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Wow, Michael. What a cool experience.

I haven't even finished reading your whole post, but I wanted to pass something along to you immediately. A good friend of mine years ago--a mentor, really--used to tell me about his spiritual teacher at the time, whose name I just managed to retrieve with a little help from Google: A. H. Almaas.

I can't remember all that much of what he told me about Almaas, except that his teaching was based on what he called The Diamond Approach.

http://www.ahalmaas.com/Articles/diamond_approach.htm

How much common ground there is with your experience, I'm not really sure. But now I can proceed to finish reading your post. :o)

Wonderful post Michael. I too have eventially come to the conclusion that some truths are not 'proveable' in the objective scientific sense but can only be perceived via direct experience. Your post is an excellent example of that. I also agree that the unconscious is essentially a grey area, a great bridge whereby our individual minds merge with greater realities, so the ongoing debate about genuine spirit communication vs unconscious communication may be somewhat moot.

I wish you a merry Christmas too from here in Scotland :-)

Seasons greetings to Michael and all the bloggers here from me the land down under.

A little assistance request with site navigation if I may?
I followed a link from another site to Michaels blog that discussed the British airship R101.Apparently the link was to an older blog site. google search turned up nothing for this current blog. Was the subject discussed here or has it disappeared into the blogosphere?

Snorkler

This one works: http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/r-101.html

I've read many articles on this case and Michaels is by far the most balanced between the true believers and pseudo sceptics who think the medium either subconsciously picked up the technical details from the newspaper or was tipped off by her military friends.

You may want to check out the Survival top 40 website. It is a non profit organization that wants to advocate the reality of life after death and has doctors and lawyers on its board to make it look more esteemed. Its a wonderful site and is certainly a labor of love. They analyze all the most famous individual cases which suggest survival, summarize them and rank them and write very detailed but brief accounts on each. Currently R-101 is ranked second.
http://www.aeces.info/Top40/top40-main.shtml

I used to be a Christian as a child but survial research has replaced my church activities on Sunday mornings nowadays...

I've been having the experience lately that my heart is the 'truer' me- and by that I don't mean some sentimental notion of the heart, but that actual place in my body. I've heard that in the Tibetan tradition the heart is considered the true seat of the mind- and I'm beginning to believe it.

When I'm centered in my heart, I'm much more apt to intuit that life is deeply, inherently, beautiful and good- and this feeling is not 'fuzzy' but very strong and confident while infinitely tender- an amazing combo. But my head feels 'jealous' and wants to be the boss, as he has been for most of my life. But when I'm in the heart space, the head dominated nature of our culture and the ramifications of that seem so clear, and so sad really.

Anyway, nothing earthshaking- we all 'know' this- but to actually make that shift of allegiance, to really DO it, is life changing and profound. Thanks Michael, for sharing your experience! If you want to try this, check out HeartMath organization- it was helpful to me. Happy Holidays to all...

Fascinating experience. For me the emotions and feelings which accompany the experience are what validates it.

I have experienced such feelings only three or four times in my lifetime. Interestingly, the most powerful took place when i too was experiencing sickness.

Have a good Christmas

Paul

"For me the emotions and feelings which accompany the experience are what validates it."

But as visions and feelings can be induced (by drugs and perhaps by malevolent entities), they may be grossly misleading. Strange how we get an emotional high and immediately trust it, but never trust our pain - we try to see it as false and something to be fought and forgotten (let's forget the sinusitis). Overall, though, the pain or the tedium in our lives occupies us much more than the emotional highs. Orgasms don't last long.

I've started taking meditation seriously lately, and one thing I've noticed about virtually every major school is that "paranormal" phenomena are taken for granted. By this, I mean manifestations of the various forms of psi, and even visions of God, saints, the Uncreated Light, etc... are to be enjoyed but not dwelled upon. These experiences enrich the meditator, but are not to be taken as the end goal of meditation. They are viewed as an epiphenomenon (where have I heard that word in relation to consciousness before? :-)

That being said, I would love to have an experience like Michael's, but I haven't got there yet. Time will tell.
I would appreciate seeing some suggestions for sources of good guided meditations, if anyone has any.

Michael, in light of the experience you've outlined here (and others you've had), and the message from your blog post "An End to Hedging", is it fair to say that you now thoroughly accept the idea of an afterlife both experientially and intellectually?

Very interesting account, and it seems to me the faceted diamond idea is very similar to what Jane Roberts channeled. For those who don't care for meditation, I think an equally valid method is a quiet walk through the woods, paying attention and observing what's around you. I've never experienced any dramatic insights, but several times have felt a sort of "hum" or vibration that's very difficult to describe.

Ditto Kathleen on the Seth reference. That has always been my favoured analogy since reading Jane Roberts' Seth books.

I like this post, Michael! You're turning into a mystic in your old age.

As you know, I'm happy to call myself a mystic, too--one who believes that truth is acquired through direct perception rather than through language. I envy the fact that you're able to have an experience like the one you've just described, without needing to take a substance.

I'm not saying your experience is better or worthier than ones I've had through the use of sacred medicines, but I do find it disappointing that my own daily meditation, while helpful, doesn't give me the same depth of feeling, or visionary experience, you seem to have enjoyed.

Mysticism is a word I use a lot to talk about a balanced form of knowing that embraces *feeling* as well as thinking. (I like the comments from several people here about that.)

And that's what I like about your post--you talk about the sort of ecstatic knowing that is impossible to appreciate unless you've experienced it for yourself.

Some interesting thoughts, Barbara!

"But as visions and feelings can be induced (by drugs and perhaps by malevolent entities), they may be grossly misleading."

Why is an experience that's triggered by a drug more likely to be misleading than one that's triggered by words? (I assume that Michael's "guided meditation" involved language.)

That's especially true if the drug in question is a plant (like a mushroom). Is there something unnatural about taking a plant into one's body? It's called eating, and we humans have been doing that for much, much, longer than we've been using language.

So why is a sentence (which can, after all, contain a lie or distortion) more to be trusted than a mushroom, which springs up naturally from the soil?

"Strange how we get an emotional high and immediately trust it, but never trust our pain - we try to see it as false and something to be fought and forgotten"

I think there's some truth in this. We DO fight our pain, or try to run from it, rather than just feeling it. But I think we humans are terrified of ANY strong emotion. And that's because you can't love deeply, unless you're open to experiencing pain.

"Overall, though, the pain or the tedium in our lives occupies us much more than the emotional highs. Orgasms don't last long."

Orgasms may not last long (like Michael's relatively short mystical experience), but that doesn't mean they're not valid or important. Even if we spend more time being sad than joyful, it doesn't mean sadness is more real than joy, does it?

Thanks for the R101 links Ray.Great article by Michael and quite fascinating reading.
Apologies for being OT re Meditation experience,but as one who constantly has a million abstract thoughts running through my mind at any given moment, and find it impossible to meditate, I can't relate to the experiences.

Bruce, thanks for the link to the Almaas page. I've only read a little of it so far. It seems interesting, but I think he uses the diamond imagery differently than Silver Birch did.

tsavo: "is it fair to say that you now thoroughly accept the idea of an afterlife both experientially and intellectually?"

It seems quite real to me, but am I absolutely, 100% convinced? Probably not. But I doubt I'm 100% convinced of anything, really.

"as one who constantly has a million abstract thoughts running through my mind at any given moment"

Me too! And that's precisely what meditation is all about--letting those thoughts settle down for a time. Like many people, I focus on my breath as I meditate, some people focus on a sound.

Whatever you choose to turn your attention towards, that gentle focusing can help to quiet the mind.

lol funny you mention that snorkler. ill never ever be able to meditate I'm way too much of w high stung northeast American always worried about what needs done. I'm not skeptical of meditation by any means but I just don't think I can do it because I'm not capable of not thinking about something or what needs done

"Orgasms don't last long" This suggests that you rarely if ever bask in post orgasmic afterglow of having a for want of a better term,spiritual connection with your partner in addition to a purely physical one.
This seems consistant with the materialist views that you display in your posts.

Or maybe it suggests that you aren't too selective, and have been fooling around with the wrong types.(sarc)

I never do much meditation of this type. Although last month I was in a Thai hospital with a broken leg and I was on a lot of meds. I couldn't leave my bed and I had some weird 'spirit dreams' when I fell asleep.

In one dream I encountered two gorgeous dark-haired and totally naked women, but they also seemed dangerous. When I looked at them I simultaneously saw two crocodiles in my mind.

I started talking to them, and they explained that they were spirits of Nile crocodiles of northern Africa. This may explain why the women themselves appeared Egyptian.

They said they prefer the human form when in the spirit and dream world. But sometimes they use the spirit world to influence prey to wander toward their swamp.

Not sure if they represented all crocodiles of Africa as goddesses, or just their territory.

Does this mean anything? Maybe just my imagination. However, I woke up convinced that it was a real encounter with--apparently--crocodile spirits.

Wonderful. Thanks for sharing Michael.

Also, I think your understanding of the "soul as a diamond" is probably correct.

Merry Christmas!!!!

BTW, Bruce, you may be mildly pleased to know that after years of deriding reported experiences, I myself, quite unexpectedly and without seeking it in the least bit, recently had a psychedelic induced alien encounter. I hadn't used psychedelics in over a year. Any how, I know it interests you and I remember discounting it all in comments. You have my email address if you're interested in hearing more.

Oh yes, I further think that Michael's notion of the blurring between the subconscious and the spirit realm is not correct, but very important to highlight.

I like how Michael is so honest and balanced about the possible source(s) of perceptions.

I meant "....is correct....". NOT "..... is not...."

Bed time for bonzo. Note to self: Do not write comments after extended cocktail hour.

Cyrus, it is very tempting to make a crude joke when attempting to decyphir the meaning of your dream.I will resist, but may I recommend you don't go frollicking in the water with any beautiful naked crocodiles unless you have 'protection'.

no one, I'd love to hear about your alien encounter. I know we've exchanged emails before, but I can't find your address for the life of me. Mine is Bruce (followed by the usual symbol) BruceSiegel.com

Thanks!

Re seeing crocs in dreams--here's a story about an expert in the paranormal who's collected hundreds of accounts on his site of people sincerely reporting seeing Santa in real life (not inside a store):

http://bostonglobe.com/ideas/2012/12/23/saw-paranormal-santa-claus/4HNUxlrZLFvo3T46VNTSJL/story.html

A noetic experience is always difficult to put into words. Your beautiful meditation is a powerful reminder that we are, all of us, worthy and loved beyond our imagination. Our materialistic society has a strong tendency to convey the message that we are not enough and that we have to strive to be worthy of love. Your transcendent reminder of your true beauty will also serve to remind me to notice the 'diamond nature' in those that I meet - that's especially useful at this time of year when so many of us are surrounded by visitors.

Words are no more valid than drugs –Bruce

Quite right – you only need to listen to politicians for a few minutes to know that; alternatively, the disinformation channeled by “ascended masters” about 2012. I’m not praising words. I’m saying that feelings are not necessarily a guide to the truth.

Even if we spend more time being sad than joyful, it doesn't mean sadness is more real than joy, does it?

Presumably we long for bliss because we don’t have much of it. Buddhists say life is pain, though also try to suggest we don’t need to suffer if we don’t identify with the pain. That’s avoidance of feeling, Bruce.

“In one dream I encountered two gorgeous dark-haired and totally naked women, but they also seemed dangerous. When I looked at them I simultaneously saw two crocodiles in my mind.”Cyrus

Ah, the predatory nature of reality. Could see our “group self” as an exploitative predator too. Certainly, we are sent to do its bidding. Hey group self –you're a diamond geezer, but come down here and do your own dirty work.

Wow!! Wonderful and enlightening experience! Merry Christmas, Mike, go on with your great job!
Claudio

@Michael:
tsavo: "is it fair to say that you now thoroughly accept the idea of an afterlife both experientially and intellectually?"

Michael: "It seems quite real to me, but am I absolutely, 100% convinced? Probably not. But I doubt I'm 100% convinced of anything, really."

In your blog "An End to Hedging" you were quite unambiguous about having come to an intellectual acceptance of the idea of an afterlife: "...after fifteen years I'm prepared to say not just that life after death is supported by a preponderance of the evidence, but that it is a fact established beyond reasonable doubt." The mystical experience you report here must certainly add to that conviction. Would it be precise to say that although you remain convinced intellectually by the available evidence, an emotional, gut-level acceptance remains elusive despite the diamond experience (and others) you've had?

PS I submitted a longer post that seemed to have been accepted by the server, but didn't not appear online. I shortened things here hoping it will get through and that there won't be a double post.

Michael,

Brilliant post! Jibes with many things I've experienced, including meeting my own soul in a vision (twice).

Bruce,

Thanks for the diamond link. Will read.

Barbara,

Don't underestimate the teaching power of pain.

no one,

Yes, with the changes, the space brothers are breaking through more and more. Congrats on your encounter.

Well, we in Aus are already 8 1/2 hours into xmas day and I notice you lot up north are still on the 24th, so I'd like to wish you all a Merry Xmas and good fortune in 2013. For me, I'll be having a quiet day and weather permitting will be spending a few hours with my wife at her gravesite.

@ no one

you may have missed my earlier reply to you because it doesn't have my usual signature. It's tagged December 23, 2012 at 10:41 PM

@ Matt

To clarify, I haven't read that article myself so I'm not really putting it up as recommended reading. What I like about Almaas is the same thing that attracted me to the friend who told me about him: the combination of a spiritual approach with psychological understanding.

@ Barbara. You said:

"Buddhists say life is pain, though also try to suggest we don’t need to suffer if we don’t identify with the pain. That’s avoidance of feeling, Bruce."

I don't know much about Buddhism. But I have read several books by Pema Chodron, the well-known Buddhist author, and far from being about avoiding pain, her approach centers on accepting and fully exploring all the negative emotions, including fear, sadness, and anger. These are wonderful books that have been very helpful to me.

Maybe other Buddhists have a different approach.

I don't know everyones affiliations on here so I'll just say happy holidays. Happy winter solstice to all you atheistic materialist :)

"To think of it as a group soul is to imagine that our individual self is just one of the facets of the diamond, when in fact our soul consists of all the facets and more, because it includes the core of the diamond as well. Thus we are much greater, much more all-encompassing, than we might think. "

In light of this perspective (which I think is correct), what happens to the "individual self" after death? Does it survive as a memory of the diamond or is it more concrete as an ever living facet of the diamond? Or does it survive as long as the diamond needs to be informed by it?

My own thinking is that the "being of light" described by NDErs is that core of the diamond and that gaurdian angels, at least where something miraculous is involved, and things like that are other facets of the soul diamond ( if not manifestations from the personal subconscious).

How does the diamond relate to other diamonds? Are all of the diamonds togther God? Or is God a bigger more perfect diamond, or something else entirely?

These are thoughts that I am having.

Bruce, I shot you an email.

"Bruce, I shot you an email."

Right! I received it and replied.

Michael I don't wan'o teach you to suck eggs because reading this you clearly suck with the best of us but what I most admire about this 'peace''s the detachment you manage to maintain embracing your experience wholeheartedly without allowing your ego to binge out on all its possible implications or your mind to become conceptually fixated.

You say you already knew this stuff but as a kid you knew touching hot things'd hurt but it was only when you finally did touch something hot that you TRULY understood what your mom was warning you about.

The key to your experience for me was the moment you abandoned try'n'o protect yourself and allowed whatever was go'n'o result from your medical condition to unfold. That was also the moment when you abandoned merely believing in the idea of trusting in the benevolence of The Great Whatever and actually lived it to the point I suggest where for a moment you were literally prepared to live or die to demonstrate your faith even if only to yourself.

That was almost certainly why you were able to perceive what in other traditions's been witnessed or experienced in forms like The Grail or The Pillar of Jamshid or The Body of the Mystic Christ.

It's like I was reading a while back supposed proof Carlos Castaneda's stuff was just fiction composed of thieved ideas because someone'd found an obscure Nineteenth or Eighteenth Century Hindu tract where the author describes our true form as being an egg shape composed of endlessly shifting and writhing tendrils of energy.

Mightn't it just be the case though Juan Matus and the Nineteenth Century Hindu's descriptions matched because they'd witnessed the same thing?

The same thing in fact you beheld but in a form which'd have the maximum psychokinetic impact on you?

Michael, your illness likely did contribute to the enhancement of your meditation. In an interview on Skeptiko, Bernardo Kastrup points out a difference between our reductionist/materialist society and primitive shamanistic cultures (quoting):

"Primitive cultures... were exposed to extraneous effort, to malnutrition, chronic disease, and exposure to the elements.
Their bodies were subjected to constant stress that could impair the functioning of the filter and would give them regular access to the other world—this “Other World,” if you will—to the point that they would even induce that themselves through ordeals, through breathing techniques, through initiation rituals, through all kinds of things that today we discard as nonsense, as superstition.

http://tinyurl.com/cb7fpeq

Now, I seriously doubt the stress from your physical stress was anything close to an aborigine tribesman's ordeal, but then your meditative experience was probably just a taste of a life they take for granted.

A lot of stuff like 'Santa sightings' make sense with the afterlife paradigm. If there was a big old universe out there filled with billions of souls, maybe one or two will decide it would be fun to play a practical joke on Earth by appearing as St. Nick to a lucky few--spread some wonder and bewilderment to the masses.

Hell, if I were a spirit I'd probably do it.

Just wanted to make a quick point about the value of hallucinogens. John's Hopkins did a study on magic mushrooms and said, done properly in the right set and setting, they were one of the most beneficial substances they'd ever studied. Speaking with experience, I agree- I you want a real taste of life outside the ego, they will show you.....safely and profoundly.

It's amazing to me that so many people are so frightened by the notion of using a safe, non-toxic way to get a glimpse of Nature. We cling to our egos like baby blankets. I think the human race desperately needs a evolutionary boost at this point, and mushrooms offer that boost.

I urge anyone who is remotely brave to try this route to awareness. No, you won't get addicted- it will just become a signpost and guide to knowing there is much more to life than our conditioning allows us! Read the Johns Hopkins study and consider helping yourself and humanity. Happy holidays!

Let's see, we've got bloggers here on this one thread meditating/tripping on medication,LSD and Magic mushrooms,and discussing their paranormal experiences on a blog that possibly attracts hundreds of mainly 'straight'lurkers whom may be curious about the possibilities of the afterlife! what are they expected to make of it all?
Little wonder I have never received any recognisable tangible 'signs' from the here after. Being a non drinker/smoker or one into other mind altering substances, I likely never will have the experiences discussed here..

Please note that I wasn't moralising in the above post.I just cannot see how anyone can take any of their own experiences seriously whilt under the influence of these mind altering substances. The only time I've been really 'high' was whilst using chemicals and paint to seal a concrete workshop floor. I was basically seeing dragons coming out of the walls.There is no way that is what was actually occurring.It was the fumes that temporarily changes some of my brain chemistry that caused me to see those things.

Snorkler, I saw a full-body apparition when I was about six or seven years old. I certainly wasn't on drugs, drinking, or ill. It was an amazing experience, all in a good way. You never know...

snorkler,

I don't use any drugs, including alcohol, and I have amazing experiences all the time. The more you try, the more you get. Have you tried meditating? If you stick with it, I can virtually guarantee you will experience some things out of the ordinary.

Michael.....I really want to be in contact with you. Will you send me your email address so I can get in touch?

"I just cannot see how anyone can take any of their own experiences seriously whilt under the influence of these mind altering substances.

Snorkeler, I enjoy your presence here. But this statement betrays a complete lack of information and understanding. And since I know you're an authentic seeker of truth with an open mind, I'll respond briefly, with two points.

1. You've never had the kind of experience we're talking about. How can you discount what you haven't experienced? (You can't seriously be calling yourself informed because of your experience with chemicals and paint, can you?)

2. You're not familiar with the extensive literature and research on the relationship between sacred medicines and spirituality, coming from the fields of religious studies, anthropology, psychology, medicine, etc.

If you're at all serious about wanting to learn more about this subject, google: JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PSILOCYBIN & SPIRITUALITY.

If a school like Johns Hopkins sees the use hallucinogens as one of the more promising approaches to health and well-being, doesn't that say something?

Nancy, you can find my email address at my author site. Just click my name (below).

I try not to post my email address in too many places because it just generates more spam.

Snorkler, I don't use drugs, and while I do drink alcohol, I don't use it when meditating. I think the most important thing is to have an open mind, a certain amount of patience, and a willingness to use your imagination to get the process started - i.e., not to worry too much about whether it's "just imagination" or something more. Like anything else, it takes practice, and I don't claim to be especially good at it.

Also, when I talk about meditation, I don't mean sitting in a lotus position and blanking my mind. I mean placing myself imaginatively into a conversation with a "spirit guide." If you can close your eyes, relax, and imagine yourself having a quiet chat with somebody in a peaceful setting, then you're well on your way.

@ Nancy Talbott

Hi Nancy! I doubt you'll remember me, but back in 2005 we talked on the phone for an hour or so. I was just learning about crop circles at the time, and was so impressed with your work, that I called you--something I never do with authors or researchers.

You were really generous with your time, and I've still got the notes I jotted down from our conversation.

To this day, I'm a frequent visitor to the BLT site to find out what's up with the CC research or Robbert van den Broeke. I'm certain I've mentioned your work right here on this blog (or on Skeptiko, or both) over the years.

Do you hang out on Michael's blog much, or are you just discovering it?

Hi Snorkler,

I do use psychedelics one or twice a year and I have for the past 25 to 30 years. I, like Bruce and many others, think they are extremely useful tools. I do drink alcohol (sometimes more than I should). I rarely use cannabis ( don't really like it) and I don't touch other drugs (though many years ago I went through an experimental phase wherein I tried a few of them just to see what they were all about).

So once or twice or a year I explore consciousness with psychedelics. Maybe four times a year I smoke a little mary jane when I have some prolonged heavy work to do on the farm (like putting up hay bales or mucking out stalls). Other than that, once every couple/three weeks having one or two too many at happy hour. Hardly a drug addled existance.

While I see great value in psychedelics, I recognize that others do not. So I publicly discount any experience that seems paranormal that arose while under the influence. Any experiences I share happened in complete sobriety, unless otherwise explicitly noted. I have had many profound and very evidential experiences across the paranormal spectrum while totally "straight". I believe that you can - and probably will - too.

I very much agree with what Michael says regarding meditation. Relax. Don't try too hard or expect too much. But keep at it. Make it a part of your daily routines. Let your imagination flow and don't worry about discerning "real" from "not real" - not at first. As time goes on and you move more completely into a new way of sensing life, your consciousness will open more and more and you will eventually have some experiences that are undeniably "real". You will be able to distinguish these from others of a different nature. You will be able to employ rational thinking/logic to determine the "realness" of experiences. However, don't get too wrapped up in the rationalizing thing at first (my advice, any how).

I am big believer in Kundalini. You can google the concept. There are techniques for increasing this energy. I recommend finding one that works. Again, relax and practice. You should be able to detect if it is working for in a few weeks time.

Here are two techniques that worked for me; leading to OBEs and precognitive dreams and waking knowledge.

1. For 1/2 hour a day, every day if possible, sit in a quiet place where there is a good interplay between light and objects such that well defined shadows are created. The most ideal would be a white wall with shadows of trees, branches and leaves playing across it. Gaze at the shadows (gaze, not stare. If your eyes hurt you're staring). Let your thoughts go where they will. Don't worry about your thoughts. Don't fight them, but don't become absorbed in them either. Just concentrate in an easy manner on shadows.

Then, once a week, take a day (or a few hours - whatever you can afford) and, to the extent possible, only look at shadows of things; not the things themselves. You can do this while walking or doing other day-off type activities.

2. When going to sleep at night, lie on your back and focus on you solar plexus. Try (again, don't strain in trying) to place your awareness on that area of your body. It may help at first to place a small object with a little weight on the solar plexus; like a little rock. Do this every night. Some nights you will get restless and roll over and the exercise will be over. Other nights you will just fall asleep. No problem. Just make a routine out of this and stick with it for a few months. When you have the experience of feeling like your awareness is in the solar plexus instead of in the head you are on your way.

I am also a big phsyical fitness fan and I like to coach people who are trying to improve their fitness and conditioning, especially for athletic competitive events. I offer them the same advice I would offer you. Stick with it! It takes time. Do not give up. Even when you routine slips and you fall back into old contrary habits, you must continue to see yourself as someone who is, in the long run, on the path to improvement. Fitness, like meditation/spirituality is a life style and it takes time and energy to move from one mode of living to a new one. Stressing over failures saps energy. Don't stress. Just keep moving forward.

It's almost New Years, snokler.

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