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Excellent, Michael. Beautifully explained and I think you have many important details just right.

But in regard to the *larger* picture:

" For Dave, this is an unforgettable experience. It feels as if he has merged with God, become one with everything, and attained infinite wisdom. In fact, however, he has merged – not with God – but with his own oversoul, and his wisdom, while greatly expanded, falls well short of omniscience."

I think it's presumptuous to say that people are mistaken in their understanding of their own experience—one that's commonly reported but that you haven't had. You're assuming you know exactly what happened to them. Do you really want to do that?

Don't you risk falling into somewhat the same trap as those who deny the validity of all mystical experience because they can't relate to it personally?

"In his NDE he was still identifying with the Dave personality, so he experienced himself having Dave's body, meeting Dave's friends, and seeing religious imagery consistent with Dave's belief system."

Again, you seem to be disregarding countless experiencers who say they've gone so far beyond their earthly lives, they had to re-discover what it means to be a human being.

I have some experience with such states. In returning from my deepest journeys, I had the sense that the time/space continuum was re-forming or re-gathering around me. This is no exaggeration or illusion (though I understand it may seem that way to you).

It happens!

At any rate, on this Christmas Eve, Michael, despite our differences, it's a pleasure to be debating such grand matters with someone who shares so many of my own understandings.

Happy holidays to you!

I believe there is a distressing near death experience aspect to this.
Ego-driven clinging to the old personality and resisting its destruction, thus allowing the new personality to emerge, can create profound misery in the transition.
This is pretty much Nancy Evans-Bush's take on the process, although she sees things in a Jungian collective consciousness light, rather than an Oversoul perspective.

Virtually every Shamanic initiation involves this understanding, and many 'primitive' cultures have rites of passage into adulthood that involve putting the teenage child (usually male) into prolonged life threatening situations that cause them to confront their old perspective of the world. Hopefully, what emerges is is a newer, stronger and more spiritually aware adult.

Often, distressing near death experiencers report that their experience became transcendent once they gave up and yielded control.

It's almost common knowledge that many spiritual epiphanies happen after a persons spirit has been broken, whether the break is caused by divorce, death of a loved one, or any of a number of personally traumatic events.

Put simply, real spiritual development is all a variation of what Joseph Campbell called The Heroes Journey, although I hasten to add that growth doesn't always have to be traumatic. Still, It's good to remember that resistance to inevitable change creates much more pain than necessary.

Excellent post, Michael, bringing together many concepts regarding a possible spiritual existence . I like how you have presented this, probably because I agree with it.

The third paragraph is a stumbling block for me as I think there is some confusion regarding being unconscious ( an adjective) of something and then discussing the 'unconscious" (a noun). Myers called the unconscious the 'subliminal mind'. As I understand Myers, intuitions and inspirations not only well-up from the subliminal mind but also as you stated come down from what he called the supraliminal mind ('oversoul' ?). Unfortunately both 'subliminal' and 'supraliminal' are terms which are out of favor with mainstream psychologists and psychiatrists.

It is a nice clarification that, "Dave remembered Redbeard's life, not because the Dave personality had previously existed as the Redbeard personality, but because both personalities stem from a common source, and the young Dave was in contact with that source."

It is appropriate to differentiate between personality(ies) and the subliminal mind and the supraliminal mind. (I remember in a recent post there was some heated discussion whether or not the personality survived death. I think that your above explanation and your comment regarding reincarnation of previous 'personalities' nicely clears that up.)

I especially agreed with your treatment of the personality meeting God. That makes perfect sense to me, that the oversoul is really what is recognized by the personality as 'God' and with which the personality merges becoming another facet of the oversoul.

I also like your paragraph discussing the oversoul's existence between lives when you write that the oversoul ". . . experiences himself without a human body and without . . . personal characteristics. Typically, [oversouls] saw themselves . . . as shapes of light in different colors, moving through an abstract geometrical landscape. They had a full recollection of their various incarnations, as well as a full memory of their between-lives schooling and associations." You posited oversouls joining other oversouls and perhaps suggesting by that concept that these groups of oversouls when merged are what we are struggling to define as God.

I liked your comment regarding the availabllity or unavailability of previous personalities. "Another thing Dave notices is that a medium never says that a given communicator is unavailable, having already reincarnated. Skeptics sometimes seize on this fact to question either mediumship or reincarnation. But if the diamond hypothesis is correct, then we would expect all deceased personalities (Enos and Redbeard, for instance) to remain in the spirit world; reincarnation involves the manifestation of a new personality extruded from the oversoul, not the recycling of a previous personality."

I think it is unfortunate that the current mainstream paradigm does not really accept a spiritual existance or reincarnation even though a large majority claim to believe, (superficially) in God or a higher power. For me, a spiritual acknowledgement such as the one you have put forward would explain the current discomfiture with identity whether it be sexual identity or racial identity. It may even be relevant for the abortion issues. It seems to me that the current discussions and behaviors about identity are so unnecessary if one accepts that one may have experienced many identities --- male, female; black, white; rich, poor in previous incarnations. - AOD

I recall that in the spirit communications through Leonora Piper, sometimes the control had to search for the requested communicator. Often it would take a day or two to find him or her. I don't recall that there were times when the communicator was not found but I would have to reread all of the sessions with Piper to be sure. -AOD

Rabbitdawg,
I don't think that any personality is destroyed; no personality or spirit is"broken". They all survive as part of the oversoul. Eventually the oversoul releases it's focus on the previous personality and moves on. There is no immediate new personality. That 'new' personality develops slowly over the course of a new incarnation of the oversoul. There may be a resistance of a recently passed personality to give up its 'moment of fame' but as it acclimates to another reality it willingly merges into the oversoul acknowledging that it remains part of a greater whole. - AOD

A wonderful Christmas read. I really liked it. This is the first Christmas without my mother alive. I am seeing her as a beautiful diamond. Merry Christmas everyone!

Amos,
Yeah, the only destruction I see happening involves the ego. Carl Jung described it as a very painful, yet ultimately liberating part of his own NDE.
What I believe survives is the witness/observer, which moves on to a new path it likely never imagined before.

I find myself in a similar situation to Susan, this is my first holiday without my mother around.

The idea Michael presents makes sense though perhaps selfishly I still hope for some kind of communication.

I have to echo what everyone else has said: This is a great read. In fact, the timing of it is rather interesting, and not because it's Christmas day. I recently found the title of a book I've been trying to find for a few months, titled, "Answers about the Afterlife" by Bob Olsen. The book goes quite in-depth about reincarnation, and is very similar to what you write here, Mr. Prescott, but instead of a multi-faced diamond, the book uses the analogy of the ocean and waves: the ocean is the spirit world/God/Higher Self, and the waves are individual aspects of spirit. They hit the store, go forth, then recede back into the water and become one with the ocean again, never to hit the shore again as that exact wave. However, everything they were still exists, and thus parts of them do go back in different waves.

I think the similarities between both analogies is striking, and presents an intriguing idea of reincarnation that's nowhere near as horrifying as the traditional view: instead of us coming back again and again and again to hard, difficult, miserable human lives, we - that is, our personal selves as we are now - only live one lifetime and never return to Earth and continue to grow in the spirit world while our experiences and personality influences those who come after us. I've read a few other spiritual sources (including Seth) that mention something along these lines, including that reincarnation is much more complex than what we traditionally believe. It could also fit the traditional Christian belief that we only die once and never come back... because who we are now as a personality will never again return to Earth. Of course, it's not possible to determine if it's true or not, but it provides a lot of food for thought!

I think that was an excellent stab at an overview of what we probably are, Michael. Intuitively, it feels as if it's anchored in truth.

Amos writes: "Eventually the oversoul releases it's focus on the previous personality and moves on. There is no immediate new personality."

Isn't that an exact description of what happens to us time and again as we progress/develop throughout our (earthly) life?

Ian,
I agree with you that " who we are now as a personality will never again return to Earth." In Michael's metaphor, the current personality becomes a facet on the diamond which represents the oversoul and the oversoul thereby increases in 'brilliance' by the addition of the old personality with all of its experiences in life. It is the oversoul that may then return to Earth or some other place to experience another, completely different personality and life experience. (IMHO) - AOD

Interesting stuff Ian. For a time had an obsession with the idea of "partial" reincarnation as well.

My understanding is certain Yogic schools of thought posit reincarnation at the animal level at least consists of parts of souls entering animal form.

\\"Answers about the Afterlife" by Bob Olsen. The book goes quite in-depth about reincarnation,"//


Ugh! Thanks for the heads up. I know not to buy and read that book! I hate the whole idea of reincarnation. Despise it. I can't understand why so many people are so enamored by it? My understanding of most Eastern Religion is that the goal is to NOT reincarnate. It's not something to look forward to.

I should point out that the diamond metaphor isn't original with me. Silver Birch, a spirit channeled by Maurice Barbanell, said much the same thing, as explained in a blog post by Michael Tymn:

"Silver Birch explained that the individual personality on earth is a small part of the individuality to which he or she belongs. He likened it to a diamond with its many facets, pointing out that the personality on earth is but one facet of the diamond. 'What you express on earth is but an infinitesimal fraction of the individuality to which you belong. Thus there are what you call "group souls," a single unity with facets which have spiritual relationships that incarnate at different times, at different places, for the purpose of equipping the larger soul for its work.'

"Silver Birch also likened the soul to an iceberg in which one small portion is manifesting and the greater portion not manifesting. He apparently was referring to what others have called the 'Higher Self,' the 'Greater Self,' or the 'Oversoul.'”

http://whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/entry/the_enigma_of_reincarnation

Art, I agree with you completely, as the older I get, the more horrifying the traditional idea of reincarnation becomes. However, Mr. Olsen's book stresses that it's not a forced, mandatory thing that we're required to do. He even says, at one point, that people who fear coming back have nothing to worry about, as an aspect of us will, but we won't. It's like giving a person our travel journals so they can read and learn from our experiences, and adapt characteristics that they like, while we stay behind and wish them well.

I would still recommend the book as a read, and can't stress enough that it's view of reincarnation is fascinating.

And what are the next steps to further investigate this model?

Merry Christmas.

I wouldn't know how to investigate it, except to see if it helps to make sense of otherwise paradoxical findings - e.g., that spirits are said to reincarnate, yet they always seem to be "available" to mediums.

What I'd like to find is a big-picture scenario that incorporates as much of the data as possible, as simply as possible. Such a model can't be proven; the best we could say is that it's consistent with the best evidence.

Empirical study has to focus on specific phenomena. There's always room for more facts, but the further accumulation of facts, as such, will not change many minds. There are already more than enough solid cases to support past-life memory, mediumship, crisis apparitions, NDEs, etc., for those who are open-minded about it.

Art, I agree with you, I hate the idea of reincarnation. One of the primary goals of Buddhism is NOT to reincarnate - to instead, get off the wheel of life.

That said, there have been many odd accounts of reincarnation. And people report odd feelings of knowing things they shouldn't, of being at a place for the first time, but feeling like they've been there before. I myself once had the oddest dream that I was on some kind of large ship, and when I looked in a mirror, I saw I was an Asian woman wearing a 1940s cocktail dress. No idea where that came from. But it's plausible, since I was born several decades after the '40s.

Also, Michael's Diamond Theory sounds exactly what Seth described in the Jane Roberts' books. And, interestingly enough, part of Seth's oversoul reincarnated in a dog.

"Empirical study has to focus on specific phenomena. There's always room for more facts, but the further accumulation of facts, as such, will not change many minds. There are already more than enough solid cases to support past-life memory, mediumship, crisis apparitions, NDEs, etc., for those who are open-minded about it."

So what was left that discursion with the philosopher Sudduth about super psi? Because I fear that the majority of the scientific community does not even agree that this casuistry is evidence.

Juan, I'm not sure I understand your question. I think some people come up with complicated, highly intellectualized ways of dismissing the obvious implications of the empirical evidence. I don't think these people are persuadable, so for the most part I ignore them, just as I assume they mostly ignore me.

Kathleen,
I think I am looking forward to reincarnation since this time around was not all that great. (I know, I know, it could have been worse.)

Here is a comment I made about reincarnation on Michael Tymn's blog. I don't like to copy myself from one blog to another but since you seemed to not be enthralled with reincarnation I risk repeating it.

"As spirit consciousness, one might choose how and where one wishes to reincarnate. Since sequential time arguably doesn’t exist, one might even be able to reincarnate in previous earth times, experiencing again the early 1800s for example. I know it is anathema for some people to think but for me, I might even want to experience a little time in the body of something other than a human being—maybe on a planet other than earth.

I look at the process of reincarnation much as I would think about purchasing a new car. As an 18-year-old teenager I might find that a monster truck was what I wanted to own and ride around in but as I became more interested in finding a mate I might want to buy a souped-up muscle car to impress the girls. After I married I might want an SUV for a while but when children arrived, a Town and Country Chrysler Van might be more appropriate. As I approached my midlife crisis I might think that red Miata Sports Car was just what I needed until somebody eventually took my keys away from me a bought me a motorized wheelchair in which I could ride off into the sunset.

Each time I reincarnated it would be like buying a new car—-a car/body that just happened to fit my needs or whims at the moment." - AOD

AOD:

" I know it is anathema for some people to think but for me, I might even want to experience a little time in the body of something other than a human being—maybe on a planet other than earth."

Glad to see I'm not the only one here who doesn't see reincarnation as the worst possible scenario. As I see it, to fear reincarnation is to forget the vastness of this cosmos and its possibilities, and instead, to think: "Being in my body, at this moment, is painful. So all possible experiences, in all bodies, in all planes of existence, must be equally bad."

Imagination, people!

Except for the “time” we spend merged with the Source to which we keep returning, the universe is *synonymous* with reincarnation.

AOD, your car-buying analogy is false, because the problem with reincarnation is that when you begin a new life, you lose all of the wisdom and knowledge you gained in previous lifetimes. There might be little bit of experience learned in not being evil towards others, but that's about it. It would be as if each time you purchased a new car, you had to completely re-learn how to drive. In Buddhism, reincarnation is a very long and arduous task, reincarnating over and over.

The aim of practicing Buddhism, at least as I understand, is to avoid it by seeking enlightenment.

Anyway, even although time doesn't really exist and is an illusion, I'm wishing everyone here a very happy New Year!

Michael,

This is great nuts-and-bolts thinking, really getting into the data and putting together a big picture. It's the kind of philosophizing that is not emphasized all that much in the 21st century, but it needs to happen in order for us to continue to figure out Reality. And I think you're particularly good at it.

I'd like to throw in a few more thoughts that match what you've written to a degree and don't match it to a degree:

• You have noted in your blog before and provided quotes to the effect that ADCs about reincarnation are all over the place. This is a disconcerting fact. ADCs *are* consistent (and consilient!) with many other data points, and the whole data set gives us a great deal of confidence that the Afterlife is real. But not on this issue.

• If we look at NDEs as well, once one arrives in the Afterlife, there seem to be no Powers That Be that explain exactly how it all works. We do have outlier cases in which someone is shown. Sometimes they forget it when they come back, and sometimes they have a full account, but again we don't get a consistent narrative. Thus we have vigorously debated on this blog whether Nanci Danison is a true prophet of the Afterlife or not.

• Indeed, even if we look at channeled material such as the Silver Birch you cite, the higher beings are unable to say, "Here it is, folks," and must themselves engage in philosophizing of a sort. Silver Birch sounds as though he is explaining something that is not even well known to those who are experiencing it. Somewhat similar to how Newton could elucidate mechanics to us and tell us a lot that we didn't known, even though we too were living in the physical world with him.

• In New Age circles, the term "higher self" is used a lot, and I think it is valid from my own experience. I interpret it as the "full content" of the person outside the limitations of the physical. I'm not sure how it relates to the Diamond concept or if it does. The New Age usage is rather fuzzy but it does seem to serve a conceptual need.

• When I have talked with higher beings, they seem genuinely concerned with *my* development and wellbeing, and not merely for the sake of a lesson learned for the Higher Self or the Diamond. That is, the individual truly seems important. And I think this importance is reflected in the entire data set as well and is consilient in its own right. That's why Grof's "Cosmic Game" view of Reality (though I do not dismiss data points that are congruent with it, either, such as Danison's; they may be a partially correct way of viewing reality [or wholly correct as seen from a certain perspective]).

• I have two connected experiences of seeing my Higher Self (I believe this was 2009). Once, after I had woken up in the morning but was fully awake, it appeared to me as a this vast gray mass, as "big" and complicated as a galaxy, full of red and blue brighter spots. The gray seemed to indicate all the areas that needed more work, while the bright spots were, well, bright spots. But this entire Self seemed to be Matt Rouge and not a composite of personalities. I'll also note that this experience seems to match the abstract geometry you mention in your post. It may be that this geometry is one way of looking at things and not *the* way for higher beings, but I'm not sure.

Then a day or two later in the woods, I felt the purest love coming from this Higher Self. This was the type of overwhelming, transcendent love that is described in NDEs (or it at least seems the same to me). The love felt *very* personal, as though who I was now, however gray, was valuable beyond measure. And however gray I was, I was still capable of loving at this level. This was a truly amazing experience.

• And I have felt that love a second time, and this also related to the mystery of reincarnation. I feel that I am able to contact and connect with a previous incarnation of myself, and one time she showed that same love to me. My takaway from this is that incarnations of the "same" person are actually different people.

• I'm inclined to agree with Bruce that we should take people's reports of achieving total knowledge, etc., as is and not overlay an interpretation of them as being actually of or about the Higher Self. In any case, such an interpretation opens a can of worms in that it attributes a kind of systemic mistaken-ness to the Afterlife experience. I won't say that you're wrong; it's something to consider. But I would hesitate to hold it as a particularly firm conclusion.

So here is my own putting together of the big picture right now (which overlaps yours substantially):

- Reincarnation is some sense is real; the evidence for it is substantial. I myself seem to remember past lives.

- Reincarnating doesn't remove other incarnations from the Afterlife.

- Individual incarnations are valued as individuals and are not seen as or treated as a means to an end. They continue to have their own development in the Afterlife and are "eternal" in some sense.

- There is such a thing as a Higher Self. We don't understand its nature very well now or how it relates to the individual and other incarnations.

- We don't understand very well how incarnations relate to each other.

- I am inclined to believe that reincarnation is related to what I call the paradox of consciousness. To be a Self is always to stand outside oneself and thus to not be onself. To put it another way, there is the paradox of the computer that models the entire universe. The model must include the computer itself, which is as complex as the universe itself. Ad infinitum. Incarnations may modes of self-knowledge and awareness that ultimately connect to the self-awareness and -understanding of Atman, or Reality Itself.

@ Matt

Glad to hear that you give credence to the experience of merging with the Whole. (If I understand you correctly.)

I think Michael's map is correct as far as it goes. I'm just encouraging him to look toward the larger picture, and disagreeing with the notion that we can't have direct knowledge of it.

Now such knowledge can't be retained in detail in ordinary states of consciousness. But that's true by definition, because the knowing and the altered state are one and the same.

The mystical experiences you describe drive home the same point, right? The truth we seek is the love we feel.

“• When I have talked with higher beings, they seem genuinely concerned with *my* development and wellbeing, and not merely for the sake of a lesson learned for the Higher Self or the Diamond. That is, the individual truly seems important. And I think this importance is reflected in the entire data set as well and is consilient in its own right. That's why Grof's "Cosmic Game" view of Reality (though I do not dismiss data points that are congruent with it, either, such as Danison's; they may be a partially correct way of viewing reality [or wholly correct as seen from a certain perspective]).”

Is there something missing from the sentence about Grof? I don’t understand how he fits into this paragraph.

"Is there something missing from the sentence about Grof? I don’t understand how he fits into this paragraph."

You mean you don't grok the Grof graph?

"You mean you don't grok the Grof graph?"

You grot it.

Kathleen,
I think that I don't agree that "when you begin a new life, you lose all of the wisdom and knowledge you gained in previous lifetimes." While one may not be able to consciously recall past-life knowledge on demand, I think that it is available, bubbling up from the subliminal or supraliminal mind from time to time perhaps in dreams but more likely in creative or intuitive efforts in a current life. Obviously those who do remember a past life seem to have access to memories, that is, the wisdom and knowledge learned in the previous life. The past-life recall of James Leininger as a World War II fighter pilot James M. Huston Jr. is a current example.- AOD

Bruce,

Good comments, thanks!

||Is there something missing from the sentence about Grof? I don’t understand how he fits into this paragraph.||

Yes, I goofed it up. :)

According to Grof, there seems to be no continuation of a particular personality in the Afterlife: you die, you are reabsorbed, "you" continue in another form. I don't think this is how it all works. Which is not to say, as we have discussed before, that Grof doesn't get a heck of a lot right.

"I think some people come up with complicated, highly intellectualized ways of dismissing the obvious implications of the empirical evidence."

I agree that this sometimes happens, but there are also some epistemological points of interest. For example, you can say that not all cases of regressive hypnosis can be explained by fraud or cryptoamnesia, but this is not sufficient to conclude that only the reincarnation hypothesis can explain these cases, because is always possible to emerge a better hypothesis. Although the evidence in other lines of research converge in that there is a kind of personal afterlife.

Brilliant analysis, Matt!

The only thing I would like to comment on is the following:

"When I have talked with higher beings, they seem genuinely concerned with *my* development and wellbeing."

I've had exactly the same experience, on two occasions. Both times it has quite taken me aback to think I am regarded as so very, very special somewhere.

@Bruce:

"The mystical experiences you describe drive home the same point, right? The truth we seek is the love we feel."

Yet Jung didn't describe a feeling of love in his NDE. Instead, he described ecstasy. He also described his personality type as lacking in feeling. That suggests a degree of (self-admitted) psychopathy. So, perhaps 'love' is merely a matter of perception?

Matt said:

"According to Grof, there seems to be no continuation of a particular personality in the Afterlife: you die, you are reabsorbed, "you" continue in another form. I don't think this is how it all works."

You underestimate him, Matt. Grof is enormously insightful on the subject of how one incarnation affects another.

In Cosmic Game, for example, there's a chapter entitled The Mystery of Karma and Reincarnation. He talks in depth about a key romantic triangle in his life, and how three destinies have intertwined over a series of lives.

Julie said:

"Yet Jung didn't describe a feeling of love in his NDE. Instead, he described ecstasy."

Interesting point, Julie, that wouldn't have occurred to me. When I hear a spiritual experience described as ecstatic, I think of my own past experiences. And for me, ecstasy and love are inseparable.

Because when you're outside the influence of the body, to love deeply always feels incredibly good. And when you feel wonderful beyond description, it's impossible not to love!

@Bruce: While I believe that to 'be loved' and cherished deeply, as a new born infant, contains a feeling of profound safety and security, it's my contention that 'to love' lends itself to, among other things, feelings of trepidation surrounding the object(s) of one's love. To love is to fear for another.

It was interesting that, during his NDE, Jung met his wife (or at least an idealized version of her in her prime). The vision did not communicate a sense of love towards him. Rather she was somewhat noncommittal. Jung dismissed this with a comment or two about the futility of emotion.

The significance of this struck me forcibly when, later, I watched the full BBC interview in which he describes his personal deficiency with regard to the 'feeling' component in his personality inventry.

Do you see what I'm getting at?

Julie said:

“it's my contention that 'to love' lends itself to, among other things, feelings of trepidation surrounding the object(s) of one's love. To love is to fear for another.”

Julie, did you miss the part where I specified “when you’re outside the influence of the body”? Because that's how the discussion began—you were talking about Jung's NDE.

One of the most striking features of such experiences is how love for others is not mixed with fear of any sort. Time and again, NDErs make statements like, “I was amazed to see that I would have been perfectly happy to stay in that glorious place. Even though I had a newborn, I knew it would be fine even if I never returned to my body.“

While it’s true that mothers often end up wanting to return so they can raise young children, they don’t make that decision out of fear, but love. It’s an important distinction.

I’ll go so far as to say that the deepest mystical experience—as I and many others see it—can be *defined* by the loss of fear of any kind.

“It was interesting that, during his NDE, Jung met his wife (or at least an idealized version of her in her prime). The vision did not communicate a sense of love towards him. Rather she was somewhat noncommittal. Jung dismissed this with a comment or two about the futility of emotion.”

Can you give me quotes here so I know exactly what you’re talking about?

Julie said:

"The significance of this struck me forcibly when, later, I watched the full BBC interview in which he describes his personal deficiency with regard to the 'feeling' component in his personality inventory."

I just want to add that I can relate to this. (If he's saying what I think he is.) Though in my comments here I often talk about love with respect to my mystical experiences, in my day-to-day life, the situation is different than you might expect. (Or maybe not.)

It's easier for me to know love in relation to art, music, my iPad, a project I’m working on, or a character in a movie, than to feel it for friends.

We each have our strengths and weaknesses. Our own maze to navigate.


@Bruce: From what I've read, it seems that love isn't the only emotion known to characterise the NDE. A percentage of experiencers, albeit a relatively small percentage, report powerfully negative and fearful NDEs.

Anyway, I can't get beyond the conviction that to love is to care, whatever the dimension, and that concern for loved ones who remain incarnate continues - as testified by the ample warnings of physical danger that are purportedly given from 'the other side'.

As for Jung's encounter with his deceased wife during his NDE, the relevant description can be found in the link that Michael so kindly supplied. If you didn't get around to reading it, it's well worth the effort.

Evolution is a big part of the Eastern philosophies in Hinduism and Buddhism as apparently it takes several lives of upward evolutionary progression to get enlightenment and be set free from rebirth. This includes the soul starting as something like a bacteria and progressing through plant and animal lives to human life. The progression tends towards higher life forms (the plan, so to speak) but leaves room for mistakes (or as they call it, ignorance) which can lead to retrogression to lower states of human life and even rebirth back into an animal life to "burn" bad karma off. This latter form of evolutionary reversal is called simply transmigration as opposed to reincarnation, I believe.

Jung's experience of ecstasy without love is similar to trance states and even drug highs. I don't think that is a coincidence at all. Paramahansa Yogananda stated that love without bliss would not be worth having as a personal experience. Bliss, or "ananda" can also mean joy but usually it refers to an ecstatic state of consciousness.

To me, this is very telling and I find it dubious too. To state that love must nescesitate (sic) some kind of feeling of ecstasy just plain flat out sounds wrong to me. Peace and joy, on the other hand, sounds about right to me. Peace, warmth, joy and love go together naturally. Why is it necessary to add some kind of high to this?

I think you will find 2 components in all forms of psychic related experiences. (1) there is an altered state of consciousness and sought for mainly selfish reasons (to get "high" etc.) and (2) the desire for power, which could also be taken to mean control over the circumstances of one's life.

Desire is an interesting subject all unto itself. What does it consist of? Likes and dislikes, pain and pleasure, and fear. Fear because if you do not get what you want it creates frustration and uncertainty as to what will happen. And this is linked to death too because death is uncertain and out of our control. Hence, why people would desire to know if there is an afterlife by attempting to contact departed loved ones through various means.

Yet, it seems obvious to me that since death cannot be controlled we lose power that we otherwise might be attempting to gain and hence the effort is pretty futile in the end. Instead of seeking power, which appears to me to be egotistical and mainly selfish, we should relinquish the desire for control and power and be more humble about our "fate". If the compass of one's conscious attention is at the north pole of "me, me, me" all the time then surely we will feel a sense of uneasiness because our conscience is telling us to be unselfish. I'm not saying this is true of all persons but it certainly seems to have a lot to do with seeking psychic experiences. If we can't find happiness and satisfaction in our human life and relationships with other people then I believe something very vital is missing. Sure, the human heart may long for satisfaction if the state of our "souls" is separation from Source but I believe this is natural and a precursor to gaining connection to It. But I often come across people that say things like, "You have to help yourself before you can help others" and to me this doesn't seem true at all. Instead of being a "spiritual" thing it turns into the opposite.

Bruce wrote,

||You underestimate him, Matt. Grof is enormously insightful on the subject of how one incarnation affects another.||

It might be a good time to review this chapter! Thank goodness I have a copy. ;)

Julie said:

"Anyway, I can't get beyond the conviction that to love is to care, whatever the dimension, and that concern for loved ones who remain incarnate continues - as testified by the ample warnings of physical danger that are purportedly given from 'the other side'."

With respect to caring, I agree 100%! What I was responding to was your remark about fear: "To love is to fear for another".

On this plane, we have a hard time believing that love can exist without fear. But the purest and deepest love—as epitomized by what we can feel in an NDE—has nothing whatsoever to do with fear. It is fear's opposite!

I can hardly think of a more important truth.

@Bruce: The fear that I speak of is a measure of the care that we extend to our loved ones. It's not the opposite of love (Williams style) but an emotional indicator of the strength of our concern.

Those who love don't feel fear for themselves, their only concern is for others.

From your description, it would appear that the kind of love you feel is merely an expression of pleasure: pleasure in the beauty that external things bring to you. That is little more than self-indulgence. But if I have to explain that to you then I very much doubt that you are capable of understanding what I am trying to get at.

Julie said:

"But if I have to explain that to you then I very much doubt that you are capable of understanding what I am trying to get at."

You either have a very low opinion of me, or you're angry. Probably the latter. Sorry to see that—I certainly wasn't attacking you.

Julie wrote,

||From your description, it would appear that the kind of love you feel is merely an expression of pleasure: pleasure in the beauty that external things bring to you. That is little more than self-indulgence. But if I have to explain that to you then I very much doubt that you are capable of understanding what I am trying to get at.||

Bruce and I agree a lot, and we disagree a lot, but I would never doubt his capability for understanding!

Consider the ancient Indian concept of sat-chit-ananda: being-consciousness-bliss. Transcendental love is fundamentally blissful.

The love people feel on the other side is a by product of those feelings of "oneness and connectedness", i.e. it's holographic nature, that near death experiencers often describe in their NDE descriptions. It is one and the same thing.

And as far as "God" goes, we are a part of God. In the same way that the cells of our body are a part of us. Each one of our cells contains all the DNA information of the whole.

David r writes: "To state that love must nescesitate (sic) some kind of feeling of ecstasy just plain flat out sounds wrong to me. Peace and joy, on the other hand, sounds about right to me. Peace, warmth, joy and love go together naturally. Why is it necessary to add some kind of high to this?"

Yes, that's akin to what I've been getting at. I'm sure the ecstasy is a factor in this - certainly an initial facter, perhaps habituation sets in at some point; I'd be very surprised if it didn't.

But it seems to me that in order to have any real meaning, love has to be more than that.

Most of us are born loved and we love our carers in return, perhaps out of necessity, as Richard Dawkins would no doubt assert. But to truly love, to achieve the ability and willingness to put aside the self for others, has to be learned, I would say worked at - and worked at very hard.

Dawkins would also say that the love a parent feels for an infant is an innate emotion, triggered by the birth event. But as a child grows there are inevitable conflicts and difficulties to be overcome - and not always successfully. It's easy to love that which merely brings us pleasure. But to love that which challenges our patience, our stability and, at times, even our very sanity, requires courage and dedication. That, I believe, is the major purpose of life. I can think of no other goal that seems more important.

Over the years, I've noticed a difference in those friends of mine who have children and those who do not. The former tend to be more understanding and forgiving; the latter more self-centered and indulgent. Anyway, it's not a hard-and-fast rule, just a generalization on a sliding sale. While I recognise that I put that very clumsily, what I'm suggesting is that it seems that the process of rearing children offers the opportunity for a certain depth of psychological growth that might not otherwise occur. It seems to me that anything that obliges us to become more emotionally vulnerable and tolerant strengthens our ability to love others including, at least for some, other species too, and to feel compassion where there might once have been blind indifference. Indeed, I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to see that even Prince William admitted in an interview that he is more emotional since the birth of his children and now views life as a far more precious gift than he ever did before.

Anyway, I shouldn't really be banging on, because I've not altogether gathered my thoughts and feelings on this subject and am merely thinking out loud, as it were. But it was something about Jung's words that grabbed my attention.

Jung was a serial philanderer, much of which activity (purportedly) took place in his own home - even while his wife was still alive. I can't quite escape the feeling that, while Jung was, self-admittedly, unemotional, he, perhaps unknowingly, exploited the emotions of the vulnerable women who visited his psychiatry practice. And yet, because he understood human personality, Jung must have been aware, at least at some level, the advantage he was taking of those women, even if they seemed more than willing sexual partners.

We all have our cross to bear and our imperfections to wrestle with, but I see little evidence of this much-needed wrestling in Jung. Moreover, if one watches his TV interview of 1959, he quietly admits that his lack of feeling was his Achilles heel and hints, by his demeanour, that he probably feels some level of shame in doing less to overcome and compensate for that failing. He said he could never call others scoundrels because he knew only too well that he was one too. Admirable in a sense but, at least for me, watered down by his self-rationalisation that emotions are unimportant in human relationships.

Perhaps Jung, therefore, never truly loved. Perhaps he felt it was preferable not to. Whatever. One of my most powerful convictions is that, should reincarnation be a fact, and there is certainly evidence to suggest so, then the failure to master the skill of mature, genuine love for other sentient beings will be the price of a ticket right back here.

Ps. I should add that it is not my intention to suggest that parenthood is the only method by which emotional strength might be developed - far from it. But it is the most obvious (common?) opportunity.

Also, while Jung had children of his own, he appears not to have interacted with them at a sufficiently emotional level to change his outlook. Interestingly enough, though, he explained in quite some detail that he was more than capable of feeling anger - and to a murderous degree.

Of course, I'm only surmising. But I find all this is leading me to think very carefully about the word love and its meaning. It's a word used often but, I believe, a concept rarely understood.

PPS. Sorry, to have offended you, Bruce, I wasn't angry, nor do I have a low opinion of you. I merely thought you were being willfully obtuse. :)

\\"Answers about the Afterlife" by Bob Olsen. The book goes quite in-depth about reincarnation,"//

Ugh! Thanks for the heads up. I know not to buy and read that book! I hate the whole idea of reincarnation. Despise it. I can't understand why so many people are so enamored by it? My understanding of most Eastern Religion is that the goal is to NOT reincarnate. It's not something to look forward to.
Posted by: Art | December 26, 2015 at 02:46 PM

You have no need to look forward to it Art. Reincarnation is totally unproven with the doctrine based upon a false theory and idea . I turned from pro to anti 'R' about 40 years ago and with much research discovered the weaknesses of the belief did not stand up.
I wrote 'The Case Against Reincarnation' and articles which will interest you . Find my website and email through Google or Mike Prescott may send it to you.

\\"Answers about the Afterlife" by Bob Olsen. The book goes quite in-depth about reincarnation,"//

Ugh! Thanks for the heads up. I know not to buy and read that book! I hate the whole idea of reincarnation. Despise it. I can't understand why so many people are so enamored by it? My understanding of most Eastern Religion is that the goal is to NOT reincarnate. It's not something to look forward to.
Posted by: Art | December 26, 2015 at 02:46 PM
You have no need to look forward to it Art. Reincarnation is totally unproven with the doctrine based upon a false theory and idea . I turned from pro to anti 'R' about 40 years ago and with much research discovered the weaknesses of the belief did not stand up.
I wrote 'The Case Against Reincarnation' and articles which will interest you . Find my website and email through Google or Mike Prescott may send it to you.

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