One Step Higher: Part II: Chapter 6
THE NARROW WAY
After we had walked for a while we crossed a lawn set about with shapely bushes, having tapering tops and casting deep shadows on the ground. In the midst of this lawn was a well where we paused to drink of the water from its cool depths. As we rested on the stone edge, drinking from tiny cups the angel gave us, he said that this was called ‘The Well of the Water of Life’ and that to drink from it was to preserve the doubled power.
‘Why do angels drink of it, too?’ Janet asked, watching our guide sipping from the cup.
‘We, too, need constantly to feed upon the Father’s power,’ he explained. ‘We thus renew our youth perpetually.’
‘Is this the way?’ I queried, looking reverently at the water in my cup.
‘It is not the only way. There are others – but you will hear more of this subject later on.’
As I sipped the crystal liquid I felt delightfully invigorated. A keen desire for further adventure crept upon me and I noticed Janet’s eyes shone brightly as they met mine.
Presently the angel rose and we followed him across the lawn and into another wood. Here there was a narrow pathway edged with golden bracken. The trees rise out of it, like reapers knee-deep in corn. The great boughs swept down, decked with leaves, blossom and fruit in a mingled abundance as though every season lived as one in this eternity. As we walked, brilliant birds leaned down to peer at us and tiny ones of every hue alighted on our shoulders. The singing of all these feathered ones mingled in an exquisite psalm of joy.
‘Truly “the time of the singing, of birds had come,” ‘ I murmured to Janet and she, turning to our guide, said:
‘I thought birds were only on the lower planes.’
‘They have the freedom of the realm,’ he explained. ‘Of all the lesser brethren they are the purest and so we never lose our sight of them.’
As we walked on, the space between the trees widened so that we could glimpse an expanse of open, hilly country on either side. There was a faint chill in the air which lent a particular joy to breathing. I took deeper breaths, looking up to the grey clouds beyond the tree-tops. Soon the wood had been left behind. Our steps still followed the narrow path, but now on either side a steep bank sloped down. This gradually deepened so that we were walking up, high on the pathway. It appeared to have narrowed still more, but our guide said this was not so.
‘Have no fear,’ he enjoined us. ‘Keep your eyes on the path. Concentrate upon it and you will walk in safety.’
We obeyed him, Janet close behind the angel, and I following, and in this way we covered a great distance. The banks on either side had now reached the proportions of a mountain-side and our pathway seemed perched on a dizzy height. As our guide had promised, however, we made our way in perfect safety. Concentrating upon the pathway made us feel drowsy, but with it came a sense of deep peace.
At last we stepped on to a field, curiously flat and featureless. It seemed to stretch away into an immeasurable distance without sign of hill, tree or wood. Turning, we looked at the pathway over which we had come. It looked a mere thread thrown carelessly on the top of the mountain-range and we marvelled to think we had experienced no fear.
‘What is it?’ I asked.
Our guide stood beside us, following our searching gaze.
‘It is the Causeway of Consciousness.’
We both cried out in delight at this. ‘What a lovely name,’ Janet added.
‘Names are very important in Heaven,’ our angel said. ‘They are part of the music of it all. Harmony and beauty are ever present.’
‘How do they come by their names?’ I asked, feeling that I was not making myself very clear but knowing of old that the angel would understand. They always understood – that was the joy of it.
‘Names come from the outfiowing thought of Heaven’s realm,’ he said. ‘When the angels look upon the loveliness of the Father’s creation, their delight in it and their praise of Him seem to unite. Of this union is born a name. Do you remember how Adam named all the living creatures that the Lord had made? It is like that.’
He sat down in silence when he had finished speaking and we settled ourselves beside him. Together we looked out over the hills to the far horizon where the summits seemed to touch the dark clouds.
Presently he turned to us and smiled as though to say: ‘Now you may ask me anything you like.’ We took instant advantage of it for we both cried in one breath: ‘Do tell us about the Causeway of Consciousness!’