The town of Zurich was beginning to stir in the raw daylight. A skinny mare with steam billowing out of its nostrils clomped along the bumpy cobblestone alley pulling a tinker’s wagon. The metal cups and pans hanging from the wagon’s sides clanged and rattled a wakeup call to the slowly rousing city.
In his dingy bachelor flat, Albert sat huddled under a comforter as the frigid winter air whistled through the poorly shuttered window. A tiny gas lantern cast its meager glow into the room fighting a losing battle against the gloom. The harsh but not entirely unpleasant scent of burnt firewood pervaded, despite the cracks in the plaster that ventilated the room. Newspapers and books were strewn around with no discernible organization. The place was a mess. On the dirty bare wood floor near the foot of the bed lay a half-empty cup of espresso with several cigarette butts floating in it. A small stack of stone wear plates with picked over sausages sat forlornly on an oblong dining table.
Plagued with inexplicable dreams, Albert had not slept in days. He took in a deep breath, then reluctantly pushed himself out of his warm cocoon. As the covers fell aside a tattered flier landed on the floor. “Discover the Secrets of The Mystical Travelers” it proclaimed. An illustration of a dignified looking man of indeterminate age with a hint of a mischievous smile bore the inscription, “Pater Benjamin, A great Spiritual Master”.
Albert negotiated the book- and a litter-strewn path to the washstand where he cringed as he poked a hole in the crust of ice that had formed overnight in the pitcher by the washbasin. With a vacant gaze and bloodshot eyes, Albert frowned into the oval gilt mirror above the coarse soap scummed porcelain. He patted down his unkempt dark brown hair that was currently standing up at odd angles, and he stroked the wiry growth under his nose.
Albert shook his head. “Why am I having these nightmares?” He took in a ragged breath and tried to reason with himself. “When I attempt to make thought experiments, I discover myself in another universe with Johann. Am I going insane? I cannot concentrate on my studies.”
Shaking his head again to clear it, Albert poured some cold water into the basin and prepared to shave.
Nearly every oak seat in the teaching hall at Polytechnic was filled. Albert had arrived early and seated himself in the middle of the second row. On stage were only a square table and chair awaiting the Speaker.
Just before the appointed time, a pleasant, silver-haired gentleman in his forties, dressed in a black woolen suit walked out from a door at the back of the platform and surveyed the audience. His cerulean blue eyes held a hint of a twinkle as they swept the crowd.
When Pater Benjamin’s gaze found Albert’s eyes, the young student’s body jolted as if he had received an electric shock. He stifled a small gasp and sat straighter in his seat. Pater Benjamin lingered a moment longer then moved on, though the man’s lips turned up in an enigmatic smile as he made his way to the table.
Albert had been drawn to this lecture because of the dreams. From occasional disturbances, they had grown into nightly ordeals from which he awoke in a cold sweat. They had turned into vivid dreams of flying outside his body or visiting with his friend Johann, but Johann had died years ago. Seeing him so regularly in his dreams troubled Albert.
What’s worse, in these dreams Albert had been encountering men long dead; people like Galileo and Isaac Newton. It was not as if they just flitted through these fantasies; they were interacting with Albert, discussing esoteric concepts.
Not normally prone to the mystical, Albert finally had to admit to himself that he needed the help of some sort. With little another choice, he decided to look beyond what the rational world could explain. Shortly after resolving to act, no matter how desperate it might appear, he had come across Pater Benjamin’s flyer.
Born in Eastern Europe, Pater Benjamin was a mystic and a visionary. He knew a great war was on the horizon and that profound change was coming. But he rarely spoke of that. Rather, this was a message of what he called the true reality; the worlds beyond the physical senses.
He talked about concepts like karma—the law of cause and effect; what you sow so shall you reap—and reimbodiment; how we have many lifetimes through which the soul may gain experience and progress spiritually. Had Albert known the topic of his talks, he might not have come to the lecture. But he was at his wit's end and was ready to try almost anything to be able to sleep through the night again.
Reaching his chair, Pater Benjamin sat, then cleared his throat. The murmuring in the auditorium stilled and the man began to speak. “What I am about to tell you may be unfamiliar to you, but I assure you it is true,” he said in a quiet voice. “However, I do not ask you to believe me. I ask instead that you simply listen and then check out these things for yourself.”
Albert felt a warmth begin to permeate him. He felt…comfortable. He took in a deep breath and nearly sighed as he let it out. There was something about the speaker’s voice that reassured Albert. For the first time in days, Albert felt relaxed. He let Pater Benjamin’s words fill him, taking them in without over-analyzing or resisting them.
“The Mystical Traveler Moses taught the commandments of Almighty God,” he was saying. “Don't steal, murder or covet. When people could not adhere to Father’s commands, the Traveler Jesus appeared to transform the laws of Moses into Grace with his instructions of forgiveness and love”.
“Forgiveness and love,” Albert thought. “Yes, forgiveness and love.” Albert felt himself relaxing even more as he settled back into his chair.
The next thing he knew, Albert’s eyes were fluttering open. The auditorium was empty except for him and Pater Benjamin, who sat contentedly next to Albert. Albert sat bolt upright in his chair. “Wha…what happened?”
“My talk put you to sleep, I fear,” pater Benjamin said with a smile that lit up his face and his eyes.
A horrified look crossed over Albert’s face. “Oh, no…how rude…I…”
Pater Benjamin patted Albert on the arm. “Not at all, Albert. You needed to get some information on the other side. Since you don’t know how to accept that yet, you needed to be taken out for a little while.”
“Out? Out where?” Albert asked for confusion.
“Why, out of your body, of course,” said Pater Benjamin matter-of-factly.
Albert’s eyes grew wide. “What in the world do you mean? Wait, how did you know my name?” Albert was beginning to feel anxious. Something was going on here but he didn’t know what it was.
Pater Benjamin smiled patiently and with such compassion and love that Albert could not help but relax again. “Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?” the Master said.
“Uh yes, let’s do that,” Albert said.
“Good. So, let’s see.” Pater Benjamin seemed to go off in his thoughts for a moment. “Ah, got it. Okay,” he said turning to Albert. “You’ve been dreaming about your friend Johann lately and it’s been bothering you, right? And then you also have been dreaming about scientists and philosophers.”
Albert looked at Pater Benjamin dumbly and then nodded.
“And these dreams have seemed so vivid that they have disturbed you and you haven’t been able to eat well or sleep much.”
Albert nodded again. “I…” Albert paused. Pater Benjamin waited patiently. “I think I am going mad, Albert said in a small voice, looking down into his lap.
Pater Benjamin put a hand on Albert’s shoulder and said, “You are far from going mad, Albert.”
Albert lifted his gaze to Pater Benjamin’s eyes and felt overcome with the man’s compassion and love. “I’m am?” Pater Benjamin nodded and Albert burst into tears. “It seemed so real,” he said between sobs as the master just held for him, his arm still on Albert’s shoulder.
When Albert had released all the tension and worry he had been carrying for so long, Pater Benjamin handed him a handkerchief and began to talk.
“There is a line of spiritual beings, Mystical Travelers for lack of a better name, who have embodied throughout history. You heard me speak of two of them tonight before you were taken out for some other lessons.”
“Moses and Jesus,” said Albert.
“Yes,” affirmed the Master. But there are many others, and you have been receiving instruction from them on what I call ‘the other side’ or what you might call in your dreams.”
Albert desperately tried to take in this strange information. “But why me?” he asked almost plaintively.
Pater Benjamin smiled. “You are in possession of something very sacred and powerful, Albert, and because of that your karma has taken a very…interesting, shall we say…turn.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Albert said with a puzzled frown.
“Your papa gave you something unusual when you were a child, am I correct?”
Albert nodded. “A compass.”
Pater Benjamin smiled. “Yes, it is a compass. But it is so much more, Albert.”
Wheels began to turn in Albert’s head. “Yes, I suppose I knew that.” Albert began to reflect. “It revealed clues on a scavenger hunt and when I was just a boy visiting my friend Johann lit up with a number. Albert’s speech was becoming more and more rapid.
“Thirty-three?” Pater Benjamin asked calmly.
Albert abruptly stopped babbling and took in a breath. “Uh, yes. How did you know?”
Pater Benjamin smiled, a warm light in his eyes. “Let me ask you a question before I answer that, Albert. Do you know the significance of the number thirty-three to you?”
Albert shook his head. “How can numbers have significance to people?” he asked, skepticism apparent in his voice.
If he was concerned that Albert was skeptical Pater Benjamin did not show it. Calmly he explained, “There are certain numbers that can reveal things about a person. One of those is their birth number.”
“What’s a birth number?” Albert wanted to know.
“It’s the sum of the numerals in the person’s birth date. You were born on the 14th day of the third month in 1879.”
Albert did a quick calculation in his head. “3 plus one, plus four, plus… The numbers of my birthday add up to thirty-three.”
“Correct,” noted Pater Benjamin.
“So, what does that mean?”
“Ah,” said the Master, “That’s the question.” He sat back on his chair and said, “Well, double numerals like that signify a ‘master path’. That is, those with double numerals, eleven, twenty-two, and so on, tend to be leaders.”
Albert listened and noted that the reasonable tone of Pater Benjamin’s voice seemed to calm his skepticism a bit.
Thirty-three is a very rare number and those with a thirty-three birth path want to lift the loving energy of mankind. In short, they want to do good in the world.”
Pater Benjamin paused as Alfred reflected on his words. He could not deny that much of his motivation in studying physics was to be able to explain the nature of the universe and help people improve their lives.
Seeing that Albert seemed to be digesting what he was hearing, Pater Benjamin continued. “The thirty-three life path will call you to leadership. People with this plan often achieve recognition through acts of compassion, love, and benevolence that lift up the world's awareness.”
“This sounds like too great a responsibility,” Albert said. “I just want to learn about light and energy.”
Pater Benjamin patted Albert’s arm. “Your boundless curiosity will certainly take you into discoveries of energy and light, Albert. In fact, that is why you have been meeting with other Mystical Travelers who can assist you in understanding these things.”
Albert shook his head, the enormity of what he was hearing was beginning to overwhelm him. “You mean those dreams…”
“Yes, Albert,” Pater Benjamin said in a gentle voice. “They were actual conversations with men who understand the essence of these phenomena. Your destiny is much like theirs was and has beckoned them to assist you.”
Albert struggled to take in the implications of what he was hearing, but Pater Benjamin was not quite done. “Never lose sight of thirty-three, Albert, it is not simply your life plan. If you see it, be on the alert. It may be a portent of danger.”
“What kind of danger could I possibly become prone to?” Albert wanted to know.
“I am not permitted by Spirit to reveal everything to you right now, Albert. However, I can tell you this much. Your destiny has become aligned with that of a sacred component of your compass. That component is so powerful that dark forces would do anything to secure it.”
Albert held up a hand. “Wait. I have something that an evil force is after and I am left on my own?”
With that, Pater Benjamin smiled. “Well, not exactly on your own. Your friend Johann has been assigned to assist you.”
“Johann?! What, is he supposed to be my guardian angel or something?
“Not exactly a guardian angel – angels have never been human. Johann is what is called a guardian of Light. He is undergoing instruction with the hosts of heaven and Mystical Travelers. He will come to you from time to time to offer assistance with your purpose.”
Albert sighed in frustration. “I’m sorry Pater Benjamin, but this is really a lot to take in. I mean, I’m incredibly relieved to hear that I am not going crazy, but meeting with the likes of Galileo or Newton and guardians of Light, and invisible realms of existence…” Albert shook his head.
“Take your time with this. Go home, have something to eat. Get some real sleep.”
“Yes, I can surely use some sleep.” Albert rose to leave but turned back. Is there some way I can contact you if I have more questions?” he asked.
With an enigmatic smile, Pater Benjamin said, “I’ll be closer than you know, my friend.” Then, handing him a calling card, he said, “You can reach me here.”
Albert thanked Pater Benjamin and turned to leave. He took only a step when another question crossed his mind and Albert turned back. But Pater Benjamin was gone.
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