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I believe that everything happens for a reason, even the bad stuff. I believe God is in control, even when we don't believe He is. I believe this world was created for a reason, and that reason is that this "so called" physical life is a school where we come to experience a few simple lessons. Duality and separation, time and space, and encode memories of what "out there" feels like. Over and over and over again life seems to be a never-ending lesson in experiencing separation.

I think it happens for a reason, and that reason is to teach us what it means and how it feels to be separate, unique, individuals. And the reason for that is near death experiencers almost universally describe Heaven as a place where the feelings of oneness and connectedness are overwhelming.

I remember reading one NDE where the guy said that we here in this reality can't begin to imagine how powerful those feelings of "oneness" on the other side are. I think it may be so powerful that it may be difficult to maintain a sense of "self" on the other side, so we might be obliged to experience enough separation in this life so that it's thouroughly imprinted onto consciousness or soul how it feels to be an individual.

I also remember reading an NDE about a young man from St. Louis, MO who grew up in ghetto. He said that what he learned from his NDE was that there really was no black or white but that we were all the same. All the stuff that separates us in this life I believe happens for a reason, and that reason is that they are lessons in separation, something that we have to learn here while we exist in this not quite so real universe.

The more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memories it creates. The death of someone we love is the ultimate and most powerful lesson in separation. Second may be going through a divorce, losing a friend, etc. I am not at all sure about free will and lean heavily towards predestination.

In the end I don't think it really matters what we believe. God is always in control. Even when we don't believe He is. I experienced an amazing synchronicity that proved that to me.

A few years ago I was having quite a bit of dental work done. The dental tech who worked on my teeth and I were having a discussion and she asked me "are you afraid of a terrorist attack?" I replied to her, "Why worry?, God is in control." So, a few months later as I was driving back to the dentist I was going over that conversation in my head. Just when I got to the point where I was thinking "Why worry? God is in control," a silver car pulled in front of me and it had a bumper sticker on the back that said, "Why worry? God is in control!" It was so amazing, because right as I was thinking those words, a car with that exact same thought pulled in front of me. It drove down road in front of me for a couple of miles then turned off. I had never seen that bumper sticker before, and I haven't seen again since. What was so amazing about it was the timing. Right after I had that exact thought, it appeared. "Why worry? God is in control."

Everyone becomes enlightened upon entering the light. NDE'ers describe it as "all knowledge", which is just another by-product of the holographic nature of the Universe. The life review is just another tool that leads us towards that enlightenment. Judgement and retribution are "here" things, and not "there" things. The goal is education and spiritual growth, not punishment. The need for retribution and vengenance is a human fraility. When Howard Storm called out to God, the Light appeared.

"I felt an understanding about life, what it was, is. As if it was a dream in itself. It's so very hard to explain this part. I'll try, but my words limit the fullness of it. I don't have the words here, but I understood that it really didn't matter what happened in the life experience, I knew/understood that it was intense, brief, but when we were in it, it seemed like forever. I understood that whatever happened in life, I was really ok, and so were the others here." - excerpt from Michelle M's NDE, http://nderf.org/michelle_m's_nde.htm

Nice, MP!

Excellent post, Michael.
Just one comment regarding reincarnation. Spiritists (based on the works of Allan Kardec) will tell you that there is a point of "spiritual graduation" where you don't have to reincarnate anymore, unless you want to for some reason. Reincarnation, understood as soul evolution, is one of the options you have in the Afterlife and it is a personal choice within the Law of Cause and Effect.

I no longer believe in reincarnation. I believe we misinterpret the evidence for reincarnation. I think something else entirely is going on. Memories are stored "outside" the body, and children, who haven't yet developed a strong sense of self (before the age of 7) tune into memories of someone who lived before they did. Hypnotized adults have their own sense of self turned off, and are able to tune into memories stored in the collective unconscious (Akashic Records?). As far as physical manifestations of reincarnation, they might simply be examples of thoughts being things or consciousness creating reality.

I suspect that it is a time-based misreading of "interconnection". Also, when people say they felt that "I" had all these past lives, I think the I is not the I they think it is, but the I of interconnection, the I of universal presence incarnating in myraid forms everywhere. Because there are no absolute boundaries to this "I" it seems in an NDE as if it is THEY personally.

If reincarnation were true it negates my theory that we are here to become separate, unique, individuals. Separation seems to be the one underlying major theme to life. It's the theme to the lyrics of most songs, movies, plays, books, and life in general. From the moment we are born, and "separate" from our mothers life is a neverending lesson in experiencing separation.

Art, that sure as hell doesn't explain BIRTH MARK COMPARISONS with people who remembered past lives and their deaths or injuries from a past life that MATCH a birth mark in the present life. It also doesn't explain why certain people have nagging psychological problems, phobias, even physical pain and sensations in certain areas of their body their entire life, and when they recall a Past Life, either Spontaneously, or through Past Life Regression, their psychological problem/phobia/pain disappears and clears up completely and forever. It was obviously something THEY must face from a previous life, in order to move on with their Spiritual Progression. Just like the Skeptics, Art, you selectively pick what you want to believe, and ignore contrary evidence that conflicts with your personal beliefs, admit it.

Another thing doubters of Reincarnation ignore, is how sooo many NDEs state that Reincarnation is a reality, even people who died and had an NDE and their personal beliefs were against that Reincarnation is real, such as Christians, or Atheists, or people who just didn't believe Reincarnation was real, and even children who had no perticular belief systems. These are "Eternal Truths" that are told to people who don't even believe in the Phenomenon. Why would they be told it true as an Eternal Truth, even if they previously didn't believe it, during an NDE? Even unbiased little children of no perticular belief system?

There are even NDE cases of persons, during their Life Review, experiencing not only their Present Life in Review, but Past Lives as well. (Example below.)

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/reincarnation02.html - Kenneth Ring's Reincarnation Research and NDEs (I suggest reading the whole thing)

Important Excerpts:

[Begin Quotes]

Claims have been documented by other researchers of direct knowledge of reincarnation which became available during the near-death experience itself. An example of this type of knowledge can be seen in a letter written to Dr. Ken Ring by John Robinson:

"It is a matter of personal knowledge from what the being with whom I spoke during my near-death experience told me about my older son, that he had had 14 incarnations in female physical bodies previous to the life he has just had."

Ring has also heard testimony of this kind of direct knowledge in some of his interviews. One experiencer, whose account is recorded in Ring's audiotape archives, commented:

"My whole life went before me of things I have done and haven't done, but not just of this one lifetime, but of all the lifetimes. I know for a fact there is reincarnation. This is an absolute. I was shown all those lives and how I had overcome some of the things I had done in other lives. There was still some things to be corrected."

Another experiencer whose testimony is included in Ring's audiotape archives gave this account:

"I had a lot of questions, and I wanted to know what they [the light beings she encountered in her near-death experience] were doing – why are you just kind of milling around here? And someone stepped forward ... it wasn't just one ... I got information from a number of them ... that they were all waiting for reincarnation."

Additionally, in a case documented by Dr. Melvin Morse, a girl who had her near-death experience when she nearly drowned at the age of 7 reported seeing during her experience two adults waiting to be reborn (Morse,1983).

[End Quotes]

Not exactly something to "explain away" unless you want to dismiss consistent eternal truths being shown to unbiased persons during NDEs as somehow not true.

Also...

http://www.near-death.com/experiences/reincarnation01.html - Birth Mark Comparisons and Other Evidence

Art, that sure as hell doesn't explain BIRTH MARK COMPARISONS with people who remembered past lives and their deaths or injuries from a past life that MATCH a birth mark in the present life. - Etponge
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In Dr. Fred Alan Wolf's book The Spiritual Universe he talks about "thoughts being things, and consciousness creating reality." I think it's entirely possible that these children are physically manifesting marks from these signals they are tuning into. Memories from some other soul's life. There have also been instances of children having memories of people who are still alive, and more than one child claiming to be some deceased person. It's all about information and how and where memories are stored and how our brains work. Our brains seem to be recievers and transmitters of information, and children, before they've developed a strong sense of "self" might sometimes be tuning into "other stations." Once we develop a strong individual identity, and sense of "self" those memories oftentimes fade. Of course you are free to believe in whatever you want. Reincarnation conflicts with my ideas about duality and separation and why we are here in the first place. Very few people who have NDE's want to come back. One little girl that remember reading about pitched a fit when she was told she had to come back. I also remember reading another NDE of a doctor that had a heart attack who yelled at his friend, who was another doctor, to never do that to him again.

in Tom Shroder's 'Old Souls,' a woman who had a NDE saw herself at a different room where a mother is giving birth. when the child's head came out, the woman felt drawn to the baby, as if she was going into the child's baby. however, she was instantly pulled back into her own body. After she recounted her experience, both the woman and the doctors were able to identify the mother she saw in her NDE, and found out that the mother had a stillborn.

incidently, the asian cultures that believe in reincarnation believe that the reborn process takes place at the time when the baby separates from the mother at birth.

a friend of mine is a midwife, and she told me that there was something about the birth itself that is profound and magical. she said that when the baby's head first come out, it seems lifeless, and it's not until that the birth process is complete, where the baby is out of the womb, that the baby shows signs of life- she said that she felt as if a lifeforce goes into the baby at birth.

of course, there is no scientific evidence to speak of.

i myself dont know what to believe, but these are some of the things i thought of when i read the discussion between art and eteponge.

Eteponge, very good point.
The evidence for reincarnation comes from many different sources: children's past live memories, adult's past live memories, hypnotic regression, birthmarks, Xenoglossy, and so on.
BTW, Dr. Ian Stevenson in his books and articles has gone to great length to consider other possible explanations for the reincarnation phenomena, like collective unconsciousness or spirit possessions, and have found all other explanations to be inadequate or lacking. Only the acceptance of reincarnation, as hard as it may be for some, explains all the facts plus it makes perfect sense if one believes in a just God or in Universal Justice.

Separation is a "here" thing, and not a "there" thing. In a holographic universe where everything is infinitely connected to everything else and where time and space do not exist, it makes sense that people would be able to access information from one another's lives. On the other side we will be able to share one another's memories.

Excerpt from Randy Gehling's NDE:
"That was really cool! I kind of felt as though my body exploded - in a nice way - and became a million different atoms - and each single atom could think its own thoughts and have its own feelings. All at once I seemed to feel like I was a boy, a girl, a dog, a cat, a fish. Then I felt like I was an old man, an old woman - and then a little tiny baby." http://near-death.com/experiences/animals04.html

I am holding out on the whole reincarnation thing. I have been talking with spirit for over 23 years as a medium, and the subject has never been brought up and no importance has ever been given to it. Still, I have not experienced any subjective evidence that would allow me to make up my mind one way or the other.

The only thing spirit ever told me about the subject was this, "Matter and energy remain constant and are constantly evolving, yet it's never what most people think. Awareness is what matters, and it matters now." A very general, yet cryptic response, I would say.

Basically, I understood the point to be, "live in the now, and stop trying to find a cause and effect for your life. The road is below you and the map inside." So I'm happy with my conclusion, and also happy to say that the things I don't know now I will know in a later now. No big whoop.

I think Woody Allen had it right when he said, “Love is the answer, but while you are waiting for the answer sex raises some pretty good questions”

I think we can't begin to comprehend the feelings of oneness and connectedness on the other side. I also don't think we can really understand what it means to live in a universe where time and space don't exist. We are so imprinted on living in a 3D + 1T universe that after a near death experiencer comes back after their experience they try and make sense of what they just experienced.

"I was told that before we're born, we have to take an oath that we will pretend time and space are real so we can come here and advance our spirit. If you don't promise, you can't be born." (from Jeanie Dicus' near-death experience, 1974)

"Space and time are illusions that hold us to our physical realm; out there all is present simultaneously." (from Beverly Brodsky's near-death experience, 1970)

"During this experience, time had no meaning. Time was an irrelevant notion. It felt like eternity. I felt like I was there an eternity." (from Grace Bubulka's near-death experience, 1988?)

"I didn't know if I had been in that light for a minute of a day or a hundred years." (from Jayne Smith's near-death experience, 1965?)

Speaking of time, I need to go get dressed and get ready to pick up my nephew and niece from school! Back to reality. - Art

By the way, this is me!

http://www.geocities.com/onehappyfool/ariechert.html

Art, the Birth Marks in those cases have been there on those children since BIRTH, they did not just "manifest" or "appear" years later. And when they were compared with the researched life of the person they claim to be, they matched up with their death or certain injuries they had.

Tom's referance to the NDE of an old woman who saw herself about to be reborn as an infant, but being forced back into her body before reincarnation could be complete, and they later finding out that the same baby was born stillborn as a result, likewise speaks volumes.

The NDEs you quoted from do not conflict with what I've been saying, but your personal views on reincarnation certainly conflict with the NDEs I've been quoting from!

The NDEs you quoted from do not conflict with what I've been saying, but your personal views on reincarnation certainly conflict with the NDEs I've been quoting from! - Etponge
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We'll just have to agree to disagree. Maybe what I'm trying ot explain is too ineffable to be described with just written and spoken language. It's a holographic universe thing. - Art

i read that both George Anderson and John Edward believe that reincarnation does happen, but it happens by choice. george anderson further said (in the boook "We dont die") that it's easier to learn lessons in the physical world because of temptations (no temptations in the spirit world), and that's why some spirits choose to go back in order to move up their level of consciousness....some spirits, however, died a violent death in the physical world, and chose to be reborn immediately because of the grudge, or that their lives were cut short before they learn their lessons...

john edward said (in a tv interview) that he believes that the soul family would agree to go back together to live yet another life together.

my question to art is that if we choose to come here once, why not twice, thrice...and so forth?

i would be more inclined to believe that reincanation is one of the possible routes in afterlife.

if only i know that the notion of afterlife is absolute! but then, it would make a lazy bum out of me, i suppose.

One thing I would like to point out that doesn't make a bit of sense if Reincarnation is not true, is what about babies and small children who die? They never had a chance to experience life at all! They will never have experienced growing up, falling in love, having children, growing old, having various hardships in life to overcome, growing spiritually throughout life, etc. Which means that every Soul that got to live longer than they did will ETERNALLY be More Superior and More Evolved and More Experienced than they are, if Reincarnation is not true. So where is the fairness and balance in that? What was their spiritual purpose, and how was it served, if they died so young with no second chance? I can imagine it now, Souls meeting in an afterlife where Reincarnation is not true...

"I lived to be 87 years old, I had a loving wife, I was a wonderful grandfather, I overcame so many problems and obstacles in my life and I spiritually evolved a great deal from it, how about you?"

"Uh, I died several minutes after I was born, I never got to experience anything. I can't go back, because Reincarnation isn't real. Oh well, this is my eternity, having never done anything at all in my life! I'll never ever know what it's like to fall in love, raise a family, grow old, or have any hardships at all, but this is my eternity!"

"Me? I died when I was seven, I'll never know what it's like to grow up, get married, have children, grow old, have hardships, etc. Sucks, but hey, there is no such thing as Reincarnation. So this is my eternity, never having experienced anything of significance!"

Suddenly, Reincarnation makes so much more sense, because without it, a soul who got to experience more of life will ETERNALLY be more evolved and superior in experience to those who died as infants or children, as they never got to truely experience life.

Eteponge,

What you are saying is all true, but only from the standpoint of individual personal identity.

What if there is no individual personal identity at the most fundamental core level? What if we are all the dreams / experiences of One being?

I personally see it as each of us are a Part of God that takes upon human form in order to learn and grow and experience (good and bad, reward and hardship, life and death) and in doing so enhancing The Creator (who is a part of us) through our experiences. We are drops of water (Individuals) from the vast ocean (God), drawn out with a bucket, frozen, and sculpted into an individualized form, where one day we will melt and return to the vast ocean, taking our experiences with us.

HOWEVER, through Mediumship, After Death Communication, Death Bed Visions, Near Death Experiences, Ghosts & Hauntings, ETC, we also learn that we continue on as INDIVIDUALS after death, yet the CORE of us is a Portion of the One Universal Spirit that we call God that we Connect to, and in turn, we find that we are All of the Same Spirit. There are Three Parts of US, Our Spirit (God Portion; Divine Spark; Atman), Psyche (Mind; Ego; Persona), and Body (Physical & Ethereal).

That's my personal Exegesis anyway.

I couldn't agree more with your post. I was actually happier to some extent as an atheist, just couldn't agree with it anymore. And if I wanted to fool myself into whatever sounded most pleasant, I guess I would make up my own happy system. Again, thank you for the post.

I personally see it as each of us are a Part of God

Not sure that it is possible to be "part" of God in reality, only in appearance.

I would suggest that there is only an undivided wholeness within which unfold appearances of separation and "individuality". We could call that reality "God" if we liked, or "Awareness" or "Cosmic Consciousness" or "the universe". Within that are the appearance of individuals, but they are in reality objects within Consciousness, not actually separate independent subjects. And of course the stories of individuality can unfold as they choose to, with stories of reincarnation and hells and heavenly realms and whatever else Our imagination comes up with and experiences. . .

Here's an interesting quote from Michelle M's near death experience that pertains to what we're discussing.

" I remember understanding the others here.. as if the others here were a part of me too. As if all of it was just a vast expression of me. But it wasn't just me, it was .. gosh this is so hard to explain.. it was as if we were all the same. As if consciousness were like a huge being. The easiest way to explain it would be like all things are all different parts of the same body." excerpt from Michelle M's NDE,
http://nderf.org/michelle_m's_nde.htm

Mark Horton, in his NDE said, "I was unique yet I was the tiniest part of the whole." http://www.mindspring.com/~scottr/nde/markh.html

I think it may be extremely difficult or even impossible for us to really comprehend or understand the implications of the overwhelming feeling of "oneness" on the other side. - Art

I cherish my belief in reincarnation; of course I am glad that it is not all over when I die. Of course it gives me emotional comfort.

But that doesn't mean my belief in reincarnation is based on emotion.

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