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.

 

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.

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.

UPDATE NOTE: In my personal reality, “woo-woo” is a fun term, a term of endearment. It represents to me lighting the fire for spiritual knowledge. I understand that for many, “woo-woo” is a term of derision used to scoff at metaphysical studies. So be if for them; I am not changing my love of woo-woo because others want to spoil the party. Woo-hoo for woo-woo!

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 on specific questions. What is so hard about getting names answering direct questions if they can hear general answers? 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 like something a gossip magazine would ask. 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 or abusive parent 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.

Dying and not dying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WOO-WOO SKY PIE

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

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

UPDATE

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

Thats-all-folks

“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.

LOOK INTO THE FUTURE

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!”

AVOIDANCE OF DEATH

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.

THE LANGUAGE OF DEATH

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.

SKEPTIC’S CORNER

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.

THE FINAL WORD

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?

Autumnal-rest

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?

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

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?

THE SOCIOLOGY OF MEDIUMSHIP

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.

LIFE PLANS

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.

IN SUM

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.

Sunset of life

sunset of lifeIn nature and popular fiction metaphors, the end of the day is marked by sunsets and twilight. It’s often portrayed as beautiful, a great time to reflect on life’s wonders, miracles, and pleasures.

Photographers love to take sunset and twilight photos for the quality of the light and the vivid colors. Artists love to paint end of day scenes, too. People like to gather in their favorite spots in nature to watch the big light show.

But what about the sunset and twilight that are end of life for people? Are they held with sweet regard for a life lived or does the scene become a rush to revive the body at all costs – literally and figuratively?

REALITY OF THE END

My 95 year-old father is hovering near death, so I am thinking about these issues again. How does society portray end of life? Under more ideal circumstances, what could it or would it be like?

In much of the world view, of the view we usually call Reality, death is still considered the end of things. Fade to black. Even when millions of people believe in a religious model of an afterlife, the idea of dying still brings on sadness, sometimes hopelessness, sometimes a sense of tragedy. You’ll often hear the term “tragic death” in the news. We grieve, we weep, we miss.

My mother died in late 2011, twelve days short of her 93rd birthday. There was sadness around that event, but also for me celebration that she no longer had to endure life house-bound in a pain-filled body. I had my grief that I could no longer interact with her physical presence, but was pleased to see her in my mind dancing in the streets of heaven.

As someone who has heard and read many accounts of near-death and other mystical experiences, the idea of dying is not so disturbing to me. I will be quite surprised if I die and don’t wake up somewhere else. Of course if I don’t wake up anywhere I won’t care one way or the other. I’ll be dead.

BUT THEN THERE’S THIS

I’ve had personal conversations with people who experienced NDEs and I’ve heard other accounts at support groups. For most of them, dying was a piece of cake. Returning to the body was truly the hard part.

One person who “died” in a car crash told me that she was out of her body and hovering over the roof of the car before her head hit the windshield. Another woman said that as soon as she realized that a bus was going to slam into her car, she instantly popped out of her body.

Several people who “died” during medical emergencies found themselves hovering over their bodies or appearing in an entirely different environment without at first realizing what was going on. It took them awhile to figure out that they had ejected themselves out of their bodies.

As I talked with these people, I began to conclude that most of the deaths I had ever seen in the movies or on TV were probably inaccurate. They were clearly one-sided depictions because we rarely followed “death” from the point of view of the person dying or killed. We just assumed that dead means most sincerely dead.

SOCIAL RELEVANCE

My interest in near-death experiences is not just about what happens to us beyond material living. It’s also socially relevant, at least to me.

If death is really a transformation instead of a termination, then much of what we encounter at life’s end may be wildly misleading. You may disagree, but I believe that dying won’t kill me. I plan to wake up. Consciousness will live on. I am critical of legal, medical, and sometimes even religious systems that don’t prepare people for their next life.

Some people are faced with having to make trying medical choices near end of life. Imagine being elderly and diagnosed with cancer. The medical community would want you to undergo radiation and/or chemotherapy in an attempt to cure the cancer. These therapies are not fun. They can lead to serious side effects. They are exhausting. Would you put yourself through that ordeal to buy a few extra months of physical life, especially if you believed that death was just a doorway to a new life? Or would you elect to coast as comfortably as you could through hospice care?

Most social institutions would say go for the cancer treatment. After all, they reason, if there’s a chance for recovery, you should go for it. It usually does not enter into the dialogue that the person can choose to let nature take its course. Choosing to die is usually viewed as giving up or even failing.

What’s also not usually brought up in the conversation is how expensive these treatments are. If you don’t have the right kind of insurance, medical treatments can break the bank. If the treatments are not guaranteed to restore health, and if the person is realistically close to death, is medical intervention the right course to take? If you spent a lifetime protecting an estate to leave behind, would you want it all to go up to feed the financial hunger of the medical system, especially if you personally were convinced that death only killed your body, not your mind.

WHAT IF THERE’S MORE?

Human life at any age is precious, yet if we had more of a grasp on what may exist beyond the boundaries of a physical life, we might think differently about the end of life. I already do.

If it were absolutely, positively proven that death is transformation, not termination, would medical science insist on trying to “cure” people of life-threatening diseases when they were old and frail? Would social pressure be so intense on “trying to do everything we can to save” someone if strong evidence suggested that consciousness survives death?

Of course, medical science is not very interested in pursuing the question of soul survival. This is not financially profitable research to undertake. It’s all about the physical body and business as usual. They maintain that breathing is better than not breathing under nearly any circumstance.

Clearly if a person wants to fight a disease and prolong life, that should be an available option. But if a person chooses not to pursue medical intervention on the grounds that living a few months more is not worth the pain, suffering, and cost, that should be honored, too.

END OF LIFE PARADIGM

If death is actually like graduating from Earth School and moving to a new campus, then our whole paradigm around death needs revision. Miss people as we might, we would feel less angst and more hope if we thought about them as moving on to a new life, not vanishing altogether.

When the sun sets, we all have strong confidence that a new day will dawn in a bit. That’s the way I would like to see the sunset of a human life: colorfully filled with hope.