Chapter IX: Higher Education

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“That’s interesting,” My companion notes.

We’d returned to the piazza at the train depot, and now peered up at an acropolis of Universities, Academies and Elementary schools.  Maxfield Parrish comes to mind, as I follow the Juniper covered crags up to where all of the structures stand like sentry above the constant to-and-fro of passenger cars.

Slipping hands into pockets, I hunch my shoulders slightly.  It hadn’t escaped me that I appear to be the age I was most content.  Right around my early twenties, when life was really just beginning, full of fun and laughter.

“I was thinking about Kryon again,” I confess.  “He said that everything was a level of education.  That life, the afterlife, before-life, are all stages of our schooling.  The physical world, living on Earth, is simply another grade we have to pass in order to move up the spiritual ladder of wisdom.  Only through experience can we ever hope to grow.”

“Why do I get the feeling that this was your only reference to the afterlife?” My companion teases, amused.

“Death was never a subject of intense interest for me.  Why spend time considering something beyond your control?”

“Surely, you gave it some thought?  I’ve seen the evidence.”

“Yes,” I admit.  Why lie?  “But, I didn’t spend my whole life worrying about it.  Searching for that elusive Fountain of Youth out of fear of dying.”

“You wanted the answers,” He says slowly, understanding.  “You actually looked forward to coming here and getting them.”

I smile over, a glint of russet hair in my peripheral and I feel my inner light shirk away.  The sorrow coming forth a little stronger.  My mind turns toward abandoned Siberia, again.  It’s still tethered to me, but is so distant now, we can no longer see it.  I doubt I’ll ever see it again.

“Haven’t you ever feared judgment?  Ma’at’s Scales?  Perdition?” He pressed.

“Absolutely,” I reply.  “But, at its worst, hell belongs to a theory I never really believed in.  Even when my grandmother was hauling me to church every Sunday and reading me passages from the bible, I could only ever feel or grasp certain teachings of it.  Certain ideals that made sense.  And, as much as I love the mythologies of all the ancient cultures, it’s evident that most of their theories or stories were designed to explain natural occurrences they couldn’t otherwise explain.  Things that had already been scientifically discovered and proven before I was even old enough to read.”

“Why at its worst?” My companion asks, letting the rest fall by the wayside for now.

“Fire and brimstone?  Chained to the depths of hell for all eternity?  Tortured and tormented in unspeakable agony due to your sins?” I scoff.  “Sorry, not buying it.  There has to be a chance for growth.  We have to be able to move passed our mistakes, to learn in the next life what we failed to learn in the last, so that we can climb that spiritual ladder.”

“Your Siberia exists,” My companion points out.

“Yes, but only for me,” I say, my voice trailing off as the intent grips me.  His purpose all along.  “That’s why you took me there.”

“Guided is a more appropriate term,” He smiles.  “You already recognized that one’s introduction into the afterlife is personalized by their death, so, can you imagine what it would have been like had you spent your last life murdering innocent people?”

Exhaling, eyes widening, I look out at the others milling about.  “Hell.  It would be your own personal hell.”

“Mm,” He nods.  “Though, you’re right about moving passed it.  Learning from it.  So, in that respect, I think it would be more fitting to call it a personal Purgatory.”

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