'Realms of Light', Meditation, and the Higher Love

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'Realms of Light', Meditation, and the Higher Love

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Interview With Laurie Conrad on Her Book Realms of Light. Conducted by Diana Souza.

October 30th, 2007 , Ithaca, New York.

D. I am here with Laurie Conrad, in Ithaca, New York, talking about her new book, Realms of Light: A Clairvoyant’s Experience of Life After Death. Laurie, why did you write this book?

L. As a healer for the Distant Healing Network, I often receive healing requests from people trying to recover from the death of someone they love. A few years ago I had several healees who had recently lost someone important to them, and they were all struggling with their loss. Independently, each asked me to write a book about my clairvoyant experiences of other realms, what happens to us after death. After several people had asked me to write such a book, I thought: “Maybe I am supposed to write a book about this.” So that is how this book came about. It went very quickly, and in fact it turned into more than one book: Realms of Light and also the next book, Visits with Angels and other Divine Beings. And there is also a potential book on the meanings of dreams. All three books emerged out of that one notebook, or rather a few notebooks that I had filled with my ideas and stories. And I hope that this book, Realms of Light, helps both those facing death and those trying to heal from the loss of a loved one. There are also messages that people have received in the interview section of the book that I think will interest people. The messages are very beautiful ...

D. So it’s meant to be a reassurance to people of continuation of life after death?

L. Yes. And also that the love between us does not end, that it exists from realm to realm - and is eternal.

Many of the people interviewed were not usually clairvoyant: including lawyers, a nurse, a policewoman, students, artists, mothers ... In their stories, either in dreams or in waking state, someone they loved in another realm came to visit them, to reassure them. And sometimes they brought a message.

D. And these people have written stories for your book?

L. I personally interviewed a number of people, and some people sent me their story. The first section of Realms of Light are my stories, my clairvoyant experiences of other realms, and my accounts of people in other realms who have visited me. The second section of the book is the interviews with others. There is also a FAQ section - Frequently Asked Questions – a sort of compendium of the most frequently asked questions I have received over the years: about my clairvoyance, about other realms, about what kind of bodies we have in other realms, how we contact our loved ones in other realms, and so on. This section will be posted online for anyone to read, on my website, in ‘Community’, A Mystic’s Journal.

D. So it’s meant to be a practical guide as well?

L. The FAQ section? Yes. It has its own index and its own table of contents. You can look up a question that interests you and then read about that topic.

D. So Realms of Lightis not only a book of your own personal stories, but it also has anecdotes from people you’ve known, or correspondence?

L. Yes. Some of the people I have known for years. Some people I met only for the interview. Some were friends of friends. And I think all the stories are pretty amazing. And they are all, in some ways - very, very similar. And in other ways, different and unique.

D. What is the nature of the messages from the people you’ve interviewed for this book?

L. Personally, I love the interview section. I wrote the interviews down verbatim, and all the people interviewed are speaking in their own voice, in their own way and from their own point of view. Each person I spoke with had their very unique experience, and the wonder that experience holds for them. Many of those I interviewed had received a verbal message or messages from someone they love who is now in another realm. And the main message they received was one of love.

D. This is such a marvellous, insightful and incisive book you’ve written, full of compelling ideas. Also, very tantalizing ideas that would bring up a lot of questions for those of us who are not clairvoyant. Is this a clairvoyant’s memoir?

L. In a way, perhaps. People over the years have asked me so many questions about what I have experienced of other realms: “Who are we in other realms?” “Do we recognize each other?” “Do we have bodies?” All those basic, searching questions. And of course I can only answer from my own clairvoyant perception. So in that sense, yes perhaps a memoir.

D. So we’ll not only be treated to a glimpse inside your experiences of clairvoyance, but we’ll also have the advantage of some viewpoints from others?

L. Yes.

D: You describe two friends in your book as follows: “Paula was a sprite-like being, and Eleanor was a being of Light.” What features are you observing in these two categories of beings that distinguish them from each other? Are these features indicative of differences in their individual evolution of character? In other words, would you call one more advanced than the other?

L: An interesting question. We are all given a personality when we incarnate. We are given certain innate qualities. Some of us are given a greater intelligence. Some are given a tall body, some are given short bodies. Some are given a certain physical beauty, or inner depth. Some people are given a certain physical ugliness or inner emptiness. Some beings are women, some are men. All those qualities: a sense of humour, not having a sense of humour, artistic, not artistic, logical, not logical - the list would be endless - are both a gift and also a limitation. And because of those gifts that are also limitations, we follow a certain destiny, are guided into a certain destiny and way of being. So no. One is not better than the other – they were both beings of Light. But in that meeting, Eleanor was the more dignified and Paula was more sprite-like. So it is a matter of personalities – not soul qualities.

D. So, the light from these two beings of Light wouldn’t indicate at all that one is more evolved than the other, on the path?

L. No. They both carried much Light, and here I am speaking as a clairvoyant. I am not looking with the usual eyes.

D. Which of course is what makes it so much more interesting to be even asking you these questions. So you can’t tell the difference between somebody who’s a few grades beyond?

L. The clairvoyant does see gradations in radiance emanating from beings. Sometimes the radiance emanating from a person is unusually brilliant. Those particular people are very high souls.

D. Though you didn’t even know who he was at the time, you describe in your book how you went to the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace in your dreams. Later you met the Dalai Lama and his monks in person.

L. You are referring to that winter of dreams, where I always went to that same immense building, ran up those same winding staircases, and met that same robed man at the top of the steps. Years later I realised the building was the Potala Palace, and the man at the top of the stairs was one of the Dalai Lama’s monks. The reason I included those dreams in Realms of Light, was to examine the nature of time and space. I was there in my clairvoyant dreams - and yet obviously I was still lying on my bed, in Ithaca, New York. How could this be, if time and space truly exist as we think of them? I had never seen photographs of the Dalai Lama or his monks, or of the Potala Palace. Yet there I was night after night. One way to test if your clairvoyance is accurate, if the experience is a true one - is to open a book and see a photograph of where you have been, and to later meet the monk you nightly saw in your dreams ....

D. I’ve noticed in the book that when you write about dying, that you put the word “die” in quotes. What is the purpose of this?

L. That was a conscious decision, to put the word “die” in quotes. It was not because I am repulsed or afraid of the word. I put the word “die” in quotation marks because we do not cease to exist once we leave our earthly life. The physical body, the vehicle, does die. We are separated from it in death. But the soul is still very much alive and we are still very conscious, no matter what realm we are in. And I think if you speak to any clairvoyant, they would say the same – that we never stop continuing to be, no matter what realm we are in.

D. Well that’s very reassuring. Laurie, dreams are one element that come up in this book repeatedly as part of people’s evidence of life after death.

L. People often ask me, “How do I contact someone I love that has died? How can I communicate with them? How can I be more open to communication with them?” And my answer is always: if you are not clairvoyant, then most likely that contact, or that communication, will happen when you are asleep, in dreams. Communication between realms is easier when we are asleep.

D. And everybody dreams – so that’s a more predictable way for most of us to get there?

L. Yes. And these dreams are not ordinary dreams, or what I call ‘psychological dreams’. They are actual meetings with someone that we love in another realm, or some other being in another realm. And there are ways to tell ordinary, psychological dreams from one of these special dreams. I am going to organize a book on that topic later. So I won’t get into that right now. But there are ways to help you determine if it has been just an ordinary dream or a true experience. Sometimes it is just a feeling – you know that it was a true experience.

D. I’d like to ask you about something you’ve said in the book about dreams. In Realms of Light you write, “A few dreams have the flavour and staying power of wakeful consciousness. I remember them in the same way that I remember a significant event in my waking life.” This is a similar concept that Carlos Castaneda has mentioned many times. Castaneda’s way of saying that would be that we should make our dreams as important as our waking life.

L. Well I don’t agree with that. Every dream is not a true experience or a mystical one.

D. So what you’re talking about really is something that transcends ordinary dreams. You’re not talking about an ordinary dream state?

L. Not the ordinary, psychologically produced dream, no. In this experience, you are actually going to another realm to meet someone - or they are coming to this realm, to speak with you. They are true experiences, based in a shared reality. Just as we are here tonight, talking to each other over dinner.

D. That a dream of the higher caliber would be as real as this?

L. Yes, as real as this reality. We call them dreams only because we humans do not as yet have another word for those experiences.

D. “Dream” with quotes around it?

L. Perhaps. We are not in waking state consciousness – so we call these experiences dreams. But it is not a dream in the usual sense at all - it is an actual meeting in another realm, in another reality.

D. So those are the dreams to give more credence to, and not to make the other dreams as important as our waking life?

L. I wouldn’t make any of them as important as our waking life. We are here on earth, in waking state consciousness for a reason. We are supposed to be learning, evolving. Psychologically produced dreams have their own value and importance. But that is not the subject of the book I am writing. I will leave those sorts of dreams to the psychologists and the psychiatrists, people who are trained to understand them. The sort of experience I am talking about is something else entirely.

D. Would you say that some of our dreams are possibly providing us with a shortcut to our subconscious?

L. Yes, the psychological dreams would be doing that.

D. Well it does seem like the most entangled psychological issues we’re trying to unravel are probably pretty tangled up in the depths of our subconscious mind, and that they’re very hard to reach with the rational, waking thought processes. Dreams – wouldn’t dreams be a possible path or shortcut –

L. Yes they would, but that is not the subject of the book, We Meet in Dreams. In We Meet in Dreams, I will be speaking about sleep state meetings in other realms - not personal, psychological dreams.

D. But dreams, in quotation marks, would be one of the paths we could take to other realms?

L. Yes, “dreams”, in quotation marks. When we are asleep, we are using a more subtle body. So it is easier to go to other realms. You are asleep, but these experiences are not dreams. They are more a form of clairvoyance.

D. Here is another quote from Realms of Light: “The only truth I can ever state with surety as a human being is that I do not know truth. In this way I am protected from all harm and also protected from all delusion.” Comments please.

L. Well, we are all faced with this reality, and all the intricacies of this reality - all the events, and all the people, all the words, all the images that we receive, all these impressions and perceptions. And truth, most of the time, is not going to be found there. It is going to be found somewhere beneath or beyond what we perceive and experience. So if I think I understand a situation merely by the perceptions that I am having, by the few events or circumstances I am experiencing - I am most likely not going to get to truth. But I will think I know the full truth. Now I am totally unprotected, because I am living in some kind of mis-truth. And I am going to form my next decisions and thoughts on that mistruth. So if I tell myself that I will never know the truth of a situation, the Divine Ideas flowing through that situation – then I am very protected. I am not imposing my own ideas, my own perceptions and opinions, onto the situation. And I can retain a certain detachment and clarity in that situation. This does not mean mean we should not act if we must. But, even as you act, if you know that you are choosing one option in good faith - you are still protected. It is only when you think you really know truth, and are acting from truth, that you can really harm yourself and others. This life on earth is all a big mystery – capital M, Mystery.

D. Well that is a humble position. It keeps the ego out of the way. You also wrote: “It is a great challenge to write a book using words when what one truly wishes to convey is wordless. Thinking can only get us so far.”

L. The big saints, sages – we will sit before them and they won’t say anything. For instance, my meeting with Paul Brunton. What they want to convey, they impart wordlessly.

D. In Presence?

L. Yes. And often you will just meditate together, in silence. But you can’t write a book without words. So you have to try to find them.

D. You also wrote: “Those who have not yet meditated think it is a boring exercise. Yet, in that emptying of the mind of normal thought arises the opportunity for true mystical experience.” Is meditating a boring exercise?

L. No, not at all. Why is it that we have to empty the mind? We empty the mind of its personal thoughts so that we can find something else - i.e. the soul. Although, I think there are some misconceptions about keeping the mind thought free. We do not necessarily want to empty the mind of all thought during our meditations. In fact, it’s not always a good idea. But when it is time for that Enlightenment to come in, the Divine Itself will clear our minds for us. The personal thoughts will vanish because they are replaced by something else, something indescribable.

D. Something beyond the thoughts?

L. Yes. And we cannot really imagine what happens when we have those high mystical experiences until we have them. So to empty the mind of personal thoughts sounds like a boring exercise. But the high mystical experiences are so unimaginably exquisite - and so very powerful. They are infinitely beyond our individual, personal thoughts and imagination. So you really are acting in faith when you sit there and meditate every day. Sometimes you get tired of sitting, or your foot hurts, or you are thinking about your dinner during your meditation - but the idea is to just keep doing the practice. It is the intent to just keep doing the practice. You cannot judge your meditations, your own meditations – you just keep doing them. And then when it is time, these other things can happen. Mystical experience is always the result of Grace. We can’t make those things happen. And in my experience, and in my reflections on it - I think it is more the wish, the desire to be so close to God, the wish to be so close to the Divine, that brings those experiences on. Your heart really has to ache to be close to God, and to the soul.

Mystical experience cannot be based on merit, because I do not have that sort of merit.

D. And most of us wouldn’t.

L. I suppose not.

D. Well, so meditation might be a path for people who are interested in experiencing other realms?

L. Meditation is the practice that can bring you to the soul and God. Experiencing other realms is something that is given to people for reasons I do not fully understand. Sometimes I think we clairvoyants are just reporters. We try to report what we experience and perceive, to share that knowledge with other people who do not perceive what we perceive. The aim of meditation is not to go to other realms; the aim of meditation is to contact the soul, and possibly God. You could say we are trying to attain true Consciousness; you could call it Enlightenment. You can call it standing consciously in the soul. You can call it the soul united with God, mystical union. You can call it whatever you want. The experience will be the same. But to go to other realms is another experience altogether. I am not saying that you cannot enjoy those clairvoyant or “dream” excursions to other realms, or even learn quite a bit - perhaps even meet Divine Beings and have a mystical experience. But in going to other realms, as a clairvoyant - it is still nothing compared to what we can eventually experience as the result of meditation. For one thing, to pursue going to other realms for its own sake - you are not even always sure where you will end up, what realm.

The whole idea of the book was to comfort people. The people who asked me to write the book were saying, “Please tell my friend that we still exist after we die, so she doesn’t think her mother is just a handful of dust in the ground.” I wrote Realms of Light to reassure and comfort people that other realms exist, that we do not cease to exist when we die.

The interviews were a bonus. The messages that the people I interviewed received from other realms are so beautiful! They are more like the stories that will come out in the next book, Visits With Angels And Other Divine Beings. Messages from other realms are so simple and beautiful and clear. It is not the way we usually interact here on earth, we tend to complicate everything. The messages in Realms of Light were more like the messages I have received from Divine beings - but the people I interviewed were speaking to their daughter, or their father, or a friend. Which shows how quickly we evolve as soon as we shed this earthly vehicle. So that holds a hope for all of us. If we cannot spiritually stand where or how we would like to while still on earth, when we shed the vehicle we can possibly become the person we had always hoped to be.

And I think this book was written to show that there is no real separation; not when we are on earth, and not between realms. The separation we perceive is not real. That love from person to person, from soul to soul, continues. One of the greatest fears, when someone dies, is that we will never see them again, and that the love is lost. And neither one of those statements is true, neither of those fears is based in reality. Not from my experience, nor in the experience of the other people I interviewed. And I am only one person interviewing a handful of others in my immediate circle - so think of all the people that have had these experiences.

D. So the book is a witness to the continuation of the love in our lives, even when we leave this plane of existence?

L. The love and the life. Life does not end.

D. I think you sum up meditation’s purpose in this quote: “In this brief life, we are trying to line up our small ego-selves with the Soul and its vision so that they work together as one.”

L. That does explain it perfectly, thank you for finding that quote.

D: Thank you ... Can you say more about meditation?

L. Meditation. We have to go to that inner place, all of us, as often as we can. In our meditations, we think of something that we Love - because that is what we will then emanate from the spiritual Heart, the Love and the Beauty and Light of our own soul. Or we can also think of an Ideal, something we aspire to. Something holy, something sacred. And those meditations will transform our life and the lives around us. Even if you have not yet been taught how to meditate, you can just think of a beautiful place, or someone that you love, even for a few seconds here and there during the day. If you meditate, then you can do your exercises, even for a second: remember that you are the Soul, inwardly image it here and there throughout the day. But if you do not yet meditate then – just for a second or two throughout the day - close your eyes and think of someone you love, or a child, or a puppy, or a beautiful place. And it will change you and everyone around you.

D. That’s encouraging.

L. A clairsentient will feel that change, will feel the Love. A clairvoyant will see it, will see the Light increase. And others, on some level of their being, will feel the love and the peace.

D. You say in your book that we’re setting an energy force in motion with our thoughts and emotions. What is the relationship of thoughts and emotions to the energy field you perceive through clairsentience?

L. Frankly, I have spent a minimum amount of time trying to analyse it in the ways you are speaking of. Most of my time is spent trying to interpret what I am experiencing, so I can improve my own being and better understand others. However: I do know that we clairsentients feel thoughts and their resulting emotions as tangibly as other people feel the table or floor. And clairvoyants can see them. And these thoughts and emotions can fill a room, even an entire house. If they are negative thoughts and emotions, we clairsentients will feel them as painful, or even nauseating. If the emotions are extremely negative, it can feel like being stabbed or being beaten. If a house is filled with these negative energies - they produce more negative thoughts and feelings and actions - it is a downward, self-fueled spiral. On the other end of the spectrum, positive thoughts and emotions literally brighten a room or house. And loving thoughts produce more love in a room or house, bring positive feelings and thoughts to those who enter or live there.

This is why one of the first spiritual exercises we are given is to watch our thoughts, the nature of our thoughts. And to clear our minds of negative thoughts - which then lead to negative emotions and negative actions.

When I step into a room or house filled with these negative thoughts and emotions, energies - I turn around and leave. And then bless the house and everyone in it. But I won’t reenter it ...

Paul Brunton has a quote in one of his volumes, saying people would not keep wild tigers in their living room - but they are perfectly content to entertain as many negative thoughts and emotions as they wish. He was both clairvoyant and clairsentient - and I fully agree with him. I think he said it very well.

D. Divine healing is one of the major themes of this book. You lovingly describe friends – sometimes at great lengths. But you tell us nothing really about your teacher in the healing arts – John Payne. Who was he? What was he like as a man and a healer? How did you know him? What was the nature of your relationship with him? And most importantly, what were your lessons with him like?

L. Actually, healing is not a big part of this volume. The first book, The Spiritual Life of Animals and Plants, was more about Divine healing and miracles. John Payne was my only teacher in Divine healing. I had one or two classes with him, and before the end of the first class - I healed him. I asked John, while he was still alive, if I could write something about him. He said no, definitely not - and quite emphatically. So I don’t know how much I should say about him here. But I can say that I loved him very deeply, and that he was a true Teacher and healer - a selfless man with tremendous Gifts.

D. What were your lessons with him like?

L. He gave group classes. I was a concert pianist, and I had seriously injured my right hand in a car door when I was - years old. One afternoon - I was in my early thirties, or late twenties - I was with my friend Janet, having lunch downtown. I told her that my hand was so reinjured from practising that I would have to cancel my concert. Someone from the next table overheard me and said, “You should see John Payne.”- and she gave me his telephone number. I was so desperate that I rang him up, as she had suggested. And he healed me over the phone! And the concert went very well.

So of course I was very curious about this sort of healing technique. I started to telephone John about all my friends, the tree in my backyard - asking him to heal them all. Finally he told me to come to his classes, and learn how to do it myself - he was getting worn out by all my requests I suppose. So I went, not knowing whether I had an ounce of healing ability or not. And I took one class – maybe two classes. And a few lessons over the phone, or in person. I adopted his methods, and still use many of them. He was an excellent Teacher. The first class was not very successful at first, I was at a loss. Finally he came over to me, and simply said that the Divine Healing Energy is all around us all the time. And he motioned with his hands, to show me where it was. He said it very quietly, simply - and I experienced it, I saw It. It was as though John handed me the experience, initiated me. Then I easily healed him. For me, it was that one sentence. I imagine it would be different for every person.

D. You were far enough along the path that one sentence was enough to convey the reality of it to you to grasp it?

L. This was after my experience with Daniel, an experience I speak about in Realms of Light. And something had been given to me in that experience that I myself did not even yet understand. No, I would not say I was very far along the path at all. In fact I’m not very far along it right now.

Since John asked me not to write anything about him, I will stop there.

D. Since he’s no longer in this realm, maybe he wouldn’t mind?

L. On the other hand, since he is no longer in this realm, I can’t ask him.

D. Well, that’s very considerate of you. You wrote about experiencing the blue and clear realms of love and light during the dramatic episode with your friend Daniel under Quarry Bridge. Is this realm an ever-present one underlying the ordinary physical realm we live in? Why isn’t it more apparent to all of us and how can we get there?

L. A profound question. Somehow I became conscious of that realm because - as I understand it - I was consciously standing in the spiritual Heart.

In that place, with Daniel, everything was Love– the trees, the rocks, the air itself. It was all a deep, incredible Love that ordinarily we do not experience on earth. Moreover, I now loved this man, a man I barely knew and a man I knew I would never see again - I knew he was no longer alive by this time - with a deeper and more infinite Love than any love I had ever felt in my entire life. So while I was standing there, at the bottom of the gorge, I was thinking: “I must be in heaven, because they say heaven is all love.” And this realm was entirely made of Divine Love. I never realised that the very air in Heaven would be love, or the trees and the rocks, all the physical objects... I am not saying this realm was Heaven, I would not have the answer to that. But I never knew any place, in any realm - could be entirely made of the Divine Love.

In any case, it far surpassed my human expectations of any realm we might go to when this life was over.

Except, there I was under Quarry Bridge – I knew I was still on Earth. So yes, I would say that it is the underlay, the substratum of our physical universe, because there I was under Quarry Bridge. The same trees, the same stream, the same bridge – nothing had changed – except now they were all made of Divine Love. I was somehow thrown into a consciousness where I could access that Light and Divinity - somehow, through Daniel and the clairvoyant experience. Do I understand it? No.

D. And you don’t know how you got there, so you can’t exactly explain to us how to get there?

L. Well I can explain how we get there. We get there by prayer and meditation, through our spiritual practices. I had already started meditating by that time. I was already asking, begging to see clearly. I did not mean clairvoyance, I did not even know what clairvoyance was, or that I was clairvoyant. I was already on the spiritual path, and I was already very devoted to it. And that is how you get there. It is your intention, your wish, your desire to find and experience these things, the Mystical, the Mysteries. And then they are often given to you in these various forms of Grace that you can’t even comprehend. Here it is, how many years later, and I still do not fully understand it. But that is not the point - the point is to live it. And I hope that I have used the right words to bring it to people. Perhaps it is enough to just report it, and let the readers come to their own conclusions and explanations, or to their own questions and wonderment...

D. To witness it. To share it.

L. To report it, like a reporter.

D. Laurie, you write that we are all deeply connected on a soul level. It seems so tragic that more people don’t realize this. Instead, everyone seems to hold an expectation to complete their soul through connecting with one other person. This seems shortsighted, doomed to keep us apart. And if humankind knew this, no one would ever have to be lonely anymore, or to feel unloved. What is holding us collectively back from this higher realization of all of humanity being our soul-mates?

L. That is a complicated question. First of all, when people say they are looking for their soul-mate, they are actually saying that they are looking for their own soul. They are projecting that quest for their own soul onto another being. So we are really trying to find our own soul. But I think finding a soul-mate – that quest – is a way of opening the heart. And the heart has to be opened in some way for getting on any kind of spiritual path, and so there is peace on earth – we all must open our own small hearts. The problem is, once we have managed to do this, most of us do not know how to get to that next step. And the next step is knowing that we are all connected on a soul level. And you are right: if we knew that, there would be no real loneliness, or despair, or loss - because that connection never ends. Even after the most terrible fight, or the most painful breakup of a relationship - on the soul level, everything is fine, it is eternally a relationship of Love and Light, soul to soul. You can’t get disconnected. Why don’t we know this? It is one of the grand mysteries, and as so many of the treasures – the most valuable gems we could possibly find here on Earth - they are hidden from us. They are Mysteries – capital M – Mysteries. And why is that? I have no idea why that is.

How can we become more aware of this deeper relationship, soul to soul, learn to trust it? Well, perhaps clairvoyants can help, our reporting can help. If you are clairvoyant and/or clairsentient, you have the ability to actually experience that connectedness; a true clairvoyant can not forget that we are the soul, we see the Light of the soul in every one we meet. And we can both see and feel that connectedness. So then it is no longer a matter of faith. That connectedness soul to soul is something you have seen, it is something you have felt, and therefore something you know with a capital K. But for non-clairvoyants, I think it is a matter of faith. And then you pray – you do your spiritual practices, you meditate - whatever practice or path you are on, whatever those practices are – and perhaps it is revealed to you. But for most people it comes under the general heading of the virtue of Faith. A good question...

D. It just seems so limiting to expect to learn about the soul only through experiencing what we perceive as a soul-mate. I do agree that when people say ‘soul-mate’ that they are subconsciously looking for their own soul - but they don’t know it, it’s not conscious in them.

L. But think of it in another way, Diana – do not underplay personal love. In order to attain the Higher Love, we all must first open our small hearts to personal love. If you look at the great saints of any religion, I think you will find there was someone they first loved very deeply, personally - and probably lost to death, or in some other way. Many of the great Catholic saints lost a parent when they were very young, or were in some way separated from them just before they had their first big mystical experiences. St. Francis, one of the greatest Catholic saints, had a deep personal love for St. Claire his entire adult life. He struggled against it, but it was probably also one of the reasons he attained such great heights on the spiritual Path.

Why? Because personal love is the only way you can open the personal, small, individual heart. We can’t skip that step, I do not believe that we can. Yet once the heart is open, we all must take it to a new place, point it in a new direction. Towards the soul, towards God, towards humanity as a whole, instead of for one individual or family or nation.

When you are ready to step into the Higher Love, often the experience is brought to you by losing someone that you love. Either being temporarily separated by death, or for some other personal reason - and in that case, often that other person will hurt you very badly as they are leaving. Simply stated: we reach the higher love by turning our back on the personal. And if you can’t do that yourself, on your own – by entering the monastery or convent of any religion – then that person you love and depend on, that person outside of yourself and your own soul, that person you are perceiving as a separate physical being with their own needs and desires – often that relationship will end.

Because to get further on the path, you have to get beyond the personal - and you have to still love those that hurt you or let you down in some way. And in our former interviews, I think I have already said that many people are given the dark night of the soul without even knowing it. We always assume that the dark night of the soul will come in some spectacular way, heralded with holy trumpets. But more often it comes when a wife leaves a marriage, or a husband, or someone we love and depend on dies - or we lose everything in our lives. And instead of going through it and turning to the higher love, we get lost in bitterness or anger. And then we have to go all the way back and start all over, and most likely have to go through another dark night.

So I would not underestimate personal love. Some people are going to spend their whole lives just trying to learn how to personally love. And it is no small achievement.

D. It’s an important step to that more collective love?

L. Well, in some ways it can be even the final goal. How else do we learn the virtues of selflessness, or sacrifice, or psychological courage, or personal compassion - or the attainment of the higher love through forgiveness and a steady and abiding love for someone who has deeply hurt us ... Those qualities can only come through personal love for another being. Your personal love for that person is deep enough that you find the incentive and the strength to find the higher Love for them.

In relation to the topic of the book, i.e. people who have left this earthly realm: that connection – soul to soul – does not end once we are in separate realms. That love is eternal – and from realm to realm. I think some of the interviews in the book point that out very beautifully. And the messages that people have received from loved ones in other realms illustrate the love that continues to exist realm to realm. It is a personal love in that we still remember and recognize each other, we still care for each other. Out of the infinite number of souls in the various realms, we seek each other out because we loved each other here on earth. So in that sense it is personal.

However, when you are living in different realms, beings cannot live it out in the same physical ways - so that love is automatically transformed to a higher sort of love. But it is still personal – you can’t really separate the personal and the higher love – they go together. They have to. And that might be a good place to end this interview.

D: Thank you for this interview, Laurie.

L: Thank you, Diana.
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