My conflict with conflict

brain-cleanse

Among the great and mighty rules that fledgling novelists and screenwriters learn is to fill their work with conflict. It is so baked into the bread of a writer’s life that this rule is rarely questioned, nor is this devotion to conflict recognized as a major contributor to massive social misery.

Whenever I walk into my neighborhood Costco, I get a brief yet palpable feeling of sadness when I see the line-up of TVs for sale. I have come to view TV as dispensers of bad news, which is to say, constant conflict. If the content that we put into our brains is mind food, then the high-definition TVs that we work into our living spaces act like junk food that may lead to mind poisoning.

We pay for the beautiful TVs and their glorious high-def pictures. We pay for the cable or satellite or subscription services that feed us mind food. Ultimately, without our being consciously aware of it, we may pay for it with our mental health, too.

I don’t think that many people have stopped to wonder what this saturation of media exposure is doing to our consciousness, both individually and collectively. TV is so ubiquitous to our culture as are movies and books that feature conflict (as the majority do) that we think of it as normal. We gorge on this stuff.

I come from the first generation that grew up with TV, the Boomers. Yet while most families had TVs, life was still fairly balanced with other activities. Boomers can remember a life before the saturation of computers, smartphones, Google, etc. From that vantage point, we can see more of the arc of social change that technology has created.

We can see how much more in your face conflict is because of the gadgetry that delivers it.

 KNOW WHEN YOU’RE HOOKED

Sometimes when I go about my everyday business, I realize that I am being influenced by old stories of conflict. Let’s say that I go to a rustic park for a relaxing hike in the woods. Out of nowhere, I start wondering what could go wrong. Is someone waiting down the trail to mug me? Will I slip and fall and need help? Will some wild animal attack me? My mind seems to preview everything that could possibly go wrong, most of it based on stories of other people’s rotten experiences in the woods.

Last fall I drove myself from Oregon to Arizona via Idaho and Utah. I took many roads spontaneously, and especially when driving through Nevada, I found myself more out in the middle of nowhere than ever in memory. I chuckled when I saw that Highway 50 is known as the Loneliest Highway in the US. I believe it! But what struck me the most was how many times during my crossing of the wasteland did I wonder what would happen to me if my car broke down and there was no cell phone service. It was a thought I could not get out of my head no matter how many different songs I played.

Why do I automatically start thinking of all the things that could go wrong? Is it that in all of the stories I have ingested over my years of living, things go wrong all the time? Things going wrong is part of the formula. Was I born to be so fearful, or have I been conditioned after hearing so many stories about problems people encounter. I am not describing a phobia or a mental health condition. Rather, I am describing an awareness of tendencies of thinking and where those tendencies have come from.

The conflicts do not have to be life threatening or horror story fodder. Most of my life does not involve life-threatening situations. It could be something like being afraid to share an opinion for (a conditioned) fear of insulting, offending, or riling someone. That fear could come from having just seen a movie or read a book where someone got into deep doo-doo for expressing an unpopular opinion, such as authors a few generations ago who got imprisoned because they wrote things said to “excite lewd thoughts.”

It could be a fear of consulting a doctor, lawyer, therapist, contractor, or sales person because I had just been exposed to disaster story after disaster story about how some so-called professional abused a client. No, these fears don’t usually keep me from taking an action, and yet there is brain residue from dealing with all the distrust that has come to my consciousness from an external source.

Think about it. Think about how many stories you get exposed to hour after hour, day after day, that graphically illustrate conflict. Think of how many times you become outraged, hurt, or afraid as your first response to a story, even if you can intellectually steady the rocking boat. The story can be either fiction or peddled as non-fiction. The truth is that non-fiction stories, perhaps based on true events, are created using dramatic story-telling techniques aimed at hooking your emotions so you’ll keep watching or reading.

CONSPIRACY THEORIES

I have been thinking about the popularity of conspiracy theories, many of which suggest that Big Government, Big Business, and even Big Illuminati actually control life for the rest of us. They are always doing rotten things to enslave us peons to do their bidding while they bask in the wealth of anything money can buy.

An issue I see with conspiracy theories is that we seem to burn up a lot of energy attempting to solve the riddles rather than working to solve the issues. Did some part of the US Government plan 9/11? Is some tippy-top-secret agency hiding UFO news? Is Monsanto poisoning everybody? For that matter, what about Big Pharma?

Conspiracy theories, which at their core are conflict stories, goad us into fear. They are staples of any media entity in the business of attracting viewers, readers, clickers. The game now is to mislead people with dramatic techniques so they’ll pay attention. Day by day, hour after hour, people are being tempted to turn their attention to stories of conflict, many of which turn out to be manufactured gotchas!

I think that the importance of this is recognizing how we handle real conflicts that affect us personally. How many ordinary people are unconsciously taking the lead from the media and are themselves parroting these conflict strategies? How many people are making up their own conspiracy theories because this is what the media by example has taught them to do?

My Facebook feed has become a parade of nightmare scenarios about calamity. Between all the clickbait (misleading headlines that beckon clicking on the link), sob stories, and rants, Facebook has become the new National Enquirer.

BOOKBUB

I subscribe to Bookbub, an ebook service that offers cheap prices on selected ebooks. Every day in my email I get an announcement about books on sale. They come with a brief description. When I look at these blurbs day after day, I see so much written about conflict. It indicates to me how much we thrive on it.

For example, there is this: “This rich saga traces the rise and fall of the Malacouti family as they face betrayal, ambition, and a painful choice in the early 20th century. ‘A riveting portrait of family strife’ (People).”

And under that one, this one: “In this richly textured novel set against the Bangladesh War of Independence, a young Pakistani widow, Rehana, strives to keep her family safe from the chaos that surrounds her. ‘An immersive, wrenching narrative’ (Publishers Weekly starred review).”

And then: After a serial killer escapes from a mental hospital to hunt down psychic Laura Adderley, can reporter Harrison Frost get to the bottom of the real story?

We don’t seem to see immersive, wrenching narratives about yummy stuff.

“An epic saga of friendship where neighbors band together to assist one another in living the good life. ‘A riveting portrait of cooperation that raises the bar on fulfillment’ (Publishers Weekly)

“Just when Sandra thought she could take not another moment of ecstasy, she discovers that she can. ‘An eye-opening narrative on cosmic pleasure’ (People)

Even when books work their way to happily triumphant endings, the fact is that by design we’re still forced by the conventions of story-telling to go through the long and winding road of turmoil. We’ve apparently decided that conflict is more riveting than solution.

FINDING THE FLIP SIDE

Certainly fear and skepticism have their places in our lives, and being prepared is always good. Yet I wonder what would happen to society as a whole if we did not cultivate so much doubt and dread, shock and awe as a normal business practice. In the end, would it create a healthier climate, or would it create a society of happy munchkins vulnerable to attack from any wicked witch flying by the neighborhood?

I like to nurture my mind. I’ve noticed that finding media that do not pander so eagerly to the conflict formula is a challenge. Inspirational, positive, solution-based media fare that feeds hope, love, and optimism is in relatively short supply. You can always find it if you specifically search for it, but there is a tsunami of conflict to deal with by contrast.

In times of personal struggle, it is good to have access to positive media. When I feel lonely, depressed, discouraged, or frustrated, I like to responsibly heal myself, a task made more challenging if I can’t find healthy input.

I believe that overexposure to messages of conflict is creating unnecessary turmoil. Garbage in, garbage out. There is so much mental cruelty being perpetrated in our information and entertainment media that I personally am not too surprised by all the violence in the world. Cause and effect seems pretty plain to me.

Often I like to fantasize about societies either in our future or on some other planet entirely where people grow up not so bombarded with messages of conflict. Maybe they grow up in a totally love-positive world where a tribe mentality dictates that no one should feel abandoned, no violence necessary, and cooperation is more important than competition. What would life be like in that world? What kind of problems would be eliminated from today’s normalcy if a few generations grew up with brains not filled with such a heavy influence of fear, violence, and losing?

BECOME AWARE

Don’t take my word for it. Pay attention to what media mind food you ingest. Become aware of the messages of conflict streaming into your psyche. Once you begin to notice how people are selling you conflict, you might become more motivated to watch what your brain eats.

 

Woo-woo questions

Moonlight

I am an open-minded skeptic. The afterlife sounds magnificent, but you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true. I am fairly new to reading books and watching videos by and about mediums. Some of them seem silly and unbelievable; some of them are compelling and inspiring.

The more knowledge that I gain, the more questions that I have. I like to go beyond the elementary, Watson. I want answers more satisfying than superficial one-liners and spiritual small talk. Some of what I have seen convinces me that we as a society should look more carefully into the implications of survival of consciousness.

I decided that for my own exploration I would make a list of questions that I would like to see answered or topics more fully addressed. One goal is to separate “entertainment” from more substantial, sophisticated works. Another is to brainstorm areas that I am interested in pursuing in my afterlife research.

While some current practices among mediums seem strange or even distressing to me, the ultimate purpose of my questions is to discover the truth. I deeply desire healing for this planet.

QUESTIONS AND TOPICS

Authenticity. In his book The Afterlife Experiments, Gary Schwartz explained how he designed experiments anticipating how skeptics might attack those experiments. If he could plug the gaps in any anticipated criticisms of his research methods, he would be doing more complete research. Similarly, I would like to see a medium explain how s/he validates the authenticity of the messages received. The better that a medium explains the mediumship process, the more seriously I take it. Ultimately, a medium is a window into a dimension beyond normal perception, and that excites me.

Afterlife researcher. How do self-proclaimed afterlife researchers validate their credentials? What kind of training do they have? (This is particularly noteworthy for cases where the term afterlife researcher is used to perpetuate a fraud by claiming that someone fully vetted a medium when no one actually did.) Similarly, self-proclaimed skeptics should also be required to put forth their qualifications. Many are highly skilled at arguing, nay-saying, and performing on talk shows, but do they even conduct research? Skepticism is often just show business.

Research. I would like to hear from mediums about the kind of research they would like to see to validate what they do. Trance-channel mediums, in turn, could channel about the best ways to conduct afterlife research as suggested from the other side. Conversations with afterlife researchers now in spirit would be especially valuable.

Methods. How does mediumship work? What can and can’t mediums do? Some mediums, for example, appear to have normal-sounding conversations with spirit, but then falter with names or specifics details. What is so hard about getting names? How does spirit or a medium explain this? (Skeptics explain it as fraud!) Of course, each medium will have a different skill and talent set, but some general expectations of what’s possible would be valuable for people considering a reading from a medium. (YouTube videos, for instance, show both the insipid and the intriguing.)

Medium’s preparation. Some mediums say that they meditate on a sitter to open the channel before the session begins. This sounds special. However, this does not seem to be necessary during group readings. Are there behind-the-scenes preparations that a medium doing public channeling goes through?

For entertainment purposes only. I wonder how we clients would feel about doctors and lawyers if a consultancy contract with them read “for entertainment purposes only.” Mediums and psychics often use disclaimers like this. Mediums who promote themselves on talk shows sometimes find their gifts played for laughs, particularly by comedy-minded hosts. If we are to take afterlife research and mediumship seriously, a paradigm shift seems needed. If mediums represent the idea that spirit does not die, then let’s get beyond the woo-woo party entertainment phase and move into treating it appropriately for serious afterlife research. (Yes, there is room for fun, but let’s respect the process of communicating with other dimensions.)

Dead Celebrities. Interviews with celebrities and famous historical figures usually suffer from lack of evidence. They sometimes yield good stories, sunbursts of wisdom, and entertainment value, but could not be considered authentic communication from spirit without verifiable evidence. I see great value in interviews with dead historical figures if intelligent, worthwhile questions were asked. Even without an airtight authentication of an identity, spiritually astute questioning of the entity could be enlightening if the conversation revealed a true depth of insight about a person, an era, or the cosmos.

Respectful communication. Some mediums suggest that recognizable icons from history (like Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Jesus, etc.) are eager to help humanity progress. These entities mean serious business. However, other mediums treat historical figures as novelty attractions for show business—wouldn’t it be fun to see what Marilyn Monroe is up to today? The conversations are casual; the questions are often silly and trite. If spirits truly wish to help evolve the planet, one wonders why they would tolerate and participate in circus-like videos, seminars, and marketing schemes. If these entities really wish to save humanity, shouldn’t they insist on a more respectful, serious-minded venue?

Rules of disclosure. Humans seeks to know answers to mysteries, and the departed are seen as having answers. However, are there rules about what information spirits can and cannot share with us? Easy examples would be all the common conspiracy theories. Was 9/11 an inside job? Who killed JFK? Are governments hiding ET encounters and technology? In general, what rules of disclosure apply to channeling? Is some information forbidden to pass along to humans? Who controls disclosure? What’s allowed and what’s forbidden? Why do so many interviews with historical characters dodge the direct, obvious questions?

The whole truth. Can spirits lie if you ask them a direct question? For example, could a spirit guide give you false information if s/he is guiding you to a crisis that was a soul contract? Do spirits have any motivation to lie? (Are they still human in that regard?) Could one spirit impersonate another one by lying about his/her true identity? When and how does dishonesty become untenable in spirit life?

One-way communication. Some mediums say readings are one-way. That is, the dead tell us things that they want to tell us, but it is not a two-way conversation. Then other channelers appear open for questions, such as Esther of Abraham-Hicks. Spirits/mediums who control or inhibit information seem similar to governments that censor and fill the media with controlled propaganda.

Buying answers. Some mediums and hypnotherapists talk about pre-incarnation life planning. We incarnate with amnesia about these life plans. But then guess what, we can go pay a medium or undergo an expensive past life regression, and suddenly we get access to all this secret information! While it can be argued that this is how free enterprise works in the physical world, buying answers seems to favor the rich. If amnesia serves a purpose, why does this work-around exist?

Negativity excuse. Mediums sometimes say that a sitter’s disbelief in a phenomenon creates a block to it. Mediums sometimes blame sitters for negative energy that squelches messages from coming through. This sure sounds like an easy fall-back position for a fraudulent medium to take to control a sitter who feels s/he is not being read accurately. What is the metaphysical truth about this, especially from a willing, open-minded sitter? How can a person be a healthy skeptic and open at the same time?

Compensation. Is a client paying for competence or for the medium’s fame and overhead? Highly visible mediums tend to be highly priced (assuming you think $300 an hour and up is high.) They are often promoted with active social media marketing. They take on high overheads to support and expand their business. It would be refreshing to hear mediums address this. Are they happy with this system? What are the ethics involved in their pricing? What kind of testing or accreditation should be involved, if any, to justify high fees? Does spirit concur with current pricing practices? Do different societies, say British versus Americans or Africans, approach compensation to mediums differently?

The ratings. In today’s world with the Internet, people can voice their opinions or review the service they got from mediums. This also opens up the possibility that a medium can plant good reviews and enemies or unscrupulous competitors can plant bad reviews. How does this affect mediumship? How do potential clients deal with what may not be true reviews, either good or bad?

Who’s on first? There seem to be different beliefs about what happens to the personality at death. Some mediums say we take our personalities to the other side. Others say we merge with the collective and no longer have individual personality. Some say we never fully incarnate with all of our energy; that a high portion of us stays in spirit while the other part incarnates. Sometimes there can be simultaneous incarnations; one soul incarnates into several people at once. What exactly is the entity that speaks through mediums at any given time? Is it the person, is it a higher self, is it a collective?

Continued growth. In light of the above, a medium could contact personalities (like Mark Twain) who (probably) have already gone on to other lifetimes as new people. Does this imply that any historical character (as with all of us) continues to evolve as that consciousness while s/he also grows as other people in new incarnations?

Change of character. Sometimes ornery characters on the earth plane start speaking from spirit as wise, loving, friendly beings who would have been a pleasure to hang out with. When and how does this change of character happen? How does a mean-spirited drunk suddenly become caring and loving? How about people who in physical life had no interest in metaphysics, yet suddenly sound like ascended masters from spirit?

Time. What is time like between the dimensions? How does time work when flesh humans are in one system that has time and discarnates are in another where time is different? Someone may have died ten years ago our time, but what is it in their time? Sometimes spirits who are “freshly dead” in our time have already gone through life reviews, reunions, and so on. They seemed to change personalities or may have even advanced considerably (of course, this also reflects the medium.)

Accents. Entities who come through via trance-channel mediums often arrive with foreign (to America) accents, or an accent different from that of the consciously awake medium. If two different mediums were to channel the same entity, how closely would the accent and personality follow? How is change of accent explained? (Having heard several trance-channeled iterations of Jesus, I have not heard a same-sounding accent come through from different mediums. They are all different.)

Soul Phone. Presumably, the invention of a soul phone would revolutionize human consciousness by proving life after death. A device capable of communicating with the so-called dead would be an amazing source of comfort and enlightenment. However, in this land of marketing and riches, would or could some corporation monopolize and then monetize the technology? Would or could spirits from the other side allow the soul phone to be lost to commercial interests or become too costly for many?

Psychic referral services. A referral business for psychic mediums may sound like a good idea, but what if it is more like an advertising service? What if the mediums are not vetted or certified as it is implied (until you read the small print?) If mediums pay a listing fee to be featured, then this is advertising with the main beneficiary being the advertising provider. A more comprehensive form of medium certification could help those mediums who are not of the show business mentality (the introverts) but would like certification.

Supply and demand. I find it odd when mediums have long wait lists for personal readings (like over a year) yet still promote their services through ordinary marketing practices. They continue building a demand that they cannot satisfy.

Frauds and karma. If mediums actually see spirits, hear voices, and so on, why would they commit fraud or willfully cheat to amass fame and fortune? Wouldn’t they of all people know that they are responsible for their actions and that physical death would bring them truth to bear? Or were they just acting a part in the Earth School curriculum?

Fraud damage. I think it is important to acknowledge the impact of grandstanding, fraudulent, or incompetent mediums. They feed fuel to skeptics. If they ultimately disappoint, discourage, or enrage clients, it brings dishonor upon the whole field. It makes being a legitimate medium that much more challenging.

Books. Mediums often say that a spirit guide instructed or inspired him or her to write a book. As a writer and as far as I can tell, spirit guides have not been lining up to dictate a book to me! In days past, publishing a book was a major event that involved a whole team of support professionals from a reputable publisher. Getting published was not easy. These days seminars teach how to write a book in a weekend and publish it the next day. Many self-published books today tend to more like commercials for a medium—advertising to create demand for readings—more than explorations of topics.

Vocabulary. As consciousness about death and afterlife evolves, vocabulary should evolve, too. Mediums today often speak to our current culture’s understanding of reality, yet if death is transition, not termination, and life is eternal and nonphysical reality is just another place to live, a new vocabulary should be created. Maybe words need to be re-defined or new words invented to represent new paradigms. Maybe ubiquitous phrases like “tragic death” can be altered to fit a new perception.

Pottymouth spirits. Speaking of vocabulary, over the last few years, more spirits have taken to conversational swearing—to the delight of some and to the head-shaking of others. One champion of the f-bomb is Erik from Channeling Erik, which has the various mediums who channel him swearing, too. While Erik generally offers astute spiritual wisdom with his “regular guy” pottymouth talk, other mediums claim that great spiritual teachers would not swear. (I have read dialogues from some so-called ascended masters who swear, at least via the words that come out of the medium’s mouth.)

Mediums and cults. Sometimes a cult will form around a medium. A cult is often characterized by isolation, secrecy, intimidation, financial blood-sucking, elitism, and narcissism. Is this fraud, devotion to a “low-level” spirit, or a religion? The lack of afterlife research from the mainstream world seems to make cults more powerful in their appeal to certain individuals.

MYSTERIES

Here are a few bonus questions not specifically about mediums, per se.

Nature. There paradigm in the nature kingdom is that we all eat one another in a food chain. Nature shows are filled with violence and cruelty, but it is regarded as “nature.” Why was this plan put into place? What was the design intent? Speaking of nature, what about those creatures that humans have described as pests, such as ants, mosquitoes, roaches? Is killing them a crime against nature? And what about plant life, especially that we cultivate as food?

Wars. Are wars pre-planned? If they occur on Earth for the purposes of karma or upgrading spiritual awareness, is there any point in trying to stop them? If we were to understand the karmic nature of warfare, what would be our exit strategy from choosing not to wage war? Is it even possible?

Diseases. Some authors/mediums claim that we choose exit points and manners of dying. This has huge implications for humanity. Currently we live in worry about how we will die and try to make our life as safe as possible from disease, accidents, and plagues of all kinds. If our death is actually planned in advance, we output vast amounts of energy worrying about various diseases as killers. Additionally, it’s often suggested that our health care industry is more concerned with profit than healing, which could include alternative ways to heal besides drugs and surgeries.

Earth School. On one hand, we are supposed to be in Earth School with a series of obstacles set in our path as learning experiences. So, ultimately, are we supposed to change Earth and make it a more loving place, or are we supposed to accept that this is Earth School where many obstacles are pre-planned?

Sex. In humans, sex serves more purpose than procreation. Over the years, however, culture as a whole has abused sexuality with such institutions as human trafficking, rape, abuse, exploitation, etc. Sexuality has been separated from spirituality when the two are much better merged. As a general rule, spirits don’t talk much about the purpose of sex as an agent of healing, bonding, and even friendship. Some spiritual sources indicate that in the spirit world, there monogamy does not exist. Sex there is energy/consciousness merging, and is beyond earthly comprehension. However, understanding it would probably help people in this plane rise above the mess that sex is in today.

Prayer. What is it exactly? Religions create specific rituals, but there must be a big picture, all-encompassing version of what praying is, one that might even satisfy those who do not accept a religious depiction of God. Can praying be non-religious?

Grief. How might the experience of grief evolve if it were conclusively proven that death launches consciousness into another dimension? Could the future of “death” become more of a celebration like graduation or a retirement party?

Hospice. If grief and the perception of death evolves, so could hospice. How might this excellent service from today evolve with changing views?

Death itself. For many of us, the vision of how death works comes from movies and books. It looks scary and painful. People who have had near-death experiences often reveal that dying was not painful—even if coming back into the body was! Is death painful?

THE LIST GROWS

I will add to this list either as I think of other things or people suggest them.

Proving woo-woo

Woo-woo

I am a visionary writer and an open-minded skeptic. I like to daydream about how life could be for humanity if we re-invented ourselves into a more loving, caring species.

I have always loved the idea that we don’t stop living at death, that somehow in some form our consciousness goes on, caterpillar to butterfly, and that we pass to a much more fair, just, and loving universe. Yet I have grown up with enough analytical skills to want proof that I am not caught up in some sort of Utopian afterlife woo-woo fantasy that I am all too equipped to create. This became especially true for me when my parents crossed, both in their nineties and tired of dealing with their worn-out bodies. It would be nice to know how they’re faring.

However, if you are not well-connected, finding proof that there truly is an afterlife can be challenging. What do I mean by well-connected? Have you seen spirits or heard voices? Do you have some mystical experience that offers solid personal proof and removes the fear of death from your consciousness? Do you have access to a skilled evidential medium whose accuracy left you convinced that a loved one is still around?

Currently, my connections are in short supply. I have read plenty of books, watched dozens of afterlife-related videos, even attended an afterlife conference. Much of this has been very persuasive, yet I am still an open-minded skeptic. I still want to have my own big kahuna of personal breakthroughs to put me over the top.

AFTERLIFE RESEARCH

I find it strange how slowly our society moves on afterlife research. While some researchers say there is more than enough evidence to conclude that soul survival is real, we the people are still nowhere near the tipping point of group consensus. With so much evidence teasing us in books, all over social media, YouTube, and alternative channels, I am still in frustrated awe at how slowly research progresses.

Here are a couple examples of afterlife-teasers from YouTube:

The Afterlife Investigations: The Scole Experiments is a fascinating look at phenomena which strongly suggest that consciousness does not die.

A prominent afterlife researcher Gary Schwartz PhD speaking at an Afterlife convention in 2013 shares his experiences and projects including his work on the so-called soul phone.

In contrast, just google something like “stupid research projects” and see how much money is being spent answering questions that hardly rock humanity as much as afterlife research would. Imagine if we took the kind of money we spend on weapons research and studied whether or not consciousness truly dies (including that of everyone killed in wars.) We would probably get enough change back from this research to end global starvation, and that does not include the change it would bring for our daily lives.

Until that time happens, those of us not well-connected go searching for answers in what I find to be a surprisingly tight-lipped culture (unless you’re buying what they’re selling.)

ROCK STAR CULTURE

We seem to be in an era where stand-out mediums become like celebrity rock stars. This trend of blending our spiritual nature with ordinary show business disturbs me. It arguably makes personally meaningful research more challenging.

On one hand, celebrity mediums help draw attention to the afterlife in general, which is good. Brand name mediums fill many of us with wonder. That could lead to a popular demand for better afterlife research and more answers.

But then comes marketing, marketing, marketing—as happens with any celebrity. Mediums end up hiring a staff to deal with demand, then PR/marketing pros to increase demand for services to pay for the increased overhead. Up go the reading fees. Then comes the ordinary ego-driven, fear-based marketing techniques used to lure in customers. This then becomes a business like any other.

Celebrity mediums often have waiting lists for over a year and charge more than a good doctor, lawyer, or engineer. They often do this without any certification of authenticity. The customer usually pays in advance, and the sessions are conducted under the medium’s terms, which sometimes includes a “no questions” policy, which means that what they offer is not a two-way conversation with the deceased. Don’t ask us; we’ll tell you.

Celebrity mediums tend to be packaged as people with special magical powers. We turn them into gods and goddesses, and they often draw followers and worship. I think of them as cosmic government employees given special security clearances for top-secret contract work. They get to know more than ordinary people get to know. Knowledge is power.

CHANNELING ERIK

In the YouTube-driven universe, we have great access to videos galore, a mostly unrestricted larder of mind food. Back in 2014 I encountered a video of the medium Jamie Butler channeling the late Robin Williams. (For some unknown reason, that video is no longer online.) I was fascinated by Jamie’s apparent ease in having free-flowing conversations with the other side. No problem seeing or hearing dead people. She also had the most infectious smile and sweet personality. To my eye she showed no body language sign of making this stuff up.

I watched other videos in the Channeling Erik series. Jamie had tete-a-tetes with Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Jesus, Buddha, Adolf Hitler, Jack the Ripper, etc.

This open-minded skeptic became very excited about the possibility that mediums could have such easy-going conversations with chatty dead people. I imagined all the incredible things we could learn from our ancestors if this was true.

But my wild optimism was tempered by logic. If Jamie Butler is the real deal, why hasn’t the afterlife research community descended on Atlanta, Georgia to do whatever it takes to employ her for serious research purposes? Does she not want to? Is she too expensive for research? Are researchers not watching YouTube to discover her? Are they doing research but it’s secret?

Jamie announced late in 2015 that she was no longer channeling Erik. Elisa Medhus, Erik’s mother, apparently sought out other mediums. The current mediums also display a similar conversational style as if they can see and hear Erik and others just fine. However, for me they are less believable than Jamie. It’s a feeling thing.

Too many mediums in general appear to be guessing, fishing, or pontificating. Sometimes they use cold reading techniques, a known magician’s trick. Sometimes they shotgun multiple items to see if one makes an impact. If the medium says “Your grandfather liked bowling, gardening, and travel” and only one was recognizable, was that a hit or was it 66% wrong?

For the average person, $500+ an hour for a private reading is cost-prohibitive. I call it a rip-off if the material received is like a platter of spiritual platitudes available in a $9.95 paperback. It’s one thing if the medium can demonstrate absolute authenticity through passing along details that only the physically-deceased would know. It’s another if mediums fill up the time with smoke and mirrors.

I am reminded of a schlocky estate lawyer my family had once. He charged a bargain $350 an hour! His bill included all the small talk. He essentially charged us to listen to all of his small talk which had nothing to do with the legal issue. Mediums sometimes fill up their readings with gratuitous talk that the sitter ends up paying for.

Skeptics have a field day suggesting how mediums commit fraud. I must say that I am just as skeptical of skeptics, especially professional celebrity skeptics like James Randi who make their living off playing the antagonist role. I don’t think it helps truth-seeking, which is the role of true skepticism, when skeptics become nay-saying pottymouths who seem more argumentative than truly inquisitive.

Yet on the other hand, the whole rock star medium scene displayed in many YouTube videos seems like a party game that screams “for entertainment purposes only.” Pretty pricey entertainment, too.

AFTERLIFE LITERATURE

Many authors of afterlife books had compelling personal experiences that gave convincing-to-them proof of a hereafter. That turns out to be great for them, but until I have my own experiences, it means that I depend on someone else for insight. Not so good. Religion is like that, too. Religious faith is usually based on being inspired by someone else’s revelation of what the truth is.

Researcher Roberta Grimes (The Fun of Dying, the Fun of Staying in Touch, Liberating Jesus, The Fun of Growing Forever) had two childhood experience with the light. As a young man, researcher Gary Schwartz (The Afterlife Experiments, The Sacred Promise) had a life-altering mystical experience hearing voices warning him of an impending crash. Anyone who has written about a near-death experience relies on their own cosmic adventure for truth-seeking. Mediums like John Edward, James Van Praagh, George Anderson, Gordon Smith, Jamie Butler, Sylvia Browne, and others are/were all super-charged with conviction through their own talents and skills.

Those who’ve had intense spiritual experience that they relate in their books all seem to insist that we are never alone. They make it sound like there is a squadron of angels, guides, and family all eager to help us out at a moment’s notice. But some of us live in a darkened sound-proof booth without tangible evidence that this is so. We are left to faith. It is for us that a strong evidence-based case for the afterlife would be especially useful.

MY READINGS

Recently I volunteered to be a sitter in a scientific study of mediumship. There was to be no contact between the medium and me. I sent in a fabric swatch that the medium used as a tool for psychometry. The researcher sent back written feedback from 7 readings the medium conducted from 7 fabric swatches. I was instructed to score each one for accuracy as if each one had been intended just for me. I knew that only one had been. After scoring, I was to send back the form and would then receive 7 drawn portraits, one of which had been based on a description of what the medium saw when doing the reading based on the fabric I had sent.

To my disappointment, none of the readings were recognizable as either the person I was hoping for contact from or from anyone else I knew. Maybe a 10% accuracy? One reading not intended for me seemed to be more accurate! When the portraits were sent to me, one of them had a small physical resemblance, but turns out it was not the one intended for me. I did not recognize the one intended for me.

A few weeks after that I had a mini-reading in a live streaming event with a medium I had seen in a public demonstration at an afterlife conference I attended. (I am intentionally not saying who the medium was.) Of the seven items mentioned as being for me, only one was semi-recognizable. By semi-recognizable, I mean that it was a broadly true statement but lacked enough specificity to be considered evidential.

One intriguing thing about the experience was that both mediums mentioned the same somewhat uncommon name, even though I did not recognize it as anyone I knew. I look forward to seeing if that name pops up in some meaningful way in the future.

OPEN-MINDED SKEPTICISM

As a visionary writer, I have already created for my own delight stories about the afterlife and multi-dimensional existence. I believe that I could write a convincing near-death experience account, which would be fiction. I could also probably write a convincing dialogue from spirit, which, given lack of proof that my guides exist, would also feel like writing fiction.

So I am definitely rooting for mediums who want to help humanity with their gifts. My skepticism only reflects that I want the best proof possible that mediumship is a legitimate avenue of evidence for the afterlife. As I have posted before, I personally believe that the future of humanity is at stake.

FUTURE POST

In a future post I will suggest what I would like to see in a book written by a medium that would be most helpful to an open-minded skeptic like me. I would like to see a book go to the next level besides the same ol’ Q&A. I have intriguing questions, and I hope they would have intriguing answers.

Exciting lewd thoughts

Lenore Kanel The Love Book

Fifty years ago, a woman by the name of Lenore Kandel published The Love Book. It was an eight-page, 825-word volume of love poetry that would land her in hot water, and I do not mean soaking luxuriously in a hot tub.

I was just seventeen, you know what I mean, and the way she wrote was way beyond compare.

I was raised in a country that prided itself on its freedom of speech. We were taught as kids that America was so great because it was the Land of the Free. For years I had been pledging allegiance to the flag, a daily affirmation of loyalty to the country that was so great and powerful that we could pursue our happiness as we pleased.

But in my seventeenth year, Lenore Kandel’s poetry was confiscated and the alternative book store owners that sold it (City Lights Bookstore and the Psychedelic Shop) were put on trial and eventually convicted. The San Francisco Police Department deemed that her love poetry “excited lewd thoughts” and that the defendants “knowingly possessed obscene matter with the intent to sell.”

I immediately journeyed to San Francisco and bought a copy because I apparently needed some lewd thoughts in my young life. It cost $1.00.

Fifty years later, I fished into my memory stash and pulled out her book. I read it again. I was amazed at its beauty. Ironically, it spoke more to me as a man full of reflection arguably near the end of his sex life than it did when I was a sexual newbie full of hope and promise for the life ahead.

HOLY EROTICA

Witnessing for the defense, Kandel called her work “holy erotica.” She was writing about the connection between sexuality and spirituality, a connection she deeply felt. Even today, the cultural majority builds a Great Wall between the two. Sex is not considered spiritual in any way, shape, or form, and spirituality is likewise not considered sexual. Kandel offered a rare voice in suggesting that sex can be a religious experience.

Wrote Ken Hunt in 2009: Her poetry was deeply resonant of her immersion in South Asian mysticism in which spirituality may take allegorical paths, including ones of eroticism and carnality, to divinity. Her “Small Prayer for Falling Angels” communicated an understanding of Hinduism’s Goddess Kali that Westerners rarely have. “Kali-Ma, remember the giving of life as well as the giving of death… Kali-Ma, remember the desire is for enlightenment and not oblivion.”

Prosecuting obscenity cases has always turned into a miasma of legal jargon. Is a celebration of sexual stimuli as a springboard to spiritual responses the same as promoting “lewd thoughts?” Is attempting to describe the cosmic significance of fuck (a sacred word as she used it then) on the same shelf as just about any offering found at pornhub.com?

Yet in 1967, a jury took ten hours of deliberation to find the controversial book to be “utterly without redeeming social value,” a legal definition for obscenity.

As a result of the verdict, book sales skyrocketed!

In 1974, the judgment against Kandel was overturned in a higher federal court after a state supreme court had upheld the verdict.

OBSERVING THE OBVIOUS

Something else I find astounding about The Love Book is that a woman wrote it. Women at the time were seriously discouraged to boldly go where no man has gone before. Expressing enthusiasm about sexual love was usually a male author’s calling, and as such was often more about bragging rights than essays about cosmic wonderment.

Kandel was also a rare sex-positive voice, rare for either gender. In her book, she was positively enchanted about the joy of sex, and this before Dr. Alex Comfort came along with his best-selling book, which despite its title, did not seem nearly as joyful to me. Kandel’s poetry evoked visions of awe and wonder, especially if so-called dirty words pleased more than freaked the reader.

Some readers called The Love Book porn. Ironically, porn predominantly festers in negativity.  Since 1966, the porn industry has had fifty years within which to explore, evolve, and perfect its product. The multi-billion dollar a year industry comes nowhere close to expressing the love, the hope, and the cosmic consciousness that was core to the message in The Love Book.

Porn usually treats people as if they have no other value in life besides being sex machines. By contrast, The Love Book is not anti-human. It is not sexually mean and condescending. It doesn’t even suggest non-monogamy. Even as her erotic poetry celebrates the role that flesh plays in the sexual dance, Kandel made clear that body enjoyment spawned consciousness that she found divinely inspired.

Said Lenore Kandel of her book: “I believe when humans can be so close together to become one flesh, or spirit, they transcend the human into the divine.”

The porn industry could learn so much if they paid attention to that 825-word book!

How strange a legacy to leave: poetry deemed obscene that teaches how sacred the body temple can be in the minds of lovers–and how taboo words can be used to accentuate beauty.

THE BIG PICTURE

The freeing up of language in America has not led to sexual enlightenment. Dirty talk has become a public spectacle, yet usually for insulting and marginalizing people, not for pointing the way toward higher sexual consciousness.

People growing up today come of age in a world full of edgy talk. When I was growing up, I had to launch a major search expedition to find dirty words in print. Look what happened when I searched today in google for the f-word: “About 241,000,000 results (0.36 seconds)”

Just about any night I can watch something on Netflix or HBO’s streaming service that is filled with colorful language, including depictions of President Selina Meyers’ expletives undeleted on Veep.

The take-away for me is more than just the novelty of the changing times, however. It’s more than that the printed words that caused arrests, prosecution, and persecution in 1966 are 2016 staples. Where would HBO ratings be without its cast of cursing characters on its original shows?

The take-away is that so many of our sacred cows are actually moving targets. We can get all excited about someone who does or says things differently than mainstream (or our peer group), and yet very little is granite solid in the big picture.

SEX ON THE MOVE

Different people see different things in sex. One person might see a cosmic miracle while someone else sees perversion and the next someone sees carnal entertainment, and so on. Further, over one person’s lifetime, the vision of what sex is can change, too. People change their minds about things based on the current circumstances in their lives.

I like to keep this principle in mind when I am tempted to judge people or when the circumstances of my life send me into new territory. I have far fewer absolutes in my life these days. Blacks and whites have all smeared into grays. I never know what it is like to dwell inside someone else’s body and that person’s unique history.

For the last fifty years, I have believed in my own version of holy erotica. If we were born and raised in a culture that took a more mature view of sexuality, treating it as a sacred gift and showing it respect, I believe that the global difference between what we have now and what we would have then would be astounding.

Sometimes I try to imagine what it might have been like living inside Lenore Kandel’s brain when she “fucked with love.” Did she truly experience in her own sex life the rapture she described in her poetry? Or was her poetry an attempt to define and describe a vision of what she hoped to find someday (for herself and for all of us?)

When I read her words, I am, of course, projecting my own consciousness into them. Words are just symbols, and we all have our own internal dictionaries. Yet I would definitely sign up “to change the temper of the air passing two strangers into one osmotic angel beyond the skin.”

Pretty deep stuff for someone whom many people labeled as a smut peddler. The God of my daydreams would look at Kandel’s writing and go, “Atta Girl! You got what I was going for!”

MORE READING

Informative article about the trial which goes into much more background about the case including how it was less of an obscenity trial and more about harassing hippies for rocking the social boat.

Excellent post about Kandel’s poetry and her place among Beat Generation poets. She was often overlooked.

Interview (video) with Lenore and information about her poetry.

Women’s issues should be men’s issues

Women's issues should be men's issues

One saying I frequently use is “Men are from Mars, Women and from Venus, and I am from Neptune.”

I often feel that I came from another planet than most of my earthling brothers and sisters. I see things differently from the norm.

One thing that I see differently from many men is that women all across Planet Earth are being mistreated. Men are frequently to blame for this. I am a firm believer in the idea that if men treated women better, life would be better for men, too.

 A CALL TO ACTION

Former United States President Jimmy Carter wrote a book (A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power) and has been speaking out about injustices against women at the global (not just the US) level.

In a TED talk, Carter enumerated a few abuses against women:

Scriptures from many holy texts are interpreted by men to justify placing women in inferior and often dependent positions to men.

An increasingly violent culture combined with America’s overzealous imprisonment of especially minorities has created more abuse for women, especially minority women.

Genital mutilation in many countries (not the US) is performed to conform to religious, cultural, and sexist reasons decided upon by men. Mutilations happen usually by male “cutters” during childhood.

Executions of girls/women is performed by family members in certain countries for bringing “disgrace” upon that family’s “honor.” A victim of rape is sometimes executed as punishment for bringing shame to the family. Some have been executed for marrying someone the father did not approve of or even for wearing “inappropriate” clothing.

More than 30 million people globally live in slavery, 80% of whom are women. In the US, 60,000 people are victims of human trafficking.

In the United States, illegal human trafficking is often done tor prostitution. For every one man arrested for prostitution (including pimping and trafficking), 25 women are prosecuted for being a prostitute, even when it was against their will in the first place.

Sexual assaults in the military and in university campuses often stack the deck against women victims  when it comes to prosecuting rape and harassment cases. The institutions do not want to bring bad publicity to themselves, so when they can, they do not prosecute rapists.

For the last 15 years, little progress has been made in equal pay for equal work. Statistically, a woman still earns 23% less than a man would earn for performing the same work.

According to Carter, America is the most warlike nation on Earth. We have been at war with 25 countries since World War II.

Carter concludes by saying that the average man does not give a damn. He suggests that men quietly accept their privileged position by not rocking the boat for equality or actively defending women’s rights. He says that this is especially true for men in power who are in positions where they could do something about it. such as male leaders in the military, the universities, religion, and so on. .

THERE’S MORE

Carter’s speech was a sweeping overview of abuses against women and girls on the whole planet. As a former president, he has the unique opportunity to see the world with the kind of access to people and places most of us only dream about. If you haven’t seen his Ted Talk, it’s worth watching.

I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, a place where women’s issues were more front and center stage than in a lot of places. Through friendships with women, I have been exposed to the abuses against women in the more quiet, insidious ways that don’t necessarily grab headlines.

I gravitate toward people who feel as if they were born on a different planet. I feel for people who have been marginalized by those in power positions. Whether it is sexual discrimination, racial discrimination, religious discrimination, lifestyle discrimination, or some other, I root for people who are unfairly mistreated for being different.

As I white male, I was born into privilege, at least its middle-class version. Yet as a sensitive person with artistic and spiritual leanings, I often found myself taking minority positions. I could appreciate and empathize with people struggling against the swift, mainstream currents, such as hating war when mainstream patriots called for war, not wanting to glorify materialism, and yes, supporting liberty and justice for all.

One of the best ways to come to understand women’s issues is to listen. Just shut up and listen. Observe. Watch what the world is like for females. Resist engaging in defensive thinking or debating, and just pay attention.

As a man, I may have worried about being robbed, but I never worried about being raped. As a man, I never worried that I would be denied a job, a promotion, a loan, or future success because of my gender. As a man, I never worried about being taken seriously because I was the wrong gender. As a man, I was never pestered, stared at, worshiped or scored by strangers for my sexual potential. By the same token, I have not suffered nearly the same level of anxiety over my appearance as women are socially driven to feel.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of what confronts women in so many places.

CLOSER TO HOME

Over the years, many of my women friends disclosed to me that they were victims of child abuse, sex abuse, or spousal abuse. Because I have had far more women friends than men friends, I have heard many stories about the struggles even the average woman goes through living in a patriarchal society that does a poor job protecting the rights of women.

It puts me in an unusual place. It breaks my heart—as well as disgusts and angers me—to hear litanies of how females are treated as second class citizens. My righteous indignation is constantly being aroused. At the same time, when a woman talks to me, often with great emotion, about how bad women have it compared to men, I often feel as if I am being attacked because of my biology.

They usually don’t say it this bluntly, but the message I often get is, “You are a man. You cannot possibly understand what it is like to be a woman. You are excluded from the club.”

Sometimes it seems as if my biology is being used against me as retribution for a woman’s biology having been used against her. I can’t say as if I blame them for their hostility against men, but it is also out of control from the viewpoint of fixing it.

As with so many other forms of injustice, the problem is that after so much harm has been done, after so many lives have been damaged if not ruined, how do we get beyond the rage to affect positive change? With so many women so pissed off at men that they have no trust left to offer, how can men who support women’s rights feel embraced for that support?

“Men are dicks, and in case you need clarification, that is not a good thing.”

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

In our media culture where most of us go to find out what’s going on—I gave away my TV but I still watch Netflix, visit Facebook, and Google for the News—we are so often taught to follow an us vs. them mentality. One group gangs up on another. We are encouraged to keep this mentality alive.

Seldom do I see much call for cooperation and harmonizing. The battle seems to be much juicier, especially when an issue is being played out in the media. Every day the media eggs the fighting on by words and pictures of any form of violence imaginable from name-calling to missile launching and mass murder. With this bombardment of violence, perhaps it is little wonder that most of us do not feel that we are all in this together.

Women matter. The faster that men realize it and support women’s rights, the more we might feel that we are all in this together. Feeling united is one of the best ways to start solving other problems that torment humanity.

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

 

Where did afternoon delight go?

Moonrise-loversSometime when I wasn’t looking, that comical battle between the sexes featured in classical comedies of the 1950s became serious business. By the 21st Century, it seems to have become mortal combat.

I was alerted via Facebook to an article entitled “The Ugly Side Of Being A Single, Attractive And Available Heterosexual Woman.” It was tagged with this comment. “As a therapist I hear this sort of thing way too often, when are these immature guys going to grow up and stop being dicks!”

I was not sure if the therapist herself was calling men dicks or reporting what clients said. Nevertheless, my heart breaks and my stomach sinks when I read stories about how some men sexually abuse women. As a man I am ashamed that my universal brothers would treat women this way. Not only is it mental and physical cruelty against women, but it then incites mass rage in women who think that all men are created equally repugnant.

As women become more accustomed to hearing and sharing abuse stories, including anything in the media, the potential for sexual beauty degrades for everyone. Women trust men less. They play defense more. They become less open. None of this is good news for loving men who desire to co-create healthy sexual relationships with someone they find magical.

Upon reading stories written by women trashing men for inappropriate behavior, many men do what much of mass culture shows them to do: they trash women back. They counter “men are dicks and assholes” with “yeah, but women are bitches.” And so it goes, punch and counter-punch, charge and counter-charge.

When women spew vitriol at men for their disgusting sexual behavior, justifiably or not, a big piece often goes missing from the discussion: the societal forces at work.

HOW SOCIETY CREATES DICKS

It’s not as if men aspire to be dicks (unless the pay is really good.) It’s that they are like Play Doh shaped into dicks through conformity to socially approved and promoted insanity. Missing from this narrative about men being dicks is how certain social norms and obstacles churn out monsters. Here are some examples:

Words. One indication of social insanity festers in the language we use. Why is it that the slang words we concoct to describe sexual organs (i.e., dick) and other intimacies (i.e., fuck) get turned into words used for insulting people? If you think sex is awesome, this practice  is like saying “Bliss you” as a drop-dead insult. Our whole vocabulary is perverted.

Sex education deserves to be more than the biology of reproduction and health. It should also be about what a loving sexual relationship could look like. Where in this world do people find positive sex ed, especially if parents or family have little to contribute to the discussion? Men are clueless about how to be good lovers unless they are taught, and secular and religious pressures keep people stuck in the dark.

Competition. Ever watch nature shows where animals maul each other for the right to mate? Seems insane in human terms, but we have our own version of mate competition. Manhood often gets defined as one’s success with women. DNA may provide a biological imperative to spread semen to insure survival of the species, but It’s no excuse for bad behavior. Loop back to missing sex education.

Intimacy. In mainstream society, men learn very little about intimacy. Dudes with dongs are often taught in a competitive world that intimacy is a serious weakness. Stand tough. Don’t wimp out. For God’s sake, don’t cry. Don’t even feel. When men are trained this way, having empathy for their lover is usually not on the menu.

Recreation. Sex is often depicted and perceived to be recreation, even among spouses. Often ignored is the deep mental, emotional, and spiritual bonding that can happen during physical lovemaking. Men often learn that sex is sport, a conquest game with women as prey.

Porn. The porn culture rarely shows friendly, loving, even happy sex. Porn sex is more often gloomy, mechanical, often mean. It is short-sighted and obsessed with the physical. Still, for many people, porn is the gold standard of what sex is supposed to look and be like, largely because there are so few sex-positive visions to compare it with. Porn often sucks the intelligence out of sex, and this is how many men get educated.

Mainstream movies. Little in mainstream movies, TV shows, even novels offers great role models for men and women as lovers/mates. Much more common are stories about dysfunctional people reaping physical and psychological harm on one another. Without healthy examples to emulate, we get what we are getting.

Gender war. In today’s media culture, you can hardly escape the rage and hostility of gender combat—it’s a war zone out there. This sniping and strafing often occurs without presenting solutions or balance. “When will guys stop being such dicks” gives no kudos to men who respect and honor women. Many men are not prepared to handle this hostility. We need strong voices talking about how to bring the genders together in harmony.

Healthy Sexual Outlets. Most society offers little help or compassion for people who feel unloved. Religions and secular institutions including the law do not consider sexual loneliness as a social problem. Lonely people often become targets of merchandising ploys. We further teach men (and women) how to be vengeful, cruel, self-loathing, and to perceive their loneliness as failure. Without healthy sexual outlets, rage festers, and a rape culture flourishes.

Penis pride. Despite porn, sometimes due to porn, men in our culture are given little reason to feel pride of ownership of their penises. With no sense of beauty or wonder, many men see their sexuality as a repulsive liability. When men feel that their penises are ugly, sex for them often feels like stealing, not giving. Loop back to words.

Spirituality. Many people don’t see spirituality in sexuality or sexuality in spirituality. The two are treated as polar opposites. With no spiritual significance, sexuality is more likely a habit, game, or procreative function, perhaps meaningful and pleasurable, but likely more body focused. Spirituality, meanwhile, is often viewed as anti-flesh, anti-pleasure.

These and other social forces turn many men into unfortunate choices for sex partners. I believe it is more complicated than “when are these immature guys going to grow up and stop being dicks?” We need some social evolution, perhaps even revolution, to turn this situation around.

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?

Huge societal forces keep us miserable, and solutions aren’t lightning fast. However, here are some that I would like to see take root in our culture.

Sex-positive media. There’s an opportunity to educate people through sex-positive media of all kinds. Whether it’s mainstream, educational, or even re-invented porn, the more content out there that shows positive alternatives to degrading behavior, the more it motivates positive behavior. People often learn by imitation, and the more we offer great examples, the more it is likely to take hold. Much real-life sexual behavior people complain about is exactly what is shown in too much of our mainstream entertainment as normal. So there.

Positive Role Models. Mass media could supply the world with male and female role models to demonstrate healthy and blissful sexual relationships. Role models could show the importance of integrity, friendship, sensitivity, empathy, sensuality, and so on. In the realm of the sexually explicit, wouldn’t it be liberating if characters in porn were so fascinating as people and not just as sex robots that you would want to spend time with them?

Communicate! We live with the myth that great sex happens naturally, spontaneously, passionately, just like in the movies. However, so many disasters occur when communication about sex is missing, deceptive, or toxic. While some may think it’s dorky to talk about sex before doing it, the truth is that it improves sex lives, especially if you are serious about being a good partner for longer than one night.

Religion often forces people to choose between sex and God as if you can’t have both. Seems unlikely now, but perhaps one fine day religion will awaken to embrace sexuality. In turn, this might bring respect to sexuality and eliminate characterizing it as evil. People who respect sexuality behave differently from those who degrade or pornify it, including how they treat their partners.

Focus. People who make a deliberate attempt to learn about something eventually find it. Media consumers need to be more vigilant about what they consume as mind food. Those who deliberately seek out positive expressions of sex are likely to find it. Similarly, those who seek out healthy choices in partners of like-minded consciousness will eventually find them.

Tribal consciousness. Western civilization does not embrace a tribal consciousness around a war on loneliness. We seem very insensitive to lonely people. How about creating ways people could feel more included? Until we start to feel the magnificent power of people united in love and inclusion, we will never know the force it can yield! Let the tribe unite and let’s stamp out loneliness and “immature dick” behavior.

Love Revolution. We’re so often taught that it is normal to judge, criticize, and insult people. What about looking for the good in people? What about trying to find harmony and accord? A society like that would look more like Shangri-la. Darkness and evil dwell more profoundly in places where love is rationed and sold, and where conflict is encouraged. More evil flourishes in war zones than in love fests.

FIFTY SHADES OF YUCK

In the article that prompted this post, the female author asked: “Being a single woman who enjoys sex means I have to constantly be defending my body and my morals, because if left to their own devices men will revert to treating me as nothing more than a collection of holes for their own use?”

Statements like this make me heartsick. If I take it personally, I feel totally shamed as as someone born with male sexuality, even if her description is far from who I am as a man. Then I feel sorry for the anonymous author whose experiences are so painful she feels compelled to vent with such intensity.

Stating the obvious, but healing is needed.

If you would like to read more positive material about sexual beauty, click here.

Dying and not dying

soul phoneA linchpin in a major belief could fall within the next decade. It’s a belief that materialist science has promoted for centuries, but it is weakening as more research data pours in.

The belief, which currently gets the materialistic scientific seal of approval, is that the human brain is responsible for all consciousness. It is that the organic brain generates ideas. It’s responsible for all the brilliance that humankind has ever created. When the brain dies, there’s nothing left. All gone. Too bad, so sad.

But what would happen if something so compelling occurred that scientists would have to concede that they had been wrong about the brain? What if it were conclusively demonstrated that consciousness survives the physical death of the brain and body?

That demonstration could come in the form of the soul phone. This device would take electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) and instrumental transcommunication (ITC) to the next level. With a soul phone, we could all talk to dead people! This is not just a science fiction concept. It is being worked on in the lab, a collaborative project between scientists on the physical plane and scientists in spirit who communicate through mediums.

When the soul phone becomes a reality, people on Earth will be able to converse with people in spirit. The implications of this possibility are enormous. So many social systems have been set into place on the assumption that consciousness dies when the brain dies, and if this is proven not to be so, many sacred cows are likely to fall.

It might not happen all at once, but here are some highlights that I view as positive:

Religion. Ironic as it may seem, religion could be the first casualty of proof that life is eternal. For the most part, religions have been built on faith, myth, and mystical experiences, not on science. Imagine being able to call Jesus (and a bunch of other spiritual teachers) on a soul phone with your personal questions. You could check in with credible sources in spirit including people you trusted when they were in the flesh. Rather than depending on multiple translations and edits of sacred texts, truth seekers could call a soul phone hotline for answers. To keep up with the times, religions would change.

Murder. A soul phone would make it possible to chat with murder victims. Even if their testimonies were not admitted as evidence in a court proceeding — but who says that’s carved in granite? — it would help investigators. It would also help the bereaved. Killing people could become much less popular if it was well-known that secrets do not go to the grave and killers are responsible for their actions whether in the physical or spiritual worlds. Meanwhile, the death penalty could be exposed as us sending tortured souls into another dimension, perhaps to join an evil spirit collective that believes in revenge.

Terrorism. Absolute proof that we do not die could have a dramatic impact on terrorism. At the very least, potential terrorists might realize that they would have to confront the people they killed or tortured. More important, however, is that global conditions might be improved to the point where terrorism would not be such an attractive career choice.

Crime. Criminals believe that they can improve their situation through anti-social behavior. What if that belief is proven to be a fallacy? What if communication from spirit revealed that there are no secrets, no shadows for criminals to hide in, and even more important, that there is help for people in distress? Once connection with a spirit world is established, those forces that keep people enslaved in poverty and torment could change considerably.

Poverty. People who have had spiritually transformative experiences often turn away from materialism and status-climbing. They become more interested in loving and caring. If this  became a global epiphany, humanity would heal the worst of poverty. We would not stand by watching people starve or live without the basic necessities. Material wealth would have far less value in the new cosmic perspective provided by soul phones.

Health care. So much current health care is based on profit incentive of big pharma, health plans, hospitals, and others. In such circles, death is seen and depicted as the ultimate horror. That all changes when you can talk to so-called dead people and find out they’re doing great. Under soul phone influence, treatment itself will embrace energy healing technologies and consultations with doctors in spirit. Further, new health modalities and healthier living will likely evolve.

Secrecy. What would a world be like where you could call a spirit who sees everything in an environment where there are no secrets? What if the deception that thrives in the physical world suddenly had intervention from whistle blowers watching the action in the spirit dimension? Governing and corporate corruption against the people would have far less power and impact with the soul phone channel opened up.

Legal system. Wouldn’t life become interesting if the legal system embraced input from the spirit world? Spirits witness anything and everything. Could they witness in court, or at least add to investigations? Court cases might also start to consider soul contracts, karmic relationships, and so on. Today’s criminal justice system is primarily focused on punishment for crimes, but what if the focus changed to healing souls and facilitating spiritual growth? What if prisons because more like schools? Remember, everyone’s life will be improving and crime will not be as attractive.

Property rights. Would property rights, inheritances, and similar legalities change if spirit had a voice? If a human soul left the body but consciousness remained reachable by soul phone, how might that change the system? Could a deceased person intervene in probate, challenges to inheritance, and would in fact ownership continue to cease at death? Could inventors, artists, and others continue working on their intellectual property in the next world?

Redemption. Currently a most significant reason why people seek communication with spirits via mediums is dealing with leftover pain. This is a two-way street. Spirits also want the chance to redeem themselves. With soul phone technology, this process could happen much more frequently and commonly. Sessions with therapists and other helping professionals could include chats on the soul phone with key figures in someone’s life, sometimes including revelations of soul contracts.

Reincarnation. A most profound principle of reincarnation is that we come back in a variety pack of lifetimes as different genders, races, religions, classes, body types, and so on. We choose each lifetime to learn specific lessons for our soul growth. That said, we should be honoring and celebrating diversity rather than trashing those different from us. Soul phones would likely provide us access to our different lifetimes.

Sex. Massive sexual paradigms could shift under the influence of soul phones. For one, no sex crime, act of cruelty, or injustice goes unnoticed. Abusive behavior based on gender and lifestyle would be exposed, as would sexual exploitation. Sex itself could take on a more positive, spiritual context with more focus placed on love, energy exchange, mutual pleasure, and mutual respect. Knowing that we are only man or woman temporarily, we would be more compassionate to the other gender.

Politics. The abysmal political turmoil that characterizes so much about life on Earth today would change dramatically with a soul phone-informed populace. The fears and frustrations that motivate people to support political controversy would ebb. As personal lives improve, politicians will have to address these social changes. Leaders will rule with more integrity because a new form of checks and balances will be onboard.

Education. In this world, most people are raised to believe in the finality of death even when they believe in a religious flavor of afterlife. Education would be much different when soul phones prove that life is a continuum. With that simple paradigm shift, so many viewpoints change including sociology, history, psychology. Preparation for life will take on huge new meaning.

Science. Imagine the working life of scientists in a world where consultation would include soul phone calls with colleagues in spirit. Scientific research may no longer be so focused on profiteering, weapons, drugs, and market domination. Technology may merge with spirituality to achieve a better life for us all, not just the wealthy or national interests.

News. When soul phones are available, the freedom of information act will greatly expand. Spirits are much more flexible than physical humans. There are fewer obstacles to making contact with people there than in our world. The news will come to reflect that reality. News could actually revert from being a commercial enterprise driven by special interests into more of a true public service.

Grief. While it may never be easy when loved ones leave for invisible dimensions, a paradigm shift would occur with soul phone technology. When you miss someone, call. When death is viewed as metamorphosis, not finality, stories about death will change. In a nutshell, it will not seem as tragic. It will feel more natural. More of society will support that view when you can phone other dimensions.

Loneliness. Soul phones would wildly shift the belief that people walk the planet alone. This could both ramp up conversations with loved ones on the other side and facilitate new (and currently unknown) relationships between the dimensions. Meanwhile, more global compassion for Earth School lessons that people struggle with will open up more paths to companionship and healing. The world will not be as competitive and exclusive; rather it will be more cooperative and inclusive.

WOO-WOO SKY PIE

Sure, much of this sounds pipe dreamy. However, if you attend an afterlife conference or an IANDS group or some other afterlife research organization, you will see how differently people in those venues view the world than mainstream “realists.”

Meanwhile, while you have to dig a bit to find more information, the soul phone is being openly discussed by the likes of Gary Schwartz, Craig Hogan, and Roberta Grimes, they being afterlife researchers and authors. (I might add that they may not agree with my vision of what could happen when soul phones becomes a working reality.) And as mentioned previously, a soul phone would be an advancement of electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) and instrumental transcommunication (ITC).