We have been friends with Natalia for more than forty years. She married quite young to an Englishman and moved to live in England. It has been practically always clear to me that she was karmically predestined to live there, because she had studied in an American college in Bulgaria, but her desires were connected only with England. We managed to maintain our friendship all these years across the borders by writing and warded off a number of attempts and intrigues from friends and relatives, aiming to cause a quarrel between us. Natalia (her pet name is Netty) was familiar with all the vicissitudes and struggles in my difficult career and life in the West, at the time when I still had a Bulgarian passport and had to endure all restrictions ensuing from my moral choice to stay Bulgarian. She, on her part, also put up a courageous struggle on her path of life, succeeding to create stability and material security, and she even settled nicely the life of her son by taking him with her in England in the years, when it was most difficult to leave Bulgaria.

For the last five or six years, she comes to stay in Bulgaria for one or a couple of months each summer and enthusiastically busies herself meeting all her relatives and friends from the past. Naturally, I also met her once or twice during these visits. Even at the time of our first reunion after a long separation of at least 15 years, although we chatted for hours on end about memories and experiences from our younger days, I realized that there was an unbridgeable abyss between us, created as result of differences in our worldviews. She expressed with aplomb and vehemence her amazement at how I could drop such a successful and creative artistic career, exchanging it for… well… “all sorts of strange, occult ‘nonsense’”. I gave her as a gift each of my newly published books and she openly confessed that she herself would hardly ever read “such stuff”, but her Bulgarian friends in England were keenly interested – they would certainly read them. So, during our first meeting, unexpectedly for both of us, we crossed the swords of our minds and in two or three positions only we realized that we were standing at an immeasurable distance from each other in terms of ideas and worldviews. We took the prudent decision never to argue about such issues – religion, evolution, materialism, spirituality, spiritual sciences, esoteric development and so on, in order not to spoil our friendship. The time we spent together was so short and it would be a pity to destroy what we had managed to protect for nearly half a century on account of the differences in our worldview. Once taking this decision, we have always kept to it.

Each year, when she came to Bulgaria, she invited me to visit her home in England, emphasizing that all her friends from Bulgaria had already visited her, some of them even twice, and I was the only one who could not find the time to do it. She mentioned that she had a look at each of my new books, but apart from the unfaltering high estimation of my intellect, she could not get it how I found these inspirations to write about “such stuff”! She confessed though, that her friends were “mad” about reading them and admired them and then she went into great detail to expound her entirely materialistic outlook.

“See here, Liana, you have to understand me”, she started with a sincere wish to explain her attitude. “I have achieved everything I wanted in this life. Maybe it does not amount to much, but I have my own home, a house to be more correct, I have friends, my son is with me and he has wonderful family and children… I meet friends and we play cards together, I throw parties, watch TV and grow flowers in the garden… I think I have all I need. In a few words – I am content. I am content with my life and I enjoy it the way it is”.

What could I say to this! I understood her and at that particular moment I was aware that it was her human right of choice and freedom. At the same time I knew that my eventual visit as a guest would give rise to a problem of communication and besides, I did not have time for such long meetings.

That summer Natalia came to Bulgaria again and we met first at her home, her maiden home. We exchanged the usual first impressions, questions about close friends, had a look at the latest photos of her grandchildren and her home, and then decided to have an evening meal together. We chose a restaurant close by, with a nice garden as the weather was nice too. While we were having our dinner, the conversation kept returning to the fact that both of us had the same medications for treatment of the bone system, but Netty said she paid nothing for them, while I paid 60-80 leva each month for one of the medications only.

“Does this privilege concern only certain medications?” I asked her puzzled.

“No. Practically all medications for people aged over 60 in England are free”.

“And what do you pay for examinations and tests?”

“All kinds of tests, once you have reference from your GP for a certain specialist or a hospital cost nothing. All medical services are free – the health insurance fund pays for them.”

“I can’t believe it! It seems in England is even better than in Sweden. Well, how is it with operations?”

“Operations are also free, but we have to wait a month or a month and a half, while they find a place to fit you in.”

At that moment I begged her to contact several Bulgarian television programmes, which were treating at that time the shocking issue of the lack of medications for cancer patients, diabetic patients and other life saving drugs even at very high prices, and to tell our TV audience about the health insurance fund in England. Natalia, however, firmly refused.

At that point, the TV, which was broadcasting a football match, faded down because of the coming news and we could talk again without having to compete in shouting.

“Still, Liana, I don’t understand why you are staying to live in Bulgaria. I am also Bulgarian and it hurts me to see the problems and the whole mess in Bulgaria. I am happy to see my friends, when I come back, I love my country, but I cannot not stay and live here. How are you managing to do it?”

“You, as many other Bulgarians, too, won’t understand it”, I answered bored with this question. “It is as simple as this – there is a lot of spiritual life in Bulgaria, if you are striving to find it. I have a circle of spiritual adherents, something not that easy to find when I’m abroad. In western countries the material culture has atrophied or rather has pushed the spiritual needs and interests in the back.”

“Yes, but people here live under the existence minimum…”

“It is true”, I agreed promptly, “but there are certain compensations, for which you need to open up yourself, if you are to understand them – the climate, the sun, the nature in Bulgaria, the food is different, and so are the people. The people, because they have suffered a lot, are more warm-hearted, they respond more kindly to individual or common distress, to disasters… They are more social in general. Bulgarians have another spiritual make-up – such as you would encounter only in countries, which have also been through long suffering and hell.”

“But people here are very simple, or they would not have allowed such poor situation in Bulgaria.”

“Oh, this exactly, is quite another subject and I don’t feel like talking about it” - replied immediately. “I met nowhere in the world such abundant and interesting intelligentsia as there is in Bulgaria, and I am saying this from my personal experience. Ignorance can be seen everywhere, but responsible for the poverty here are our governors, all the governments in which the people have set so many hopes ever since 1989… On the other hand, Bulgaria has a great history, great nature,sacred national places and… some “delicate” things, which, if you want to feel them, you should be here. Or, as master Peter Dunov said, ‘The Spirit works well in Bulgaria’”.

“Ah, see here, I will not tolerate religious subjects!” waved her hand Netty with a weary expression.

“Take it easy, I have no such intention – we agreed on it, right?” – protected I myself, “I only want to tell you that Bulgarians read a lot, they are eager to learn, they look for information in a wide aspect, ask questions, have broad interests in general, but so many Bulgarians are spiritual seekers in different directions depending of course, on the level of their consciousness. Do you ever read yourself?”

“Oh, yes, I read a lot, but not exactly books. Books are a waste of time.”

“What do you read, then?” I was really curious.

“Well, many newspapers, magazines, I follow the most interesting programmes on TV – they have many interesting things to say. The scientific channels, for instance. I myself am keen on chemistry and biology and if I happen to read some books, they are in this field. I am really interested, because only science can explain the origin of the world – without Gods”.

I was sitting with my head bowed down, determined to be silent and to accept whatever Natalia had to say, simply in order not to enter into an unequal dispute, but then promptly raised my head.

“What was that? What did you say?”

“That’s right. Only science can prove how man and the world were created, without Gods. By the way, I don’t need science to prove this for me, because my whole life has shown to me that there is no such thing as God. If there was a God, why does he allow wars, natural disasters and such misery in the world among people? I can recommend you something to read about these issues and you will see for yourself that you are studying nonsensical things.”

Well, at this point I had to take the floor.

“See here, my dear, with these few words you defined the makeup of your own mind, which is the polar opposite of mine. If we have common sense, let us stop here, or else we will get into a quarrel! I am writing books exactly against the danger facing mankind as result of such narrow-minded thinking. I can endure anything and I can understand that this is how you chose to live and that your interests do not include spirituality, but to listen to your solemn declarations that science proves the creation of the world without Gods and that there is no God – this I cannot tolerate! Well, it is quite understandable since you are gathering your knowledge and form your culture from the newspapers, magazines and TV – it cannot be different!!! But please do not recommend reading to me – you ought to be ashamed ! Let’s stop talking at least for a minute and come back to our favourite subject – our past.”

We were silent for a few seconds, during which Netty was examining fixedly something on her plate.

“I don’t want to spoil our invaluable friendship because of such disputes”, she slowly began, “but you, Liana, you believe that there is life after death and you write on this subject, and I know for certain, that there is nothing after we die… “

“Here she is!…., who’s starting it again! Won’t you just shut up! – I was getting already angry.”’ Stop it, dear, because if one of us has to stop talking, it is you”, Because believe it or not, thousands of years ago there were great initiates and special schools, and selected people were trained in the secrets of the Universe. Spiritual teachers left us the teachings, which had been secret once, for the creation of man, of the Earth, the goal of the evolution, and so on. Even my mother, who had materialistic thinking like you and believed only what the newspapers and the TV said, even she, living with me and seeing that I read only such books, accepted it in her last years. Yes, she accepted that man does not die after his death. Well, from time to time she said, “You’ll get it if you are lying to me! Tell me, how you can be so sure – no one has come back from there?!” But one could nevertheless explain to her after some time that everyone returned here for a new incarnation, although we don’t remember this. She wanted me to read to her passages from this or that book and she died without fear. But you!!! – You are an unbreakable wall of prejudices! Don’t you even remember that I wrote to you from Denmark twenty-five years ago, after reading a book, which was practically statistics, made by medical doctors only, who had passed through clinical death? Don’t you remember how enthusiastically I wrote to you what each of those doctors said about his personal experience during the coma?! Is this also nonsense?!”

“This, Liana, exactly this, is the biggest nonsense of all”, replied Netty with flat and calm voice. “I was there and… I know that THERE, IS NO NOTHING THERE.”

“Where were you? Where is this “there”?”

“Well, I’ve told you about it…” (She went into long explanations, which I will skip.) “I was in a coma then and ….there was nothing, nothing except complete darkness…”

“You were in a coma?! I didn’t know this… Well, then, how did you experience it, it is impossible that you saw or experienced nothing… all statistics of people falling into a coma tell about various extraordinary experiences…”

“Nothing of the kind!” she cried out and came out of her gloomy composure. “There is simply nothing! Do you understand it, nothing! It was completely dark and… NO NOTHING!”

When I realized at last that she spoke exactly what she really experienced in her state of coma, I felt something I cannot put into words… something very complex to be described, which contained sadness, horror and compassion at the same time. I did not say a word and did not dare look her in the eyes, for I was afraid she might see my thoughts. I knew the meaning of the darkness experienced by her – this is what she carried in her soul, complete darkness. Had she asked me to explain to her if I knew what this darkness meant, I would not have found the strength to do it. As I wrote in my book “Everything Can Be Amended Only in Our Lifetime”, it is absolutely true and it is never too late to correct your mistakes and to change your consciousness and lookout, but you need to have realized this and to be consciously willing to change it. That man is first of all a spiritual being and that he belongs to the spiritual world is something man needs to understand while he is on the Earth – only here one can acquire an understanding, meaningful spirituality. The Earth was created by divine means and only while we are here, by acquiring self-knowledge about our spiritual origin and divine purpose, man can walk on the right path of his evolution. That is why I was shaken, because Natalia not only believed in nothing but also lost her temper. It was injury to her ears to listen to anything else besides what she could believe through her senses, what she saw as existing on the earth.

“Why are you so silent? Liana, dear! Listen, let us stop talking about such nonsense”, she took over in a different mood. “Better tell me what happened with that favourite friend of ours… do you see each other? How is he?”

“No, we don’t see each other”, I replied with a slight smile. “He does not want to see me.”

“I can’t believe it! You can never make me believe this. He was simply unable to live a few hours without your presence

“Yes, it’s difficult to believe, isn’t it… I, too, wouldn’t believe this could ever happen, but it happened…and more - I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what’s going on with him, until three years ago, an unfamiliar man approached me and said I had to help our friend, because… he was in a big trouble, he’s been manipulated by black magic … and even told me who was doing this to him.”

“ Oh,oh, now please just stop this!! I refuse to listen anymore! My ears can bear it even less! There is no such thing! There is no witchcraft! This ignorance is a leftover from simple-minded people, but today, in our modern civilization, there are no such anachronisms. There is no witchcraft, it doesn’t exist… I don’t want to listen and I don’t believe you think it exists…”

I watched quite unperturbed the disgust Netty poured out and I said when she stopped, “Well, then. Let us not argue. No matter if you believe it or not, unfortunately, witchcraft is practiced in Bulgaria to the scope which is difficult to imagine, and it causes also a lot of misery and tragedies. Naturally, this is again an expression of spiritual ignorance, lack of knowledge about the karmic laws and lagging behind evolution, or else it would not have been practiced so extensively, but…”

“There is no BUT!” shouted Netty losing her self-control. “I never believed in any sorts of magic, voodoo-moodoo and the like and I will not tolerate it!… And why are you laughing now?” she stopped short. “This is going too far!”

“Well, I am laughing because in a certain sense I am happy about you. Such people, like you,dead sure that there is no such “ignorance”, are not affected by magic. I wrote about this in the book “Don’t Die Ignorant”. The fear for magic opens the door to its successful application. Fear is one of the greatest enemies of man. That is why our friend, whose mental makeup has always been unstable, full of all kinds of complexes, mainly fears, obviously have made him a victim of such manipulation.”

“No, definitely, I cannot listen to any such crap! And what is worse, you are not the first one to mention this since I’ve been in Bulgaria. No, I will not listen to anything you will tell me and… Liana”, she was already looking at me with concern, “you should take matters earnestly in your hands and read some books suitable for our modern age, written by the right scholars. I can recommend…”

“God forbid, if I come so far as to need you recommend reading to me!” I was already laughing heartily, “Let us stop this absurd talk!”

“Good, I agree. Look here, I had never the intention of interfering in your or anyone else’s life. Let everyone live as he finds fit. I am content with my life. Life is beautiful just as it is, I believe in the achievements of science and I believe in everything, which is HERE AND NOW. But to read all sorts of fabrications and to cram such old book as that… the Bible I mean, into my head, written ages ago by four bearded fuddy-duddies, what were their names? Anyway, I don’t need to remember their names…”

She put in this last fervent and passionate outpouring the whole power of her aversion for the fact that the world was still reading “them” and she used for this such kaleidoscopic, original, witty and inimitable vocabulary (qualities she has always possessed), that I fell into a situation where I did not believe what I heard. It was not the first time I met people with this kind of extreme materialism, but I had then at that very moment the prototype of this category of people sitting opposite me! I couldn’t have come across this prototype even if I had deliberately looked for it.

“Netty, dear Netty, wait, please, stop for a moment this verbiage. You don’t know what you just said! You are the ideal prototype of this kind of people with extreme materialistic thinking. I intended to write on this issue long ago and I collected a lot of material from various people, but just now you left me speechless! You are the prototype I was looking for, if I am to portrait it faithfully!”

“Well, write, then, whatever you want ”, she waved her hand and made a face.

“ Yes I will, but I cannot repeat what you just said. Don’t you understand this? In order to present faithfully all the things you said as your view of life, I have to use your own words. Please, I am asking you with all my heart, I know that you are staying only two more days in Sofia, but when you go home, as soon as you find some time, please write me in a letter just the same things you said – your view of the world in your own words.”

“No, no, definitely no – I hate both, letters and writing. I won’t do it. But you challenged me to tell you what I think…”

“Exactly, this is the real reason, but you still can’t understand my point! Your thinking and your world outlook are in total disagreement with mine. If I render your speech in my language, it would not be the same and I could misrepresent your words…”

“Well then, I am giving you fully the right to render and retell the way you want to and what you find fit from this conversation, since you find it interesting….Only don’t mention my real name.”

“You still don”t get it,do you? What you said, was an original masterpiece of the restricted materialistic thinking and I could not find the same words, I wouldn’t be capable of doing it!”

“Write just what you want to!” nodded Netty her consent and so this conversation and meeting ended with fun.

On my way home I was walking deeply thoughtful still feeling shocked by her spontaneous materialistic revelations and I was amazed and disappointed, that some of the people closest to me were living in total darkness. Not only this, but they were standing up for their right to live in this darkness and even got angry, if someone tried to speak only about any other reality, except the one we saw and lived in. So strong were my feelings, when I experienced again the meaning of what she said, and at a certain point I realized that I had fallen unconsciously into a spiritual state only I was familiar with, where through my feelings, in an inner way, the whole Cosmos was listening to me. That strange and, thank God, rare experience flooded in me, in which, if I did not manage to keep full control over my mental equilibrium, other beings from the soul world could intervene with their thoughts. I immediately exercised control over myself and regained my composure.

On the following day, the first thing I did was to phone Natalia and ask her again to repeat her “masterpieces” from the previous day. She laughed defensively.

“No, dear, I can’t repeat them, but I gave you the go-ahead to write and render them the way you like it, didn’t I!?”

“That’s right, but it will not be the same! Please, tell me only what did you say about the Evangelists – the four writing the New Testament of the Bible?”

“Well, I only said that it was useless to read that old book written by four gaga fuddy-duddies telling bullshit about Jesus Christ”, I was already busy writing down her words. “Why on earth should they cram into our heads that Christ came 2000 years ago to save us? Well, I would ask them, why Christ doesn’t come down on the earth now and fix things up. Where is He now?!”

We managed to part friendly, without quarrelling. I was glad that somehow I managed to worm out several sentences, which were her authentic utterances. I wrote the others consulting the notes I put down straight after coming back home, realizing, that the written words were nothing but a pale copy of her personality.