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And as if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared…

How many of you remember the children’s cartoon Mr Benn? It was part of my childhood - I loved Mr Benn! The Mr Benn cartoons were created by artist David McKee in 1971. He is also the creator of the multi-coloured elephant called Elmer.

For those of you too young to remember, Mr Benn lived on an ordinary street called Festive Road but every time he went into the fancy dress shop the shopkeeper appeared, as if by magic, and he found himself wearing a new costume.

He walked though a door at the back of the shop and magically found himself in another time and place where the costume was just what he needed. He usually helped people out and there was always a moral to the story. He then found himself back in the shop, changed back into his suit and bowler hat and went back home, with a small souvenir of his adventure.

So what has this got to do with ‘spiritual’ stuff? Maybe nothing was intended (consciously) by David McKee, but I see the story as a metaphor for the adventures our soul has.

As far as it seems to me, we are a soul having a human experience.

Our body is like a car that we travel around in and when the car has finished it’s journey, when it’s worn out or broken down, WE get out of the car.

We are the driver, not the car.

We are a soul. A spark of the divine that is eternal.

I believe each soul has free will to decide what adventures it wants to have and so chooses a large number of very different environments and situations, ranging from being pure light, to being a blob on a distant planet, a multi-dimensional alien, a tree on Earth or a human being in 2016 or a human being in 3450.

So our soul is like Mr Benn. Our soul gets to choose what adventures to have, to choose which fancy dress outfit to put on and magically, we then live a life as that character.

To make the adventures more poignant, meaningful, powerful and ‘real’, most of us are born with spiritual amnesia, so we can’t consciously remember our soul’s other adventures. But if we are interested, we can find out by either accessing our sub-conscious thorough meditation or hypnosis, by asking our spirit guides, or by asking another human with a very good psychic connection to let us know.

I have had a reading done by an amazing lady called Natalie Sudman and found out I’ve worn lots of other ‘costumes’ and had many adventures . . . A monk on a remote Scottish Island in the 1300’s, an eskimo living a simple life in an igloo, a shaman in the Urals and a slave to an Egyptian priestess, to name but a few!

If this wasn’t strange enough, then try to imagine that all past and future experiences are all happening in the present moment, in one eternal moment of now!!!

It seems that linear time is only an illusion of the human experience, but at a soul level, we exist outside of space and time as we know it. Linear time is helpful for us, as Albert Einstein once explained, because it stops everything happening at once, which, let’s face it, would be totally overwhelming for any human being!

So it’s not even about past and future lives, it’s about multiple lives and experiences all happening simultaneously. According to Natalie, there is a ‘bleed-through’ between all these different lives, because they are all happening at the same time. Each life informs the others in a constantly moving and evolving process. (Mind blowing up!)

It’s beyond our intellectual mind to understand how everything can be all happening at the same moment, which is why I like telling stories and looking for metaphors. (Metaphors are useful, but they are better seen to be like a raft across a river, in order words we dispose of them once we’ve finished with them).

To visualise how time might work, get a piece of paper and draw a time line from left to right, with the ‘past’ heading to the far left, the ‘present’ time in the middle and the ‘future’ off to the right.

You can put your current life on there or go back to the dinosaurs or the creation of the universe and imagine a future. Then fold the paper in half at the point of the present moment on your line, so that the line and writing appear still on view, on both sides of the paper. Then look down the thin edge of the paper, on the fold . . . everything is happening NOW!

Anyway, back to Mr Benn! If, for the purposes of this metaphor, Mr Benn represents our souls, then who and what are we?

Mr Benn remembers every moment of his adventures in each costume, each experience and emotion is logged and recorded. So Mr Benn is the sum of all his adventures. The character of Mr Benn is present in each adventure, even if the location and time are very different. I believe our souls are the same. The sum part of all our different adventures. (Why we have all these adventures is really a mystery and the subject of future blogs!).

In this lifetime, my ‘costume’ is a male human being called Rob Holmes, who enjoys creating things, like art, businesses, inventions or writing books. I like not taking life too seriously and will laugh at my own jokes, even if others don’t think I am funny! In this life, I also seem to be interested in remembering who I really am, underneath the ‘Rob Holmes’ costume. It’s an exciting adventure into the unknown. I just need to remember to stop trying to figure it all out….

I hope you appreciate your human adventure. Despite our trials and tribulations, it’s a precious and magical experience. In fact because of our trials and tribulations, it’s a precious and magical experience.

At our core, we are pure, un-conditional love. It’s sometimes scary to forget this, but when we remember, it was all worth it! Without an up, there would be no down. Without feeling fear and anger, we wouldn’t appreciate feeling love and gratitude.

Welcome to the world of dualism! The ultimate fancy dress shop!!

(Mr Benn images and story are respectively acknowledged as the work and creation of David McKee.)

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