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It is with deep sadness we announce the recent passing of Rev. Paul Smith who has been leading monthly practice sessions on Integral Life. His sessions were much loved for his profound integral wisdom, his humanity and love. May he rest in God’s Deepest Embrace.
By Paul Smith and Luke Healy
As many of you may be aware by now, Paul Smith made his transition from this realm to the other side this past Sunday. He was without pain and passed peacefully.
In these last months, since learning of his cancer and knowing he may not have much longer on this plane, Paul carried with him two words: grief and glory.
He wanted to write one last article, his final teaching (from this side), but wasn’t able to complete it. He shared with me (Luke) some of his thoughts and sense of what these words meant to him as he approached death.
Paul loved Jesus and has as close of a relationship with him as anyone I’ve known. He always felt Jesus touching his right arm, feeling Jesus’ presence with him at all times. He never had a vision or picture of Jesus, which he said is probably why he collected hundreds of images of him–which are now on display at Missouri Valley College in a permanent exhibit.
He told me last week, “One thing that characterizes Jesus is he embraced the grief of this life and the glory that infused it from the next life.
“Jesus was a man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief. He did not bypass or avoid grief but embraced it. We can welcome grief as part of our human experience.
“If I see a shadow in ICN, it’s that we are sometimes hesitant to share our griefs and sorrows. Perhaps that comes from fear of taking too much time, thinking someone else’s sorrow is greater than our own, or other reasons we tell ourselves.”
Following the example of Jesus, Paul wanted to encourage us to embrace our struggles, welcoming them as part of our human and spiritual work. “We all face these things in life,” he said. He embraced the grief of this season, feeling much sadness about not being able to be with the people he loves and the community that is so dear to him–at least in the way he was able to while in his body.
In our last meditation together, while we were in the feet center, he said he would miss nature. And then he saw the veil roll back like gossamer to reveal an immense glory underneath it all.
Paul’s life had a lot of difficulties and hardships, which he faced with courage and strength. He spent years in various forms of therapy, healing from trauma, loss, and abandonment. He was never shy about sharing his struggles with anxiety and panic attacks, relying on “both Prayer and Prozac,” as he would say.
As a reflection of embracing this part of reality in this human life, Paul chose a teardrop urn for his ashes. He loved what it represented and wanted everyone to see it.
Paul’s life was also one of great glory. The suffering did not overwhelm or overcome him. He was a light and luminary to so many through his teachings, his courage, his spiritual pioneering, and his passionate, evolutionary energy.
He walked with Jesus and his other guides through it all, living a life of glory and divine becoming. He spoke of Jesus living into glory through his transfiguration, present with his guides Moses and Elijah. This awakening was a living transformation and divine temple of the body, not to be built as shelters on the mountainside but lived in all places throughout life.
Paul’s teaching and extensive personal experience with spirit guides were a major part of his life and spirituality. He was passionate about claiming the 2nd-person presence of God, who is with us at all times if we are open and receptive. Whether that be Jesus, Sophia, Mary, or another form, we can relate to and know God in spirit form. The Living Jesus is the resurrected spirit presence who is beside us, if we welcome him.
Paul himself is now an ancestor and guide with us from the other side. He has already been present to me and others, full of so much joy and delight.
He has left us, but he is not gone.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Paul wanted to share the following as his last words to his beloved ICN community,
“I’ve been experiencing both the grief and glory. I don’t fear death and transitioning to the other side. That will be a new adventure. Whenever that comes, I am ready. I will miss being with everyone in person but will be in a new way in spiritual presence. I will be glad to be here for as long as I am.
I’ll be grateful for whatever more time I’m given, rejoicing in what is.
At 86 I’ve lived a long and full life and have no regrets. It’s not really important to me when I die. Sooner or later we all die and we can accept that as a gift from God. Moving into a more intense spiritual evolution, which is what heaven is.
As I’ve been telling people, I’m excited to start to practice whole-body-less mystical awakening on the other side!
Our community is becoming a powerful factor in the healing of the world. And I plan to still be able to be a present guide and cheerleader from the spirit side.
How marvelous this community is. We have a great mission to the world. I feel the energy and love transmitted so strongly. Learning to receive that love has been a journey for me. I’m used to praise from my teaching but I’ve learned from you all the love that is behind and through that.
When I’m with the community on Sundays I feel so strengthened and merged in spirit, full of love. I personally experience the power and blessing this ICN community is to the world. So it’s not just a hope. It’s a present reality I experience now. And I know others do too. I couldn’t have imagined a community so open to evolving and being a beautiful part of transforming Christianity and the world.
With grief and glory, I transmit all of Jesus that I know so dearly, and all the knowing that comes from spirit to each of you personally with my eternal love.”
Paul said to me last week, “To use the apostle Paul’s antiquated grammar, I hope I have fought the good fight.”
I told him he had, as I’m sure we all would tell him.
Paul has passed into glory now. And just like he has his whole life, he shares it with us. May we receive it in the midst of our grief—and the glory before us.