Archives for the month of: July, 2013
Credit: news.discovery.com

Credit: news.discovery.com

 

As New Age Thought on spiritualism gathered momentum at the close of the 20th century, The appearance of the comet Hale-Bopp in 1997 seemed to herald the dawning of a New Age of Consciousness. Every night I would climb to the terrace and look at the dark star-spangled night sky and search for that wonder visible to the naked eye unaided. It seemed to stir something deep within me, as stellar events inevitably do. It was after all not just a bright star, or Mars at its closest trajectory to earth. The luminous tail of the comet in the sky gave the appearance of something furiously on the move in the heavens – not a static star but a moving rocketing one. Doubtless it moved many to poetry. With me the analogy of the comet being the emerging New Age Consciousness was uppermost and so I composed a poem:

 

                     H A L E – B O P P

 

Comet in the sky,

You smite me distant traveller

With some strange nostalgia,

Far away going away

Every night for a while.

 

Comet in the sky,

Your light has tanned

My naked eye,

Touched my retina

With a new age,

Borrowing into my mind.

 

You surprise

Like a fleeting train

In the wilderness

Hurtling on its way.

 

Siberian crane,

You fill me with a strange passion

For your lonely furious pilgrimage

To another millennium.

 

Guiding us to another age,

Visitor from the future,

Your searing glorious passage,

Primordial image,

Like a messiah come

To disturb our settled equilibrium.

 

 

 

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Credit: goodfon.com

Credit: goodfon.com

 

No one is born perfect. Imperfections trail the best of us as do our shadows. Those without imperfections exist in other realms not needing to be born here.Even sages and seers who inspire us cast their ego shadows as the bright sun of our physical world glows furiously. Each imperfection reminds us why we are here. This is the great laundry, the giant washing machine. Our bodies are the garments whose indelible stains are sent back time and again for cleansing. the shining Self then dons it for another life time of energetic washing.

Some garments are spotted red with incredible anger. Another is green with envy and avarice. Yet another has obsessive yellow addictions for substance and sex. Others are purple with arrogance and pride. There are shades of grey growing darker with greed and gluttony. Shades of blue are in depression and restless dissatisfaction. Ignorance and confusion are painted in black. Deception and falsehood are silver. Every imaginable shade and colour painted by ego, fear and urge for the false security of acquisition and possession. A radiant white shroud  also awaits the soul that has no need for garment and apparel but which it nevertheless dons to become the washerman, blazing a trail for cleaning.

I offer my poem which seeks to show that while here we must reconcile ourselves to being fallible bodies attached to radiant spirits, for when the garment is totally cleaned, it will be cast away for good.

 

                 W E     T O G E T H E R

 

Facets of myself

Reminding of some genetic impropriety

I must not inherit, I disown

As enemy.

 

Facets I own

And love, espouse, protect,

Good looks, graces

Mental energy and prowess

Are friend.

 

But we move together,

Fungus and host

Conjoined,wanted

And unwanted entities,

Inextricable.

 

I know, like when I tried

From my pet fish

To peel off its fungal growth,

That peeling will kill,

That you are whole,

 indivisible.

 

Yet I abhor my spots,

Wish to extend my chin,

Cannot countenance

My inabilities, cowardice,

Or love my guilt.

 

So I compromise

As we rise together;

The shining self

Amid the shadows of the negative.

credit: what-buddha-said.net

credit: what-buddha-said.net

In all cultures, different faiths enjoin on us to do the same thing – excercise restraint, avoid extremes, abstain, fast, overcome passions, be frugal and thrifty, avoid greed, gluttony and licentiousness, share, give away and be generous rather than become acquisitive, egotistical and centred in serving the body’s demands  for pleasure and unlimited plenty. In a word a balanced life. They hold out the example of those who have gone further. Monks and nuns, Swamis, Gurus and sages, apostles and saints are demonstrated as examples of people who have indeed denied themselves all manner of pleasures and passions even overcoming basic needs through celibacy, abstemiousness and detachment both physical and emotional.

Is this then an exercise to prepare the soul for the time when it will leave the body at death, returning to its pristine state in an environment where physical need of food, sex and ego and egotistical attachments will become redundant, where fame and fortune, need and its satiation become meaningless? The Gita ( Hindu scripture) speaks of  renouncing ‘Kama, Krodh, Madh, Moh, Lobh’ – lust, anger, addictions and emotional attachment to ones family leading to excesses of greed – all attributes of a physical condition and irrelevant for an ethereal entity like the soul.

As we advance in age and the body loses its vitality, in any case many of these attributes get subsumed. Sex is no longer the driving force it used to be, the palate cannot be indulged in as before (burp), relationships get sublimated, progeny no longer arouse the same protective passion as they become self-reliant. The aging body which the soul inhabits has become less demanding and it becomes easier for the soul to realize its true ethereal essence without the ceaseless clamour for demands of the physical self.

Most cultures then enjoin on the individual to prepare for departure. In Hindu thought, there are four stages of life. Childhood, youth and family life, maturity and disengagement (Vanprasth). The last involves ending societal and familial obligations and attachments and proceeding (Prastha) to the forest (Van) for contemplation and meditation on the eternal verities.

The theme of renunciation (Sanyas) is a common one in religions emerging from India. Among Hindus the call to renunciation is advocated for the lay person, after all duties have been discharged and life lived to the full through the stages of childhood, family life and maturity. Among the Buddhists a family member so inclined may renounce the world and join a monastic order from childhood itself.

mid-day.com

mid-day.com

Among the Jains ( according to some scholars the oldest indigenous faith in India), the phenomenon of renunciation assumes extraordinary proportions. One is occasionally invited to an investiture ceremony when an individual, be he or she  a bureaucrat, trader or politician, irrespective of age, suddenly feeling the call to renounce, decides to do so. At the well attended public ceremony, which resembles a marriage in its pomp and ostentation, the one who renounces , ascends a dias with a throne dressed like a groom or bride. Then one by one he places aside his glittering turban, or coronet as the case may be, casts off his brocade costume, gives away his jewels, allows his progeny or some charitable organization to take away all his wealth and severs all connections with society, family and friends. His last act is to be relieved of his very identity through a change in name ( assuming a spiritual name ). Having thus shed all aspects of ego he dons the white. simple robes of a monk and joins a monastic order with which he departs, never to return. This is equally true for women who dress as brides, relinquishing all finery on the dias and cutting off all links with family and society.

Jain monks then are required to sleep on mats on the hard floor, eating frugally and sweeping the floor as they tread the ground lest they inadvertently step on an ant or other living thing. They also are required to tie a band of cloth over their nose and mouth (like medical practitioners do in hospitals) lest by breathing out they inadvertently kill some micro organism! This is the most extreme form of the practice of non violence which influenced Gandhi in his non-violent movement. Another order of Jain Monks seek to rid themselves of every vestige of ego by discarding all apparel and moving around stark naked (Digamber). Their lay followers crowd around them when moving in public lest they invite ridicule by non Jain onlookers.

Occasionally a Jain nun or monk will take the extreme step of terminating life by gradually giving up food and water altogether (Santhara). While some argue that this is a form of ‘holy’ suicide and have approached the courts to stop the practice, orthodox Jains have asserted that it is their constitutional right to practice their religion unhampered. The issue has yet to be settled in court.

credit: huffingtonpost.com

credit: huffingtonpost.com

Buddhist monks seek to sever all connections with the material world by refraining from engaging in any economic activity to sustain themselves. They beg humbly from door to door and survive on alms. The begging is also intended to exterminate their ego.  The lay faithful householder generously bring food grain, vegetables and fruit and cooked meals for the monks at their door, considering their presence as a blessing for the household.

credit: Flickr Hive Mind.com

Among the muslims the Fakir or holy wanderer, generally from the Sufi order of mystics, move homeless from place to place singing praise for the Almighty. The great Indian poet Kabir was one such and his poetry and songs extolling man to cast away his ego and merge with God find echoes in every corner of India to this day.

 

priest being ordainedThe ordinary catholic priest is another case in point. He gives up much with a smile to serve the community selflessly. A nun when ordained is also dressed like a bride (of Christ), much like  the Jain renouncer. Of course, in all ecclesiastical orders, East or West there is bound to be corruption. The lavish life styles of medieval and even present day clergy is well-known. No wonder the present Pope has sought to urge and enforce frugality and simplicity among his clergy. Some Indian monastic orders were equally known to have been more concerned with amassing wealth and political power than spiritual salvation.

All said and done, renunciation is big in India and poets and saints who wandered away from home and hearth, palace and pomp are hugely revered – to name a few we have Meera the princess, Sur the blind singer, Tulsi the author of scriptural poetry on Lord Rama, Nanak the founder of Sikhism, Raidas the mystic saint, Shanker the inspiration of Non Dualism, and Ramkrishna the mystic saint of the 20th century.

With such thoughts in my mind I composed a poem on disengagement which I wish to share with our readers:

 

     D I S E N G A M E N T

 

Time for disengagement,

As the essence of ruddy contours

Blurs

And attractions abate.

 

The self same stamp

From driven insect

To warm bodies,

As the floor show circulates

Like a fallen cliche.

 

Not urging any more,

Not stirring,

As the instant realization:

This could not be for pleasure

Nor even to procreate

But a premise immaculate

For forging difficult mergers

Of souls incarnate;

 

Lest consciousness  constricts

When infected sunspots

Scar the spirit’s sun

And through incarnation –

Experience of ego’s annhilation,

We learn that we are one.

 

Then we may allow attractions to abate

As lessons done

And time for disengagement

Has begun.

kundalinispirit.blogspot.com

kundalinispirit.blogspot.com

Emerging New Age concepts of the soul, ‘after-life’ and rebirth, and reports of Out of Body Experience and Near Death Experience begin to affect our conventional mind-sets slowly but surely, transforming the structure of our thoughts and beliefs.

The mind begins tentatively to accept the new concepts and inevitably they get embedded  at conscious and sub-conscious levels, shaping behaviour, attitudes, priorities, outlook and even our world-view.

Reincarnation was always reassuring for those brought up in cultures that had belief in it for millenia. For those who began to share this belief, it also had a transforming effect. The understanding that we are not here just once and that our essence would continue in time, made life more meaningful and less desperate. The aphorism ‘ eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow we die’  no longer applied. There was a sense of relief and the fatality of death was less alarming, there being no finality about it. An ‘after-life’ where we had a chance to make corrections and try again, made the end less traumatic. The thought  that our essence was in fact eternal was comforting. If we additionally accepted divinity in our essence, it became ennobling. On the other hand, if we did not, even then the evolution of a less than divine but empowered ethereal entity in our essence  was no less comforting.

The premise that there was no judgemental hell waiting for us was also less alarming, though we as entities that judged ourselves, did not do away with the need to guard against excesses and hedonistic and self-centred approaches to life. We were after all our  own hardest task-masters, for when you in clarity, sat in judgement on yourself, there was nowhere to escape.

Even in the course of the evolution of Christian theology, the acknowledgement of reincarnation was considered and upheld by many. The Gnostics, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and St. Jerome are cases in point. It was only in AD 325 that the Roman Emperor Constantine with the enthusiasm of a new convert, together with his mother Helena, erased all  references to reincarnation from the New Testament. Later at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 AD reincarnation was declared a heresy. This was an attempt, according to some analysts to strengthen the church which felt threatened by the possibility that through the concept of reincarnation individuals would rely on self salvation, ignoring the church. Yet several esoteric Judaic orders like the Kabbalah and the Rosicrucians continued to believe in reincarnation. 

New Age concepts of self-regulation by souls in ‘after-life’  through mutual reviews of conduct during past lives and through reviews with Councils of Elders, Masters and Guides and their reincarnation in groups as spouses, parents, progeny, relatives, friends and even as adversaries through considered choices to work out residual negative attributes, provided a novel and fresh perspective of the challenges we face in life through relationship issues. Good, bad and indifferent parents, as also good, bad and indifferent progeny, tests of friendship, sacrifices made and privations endured, sibling rivalries and jealousies and a whole range of relationship issues and challenging situations in life like being born with handicaps, were seen in the backdrop of clusters of soul comrades enacting dramas to work out and challenge their imperfections which had  carried forward from acts of omission and commission in precious lives.

The closest and warmest relationships were confronted by painful turn of events to test their metal and moral fibre. The course of life was never intended to be an uncomplicated, smooth sailing journey.The perspective that the emotionally charged atmosphere of family life and the constant confrontation between individuals was an exercise in evolution ordained by souls prior to incarnation, had a transforming effect on those who cared to believe.

Inspired by such revolutionary thought, I composed a poem on the birth of a grandson, which I wish to share with you. It shows how new ideas can begin to fundamentally transform ones belief systems:

 

    WAITING   TO   BECOME

 

From where have you come

Suddenly new face,

Smiling so fully with your gums,

First chalk on a new black board

Grandson?

 

Crawling about us with trust,

Recognizing us so instantly,

Being recognized at once,

As if you have existed always

Behind a secret door

Which has just opened.

 

Like our children

Who arrived before you in their turn

From the recesses of our minds,

Familiar from the first moment,

 

Or the wife who joined me

From the time we first met,

One by one we have become

Permanent,

 

And even if I rewind

To when there was no one else but me,

Yet they

remain in the shadows

Latent and familiar,

Waiting to become;

 

As if long ago we stood

Joining our hands together,

With the conviction

That we would come

As father, mother,

Daughter, son,

Grandson.

soul-service.tumbir.com

soul-service.tumbir.com

 

credit: triciamccannon.co

credit: triciamccannon.co

 

Near death Experiences (NDE) provide only a glimpse into the spiritual world where our souls reside in ‘after-life’. The NDE experiences ( two previous posts) are of briefly encountering it, but having to return abruptly to the physical plane, however reluctantly, to complete the mission. The ‘deaths’ were premature and were reversed with recovery and an extension of life.

The eminent psychologists/hypnotists, in the previous posts, added to this insight in regressing their clients but their purpose or focus was by no means to explore the spirit world. they had accidentally encountered it in the course of their clinical therapies aimed at curing clients of psychological ailments. What emerged was past life experiences, giving veracity to reincarnation and rebirth. These were therefore not an exploration of the ‘after-life’ in the spiritual realms, rather a verification of previous lives on the physical plane. As one of the psychiatrists aptly put it, he was more concerned with ‘relief rather than belief’.

Michael Newton Ph.D.

Michael Newton Ph.D.

On the other hand Michael Newton Ph.D., a counselling psychologist, master hypnotherapist and teacher in California for more than forty years, falls into a category entirely different. While he too began like the others as a sceptic and a thoroughly traditional psychiatrist, even resisting requests for past life regressions, his journey of exploration commenced with a client whose therapy did lead to past life regression. He then felt tempted to look into the spirit world through the mind of the hypnotized subject and several others later. While his concern was always to provide relief and cure for the ailments, he decided to research the spirit world to discover more about ‘our life as souls’, the ‘life between lives on earth’. Apart from curiosity, he realized and found that once the clients came to see their place in the spirit world, it proved more curative than merely learning about the past lives on earth.

Michael Newton’s book ‘Journey of Souls’ ( 1994 Llewllyn Publications) now in its fifth edition with thirty-two printings, encapsules three decades of research and has become a bestseller with over 300,000 copies sold. It is an extraordinary and remarkable book which peers into the mysteries of life in the spirit world. While there are numerous books recounting past life regression reports, I have not found any which expose fully the secret life of souls in the spirit world. Newton’s book is therefore  a seminal, path-breaking revelation of the spiritual realms like no other.

The clients under hypnosis reveal astonishing facts about the spiritual life of the soul after death. It begins with the, by now well-known phenomenon of, Out of Body Experience, viewing the body and those around it as the soul departs, beginning to float beyond. There is a perceived inability to communicate with the grieving, while a force pulls it away towards a tunnel with a light at the far end which grows as it advances through it. There is no fear and a total sense of well-being and euphoria. The sense of peace and familiarity grows. Emerging from the tunnel the soul is confronted by an indeterminate fog of diffused light. Thoughts of love envelop the soul adding to a sense of growing security and a feeling of having returned home. there is an accompaniment of pleasant musical sounds. Guides, soul mates, friends and deceased relatives receive the incoming soul with reassurance and affection.The personal ‘Guide’ has apparently organized the reception. The first light entity to come forward is the one for whom the soul feels the greatest warmth and intimacy, usually a deceased soul mate. Others like parents and friends follow. The purpose of the reception is to reassure and acclimatize the incoming soul to the spirit world. Souls appear to look like entities of light of varying intensity and colour, depending upon their levels of advancement. The purpose of reincarnation on the physical plane becomes clear. It is for self-improvement. At this stage of familiarization, souls greeting  the incoming soul can assume form and feature to remind it of connections it may have had in previous lives with them.

After the reception the familiar souls then scatter to their individual levels and the Guide conducts the now reassured incoming soul to its appointed placement in a group which is at its level of development. Some of the familiar souls are also likely to be there, being at the same level of development. There is a close relationship with the Guide over several life-times. The Guide is quite like a Guardian Angel dedicated to the  soul’s development both on the spiritual and physical planes. ( One is reminded of the ritual of prayer among muslims, where the worshipper at prayer turns his head to the right shoulder and the left, acknowledging two angels – Farishta – assigned to him for his protection and well-being).

Advanced souls make the transitional journey to their appointed circles without the need of reception or guides, as they are instantly familiar and acquainted with the spiritual world over numerous life-times.

Souls that fail miserably in their missions ( on account of cruelty, and unpardonable acts) meet the Teachers directly without the preamble of friendly reception and after a serious review of failings decide to reincarnate immediately to experience the suffering they caused in their previous incarnation. This is self-imposed and reflects the Law of Karma in action. There is no destruction of incorrigible souls – they are simply readjusted and remodelled during periods of isolation with the help of Guides and Teachers. This is not regarded as punishment but as  self corrective action.

All souls undergo a cleansing of acquired negativities from their  recent incarnation and emerge refreshed as after a ‘shower’. They are then assigned to their ‘groups’ or clusters where other souls at the same level of development congregate. These small groups discuss thread bare their past lives, learning from each other. Souls then present themselves before ‘Councils of Elders’, where their actions on earth are discussed in-depth. Souls in a cluster tend to incarnate together as relatives or friends.

Broadly speaking souls fall into the categories of Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels. Most souls on earth are in the first category. they tend to be more egotistical. As souls advance, the need for reincarnation gets minimized. With advancement, souls are assigned greater responsibilities to guide other souls that are less advanced. Advanced souls do incarnate as living guardians on the physical plane. Such souls can be identified as people with exceptional spiritual and ethical awareness. One can think of Mother Teresa, Gandhi and Martin Luther King as falling in such a category.

After the cleansing, review, and interaction with other souls in the cluster, the soul is required once again to reincarnate and experience life on the physical plane to evolve further through the challenges, pain, trials and opportunities that life on earth offers. For more advanced souls there are other options like incarnating on other planets. This is no easy decision. Leaving a world of peace, harmony, love and compassion for worlds full of fear, insecurity and aggression. Souls however do not regard life on the physical plane as purely negative and often look forward to experiencing some of the attendant pleasures of the physical plane for which there is some nostalgia. After a thorough review of their weaknesses and strengths, souls become ready to plunge again into the uncertainties of life on the physical plane to remedy past errors and take corrective measures in a new life.

The soul has to decide about the geographical location for its next reincarnation. A preview of the circumstances and scene is undertaken. A choice has to be made regarding the precise body it will inhabit, the family and the locale before taking the plunge. The return is swifter than the passage to the spirit world. The soul proceeds on its journey with a compassionate send off by fellow spirits and Guides.

In my review of the book I have barely touched on the outlines of the wealth of material it contains on a subject which arouses unlimited curiosity in like-minded people, desirous of knowing what life in the spiritual realms may be like. Michael Newton’s piercing intensive cross-examination of his clients has to be read  fully to absorb the many leads he provides to questions we may have about the nature of the soul, its appearance, its strengths, weaknesses and purpose, the environs of the spiritual world, the advancing levels to Godhead, the extraordinary ambiance of prevailing compassion and succour, the intense familiarity felt there, the total security, the beauty, perfection and purposefulness of the spiritual realms. The book provides answers to many of our unanswered questions, different for each one of us, some measure of satisfaction in his extraordinary research. For me it was simply mind-blowing and transforming in its import. He has gone on to write a sequel ” Destiny of Souls’ which has become a best seller again. There is also an institute on the web for those interested in pursuing their own life regressions.

The question remains how these extraordinary revelations affected my settled mind set, nurtured in  pristine Hindu thought millenia old about the soul, reincarnation and Godhead. Were there any surprises, deviations and readjustments to be made? Obviously it is easier for a Hindu, Buddhist or Jain (all originating from the Indian sub- continent) brought up in a culture which already accepted the concept of soul and its rebirth and a divine order in which evolution of man was inevitably towards becoming an enlightened entity, no questions asked.  The questions remaining I surely needed to address.

There was also the sceptical question whether the clients’ subconscious mind was responding to the hypnotherapy with familiar concepts, historically ingrained in the mind of man through scripture and myth – I refer to the great philosopher psychologist Carl Jung’s concept of ‘Collective unconscious’ of man where indelible and archetypal concepts and ideas remained engraved, that formed and shaped our psyche, whether we had access to any knowledge or not. Universal thought that made each human at the subconscious level bring up thought which had got embedded as an inherited fact.

There was also the difficulty of adapting the idea that the souls were indeed unequal in development and not universally divine and therefore infallible. In this interpretation it was not  divinity within us, eternal, unchanging, perfect and the mirror of the Godhead, planted in our innermost essence to develop our gross physical imperfections to its level of perfection.

Indeed much food for thought in the light of the revelations of the clients (or patients) in the clinics of the psychiatrists and hypnotherapists. My reactions I shall leave for another post (too long already), while inviting the reactions of our learned and lay readers.

The revelations are doubtless extraordinary, the reactions also I dare say, will be equally varied and numerous. After all the spirit world is not going to give up its secrets so easily and will tease by throwing  many spanners into the works and we may well begin where we started on our eternal search.

I imagine that  the clients under hypnosis experiencing the spirit world are much like the earliest foreign travellers to India describing it as a land full of monstrous exotic animals including elephants with wings! Elephants were exotic enough but to imagine them with wings must have taken a traveller with extraordinary imagination which readers back home would find totally incredible.

The question remains, how much are we intended to know and to what purpose.  Will this knowledge change anything? Will we emerge from it better off? Will it make any difference at all? If we have belief, then we surely already know that a benevolent universe intends that we overcome our shortcomings through striving towards perfection.

Plato

Plato

 

Raymond Moody

Raymond Moody

Several eminent psychiatrists from the middle of the 20th century have stumbled inadvertently into the spirit world in the course of their professional activity of dealing with clients with psychological disorders. The now celebrated Raymond Moody was among the earliest and coined the phrase Near Death Experience (NDE). In his book Life After Life ( 1975) which sold over 13 million copies, he presented  the gist of his findings from 150 case studies he had the opportunity to research. His book then also inspired a movie of the same name winning an award in the New York Film Festival.  The cases invariably revealed peaceful and painless transitions after death, the phenomenon of floating up to observe the body and those surrounding it, movement through a tunnel with radiant light at the other end, beings with glowing inner light, including deceased relatives and friends receiving the incoming soul, later encountering a powerful spiritual being which they identified differently, depending on their religious background, a life review exercise, and mostly a reluctance to return to complete the unfinished mission on the physical plane on account of the peace, tranquility, love and joy experienced on the spiritual plane. Moody as a professional psychiatrist remained sceptical as his later book The Last Laugh seemed to indicate, confusing his readers, till just a few years ago when he finally conceded that he no longer had any doubt of a life beyond death. He emerges on the internet’s You Tube interviews as a dynamic, genial and exuberant personality overwhelmed by the knowledge gained from his clients NDEs. There is also a Raymond Moody Institute on the internet to share his ideas on several related subjects.

Karl Schlotterbeck

Karl Schlotterbeck

Karl Schlotterbeck, another psychiatrist was on the other hand forced to concede reincarnation when his regression therapies, taking clients to their earliest childhood, produced unexpected past-life regressions. He averred that his goal in past-life therapies was always to provide ‘relief not belief. His book ‘ Living Your Past Lives (1987) also became a bestseller.

Brian Weiss

Brian Weiss

We then come across the now famous  Brian Weiss who like the preceding two was a staunch professional psychiatrist with distinguished association with Columbia and Yale universities. However his professional amazing encounter with one Catherine in 1980, suffering from panic attacks and phobias proved conclusive in overcoming his scientific scepticism. Placed under hypnosis she informed him of the presence of his deceased father and infant son in the room as spirits, with the full background of their demise and also the several past lives she had lived. He avers that there was no way she could have had access to the information. Weiss went on to write his bestseller Many Lives Many Masters ( 1988 )  and became a celebrity interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. In addition to affirming reincarnation he also spoke of Master Spirits and their messages coming through the patient, regarding the purpose of life, planes of spiritual existence, divinity within us, the movement of spirits after death to their appropriate levels of comfort and experience, constant support by spirits for incarnated souls, growth of spirits in the spiritual realms, reincarnation in physical bodies being a critical process for spiritual growth, the body being a vehical for spiritual development.

Eben Alexander

Eben Alexander

We then come across the curious case of Eben Alexander an eminent American neurosurgeon who taught at Duke university, Havard medical School, University of Massachusetts and Virginia with impressive record of activity in the field. Alexander developed meningitis-induced coma in 2008 and survived against all odds to report his NDE during coma – the splendour beyond the grave with angel like beings. departed relatives, splendid scenic beauty, souls cavorting in the sky and souls dancing below with butterflies and waterfalls. Alexander before the coma was a thoroughly sceptical individual with no spiritual beliefs. He miraculously recovered when all had given up. What induced him to return was the intense love of his 10 -year-old son. After his recovery he was a totally transformed man. He now intends to spend the rest of his life investigating the nature of consciousness and communicating the results of his research to scientists and people at large. His book, just released, ‘Proof of Heaven’ has been on the New York Times’ bestseller list now for 35 weeks and he has a unique website on the internet devoted to his experience with video talks. Alexander has among others been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and Larry King ( easily available on the internet for those interested).

All the persons mentioned above have met not only with criticism from the scientific establishment but ridicule for their ‘alarmingly unscientific’ approach to the subject as professional scientists.

The numerous NDE and Past life Regression cases researched by these psychiatrists take us, way beyond scriptural pronouncements, philosophical assumptions and scientific theorizing and hypothesis by some scientists ( branded as pseudo-scientists), in showing that a purposeful universe is attended by a realm of the spirit which is finally seeking, with caution, to reveal itself through the medium of Near Death Experiences and Past Life Regression.

One is also reminded by the furious media interest and millions of copies of the publications being sold, of the ever growing exponential interest among the masses all over the world on the subject, and of the prediction by James Redfield ( The Celestine Prophecy), Peter Russel (The Awakening Earth) and Lynne Mc Taggart (The Field) that a Consciousness Age and a Zero Point Age was now surely emerging in the 20th and 21st centuries moving us from an Information Age to a Consciousness Age of the spirit.

Credit: jeffreyolsen.com

Credit: jeffreyolsen.com

We began our exploration of the spirit world with a conception about the soul and its reincarnation, through Hindu scriptures, mainly the Gita. Later we compared the concept as appearing in Christian and Judaic theology, with the emerging thought on the subject by New Age scholars and writers, particularly James Redfield and GaryZukav. New Age concepts of the soul were remarkably similar to  Hindu concepts, allowing both reincarnation and effects of the law of Karma, yet different when viewing it as less than  divine and quite fallible, though ethereal.

I also sought to link the investigations and discoveries of quantum physics and biology with metaphysical thought, showing that science and spiritualism reflected similar thinking on the theme of the basic unity of the universe and our own existence, through the writings of scientists like Fritjof Kapra, David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake and scholars like Renee Weber, Lynne McTaggart, Peter Russel and James Redfield. We also viewed the practice of meditation and visualization, particularly of pioneers like Jose De Silva to link the resulting para normal abilities they impart to practitioners, with an interlinked purposeful and benign universe.

The next step would be to probe the spiritual world itself to the extent that it allows us to unravel its closely kept secrets. Scriptural pronouncements and the theology of different religions over millenia have indeed sought to provide theories and presumptions about the nature of God and the spiritual realms and for believers and the faithful this presumably is satisfactory and sustaining. But lately over the past century ‘Near Death Experiences’, Hypnotic Regression and mediums appear more intensively to have unravelled the spiritual world’s closely guarded secrets, one can only imagine with its deliberate sanction, for a purpose. The revelations appear to be remarkably corroborative of each other and match many New Age presumptions and speculations on the subject. While there is a whole range of literature on the subject, I will only review some of  the books that have had a profound influence on me in shaping my thoughts to present a gist of their revelations of the spiritual world.

Betty J. Eadie

Betty J. Eadie

I would like to begin with a New York Times bestseller, ‘Embraced by the Light’ by Betty J. Eadie (Bantam Books 1992). Betty wrote of her extraordinary Near Death Experience during a major surgery. First hovering near the ceiling she saw her body below. Three stately glowing spirits who had ‘known her for an eternity’ materialized to comfort and reassure her with love before she felt as if being drawn into a great tornado which swallowed her. Then through this dark tunnel she rushed towards a glowing figure of celestial brilliance and was embraced by it in love and reassurance. She felt that the figure could be none other than Jesus.

So many questions were instantly answered. All religions upon earth were necessary because people needed what they taught. Each church fulfilled spiritual needs that possibly others could not for a particular people. All were important and precious. Very special people with important missions had been placed in all countries. Spirits in the spirit world took part in the continuous process of creation on earth. Prototypes of planets and solar systems were first created on a spiritual plane like blue prints, later being translated to reality on the physical plane. Souls incarnated on earth for a time so as to assist their spiritual growth through the earthly experience. As spirits we had a mission on earth chosen by us. Spirits of family members also bonded with us to help us complete our mission and their’s. All were valiant spirits even the least developed ones. We remained free to act in any way we pleased without any intervention by providence. We learnt important lessons both from joy and sorrow. The battle between the spirit and the body helped in developing both. Love, compassion and service of others helped the spirit grow enormously. Both positive and negative  experiences of life were chosen by us as spirits for our development. Even the cause (often painful and traumatic) and timing of our death was by choice. Difficult lessons were learned at the close of life. Our greatest challenges became our greatest teachers.

Betty’s spirit travelled to different realms of the spirit world. She encountered a library of thought for acquiring knowledge. There were areas where spirits gathered to exchange thought.

After death the spirit went to the level of development best suited for it where it would be comfortable. She met one enthusiastic spirit, brilliant and dynamic readying to incarnate as a mentally handicapped person as that would help both it and the parents spirits to grow in dealing with the trials and tribulations of dealing with the handicap. Finally she returned to earth, as her death was considered premature and she had to complete the mission she had set herself. At the moment of descent she was surrounded by cheering angels who applauded her courageous decision to return.

Betty does not claim to be a scholar, mystic or philosopher. A householder with several children and grandchildren she is now a successful businesswoman. The daughter of a Sioux-Indian mother, she was reared in Nebraska, South Dakota. After her experience she became a counselor and hypnotherapist. She has appeared on television in the USA and Japan and participated in programmes in universities on Near Death Studies. In a word she is a quite ordinary person, like you or me, who happened to have such an extraordinary experience.

Her Christian upbringing doubtless moulded her phraseology and her experiences are interpreted within a Christian frame of thought and terminology. Thus in her slim book which sold several million copies, she refers to the soul simply as spirit. Given her brief journey into the spirit world from which she was sent back to ‘complete her unfinished mission’, there is reference to incarnation but no reference to reincarnation or rebirth. Furthermore, she identified the being of effulgent light that embraced her as Jesus himself. She also speaks of the dark forces of Satan and other negative entities who create hindrances in the path of spiritual development. It is possible that the references arise from her earthly mind-set framed in traditional Christian beliefs. But if we filter these aside through rational thinking we would still be left with the essence of her experiences.

For instance the moving out of the body to view it at death, the allowance to visit her family who were unaware of her death in the transition, the tunnel through which one passes on, the light at the end of the tunnel, the glorious radiant beings full of love and reassurance receiving her, the feeling of utter peace and tranquility rather than fear, the knowledge gained in a short span of time before her return of the need for all religions on earth, the spirit’s freedom of choice of birth on the physical plane in certain particular circumstances with abilities and disabilities that would help in its evolution, the glimpse of spirits or souls at different levels of evolution in the spiritual realms, the areas of the spiritual world dedicated to creation and inspiration, angelic beings that applaud the valiant spirits that descend to incarnate for their own evolution, the immense power of prayer and its response from the spirit world, the understanding that suffering is a necessary pre-requisite for growth and development, the acknowledgement that an apparently disabled person, a destitute and poverty striken person may indeed be an advanced soul on a path of evolution, therefore the need to eschew being judgemental, the fact that we  at all times are  being helped by a compassionate providence which may appear harsh for creating necessary trials and adverse circumstances for our development, indeed that we ourselves have selected the course of our roller coaster ride on the physical plane.

This case is important because it is related first hand, not through hypnotherapy or mediums. It is a first hand report of an experience, without the trammels of sophisticated analysis, philosophical interpretations or through the lens of theology and religious dogma. It therefore has its own unique value.

Later I propose in succeeding posts to present case studies of similar experiences in the clinics of eminent psychologists, parapsychologists, hypnotists and mediums, to throw more light on the world of spirit.

I will be concluding the series with the most extraordinary presentation of case studies of ‘life between lives’ by the eminent Master Hypnotherapist and psychologist Michael Newton PhD. Newton went beyond merely inducing past life experiences of his clients and focussed on the world of the spirit. His books are seminal in providing us a glimpse of what the spirit world is like, why souls incarnate, how  they evolve, and what are the ascending order of spirit leading to God. His facts are not based on hypothesis or speculation. He relies for his facts on the recounting by clients  under hypnosis of their soul’s home world. After being regressed beyond birth the clients subconscious reveals its hidden memories of life in the spirit world. ( More on Michael Newton’s book ‘Journey of Souls’ in a subsequent post )

This last book made the greatest impact on my thinking revealing in a rationally convincing manner what I had been unable to find even in scriptures, philosophical treatises or speculations by mystics of what the spirit world could be like. I am convinced that this has only become possible because mankind is now ready and mature enough to receive the information which hitherto has been held from it. the spirit world apparently now wishes within limits to reveal some of its secrets.

Credit: thespiritscience.net

Credit: thespiritscience.net

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