I Am Resurrected

By Dorothy Bell

Originally printed in the Fall 2009 issue of Quest magazine. 
Citation: Bell, Dorothy. "I Am Resurrected." Quest  97. 4 (Fall 2009): 132-136.

    Dorothy Bell  The phone rang. It was Anna, and after the preliminaries, she focused on the purpose of the call.

      "I saw Charles yesterday and he was asking after you. He's been back in the hospital now for quite a while, and he said he would really like a Reiki treatment."

      "Yeah, sure. My car is out of action, but I could take a train into the city and public transport to the medical center. Would some time early next week suit?"

      Anna said she would find out the most appropriate time and let me know.

      I had first met Charles a year or so earlier, at a retreat center where I undertook some volunteer work giving Reiki treatments to HIV-AIDS sufferers. He was well into his sixties, perhaps older, and had been with the virus for many years.

      Charles had made a lasting impression on me when I gave him his first treatment. He walked quickly into the Reiki room and began to remove his garments, saying as he did so, "I hope you don't mind my taking off my gear, but I like to be uncluttered when I go into total relaxation!"

      I was flabbergasted.

      "Sure," I said, with much bravado, as more layers were peeled and folded neatly on the chair. "Whatever makes you feel comfortable. You know, you don't really need to take anything off for these treatments—just shoes and tight belts, watches. . . . And I do place a sheet or light blanket over you," I said lamely, but relaxed as he jumped up on the massage table, pulled up the sheet, still wearing his jocks.

      On another occasion, I remembered that during my session with him I had closed my eyes and just allowed the energy to flow, and in this meditative state I had seen a group of philosophers or sages, learned men—by their attire perhaps from Renaissance times—drawing close to him and around him. I had felt strongly that he was a member of their group and that they were giving him a lot of support. Not knowing a thing about his religious beliefs or whether he had any interest in philosophy or even if he had ever read a book, I nevertheless spoke to him about what I had seen. He was delighted.

      "I love reading about the higher things, the great ideas of man—yes, I can relate to what you are saying, I am most comfortable and feel at home when I read. Interesting."

      "Well, Charles, my feeling is that in another life you were part of this group and now they have made themselves known to you from the inner realms. They are here for the tough times. Just think of them as like-minded friends and talk with them when you feel most alone. They want you to know that."

      Charles had looked at me intently–probably checking me out—but then he said cheerfully, "Yes, it feels right. I am grateful, and it opens up a new avenue, doesn't it?"

      "It sure does," I agreed, wondering if he meant the reality of the afterlife or contact with other realms of existence in this lifetime.
 And now, many moons later, it seemed that the virus was really making its presence felt, and long stays in the AIDS ward had become a necessity. As if AIDS wasn't enough, Anna had also mentioned that he had been diagnosed with cancer!

      Charles wasn't in his room when I arrived at the center; he was having a CAT scan. I was nonplussed—as if there was any need for more diagnostic procedures! "What could they find out that would be of any benefit to Charles? Why don't they leave him in peace?" Anger flashed through me.

      Eventually he returned, gray and gaunt. I was shocked. His physical form had deteriorated so much, but his mind was still strong. He was a little flustered because he had kept me waiting.

      "Sorry, Dorothy, I just need to rinse out my shirt. They were a little untidy with the needle and there's blood all over the sleeve." And he proceeded to find a bucket for his personal laundry.

      As we chatted on, I couldn't help noticing the paradox—his mental strength and clarity contrasted to the poorly disguised frailty of his wasted frame.

      Completing his washing, he tidied his other clothes and climbed into bed. As he settled onto his side—it being too painful to lie on his back—I stepped forward.

      As I looked down at his face, my attention was drawn to the delicacy of the skin over his temple. It was almost transparent, and with so little flesh on the face that the outline of the skull was painfully obvious.

      "I'm glad you came," he said, closing his eyes in the expectation that the session would be relaxing.

      "I'm glad to see you—very glad. I'll start now."

      After five minutes, I asked, "Are you comfortable?"

      No answer. He was in a very deep sleep.

      Usually I slipped into a deep meditative state myself as the energy channeled through me. In this state it was not uncommon to receive messages from guides or teachers in the form of symbols or by telepathic thought. I always asked if there was something I could pass on.

      Today was different. I felt the peace of the energy and relaxed into it. Unexpectedly a picture formed in the inner reality.

      It was Charles. He was immaculately groomed and dressed in a safari suit—light brown, not the popular cream color. He stood alone, straight and strong, almost at attention, with his arms at his side, at the edge of a platform, like that of a railway station. Beside him was a dark brown, medium-sized leather suitcase. There was no one else around. He looked younger and stronger, well tanned, and every hair on his head was perfectly in place. Above all he appeared purposeful.

      Then I understood. He was going on a journey—the journey of a lifetime, so to speak. Perhaps his inner Self, Higher Self, or spirit—whatever you might call it—was showing me that he was ready to leave the body. He seemed to be looking straight at me. Suddenly he said, "What happens now? Tell me what to do."

      I was taken aback by his directness. Usually when I answered inner calls to help souls in difficulty post mortem, I had to try to get their attention, make some kind of connection, and then try to communicate by thought, usually offering a version of the whole scenario of life and death that they might relate to. I thought for a while.

      "You are obviously ready for your journey home . . ." I started off slowly, still sorting out my thoughts. "Well, Charles, as far as I know, the journey is to go home to the light—literally—and if you turn your head to the left you will see the radiance in the distance." At the mention of "going to the light" I had actually noticed the appearance of a radiant light, so I felt it appropriate to think Charles was also familiar with it.

      "When you are ready, just walk towards it. At any time if you start to feel isolated or doubtful, just ask for guidance. There are many waiting eagerly for you to cross over."

      "Right!" he said, matter-of-factly.

      My attention was drawn to the suitcase.

      "Do you need to take that baggage?" I asked him. It suddenly occurred to me that the suitcase was an essential part of our meeting: I was meant to discuss the concept of "soul baggage" with him.

      Charles looked down at the suitcase as if noticing it for the first time.

      "What do you mean?" he asked.

      "Well, I think it represents stuff from this life that you are taking with you—issues like indebtedness and unfinished business. You know—loose ends. You have the opportunity now, before you go on your journey, to deal with any mental and emotional unfinished business. It makes sense to travel light! Otherwise the unfinished business—the grievances, anger, guilt, shame that you might still carry deep within you—will have to be worked through in another life. It has to do with clearing your account, your karmic account, as much as you can," I replied, watching him closely to see whether or not I'd lost him on this one.

      "What do I do?" he asked with an enthusiasm that suggested that he accepted what I was saying and knew there was work to be done.

      "It's simple, really. It's all about forgiveness. Think about your life and remember the hurt, sorrow, and pain, the anger, resentment, shame and guilt, self-rejection—all those things you took on in childhood and right through to later years. Forgiveness is the key to freedom. I think it would be well to forgive those who, by their words, actions or omissions, caused you pain and sorrow. Release them from this connection with you, and in doing so you release any negative energy from your own soul. You unlock the energy and your own vibration is changed, making you lighter. Think about the insights about life and the lessons you have learned from those experiences, thank them and wish them well on their journey. They are all fellow travelers . . . on the same journey."

      I paused, watching for a reaction, but Charles retained the attentive attitude he had adopted from the outset. I continued, "You also need to ask for forgiveness for having hurt or caused sorrow to others. It's always a two-way thing, and you need to forgive yourself for having done what you did and then for having carried it with you for so many years."

      After reflecting for a time, Charles asked earnestly, "I get the idea, but how do you actually do it?"

      "Remember the people, the events, the issues, the judgment, the hurt. Visualize them; link in with them; your sincerity will make it possible to do this. Go to your heart and speak from the heart and say something like, 'You have been part of my journey this lifetime, and we had issues and caused each other much pain. I forgive you and release you with unconditional love and thank you for the learning, and I wish you well on your journey.' Can you forgive them all and wish them unconditional love? How do you feel about that?"
  "What if I can't remember them all?" Charles was certainly task-oriented.
   "Just say something that you really feel, like 'I ask for forgiveness for all the pain and sorrow I have caused.'  Charles, this is not just an intellectual exercise but a very deep and honest confrontation with yourself—baring all. You may find it that it is too difficult to really forgive someone—even yourself—and that you still carry the hurt, judgment, resentment, or a grievance of some kind. Well, that just goes into your suitcase as soul baggage. The issue is not really resolved, and the connection is not really severed. From what I understand, it will be worked through in another lifetime, in a different body and perhaps in a different type of relationship."

      Charles had become quite pensive, and I felt my presence was no longer needed.

      Afraid that I had overburdened him, I said, "Take your time. It's your choice what you do, and I have given you my version of how it works. Just do what feels right. Maybe think of it as balancing the ledger or clearing the slate before you return home."

      I decided to withdraw. Sensing this, he looked at me. As our eyes met, we connected at a much deeper level. I felt his gratitude and tears came to my eyes.

      Softly I said, "And I wish you well on your journey . . . your journey home. It has been an honor to be of service, and I have learned much."

      A slight nod of his head completed our meeting.

      I withdrew.

      I looked down at Charles—or rather at the body in which he resided. It lay in a fetal position in the fresh white linen of the hospital bed. The ashen face, bony frame, and sunken flesh confirmed the impending demise of his mortal form.
    I sought to reassure myself. "But the spirit is single-minded and strong. And he is so keen to get it right before he leaves his body."
  Impulsively I placed the end of my thumb on the middle of his forehead. It seemed right somehow, as if I had done it before. Again, I wished him well and asked for guidance for him on his journey.
  About a week later, Charles "died." Anna rang with the news.
 I felt relieved and strangely happy. After the phone call I sat quietly, absorbing the moment, but my heart was singing. And then I understood why I was feeling so elated: there was Charles—in my face, so to speak—head and shoulders superimposed over the physical surroundings, between me and the computer, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. He was so pleased with himself, and his energy filled the room. I closed my eyes to improve my seeing of him.
   "I made it!" he said triumphantly. "I reached my destination and did what I had to do. Tell them that—if they ask. I am so pleased that I made it. I am not alone. There are many here I have known. I can rest at last. I need a good rest—it is such a relief that the struggle is over. I will move on when I am ready, but I am so happy here. Tell them not to fear. Tell them I am resurrected."
  "Well done! And congratulations!" I responded with enthusiasm.
 For quite a time, without communicating, we basked in the triumph of spirit. He looked younger, strong, and happy, and he had reached his destination—wherever that was. And what more could I want for him?
  Jubilantly I went out into the garden, grabbing the fork to tackle the weeds in a garden bed. We were both still bubbling. I laughed aloud with happiness at his victory—and immediately drew the attention of the neighbors' dog.
 Although Charles's presence eventually receded, I continued to reflect on his visitation and the words he had used: "I am resurrected."
  Out of nowhere, memory of a long-gone but vivid meditation that I had titled "Death Is Dying" flashed through my mind. I saw again the image of the Grim Reaper that had been used in an AIDS advertising campaign in the late '80s.
 The setting was a dim and foggy graveyard and the hooded and long-robed Reaper was slowly walking towards me, scythe in his right hand, and something—a sack—in his left. He stopped and began to withdraw the articles from the sack, placing them on the ground. They were bones, so white in the darkness. Methodically he began to place them in perfect symmetry to form a skeleton. Then I realized that he was laying to rest the skeleton of "death," with arm bones crossed on the chest, just like in a funeral parlor. The rhythmic thoughts of "Death is dying, death is dying," resounded through my mind until the scene slowly dissolved into the darkness.
    "Yes," I said quietly to the earth beneath my feet, "my old belief about death as the end is not only dying—it's dead. Death is dead: it is an illusion. We are not our bodies: we are greater. Thank you, Charles." 

      Postscript, 2009

      When I joined the Theosophical Society in the late 1990s, teachings of the Ancient Wisdom gave me the opportunity to understand a far greater story of humanity and to see a far more cohesive and comprehensive picture than that which had guided my work with Charles and others previously. The teachings provided answers to questions that had arisen out of these close encounters relating to post mortem states of existence—things I had experienced at funerals and afterward; at scenes of past or recent disasters; at sacred sites; even in meditation and healing sessions. These usually involved entities who were in some need of assistance to move on beyond the earth-bound atmosphere.

      While each experience offered a unique perspective on the workings of inner life and reality, it also raised more questions in my search for truth about our real identity and the purpose of life on earth—and life after life on our planet. But the scenario that the Ancient Wisdom proposes—of the evolutionary journey of each pilgrim soul, the reincarnating individuality, and the personalities it generates lifetime after lifetime, like pearls on a thread, in order to experience and learn and become who we truly are—has provided me with a frame of reference for working with people like Charles "when the spirit moves me." 


Dorothy Bell completed degrees in arts and education at the University of Melbourne and at the University of New England in Australia, and first visited America in 1990 as a Fulbright Scholar. Since joining the Theosophical Society in 1999, she has lectured at TS conferences in the United States, New Zealand, India, and Australia. She is also a Reiki master.

Theosophical Society PoliciesTerms & Conditions • © 2020 The Theosophical Society in America