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Excerpted from Walking in the Garden of Souls by George Anderson. Copyright 2001 by George Anderson. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"A few thousand years ago, we understood and accepted without question that we were governed by a power much greater than our own."

  George Anderson, Walking in the Garden of Souls, Part 2

We are all human, and in our humanness we tend to regard any trouble that comes our way as a personal attack against us -- against our happiness. We work and work, trying to be the people we think will win us a place in the hereafter, but our work is done more out of fear rather than actual understanding of why we must face struggle. Life tears on, we watch loved ones, opportunities, and happiness slip like sand through our fingers, and we become disillusioned-we begin wandering aimlessly through perhaps the most important learning experiences of our lives.

Our fall from our purpose here has not escaped the notice of the souls in the hereafter, who by their very caring nature are concerned for our spiritual lives. They know very well that the difficulties we endure while we are on the earth -- and how we cope with and overcome them -- will be perhaps the toughest test of our faith and spirit. They also know that these trials are a necessary part of our lives in order to fulfill the goals we had set for ourselves when we last left the Garden. 

The souls know and they understand, because they themselves were once part of the challenge of life on earth. They remember from their own experiences here that hope, understanding, and acceptance are lessons that may take a lifetime to learn. Now that they have entered the Garden, and their struggles have paid off so handsomely, they want to help us keep to our purpose here, so that we can share in the reward of returning to the Garden when it is our time to return.


We were once a much more spiritual planet. A few thousand years ago, we understood and accepted without question that we were governed by a power much greater than our own. Our lives were spent in service to that power with the promise of greater things to come. We understood that we could tap into that power when it was needed to survive, and we gave back to that same power from our own abundance when fate richly rewarded us. 

In a garden not so long ago, we recognized that each of us had this power of the Infinite Light within us, and we spent our time on the earth living and working to be considered worthy of such a precious gift. It was also an extraordinary time when we could acknowledge that prophets walked among us on the earth -- Christ, Buddha, Joan of Arc, Mohammed, and countless others -- who were so pure of spiritual purpose that the light of the Garden of Souls flickered in their eyes. But then something odd happened. In all our education, we had gotten too wise for our own good. 

As in the biblical story of Adam and Eve, we gained in knowledge, only to lose heavily in the purity of our souls. The world became much smaller when viewed from an airplane, and the heavens that once produced such awe in us were now being surveyed regularly with satellites. The mysticism of the spiritual things we held precious on the earth were now being explained and discounted wholesale by science and technology. We concluded in those fateful years that perhaps God did not live in the heavens, and perhaps did not even reside near the earth. We had checked and tested and searched, and God was nowhere to be found.

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