Death to Life: my path to unity
A reader's personal journey from darkness into Light and an eloquent analysis of the evils of suicide
Guest article by Eve Bennett
Introduction by Occult Mysteries
Over the years we have published a number of articles by contributors describing their personal search for Truth, but none have moved us more than the account you are about to read. Eve Bennett's experiences, and the painful lessons she learned from them, are sure to resonate with many readers. Some will nod and smile quietly to themselves in sober remembrance of similar life-changing events in their own lives, as we did when we read her contribution. Her story has some very close parallels with that of Richard's momentous search for Truth recounted by John Temple in the first of his articles for us. To say any more would be superfluous, for this compelling account speaks for itself, as does the author's eloquent and heartbreaking afterword on the evils of suicide; a subject surrounded by so much harmful misinformation and so many damaging misconceptions.
Hieronymus Bosch — Ascent of the Blessed — oil on panel ca. 1500
At death's door
A long time ago I discovered that I was something of an 'unusual' child; a feeling I'm sure many other seekers share. Rather than going out and playing with friends, I would sit and ponder upon the concept of eternity. What did it mean? Could we be gone FOREVER after this life? What would be the point of living, if just to turn to dust forever? It baffled me that other people didn't think like this; how could they blindly stumble through life without questioning it? Rather than joining after school clubs or socializing, I would be happy to sit in my room listening to music and reading. My parents would have to force me to socialize as the idea was abhorrent to me; for I was happy in my own company. I had always felt things deeply, even at a young age, but was resistant to extroversion, small talk, and to the normal 'pleasures' that others seemed to experience and enjoy.
The youngest of my brothers suffers from severe disabilities, and as a child my view of the world was somewhat cynical because of this. I used to ask how this could happen to him, and how people could be so cruel as to point at him, and make rude remarks about his appearance. I could never understand or reason with the coldness of this world. I could not see how seemingly bad things happened to good people; was this fate or destiny? Why were cruelty, indifference and sorrow waiting at every turn; to counteract a happy moment, or a good deed? I felt immensely guilty for being healthy whilst my brother was suffering.
My life changed abruptly when I was twelve. I was hit by a speeding car on a small residential street. Somehow, I didn't die. I vividly remember the paramedic saying "someone 'up there' must really like you." As I lay on the road close to death, I remember feeling no pain, only peace. I felt myself drifting almost out of my body. People had started to congregate to see what was happening. I was sure that I had been able to "see myself" from above; a notion that many adults discounted when I later recalled the events of the accident.
It took a year of rehabilitation and numerous operations before I was finally on the mend. My confidence was at an all-time low. I was thirteen and unhealthy due to inactivity and weight gain, and I had been home-schooled due to my injuries. This was the precursor for the loneliness I would feel throughout my teens and into adulthood. Shortly before going back to school, I had the most unusual and vivid dream whereby I died, but survived death. I was in a realm that I now understood to be one of the astral planes. I felt free, with a total awareness of everything and everyone. I was with my loved ones and I could see space and all of the twinkling stars. That 'dream' has always stayed with me, for I still remember it so vividly. I knew then deep within my heart that we all survive death, and that I didn’t need to ponder upon 'eternity' any more. I was certain that all of the negative feelings that I had were gone, for there was no suffering in the higher realms. I didn't have any more dreams like this for many years, and it would be a long while until my curiosity and deep desire for the truth would come knocking again.
The search begins
Fast forward a fair few years and I was drawn back to the search for truth. I began researching 'life after death', 'reincarnation' and 'near-death experiences' (NDEs). Something unusual had happened to me on the day of the accident, and I had an itch that I couldn't scratch. I was particularly drawn to the study of Ancient Greece and travelled to Athens to see the glorious temples with my own eyes. I found that I had a deep aching in my heart. I was growing weary of this world — a feeling that was even evident throughout my childhood. While most of my fellow schoolchildren wrote poems about sunshine and rainbows, I wrote about the sadness that I saw in the world; the grey bleakness washed over with rain, and the pain in the hearts of others. As I walked around the Temple of Poseidon, an intense feeling came over me. I couldn't stop thinking about life after death, and what lies ahead for all of us. I knew there was more. Since I was young, I have had a belief that I was meant to help others in some way, to be of service. My Grecian quest had only hinted at the path. After reading endless books and gaining a plethora of misleading information, I realised that nothing had yet fully resonated with me.
The years passed and I began to think that perhaps seeking answers wasn't for me. Maybe my destiny was to settle down, get a good job and earn a decent living. After many crossroads, wrong turns and brushes with death, this seemed to be the sensible choice. So for eleven years I abandoned the search for the truth. I do hope you are smiling at this point; for we all know that destiny or providence has a way of making us follow its plan, no matter how we try to avoid it! I worked hard, did my best to assist people when they needed it, and quashed the fire inside me that longed for answers and liberation. As much as I tried to pretend that my life was unfolding just as I wanted, the deep void inside of my heart remained and could not be filled no matter how hard I tried. The truth is; I was burned out, over-worked and over-stretched, and not much good to anybody, least of all myself.
Underneath the facade of enjoying a seemingly 'normal life' I felt anything but normal. A relative had a severe drug problem and the rest of the family had had enough of dealing with him. There seemed to be barely the merest flicker of light left in him. His vivacious personality had dimmed to a husk; his intellect and creativity were almost non-existent. He lived for the drugs and the drugs alone. I had watched him change from a compassionate, intelligent, caring person, to a grey, depressed and solemn shell. He had nowhere to turn, as no-one could deal with having him in their homes. I agreed to take him in for a few months to help him to 'get clean'. Looking back, I didn't realise just what I was taking on. I suppose we never do, or we would never agree to do things that turn out very differently to what we expected. I had many sleepless nights when I would check his pulse every hour to see if he was still alive. There were many frightening moments where I thought I would lose him. I told only a handful of people what I had taken on and had very little support from those supposed 'good friends'. Having witnessed severe addiction at first hand, I can safely say that the darkness takes a firm grip of its victims.
I am very glad to say that he did overcome his addiction in the end through the sheer force of his own WILL, and has gone on to live a very fulfilling and successful life. During the time he stayed with me, my own life got worse. Money was short, I had a health scare and was living alone in a cold, damp and dark house that I could barely afford and eating very little to try to get by. Not surprisingly, I began to drink to excess. I would use the excuse of needing a 'cheeky drink' to cope with life’s endless suffering and bombardments. It was always 'wine o’clock' somewhere, and the welcome numbing out of the pain and stress always provided relief, albeit temporary. My drinking continued periodically throughout my twenties, leading to the breakdown of relationships and bad decisions. I felt like a bat flying through the darkness; I could not see any light anywhere. Where was it during my hour of need? Was life ever going to get any better?
John Martin — The Deluge — oil on canvas 1834
It's always darkest before the dawn
In the space of two short years, two people that I knew took their own lives, and another died of alcohol addiction at a young age. I did my best to assist one close friend through the grief of one of these suicides. The other sudden death was that of an old school friend suffering from severe mental health issues. Though I had not seen him for many years, we kept in touch intermittently. I was shocked to hear he had committed suicide, as he was the light in the room; the young boy who once made everyone smile with endless wit and humour. These three deaths, coming in rapid succession, changed me. I saw the world in a different light, and it was around this time that the familiar negative emotions of my youth resurfaced. Once again I felt that this world was too harsh, too cruel and too much for people to bear.
At the end of that eventful year I got married. In contrast to the beginning of the year it was a very joyous occasion and things were finally starting to look up. For the first time in many years I felt like fate was finally smiling upon me. But wait. . .fate or destiny had not finished with me and struck again! Just eleven months after my wedding day, I found myself comforting a very close and dear friend who was going through a tough time in his life. I had this awful feeling in my stomach; it would not go away. I spoke to him on the phone and assured him that I would be here if he needed me, and that everything would be ok. His voice seemed distant, but he agreed with me. The conversation ended, but the unsettling feeling remained. I decided to follow up our talk with a text message. He replied to say that he felt sick and very low. I responded with more reassurances. I heard nothing more so I assumed that all was well.
Later that same evening an awful 'knowing' washed over me that he'd taken his own life. There was no logical reason for me to think this. Although he was depressed this was not unusual for him, and his behaviour was no different to most people who are having a really tough day. I called another friend with my concerns and was reassured there was no way that he would take his life, and that I was worrying unnecessarily. My head agreed but my heart knew that something awful had happened. The next day I learned that my intuition was correct; my dear friend was dead. It turned out that he had died just before the awful feeling of foreboding had washed over me. There was no apparent or obvious reason for his untimely death. He had a good job, children and a family who loved him. The guilt that I had for not being able to help stayed with me for a long time. My heart was broken. I had no goodbye, no closure; I had so many questions and no answers. My life as I had known it would never be the same again. Sheer agony coursed through my veins; a pain too deep and searing to fathom or interpret with words. Once again I was drinking more which led to even more depressive feelings.
I was plagued with so many unanswered questions. "If-only" and "what could have been" were at the top of the list, but above all, I needed to know what happened to these souls after 'death', for in my heart I knew that my friend was not gone forever. I don't know how I got through this period. I simply existed. I couldn't find joy, comfort or light in anything or anyone. Somehow I managed to complete everyday tasks and still go to work. Even in these dark days I would still feel and hear the faint voice within. My old companion had never ceased to give up on me, despite my flaws, errors and at times, very bad decisions. The inner voice guided me to stop wallowing in grief; to help others, stop drinking to excess and get my health back. I even began to PRAY.
When the numbness subsided and my feelings started to come back, I too, felt like the pain and grief were too much to bear. I even contemplated taking my own life. But I heard a loud voice shout "NO!" in my mind, and it scared the living daylights out of me. I found God in that moment of agony, and a feeling of deep love flowed through me. I felt as if I were being embraced by my own soul — for a child of God is always heard in their hour of their need. In a flash, I was aware that we must always make the most of our time here, and be there for our nearest and dearest. Ending one’s own life was not the answer. Some losses may feel too great to bear; but they are only temporary 'separations'; for I had learned that REAL love does not die with the physical body, nor does real love ever separate us. With the love and support of my husband and family, I was able to get through this seemingly impossible tragedy. It took twelve long months for me to even function as before; but with each passing year I was better and brighter, though not a day would pass where I would not think of those whom I had lost.
Arthur McHugh — The Medium — copper engraving 1865
A year or so later I encountered a reputable psychic who gave me a 'reading'. Much of the information she imparted was accurate. But looking back, I was grieving deeply and would have made any information 'fit' in order to provide any semblance of hope. She assured me that it was my friend's destiny to take his own life. This set alarm bells ringing; something did not feel right. Strangely, this woman was actually asking ME for advice, and was clearly not of sound mind. I could sense a 'presence' around her. After this, I decided not to have any further readings from her. In many ways I felt sorry for her. She meant well and wanted to help people; but she badly needed help herself.
Naturally, as I (begrudgingly) live in the 'modern world' I found myself watching an endless plethora of YouTube videos on 'healing crystals', 'moon magic', 'channelling', 'shamanistic healing', and 'witchy advice'. One YouTube channel had a whole segment devoted to suicide. The so-called ‘medium’ who hosted it calmly advised her followers that suicide was fine, as suicides were safe in the 'spirit world' and all was forgiven there. This information was repeated by many psychics and channelers, one even claimed to have had a 'joke' with departed 'spirits' who'd committed suicide. This didn't sound or feel right either. I was feeling disheartened and so desperate for answers that I started reading the tarot for myself. But this too, didn't seem right. It couldn't provide answers to the REAL questions that I was seeking or any information that would lead me closer to the truth.
At this point, I had very little emotional or physical strength left. I was really beginning to feel like I was stuck. I joined various online 'spiritual' groups in the hope of finding answers. If only it were that simple! I continued to pray from the heart, and asked to be guided towards the right path. During this time I encountered many dark occultists disguised as 'healers' or 'magicians'. They were trying to convince me that I could have a luxurious life, full of riches and wonders, if only I would try what they called 'manifestation' spells. This sounded suspiciously like the New Age 'law of attraction' repackaged to me. If manifesting were real and worked, why wouldn't impoverished communities simply 'manifest' clean drinking water, and bread to feed them? The 'magicians' didn't have an answer for that. I had always had financial issues, so surely this would not change by simply demanding that the universe supply me with freebies as a reward for my "good thoughts" or even just because I felt I was entitled to them? The magicians couldn't or wouldn't answer that either!
It was at this time that I really and truly began to realise that 'Psychic' and Spirituality were two very different things. Many people claiming to be spiritual were anything but. Where I hoped to find kindness and compassion, I found bloodthirsty, money grabbing thieves; with only one person to please: themselves. The only gains that they set their eyes on were of a purely material nature. There was no spirituality to be found in them or their aims. I was astounded by the sheer number of people claiming to be 'spiritual' who didn't believe in God! Many believed in a new-age concept of free-love for all, no hard work, and that everyone was entitled to the same in life, with no effort required, and abundance in the form of entitlement. This sounds a little too similar to communism, if you ask me! I do wish to plainly state here that I don't claim to be a 'saint' myself. Far from it; I too, have waded in the pool of new-age nonsense, but I have always eventually (even if after many errors) listened to the quiet voice within, the voice that tells me wrong from right; darkness from light, and the myriad of colours in between.
I was drawn to visiting Glastonbury at around this time. There are many 'occult' book shops there, some good, some questionable. One particular shop had a very 'dark' atmosphere from the moment I crossed the threshold. The owner had a rather large section on 'demonology' and I politely asked if he stocked any books by Madame Blavatsky. I had read one of her articles on psychism, and I was curious to learn more. The 'friendly' shop owner politely informed me that he hid theosophical books on the bottom shelves, as he didn't wish to promote (I quote) "Blavatsky's plagiarism of Hindu culture!" I knew instinctively that this was not the place to find the kind of books I was looking for, and also that he was very wrong about Madame Blavatsky. The heart always knows which books contain the truth it needs. One has to laugh at the value placed on seeking so-called 'magical thrills' over the sanctity and nourishing fulfilment of finding real WISDOM. The Bible has a verse about this.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you"
To me, this has several meanings, for not only will attuning to the path to the Light begin to repel the darkness, but it is also a reference to the temptations of the lower self. Sometimes, the 'light' takes the form of sacred literature that in time will help you to find your true path. The 'occultist' who owned the book shop had taught me the valuable lesson to always trust MY inner guidance.
I did not feel it was right to ask for 'riches' for myself, as God always knows what we need. Do the birds need to 'manifest' food? No. The birds know that God will provide for their needs. There are some particularly beautiful verses about this too in the Bible.
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
"Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?"
Whilst there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve our material conditions, there must always be an effort required to do so and there is always the danger of going too far and succumbing to greed. One particular lady with whom I crossed paths traded online as a psychic, but in her biography she claimed to be a shaman, witch, healer, teacher, seer, magician and sorcerer all rolled into one! She was adamant that she wanted to know the truth. But her truth was the firm belief that aliens were abducting people in their sleep, and that at birth we were marched to the Gulags. Except, for her the Earth was the Gulag which is a prison planet where we are all being spied on. She claimed she wanted to help people, even though she herself admitted that she had previous problems with bad entities as a result of automatic writing and similar mediumistic practices.
She identified herself as a 'dark empath' and 'shadow worker'; and confessed to being mentally unbalanced. When I asked her why she didn't turn to sacred texts for answers she said it was too much hard work. She much preferred to skim through books on magic and take the bits and pieces of information that 'resonated' with her. She believed that we should all embrace the darkness within us and incorporate it into our lives. According to her, empowerment for women was to be found in sex magic, and the right-hand path was only for those who thought and acted like Jesus at all times. She added that white magicians couldn't possibly really understand magic as they were not using it for themselves. This reminded me of another verse from the Bible.
"Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch"
Needless to say, I moved on quickly from this self-proclaimed 'truther' and 'seer'. I felt I was drowning in a sea of new-age perceptions and beliefs, ranging from the sane to the not-so-sane; from the helpful to the downright dangerous. Many of the practices recommended to me were black magic in disguise; most of which were designed to absolve the practitioner from any personal accountability. You can get away with an awful lot under the guise of 'free-will' and 'consent'. The Internet can be a place of wonders or a place of horrors, depending on where and how you look. In my online quest, I saw dark caverns filled with Tantric money-making, long-distance 'healing', the 'channelling' of dead celebrities, forced 'kundalini awakenings', wiccan 'candle spells' for love and wealth. Amongst the worst were 'schools' for would-be (black) magicians and fraudulent websites claiming to be the 'Great White Brotherhood'. Enough was enough! This was a cesspool of madness from which I needed to climb out — fast! I just wanted to find the path that I had been so desperately seeking, and yet there was no clear cut way for me to achieve this. I deserted the online 'occult' community and also decided to leave social media well alone. I needed REAL connection.
The final blow
I was struck with another tragedy when my husband and I suffered a financial downturn, and for the best part of 18 months we struggled to get by. Yet again, life hit another low point. "Surely; this is it for me now! I have suffered so much over the past few years; there must be a light at the end of the tunnel!" I wailed. Well, I wasn’t quite off the hook; it seemed that life had one more item on the agenda. One day I decided to take an evening walk. This was not something I usually did, as it was too dark to see properly. Right before my eyes, a phoenix appeared in the sky above me. I knew in my heart that this was the sign that I was close to finding my path. Tears coursed down my weary face, for I knew that all that I had gone through had led me to this very moment, and that in fact, there was a purpose to everything. Within a week, I finally found true Occult study, and the Occult Mysteries website. The Higher Mind knows when it has found its home, for it brings a warmth and resonance that cannot be explained; sweet nectar and remedy for aching minds and hearts. I knew, finally, that I had found what I had been seeking for so very long. There are no words to express the love and gratitude I felt on finding the True Light at the end of the tunnel. Once again the Bible had a verse for this.
"For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted."
Douglas Strachan — Orpheus: Single Bacchante with Seabirds — oil on panel 1909
The reason that I wanted to share my story is to provide encouragement to those who feel weary, downtrodden, or perhaps are grieving themselves. There is a great purpose to life here on Earth and I now have a deeper understanding of why taking your own life is not the answer (more of which in my Afterword). We must all face our own weaknesses and errors. None of us are exempt from the natural law of cause and effect. No matter how hard life appears either within or without, there IS a purpose to suffering. There is nothing that cannot be worked out on Earth, and nothing that cannot be overcome with courage and faith. I now understand that the suffering I experienced was the working out of natural law. The difficult events I'd experienced in this life were due to previous actions, both good and bad, wise and unwise. Even though we all suffer pain and sorrow on Earth, we are also gifted with laughter, love, compassion, and the beauties of nature. Every time I see beautiful, unassuming daffodils growing amongst desolation and decay, I am reminded of this truth. Light must dance with darkness, dawn must meet dusk, the moon must give way to the sun, and sorrow and despair must be met with love and laughter.
I was inspired to tell my story while driving through a forest. I had considered writing before, but thought to myself "there are already so many similar articles on the website, will mine bring any additional value?" Then the trees I was passing reminded me that a forest exists only because someone planted their seeds. Just as each individual tree is completely unique in its own way, so the words of each individual writer may reach different seekers, according to their personal experiences, needs and understanding. When I look back upon my personal journey from darkness to Light, it is clear to me that many kind souls planted seeds for me along the way. It is my dearest hope that what I have written will do the same for others, and so shed a little extra light during these dark and disturbing times. I would like to end with a quote by the fictional wizard, Albus Dumbledore, from the wonderful Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling:
"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the Light."
(J. K. Rowling — Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).
© Copyright Eve Bennett & occult-mysteries.org. Article published 20 August 2023.