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.


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).


Since writing this piece, I have begun a new website devoted to explorations of the whole soul phone concept in more depth. Please visit soulphonenews.com.

The language of death


“Albuquerque police issued a ‘desperate’ appeal for witnesses Wednesday after a cold-blooded shooter drove up alongside a car in early rush hour traffic and opened fire, killing a 4-year-old girl as her horrified parents watched in an apparent case of road rage.”

That is how a Fox news affiliate described a recent murder. Notice some of the emotionally charged words used in this supposed-to-be objective news report: desperate, cold-blooded shooter, opened fire, killing, horrified parents, road rage. 

Besides describing a crime, this piece is contributing to social conditioning. The quoted lead sentence above illustrates  state-of-the-art language of death. We are exposed to this kind of writing (and broadcasting) on a daily basis, gruesome writing that highlights violence, promotes fear, and reinforces hopelessness.

Most people do not stop to think about the mind food they ingest whenever they watch, listen to, or read the news. The majority still accepts news reports as mostly true (despite an increasing awareness of politicized media bias.) Many people still assume that unless a well-known news source says something is true, it isn’t true.

Journalists are trained not to accept anything as fact that cannot be proven or confirmed, so they don’t go around giving any stock to the paradigm that death is just the shedding of a physical body and that the mind survives the end of the body.

According to journalists, at death we fade to black. That’s all Folks! Reporters write their stories using the language of death derived from centuries of story-telling. Oh, the humanity. If you agree with the so-called “scientific” conclusion that death kills us deader than a door nail, you are  more apt to accept the language of death that emphasizes tragedy, grief, sadness, horror, and other scary story words.

I recently attended an afterlife conference and had my mind filled with presentations and demonstrations about the survival of consciousness. It definitely has me questioning the validity of the version of reality I hear in the news.

THE fog of death

Sometimes I consider the possibility that our general media world is living in the fog of death without realizing it. Could it be that in some future generation, it will be taught in every school that mainstream culture in the 21st Century bought and perpetuated the fantasy that death kills us and kills us completely? Will people of the future shake their collective heads in bemusement at how many 21st Centurians refused to study an afterlife on the grounds that survival beyond death was an absurd idea? Worse, will they further joke about how 21st Centurians created dramatic myths of death and dying for their marketing, their legal affairs, their military operations, their entertainment?

Will people in some future think of us as we think of people who were “scientifically” sure that the planet was flat or that it was impossible for man to walk on the moon?

Of course, many skeptics who discuss woo-woo (often billed as experts) say that those who believe in an afterlife are the ones doing the fantasizing. Science doesn’t fantasize, the belief goes. Yet what if science is wrong? What if the devotion that science pays to materialism as well as to corporate profits keeps it from accurately making conclusions about spiritual realities?

Researcher and author Donna Smith-Moncrieff writes a comprehensive essay about how and why science is missing the mark when researching the afterlife. She does this in her book Medium9.

Despite what science suggests, millions of people have first-hand awareness of multi-dimensional travel through their personal near-death, out-of-body, and other mystical experiences. Millions of these people with direct personal insight into different dimensions say they “know” more than “believe” or “accept” that life continues. Millions of people with their own profound  experiences do not care what science or journalists say.


With so much violence in the news today, I like to wonder how news reporting would sound if the afterlife (or continuation of life in another dimension) was an accepted paradigm. I wonder what life would be like if the prose we heard day in and day out was more like this:

“Albuquerque police report that a four-year-old girl made a transition into the light today when an unidentified man shot at the car in which she was a passenger. Police confirmed the girl’s arrival in spirit and are seeking information from anyone who may have witnessed the incident.”

I know that sounds as weird as, “Science has just confirmed that the Earth is actually flat despite massive evidence to the contrary.”

But it is important to understand that how we get our information about world events is often colored by word usage, which has propaganda value. If it were ever proven empirically that death is a transition — say maybe a communications device that could link the physical and non-physical worlds — the language of death would change to accommodate revisions to reality that were required.

Most places promote the idea that death is a horrible thing. Currently, descriptions of death, especially in the case of violence, highlight the manner in which someone dies. The news is often a bloody mess. The real story that is not mentioned in the news is what fascinates spiritualists. The real story is multi-dimensional.

For example, various books by hypnotherapists and psychic mediums suggest that people come into this world with a well-developed plan for what will happen in life. Life is more like Earth School for souls inhabiting bodies. The plan or curriculum often includes time and manner of death, sometimes even including murder and suicide. If research proved this, it would offer a major change to how we perceive and report there-are-no-accident events. Was a murder planned? Was it a karmic event?

The real story from the victim’s point of view is so unlike news depictions. Books and videos about near-death experiences or that use mediums to talk with the physically deceased describe death in piece-of-cake terms. I cannot recall reading an account of dying where the victim in spirit was upset about the “tragedy” that befell them. It’s more like, “Wow, this place is great! Wish you were here!”


Still, most places teach us that death is terrible and we should avoid it at all costs. The news often reminds us to do things to avoid an early death. Solutions for living longer often have a funny way of costing extra money. “Buy some peace of mind.”

Marketing uses fear of death as a selling strategy. Once we’re quaking in fear, marketing sells solutions. This goes for everything from terrorism to street crime to the food we eat and the diseases we could get. So yes, with a bombardment of fear, it is difficult to consider that death might not be so bad. It’s even more of a stretch to believe that death could happen on a schedule and not by chance. It also means that a “tragically” premature death might have actually happened right on schedule.

This idea grates on the nerves and sensibilities of many of us, but people involved in afterlife research keep getting the same message. The tragedy of death seems most tragic to those left behind, not those who made the transition. So-called dead people who check back through mediums are rarely sad. As in the movie Ghost, they may stick around for a bit to sort through some unfinished business from their mortal lives, but they are having more fun than a day at Disneyland where everything is free. All that talk about lives cut short is an invention of the mind of the grieving.


You can get a preview of how news might reports deaths by attending workshops or conferences where most people already accept death as transition, not termination. It could be an IANDS group or an afterlife conference or a website devoted to spiritual matters. In places like this, fear of death is healed.

Language would probably need to be upgraded to deal with changing paradigms. Nowadays one often hears the term crossing over or transitioned used by people to convey metamorphosis from physical to nonphysical form. Perhaps something even simpler would emerge to replace terms like died and killed. Crossed, moved, morphed, or changed might become synonyms. New terms would likely be invented.

Quite possibly birth and death will  take on new meanings presuming that consciousness exists before physical birth and survives physical death. It’s a whole different ball game to consider that a newborn baby is actually the incarnation of an eternal soul who has already lived many lifetimes. Parents are sometimes surprised by children who seem to clearly remember a previous lifetime or who have invisible friends.


Anyone who goes online to learn about metaphysical phenomena will undoubtedly encounter skeptics. As with many things, when I encounter skepticism, including my own, my radar goes out to check the intent of that skepticism. Is it well-intended inquiry or is it trolling?

Many skeptics seem more eager to insult psychics, mediums, healers, and near-death experiencers than to thoughtfully listen and consider. They often use loose-canon terms like fraud even when they cannot prove how fraud was committed. They seem less interested in truth-seeking and more interested in grandstanding, especially when skepticism is how they make their money. They sound more like politicians than researchers.

So while I truly get that much of this may be tough to swallow, I think it is most helpful to be open-minded and consider the evidence. Healthy skepticism is great when it is not used as a weapon. Asking deep questions fosters deeper understanding. If a skeptic wants to get my attention, best not to use attack rhetoric; rather, best to show love of humanity  and a genuine interest in the truth.


When I read or watch or listen to the news now, I filter the prose that I hear. I account for the possibility that death might be a fantasy of the religion of materialism. While grief is always a part of the human experience, death might mean more than “That’s all Folks!”

Why should we study death and afterlife?


These days there’s a woo-woo expert on every corner, and most of them have either written books, gone into business as practitioners, or promoted themselves as teachers and speakers at gatherings around the world. Their wisdom is based  on incredible experiences that gave them “knowing” instead of “accepting” when it comes to awareness of the afterlife and other levels of consciousness. They’ve seen the light, heard spirits speaking to them, gotten great hellos from heaven, been visited by master teachers, had access to spot-on mediums, watched UFOs hover overhead, or generally been swept up in a whole magical mystery tour.

I personally have not had a conscious out-of-body experience or a near-death experience. I have not heard voices or seen spirits. Nothing so-called paranormal has happened to me. Producers of today’s trendy “spiritual” TV shows and literary agents looking for potential best-sellers would be thoroughly unimpressed with my history.

So I am speaking here merely as a consumer…  I am open to learning from others without having had personal experiences of book-worthy magnitude. I have always been fascinated with this stuff. Like a blind person, I depend on others to tell me what they have experienced as a way for me to decide what is real. So I would love to be exposed to anything that validates my intuition-based belief in the afterlife.

I have studied the topic enough that I don’t need introductory explanations. I graduated from Afterlife 101 years ago, and I now want deeper insights. I have attended dozens of workshops and groups about consciousness, death, the afterlife, psychic development, inner healing, and academic research being done on these topics. But now I want to know more. And that got me thinking about the kind of content I would want to see in a conference of this type. What burning questions or unresolved issues do I have that would motivate me to spend the money on airfare, accommodation and conference tickets?

I invite you to consider  these questions: Are you seeking validation that a deceased loved one still exists? Would you like some comfort knowing that you are not alone in having a certain spiritual or mystical experience? Have you read a ton of books on the subject, yet want to experience a more personally meaningful understanding? Does your career somehow involve death and dying?


As I focus on today’s modern media culture (including marketing, marketing, marketing), I see how much we promote the fear of death, and it is more of an emotional manipulation than anything truly helpful. For most of my adult life, I have wondered what would happen to society if we all came to accept that death of the body is not death of consciousness. This of course presumes scientific breakthroughs proving that the human brain is not our primary consciousness-generator and that consciousness does not depend on a physical brain for life. When our body dies, the rest of us doesn’t die.

If it proves true that there is no death (as every medium and psychic tells us), it means that many forces in our culture have been fictionalizing what death is. Afterlife studies constantly contradict the news media. We keep hearing how tragic, painful, and miserable death is — except from those who have been there through a near-death experience or as reported through an evidential medium. Witnessing my own mother and father die natural deaths at 92 and 95 respectively, I found their transitions to be very peaceful. It was much like a toy top spinning and then winding down until it simply stopped. Their transitions were nothing like the movies or the news depicted.

How will society change when proof of the afterlife (or more accurately, the continuation of life) makes it too hard for the average person to believe the media culture version of death? How will the news media report deaths when death is seen as a transition to another place? How will our current myths generated by the fear of death change when death is better understood by more people?


I think one great role for an afterlife conference is to work toward setting a standard for the good, truth-seeking mediums to follow. Let’s treat this with a little more academic-style scrutiny so that those of us who don’t hear voices can better trust those who do. 

I like to call this area of interest the “sociology of mediumship” — possibly even the future of death. What might a society look like when more mediums become accredited through some form of professional screening and are not so drawn into a celebrity culture?

Right now certain mediums charge what I consider horrendous fees for readings —  celebrity prices. They often build a clientele through standard marketing practices similar to showing off the next model of automobile at a car show. One medium I like on YouTube charges $500 an hour for a personal reading (my family’s trust attorney only charged $350 an hour). Granted, I think I would get more value from the medium, but still, it’s a hefty sum to pay, especially if the medium turns out to be a cheat.

Prices are outrageous because much of this is not yet mainstream, and demand exceeds supply. Celebrity psychics and mediums are often treated like rock stars. They are often entertainers, so naturally the similarities to great magicians seems a little fishy. The less of a novelty talking to the dead becomes, the less the celebrity culture will prevail.


Many mediums along with hypnotherapists doing past and between-life regression therapy are saying that we as souls choose many details of the lives we are about to incarnate into. Many so-called tragedies or conflicts were planned in advance as life lessons, they say. This is Earth School and we have work to do. (Check out the work of Robert Schwartz or Michael Newton). If this were accepted as real, it could revolutionize news reporting, health care, social services, political agendas, research and development, and the list goes on. It could also have a significant impact on religion, government spending, personal aspirations, and so on.

Imagine trying to recruit soldiers and fund wars in a reality where death is only physical, not mental, and where killing is seen to have karmic consequences. Imagine the impact on the criminal justice system as well. Would we execute people if it was known that their minds don’t die? Would people commit as many crimes if they knew that there are personal consequences for harming others?

So much of what happens in our world happens because people think they can get away with shady deals. Studying the afterlife is essentially studying a bigger picture of reality than mainstream society operates under. A high percentage of those who have near-death experiences come back radically changed in their ethics and values, which is a big clue that they experienced a big ah-ha.

While this may sound like a religious point of view — don’t do bad things because cosmic security cameras are always rolling — afterlife researchers and mediums say there is no judgment in the afterlife except how we judge ourselves during life reviews. Still, everything we think or do is not secret, because we are all connected to each other, and every action prompts another action.


Life plans and life reviews harken back to whether or not mediums, hypnotherapists, and even afterlife researchers are reliable resources. Afterlife conferences open doors to peer review and an opportunity to ask personally meaningful questions. They also provide a big picture view of what’s going on with research.

The world is still stuck in the clutches of the fear of death. Afterlife studies offer a positive alternative view and prepare us for the probability that life continues. I am especially interested in exploring the paradigm shift that will occur as more people discover that death is a fiction. For now. I want to walk away from a conference with a little more confidence that I am not just being carried away with wishful thinking.

Do we plan our lives?

BeachMy approach to metaphysics in a nutshell is this: if an idea intrigues me, I like to play with it as if it were true. I like to try the idea on for size, see how it feels, and put it through its paces.

Many people don’t go there unless something of a woo-woo nature has been scientifically proven to be true. They immediately shut down and refuse to even consider the idea, focusing instead on lack of proof. “The afterlife does not exist because it cannot be proven.”

What I do is not much different from when you are buying a house or searching for a new apartment. You go visit the place, and then you visualize yourself living there. You think of how your furniture would fit in the space. You think of how it would feel to wake up in this place each morning. You think of what opportunities await you in this locale along with what hazards may be present.

Not much different for me when I think of concepts like afterlife, reincarnation, out-of-body experiences, extra-terrestrials, and my latest one, pre-birth or between-incarnation life planning.


I encountered a couple of books written by Robert Schwartz: Your Soul’s Plan and Your Soul’s Gift. I also watched several interviews with Robert on YouTube.

I’d heard variations on this concept for years, particularly through the work of hypnotherapist and past-life regressionist Michel Newton. It was not an entirely new concept that we as souls plan life relationships and events based on what we want to learn in our future incarnations.

I think of it as recreation or mental adventuring to look at my life and consider this: if certain events were planned like exercises in a lifelong workshop I am taking, what was I supposed to learn? The answers can be surprising.


I was raging hormones in love with a girl  when I was a junior in high school. From the first time I laid eyes on her, I wanted her. She was smart, funny, and sexy. During our first few dates, she also taught me much about the art of sensual lovemaking, raising the bar on a world of experience that I, still a virgin, was just discovering.

One evening she invited me over for a chat. When I arrived, she said, “I don’t love you anymore.” We were done. That was it. The most helpless feeling I had encountered in my young love life swept through me. I had no clue what had happened to her love.

When my senior year of high school began, she was nowhere to be found. Several months later I learned that she had been at a home for unwed mothers. It turns out that she had apparently gotten pregnant while we were dating. It was biologically impossible for me to have been the father.

It is fascinating for me some half-century later to consider this event from a cosmic perspective. It means one thing if it was just a matter of happenstance. An oh, too bad, girl dumps boy. Just another episode of teen-age angst to chew on. She was the one that got away.

It means something else entirely if it was a planned gotcha. According to the premise that Robert Schwartz lays out in his books, the soul of which I am a part — which would commonly be referred to as “my soul” — got together with her soul before we were born. We planned this event for reasons that were very clear to us then and way under the radar to us once we incarnated.


I find it somewhat comforting to think of it as a planned event, hurtful as it had been. Why? It helps me channel energy in a more positive direction to think of it as a learning experience in Earth School than tough luck in young love. It gives some purpose to my pain, which is essentially to learn from it. I find it helpful to look for the gift in my perceived losses. Sometimes they turn into major wins, even if at first they had disaster written all over them.

So what did I learn from having my heart stomped on? Well, I did not see this at first. It was one of the early lessons of when one door slams on your nuts, another door will open. I had to be beaten up a few more times before I realized that life always had a funny way of delivering new situations (in this case lovers) after my personal disasters.

Getting whacked like that also made me much more sensitized to being hurt. In time I learned how to empathize with others in their personal disasters because I had known my own. Empathy for pain usually does not occur without first having suffered pain to know what it feels like.

As it turned out, the agony of this abandonment led me to expressing myself much more in writing. The creative muse frequently happens as one tries to dig out of a pit of suffering. At this point in my life, I was just beginning to connect with my writing ability, and having some great angst material to write about amped me up.

I had to do most of the healing from this episode by myself. I did not have much outside help. As a life experience, this one taught me how to take better care of myself emotionally, and I am thankful that I chose I positive route over something like revenge-consciousness.

Years later when the concept of karma came to my attention, I decided that maybe some of my current-life destiny was to learn about relationships. I don’t normally think of karma as a formula for punishment or even justice. Rather, I see it as creating opportunities for do-overs of past-life mistakes or lessons that our higher self wants to explore in a physical body. I think of my soul as the entity who makes pre-incarnation decisions about karma.

It is possible that in previous lives, “I” (actually an incarnation of my soul) was not the most wonderful of mates. Maybe “I” dumped and ran, breaking someone’s heart in the process. Over the years I would experience several other instances of what to me felt like being abandoned, and I wondered more than once why this seemed to be a trend. Chance or karmic design?


Shit happens. Do we plan it?

Of course we need to grasp who “we” refers to. Our current brains did not have previous lifetimes. The “we” as I see it is the soul portion of us that designs from its cosmic perspective what it wants to experience for growth.

Many people resist the idea that our loving higher selves would plan tragedies, cruelties, and disasters for us to endure for the sake of our spiritual growth. I would probably be included among them had it not been for a friend of mine who had a near-death experience when she was in her twenties.

During that experience, she went back to her pre-life planning session where she witnessed how her father agreed to be an abusive parent to her. It was part of the plan. When she returned to physical life, she was able to forgive him for the pain he had caused her. Of course, forgiving him was less about him than it was about her finding peace in her own mind. Forgiveness meant that she could let it go and stay in the now.

So ultimately my friend accepted that yes, “we” plan this shit.

And this is what Your Soul’s Plan and Your Soul’s Gift by Robert Schwartz are about, too. With copious input from spirits via mediums, Robert guides us through a menu of challenging life situations (rape, incest, a loved one’s suicide, abusive relationships, miscarriages and abortions, and so on) to show how those tough situations led to positive outcomes.

Planning a life with the possibility/probability of a few painful episodes to encounter has an interesting relationship, I think, with such beliefs as the law of attraction. Woven through the narrative of Your Soul’s Gift is plenty of material on climbing out of painful circumstances through consciousness techniques. That’s really what the book is about—healing.

So if our souls plan lessons for us that we as physical beings would see as sadistic, they also know that lifelines and healing support are available. Physical incarnation is a boot camp for learning spiritual lessons, and according to Schwartz’s research, we always agree to these events beforehand.


I do not know whether it’s true or not that our souls plan yucky stuff for us. In some ways it seems very Twilight Zonian, and in other ways it makes sense.

Either way, I find it most useful to ask myself if I planned this experience before I was born, why would I have done that? What did I learn from going through it? Just asking the question will yield fascinating and often healing insights that help me on my journey.


An impression I have is that if more people accepted the reality of the life plan — in other words, if it were somehow proven — we would have much more compassion for people’s woes. We would understand the cosmic dynamics of this system. We would be more willing to assist people if we got it that shit happens by design.

Combat soldiers and NDEs

Here is a 45-minute webinar produced by the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) about the near-death experiences of soldiers.

The webinar was intended to introduce the near-death experience phenomenon to mainstream media. It was also intended to draw attention to the IANDS Conference coming up over Labor Day weekend 2015 in San Antonio, Texas.

If you have not studied NDEs, the video is a good introduction to what they are. The panel includes two nurses, who are IANDS leaders, and a Vietnam veteran who had an amazing NDE.

The webinar gives insight into the dilemma which continues to flourish — soldiers who have NDEs face a stone wall of resistance. Imagine while being in combat having a profound reality-defying, out-of-body experience where your consciousness is suddenly in deep space looking back at Planet Earth.  Is this real or is it insanity?

Then imagine coming back into the body and being confronted with an institution that does not want to hear about your experience. What would it feel like if your doctors would rather fill your body with drugs than consider or even acknowledge the life-changing experience you just had? What would it be like to have to deal on your own with this encounter with different dimensions?

IANDS intends to change that situation by instructing medical professionals on how to recognize signs of a classic NDE.


To me, there’s an interesting bonus topic regarding NDEs in the military. It’s a topic that probably won’t be openly discussed any time soon, possibly even at IANDS.

NDEs  sometimes create stunning perceptual changes in the people who have them. Some come back with new perceptual skills they did not have before. Many NDErs come back extolling the virtues of universal love. Many have radical personality changes. For soldiers who have been trained to kill, becoming non-violent all of a sudden creates massive conflict.

Some soldiers who have NDEs in combat do their hospital time to recover and are then expected by the military to go back out and fight. The military does not recognize profound spiritual epiphany as a good reason to sit combat out. This leaves the soldier in quite a challenging situation.

It reminds me of the females in the military dealing with being raped or sexually harassed. Who listens to them? Who believes them? Who supports them? They are treated more as an annoyance to the group agenda.

Beyond the personal challenge a soldier faces after having had a near-death experience, a collection of NDE stories among soldiers could imply that warfare is not the way to go. Considering how much money we pour into warfare, it would make sense to study the phenomenon more seriously.

Near-death experiences among soldiers creates a personal crisis for the soldier that has profound implications for all of us — if we would just listen to what these experiencers have to say.


Death and not dying

MurderSo some guy goes to a Bible study meeting to commit a brutal act of terrorism that kills nine innocent people.

The guy was caught, and and the governor immediately wants to impose the death penalty.

The story feels so familiar, as if it’s just another episode of a TV crime show, another novel about a crazy serial killer, more of the same violence and response to violence with more violence. The politicking continues over gun control, seen by some as the answer. Jon Stewart said that “jackshit” would happen as a result of the latest killing. People keep getting shot and nothing keeps happening except business as usual.

Every time a big murder hits the news, I have my seasoned response:: Why don’t we as a society study death?

(I see some eyes rolling and a few stomachs turning amid the high fives. That’s OK.)


Recently John Oliver on his Last Week Tonight show discussed the misconception many people have that torture works well as an investigative tool. He said it only works in our entertainment media. It’s fiction. No study has proven that Americans should be torturing people for information.

So I wonder about death. Maybe like torture in the movies, death as it is usually portrayed might be fictitious, too. That, at least, is a view frequently expressed by people who have had classic near-death experiences. Their bodies and brains were clinically dead, but their minds were off exploring amazing new dimensions.

Death looks much different than Hollywood depictions from the point of view of the millions who have consciously left the confines of their bodies during near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, and mystical experiences.

Mainstream thinking seems to dodge basic questions. What exactly is death? Does death really kill us? Does capital punishment really kill the killer? What happens to murder victims including those whacked by lethal injection? What about evidence that seems to support reincarnation? Does a greater system of cosmic justice exist?

I cannot offer proof that there is an afterlife, but that in itself frustrates me. Plenty of circumstantial evidence supports the premise that consciousness survives death. So why in the face of so much violence don’t we study death more seriously? If so many people think that death doesn’t really kill us, it seems ludicrous that we ignore the huge implications of the experiences so many people have had.


I recently had a dream where I was in a car with a friend. I suddenly realized to my horror that we were going to crash at high speed into the rear end of a truck that had stopped on the freeway. I awoke screaming out loud.

But there I was in physical reality safe in bed. No problem. Didn’t even feel the impact in either reality.

A friend of mine had a near-death experience during a real traffic accident when she was in her twenties. “I was out of the car hovering over the roof before my head hit the windshield,” she said. How familiar it sounded. Dying was painless, like waking up from a dream.

There are plenty of mystical experiences described and available for public view on the Internet. Google it. Watch YouTube videos.  There is more than enough to suggest that we should be studying this.


If death is transformation instead of termination, it means that at death mind separates from body. In short, we are still alive, caterpillar morphed into butterfly. It also means that mind or consciousness may not be a creation of the human brain as science has said; consciousness may instead dwell outside of the brain. Brains may be more like receivers of consciousness than generators of consciousness.

So when someone is shot to death (including suicide), it may trigger (sorry) a quick shot (sorry) to another dimension of life. Bang-bang — oops, you’re not dead.

So those nine people shot in a church in Charleston may not actually be as dead as mainstream defines death. And if the shooter is executed, his body may be snuffed out, but his consciousness may live on.

So what? If consciousness lives on, does it do any good if those who died can’t communicate with those still living physical lives? Will any social change occur if there’s no back-and-forth phone calls between flesh humans and spirit humans? That seems to be the case now when only psychic mediums can converse with the so-called dead. That procerss often sounds like woo-woo guessing games. “Do you know someone who died whose name begins with an L?”

Belief in heaven and afterlife also does not seem to automatically inhibit cruel and violent behavior. Sometimes people think that they will earn a better place in heaven if they act as a pest control company on behalf of their chosen god here on terra firma. Terrorists and kamikazes are examples. Just believing in an afterlife apparently does not turn people into sweethearts.

On the other hand. past-life regressions often indicate that there is a system of cosmic justice, usually called karma, involved in the mix. We reincarnate back in Earth School to learn lessons. If you murder someone in one life, you may get your turn being murdered in another life. To me, karma is such a tantalizing system of justice that I wonder with great impatience why we don’t investigate its reality (or non-reality) with any enthusiasm.


A blogging friend posted a story citing a study about why people dislike atheists so much. It concluded that an unconscious fear of death drives this response. Belief in an afterlife gives a person comfort and meaning, and atheists do not share this philosophical view. (The article focuses on believers in a religious interpretation of soul survival, which is not the only possibility.)

I wonder about the reverse. Why do skeptics and atheists have such a visceral and negative reaction to the idea of soul survival? Why do they fight the idea with such enthusiasm?

Is it that spirituality often suggests a personal accountability that would not happen if we absolutely, positively, undeniably died?  Is it too scary to think that we might have to look into the mirror of full-disclosure at some point? Is it more comfortable to think that you can get away with murder so long as you are not caught?

Again, why don’t we research this stuff as eagerly as we research new ways to kill people?

Proof of soul survival could inspire a huge shift in beliefs and attitudes. What if potential killers and other criminals (including those in government) were taught that what they do in physical reality literally creates their life experience going forward? In simplistic terms, what if that person understood that nothing is hidden from the universe? There are no secrets, and while you can destroy bodies, you cannot destroy souls.

We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when…


I think it is instructive to observe what happens when a big murder case gets splashed all over the news. There is no talk about freed souls because that’s metaphysical, and the news doesn’t do metaphysical.

Instead the news gets caught up in the drama of the tragedy. If the murders are gruesome enough, politicians makes speeches. The old saws about gun control start buzzing. People pontificate about hatred or racism or mental illness or terrorism or tragedy. Sometimes the murder victims are famous people or upstanding citizens, and there is great rhetoric about them and the circumstances which shut them down.

I have come to see the news primarily as soap opera. The forces that present the news stick to the materialist viewpoint and heap on the drama. Political and commercials interests scare us with stories as if potential murderers are lurking around every dark corner. If all the drama scares us enough, we’ll want to buy security (which is usually an illusion — read the fine print before you buy.)

The death penalty often gets described as the ultimate punishment, the solution, the closure, justice. There seems to be no consideration that execution might spring the murderer’s mind from the body, sending the perp of heinous crimes unhealed and unrepentant into another dimension, perhaps to join friends.

But the news won’t go anywhere near there. The idea is considered preposterous.


A death is often described as tragic. Is it really? Or is death tragic because we have been taught for so long that it is? Has it become a habit to think that way? Is it just part of the program we’re taught from an early age — that we have but one life to live and when it’s used up, its end is tragic?

From the spiritual point of view, if you suddenly realize that you never die, you only change form, death is not tragic at all. It’s more like graduation. “Congratulations! You’ll make a great butterfly!”

My favorite analogy for death involves the working life of an actor. When movie production wraps, the actor stops playing a certain role. That’s a kind of death for the character, but the actor simply moves on to the next role. Any sadness for leaving the location, the cast, the crew, and the role is tempered by the promise of new roles to explore.

Death seems much more tragic to those left behind who will dearly miss their departed loved ones. It’s like being untethered from those in our orbit we were accustomed to having near. But those who have been set free, I believe, are doing just fine. It’s why in my own mind I always change “rest in peace” to “rest in ecstasy.”


In my idle moments when I think about the world I would prefer to live in, I imagine a modern newscast at a time when death has been proven to be morphing forms. The narrative about dying would be different. The narrative about life would be different, too.

It is really not so hard to imagine this. Attend an IANDS meeting in person and listen to how people talk about dying. It’s nothing tragic or scary to them. More scary and tragic to them is how mainstream society portrays death as the end of existence.

Benefit from loneliness

Benefit from lonelinessSwimming the wrong way? Or is it the right way?

Something I often hear — and something I say myself — is that when dealing with unpleasant situations, it helps to look for the gifts being offered. Hard as it is to do sometimes when it feels as if life’s prime objective is to punish people, I find that when I focus on the blessings in disguise, I start healing.

I have been dealing with soul loneliness. I have missed deep connection with friends or a lover. I’ve already written much about it. Today I want to focus on accentuating the positive. The truth is that our struggles have both positive and negative aspects, so what has being lonely been good for?


Living alone with little outside social contact has been one of the best ways to discover who I really am and what I really want. Normally I tend to be a people pleaser. When I live with someone, I want to see them being happy. That often means that I sacrifice my own desires and play a second fiddle support role. i am so good at it that I do not even think of it as a sacrifice.

Another way to say this is that I was conditioned to be a follower. I was trained to respond to someone else’s lead. As my social circle shrinks, I rely more on myself for stimulation and support than ever. As a result, I am discovering more about me as my own leader.

Playing second fiddle is not just about personal relationships. Career is another huge area. Even as a freelancer, the demands of producing income have frequently persuaded me to sacrifice being myself to play a role in the marketplace. How many of us cannot be our true selves, expressing our true opinions and feelings, when we’re at work? How many of us feel required to wear personality masks when we do our jobs?

It is a great gift to be able to slowly discover who I really am when I am not encouraged to play a support role or to bend to the demands of economic pressures.


My search for my own truth leads me to perceive others on a different level as well. The more I become the real me, the more I attract realness in others. Those who wish to share on a more genuine level seem to come forth — while those who do not wish for emotional intimacy retreat into their comfort zone.

I confess that I have not been very aggressive at locating venues where I could find people who want to share at such an unmasked level of openness. However I recognize that a transition takes time. I will find new kindred spirits somewhere down the line. I am still finding myself.

People who have suffered a deeply felt loss through death, break-up, job termination, disease, or other situation are often told that this crisis could lead to better situations, hard as it may be to see at first. A major loss or setback in life often causes us so much pain that we are too raw to keep up our normal go get ’em attitude. We open up to new options to handle our trauma.

One of those ways is frequently to become more real, direct, and courageous. We suck it up and do what we have to do. That process often attracts a different breed of friend.  It could manifest as a current friendship that expands from where it was. Or it could manifest as new friendships that meet our new needs.


Loneliness is taking a condition of solitude and casting it in a negative or painful light. In a positive light, it is great for clarity of thinking without interruption from others.

This fundamental change in filter means altering the negative self-talk around loneliness. It means not buying into any of the cliches and stereotypes about being lonely. When I make the effort to consciously intervene when my monkey mind screams that I am so lonely, boo-hoo, my morale improves. I see this as an opportunity to grow.

The prison system, as many movies and documentaries tell us, use solitary confinement as a form of punishment. It has even come under fire for causing people to go mad. At the same time, other people pay handsomely to attend various spiritual retreats where the whole point is to stop the busy world and to tune in to inner voices.


Loneliness forces self-reflection. There is only so much I can do with the usual distractions designed to keep my head buried in the sand. My personality is not too fond of mindless television, hack movies, pro sports, shopping, etc. Many of the institutions commonplace to American society are like foreign customs to this 12th-generation American.

So when I have grown bored of the distractions that I do enjoy, there is a void that I need to fill by searching for new interests and passions. For example, when I felt that I had exhausted finding videos featuring positive spiritual input, I decided to start meditating again. I had gotten out of the meditation habit because the partners I lived with were not into it. Being the follower, I blended more into their lifestyle than vice versa.

Ironically, most of the hobbies that I have are much more solitary than social. I like writing, photography, reading, art. These are my go-to activities that generally have not provided much in the way of friendship.

Although most of my pursuits are independent studies, the vastness of the time and space around me has been great for self-reflection and life review. I am still in the discovery phase of finding new passions.


Along with new passions come new perceptions. For example, I have found that the lack of romantic and/or sexual connection has created amazing new perceptions about those experiences.

For example, my unplanned celibacy has given me a revitalized appreciation for what sex can be. I have been knocked out of anything habitual; no pleasure as usual. Loneliness is like a time out. As I see anything from romantic movies to (supposed) erotica, I find that I no longer wish to follow the herd. It seems counter-intuitive, but not having a sexual partner and daydreaming about the spiritual potential of lovemaking has made me even choosier about the relationship I would want if the opportunity came along.

Another new perception for me is the goldmine of alternative media that is out there challenging the status quo. I had gotten very sick of mainstream media pushing mainstream agendas which included shame, violence, materialism, and separation. Solitude helped me focus on different media sources (YouTube, Udemy, Netflix, HBO Go) where I could select viewing material more to my liking. Besides exposing me to interesting stories, it helped me see how my world view changes when I take charge over what mind food I ingest.


Whenever I am feeling particularly blue about certain life events, it helps me greatly to think of this time and place as Earth School. We are here to learn. The school paradigm works well for me because it focuses my mind on this premise: if [this situation] is part of a planned curriculum, what is the lesson? What is the gift?

I find this approach much more useful than blaming someone else for causing me misery. It helps me focus on solving the problem as if I were a university student being challenged to work my way through the professor’s obstacle course.

So far I have been approaching my current state of loneliness as an opportunity to find my real self, and I am starting to see good results. I am learning and growing.