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By the way, one of the aspect of Ken Wilber's views that I don't understand yet is that, in his theory of holons, each new holon has emergent properties not reducible to the inferior holons. But superior holons CAN'T exist if inferior holons are destroyed, because they depends on them for their permanence.

Just thought of something if you see a seed of a tree as an inferior holon and a full grown tree as a superior holon with new emergent properties it's impossible to destroy the inferior holon because the seed has become the tree. This could be the same with the mind and the body. But kind of reverse, the body has become the mind for a while. Where the mind existed before the body and got into a symbiotic link with it and the body is in this way an emergent property of the bigger mind.
You see what I mean zetetic?

greets,
Filip

"Where the mind existed before the body and got into a symbiotic link with it and the body is in this way an emergent property of the bigger mind"

Yes, it could be. In fact, I think it's a very good possibility.

Problem with it is that it's contraty to Wilber's holoarchic theory. In his theory, the mind is a emergent property of a material brain, not the reverse.

"Just thought of something if you see a seed of a tree as an inferior holon and a full grown tree as a superior holon with new emergent properties it's impossible to destroy the inferior holon because the seed has become the tree. This could be the same with the mind and the body"

In your analogy, if the seed becomes a superior holon (tree), it's not an inferior holon (seed) anymore. So, you can't destroy a non-existent inferior holon (but you can destroy the new superior holon, or its integrating inferior holons)

But in the case of mind and body, we know for sure that the inferior holon (brain) can be destroyed. It's out of discussion. And if it's so, the superior holon (mind) can't exist anymore.

This is the implication of Wilber's theory as explained in Sex, Ecology and Spirituality.

I think in that point Wilber's views are wrong.


Hi Zetetic chick

Materialisations HAVE to be seen otherwise they are not materialisations.

John Sloan was NOT a materialisation medium, he was a Direct Voice medium.

Thompson does not materialise objects either.

Everything takes place in total darkness.

Z

Have a look at:

http://spiritualismlink.forumotion.com/ under Physical Mediumship and The Curious Case of David Thompson and Victor Zammit.

Problem with it is that it's contrary to Wilber's holoarchic theory. In his theory, the mind is a emergent property of a material brain, not the reverse.

I've always found Wilber to be unnecessarily complex, but if he actually claims that the mind is an emergent property of the brain, all I can do is shake my head. Sideways, not up and down.

I guess I'd need to see the context. If he were to say that the lower self (ordinary consciousness) identifies with the brain and body, I wouldn't disagree, and I suppose one could argue that the lower self might appear to be somewhat emergent from the brain. Jill Bolte Taylor's description of the 'left brain' in the TED video kind of suggests this. But anyone who directly experiences the higher consciousness to a significant depth intuitively understands that the entire cosmos, including all prior concepts one has of the self and mind, is actually emergent from the higher consciousness. It's this understanding that leads to the confusing statements of 'everything arising from nothing', or the 'formless that precedes the form', as well as the overwhelming sense of the interconnectedness and unity of all things.

As Filip said, from the perspective of the higher consciousness, the body (which includes the brain), is seen as an emergent property of the bigger mind, as is everything and everyone else. If Wilber claims otherwise, then I just have to respectfully disagree.

“I've always found Wilber to be unnecessarily complex” amen to that statement. Sells lots of books through. It always has appeared to me that his writings are the best case out there as an example of intellectualism defined. One has to wonder if he has ever researched spiritualism and what his response would be to someone like the medium Sloan.

Zetetic_chick said: By the way, one of the aspect of Ken Wilber's views that I don't understand yet is that, in his theory of holons, each new holon has emergent properties not reducible to the inferior holons. But superior holons CAN'T exist if inferior holons are destroyed, because they depends on them for their permanence.

In that view, mind is a holon emerging from material holons (e.g brain). But if it's true, mind can't exist after the material brain is destroyed.

I think you shouldn't see it so linear because that's limiting reality to a linear nature everything building up on its previous thing.
If you see a seed of a tree as an inferior holon and a tree as a superior holon because it has totally new properties than the seed and can create seeds. Still the seed can't be destroyed as it has turned into the tree, they are so interconnected one can eventually ask which was first the seed or the tree.
As Wilber also said, there is evolution and involution. It works on 2 ways.
With the mind body thing, it depends which was first, the mind or the body. You can theorise about holons where the bigger mind goes down into the body, the more limited waking mind growing out of the body and so on but able to reconnect...
It also depends what one sees as the inferior holon and the superior holon.
You see what I mean Zetetic_Chick?

Greets,
Filip

ignore previous didn't saw there were 2 pages

"John Sloan was NOT a materialisation medium, he was a Direct Voice medium"

But he could materialise objects too. In his book, Findlay wrote: "His mediumship during these years has embraced trance, telekinesis, apport, direct voice, materialisation, clairvoyance and clairaudience" (p. 25)

So, Sloan's mediumnic powers weren't limited to direct voice alone, but it included materialisation too. And his seances were in darkness.

"I think you shouldn't see it so linear because that's limiting reality to a linear nature everything building up on its previous thing."

But it isn't how I see it, Filip, but how Wilber sees it. On the 20 tenets of holons, Wilber writes in his tenet number 9: "Destroy any type of holon, and you will destroy all of the holons above it and none of the holons below it"

http://www.esalenctr.org/display/confpage.cfm?confid=10&pageid=113&pgtype=1

As far I understand Wilber's system, mind is a holon above the brain. So, by logical implication of the tenet 9, if you destroy the brain, you destroy the mind.

However, I've reading on the net about it, and it seems that Wilber has written something about it (in his book integral psyhcology). In the following article, a follower of Wilber writes:

"In fact, we can not only use this model during our earthly lives, but even after death. For we, as well as our fellow-spirits, will always be embodied in some subtle body. The same logic applies here as well: we only see as much as our senses allow us to see. On the astral plane, for example, we will see our fellow men and women in their astral bodies. The Upper Right quadrant will typically be occupied by the astral body/brain. The Upper Left quadrant will be the same as it was during earth life. A clairvoyant sees these things even while embodied in the physical body, so for him the Upper Right quadrant contains both physical and astral phenomena. As long as we are clear about how we define the Upper Right quadrant, there is no need to argue about this anymore"

http://www.integralworld.net/visser8.html

So, the 4 quadrants theory is applicable to afterlife bodies. But in my opinion, the problem is with the holonic theory, not with the quadrants.

If mind can exist as a independent substance, but interact with the brain (interationist dualism), mind can't be an superior holon regarding the brain (because superior holons depends for their existence and permanence on inferior holons, according the tenet 9)

"but if he actually claims that the mind is an emergent property of the brain..."

Actually, Wilber doesn't use the concept of emergence as most materialist philosophers. He uses a general concept of emergence applied to holons, and includes the notion "trascend and include", where the new holon has new properties (emergent properties) no reducible to the inferior holons.

As explained in the above link, Wilber examine the mind-body problem using the theory of "4 quadrants". But he concludes that brain and mind are two aspects of the "Spirit", and that the mind-body problem can't be solved.

But the idea that mind-body problem can't be solved suggest that Wilber doesn't know the afterlife evidence, because in this case, he should conclude that all the materialist theses about mind are false, and dualism is the only real solution.

But in Wilber's system (as far I know) "The Spirit" isn't an individual being, but the ultimate substance and dynamic force of the universe. So, saying that mind and body are two aspects of "the Spirit" is to affirm a triviality, not useful to resolve the mind-body problem or to know if mind survives the body.

I think Michael H is right about the complex of Wilber's theory...

"But in Wilber's system (as far I know) "The Spirit" isn't an individual being, but the ultimate substance and dynamic force of the universe."

Sounds good to me. I suspect God is not a Being but an infinite Isness. I.e. the vitality and substance of the universe. The mystics tell us we are that that is. The enlightened Hindus call us the play of God.

Kind of hard to look at dinosaurs or mosquitoes as the play of God.

So much thought, so much verbiage -- what does anyone here require in order to accept that physical death is but an end to one experience but not all experience?

At times I have my own doubts, my own skepticism, but these vanish under certain circumstances and it's entirely possible to create those circumstances.

We spend a great deal of our waking moments in a stopped-down condition -- skepticism is only natural in this state.

Possibly there are those who have found some way to never exist in this condition -- I don't know, but this doesn't matter to me.

I don't see anything at all "wrong" with the usual narrowed waking consciousness; knowing that it's not all I am capable of experiencing is sufficient to dispel doubts.

I'm as fond of thinking, pondering, and writing as anyone; more so than most, in fact.

These activities have their limits, however; after all, this is part of the restriction of consciousness associated with the materialism so many here rail against!

If you limit yourself to the input of your physical senses and mentation, you may as well consider yourself a materialist, no matter how open minded you may be.

Bill I.

“I'm as fond of thinking, pondering, and writing as anyone; more so than most, in fact.” Me to Bill I.

It appears there is a delicate balance between too much thought about life after death, the meaning of life, etc,and doing research into areas that most people rely on faith or just don’t think this is important reading or research.

I personally don’t think humankind can be held back from its search for truths and its advancement of consciousness. Maybe it is Buddha’s middle path or sense of balance that must be observed when discussing and researching paranormal phenomena or any phenomena.

I suspect that there are many neurotic and psychotic behaviors demonstrated in any society due to the fear of losing our identities after we cross over or the lack of understanding of the meaning and purpose of our lives. I am amazed that the Buddhists have any followers considering they love to talk about nothingness as the ultimate outcome of life.

I personally find the research into paranormal phenomena challenging and fascinating. You begin to think you are on to something as a truth and then some information comes along and pulls your new cherished belief rug right out from under you.

Skeptic Michael Shermer has a video on YouTube of him attending a spoon bending party, and then actually bending a spoon and then trying, I think, unsuccessfully to explain how he did it (adrenaline). In another video he takes on remote viewing with a test whose results are not as clear cut as I am sure he thought they would be.

The videos make him seem like the Super Dave Osborne of skepticism, with his own stunts backfiring on him.

On his own site Michael Crichton explains his experience bending a spoon and his description of it, which seems less strained and thus more honest than Shermer's, leaves the mystery of it intact.

I don't see anything at all "wrong" with the usual narrowed waking consciousness . . .

I completely agree, Bill I.

Where I object is when someone becomes so attached to ordinary consciousness that they conclude that their given perspective is absolute, and that any suggestion to the contrary is simply a product of fraud or hallucination. And then position themselves as an authority on consciousness, ala Pinker, Dennett, Blackmore, and their devout followers.

Also . . . I'm not sure I agree that thinking, pondering and writing is necessarily an indication of a restricted state of consciousness. It seems to me that the most powerful literature, poetry, music and art are all expressions of the higher consciousness that's been unleashed through the tools available to the physical senses. I've often thought that one of the reasons creative types often struggle with life in general is that they spend their working hours in a state of inspiration, and feel a profound emptiness in the other aspects of their life when they drop back into ordinary consciousness. There sure seems to be an inordinate number of troubled creative geniuses throughout history.

I think Michael H is right about the complex of Wilber's theory...

After reading your last explanation, ZC, I'm reminded why I put the single Wilber book I own aside after a few chapters. He should have just stopped after this statement:

"The Spirit" isn't an individual being, but the ultimate substance and dynamic force of the universe.

Now compare . . .

Materialistic science believes that life appears only be accident, out of a mere combination of chemicals. Spiritual 'science', however, discovered long ago that, at the heart of everything, dwells the infinite consciousness

Paramahansa Yogananda

And finally . . .

I am of the oldest religion. Leaving aside the question which was prior, egg or bird, I believe the mind is the creator of the world, and is ever creating . . . that mind makes the senses it sees with; that the genius of man is a continuation of the power that made him and is not done making him.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am amazed that the Buddhists have any followers considering they love to talk about nothingness as the ultimate outcome of life.

Must be pretty special nothingness. Reminds me of another Yogananda quote:

"The truth is, nothing is really created anyway! The Spirit simply manifests the universe. Ultimately, nothing causes anything, for nothing, in actuality, is even happening!"

So, like Bill I. says, "all this talk, all this verbiage" . . . for nothing!

"The videos make him seem like the Super Dave Osborne of skepticism, with his own stunts backfiring on him"

Yes. You can include this video where vedic astrologer Jeffrey Armstrong passed Shermer's controlled test for a TV program:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N1dIUTbZTo

"I'm reminded why I put the single Wilber book I own aside after a few chapters"

Wilber is a very controvertial author, but I think some of his ideas are very interesting. While I don't consider myself an expert in his theory (maybe some expert in Wilber could think that I misrepresented or misunderstood some aspects of his philosophy), I think his approach of integrating knowledge is positive. However, there are some holes that deserves severe scrutiny and criticism.

Other authors (like Steve Mcintosh) are doing a great job exploring the philosophy of integralism in an independent way.

I think it's wise to try to integrate western and eastern philosophy, science, misticism and religion. I support that philosophical project, but I think afterlife and psi research should be a very important (in fact, essential) part of it. Leaving aside that evidence is a serious mistake when trying to understand man, consciousness and the universe.

In any case, of Wilber's books, I'd recommend the book "The Marriage of sense and soul: integrating science and religion". I think it's the best of the Wilber's books. It's very good book.

“I am amazed that the Buddhists have any followers considering they love to talk about nothingness as the ultimate outcome of life.”

“Must be pretty special nothingness.”

From my point of view nothingness is pure awareness. I suspect that the word nothingness does not translate well with the English language. The mystics do not see nothingness but see and feel a oneness in everything they experience.
I often wonder if the teaching of nothingness is used by some followers of Buddhism as an escape from the harshness of continual human rebirth that the Buddhists teach. One book I have on Buddhism states by the author who has a PhD in Buddhism that human life is not only worthless but also disgusting.
I lean in the other direction that human life is a necessary step in the evolution of consciousness. But only a step not a final destination. We may indeed be gods in the making creating our own planets, galaxies etc. Maybe much or all of that creation we see in the universe may indeed be a creative process of a god or gods. Or not.

I think it's wise to try to integrate western and eastern philosophy, science, mysticism and religion.

I agree, but I also think that Bill I's right in that there's a tendency to do too much intellectualizing. The integration will probably only occur through simplification, not complication.

The wisdom that really matters is that which occurs to us alone. Wilber, Yogananda, Emerson or anyone else can only give us an interpretation of their wisdom.

I often wonder if the teaching of nothingness is used by some followers of Buddhism as an escape from the harshness of continual human rebirth that the Buddhists teach.

I think it's clear that I appreciate the eastern cosmologies, but I've often wondered if the emphasis on countless lives and lengthy meditative practice to 'awaken' is counterproductive, or self-fulfilling somehow. The Buddha made a comment to the effect that one shouldn't believe anything he said, yet it seems the various schools have been busy telling people what to believe ever since.

(Just to clarify: by 'not believing' the Buddha meant one should test his understanding for themselves, and not just take his word for it.)

“(Just to clarify: by 'not believing' the Buddha meant one should test his understanding for themselves, and not just take his word for it.)”

I have read where many Buddhist monks call the Buddha the perfect one. I did some research about 4 years ago to test Buddhist monks on their understanding of what the Buddha realized, which of course was the origin of suffering. Now of course the Hindus were already teaching the origin of suffering but the Buddha realized it not just intellectual understanding of this Hindu teaching.

Well I contacted 30 temples and asked one question “what is the origin of suffering?” fifteen Buddhist monks responded and four answered it correctly. The other 11 monks responded with such answers as attachment, craving, grasping, and one answered desire. Now attachment craving and grasping are symptoms of ignorance. It appears that even Buddhist monks confuse symptoms with origins.

My point: there is a profound difference between knowing about something and understanding. I suspect understanding comes through realization not memorization. But maybe intellectual knowing is a prerequisite for realization that leads to understanding.

I.e. maybe discussing and research into the paranormal and meaning of life topics can be beneficial to future understandings.

Hi Zetetic Chick

Re: But he could materialise objects too. In his book, Findlay wrote: "His mediumship during these years has embraced trance, telekinesis, apport, direct voice, materialisation, clairvoyance and clairaudience" (p. 25)

"So, Sloan's mediumnic powers weren't limited to direct voice alone, but it included materialisation too. And his seances were in darkness."

We may be talking at cross purposes here.

By materialisation I mean full form walking, talking materialisations SEEN in good light. John Sloan, to the best of my knowledge,never held a materialisation seance and I have all of Findlay's books.

Art, you are really into this 'holographic universe' and such...well, I had an NDE, was outside of myself, went throught the void (outer darkness), saw the light, saw people who had passed, spoke at length with one...and I WAS NOT in all places of the universe at once, I did NOT have 360 vision, I did NOT hear sounds that I never knew existed or anything else that you speak of. It was very 'sensible' and ordered and much more detailed than many of what you have read, I think. The fact is...I was ME, still was ME, an INDIVIDUAL..no identity loss, nothing of what you speak of...you seem to be 'stuck' in this 'holograph' thing, perhaps it's because it appeals to you...I can assure you what happened to me is as profound as most others, and it was 'sensible' unlike many I've read myself. I don't think they are all 'real' and according to what happened to me, anyone who thinks they're going to 'dissolve' or 'merge' into a sea of 'something' after they pass, is going to be disappointed and surprised. I also learned, Art, that there are those in that 'outer darkness' who are not exactly, how should I put it...that intelligent or nice...when 'someone' in the outer darkness says 'you must kill your mother'...what would you think about this? It seems to me what you speak of is a lack of understanding of what happens when this event occurs. I can assure you there indeed is 'reality' and things are NOT an illusion.

Further, I personally know people who are ont flakes, who have been with family member who passes and have actually SEEN their etheric body rise up out of their physical one...SEEN it. Why this phenomenon as well as apparitions is so ignored and so much is devoted to other people's opinions and speculations is odd to me. How would one explain this? How would one explain this occurence with some NDEs that are bizarre at best...it is MY opinion that many NDEs are simply OBEs and are not the same 'event' as really, really, REALLY dying. I wonder if this is where all this 'opinion' and philosophy comes from about what sounds like a lack of 'reality' or something.

FOR INSTANCE, HOW WOULD ONE SQUARE STORIES LIKE THESE TWO WITH A SEEMING LACK OF 'REALITY'..OR REINCARNATION FOR THAT MATTER AS WELL...

Monday morning, my bedroom door opened...I thought it was my cat pushing open the door. My fiancé and I both leaned over to greet him, (my cat), and a man stood there with a kind smile and his hands in his pockets. We both sat there knowing that he did not belong there. Speechless, he and I just stared at this male figure and started to lean backwards. The man was my grandfather. I never knew him-but he looked just like my brother. He did not say anything but my boyfriend and I clearly heard, “call your mother and tell her I love her”. He just dissolved. I turned to Jon and asked him if he saw it what I just saw. He just said...call your mom! I called my mom and she was frantic...she said that she just saw her dad and he scared the shit out of her. She was having a full panic attack. It was like she had just caught him peaking in on her. He popped around a corner and she jumped out of her chair and nearly poked her eye out as she applied eye shadow. She immediately started calming down as soon as I told her about our experience moments earlier. I think she was on the verge of a heart attack. I told her he came to Jon and I. I know he came to me to calm her down…doesn’t hurt that my future husband is a cardiologist and he ran over to the house to verify that her heart rate was too dangerously high and took her to the hospital. No heart attack to report, thank GOD! I have an MBA and my fiancé is a doctor. Purely terrifying and exhilarating all the same time! There is definitely life after death and my grandfather looks great! I am officially not afraid to die…my grandpa showed me so!

As I sat holding my son's hand, I noticed some subtle changes in the sense of things slowing down. I was aware of these changes in my body and mind was couldn't comment nor communicate them to those around me. I also noticed that the sounds in ICU, the machines and moments the noises from other patients and staff seem to slowly fade away. I also started having this strong sensation that someone was standing behind me. As I sat looking at my son's face and was sending him my love and support. I felt so powerless and helpless at that moment. I knew he was in God's hand because I had prayed that morning that God's will be done no matter what it was. And I knew it wasn't what I wanted, I wanted my son to live. I then felt this strong pulling sensation coming from behind me. So I turned around with my head to glance back into the space behind me. The way the nurse and the doctor and my husband were standing they couldn't see into the room behind me because the curtain was pulled back but not all the way so I was the only one who could see into the room. I saw an IV pole and thought oh that is what is drawing my attention away so I turned back to look at my son. But the sensation grew even stronger so I turned my head a little further around and saw the table the nurses use and then again turned back to my son. But the sensation then grew so strong that it was as if the hair on the back of my neck was standing straight up. I have heard that expression before but never knew what it meant until that moment. My entire body felt this strong pulling sensation. So I turned this time around with my entire body so that I could fully look at what was behind me. It was then I saw him. It was my deceased father, full form, glowing. I felt confused at first thinking, I see my father? But then I took inside all the details of seeing him. I slowly looked him over from head to toe, taking in all the details of his body, the clothes he was wearing, and the position he was standing in room. He actually wasn't standing directly on the floor. He was raised up somewhat but yet it appeared as if he was standing on solid ground but I saw nothing beneath his feet. And I noticed he had shoes on with shoe laces. He was so ill before he died that he no longer wore his shoes but had slip on leather house shoes he wore. I saw that my father wasn't looking directly at me but almost through me as he looked at my son. (My son was very closed to his Papa as he called him, and he was three years old when my father died and he never forgot him, my son also had several visions of seeing my father before we found out why my son was so ill, that prompted me to take him to some different doctors several states away because the doctors had no diagnosis yet. It was there we found out my son had a terminal heart condition, he was only 14 years old he died 16 months later). He never saw my father again after the diagnosis. After looking my father from head to foot, I then turned to look again at my son as if I knew I should turn back. Just as my eyes laid on my son's face, he flat lined on the heart monitor. He died. And then it happened, all the sounds and sensations returned to my body in full force. I then heard the doctor yelling for my husband and I to "get out" of the room as she rushed towards my son. And then some nurse pushed us out of the room. Code blue was called and a team came to again work on his body. I stood outside with my husband holding me as I cried "he can go, he can go." I thanked God for his vision and it has brought me the peace of mind in knowing we aren't alone when we die and we are with those we love, our love lives on and they still are involved in our lives, the experience was definitely real.

He looked young, about 45. He was smiling warmly. We were in a room with dozens of other people. Someone in charge was making some kind of public address to us all, so Dad and I couldn't speak for a moment or two. It was apparent that this was a visiting area, with about a dozen others like myself, and their deceased relatives/friends. Finally, when the speech was finished, I was able to turn to Dad and ask, "So...what's it like...?"He still smiled, though he knew I was asking him what it's like to be dead. "It's not so bad!" "Do you-are you able to think? Are you aware and conscious?" Although the answer was self-evident, the question was not as ridiculous as you might think, because that question or some form of it is something every still-living person is continually dying to know. Besides, I didn't mean "are you aware and conscious" just right now, but also before and after this visitation. They are continually conscious. They keep their identity. No sleep-death. They are alive. "Is there Hell?" I fearfully whispered. "No." At one point, Dad referred to the fact that he was no saint and has done many things he's ashamed of, but that he was not in any hell. We agreed that while we're in our mortal bodies, that we are driven by all sorts of influences that are not wholesome. "Is there reincarnation?" He shook his head, "No." I was sad at this, because reincarnation is an elegant solution to many problems. But on the positive side, it appears that you don't die, you stay aware of yourself, and you are apparently happy on the other side--so what's the problem with not reincarnating? "Your Dad, have you seen your Dad?" I expected to hear of a great reunion with my grandfather who died 40 years ago. My father had mourned greatly for his father all these many years. Surprisingly, his answer was No. Now this was unexpected--especially if there is no hell and no reincarnation. I would have thought that would have been Dad's first priority. Dad didn't seem all shook up by the fact he hadn't seen his dad yet. I got the feeling that there was plenty of time for that and it would happen, but in it's time. "Your mother?" (My grandmother died a few months after my Dad). At this, Dad beamed and told me how he sees her a lot. And she's doing well. And she was very happy to see a big red X on Dad's calendar for today, which implies to other residents that he's not available, because he's "Visiting”. Now, why had Dad not seen Grandpa? Why was this not an issue to him? With some thought, I figured that maybe that's because Dad's Dad has been dead so long that he's farther along in whatever process they go through. Grandma was right there, you know. Maybe later he'll see his Dad. Dad looked pretty darn good, Dad looked vigorous and young again. He died frail and 70. Here, he was at his prime again!!

@william:

The four "wrong answers" boil down to just two terms in the Sanskrit: upadana (attachment/grasping) and tanha (craving, desire).

Buddha referred to both of these as "origins of suffering" in explaining the Four Noble Truths, so I'm not surprised you got those answers from monks.

Together with ignorance (avidya) they are among 12 spokes on the wheel of samsara; they are linked in a circular causal chain (ignorance leads to desire, desire leads to attachment, attachment leads to death and rebirth, rebirth leads to ignorance...). It is this repeating cycle which gives rise to suffering, not any single element of the cycle.

Talking about "the origin of suffering" is like asking which point of a circle marks the beginning. A causal chain which stretches back indefinitely doesn't have a privileged "primary origin"; you can try to single out ignorance, but that ignorance was caused by rebirth which in turn was caused by attachment, which was caused by desire...

I'm missing out the intermediate links because the ones we've mentioned so far are the ones given special emphasis in the recorded teachings of Buddha. They are basically useful "intervention points" in breaking the cycle; if different monks emphasised different parts of the cycle, it's because they felt these are the most effective starting points for an outsider to consider.

It's not that they were contradicting another or that some of them had "the wrong answer"; that view only arises from your assumption that there's a linear hierarchy of causes starting from ignorance and leading towards desire and attachment, whereas one of the key teachings of Buddhism is that the causes of suffering are cyclical.

Well, I'm not so sure that it's so wise to incorporate Easter, Western and other philosophy together..because that's all it is...philosophy. And philosophy is nothing more than exactly that. With all due respect, I haven't seen very much posted by some on this blog, that is even remotely close to 'reality' when a very profound and sensbile NDE happened to me, I'd never even heard of them before, never read about one in my life when it happened, at first I didn't really understand how it could possibly be happening...fully aware, fully whole, a transparent form, very much like 'living' here but going through a dimension wall that begins RIGHT HERE. It is a part of 'here' but yet not quite 'here' and we in physical bodies are cut off from it, it is my 'belief' that we always will be, we will never be able to physically enter that dimension no matter how much we want to..and it is also my 'belief' that all the 'dreamer's who claim to be exploring the life after this are simply, well...dreaming.

CYCLICAL? PHILOSOPHY MAYBE? To reiterate:

"Is there reincarnation?" He shook his head, "No." I was sad at this, because reincarnation is an elegant solution to many problems. But on the positive side, it appears that you don't die, you stay aware of yourself, and you are apparently happy on the other side--so what's the problem with not reincarnating?

I was replying to william's post further back, the "cyclical" stuff wasn't a reply to what you said. He made a point about Buddhism and I was explaining what Buddhists believe. I don't necessarily believe in it myself.

You might want to type a name into the box marked "Name" above the box where you type in your post, it makes it less confusing to see who's saying what. It can be anything, it doesn't have to be your full name or real name.

My above comment was a bit of an emotional reaction, an expression of exasperation.

The question of survival has been debated endlessly. Our particular Western version of this became much more intense with the rise of modern science, as anyone would expect -- the pat answers of religion no longer sufficed, while maybe someone could figure out how to successfully apply the scientific method to this question.

I suggest present science (and that of the Victorian psychical investigators) simply isn't up to the task, owing to its nature, its hidden assumptions.

You can review what others did and thought in their investigations endlessly and still never reach any conclusion whatsoever, save perhaps that some phenomena is genuine but unexplained and, within the framework of modern science, unexplainable.

(Explanations -- various theories and possibilities -- may be offered, but these shall very likely remain nothing more.)

Regarding what I wrote about thinking, pondering, and writing: It's possible for writing to be an expression of deeper regions of self, much as with the inspiration of poets or songwriters.

My comment didn't refer to such, but rather to the analytical processes we usually categorize as the workings of intellect.

These are fine (who would wish to lose such natural abilities, refined by practice, the interactions of life, the exposure to other minds?) but, in my opinion, ultimately incapable -- by themselves -- of enabling anyone to apprise the nature of self and reality.

My overall point is that "getting anywhere" on topics like survival, psi in general, and so on, will not be accomplished by using what Seth calls "the rational approach."

It doesn't matter what investigator X thought in 1890, or how skeptic Y rudely castigated him or her in 1895 or 1965.

Neither have gotten to the heart of the matter.

The same is true for the efforts of the Susan Blackmores of the world.

It doesn't matter, either, how many intricate frameworks Ken Wilbur constructs to explain reality.

These may be quite interesting and likely Mr. Wilbur derives great fulfillment from creating them; even so, how does this impact what you or I actually know and can know about survival?

I'm a proponent, then, of experimentation with altered states of consciousness and methods for achieving them.

I could carefully qualify any of my remarks in posts here and there and on my simple RealityTest.com website and, to an extent, I've done so.

Still, the price I pay for expressing myself is to open myself to criticism and dismissal, a price I accept.

I have no reputation to lose, no career to damage.

I don't claim to be "enlightened" and my personal explorations into trance states and mediumship, for example, are primitive, my limited skills absolutely dwarfed by the talents of the many gifted amateurs I've encountered over the years.

This doesn't matter to me, either; what does matter is a willingness to put aside the books and discussions and get on with the doing of this stuff, whether you view it as "spiritual," "psychic," "occult," or philosophical in nature. I view it all as a grand exploration.

I can only devote a certain amount of time and attention to these areas, as I'm not independently wealthy and must work for a living, but when I review all I've experienced over my lifetime I'm impressed -- this is one of my few accomplishments in life, and this is on-going.

So I ask again: What does anyone here require in order to accept that physical death is but an end to one experience but not all experience?

I can offer suggestions from my own experience, nothing more; each must determine this in their own way.

Close to each of us, closer than any dearly departed personality offering "proof" that they've passed through the curtain and survived, is our own soul, but what is soul?

The word has religious connotations, but the reality it refers to exists, nevertheless, and can be experienced without reference to any religious beliefs.

More than anything else I'd suggest that an immediate experience of your own soul is the best "proof" of survival, or at least the best route to such proof.

Regards

Bill I.

Bill,

Personally I think the answer is "different strokes for different folks." Some folks may need personal experiences; others are satisfied with reading.

A study was done in which people who'd had NDEs were compared with people who had only read about NDEs. The same kinds of personality changes (greater altruism, reduced fear of death, enlarged sense of purpose, more spirituality) were effected in both groups, in more or less equal measure.

(Offhand I don't have a link to the study, but it is referenced in 21 Days.)

Ikumi

I take a more Hindu approach to the origin of suffering. My research and I suppose my beliefs at this time are more in line with Hindu thinking than Buddhist teachings. They are very close but the Hindus are more in line with the concept of the soul residing in an astral body between physical lives than the Buddhists.

Here is a link that best explains much of my thought on the origin of suffering at this time. I have communicated with this person on many occasions and he seems very knowledgeable about this subject.

http://www.hinduwebsite.com/buddhism/buddhaonignorance.asp

“According to the Buddha, the very origin of life in this world is rooted in ignorance. Since life arose out of ignorance, ignorance is the first problem to be solved in order to find a permanent solution to the problem of suffering in our lives.”

Plus I spent six years on the origin of ignorance and my discovery revealed to me that for infinite oneness to express its awareness and vitality must “create perceived identities” that are unaware of their true self or identity. A synonym for unawareness is ignorance.

“"Is there reincarnation?" He shook his head, "No." I was sad at this, because reincarnation is an elegant solution to many problems”

From my point of view someone that has just crossed over is not in a position to state if reincarnation exists. Some spirits teach reincarnation some do not.

From my point of view at this time it exists. This knowledge (belief) did not make me a happy camper many years ago. Physical life is very harsh for most but I suspect there is much to learn in love and compassion in that harshness.

According to many books that I have read those that want a faster track to this love and compassion often reincarnate to achieve that or I suspect as the Buddhists and Hindus teach such things as attachment and etc will bring us back to a physical life.

(Offhand I don't have a link to the study, but it is referenced in 21 Days.)

If anyone have the source of this study, I would be interested in the details.

Personally I think the answer is "different strokes for different folks." Some folks may need personal experiences; others are satisfied with reading.

I agree with MP. And Bill. :-)

I think there's tremendous value in learning about all of these things, but absolute certainty comes only through realization. If there's a problem with trying to achieve realization it's that the 'trying' gets in the way, and there can be a tendency for people to assume that because they haven't yet realized it there's something 'wrong' somehow. There isn't.

I think all anyone can do is learn as much as they can, live their life, and try not to over-think things. Just learning about all of the afterlife evidence can't help but influence someone towards acceptance. The amount of empirical evidence is overwhelming. The choice is to decide whether all of the evidence taken as a whole is faulty, or not. If the answer is 'not', then one knows where they stand.

I'd think that alone would make a big difference.

Michael: "Personally I think the answer is "different strokes for different folks." Some folks may need personal experiences; others are satisfied with reading."

Dear Michael:

I'd say this is a question of degree plus there are what might be called "critical mass" experiences.

Reading can contribute to these, but reading alone is insufficient to initiate them, in my opinion.

For some years I read voraciously, absorbing material from a number of traditions, but -- with certain exceptions -- it was rare for any of this to contribute to major provocative experiences.

Reading about "astral projection" is one of those exceptions, whether older material or the more recent writings of Robert Monroe.

I never became a master of projection, although I had one very strong experience. (I found it frightening).

Reading about George Gurdjieff also triggered some powerful experiences, but the actual experiences had little to do with the activity of reading in the moment in which they happened. In order to create those experiences, it was necessary to temporarily suspend that region of mind we usually associate with reading. (In hindsight, I was too young and inexperienced to be playing around with what turn out to be very powerful exercises, particularly by myself.)

I did read a little book entitled "How to Meditate" and followed its instructions, but once again, the powerful experience that ensued didn't happen until I turned off the "reader" part of myself.

The same holds for the many exercises found in the various Seth books, particularly those found in _The Nature of Personal Reality_ and _The "Unknown" Reality_.

I find something cumulative about my personal searching for truth, as though at particular points I crossed a line or lines, after which all was changed.

(I believe this is true of some forms of meditation, too; that is, you might practice a version of meditation for years with no obvious changes in self or beliefs, but then, one day, you change, as though all of this prepared the ground.)

One very fertile period involved interacting with others, as though our shared intent combined to produce experiences none of us would have experienced independently.

I can't say that reading, in general, might not open one's mind to possibilities of which they might not otherwise be aware, but again, I believe this will only take you so far.

My visits to the strange old Italian hills come to mind.

During the first visit, my companions were very much down-to-earth types, not the more ethereal folks I have sometimes hung out with. (I do feel a bond with these two, believing we share life experiences as Romans in Roman Britain -- I can't prove this, but as Romans we tended to be quite practical and "down-to-earth.")

I found nothing of interest, until one of my friends reminded me to meditate. This I did at the tale end of my last visit on my first trip, with intriguing results. (The tale is available here.

In other words, during my first visit to the hills I was physically focused and at all times thinking, thinking, thinking.

Only when I changed my focus did the unusual nature of these hills begin to emerge. (I look forward to my long delayed third visit.)

(I apologize for rambling -- I really should be dealing with corporate America today, but everyone seems to be away on vacation and I've been mentally drifting around a bit all day.)

Back to survival and its proof, which is the blog topic, yes?

In some "places" of consciousness, this is obvious to me; in others, much more dubious.

At times I, too, play with ways to demonstrate beyond the slightest doubt that indeed there is life after death.

These would demonstrate this, irrefutably, to the general population, even if they would be unnecessary to anyone who's ever had very strong moments of knowing.

(I include "reincarnation" in the last, even though I've concluded that the word is used to greatly simplify that which is almost beyond words.)

Despite devoting a great amount of thought to this over many years, I've never come up with anything that would do the job.

(It's long struck me that as techies die, sooner or later some startling breakthrough will materialize. We have yet to see this, while even if something like this did appear, a great many would simply refuse to believe it.)

In my more expansive moments, my own awareness of my own deaths is sufficient for myself, but this is exactly the sort of thing that is more or less unbelievable to anyone who had not experienced it. They have every right to be skeptical of that which they have not experienced, personally, while somehow contriving to "objectify" such realities is no simple task.

(I don't such objectification is impossible, however, but it would be completely unnecessary if sufficient numbers of the human race were to become consciously aware of what some call the "inner senses.")

More later.

Bill I.

"Is there reincarnation?" He shook his head, "No." I was sad at this, because reincarnation is an elegant solution to many problems."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Marineboy said it best:
"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."

I think the soul is here simply to experience duality and separation, time and space, and imprint what it means and how it feels to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe. Reincarnation conflicts with this idea because it seems rather schizophrenic.

“Reincarnation conflicts with this idea because it seems rather schizophrenic.”

The whole of the human race appears schizophrenic until one begins to see that within that schizophrenic chaos are opportunities to learn love and compassion. One only has to look at politics and religion to see this schizophrenic effect in action.

“"I suspect that it is a time-based misreading of "interconnection".”

This does not explain the research into scars of a person from a past life being in the same location as the wound in a previous life. There is tremendous resistance to the very concept of reincarnation and rightly so. Many advanced spirits that come through a medium talk of reincarnation whereas less advanced spirits appear to not know little about reincarnation.

At this time we cannot rule out a spirit controlling the memory of a child but that does not tend to explain the scar issue on a child for a past life wound.

"Reincarnation conflicts with this idea because it seems rather schizophrenic."

Strange, I feel the opposite. It seems that if something is here to understand duality, separation, and what living in our universe is like, it would need to experience life from a vast array of viewpoints.

Besides, what of a soul whose body dies after a few days of life, because he was unable to be supported? Does the soul experience separation? Does it experience time? Does it experience duality? No, it simply cannot in that short a time frame. Nor, do I believe, it can experience it in 75-85 years either.

Småfornå:

Interesting insights you have given.

The thought of reincarnation is very disturbing to most people. It was to me many years ago. Took me years to accept it as a possible reality. It is interesting that most spirits know nothing abut it.

One of those intriguing questions I have been unable to find a cross-validated answer to.

My research indicates reincarnation is a reality for most souls and there are many days I hope my research is wrong. But I have many things I would like to accomplish in this physical world so I suspect I will come back and be my same sweet self. :-)

William, could you logically and empirically explain to all, exactly HOW you or anyone else knows with certainty that the so called spirits who teach reincarnation ARE the ones who are so much more advanced than the ones who dont? You state this, yet where is the PROOF of this? I will answer it for you, there is none. It is simply what you CHOOSE to believe because you are searching out a philosophy and it fits into the philosophy you are searching, no? There is no proof of what you have said, yet you choose to BELIEVE it, but just because you believe it or your philosphical 'teachers' believe doesn't mean it is true. Would you also be able to provide a LOGICAL and EMPIRICAL proof of reason as to why the so called birthmarks are from a past life? A befuddled way of saying "it just must be" doesn't suffice.

Reincarnation is amoral, senseless, and hopeless. It is amoral because it perpetuates evil. If a husband beats his wife, the cause-and-effect law of karma will require him to be reincarnated in his next life as a wife who is beaten by her husband. That husband will have to return in his next life as a wife beaten by her husband and so forth endlessly. The perpetrator of each crime must become the victim of the same crime, thus necessitating another crime, the perpetrator of which must in turn become a subsequent victim at the hands of yet another criminal, ad infinitum.

Reincarnation is also senseless because no one recalls the many past lives he or she has supposedly lived nor the previous mistakes and lessons supposedly learned. What then is the point of living again and again, only to bear the burden of bad karma due to misdeeds one can neither remember nor correct? It is argued that subconsciously we have such memories and are thus benefiting at an unconscious level. If that were true, we should see evidence that mankind has gradually progressed morally. Obviously, this is not the case.

That reincarnation is also hopeless follows logically. The karma built up in the present life must be worked off in a future reincarnation. In that process more karma is accumulated, which must be worked off in a subsequent life, and so it continues endlessly. The cycle offers no release. As for escaping through yoga, there is no explanation of how that practice could abrogate the immutable law of karma nor any proof that anyone has ever effected such an escape.

Ian Stevenson states:
In my experience, nearly all so-called previous personalities evoked through hypnotism are entirely imaginary and a result of the patient's eagerness to obey the hypnotist's suggestion. It is no secret that we are all highly suggestible under hypnosis. This kind of investigation can actually be dangerous. Some people have been terribly frightened by their supposed memories, and in other cases the previous personality evoked has refused to go away for a long time (Omni Magazine 10(4):76 (1988)).

Let’s take an example and see how the two objections actually work in the case of a real person. If we take the case of Adolf Hitler, the results are astounding. (For a detailed study of this case and other important aspects of reincarnation see Mark Albrecht’s book Reincarnation - InterVarsity Press, 1982.) All adherents of reincarnation agree that many lives are needed for consuming his karmic debt. Hitler died in 1945 and had to reincarnate as a child in order to bear the consequences of his monstrous deeds. The two objections can be stated as following:

1) The person of Hitler ceased to exist at the moment of his physical death. Only the impersonal self will reincarnate, accompanied by its karmic deposit. However, there is no continuity between the person of Hitler and that of the individual who has to endure the hardships imposed by Hitler’s karma. The newborn person doesn’t know that he has to work out Hitler’s karma. After the cruel life and death of this person, other millions of reincarnations will succeed with the same tragic destiny. The most intriguing fact is that the person of Hitler, the only one who should have endured at physical and psychical level the results of his deeds, was dissolved at physical death, while other persons, totally unaware of this situation and innocent, have to work out his bad karma.

2) As a result of the hardships that have to be endured by the new incarnations of Hitler, it is almost certain that they will react with indignation instead of resignation to their situation, and thus will accumulate a growing karmic debt. Each new reincarnation of Hitler becomes a source of newly acquired karma, initiating a new chain of individuals who have to endure the consequences. Hitler himself was the one that had karmic debts to pay. Whoever he had been in a previous life, he made his karma a lot worse during the years of The Third Reich. Therefore, instead of solving the puzzle of global justice, the problem worsened. Starting with a single individual such as Hitler, we reach a huge number of persons who pay his karma and accumulate a new one. And this is just one case in human history. An attempt to imagine what happens at a larger human scale would reveal a catastrophe that could never be solved.

As a result, karma and reincarnation cannot provide real justice. Reincarnation cannot solve the problem of evil but only amplify it, leaving the original evil unpunished. If reincarnation were true, Hitler would never be punished for his deeds because he ceased to exist before any human person or circumstance of life could truly punish him.

Even if disagreement persists about the growth of evil as an effect of karma and reincarnation, at least its conservation should be admitted in human history. This results from analyzing the links that exist between people and their karma from a global perspective. There are two points to be made here.

First, there is a moral issue involved. As suffering is the result of one’s bad deeds performed in previous lives, reacting consistently with the law of karma might lead to a lack of compassion toward people who suffer. One might think that the person who suffers deserves to be justly punished for what he or she had done in previous lives.

Second, the person who is the instrument of karma’s punishment acquires more bad karma and therefore will have to be punished in turn, in a next life. Then the next person who acts as the instrument of karma will have to be punished in turn, etc. A possible solution to this endless cycle would be that one who acts as the instrument of karma in another one’s life should do it in a completely detached manner, without any interest in the results, according to the demand of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (2,47; 3,19; etc.). In this case it is considered that they wouldn’t acquire new karma. However, such a solution would be limited to the few "detached" people that actually follow this rule, and thus has no significance on the larger scale of human society. Most people are far from considering themselves as detached executioners of karma in their neighbor’s life.

Let’s examine how these two points apply in the case of the millions of Jews killed in gas chambers by the Nazis during World War II. First, it would seem absurd to have any feeling of compassion towards them, because they deserved to be killed like that, as a result of the alleged crimes they committed in previous lives. One could conclude that, after all, the Nazis did the right thing against the Jews. The dictates of karma were fulfilled. Following this reasoning, any conceivable crime of the past or present could be justified, which opens a horrifying perspective on the past and future of mankind, with implications difficult to grasp.

Second, the killing of millions of Jews requires that their executioners should be killed in their turn, in a similar way, in further lives. But this implies that the executioners of the reincarnated Nazis will be killed in their turn, etc., etc. The cycle would never end. The same reasoning could be used also back in time, which would require finding in each generation those millions of people executed and their executioners. An objection to this scenario could be that killers may be punished (killed) in turn by impersonal means, not necessarily by involving other new acquirers of karma. Natural calamities such as earthquakes could be the instrument of karma. This option sounds acceptable, but it would solve only a minor part of the problem. Therefore, if reincarnation were a logical concept, it would imply that it has neither a beginning nor an end. This cannot be a solution for justice, but only a kind of an eternally ongoing drama.

A further analysis of karmic justice proves that it undermines the basic principle of Hindu morality, that of non-killing (ahimsa). According to this principle we should not participate in the killing of a living being, or we will reincarnate in order to pay the consequences. (This is the basis of religious vegetarianism.) For instance, the butcher who slaughters a pig will have to reincarnate as a pig in order to be slaughtered in his turn. According to his karma (but contradicting ahimsa), the pig had to be slaughtered, because he probably was the reincarnation of another butcher, who had to be punished that way. The only way in which karma and ahimsa could be reconciled in this case would be that the butcher is totally detached in his act (according to the demand expressed in the Bhagavad Gita 2,47; 3,19; etc). But the butcher has a direct interest in killing the animal, as it will be his food or it is the way in which he earns his salary. Since karma must be at work in such a case, the infringement of the non-violence principle becomes a necessity in order to fulfill karmic justice. The butcher is at the same time the instrument of working out one’s karmic debt and the generator of a new one for himself. In a strange way, the fulfilling of karmic debt requires the punishment of those who fulfill it. In other words, karma paradoxically acts through condemning those who carry out its "justice."

I am a spiritualist, and a medium, I do not accept reincarnation as being factual or even logical from a scientific standpoint, and whilst I accept that crystals have the ability to amplify energy (as scientifically know through things such as the old crystal radios) I can't see that they have any practical application within healing - someone would have to prove that to me before I will think they are anything but pretty looking rocks.

They are people's personal beliefs - spiritualist or not, medium or not.

REINCARNATION MEMORIES ARE:

A. Having a dream set in another time and place, which as far as I am concerned is not evidence of anything. We imagine up all sorts of things in our dreams.

B. Having a vision or what seems like a memory of another time and place, ... which can be done with psychic ability picking up on the energy of that and it’s meaning is absolutely nothing. Seeming to know about another's life does not mean it was our own life once upon a time, it would be the life of someone else in spirit that we are picking up on.

C. Others just want to believe in it with nothing to support it because they either like the idea of having many lives, think we need to have every imaginable experience, think we can only possibly learn from our mistakes by copping some sort of pay back or chance to correct a wrong doing in the form of Karma, or as one spirit I have spoken to put it "they can't yet conceive of another way of living so they hold a physical life as the pinnacle of existence".

So whilst some people think that evidence enough, I think it is no evidence at all. What strikes me -in no particular order - as illogical about reincarnation tho is ...

A. The amount of people who all claim to be the same historical figure - Cleopatra, Napoleon, etc, etc, .. they can't all be right! However, if they have had some experience which has led them to believe that, then it only backs up one of the points above, ... that they are dreaming something not true, picking up a thought energy that is just there to be tapped in to by anyone without it being applicable to themselves, or they just want to think they are based on pretty much nothing.

B. Reincarnation is going around in circles when the natural order of things is evolvement and progression.

C. If people come back here, who are mediums speaking to when giving messages? If people have no individuality/ identity, then how can mediums speak to them and identify them? Also how can mediums tell if they have one, two, three, etc, spirits linking to them if their separate uniqueness can not be sensed? It can - we can have more than one spirit link to us at the same time and be able to tell them apart simply by feeling the different energies.

D. The fourth reason, and the one that clinches it being totally illogical to me is unfortunately a concept that is clear in my head but hard to externalize to explain to another as the spiritual side of it really has to be experienced to truly understand that there is no time beyond the divisions we apply based on our physical environment and our planets revolution (but divisions that do not apply when not on a revolving planet in a physical environment - making no time really) , other aspects that all tie in here refer to light and it taking what we perceive as 'time' to travel, our ability to literally see the past as it is unfolding due to technology such as the Hubble telescope based on light as it reaches it, and it also needs an understanding of Einstein’s time space continuum. You can at least read up on that last bit, (which will give you the cornerstone to understand a concept of an eternal now in which past and future are fluid and RE incarnation can not fit in to the reality of an eternal now) but people can spend ages trying to arrive at this understanding from a spiritual side of things and it takes a lot of deep contemplation, and possibly even a state of expanded consciousness. I sat and thought about this and nothing else for 4 days straight before it all clicked in to comprehension, so as you can appreciate, I can't exactly spill 4 days of thought processing out that easily. I can only say I don't 'believe' this, for me it is a ‘knowing’ as clear as knowing water is wet. I wish I could find words to make it make sense to someone who has not arrived there themselves, but I think that may be the only way to FULLY get it - for it to click in to knowingness for one's self.

Clearly I see no evidence to support that we come back, certainly not as animals (will get to that later) ... I don't buy in to karma either - cause and effect yes, but not this eye for an eye, do and have done to you thing, ... we don't need to cop something back to arrive at the conclusion we have done something un-ideal and learn from it, we don't need to eat well in this life and then starve to death in Africa in another to understand hunger, etc, ... and there are experiences beyond the physical we can experience too but none of us ever would if we kept having to come back here until we got everything right, coz I don't know a single person once out of childhood who can say they have led a faultless life.

I have done regression and had gone back to 'past lives' and believe it even less because of those experiences. I also allow that my mind is pretty powerful and its capabilities, heights, depths and limits are just not known. 'Akashic Record dipping' seems to have taken over from Angels in the psychic arena at the moment and, contrary to books, courses, or even experiences, no one can access another person's life. We are told by Spirit Teachers that when we leave our physical bodies and are ready to review our lives then we will do so with the assistance of an evolved spiritual being who will help us with what may be a pretty traumatic experience. Do you think for one minute every Tom, Dick and Harry on the earth has the right, or even the ability, to access our life records? Many people confuse psychic readings with reading Akashic Records. I find it strange that in 35 years of spirit communication, not one spirit contact i have had, has ever mentioned reincarnation. I do think if it is as important as a lot of people think it is, some mention might have been made.

Have you ever tried living outside the physical laws? I think it's not us insisting on being bound by them, it's the laws doing the insisting. Try jumping of a cliff and insisting on not being bound by the law of gravity. And if space and time are an illusion, as are past and future, then the possibilities aren't endless, they all happen at once, in one flash, and everything would be gone done and finished at the instant they started. We need time as a reference, and I think you'll find that physicists don't say time and space are an illusion, but are interdependent on each other, and not the immutable fixed frames as was thought. However I doubt this makes much of a case for reincarnation. You make the afterlife sound like a playground, and we return to the earth for a bit of a lark, though I think if you had been the victim of an earthquake in the mountains of Pakistan you may have a different outlook. There are a lot of "I think's", "Perhaps's", and "I believe's" in your post, but a shortage of "I know's".

Stevenson believed that birthmarks and birth defects occur with undue frequency in children who remember past lives. In 43 of his 2,500 collected cases, Stevenson found "a medical document, such as a postmortem report, indicated the location of the wound on the deceased, which sometimes appeared to be strikingly close to the location of the birthmark or birth defect in the child" (Mills and Lynn: 294). He also claimed that there are birthmarks or birth defects in about one-third of the cases of children who report a PLE and that some of these are not genetically explicable (Mills and Lynn: 298). Stevenson constructed a grid for the average adult body that divides the skin into 160 squares of 10 centimeters each. He then calculated the odds of finding a birthmark that would correspond to a wound in a previous body as 1/160. Two corresponding wounds would have odds of 1/25,600. He had 18 cases of the latter. Even so, I think that he would have to admit that this kind of measuring is not rocket science but guesswork. Also, Stevenson had no explanation for why bodily wounds would carry over to the body of a personality that was reincarnated or why an experience in one life would carry over to a phobia or philia in another. Nor was he an expert in the languages and cultures where his stories originated, necessitating his use of translators whose flaws he was not qualified to observe or identify. He was not an expert on languages. Hiring a linguist to listen to a tape, as Stevenson did with the best of his xenoglossic reincarnates, was a good idea. But he might have considered that Uttara Huddara, a Marathi woman in Mumbai (Bombay) who could speak Bengali, could have acquired her ability by natural means. In any case, it is not unusual for someone to speak several languages in a country that is populated by people from many language groups. Linguist Sarah Thomason noted that Bengali and Marathi are closely related languages, the woman had a life-long interest in Bengali language and culture, and had many Bengali acquaintances, and people in Bombay often see films that were made in Bengali. The rest of Stevenson's cases, according to Thomason, involved people whose linguistic display was minimal and could be explained by casual exposure (Thomason 1987; Kelly 2004). A person may be able to utter 100 or so words in a non-native language, but that hardly counts as speaking or understanding that language. Stevenson listened to a tape where a woman uttered some German words while hypnotized but couldn't answer questions in German and didn't indicate any knowledge of grammar, and he declared this is evidence for reincarnation. He blamed her poor language skills on her poverty and illiteracy in a previous lifetime. A linguist listened to the same tape and noted that even the poor and the illiterate use some grammar. She declared that the woman's understanding of German was minimal and consistent with a casual acquaintance with the language.

Is There Reincarnation?
The writings of 18th century Emanuel Swedenborg who claimed to have seen into the other side for 27 years do not support reincarnation. He wrote that we have one life - eternal - and that we are born into this physical world to prepare us for our eternal life. In the book, Heaven and Hell, Swedenborg explained that these memories of what is now called "past lives' are the memories of those who have gone before us. Very often, we sense these past memories and believe them to be our own. Swedenborg's explanation does not discount the experience - this life was lived - but not by the person claiming more than one life. We have one life - eternal life - and we are ourselves throughout eternity. Swedenborg also wrote that God, being Divine Wisdom, in addition to Divine Love, is always rational. In other words, God always makes sense. If something doesn't make sense, it is not from God.
I have been made aware that a reincarnationist website has quoted my above paragraph without identifying this article. The point was made that the above explanation does not take into consideration why some people are seemingly healed emotionally by "past life healing." Well, there is an easy explanation - it's called the placebo effect and it has been documented in medical studies. If a person believes that something will help them, it very often does - even if that something is a sugar pill. It's not a stretch of the imagination to see if someone believes that they have past lives - then going to past lives therapy will help them.

Tom Harpur also points out that people who are trying to prove reincarnation from a Biblical standpoint often misrepresent history. They often times will cite that either the Council of Nicea of 325 AD or the Second Council of Constaninople in 553 AD voted to strike passages from the Bible that supported reincarnation. According to Harpur, who holds a Doctorate of Divinity and who has devoted years of study researching the original Greek translations, there is no evidence of any kind that any passages relating to the doctrine of reincarnation or any other theory were expurgated from the Biblical text.

The center of Swedenborg's works is the process of regeneration. The most detailed treatment of it is in his twelve-volume Arcana Coelestia [Heavenly Secrets]. In regeneration we move from the conception of the unitary spiritual self into the more heavenly world of usefulness and networking toward the experience of God. I think one of the most pervasive errors in theology is that many think moving from awareness of self to awareness of God must represent a loss of self.

Yet, according to Swedenborg, that is NOT what a spirit is. A spirit is merely a person that has died - and is now residing in the spiritual world. Our spirits have form - human form and we look very similar to what we look like now - only without physical or mental defect. The spiritual bodies that we reside in are merely the spiritual bodies that we were born with - and have developed in - when we leave this world, we merely cast off our physical bodies (like a pair of pajamas) and are then in the spiritual world. We have all the faculties of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Indeed Swedenborg wrote that the spiritual universe looks very similar to our material universe.
Swedenborg wrote that there is a correspondence of all things in nature and spirit.
who doesn't, in their heart of hearts, long to be reunited with loved ones in an eternal Afterlife - never to be parted again? The idea of one individual/one life gives worth and dignity to each person.

What exactly is evil?
According to Swedenborg, evil is the opposite of love to God and love to our fellow person. It is the excessive selfishness that puts ourselves ahead of others to their detriment. It is the ego [or to use his term: proprium] out of control.
Is there reincarnation?
According to Swedenborg's writings - no. He wrote that we are surrounded by spirits - and that sometimes we access their memories and believe them to be our own. This would explain why sometimes more than one person has claimed to be a famous person in a past life. Swedenborg's explanation does not discount the experience - this life was lived - but not by the person claiming more than one life. We have one life - eternal life - and we are ourselves throughout eternity. We retain our personality intact. Swedenborg wrote that God always makes sense and is never confusing. If you find something confusing, run from it.
"People who have had near-death experiences peek through the door of the afterlife, but Swedenborg explored the whole house."

Sundar Singh wrote to the Secretary of the Indian Swedenborg Society, A. E. Penn, to claim that he had in fact been in contact with the "spirit" of Swedenborg for some years, without knowing it:
I saw him several times some years ago, but I did not know his earthly name. His name in the spiritual world is quite different just according to his high position and most beautiful character. He is exceedingly happy and always busy in helping others.33
A few days previously he had written to the same A. E. Penn to thank him for sending him Arcana Coelestia (a copy of which, as we have seen, he had had in his possession for a number of years already):

I value this great treasure very much and shall read carefully as told by the most venerable Swedenborg... After I have finished touring I hope to write something about my conversation with Swedenborg in the Spiritual World.34
We have previously seen that late in 1927, John Goddard of Newtonville, Massachusetts, had opened a correspondence with the Sadhu. This continued for a couple of years, indeed until the Sadhu's final disappearance in 1929. More copies of Swedenborg's books were sent to him (by the end of his life Sundar Singh must have had a very considerable Swedenborg library). I am glad to see that many things which I have seen in the spiritual world and heavens are exactly the same as Swedenborg has described and written in his works... Yes, I have seen the venerable Swedenborg in my visions several times . . .35

And on January 2, 1929:
With regard to the doctrine of reincarnation and transmigration also, I have conversed with Swedenborg and some other Hindu souls. They all say that reincarnation is impossible . . .37 It is incidentally in this letter that Sundar Singh makes what is perhaps the only direct reference anywhere in the correspondence, to the writings of Swedenborg. And in a still later letter, dated March 11, 1929, he confirmed that he had found in the spiritual world "... scenes and things almost the same as Swedenborg has described.

Skeptics challenged Swedenborg’s ability to receive such premonitions. His sister had died without his knowing it. When chided about this, he explained that he was emotionally distant from her at the time of her death and, in any case, had not asked his angels about her. When he did ask his angels to reveal when someone would die, he received accurate clairvoyance. Two episodes illustrate this:

(1) At a Stockholm gathering, ES was challenged by skeptics to a test: he was asked to identify who of those present would die first. ES immediately entered a profound state of meditation. After a while, he shared the angels' reply: "Olof Olofsohn will die tomorrow morning at 4;45 AM." This confident prediction transformed the mood of those present to one of anxious expectation. One of Olofsohn's friends went to his house the next morning to test the prediction. En route, he met one of Olofsohn's servants who informed him that his master had just died from a fit of apoplexy. The clock in his home had stopped at the very moment he had expired and the hand pointed to 4:45!

NO REINCARNATION:
Swedenborg said that a person’s spirit does not come back to earth in a different form, repeatedly, until it is perfected, however, that when a person dies, their spirit is continually growing and perfected to eternity. Eternity is not some stagnant location where one’s spiritual journey plateaus.
This quote from Emanuel Swedenborg’s work confirms this point: "An enlightened reason can also grasp something of the infinity of God from the absence of limits to the growth of any science, and so to the growth of an individual’s intelligence and wisdom, each of which is capable of growth as a tree grows from seed, and woods and gardens from trees, for here there is no limit. The human memory is the soil in which they are planted, the understanding the medium in which they shoot, the will that in which they bear fruit. These two faculties, the understanding and the will, are such that they are capable of being cultivated and perfected throughout life in this world and afterwards to eternity."

Swedenborg supports only one model of life after death, that is, that we continue to live as people in the spiritual world immediately following the death of the physical body.

He writes, “[most people] cannot conceive of entering the next life immediately after death and appearing there as people complete with face, body, arms, feet, and all the senses outward and inward. Still less can they conceive of wearing clothes and having homes and places to live in. The sole reason [for this] is that the thought of the majority is confined to the level of the physical senses, and therefore they think that things which they cannot see and touch have no existence; and also that few of them can be drawn away from things perceived by the outward senses to those more internal levels and thereby be raised to the light of heaven.” (Arcana Caelestia, paragraph 10758) He continues, “I have also talked at times to spirits whom I had known when they were living as people in the world. I have asked them whether they wished to be reclothed with their earthly body, as they had previously thought they were going to be. On hearing this the very idea of being joined to that body made them flee far away, struck with amazement that in the world blind belief devoid of all understanding had led them to think that way.” (Arcana Caelestia, paragraph 10758, subsection 4) The use of such beliefs remaining, and the reason Swedenborg says they are permitted to remain, is that they allow people to preserve an idea of life after death. I would add that they also maintain an idea of continued spiritual growth and development, rather than the traditional, static Christian concept of heaven.

To those who seek contact with spirits, Swedenborg says, "Woe to those who do so!" (Doc. II, p, 208). They may easily "be led astray" (Ibid., p. 210). People who contact spirits are "speedily in danger of their life ....I would dissuade all from cherishing such desires" (Ibid., p. 232). "It is most dangerous" (Ibid., p. 387). "It is dangerous,...for evil spirits desire nothing more than to destroy a man, both soul and body" (HH 249). "When spirits begin to speak with a person, he must beware lest he believe them in anything .... They lie .... deceive, and seduce ....Let people beware!

But I have many things I would like to accomplish in this physical world so I suspect I will come back and be my same sweet self. :-)

This statement, below, William, is where it seems to me that you fit in, based on what you have written:

...they either like the idea of having many lives, think we need to have every imaginable experience, think we can only possibly learn from our mistakes by copping some sort of pay back or chance to correct a wrong doing in the form of Karma, or as one spirit I have spoken to put it "they can't yet conceive of another way of living so they hold a physical life as the pinnacle of existence".

Nameless commenter, please stop posting such incredibly long comments. They interrupt the flow of conversation. If you want to air your views at such length, why not start your own blog?

"This statement, below, William, is where it seems to me that you fit in, based on what you have written:"

Nice to know I fit in somewhere. :-)

If my ideas on using technology as a form of vibrational healing can work it might eliminate much suffering in this world. Or not.

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