only an infinitesimal part of the whole individuality can be manifested in physical form on earth.
So I guess it's been out there in 'the literature' for a while. I don't know much about Silver Birch but some of what he says seems to resonate with me, including this. I'm not even sure *why* this 'soul cluster' idea strikes me so strongly, just that it does.

Regards, Nate
 
#22
Oh, I should probably post this too. From Michael's 'The Ground of Faith' blog ( http://www.thegroundoffaith.net/stephen/ ) , here's a link to a recording of two conversations with Stephen, being channelled by Thomas Ashman.

[A recording of our last two conversations with Stephen
Follow in the book:
S. 139, May 31, 1980 p.223
S. 140, May 3, 1993, p.226
Clarity improves after first couple of minutes.]

http://www.thegroundoffaith.net/stephen/LastCoonversation.mp3

The 1980 conversation runs to around 23:20 - the next one is 1993.

Regards, Nate
 
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#23
I really enjoyed this episode of Skeptiko, I think my late husband would have had a lot in common with Michael. He was also an Anglican priest but having had a near death experience had a very open mind. I am going to explore Michael's writing. One thing I wasn't sure about, did Michael regret joining Subud?
 
#24
Hey All,

I’ve had a great interest in channeled messages like those that Michael has shared for a while now, and I thought I’d attempt to provide some clarity/perspective on the subject, based on what I’ve found. This is such a complex topic, but I’ll try to stay scoped on the lead question:

What are the pitfalls and opportunities regarding channelled material and to what extent has Michael distinguished himself above the crowd and delivered to us something significant here?

I haven’t read Michael’s books (I did listen to Nate’s recording of a session), but I’ve read/studied similar channeled messages from many different sources and I’ve found that transmission, specifically the process of it, is inherently subject to error. The quality of any transmission/message is a combined function of the spirit/transmitter, the medium/relay, and ultimately the listener/receiver and their respective state. The intended message (the relay of ideas) can fail at any of these points.

As the first point of failure, for the sake of simplicity, consider that a spirit is nothing more than a human without a physical body. Although the limitations of the body are no longer imposed, a mind doesn’t change immediately upon death and there’s nothing to prevent a spirit from retaining their respective beliefs until he/she, as an individual, decides to change them (no one else can). Like gravitates toward like and like-minded communities form naturally, where individual beliefs (for better or worse) can continue indefinitely. Fortunately, they often don’t.

Mental transmission requires a protocol and, in essence, spirit is unable to give the medium new ideas without using existing ones. A well-read medium is a treasured resource. Transmission while in trance, where the spirit of the medium has “stepped aside” to allow another spirit to express, may be a possible exception, but there’s still the matter of rapport to consider. In short, rapport is the (spiritual energy) compatibility of spirit and medium (I believe Michael refers to this as sympathy). With improved rapport comes improved message quality/clarity. I think it’s safe to say that without exception, something of the medium is contained in every message they receive from spirit.

Language is often a problem. Words can lack the means to express new ideas. Spirit may choose to express vocally, but direct-to-mind is more efficient. Sometimes, an idea has no hope of perfect relay simply because there is insufficient (emotional) bandwidth.

An idea properly formed in words may be completely lost on the listener/reader because they lack the prior knowledge (or spiritual attitude/energy) required to make use of it; although spirit seems to be a good judge of this when targeting an individual with a message. They’ll often ensure a required foundation (either intellectual or spiritual) exists before building upon it. Over time, the ideas they send grow in complexity and clarity. Timing is important. From the perspective of a new reader, clarity may appear as garbage to be immediately discarded. What qualifies as a “deep spiritual truth”, and how exactly one can identify such a thing is largely an individual effort, but that’s another rabbit hole to explore. In short, no individual can give knowledge (either intellectual or spiritual) to another, only through experience can something be “known”; because of this, ideas serve as a guide to experience things not yet known.

Despite the inherent error, spirit continues to relay their ideas through mediums. In this case, Michael was presented with information/details that was apparently unknown to the medium. The strength of the evidence is meant to build a case for authenticity, useful for increasing trust and thereby improving the operating environment. A medium is affected by environmental conditions. The emotional attitude of the observer(s) does have a bearing on what a medium produces. However, once the spirit achieves authentication, the need to continually produce evidence becomes increasingly redundant. While it may be unfortunate for the always-questioning third-party observer, we don’t normally authenticate multiple times in the course of conversation, unless that happens to be primary purpose of it. Regardless, the motive for spirit is often that the opportunity to improve the overall intellectual and spiritual environment here exists. They may feel it’s their duty to help where possible, as most good humans are known to do. They may want others to find value in their mistakes, to enhance their day-to-day experiences in the physical and to reduce ignorance (although in some cases, unintentionally create it) so that the recipient might know, with a fair degree of certainty, that death is a necessary change, ultimately to be anticipated, not feared. Given the amount of time we collectively spend avoiding each other while lost in worry and grief, it’s understandably so.

Well, that’s certainly more than I originally intended to write, but I hope this helps your personal search in some small way.

I hope you’re having a great day, wherever you are,

Tim
 

Alex

Administrator
#25
great post. thx.

Although the limitations of the body are no longer imposed, a mind doesn’t change immediately upon death and there’s nothing to prevent a spirit from retaining their respective beliefs until he/she, as an individual, decides to change them (no one else can). Like gravitates toward like and like-minded communities form naturally, where individual beliefs (for better or worse) can continue indefinitely. Fortunately, they often don’t.
interesting... and consistently reported.

we don’t normally authenticate multiple times in the course of conversation, unless that happens to be primary purpose of it.
interesting :)
 
#26
From an informational process point of view, this make more sense. Communication of experiences between emotionally connected individuals; rather than a non-biological migration of self.
The writings of Ian Stevenson, Tucker, Brian Weiss, Michael Newton, and others would seem to contradict this, if I get your meaning. They all point to reincarnation as a fact (soul goes from body to body). Also, these writings indicate we are members of a soul group, where we exchange information amongst ourselves.
 
#27
I’ve had a great interest in channeled messages like those that Michael has shared for a while now, and I thought I’d attempt to provide some clarity/perspective on the subject, based on what I’ve found. This is such a complex topic, but I’ll try to stay scoped on the lead question:
TimJ, Welcome to the forum!

I am always pleased when new mew members start with a substantial, interesting post - as you have!

David
 
#28
I really enjoyed this episode of Skeptiko, I think my late husband would have had a lot in common with Michael. He was also an Anglican priest but having had a near death experience had a very open mind. I am going to explore Michael's writing. One thing I wasn't sure about, did Michael regret joining Subud?
Hi Maggie! From my conversations with Michael, he's never said he regretted his Subud experience, though I think he did later move on from his involvement with that particular group. But my impression is that at the time (1960s-70s) he felt that it was overall helpful for him.

Regards, Nate
 
#29
Like gravitates toward like and like-minded communities form naturally, where individual beliefs (for better or worse) can continue indefinitely. Fortunately, they often don’t.
This makes sense to me, yes. I have a mental image of the afterlife as something like 'the Internet but without any boundaries' - in the sense that it's a place where people connect into like-minded communities, free from the normal boundaries of matter and space. And as we've seen with Internet communities, when you take away material restrictions, things can go either 'heavenly' or 'hellish' depending on what kind of community you choose to associate with. Eg we have a whole set of 'interest group' forums as well as groups like 4chan, where people have created a culture of verbal and physical abuse (out of a sincere but misguided belief that 'revealing truth' requires being nasty to each other), and then there are commercial, political and gaming communities where people choose to live in virtual worlds, some of them focused on sharing and learning and some of them on seeking power and violence towards others. Some of these groups allow people to leave easily, and some become addictions that trap people.

I can easily imagine that the afterlife might be something like that. It would be terrifying if we didn't have the option to change our beliefs after death - we could truly get trapped in abusive or isolating communities. On the other hand, if we have someone in our network of associations who can help us free ourselves by seeing a different perspective, we could progress to a wider, happier state.

It seems to me that love and forgiveness must be universal tools for helping us grow and progress in whatever mental state we find ourselves. Both in this world and in whatever worlds exist beyond.

One idea I see often in channelled communication though is that this material world apparently gives us MORE opportunities to change our beliefs toward a state of love (or to change them faster) than the afterlife does, even though the afterlife has fewer restrictions. Possibly because being restricted or confronted by things we otherwise wouldn't want to deal with, advances our learning?

Language is often a problem. Words can lack the means to express new ideas. Spirit may choose to express vocally, but direct-to-mind is more efficient. Sometimes, an idea has no hope of perfect relay simply because there is insufficient (emotional) bandwidth
I very much agree with this. I think the situation in mediumship may be very similar to what occurs in dreams, if you try to recall a specific word or phrase. I've often found that words are very difficult to remember from dreams - it's much easier to remember abstract ideas or feelings or pictures. This suggests to me that words live very much on the 'surface' of our minds while ideas live much 'deeper'. If mediumship is direct mind-to-mind contact, exchanging concepts that then need to find first ideas and then words describing those ideas in the medium's own mind... then I think that explains a lot of the difficulty. So I'm willing to give a fair bit of leeway to the specific words used in channelled communications if the underlying ideas feel sound.

I've had a few experiences that fall somewhat into the 'mediumship' ballpark, at least within the Pentecostal Christian world, and my experience from the 'inside' of this is very much as you describe. It's not at all a 'voice from outside' but more like ideas or thoughts 'bubbling up from inside'. In fact I suspect that this channel of extraordinary communication is very ordinary and widespread within the fields of human creativity. Several (secular, atheistic) novelists I've read have described the characters in their novel 'coming to an audition' in their minds and 'performing' a scene for them. And of course several key scientific breakthroughs have resulted from dreams and visionary experiences.

I'd actually love to see a lot more collaboration between Pentecostals and Spiritualists as I believe both religious groups are experiencing the same, or very similar, phenomena. But there's a huge amount of resistance on the Pentecostal side to this as they believe that mediumship is evil - even though they practice skills called 'prophecy', 'word of knowledge' and 'tongues' which seem to me to be very closely related.

Regards, Nate
 
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#30
I think there is good in most people, but many do foolish things because they are ignorant. You can love the person (think of the child inside) but deplore and respond appropriately to their foolishness and ignorance. Aren't they just victims of the illusion of this physical reality?
l
Good point, yes - there are many, many victims in this illusion (assuming what some of you here are saying is true, that is that there is a mastermind behind all this mess). To "love God" as you advocate would mean approving of this project (the illusion) 100%. But what about all the significant "collateral damage"? At best I can endure 'what is' (being born a privileged creature - however I see and hear about far too many horrors on a daily basis to feel that "all is perfect"), but loving it is really pushing the envelope....and why would this needy God wish to be "loved" in the first place anyway?? He would have to improve this simulation quite a bit first (including human nature, which allegedly he created, too, right?) to deserve to be loved. Or not put here in the first place those who obviously would dislike the experience so much. The fact that it is a simulation/illusion in fact would seem to cause even more evils, as you pointed out (because many "take it seriously" and are foolish and ignorant - but who made them so in the first place?). However the mystery we are forced to live in is supposedly a good thing, someone wrote here. I doubt it. I think people who "discover God" in this way get carried away and fail to observe and judge "Him" for what he is. No better than an average human being, it would seem, characterwise. Even if you believe in the existence of such a God, why the love for him?
 
#31
I think people who "discover God" in this way get carried away and fail to observe and judge "Him" for what he is. No better than an average human being, it would seem, characterwise.
In my opinion there is a circularity in this argument. That is, if we cannot conceive of a notion of God other than someone who thinks and acts like a human being, then how could he/she be anything other than like an average human flawed human being?
 
#32
However the mystery we are forced to live in is supposedly a good thing, someone wrote here. I doubt it. I think people who "discover God" in this way get carried away and fail to observe and judge "Him" for what he is. No better than an average human being, it would seem, characterwise. Even if you believe in the existence of such a God, why the love for him?
I totally understand why you feel this way. It is a reasonable position if you use your natural senses and reasoning ability. While some people discover God through the Bible or other indirect sources, some people discover God through direct experience. The latter are the ones I find most convincing. How you want to interpret their testimony is of course an individual choice.

Evidence That God Exists: People Who Have Near Death Experiences Meet God.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/evidence-that-god-exists-people-who.html
George Rodonaia
Many people have asked me what I believe in, how my NDE changed my life. All I can say is that I now believe in the God of the universe. Unlike many other people, however, I have never called God the light, because God is beyond our comprehension. God, I believe, is even more than the light, because God is also darkness. God is everything that exists, everything - and that is beyond our ability to comprehend at all. So I don't believe in the God of the Jews, or the Christians, or the Hindus, or in any one religion's idea of what God is or is not. It is all the same God, and that God showed me that the universe in which we live is a beautiful and marvelous mystery that is connected together forever and for always.

Anyone who has had such an experience of God, who has felt such a profound sense of connection with reality, knows that there is only one truly significant work to do in life, and that is love; to love nature, to love people, to love animals, to love creation itself, just because it is. To serve God's creation with a warm and loving hand of generosity and compassion - that is the only meaningful existence.

Linda Stewart
I was home and I wanted nothing more than to remain in the light of God. Christ had delivered me into the light and I stood in the presence of God. I was filled with complete knowing: The light was love and love was God. Waves of consummate love which emanated from the light obliterated every burden I carried and every thought that kept me from knowing God.

Mellen-Thomas Benedict
Then, like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the Great Light spoke, saying, "Remember this and never forget; you save, redeem and heal yourself. You always have. You always will. You were created with the power to do so from before the beginning of the world."

In that instant I realized even more. I realized that WE HAVE ALREADY BEEN SAVED, and we saved ourselves because we were designed to self-correct like the rest of God's universe. This is what the second coming is about.

I thanked the light of God with all my heart. The best thing I could come up with was these simple words of totally appreciation:

Arthur Yensen
If you saw heaven, why didn't you mention God and salvation?

I didn't omit them intentionally. It's only that I didn't see God, Christ, or hear anything about salvation. However, I do consider the Master-Vibration as part of God because it controls the universe and seems to regulate everything except the evil minds of people on Earth.

To understand God, I believe one would have to be almost as great as God is. Or at least be like Christ who was in harmony with God. On the other hand, salvation is simple. All one has to do is to love so unselfishly that his soul-vibrations will rise high enough to fit him into heaven.

Jan Price
The Wise One continued speaking. "Throughout the vast unlimitedness of All That Is, the creative energy - that which is called the Spirit of God - is expressing itself as you, me, and everything else. Wherever we are, the God-source is, and we are always somewhere."

"Sometimes I am in places where God doesn't seem to be, as in the middle of a heart attack," I responded. "Surely God is not there."

"Yes. Wherever we are, the Source, God, is. A heart attack isn't bad. It is just an experience accepted on a certain level of being. We are so unlimited that we can limit, restrict, contract. Such power is awesome, for it is our very nature to create. We are constantly expressing in some way.

...

In the center of the universe I stand encircled by divine being. In this I live and move and have my being. I am in this world, and of it. The world of natural order, ease, and joy. Eternal goodness flowing, doing, being all. There is only joy; waves of love support, sustain. I am in God, not outside.

I am in love, consciously at peace with all there is. In God, I love and move and have my being. In love, I live and move and have my being. In peace, I live and move and have my being. There is nothing else. There is no outer. All is in the circle of God, Love, God Love. GOD LOVE.

The Kingdom of God is within me. Yes. But more important, I am in the Kingdom of God. The Spirit of God is within me, but more important, I am in the Spirit of God. The love of God is within me, but more important, I am in the love of God. All there is is God. I can be nowhere else. I cannot be separate from God.

Laura's NDE (age three and a half)
God in the manifestation of infinite light appeared off to my left, and I was engulfed in a form of all-powerful, all-nourishing love. That divine being appeared as a massive column of golden light, with the suggestion of a human shape inside. I both saw and felt his light, feeling as if I were in a warm bath that completely healed and protected me. I never wanted to leave. No conversation passed between us, but in those infinite moments I acquired the knowledge that allowed me to go back to Earth to complete my life.

Cecil's NDE (age eleven)
Behind me and to the left was a strong light source, very brilliant and filled with love. I knew it was a person. I called it God for lack of a better term. I could not see it; I felt what seemed like a male presence. He communicated to me, not so much in words but telepathically,

Clara's NDE (age ten)
I was taken to a huge iridescent white room and told to sit down on some steps that led up to a large white chair, and wait there for someone who was to talk to me. He came out a door at the other end of the steps, walked to the chair above me, and sat down. He was dressed in a white, long-sleeved, floor-length robe with a wide gold band around the mid-section. He wore sandals. His dark brown hair was shoulder length; he had a long face, broad chin, dark eyes with black around both eyelids, like eyeliner pencil, but it wasn't. His skin was olive colored and his eyes were as liquid love. He communicated by looking at me. No words had to be spoken, as we could hear each other's thoughts. He told me what I had to do in life and had me go to the other side of the room and look down into something like a TV set so I could see my future. What I saw made me very happy. This man, who I believe is Jesus Christ, said that once I woke up in the hospital I would forget what I was supposed to do in life.

"Nothing can happen before its time," he cautioned.

As I was leaving the room he said I must obey his commandments if I wanted to come back.

When I revived, a nurse was sitting beside my bed and she said, "Thank God you finally woke up." I told the doctor that I had watched him work on me and the color of the machine brought into the surgery room. He didn't know what to say.
But I agree there seems to be an obvious discrepancy between the benevolence of God and the suffering on earth. Not just human suffering but animal suffering too. I don't think it is right to ignore the testimony of experiencers or my own senses and reason. The explanation from NDErs and evidential mediums that reconciles the discrepancy is that we choose to come to the earth plane to learn things from physical existence that we can't learn in the non-physical realm. Part of the difficulty is that we don't understand non-physical existence where time is not as we know it in life. It seems hard to understand why people would experience so much suffering but maybe if we understood more about it from the perspective of the spirit and not just the persecutive of the incarnated human we would be able to understand it. But we learn best by solving problems so we must live in this the physical world in ignorance because if we knew what our life plan was, we wouldn't really learn in the same way we do while trying to solve problems ourselves.
 
#33
and why would this needy God wish to be "loved" in the first place anyway??
Hello again Magda :)

Hehe, I don't think God is 'needy', that I feel is very far from what this is about. Love is the solution to everything, when we can understand that and totally immerse ourself in its essence we will 'join that gang'. We 'live' in a world like the Wild West while we're learning, maybe it's not so different outside the theatre, I don't know. Who knows when we'll be able to see the whole picture, but, for me at least, it makes sense.

I know I've said this to you before, and you struggle away with 'the evil world', I hope that you can somehow come to terms with it. Have you tried meditating?
 
#36
I find that mood can affect a person's spiritual outlook. Sometimes the most effective way to solve a spiritual problem is to find a way to improve your mood in which case the spiritual question seems much less important and troubling. Meditation can help but if a person's mood is influenced by their biochemistry, mental techniques like meditation might not be able to completely solve the problem. For example the research I've seen on meditation and depression found meditation reduced the need for medication it didn't cure depression. I find that a diet that promotes neurotransmitter production can have effects that are similar to meditation and I consider diet and meditation to be parts of a larger spiritual practice.
 
#37
Thank you Nate. My confusion was that Michael said he felt he had lost something and was dying, I didn't know if that happened because of a spiritual experience whilst in the group or he thought he had lost something by joining the group. I have always thought of Subud as a bit like the Quakers ( no doctrine you have to believe) but multifaith.

I hope the religions will eventually grow together on a mystical level and we will be able to share the insights of them all. A lot of interfaith dialogue is going on that doesn't trickle down to the man in the pew. I was interested to hear a talk by Father Francis Tiso, a Catholic priest, on the rainbow body, something that was said to have happened to a holy monk in Tibet. He was asked to go to Tibet by his spiritual director David Steindl -Rast a Benedictine monk who has been active in interfaith dialogue. David believes that religions start from mysticism like a volcano, the magma flows down the side of the mountain but eventually becomes dead rock, he says we have to push through the crust and go to the fire that's within it. Francis Tiso might be a good person to interview for Skeptiko.
 
#39
By the way, in case it has passed unnoticed, Michael has responded in the comments section at the bottom of the podcast page - maybe any questions to him could be asked there:

http://skeptiko.com/michael-cocks-afterlife-teaching-stephen-martyr-344/
Hi Typoz! Yes, I was just speaking to him and we discovered that Michael was using the Facebook comment plugin. He's just signed up for this forum and as soon as his account is approved he'll be posting here.

I'll crosspost his comments here so they're part of the conversation. We're not sure why his Facebook account says 'St Catherine's College, Oxford' as his location - he did his PhD there I think, but he currently lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.



Michael Cocks
·
St Catherine's College, Oxford
I am most grateful for the very kind comments that have been made so far. I also appreciate their depth.
In the interview Alex mentioned the idea that physical reality was a simulation, and I responded that it was a crazy idea, because I had in mind simulation theories that did not accept the fact that the Materialist hypothesis is false. But I agree with Jim Smith that what we see as physical reality, can quite legitimately be seen as a simulation brought into being by a deeper and more real level of Mind/Spirit. In my book Into the Wider Dream I explore experiences that demand that we see our physical lives in this light
Like · Reply · Mar 29, 2017 7:21pm

Michael Cocks
·
St Catherine's College, Oxford
To answer Michael Larkin: If you go to pages 251-283 in my Stephen book you can find discussion of Stephen's Celtic version of Koine Greek of 2000 years ago, how it confirms what Stephen said in English, is consistent with known historical facts, and with information only known through Dead Sea Scroll documents. Mr research was vetted by two professors from two universities, who would confirm that the Greek is genuinely from Thrace and Macedonia around CE 30.
Like · Reply · Mar 29, 2017 7:42pm

Michael Cocks
·
St Catherine's College, Oxford
Answeing Ricoche
Yes, I found Stephen vague on UFOs. I have had perhaps scores of jaw-dropping synchronicities to do with actual UFOs. And they occurred in conjunction with important happenings with Stephen. So I found him frustrating on that score, With regard to the Second Coming.. to be consistent with everything else he said, he must mean the more general recognition of Cosmic Consciousness
 
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#40
Thank you Nate. My confusion was that Michael said he felt he had lost something and was dying, I didn't know if that happened because of a spiritual experience whilst in the group or he thought he had lost something by joining the group. I have always thought of Subud as a bit like the Quakers ( no doctrine you have to believe) but multifaith.
As I understand from how Michael tells it, the 'feeling he was being asked to give up something / and/or feeling he was dying' was a spiritual experience one night at a Subud meeting. After that experience I understand he felt clearer somehow. I suppose it was a little like the 'new birth' experience in Evangelical Christianity, except not in a specifically Christian setting (thought definitely with relation to a sense of God).

Regards, Nate
 
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