The Purpose of Pain

LonelyI don’t know whether this is a new trend in spiritualism, or whether I am just discovering something I hadn’t noticed before. In various places the concept is arising that a major purposes of life on Earth for souls is to enjoy the experience of pain.

Sounds like another exciting episode of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The notion goes something like this: we come from a spirit world where love prevails. In that world we know that we are all one. One for all and all for one. There are none of the contrasts that so characterize life on earth. For example, no being there is regarded as evil. There is no pain, no deceit, no violence, no loneliness. The very atmosphere of life in the spirit world is love, love, love.

When we as souls live in that bubble, we wonder about the pain of being different.

Apparently during the course of events of eternity, some of us decided that all of this love, love, love wasn’t helping us grow, grow, grow spiritually fast enough. We didn’t like being sloths in paradise. We wanted to experience some contrast. Since what you get in paradise is constant ecstasy, contrast turns out to be conflict, resistance, pain.

We were thinking, well wouldn’t it be great to go to a place where we didn’t get what we wanted whenever we wanted it? Wouldn’t it be great to suffer? Think how much we would learn! Think how much fun that would be!

So we (or at least someone we knew) manifested Earth School. Some of us really wanted to be material girls and boys, so we eagerly signed up. Other souls thought we were crazy. I am not sure why, since they did not know what pain was. Maybe neither did we.

EMBRACE THE LOVE

Most of the time, what I used to hear was that we incarnate on Planet Earth to learn how to love. Our purpose is to love. That’s it. Love.

Then the message got a little more complicated. The notion then became that we were supposed to learn how to love in the face of trials and tribulations. We were supposed to love our enemies. And forgive them.

Many of those conflicts were the results of karma that we had created in our past. If we had cursed, bludgeoned, poisoned, decapitated our fellow human beings in previous lifetimes, we eventually need to pay the piper.

There are no free lunches.

So if in one life you thought it would be fulfilling to capture and torture slaves for a living, in another life, just to balance things out, your soul would say to you, “Hey, here’s a fun idea! It’s time you were born into poverty and raised by cruel, abusive parents. All right? Off you go!”

This theme has countless variations.

Spiritual teachers often insist that karma is about balancing, not punishment. You essentially experience the contrast in another life to what you do in this one. In the spectrum of our Earth lives, the whole kaboodle, we choose a bunch of different roles including playing the bad guys. We may actually choose to be a lowlife criminal during a particular life just to experience the pain of living that awful existence.

EMBRACE THE PAIN

In light of this trend in spiritual philosophy, pain is where it’s at. Embrace the pain. Enjoy the mental anguish.

What’s being taught is an extension of the spinach before ice cream mentality. OK, this doesn’t really work for me because I like spinach, but nevertheless, the idea holds. By completely experiencing the pain of life on Planet Earth, we will be overjoyed to return home to a sexless, immaterial world.

Wait! No sex? Well, everything is better than sex anyway, so don’t worry about it.

There is no pain in heaven. Just about anything that you find painful here in the material world is missing from the spirit world. That’s great, except that apparently some things you find delightful in the material world are also missing in action from the spirit world. A few of those enticements lure us back to this pain-laden wonderland.

Sex, for instance.

Spirits constantly tell us that there is a form of sex in the spirit world, but it is entirely ethereal. It is energy-based. It is merging with another being in complete awareness of who they are, what they think, what they feel. And very unlike life on Earth, people don’t form couples. You merge with anyone and everyone. But it is a fleshless existence, and apparently for us in spirit form, flesh is so compelling, so off-the-charts yummy that we can’t wait to come back here to enjoy it. Then we get here again and re-discover that sex dwells in a cesspool of insecurity, jealousy, deceit, greed, persecution, violence, etc. Just sayin’. We don’t even recognize what a gift we were given, and so we go about destroying it.

PLAN IT AGAIN, SAM

So before incarnating, we engage in planning sessions to design all the great pain we’re going to experience. Oh, yay!

I’m not sure yet how I feel about this idea that Earth School is Pain School. Part of me wonders if accepting that idea while we are here on this planet is a magnet for attracting more pain. It’s as if the universe says, OK you want more pain? Here, have a car crash. Want some catastrophic earthquaking? How about a swarm of locusts?

On the other hand, when I am in the midst of feeling pain, trying to responsibly deal with something yucky, it does help me to consider that perhaps my soul is growing more swiftly because I am enduring the life here. This thought helps me move from rage or angst to love and forgiveness.

Love the bastard. Forgive the bitch.

The Earth is for pain idea usually goes in hand with the life plan idea. Books like Your Soul’s Plan and Your Soul’s Gift by Robert Schwartz illustrate how different traumas, tragedies, and challenges helped people grow. People in his books often experienced enormous pain, but they also grew in leaps and bounds, both in Earth terms and in a spiritual perspective. They often end up thanking God for that blessing in disguise.

People often resist the idea that a tragedy was planned before incarnating. It seems weird and  unloving. Why would someone as a loving soul deliberately choose to step into harm’s way? Well, pain seems to be a great motivator and Earth School is about contrast, pain versus pleasure, bad versus good, light versus dark. No pain, no gain.

For those of us currently existing in physical bodies, it’s not a pleasant thought to wonder if there are more great wallops of pain to come. Are we sitting on ticking time bombs? What else do I get to deal with on my life’s journey?

Yet to quiet that rant comes the idea that we have a team of guides, angels, and loved ones on the other side who help us negotiate any lesson we have on our learning plate. As we grow spiritually, we make wiser choices that help us deal with and even avoid life’s obstacles. Further, good stuff is in store to help balance out what we might see as bad stuff.

Spirit might see our lessons just as many of us watch a TV show or read a good book about someone else’s pain. We enjoy learning about someone else’s troubles, partly as a way to deal with our own. Many of us are entertained by someone else’s troubles. Could it be that our own souls can disassociate with us and our pain as we disassociate from other people’s pain? Hmmm?

In summarizing the main lessons of his book Seeking Jordan, author Matthew McKay, PhD (who co-authored the book with his murdered son Jordan who is on the other side) says in a YouTube interview [edited], “The reason we show up on this beautiful but difficult planet is because there is pain here. In the life between lives, there isn’t any pain. We feel known there. We feel part of things. We feel supported by this vast community of souls. And there isn’t pain in the sense that we know it here. But pain affords us opportunities to grow. Struggling with things that hurt is how we evolve and develop as souls. And perhaps the greatest pain we experience is loss, things that we count on taken from us. Our life here is learning how to love in the face of pain.”

What if Earth is Hell?

 

Scareguy

Think about it.

What if we are actually living in the place called Hell?

What if the idea of Hell was invented to control people—to scare them into submission? What if it is all just a sham of for-profit evangelicalism, a form of religious terrorism handed down from generation to generation?

Much of the spiritual literature I have read suggests that Hell is a human-made construct that only exists in our minds and in our myths. I think this idea may be forbidden fruit worth tasting.

What if Earth is the worst that it gets? What if all the ideas about “going to hell” are stories that keep us festering in a tormented mental state of worry—but in the end it’s just a story?

THE GROUND FLOOR

Spiritual teachers often say that physical Earth is like the ground floor, the bottom step of the stairway to the stars.

When we die we transform from flesh life into spirit life but we remain at a fairly similar vibration to how we are here. That is, we have much the same consciousness as before we died. We do not instantly become enlightened or angelic.

The natural laws in that next dimension, known as the astral plane, are different from the physical laws we knew on physical Earth. Nevertheless, people used to living in a dark and dreary consciousness on Earth still live in a dark and dreary consciousness in the astral.

If a person has done some spiritual work, however, he or she is more prepared to function in the new nonphysical environment that person now inhabits. Mentally and emotionally, people with spiritual insight are more flexible in coping with the change that crossing over presents. They can move out of the astral plane and into the higher planes.

MEDIA HELL

On Earth many people do things or do not do things to avoid going to Hell when they die. Religions for generations have taught that Hell is far worse than life on Earth. In is constant torment and eternal punishment without the possibility of parole. By contrast, for all its troubles, Earth is a cake walk. Yes, even with the Holocaust.

Our mass media continue this conditioning by concocting a flurry of scary stories about ghosts, ghouls, goblins, damnation, and eternal misery. Supposedly for our entertainment, these horror stories condition people to be fearful of the unknown. The sheer volume of angst over ecstasy in our media offerings makes me wonder if we aren’t already in the jaws of Hell.

When I watch movies, almost any movie, I am always impressed by how much conflict, dysfunction, and woe is paraded before us! Movie protagonists rarely experience ecstatic insights and mystical bliss; they’re too busy struggling. Our brains are fed far more visions about anguish and suffering than stories about  joy, success, and harmony. I hardly ever see an exposé about good stuff.

One reason why Earth seems like Hell to me is noticing how relatively difficult it is to find good resources for rising above misery. When I am feeling lonely, depressed, or troubled, my natural tendency is to seek my own way out of it. I often turn to media for a jumpstart. Too often I find rampant negativity and unrest. Unfortunately, many places like the news, social media, and the entertainment industry provide more what’s wrong than what’s right. We’re bombarded with conflict.

Society’s solutions for dealing with stress and angst are often not in our best interest. Drinking, smoking, doping, overeating, gambling, unloving sex are often used by people to help them get out of the doldrums, and usually they put us farther into the doldrums. Society proffers wealth as a solution for misery, but so often wealth just brings on a plethora of new problems including workaholism, rampant consumerism, and total keep-up-with-the-Joneses exhaustion. While you can turn to the church, a therapist, a doctor, higher education, and so on, these solutions usually include heavy time, energy, and financial commitments. They are not quick fixes.

It surprises me that humans have invented more ways to suffer than they have to share examples of life’s bliss. It makes me wonder if that’s by design. Is Earth School the actual Hell?

WHAT IS HELL?

The mythology of Hell is that it is a real place where real eternal torture happens. It even poses God as a co-conspirator in its creation. If you don’t obey God (as interpreted by humans), God will send you to the concentration camp of Hell.

R.C. Sproul wrote: “Hell, then, is an eternity before the righteous, ever-burning wrath of God, a suffering torment from which there is no escape and no relief. Understanding this is crucial to our drive to appreciate the work of Christ and to preach His gospel.”

People who have had near-death experiences (NDEs) and spirits channeled through psychic mediums often contradict views like those held by Sproul. A minority of people who have had NDEs did find themselves in hellish circumstances where they encountered demonic antagonists. However, many of these stories had happy endings. The victim was rescued from the pit and escorted to heavenly places before being sent back to Earth. The general conclusion that comes from these stories seems to be that Hell exists but it’s not the eternal fire pit that many religious teach. You can leave it if you choose to.

Many spiritual teachers say that Earth School is where our souls learn valuable lessons about love through our many incarnations. Some teachers say that as souls we deliberately choose to experience pain to learn about love. Obstacles are put in our path for us to overcome. If Earth School is Hell, it is so because it is for our spiritual training. Unlike the religious story, we are not cast in Hell because we were bad; rather, the nature of physical reality creates some hellish circumstances.

Several books out now offer the premise that some people suffer tragedies on purpose. People who have undergone hypnotic past life regressions sometimes talk about how a guide or their higher self arranged for a situation to occur. We consciously think of that event as awful, tragic, horrible, while spirit thinks it’s a golden opportunity for learning.

For example, a rape may be part of a pre-conceived lesson, not a random act of malfeasance. As ugly and bizarre as that notion sounds to the conscious mind, especially to victims of rape, it does suggest that life on Earth is not for wimps. Souls choose different life experiences much as a prolific actor will choose different parts to play, sometimes hero, sometimes villain. Perhaps the often-expressed idea is true that you cannot know great pleasure if you have not known great pain.

Religion, which often doesn’t support reincarnation, peddles the idea of Hell as roasting in eternal fires. It is a very dramatic, visceral kind of misery. But what about the slow din of a life lived without much joy, day upon day of loneliness whether in a crowd or in solitude, the anxiety of failure to find the good life? What about the leisure activity of watching TV or movies or reading books, and most of it is a tour of suffering and conflict?

Life on Earth appears to stick us in a system of social insanity (war, poverty, racism, sexism, violence, materialism) geared to sustain suffering. Where do people find off ramps from misery? How many social institutions can we point to in our world as being truly helpful?

IF THIS IS HELL

If Earth is the fabled Hell, that’s actually good news. First, it means that we pretty much know what the worst is. While there’s plenty of evil around, there are usually ways to cope. We can set our sights on rising above the chaos and the hatred. We can overcome.

Second, it means that Hell does not exist solely to punish. It’s here for rehabilitation—spiritual growth. It’s here to help us learn how to make better choices.

Third, it means that the world scares the shit out of us as part of our spiritual education. We can choose by how we process information how scared we want to be. This also begs the question of whether Earth School is always supposed to be strewn with conflicts, or if through collective free will we can eventually create Heaven on Earth.

Thinking of Earth as Hell is not intended to embrace the religious conception of Hell. It’s not a place of eternal torture and damnation. You don’t get here by being judged as a bad person for not following rules someone told you God made. I see most religion as a for-profit enterprise with a vested interest in bringing in followers. Religions have used propaganda, torture, fear, and manipulation to bring in the followers, and the religious version of Hell could be part of that.

Spiritual teachers suggest that Earth/Hell is the ground floor, the first stage, the foundation. It’s a boot camp for souls who want to learn all about love through contrasts. Like any school, you can achieve what you yearn for and what you earn.

I don’t know whether Heaven or Hell are real places or states of mind, but we do create them symbolically through our beliefs and behaviors. I know that for me to create a heavenly earth, I usually need to detach from media bombardment and negative people. I need to focus my thoughts on what’s good. When bad things happen, I look for the gifts. This helps balance my hurt and outrage.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

A little bit more about the idea that many events in our lives, especially the ones we would call tragic, may have been planned.

The book Seeking Jordan sheds more light on the idea that some tragedies are planned.

Part of the inspiration for this post involved my study of how the media sell conflict. While I did not use the concept of Hell in the piece, the bombardment of content about conflict helps us stay in a mental hell.

Also check out books and videos (YouTube) by Robert Schwartz and Michael Newton.

 

Death trap

Universe

I often think that if I (or you) could talk to dead people, as if it was second nature and no big deal, I (or we) would react a lot differently to life on this planet.

Our guiding lights would be re-set. We would have some personally verifiable experience to shape our conclusion that consciousness survives physical death. We would have evidence to back up the notion that the organic brain does not originate all consciousness—that consciousness (or mind) exists outside the body. Maybe there’s much more to life than the limited perspective of it pandered and promoted in so much of our mediocrity culture.

Mediums on TV or online sometimes surprise me. They don’t all seem to grasp the deeper implications of their own ministrations. Even though they talk to dead people for a living, they still cater to much of the same socially ingrained fodder presented in mainstream, materialistic media.

What does that mean?

If mediums actually talk with dead people, the very act is diametrically opposed to the depressing morbidity you’ll hear at the average doctor’s office or during the average newscast. It would mean that reality as we’re taught to perceive it is a false one. It’s a death trap. People don’t just stop living when they die, the mediums say. We the people go somewhere else to continue living.

If I knew for sure that I could talk to dead people, I would lead an entirely different life than if I thought death ended everything and we only had one shot at it. Immortality is a fundamentally different consciousness than mortality,, especially if lights out here means lights on somewhere else. If I knew I had much more living to look forward to, I would not regard death as the enemy. I would not embrace the meme that death is sad or tragic or horrible. I expect that I would be an activist against social and religious teachings that contradicted the reality I knew that “dead people” were partying hearty in another dimension—and oh, by the way, there is no hell.

GRIEF PARADIGM

Society has organized itself around the death and grief paradigm. For example, we commonly think of death as loss. Sorry for your loss, sorry for your loss. In a society that grew up with an entirely different paradigm, death might not be seen as a loss. It might be seen more like graduating with honors, getting a great new job, or some sort of miracle. Currently, we have thousands of hours of conditioning (religious, scientific, peer group, advertising, etc.) telling us that death is a tragic loss. Yes, it hurts like hell to lose a loved one, but I believe that much of that hurt comes from all the conditioning we get at how we are supposed to grieve.

When my mother died, and then my father 30 months later, I got the well-intended deluge of “sorry for you loss.” Both my parents were already incapacitated by then, my mother almost 93 and my father almost 96. Death freed them both from the confines of their worn-out bodies. Life was more an ordeal than a pleasure for them by then. “Loss” really did not fit the equation anymore. I envisioned them as being much happier where they were—a win for them. It surprised me how people acted as if my not playing the loss game translated into insensitivity or lack of love. They would come close to arguing with me that if I was a good son, I would display much more sadness.

I understand that many people die under far less than desirable circumstances. Their departures could be termed tragic. Yet we are groomed all through life to view death as tragic. Our resulting fear of death creates fortunes for entrepreneurs who capitalize on its emotional grip. The insurance business, the heath business, the funeral business, the therapy business, the spirituality business, the entertainment business, the war business—to name just a few—are all fueled by our conditioned fear and dread of death.

But mediums talk to dead people! Dead people are alive. Death did not kill them. Rejoice, for he is risen. (Well, sort of.) People who have had near-death experiences often report that death, or going into the light, is sheer ecstasy. Their common message is, “Don’t worry. Death is an illusion. I have been to that incredible place we call heaven. I know that life goes on and I am not afraid to die.”

Here is how one Facebook friend (a near-death experiencer) put it: “I always feel bad for those left here in pain after losing a loved one. But I never feel bad for the one who has moved on to the next exciting leg of their journey… I am one who can’t wait to get back there. I’ve never forgotten how confining and limiting it felt to come back here [to Earth.]”

Messages from spirits channeled through mediums report little in the way of pain. While the dying process is sometimes painful, death itself releases a person from physical pain. The entertainment industry shows us tortured, brooding souls in books and movies, yet mediums portray the dead as feeling little if any emotional pain. In Ghosts Among Us, medium and creator of the Ghost Whisperer TV series James Van Praagh wrote, “Not once when doing my work have spirits ever said to me that they wished they could come back to Earth and live again.”

Even most people who were murdered (often including those who killed themselves) harbor no resentments. Spirits don’t ruminate sadly over lives cut short. They know that life goes on both in and out of human bodies. They are stimulated by their new reality, which sounds something like an all-expenses-paid vacation to Shangri-la-on-Steroids. By heavenly standards, life on Earth is like laboring in a work camp.

Are mediums like James Van Praagh just making up this portrayal of heavenly bliss to sell hope via their books and readings? Or do they channel truth that heaven is off the clock from duality, conflict, suffering?

MEDIUMS AND MARKETING

A great irony of contemporary life is that culturally we make a big deal out of death while at the same time, we eschew afterlife research—more death trap. When another celebrity dies or a mass killing dominates the news, people take to social media and lament and vent their hearts out. We talk in terms of sadness and loss and outrage. Yet we don’t pay much attention to near-death experiencers and afterlife researchers and helpful mediums who have been steadily sharing evidence for soul survival. Culturally speaking, the drama of loss intrigues us more than winning with woo-woo.

I would love to see more mediums participate in afterlife research, gathering more data and using it to improve the quality of life here, but there is a problem. Mediums are too busy masterminding their careers. Science is not too keen on researching voices from heaven, and those few souls who attempt it are often ridiculed. Whether for self-protection or legal requirement, mediums are often compelled to note that their services are “for entertainment purposes only.”

Isn’t that reassuring? Your lawyer and doctor are not required to say that. Sometimes I think the services they render are for their own entertainment (or pocketbook) purposes only.

As a student of the truth, I have often been frustrated watching the dumbing down of metaphysical phenomena for public consumption. So many shows are more annoying than educational, such as the ghost-chasing shows. One of the best books I have read about the search for truth versus the culture at large is Steve Volk’s Fringe-ology. When we still treat woo-woo as an oddity, an amusement, or a vacation from reality, we are not advancing humanity.

MEDIUMS AND MEDIOCRITY

In my informal poking around Facebook, I see many mediums marketing themselves. Here is something one medium wrote on his page: “I never talk about, or compare myself to other mediums or psychics, but I can promise you this, none of them give as many messages as I do.”

So besides the fact that he just compared himself to other mediums, which he said he never does, he also highlighted what mediums sell: messages from dead people. People come to mediums because they are often grief-stricken, desperate to hear from a loved one they “lost.” So here’s the dilemma. For high-end mediums, a person generally has to wait (sometimes more than a year), pay hefty prices (sometimes more than $500 an hour), and then de-cipher cryptic messages from beyond. “What does rosebud mean?” Low-end mediums without a following often have untested, undocumented, unproven skills.

Society puts mediums in this position. We turn the rich and famous ones into celebrity rock stars, into show business icons. Science generally does not embrace them, and besides, a trendy medium is too busy to conduct serious research. Trendy psychics get thrown into the popular culture money-making miasma with books, movies, cruises, luxury retreats, and galas. They often reduce themselves to easy talk show and social media friendly sound bites to important questions that deserve exploring.

In turn, we often create culture wars: mediums versus skeptics. Professional skeptics like James Randi engage in culture wars against mediums under the guise of saving humanity from frauds and illusionists. They don’t do their skeptic schtick for free. Professional naysayers make hefty fees to play their roles and sell their own products. Career skeptics are no more likely to actually seek the truth than Darth Vader is to sing a love song. They are in it for the paycheck.

Under these circumstances, the search for truth is riddled with obstacles. The student of the afterlife is faced with a largely unresponsive scientific community on one side and woo-woo marketers selling easy but shallow answers on the other side. Personal experiences are the most empowering form of acquiring knowledge, but for many of us, they are as rare as seeing total solar eclipses.

We’ll never understand the insights mediums could offer us if we don’t open our minds to that potential and research the hell out of it. As this war between science and woo-woo rages on, I still have my questions.

 

Halloween and true death

Welcome home

Halloween keeps growing more popular. I see many more houses preparing for this holiday’s spirit. Some start decorating early in September. In my walks around various neighborhoods, I see more front lawns sprouting graveyards than ever. Great fear-mongering archetypes are used — headstones, skeletons, spiders and webs, bats, scaredy cats, and ghosts — to ratchet up the spook factor.

A major irony I notice is that through the Halloween entertainment filter, mainstream culture gets all excited about death. You could say that it honors and celebrates death. Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls become get embraced as quirkily beloved characters. In some places we even pay to get scared, like attending charity haunted houses or horror films.

As a student of death and afterlife, I am intrigued that the Halloween (and Hollywood) version of the afterlife — mostly of the haunting variety — is so popular. In contrast, many of those who eagerly celebrate Halloween want nothing to do with (okay, I’ll say it) real-life afterlife studies. Why do we honor gore and trauma in a holiday or at the movies but ignore what afterlife research suggests are the consequences of true death?

I think it’s the fun factor. Halloween has merged with that most awesome of forces: marketing, marketing, marketing. In this venue, death is peddled for its entertainment value. In contrast, “real” death is up close and personal, and it is primarily sold to us as sad, tragic, miserable, heartbreaking, definitely not delightful.

This creates an unusual (if you think about it too much) paradox: it’s OK to put a headless zombie on your front porch for entertainment value — nudge, nudge wink, wink. However, if a neighbor down the street gets murdered and decapitated, you must haul out plenty of righteous indignation, conspiracy theories, and speeches about law and order.

DEVIL OR ANGEL?

For years I have observed a strange relationship between good and evil. There is a difference between pretend evil and the real deal. Back in 1990 when I first went online, I noticed how flirting in a text-based medium invoked the idea that evil was sexy. People often added <evil grin> as body language punctuation for something naughty they said. Whenever I saw that, I thought to myself, “Is sex really evil?”

This followed a trend throughout the media that characterized sexuality as devilish or hellish. The delights of ooey-gooey sex were portrayed as a ticket to hell if you veered away from monogamous heterosexual marriage. In contrast, angelic beings seemed peculiarly disinterested in all things erotic.

I learned these stereotypes of devil and angel as a young child watching cartoons. I remember loving those scenes where the devil spoke from one side of a person and an angel from another. The devil was often depicted as the fun one. The angel was often portrayed as a snooty, judgmental bore.

So I learned that evil was wrong but fun. Carry that much, much farther down the highway of sophistication and we encounter the social paradigm that having a really good time requires bedding down with the devil. You have to rebel against sanitized social order and quit being such a damn prude. For example, really hot sex is frequently depicted as breaking the rules, usually rules initiated by religions that controlled the populace through fear and punishment. Evil, then, is often depicted as flipping the bird against oppressive religious dictates. That’s where <evil grin> comes from.

It’s not from evil like conquering another country and raping and torturing everyone.

Of course you may wonder what this has to do with Halloween where it’s fun to dress up as a serial killer. For fun I may dress up as celebrity serial killer Charles Sobhraj and get lots of happy chatter at a Halloween party, even though the real Charles Sobhraj murdered a real friend of mine.

EVIL IS FUN, ECSTASY ISN’T

In its glorification of the horror genre, Halloween seems to support the premise that evil is entertaining. Gore is fun, mischief is fun, anarchy is fun. (And you get candy, too!) But Halloween doesn’t celebrate the idea that real-life death is fun, nor does it acknowledge that ecstatic experiences are fun?

Like materialist science, Halloween turns a blind eye to ecstasy. Our whole mass media is anti-ecstasy.

Strangely, in mainstream culture, ecstasy is not taught. I would wager to say that most people who hear the term ecstasy these days are hearing about the drug, not the natural state of ecstatic consciousness. Sometimes they hear about it as the ecstasy of winning something or as a synonym for orgasm, but it is entirely too rare that ecstasy or bliss consciousness is described or depicted. Out of sight, out of mind.

We live in a world where it is more routine to wallow in conflict and misery than to mentally open ourselves to receiving bliss. When I have been in a funk and have wanted to find some media to re-set my state of mind, it has amazed me how difficult it is to find mood-enhancing media (especially before search engines were invented.)  Religion is commonly offered as a solution, but many places of worship seem to me to wallow in seriousness to the point of misery. Is religion supposed to occupy a no-joy zone? Are angels supposed to be zombies, cheerless cheerleaders for God? Don’t they like to laugh and party? Is laughter allowed in sacred spaces?

So in this atmosphere, Halloween comes along. While the holiday is geared towards children and much is designed around age-appropriateness, the holiday is still centered around the “trick or treat” concept. Dole out candy or get fear retribution. Isn’t that essentially what the billionaire (and the Mafia) class says, too? Trick or treat?

DISCLAIMER

I know that many of you love Halloween. I am not trying to take that away from you.  I am trying instead to simply point out that there is a huge imbalance in our social approach to good and evil.

NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES

People who have returned from classic near-death experiences often describe the sheer ecstasy they felt on their journey. Nothing like it here. Many also say that words cannot begin to adequately describe this ultimate joy ride. Returning to business as usual often becomes a most dreadful challenge.

It sounds something like PTSD, but instead of trauma, they experienced bliss far beyond just having a good day. Beyond pleasure, beyond triumph, beyond a five-day-long orgasm. When they get back, they have to integrate this experience with all the hardships and pain of the physical world that does not accept “fairy stories” of other dimensions. Instead of having nightmares about the horrors of warfare, they feel deep loneliness and separation from the best world they have ever known.

Halloween symbolism includes very little of the fun of dying often featured in near-death experiences and afterlife research in general. Even though the holiday is all about having fun, the decorations are ghoulish, often focusing on mutilation and other manifestations of the macabre that you probably would not like to encounter in the middle of the night on your way to go potty.

Imagine having had a near-death experience that was entirely ecstatic, and then returning to a planet where many people thought of death as total misery. Then answer the doorbell on Halloween and see a bunch of happy kids dressed as corpses standing on your front porch, candy bags gaping wide. .

GHOST STORIES

Ghosts and ghost stories play heavily into the lore of Halloween, but so-called ghost hunting is kind of a twister sister of afterlife research. Seeking to capture ghost presences with digital equipment is too often approached for kicks and grins and the occasional thrill ride panic attack. It is usually not approached as a serious, respectful, and humanitarian endeavor to help lost, wandering spirits. (See this excellent article.)

Halloween marketing, along with Hollywood business as usual, perpetuate ignorance about ghosts. Research suggests that ghosts are earthbound spirits tragically stuck in a twilight zone between earth and heaven. Sometimes they don’t realize they’re dead. Sometimes they are in shock, unwilling to move on, perhaps fearing a hell and brimstone place that religion and horror shows predicted.

Using ghosts as targets for “research” by recreation-seekers is like deliberately seeking out troubled souls on the street to pester and photograph. It usually doesn’t contribute to an understanding of the survival of consciousness. It’s usually approached with the prime objective of getting some exciting video footage, not helping humanity.

I believe that for every depiction of a peaceful death, the mass psyche endures thousands of depictions of miserable death. We are way out of balance on showing positive possibilities, such as the material that is so frequently shared at afterlife conferences.

HALLOWEEN OF THE FUTURE

In a different world, Halloween (or a holiday like it) might be set aside to celebrate the fun of dying. Author Roberta Grimes came up with the slogan for her book aptly named The Fun of Dying. It’s a nice counterpoint to the fear of dying.

The new Halloween might celebrate that we are all attending Earth School for the purpose of soul evolution. With advances in afterlife research including the soul phone, we might gain more of a picture of the relationship between lives on earth and lives in other dimensions, popularly known as heaven. The new Halloween might be more about gratitude and appreciation for the grand design of the cosmic system.

UPDATE 10/9/16

Some kind soul on Facebook reminded me of this little gem. It shows perfectly what I would like to see the spirit of Halloween be like. The animated short is 3:41, well worth the time to get a feel for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead.)

 

 

 

Coming Soon—Paradigms Shattered

ufo

In one corner of tantalizing prospects for the near future on Planet Earth, we have brewing the advent of the soul phone, a device that would let us connect the physical world with the spirit world. “Hello?”

In another corner of the brewery we have the impending disclosure that not only are UFOs real, but that we (which is to say a select few humans) have known about them (and the beings they carry) for decades.

Two major paradigm shattering events are said to be forming in the wings, waiting to debut on the world stage.

But, of course, this is not a top-secret surprise. It’s all there for anybody (even you) to watch at your convenience on YouTube.

Soul phone.

UFOs.

OOZING OVER

This is the funny world we live in right now. The Internet is oozing over with fascinating breakthrough froth that mainstream media doesn’t touch with a high-flying, laser-guided drone. And, of course, there are great conspiracy theories in place about why your favorite mainstream media outlets are skirting around any discussion of what, if true, would change everything.

Isn’t political protesting by millionaire football players really more worthy of our time than news about the invention of a goofy soul phone?

Isn’t the latest lunacy by the Donald more captivating than the idea that a fleet of aliens might build a wall around Planet Earth to keep us out of the rest of the Universe?

Isn’t another story about how hated Hillary Clinton is more worthy of our attention than coverage of all the lies and secrecy involved in keeping people ignorant about death?

The bottom line is that keeping people in the dark is good for business as usual.
So unless you enjoy woo-woo topics like I do, chances are you are not even aware of the soul phone or the Disclosure Project.

HOPE AND CHANGE

First, let me make this point: whether or not the soul phone or the Disclosure Project are real and true and happening and coming soon to a neighborhood near you, it is significant that the myths of these exist at all! So many people are waiting for a big game-changer. We latch onto these things because as Howard Beale said in Network, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Second: if either one of them turned out to be true, it would be as Steve Jobs said on his deathbed, “Oh, wow, oh, wow, oh, wow.”

Even if they are myths instead of facts, they are popular among those who embrace them because they/we need hope. So incredibly little in American life is about hope and positive change. It’s as if the whole country has reincarnated into some high-tech, shoot-‘em-up Wild West.

GAME CHANGER

It would definitely be a game changer if we could call Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, or Robin Williams on a soul phone or if some other race of humanoids landed in plain sight and offered us some nectar UFOed in from a distant planet. Either one would be the event of the Millennium.

Or is it just me?

I have never seen a UFO nor have I ever had an in-person chat with a dead person, so for me the fantasy of what it would be like to experience either event fills me with awe. How could the world stay the same?

Or, again, is it just me?

The war to end all wars didn’t end all wars. Millions of people still think that spending billions of dollars to build another Berlin Wall between the United States and Mexico will make America great again. How does that work? Well, the Donald is keeping that information tippy-top secret.

Would the mainstream media along with its thoroughly incompetent online imitators cover an ET landing or a call from heaven with more stupid pet tricks mentality? The movie Contact postulated how the world would react, and I suspect there is much truth there. It showed hordes of religious and New Age fringe groups showing off their banality of cringe-worthy antics turning contact with another species into a circus freak show. I could just see some TV host interrupting an ET describing interplanetary space travel for a commercial break.

Meanwhile, there are a slew of alleged psychic mediums on YouTube who conduct alleged interviews with alleged historical characters. While I have the utmost respect for authentic mediums and channeling, I find myself going nuts over the lame, insulting quality of questions asked of dead people as if the whole show is just a party game. If these spirits are real, Central Casting needs to improve on selecting interviewers.

FRUITCAKES

In comments to YouTube videos, certain people call Dr. Steven Greer, the founder of the Disclosure Project, a fruitcake or a con man. I suspect that most who make comments like that are loose cannon speakers who prefer name-calling over the spirit of research.

I’ve watched several of Dr. Greer’s films on YouTube. I have to take on faith that the people speaking (or disclosing) in the films are who the subtitles say they are. Like many other YouTube viewers, I have no special access to any truth squad or fact-checking service. I cannot be 100% certain that it is not another Christopher Guest mockumentary. But that said, the line-up is pretty impressive and the accounts provided are both chilling and hopeful.

The over-simplified storyline presented in the movie is that hundreds/thousands of humans have had encounters with either UFOs (the crafts) or ETs (the beings) since the 1940s. Some crashed UFOs coughed up dead or even living beings along with technology that could be reverse-engineered. It is alleged that “we” already know how to take advantage of “free energy,” but that the secret cabal in charge of things (unknown even to presidents and other leaders) have guarded this information. Why? Because “old-fashioned” fuels keep humans more enslaved to the few in the penthouse. It seems diabolical that for so long this information has been kept secret, but then the Spanish Inquisition and the Third Reich were powerful, too. Fear is an intense motivator.

On one hand this scenario sounds to me like same-ol’ science fiction pitting good versus evil, just like in Star Wars and Star Trek. If there is a covert ruling class of ultra-wealthy human power brokers in control of planetary politics, the ETs don’t seem to mind playing along by their rules. (What?) Maybe I am just too idealistic thinking that highly evolved (compared to humans) ETs would not cozy-up to narcissistic, sociopathic evil doers.

Greer and others like him have taken up the gauntlet. They are applying whatever pressure and popular support they can muster to force the fullback of secrecy to fumble the ball of truth.

SOUL PHONE

Meanwhile, research is supposedly taking place on the soul phone. Various presentations available online imply that the idea of a soul phone is not so crazy if in fact electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and instrumental transcommunication (ITC) are real. These technologies preview in bits and spurts what a soul phone might perfect.

A soul phone would prove once and for all that death is not the end of life. To me this would have far-reaching impacts. Roberta Grimes shared her view here.

While surely the impact of the soul phone and the social reactions to it are very much up for debate, I think the most interesting part about it would be how it could change everyday life. I look particularly at the view of life we get from the mass media—that depressing morass of conflict, strife, materialism, and callous mediocrity. A soul phone to spirit could be as life-changing to anyone as would a near-death experience be. You could no longer harbor so many of the negative myths and fantasies so deeply perpetrated by so many social forces, including religion and science.

CRACKPOTS OR WAY-SHOWERS

I am not a scientist. I am not an insider with privileged knowledge about work on the soul phone or communication between ETs and humans. I am not a well-connected researcher. I am just an ordinary observer watching with great interest the drama unfold online. Time will tell if those tantalizing us with details of soul phone and UFOs are crackpots or way-showers.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your search engines.

Seeking Jordan

fishbowlSeeking Jordan is a short book written by Matthew McKay, PhD, a father with a scientific background searching to find his murdered son in the afterlife. Having made contact through various psychological methods, he and Jordan have been having what amounts to a virtual relationship.

Embedded within the book that is largely channeled (written through automatic writing) are some startling statements that are like answers to some of the questions I have frequently pondered. Those include:

  • Are wars on Earth actually planned in other dimensions?
  • Is monogamy the most spiritual lifestyle, the cosmic right way?
  • Why don’t we get more clear answers from spirit?

Seeking Jordan is not intended as a proof book. It does not offer up much evidence for its content. Rather, it is what it is, a father’s attempt to cope with the premature death of his son. In fact, the father deals with his own angst of not knowing if the material he was channeling originated from Jordan or from his own imagination. That said, to me the book reads like an appetizer that suggests that a much greater and complete story of the universe awaits explorers who dig deeper into the body of knowledge.

The statements on war and monogamy that I caught were little asides that were given during answers to other questions. But what was given in those tiny asides shattered paradigms. If true and if they became common knowledge, they could forever change the way that many of us perceive things.

WAR

In the book, Jordan’s father quotes his son as saying this: “For example, souls born in the 1920s and 1930s had an almost 100 percent probability of facing World War II. Where they lived and how the war might touch them wasn’t likely to change. But choices they made responding to countless life events could change their circumstances—even to the point of altering the likely span of their lives.” (Page 84)

This was just an aside. The conversation was more about life plans in general, and in particular, did Jordan’s life plan include his being murdered at age 23? Yet these words point to the idea that World War II was a planned event! The implications to humanity are enormous.

The majority of humans deal with whether or not their country (or tribe, if you will) will go to war. We spend trillions of dollars on war and preparations for war. The suffering due to war is almost beyond quantification, let alone comprehension. (Fifty-five million people died in World War II alone.) So the idea that war could be designed in the spirit world (for karma or whatever other reason) is horrific—yet potentially liberating.

It is a horrific idea that anyone (soul group or God) would invent such sufferable conditions within which free will operates. This argument goes along the lines of if God is so loving, why does he allow such suffering? The answer usually is, “God doesn’t create suffering; humans do.” Yet maybe warfare is part of the Earth School curriculum and wars are designed for reasons mortals are not yet privy to. And it’s not as if many humans don’t love to entertain themselves with war stories of all types, from Ken Burns’ documentaries to John Wayne to Hogan’s Heroes.

Why liberating? If humanity researched, then eventually accepted that war is part of an Earth School curriculum, we might more quickly reject war as a solution to problems. Maybe war would cease. I believe it would be much more difficult to motivate soldiers to suffer the wages of war if the common perception was that it’s all a cosmic-consciousness game. We might instead choose to deny the military-industrial complex and deal with our karma without making more corpses. Making peace among nations would be a solution that would balance the karma from wars past.

The major objection to reasoning like this is that mainstream society doesn’t know if there really is a spirit world. Is Jordan, or any other channeled spirit, credible? We don’t know if consciousness survives death—despite a couple hundred years of research and tons of literature by gifted mavericks who studied psychic phenomena and endured the ridicule from colleagues and family. Not conducting serious research on this matter means that we stay stuck with the old paradigms about warfare.

I remember the old saying, “What if they threw a war and nobody came?” I pondered this possibility in a fun piece about ecstasy. At some point and for some reason, people may give up fighting even as their rulers demand it.

MONOGAMY

Through his mortal Dad, Jordan wrote: “Monogamy doesn’t exist is the spirit world. Each relationship, each incarnated role, is entered for the purpose of learning. Rules such as fidelity—while important mores on Earth—have no bearing in the spirit world, where each soul has had countless partners from the ‘neighborhood.’” (Page 65)

This addresses a philosophical question I have had for nearly fifty years. If God loves everyone (or Jesus or any other iconic spiritual voice), why are ordinary people so generally limited (religion being a major braking force here) in their expression of love? To me it seems like God is the ultimate polyamorist.

For decades I have enjoyed fantasies about Utopian societies a la Shangri-La where love and even sexual boundaries are fluid. A tribal mentality would be devoted to including everyone in love. I have also wondered if my experiences either currently or between lives in the spirit world have fed me the notion that loving everyone is—or at least could be—a good thing.

While Jordan called fidelity an important moré of life on Earth, the idea that monogamy does not exist in heaven is fascinating. It suggests that normalcy changes when a person changes dimensions. It also shows diversity in action, meaning that the change-making universe likes to shake things up.

In the broad scope of things, countless lives in the physical world have been destroyed by people trying to deal with monogamy in one form or another, either for it or against it. Consequences have included jealous rages (including murder and child abduction), rampant insecurity, the guilt and shame of adultery, porn and sexting addiction, competition for mates (winners and losers), loneliness, rejection, stagnation, broken homes, jail terms, in some places execution, etc.

While there are practical reasons for many people to live monogamously in this physical existence, religion could well overhaul its fire and brimstone approach to non-monogamy if it were an accepted fact that spirits love differently. Meanwhile, polyamory in the spirit world (which simply means loving more than one) has implications far more than just physical sex. To me it goes hand-in-hand with the oft-expressed idea that we are essentially all one, individual but united like drops in the ocean being both individual and collective.

Until writing this piece, I did not know that Matthew 22:30 says much the same thing. “For in the resurrection they [people] neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” This takes “till death do you part” seriously.

DOUBT

Jordan made more of a point about uncertainty, devoting a chapter to it. He wrote: “Doubt lies at the root of hope, and it is the experience of hope that makes seeking possible, that drives the quest for new knowledge and wisdom. So doubt motivates learning, the quest to enter what is unknown, the determination to turn darkness into light.” (Page 91)

People often wonder, myself included, why there is so much mystery to so much of the communication from the other side. I have wondered aloud, for instance, why some mediums appear to converse so casually with spirits and yet seem unable to pin down some important specific facts like names, dates, and answers to direct questions. Readings sometimes take on the quality of guessing games. Barring that outright fraud is not being committed, could it be true that the earthly existence is actually designed to be mysterious?

We may look at this as a design flaw of the universe—why do we have to live with so many unknowns—yet isn’t doubt a mainstay of humanity? Don’t marketers of all stripes including politicians and leaders weave doubt into their narratives to hook customers and followers? Don’t they motivate us with doubt, like who or what will destroy us, torture us, kill us?

Humans seek to know answers so that they do not have to worry about things unknown. Seeking is often more like demanding answers. We buy products, services, and expert advice to feel as if we are safer from harm. So many people believe that the solution to all their problems would be to win the Lottery so that they could buy solutions to any doubt or need they had. It is a myth, however. Changes in any situation just bring new doubts to contend with.

Seeking Jordan is an interesting little book filled with gems to contemplate and explore. It is also an illustration of a path that a psychologist took as he grappled with the loss of his beloved boy. Along with so many other books and videos currently available, it paints a picture of a universe that is a lot more exciting, at least to me, than the version of reality peddled by materialists (and politicians.)

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. The 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, 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.