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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.

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.