Professor Beard’s Hourglass of Life


Greetings, my friends!

I’m recycling another of my favorite posts today. I was reminded of it last week when I was on Etsy, and an antique hour glass showed up in a search – randomly, I might add.  This is a favorite post because of Professor Beard’s message–one that has never left me since the below documented reading nearly 3 years now. ENJOY!

Post from June 6, 2014:  I was nearing the end of an hour-long reading (Messages from Loved Ones & Guides) with Louise, from Iowa. She came into the reading with a number of goals and questions, and it was interesting to see how they were answered one by one. Her Loved Ones in Spirit had covered most of them to her satisfaction, but a few more mysterious ones—like why she couldn’t get past the block in her genealogical research on her father’s side of the family—had yet to be addressed.

Hello, Professor Beard

My search for an image similar to Prof. Beard’s dress and physical features yielded this painting of Frederick Guthrie Tait (1870-1900), a Scottish golfer from Edinburgh. It looks like the University towers in the background.

That’s when Professor Beard showed up. I didn’t have a name for him right away, but described him as a scholarly man, with light hair and of large build. He was dressed quite smartly in a creme-colored suit, white shirt and some type of old fashioned neck ribbon or scarf. I could see the chain of a pocket watch hanging from his waistcoat, and he sported wire-rimmed glasses and a flat cap. From his dress, demeanor and coloring, and the way I sense geography, I said to Louise, “I feel like I’m in the early 1900’s, maybe 1920’s or so. I also feel like he would have lived in Ireland…(at which point, the image of a man I knew from Scotland flashed across my mind)…or Scotland.”

Louise stopped me, “Oh, my maiden name is Beard, and my father would say ‘there are a lot of Beards in Scotland,’ but I always thought he just meant there were a lot of men wearing beards! I guess he really did mean that it was a popular family name.”

“Aha! Well, this man does not have a beard, but it does look like he may have a mustache or other facial hair,” I responded.

University of Edinburgh in Scotland
University of Edinburgh in Scotland

The gentleman then made it clear that he was a teacher, and I could sense the connection to the University of Edinburgh, as I saw a quick flash in my mind’s eye of the University’s towers. From that point forward, I referred to him as Professor Beard. I then saw the Professor in a lecture hall and he pulled out an hourglass to show me. He said that he used it as a means of keeping track of the lecture time. But then the conversation shifted; Professor Beard began using the hourglass as an analogy and spoke at length about a preferred means of “measuring our lives.”

Now, because such concepts tend to come through to me in a jumble of visual, sensory and auditory information, I’ll paraphrase what he communicated through me to Louise.

hourglass“Most people look at their lives and they think of the time left to live, or rather exist on Earth. If we use the hourglass as an analogy, each of the grains of sand can be considered to be a measure of our life: days, months, years. As the grains fall down from the upper bulb through the neck to the lower bulb, we see it as time slipping through our fingers and find ourselves increasingly anxious at the thought of the final sands of time passing us by, always looking to see how many grains are still in the upper bulb of the hourglass.”

It’s a matter of shifting one’s gaze

He went on to say:

A much preferred way of looking at life is this: imagine each grain of sand that passes through the neck of the hourglass is a life goal met, an exciting accomplishment or desired achievement, a moment fully lived. Rather than feel anxiety at what is lost from above, gaze at the bottom of the hourglass and feel joy at all that has been gained! Take time as you move through the paces of your life to reflect on those accumulating grains of accomplishment and happy moments. Live with gratitude and a knowing that you are on your path, that you are reaching those goals you set for yourself prior to this present incarnation on Earth. Be glad for your experiences and for the progress you have made in the continued evolution of your soul, for all that you have learned!

Thank you for this reminder, Prof. Beard. Life is indeed a gift and we humans, in our obsession with time, sometimes miss the point of living altogether. Our lives are not simply strings of days, months and years held together by measured time. Rather, life is truly a succession of opportunities for expanding our awareness, knowledge and perception of our world. Every day is an opportunity to grow and evolve intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Every grain that falls in our own personal hourglass should be seen as a marker of progress and fulfillment.

What about the last grain of sand?

As I apply this analogy, a reading earlier this week comes to mind. It dealt with a tough question: “Why can’t my father just let go? His health is so bad, his quality of life is so poor. He wants to know if there is something left for him to do before he can go on to Heaven?”

Good question. Why is a life drawn out when it only seems to delay physical suffering? It may just be the case for all of us that our hourglass will not drop its last grain of sand until we have achieved what we have come to achieve in this lifetime, at least that which is still feasible given our circumstances.

I believe there are many reasons for that last grain of sand to defy gravity, but we may need to dig deep to find it. It may be something as simple as saying, or allowing someone else to say, “I love you,” or, “I’m sorry,” or something else equally as important. Perhaps a meeting with friends or family must yet take place, someone forgiven, a secret shared, a burden lifted, an empathetic understanding found, a project completed for benefit of others…  I believe that if we look inside with truthful eyes and an open heart, we will find it, and we will know what is required of us for our Spirit to fly free once again.

John Beard, D.Sc  (1857-1924), Professor at University of Edinburgh in Scotland

Tonight, I received an email from Louise. She wrote, “I found possible links for…a John Beard, who was a professor at the University of Edinburgh.  He wrote an early study on stem cell research about 1910.”

JohnBeard_real_Photo
Dr. John Beard

Now isn’t that interesting. And perhaps quite fitting that a scientist researcher of early stem cell research, the study of life itself, should also philosophize on how we should best measure and perceive the passing of one’s life. I just did my own search on John Beard (1857-1924). The photo I found online bears striking similarity to the Spirit who became known to us as Professor Beard.  I also have discovered that I’ve actually read references to his work in recent years! For those who know me personally, I pay a lot of attention to diet and the impact of toxic environments on the body as it relates to the perpetuation of cancers and other inflammatory diseases. John Beard’s work, once largely ignored, has made a strong comeback as current medical researchers are finding validation and insights in his early work. He was a man ahead of his time. In fact, his book , The Enzyme Treatment of Cancer, first published

Published in 1911.
Published in 1911.

in 1911, was reprinted in 2009 and available in hardcover once again.  If the Prof. Beard who came through as an ancestor to Louise is the very author of this work, I’m feeling very humbled this evening that I was able to share one more sliver of brilliance from this man.

Needless to say, I’m very inspired by Prof. Beard’s hourglass analogy. I’ll be on the lookout for the perfect hourglass to remind myself to change my perception of life passing by or slipping away, to a more positive, rewarding and accumulative philosophy. As Prof. Beard would say, “It’s really just a matter of shifting one’s gaze.”

6 thoughts on “Professor Beard’s Hourglass of Life

  1. I have remarked to people many times, that I feel like my life is slipping away right before my eyes, and has my life really been worth anything? This story of the hourglass really put things into perspective for me. It’s amazing how a person can look at life one way, and in the blink of an eye, see it in a whole different light. Thank you for sharing this Renee, I will think of my hourglass with new eyes from now on.

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  2. Hi Diane,

    Thanks for commenting. Yes – this has been on my mind a lot the past few days and I find myself reflecting in a new way on my past, thanks to Dr. Beard’s analogy. I agree: it’s a much lighter and happier perspective!

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  3. Hi Renee. Great blog! I haven’t read it in a while and it’s very appropos. I will be turning 60 in March and am wondering what the he** I’ve done with my life, so envisioning the grains of sand as goals is very helpful. Hope you are doing well.

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    1. Hi Marilyn,
      Yes – we need to stay focused on those beautiful, bountiful grains of sand in the bottom of the hourglass! I find myself thinking more about Prof. Beard as the years go by… Thanks for commenting!
      Much love to you, my friend!
      Renee

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