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So many OTH's. My number of years I've been married is online, but not the stage of life I was in when I finally got married. Nor the fact that it was my first marriage.
My co-workers murder was online. But the medium countered the media report with a completely different, more plausible scenario. A scenario that would only make sense to people "in the know".
A co-worker who died of natural causes five years ago came through, and a tribute I wrote to him is online. But it needs to be found using an internet handle I haven't used in four years.

The facts are online, but the personality characteristics and quirks aren't. Much of the evidence is stunning, but a lot of time was killed with what William James called "bosh".
I give up. Time to give it some time.

@Michael
Perhaps you ought to do what RD did and have some repeat sittings with this particular medium. Seems a reasonable thing to do. Maybe inquire first whether she feels she's up to it, of course.

"Time to give it some time."

I think that is best idea.

I really do think that there is some energy resevoir that is used to establish a connection with the "other side". In fact, I am convinced of it, though it's really difficult to put into words because there aren't words for it. Once it is tapped heavily, it needs to be replenished. My guess, RD, is that if you waited six months or a year or so and you felt a compelling reason to see the medium again, that you'd have another stellar sitting.

These beautiful beings/entities giving unconditional love - this shows it to be a sound phenomena.
Time to get out the guitar!

Hmmm. Well, I think no one's advice is good- I'm going back to her strait up and tell her what's going on. I do believe that her heart is in the right place. Having said that, maybe the pressures get to be a bit much, and you cheat just a little, and then, well, maybe you cheat a lot.

The stuff that Georgia got right that I couldn't find on my blog of FB page were substantial- maybe 15-20%. The spirit guide said that my 'meditation sucked' which is true, even after 25 years. He have me some tips. He told me my mind was chaotic and I had to know everything, which is maybe something you could infer from my blog, but that's a stretch. He outlined my abusive Dad and his mannerisms quite well, impossible to find on my blog. If she was conning, she was very psychologically adept at it, that's for sure.

He told me I had been inpatient in a substance abuse center, something I did not find in my blog or FB. He told me I had been a pothead, and had done a lot of hallucinogens all too true, and not in my blog. He told me two drugs not to take that one of which I have had bad reactions to and won't take, again, no way on my blog.

I have an alter, feminine ego named Shannon, and early in the reading Georgia just blurted out 'who's Shannon?' which blew my mind. But there is a whole blog post on her back in m blog that she would have found in an hour or less of reading. He said that Shannon was 'quite the vixen' which is true, and I don't think that's very clear from my blog post on her. (Look for yourself 2/14/ 07 And why would he tell me to spend less money on Georgia?

Sorry to repeat myself, especially since I lead a strange life! But goddamnit, I've got to get to the truth. I guess I could just hang around and see if these drugs he prescribed help- but I have real reason to fear the side effects of one of them. Long story. I'm taking a chance.

I've watched Georgia on youtube. Read her interviews with journalists. Seen her policies. I do believe that she is ethical. But all she needed to do was plug my phone number into FB and bam- there it all is. How tempting.

And why would she start with 3 misses? And prescribe drugs she couldn't pronounce? And get less readings? Nobody's taken a stab at that one yet.

Anyway, here's my blog! http://eyesinthepine.blogspot.com/

Great post, Michael!

As a psychic, though not close at all in level to the medium under discussion, I know what it's like to have great readings and bad ones. I have given readings where I have blown the person's mind and my own. Big hits, spirits coming through, the works. Others, much more mediocre. Now, there aren't too many readings where I am just dead wrong throughout--one reason being that if I don't get in a groove, I don't continue. But I can imagine the pressure a medium would feel who charges for readings and has to deliver a full hour.

Is hot reading based on Facebook all that realistic? First, is your FB page privacy set so that anyone can access all its content? If not, it's not very likely. Second, although the medium is apparently charging good money for her services, going on FB and searching for details is still pretty labor-intensive. The whole point of cheating is to do something that is easy, and I'm not sure that grazing through FB's clunky interface (which is not easily searchable) is it. Still, I wouldn't say it's impossible.

Matt! I was hoping you would appear to add your perspective on this thread.

This whole discussion concerning the medium gets back to what I've always said about the relationship of NDEs, like Peter N's, to what life after death is really like. That is that the NDE type features is a *temporary* enlightenment that is followed, in many cases, by a reversion to a less than enlightened state that persists.

The immediate stage following physical separation is full of mind blowing expansive knowledge, truth and love, but most people can't hold onto it for long. Old thinking and emotional habits re-gain control and the individual returns more or less to his outlook that he held during physical life; just as some folks have a paradigm shattering experience with a medium and then find reasons to revert to their old paradigm.

Paradigm shifts are 1. VERY hard to make in the first place and 2.very difficult to maintain. That is a truth of the human condition.

Wow guys wow. Is that the level of interest in what RD had to say? Handholding and platitudes? I'm impressed not only with RD's extremely well articulated description of his experience, but with his forthright honesty and overall approach to the matter from the very beginning.

"Certainty is elusive in these matters."

"That is the truth of the human condition."

Sheesh! Where's any degree of intellectual involvement?

tsavo, I guess I'm puzzled as to what more you're looking for here.

To me, the discussion highlights, once again, that the paranormal is not a mechanical process that lends itself to the kind of scientific testing that mechanical processes do.

Is Georgia really contacting spirits? I think the answer is clearly "yes, sometimes".

True, some, but by no means all, information constituting impressive "hits" *could have* been gleaned from the internet, but this seems irrational as an explanation for the reasons already mentioned; her uncertainty and risk, even if provided a name, as to whether or not the name is the actual name of the person who is sitting, the time involvement in tracking clients through the internet, her own encouraging skeptics to use false names or even friends' names, personality quirks of the deceased that came through in addition to the pure information......... and there's all of the information that all of us received that was accurate, but not on the internet.

As Michael points out with his free-throw example, even relatively mechanical processes that rely at least in part on human talent, energy, psychology, etc for success are subject to null hypothesis confirming fails.

Yet, overall we would expect a professional B-Ball player to make a greater % of freethrows than an amateur.

All we can do is assess whether or not a medium is able to provide information at a rate and quality above non-mediums at a statistically significant level.

Finally, and this is not a slight to RD, but we don't have transcripts from the sessions. There is no independent assessment of what transpired between the medium and RD.

It is difficult to convey what happens in the course of the interactions to those neither there nor connected in some way. I have had to write far more in terms of sheer words and in terms of personal information simply to give a context to a few minutes of an hour session, than I want to in order to depict, still poorly, the nature of what transpired.

So, yeah, it's all just the nature of thing and of us.

I agree with you 100% Michael I have had similar experiences with mdiums, all of them were certified byWindbridge Institute for Applied Research in Human Potential. White the time I had adhered to a rather simplistic Buddhist interpretation of reincarnation only. When I say that was simplistic I mean my understanding of it. In actuality Buddhism speaks of hope for realms of existence that is no reason one couldn't be reborn this spiritual realm.
As time went on I began to refine my understanding of things according to the empirical evidence and my own analysis,(which is in fact what the Buddha taught to do anyway). These readings were done by e-mail from a web-based e-mail I created for the purpose. I gave no information but the deceased persons first name and anyone else who might wish to contact me.

Here are some examples one person they said wanted to talk to me was Jimmy. And I Jimmy was going to help us with our finances. Jimmy was a relative who had just died and left a substantial amount of money to my wife. There is no way they could've found out that information. He also mentioned he didn't see any ashes. Relatives wanted to have him cremated but I know you wanted to be buried I mentioned that to one of the relatives and they buried him instead. He didn't need the will he simply but my wife's name on his bank accounts unbeknownst to us.

Now I asked about a friend who had recently passed named Joe. The psychic told me that Joe thanked us for putting in the pieces. Those father and Joe cremated and put into a columbarium in the veterans cemetery and had his for best friends screwing the plate after putting Joe's remains in the cache. Then she went on to say Joe likes to hang out with a big orange cat in the hallway. Well I have a big orange cat and Joe took a picture of the Cat and it's hanging in the hallway.
There were several other direct hits as well. All of these were so specific to the interaction between the deceased and us that it was a clear indication they were communicating with us.

I am very agnostic about the for and content of the spiritual world as I think much of that is colored by the mediums interpretations which is in turn colored by the usual worldview of spiritualists. But as evidence of survival it's convincing enough for me.

"Wow guys wow. Is that the level of interest in what RD had to say? Handholding and platitudes?"

You haven't read the comments very carefully if that's all you got out of them.

"You haven't read the comments very carefully if that's all you got out of them."

I was expecting a little more than fraud or bad hair day is all.

I get the basketball analogy. It's reasonable and the usual go-to explanation. But how about a level of curiosity interested in pursuing things beyond usual explanations? How about some real INTEREST? That's the nature of human beings, we're curious animals. Let's assume it was an off day for the medium. In the future, maybe a standard part of sitting protocol should be for the sitter to specifically ask the medium, at the end of the session, how they felt the session had gone, from the medium's standpoint - ie were the messages "strong", did things feel "right" etc. If, in RD's case, the medium had claimed the same level of communication feel for each sitting, it would cast doubt on any bad hair day scenarios for sittings 2 and 3.

How do repetitive (blind) sittings by the same medium for the same sitter compare to each other in mediumship history? Anyone know? Highly relevant and a fairly specific kind of question. Certainly if there was fraud involved, it would become increasingly harder for a medium to come up with new information (not suggesting that was the case here).

Although RD claims he was receptive but passive at the start of each session, there's no way his total state of mind at sitting 2 could have been the same as at sitting 1 (sorry RD, not trying to nail you here, just stating the obvious). He might have consciously maintained neutrality at sitting 2, but there had to have been a BIG effect on his psyche from the results of sitting 1, if not a shakeup in his potential worldview. He was not the same person going into sitting 2 as going into sitting 1. Which raises the important point that whereas reproducibility in experiments depends on keeping variables constant, this is an almost impossible task with regard to the mental states of sitter and medium.

To me, RD's experience seems like a golden opportunity for exploration. If I were you Michael, given your prior experience with this medium and the fact that you put us on to her, I'd jump at the opportunity to have more sittings just to see how things go in comparison to RD.

"To me, RD's experience seems like a golden opportunity for exploration. If I were you Michael, given your prior experience with this medium and the fact that you put us on to her, I'd jump at the opportunity to have more sittings just to see how things go in comparison to RD."

This is where I think you (andRD) are in error, tsavo.

If it is reprocucibility that you're after, I would suggest new sitters, who have obscured their identities, seeking fresh contact/information.

I firmly believe that there is an important component having to do with motivation, need and energy on both the sitters' and the spirits' side.

I'll say it again, you are approaching this topic with the idea that spirits are mechanical processes that respond in pre-porgrammed ways to certain cues/inputs. That or you're totally ignoring the possibility that the spirits' motivation could have a role in the outcome.

Interfacing with the otherside is nothing to be trifled with. It's something that should be done with respect and to fulfill a need. Treat it like it's a drive through window at a fast food joint and, at best, you'll get a cheap greasy unstasifying meal.

I'll go out on a limb here and guess that when Michael had a session with the medium it was *in part* to satsify a curiousity in a scientific sense, but also in part because he had a real emotional need arising from the loss of loved ones (albeit potentially at a subconscious need) as well as a need for an experience to point the way through his searching toward the truth.

The latter needs were probably met and the former was probably as well to an extent sufficient to help him progress. I know this was all true in my own case. Enough is enough.

The spirits, it seems, are willing to interject their help when there is a true need perceived by you, them or both, but this source can only be tapped lightly.

Do you imagine that spirits have nothing better to do than answer your questions over and over and over again until you are able to get it through your head that they, and what they say, are real?

Sorry to be harsh, but sometimes things aren't all about satisfying your (and I mean mine too) die hard intellectual curiosities. The world has existed long before - and will continue to exist long after - all the scientists with their furoghed brows, calculations and lab coats.

no one -

Lots of people go to mediums with the express intention solely of seeing what the other side has to offer - ie out of curiosity. At least that's my understanding. And that's not an unreasonable thing. People also go to mediums specifically for contact with a deceased out of grief. That's a different ball game altogether. I would think that griefers, because of the emotional input, might be more likely to mentally embrace the consequences of putative contact than someone with only an intellectual inquiry, and therefore more likely to repeat a "good" sitting than a simple curiosity seeker. That sort of thinking/wondering is another example of the kind of mental interest I felt was lacking in the discussion so far.

As far as reproducibility goes, I'm simply for doing the experiment and letting the chips fall where they may. It could turn out, for example, that things are reproducible in a BAD way - ie the medium always delivers decreasing returns in any situation involving repeat sittings with the same sitter. Sounds sort of fishy doesn't it? As I said, it would be a good screen for a fraud because they can't keep finding new information and are more likely to shoot most of their wad the first time or two. At any rate, the deal with experiments is you don't prejudge them and you do them more than once. That's not even science as much as it is common sense.

Finally, one of the reasons RD's situation is so interesting is precisely because it doesn't involve new sitters/situations each time. A first-time sitting is a virgin situation. As I pointed out for RD and would be true for anyone, the first time is unique. Your mental state at sitting will never be the same again, whereas in subsequent sittings, it might well be quite similar (though never identical). If there is an important component to the sitting that derives from the sitter, one might anticipate that the first sitting would frequently be differentiable in some way (the best?).

"Lots of people go to mediums with the express intention solely of seeing what the other side has to offer - ie out of curiosity."

That's an assumption and probably not a safe one. I think all humans have some deeper motivations when it comes to death. There is always a deeper need than mere curiosity. Most of us have lost someone, even if a grandparent and that loss has left an impression on us, even if the associated emotions are dormant in the sunconscious. The grief need not be overt and predominant.

"It could turn out, for example, that things are reproducible in a BAD way - ie the medium always delivers decreasing returns in any situation involving repeat sittings with the same sitter."

Yes, I'm quite sure this is usually the case unless the sitter establishes a special ongoing relationship with a spirit guide for a special reason *that the spirit guide has agreed to participate in*.

"As far as reproducibility goes, I'm simply for doing the experiment and letting the chips fall where they may."

Fine. From a spiritual perspective, I think this is wrong, but from a scientific perspective, at face value, what the heck, why not? But then you say this:

"Sounds sort of fishy doesn't it? As I said, it would be a good screen for a fraud because they can't keep finding new information and are more likely to shoot most of their wad the first time or two."

No. It doesn't sound fishy. Have your read my comments? So now you are using the lack of reproducibility to insinuate fraud. I guess that is what I have been preempting in previous comments because I sensed this is where you are going. That is a logical leap that seems to me to be without merit. Alternative explanations have been supplied (up thread) as well as reasons why fraud is not a reasonable conclusion, even give lack of reproducibility, in the case of the medium in question.

BTW, I have no problem stating a medium is a fraud if I think the evidence points to it. I have stated on this blog that my wife and I saw some mediums at spiritualist churches in our area, subsequent to seeing Georgia, and that we both came away certain the spiritualist were at best wannabes and certainly had many attributes of pure frauds.

If you think Georgia is a fraud then there is a better experiment that could be conducted. A sitter could provide you with the same information that is provided Georgia, email address, etc and you would have two weeks to develop an internet profile from that information. The the sitter has a reading with Georgia and has a reading with you. Repeat 30 times with 30 different sitters. Compare results. My money is on Georgia. Any how, that would be the better test.

"The spirits, it seems, are willing to interject their help when there is a true need perceived by you, them or both, but this source can only be tapped lightly."

I agree with "No-one" here. I am frequently told by a psychic that it was no accident that I turned up for a reading. Last time I went (3 years ago - I usually have a 3 year gap), she told me how she didn't leave her phone on during the evening. "But your call got through". But then I have had trouble getting hold of a medium - and I guess my call didn't get through that time. I also think it pays to have a reasonable gap between readings.

I find personally, and I think "Matt" alluded to this at one stage. That a number of messages just 'pop' in, and then I find seeking more information by asking questions is always a little harder.

Personally for me, I have not had any information given to me by a psychic that was inaccurate. But I have only been to people recommended by close friends. I have also been told that I am very easy to read. Now I don't affirm at all, but at the same time I am not defensive. And I have been with people myself who are, and find it a little off putting. Lyn x.

Actually, here's an even better idea for an experiment. Why don't you, tsavo, go have a reading with Georgia? Take all precautions to protect your identity and see what happens.

I see tsavo's point about repeating the session, but here's why I haven't done it.

1. I think it can be unhealthy to become psychologically dependent on a medium (or a Ouija board, etc.).

2. I think there's a dark side to the paranormal, and due caution should be exercised in approaching it. (Both this and point 1 are well illustrated by Joe Fisher's book The Siren Song of Hungry Ghosts.)

3. I did not think there was any likelihood that fraud could explain the results of my first reading, so what would be the point of probing for it in a second one? And how would negative results the second time overturn the positive results from the first session? At most it would show that the medium was inconsistent, which was something I already assumed (because all mediums, including the legendary Mrs. Piper, are inconsistent).

I agree that if one were approaching the session(s) as a scientific test, it would be necessary to repeat the experiment, implement various controls, etc. But I never said I was performing a scientific experiment. There are people who have done and still do such experiments - Richard Hodgson, Charles Drayton Thomas, James Hyslop, Gary Schwartz, Julie Beischel, Patricia Robinson & Archie Roy ... As any of them would tell us, it takes time, money, and effort to carry out systematic, repeated tests of this kind.

However, I suppose we have managed to carry out an informal "experiment" of sorts simply by virtue of the fact that I, No One, RabbitDawg, Ray, and Tharpa have all had sessions with this medium. (If I've missed anyone, let me know.) All of the initial sessions seem to have been positive. RD's subsequent sessions were increasingly unsatisfactory. So we have the beginnings of a pool of data.

Both No One and I say that the "hits" could not have been researched or guessed. RD and Tharpa think some of the hits could have been researched, but seem to think others could not have been. As for Ray, he wrote:

"This may sound new agey but I read from several books to concentrate and mediate on who you want to come through the reading a few days prior. I did this for a week straight before I had my reading and the three people I was meditating on did come through. But that pesky super psi comes up again. Georgia could have read my mind and knew these are the people I wanted to hear from. Again, she nailed a lot of facts with my reading but what made me think there is something going on here is the veridical info she gave that I did not know and later had to confirm with my mother. It was a specific medical condition she was suffering from and didn't tell me and she isn't on social media sites blabbing about it so there is no way to look it up. Additionally, HIPPA laws prevent anyone from knowing this info." [comment, 10-10-12]

So obviously he didn't think the info could be researched.

Overall, we have a significant number of hits that seem inexplicable by "normal" means. What we make of this is up to each of us to decide.

I agree with "Michael", I think inconsistency is somewhat normal. For a number of psychics, they may feel switched on and may be for part of it, and then loose the "feed".

However, there are professional athletes. Some of the people I have seen have huge waiting lists, and seem to be "on" most of the time.

I have also been told by some of those that I see, that they don't know the answer to a particular question - and it pays to be honest if you are having difficulty.

One of the psychics who was clairvoyant also made a point of viewing where you lived to make sure she "had you".

Now we lived on a small lifestyle block growing up, right in the middle of suburbia. With a large vege garden at the back of the house and paddocks beyond. She immediately honed in to the garden where there was a hot house under construction, and at the back she said " I see, a fence, but its just like a farm fence and its falling down".

Dead accurate, but then she always was. Lyn x.

tsavo - "Sounds sort of fishy doesn't it? As I said, it would be a good screen for a fraud because they can't keep finding new information and are more likely to shoot most of their wad the first time or two."

no one - "No. It doesn't sound fishy. Have your read my comments? So now you are using the lack of reproducibility to insinuate fraud."

First, the whole question of fraud in this particular case has frankly been over-discussed IMO, to the detriment of more interesting considerations.

Second, I'm not insinuating anything and you are confusing a generalized lack of reproducibility with what I was talking about, which is a specific pattern of decreasing returns with the same sitter.

There's no question that a fraudulent medium will find it increasingly difficult to keep producing veridical evidence for the same sitter. A hallmark for frauds will therefore have to be a decline in productivity over repetitive sittings for the same sitter. Logical, no? Does that mean that whenever there's a decline in productivity with the same medium/sitter combo that fraud is occurring? Of course not. But it's definitely a warning sign, and if there were a similar pattern for the same medium with different sitters, it would be more than a warning sign.

Michael,

Good input! I totally concur with you on points 1 and 2. Fisher's story is indeed a cautionary tale and one I don't take lightly, regardless whether mediums are talking to the dead, animating thoughts from their own subconscious, or whatever. It's one of the reasons I'm not ready to jump into the boat myself at the moment.

As for your third point, I disagree in the sense that you're unjustifiably putting limits on the discussion. You don't "think" there could be fraud in this case? Those are famous last words, sort of like 'There's no way the Titanic could sink'. Now I'm NOT saying Georgia is a fraud, but it's still necessary to cut the cards before you deal. Period. Common sense. As to wondering how negative results the second time could overturn positive results the first time, that's not the goal or even the important question. What's of interest is whether there's a reproducible PATTERN of some sort in the data. A pattern is important because first, it would argue against random inconsistency and second, it might offer some sort of insight. RD's experience was that there was a pattern. Interestingly, Trevor Hamilton's results (from the book I mentioned a while back) showed a somewhat similar pattern insofar as his best results were with the first sitting (of 9 total), with subsequent ones more or less declining in efficacy. His sittings were with mostly different mediums, however, so they're not directly comparable. A question to you or anyone well-read in mediumship research: Are there documented cases where a sitter returns to the same medium and gets increasingly good results with repetitive sittings?

You're right that this is not a scientific experiment. We can use interesting information at hand, however, to try and think intelligently about improving mediumship experiences. The idea of meditating beforehand on the person with whom you wish to communicate makes perfect sense. The important thing is to make the session "work" for you, and it is, after all, a mental phenomenon.

Having the sitter always question the medium at the end of the session about the perceived quality of the communication seems like a good idea. My take from reading Gladys Leonard's autobiography and from Matt and others, is that mediums have a definite "feel" for when they're on or off their game. If a medium tells you that they were really feeling hot during the session and yet the data were poor, that's informative. If the medium says things weren't going so well, then you can't expect much. Maybe that would have been the case for RD in sittings 2 and 3, in which case he wouldn't have been so taken aback.

Here's something else. Why all the emphasis on generalized veridicality if it's not a scientific experiment? Survival vs super-PSI is not going to be solved by anyone on this blog. It's quite enough for most people if a medium produces the name of your teddy bear, your first pet canary, etc. No, it's not going to convince the world or "prove" anything to anyone but you, but that's never the goal anyway. So why the fuss about hiding names, anonymous payments, etc when setting up a medium reading? Let the medium "discover" as much as they want beforehand - BUT - only give credence to data that are exquisitely personal. Makes things a lot simpler, and for the purpose of reporting back to this community, completely adequate.

"A hallmark for frauds will therefore have to be a decline in productivity over repetitive sittings for the same sitter. Logical, no?"

Not necessarily. If FB or other internet sources are the material upon which fraud is based, then, presumably, a medium would use FB updates to simply update the "reading" as well toss in some previously unused material from FB.

Michael's points: "1. I think it can be unhealthy to become psychologically dependent on a medium (or a Ouija board, etc.).

2. I think there's a dark side to the paranormal, and due caution should be exercised in approaching it. (Both this and point 1 are well illustrated by Joe Fisher's book The Siren Song of Hungry Ghosts.)"

Are along the lines of where I was going with some of my comments.

Also, maybe the free throw example is not the best. What I was thinking about is reproduction of some talent that is more feeling and intuition based. For example, a musician, more a musiciain that plays emotional music as opposed to something technical like classical, that has to play live shows. Some nights they are "on" and they are great and other nights you can tell that they're just not feeling it and would rather be somewhere else doing something else. I think mediumship requires, as Matt said, getting into a groove. You gotta feel it.

I honestly think the best experimental model would be to have a randomly selected set of individuals sit with a medium and then grade the medium's performance and then another randomly selected set of individuals sit with a non-medium that had access to the exact same information (sitter's name, etc) and that couold use whatever techniques he wanted. Grade and compare medium to non-medium. Most importantly, these would be subjects that had not previously had a reading.

Of course, the experiment would be best if you used several mediums and several non-mediums, all of which would be randomly paired with sitters.

Additionally, there should be some multivariant component to the analysis based on sitter attributes; e.g. deceased family member (Y/N), openess to the concept of mediumship, ect.

I guess I am still trying to understand why you are so intently focussed on RD's graded decline of success, if not working the fraud angle. I don't get it.

On the one hand you say you're not concerned with fraud, but then you keep bringing it up. At least that is what I see.

Please take this at face value. When I say, "I don't get it" I don't mean I think you're a dolt making obtuse points, I simply mean that I just don't understand. Maybe I am the dolt;-)

no one -
Humans are pattern-seeking animals. RD's experience was a specific pattern in a relatively unique set of circumstances, potentially checkable by others. To me that's interesting and not something to be swept under the rug with pat explanations. Could his experience simply be a fluke, a random outcome and not a big deal? Sure. But why make that assumption? The tone of the comments, by you more than anyone else actually, seemed to be far more desirous of explaining away his experience than giving it any real credence and examining it in from all angles. Seems to me you're too much into playing the role of mystical defender these days. 

As for the fraud angle, I rather had the idea it was one of only two things that WERE being discussed about RD's adventure (along with bad hair day). Personally, I'm not nearly as concerned about it as people around here seem defensive on Georgia's behalf. You're right in suggesting that a good fraud might be able to somewhat conceal successive dips into FB and other internet sources for information-gathering, but there would eventually have to be some sort of emergent pattern such as declining evidentiary statements, increasingly more recent data, etc. A more serious concern might be how much we are underestimating internet investigative techniques. There are pros out there that are probably laughing at the assumptions we make about how "hard" it is to get data on folks. Think collection agencies, hackers, etc and couple that with a "psychic network" like Lamar Keene described. That's one of the reasons I suggested forgetting the cat and mouse business about concealing identities when setting up a session, and only judging the really inconsequential but highly personal stuff as evidentiary. Of course, if you've put the entirety of your life up in FB, you're hosed.

BTW, I think Tharpa's idea of being totally upfront with the medium is a great idea, but it will require considerable internal centering in order to remain objective. The intellect is not always an enemy, sometimes it's your best friend.

"The intellect is not always an enemy, sometimes it's your best friend."

A rather obnoxious statement, no?

What part of "the information she gave me could not have been researched online because it was not available online" is hard to understand?

Look at Ray's comment, quoted above. The medium told him about his mother's medical condition. Ray himself had to check with his mother to confirm the statement; he was unaware of it.

Look at the conditions of No One's sitting. He took every reasonable precaution against fraud.

My own sitting was not as well controlled, but as I said, I received information that had never been put online and would have been extremely difficult to guess.


"Seems to me you're too much into playing the role of mystical defender these days. "

LOL. Just call me Captain Mystical - Defender of the Unseen World.

"Humans are pattern-seeking animals."

Yes. This is true. However this is a double edged sword. Due to pattern seeking tendencies, humans often see patterns where there aren't any (e.g. Mother Mary in the wood grain of a table top). Inappropriate connecting of unrelated events is also a feature of paranoid schizophrenia.

At this point your pattern recognition is emerging from a sample of 1. I guess I don't find the evidence sufficient to suggest that there really is an emergent pattern. Many of the mediums of old Mediums that have been covered on this blog and Michael Tymn's) were tested repeatedly and they proved their abilities in highly controlled settings repeatedly. They did have off days, though. So, at bottom, that's where what you perceive as my defensiveness is coming from.

tsavo - "The intellect is not always an enemy, sometimes it's your best friend."

Michael - "A rather obnoxious statement, no?"

I meant it as a cautionary statement for Tharpa. Some people lean more heavily in one direction, some another. While I like her idea of directly confronting Georgia, I was a bit concerned that this might inadvertently be giving Georgia too much control of the situation. I wanted Tharpa to stay mentally strong and independent if taking this approach, that's all. It wasn't meant as a general slam against the mystically inclined.

Michael - "What part of "the information she gave me could not have been researched online because it was not available online" is hard to understand?
Look at Ray's comment, quoted above. The medium told him about his mother's medical condition. Ray himself had to check with his mother to confirm the statement; he was unaware of it.
Look at the conditions of No One's sitting. He took every reasonable precaution against fraud.
My own sitting was not as well controlled, but as I said, I received information that had never been put online and would have been extremely difficult to guess."

Wow! I take it back. Georgia is golden. Sorry to have ever grouped her with other unproven mediums. She is clearly in a class by herself and should never be exposed to routine considerations.

At any rate, the more interesting possibilities to think about are those which arise after assuming that Georgia is completely honest. See comments to no one below.

no one -
Try this. Imagine the hypothetical where 1) Georgia is honest AND 2) the decline in results with repetitive sittings for RD is something beyond random mediumistic inconsistency. Get past the two obvious offerings, fraud and bad hair day, and just accept the data at face value. What's the harm in that? Thinking is like digital photography in that it pretty much costs nothing. Instead of just turning your brain off, crank it up and turn around the possibilities in your head. You never know what you might gain, even from considering a single sample.

Hmmm. OK, if there were some sort of significance to the pattern, does it lie with Georgia, RD, or perhaps the specific combination of the two? An interesting possibility might be that the specific matchup of sitter and medium is particularly important in some way we don't understand - ie performance issues always crop up after a while with A and B, but never with A and C. If it's specific to Georgia, does she always have this problem? Is it unique to her? Obviously we can't run an experiment the way Beischel does, but we could, for instance, query a prospective medium about how repetitive sittings tend to fare with them, based on past experience. Is it possibly a problem that some mediums experience when they're still sort of learning the trade? Or do other experienced mediums also experience something akin to "sitter fatigue"? What if there's something about RD where he always finds that this happens, no matter what medium he goes to? That would be very interesting. Sitters bring a unique range of personality characteristics to each session: expectation, need, acceptance (willingness to believe), fear, courage, beliefs, doubts, emotionality, enthusiasm. Perhaps one or more of these is more important than we realize in a positive or negative sense. Simply pointing out that the sitter brings a lot more variables to the table than is usually acknowledged or talked about is an intellectual striving toward understanding, even on the part of sitters themselves. Finally, what if the issue has more to do with the "other side"? That's a bit more difficult to deal with, since personal beliefs about the other side could be important. Would it be better to simply go "real time" and ask a presumed discarnate what the problem is when communication tanks? If they simply tell you they have a golf date and don't want to talk, problem solved. OTOH, admitting that things were going badly during the session would inevitably influence the medium in a variety of ways, not the least of which would be their response afterward when you asked them how it went.

Maybe you don't like to think about so many possibilities. Maybe I just have too much time on my hands. Maybe I'm also just insatiably curious. Who knows?

tsavo, I have considered all of those things you bring up. I'm sure that they all have some level of influence at some time. However, you have left out of your musings an important variable; the spirits themselves.

The spirits are not machines, as I keep saying. They are living entities and they have a host of challenges to overcome when they wish to communicate with the incarnate living. There has to be a compelling reason for them to make the effort. There has to be an emotional need.

In my reading with Georgia my mother's spirit began by saying she "really doesn't know how to do this". It became obvious that she was making a special effort to communicate with me to offset some of the things that my father's spirit was saying and doing. She had a few very salient and important messages for me (and my wife) which I am most definitely NOT going to get into here.

If I had seen Georgia and my father was still alive I am pretty sure that my mother would not have come through at all. She has, thankfully and to my great delight, evolved to a fairly high level of existance and is involved in what she is doing there. She already knew that I believed in the afterlife and that I would be ok. There would be no reason for her to come through if not for the unusual circumstances. Spirits are not just hanging out waiting to chit chat whenever you feel like it. Even if some of them might want to continue interaction across multiple sittings (hungry ghost cautions apply here) they still face barriers.

Here are some links:

http://www.kajama.com/index.php?file=articledetail&id=1F27AE18-A900-41A8-914B-C438AD692B33&PageNum=1

http://www.whitecrowbooks.com/michaeltymn/entry/the_many_barriers_to_spirit_communication

Thx no one. I'll take a look.

"Instead of just turning your brain off, crank it up and turn around the possibilities in your head. You never know what you might gain..."

Another obnoxious statement. Being a pattern-seeking animal, I see a pattern here. I also didn't bother to read any further.

Of course you wouldn't read any further Michael.

This is an interesting experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. I've often wondered what it was like back in the heyday of Spiritualism and now I have a much better feel for it. Some folks are sincere and I respect that. Others are still honestly searching and I respect that. Others just don't like the boat being rocked. Don't like that so much.

tsavo,

Some of the things you say are interesting, but I think you are not taking into consideration how they relate to this forum. Context is important.

Most of the people here have directly experienced paranormal phenomena. If not that, they have thoroughly researched them and are convinced they are real.

IOW, the *starting point* for most people here is that these phenomena are real. Thus, most people here are not interested in arguing whether they are real or not. Rather, we are interested in discussion the implications of the phenomena and understanding them on a deeper level.

To me, it is an interesting topic of why a medium might do better on one day than another, or why s/he might give less substantial/accurate to the same sitter over time. I agree that the latter pattern has not yet been established, though it is something to keep in mind.

It strikes me that you are probably a young person. One flaw typical in young people's thinking is thinking that other people have not yet taken into consideration their objections; another is thinking they can change minds more easily than is typically possible. Thus, a young person might jump into a forum and think s/he can debate the people there and change opinions.

You are clearly quite intelligent, but I would suggest (as my personal opinion) that adjusting your method of participation in this forum might make results better for both you and others here.

Hey Matt,

I don't think I've ever questioned the reality of *phenomena* experienced by the people here, only the interpretation of such phenomena. With respect to mediums, the phenomena are that interesting information is received via medium-sitter interactions. The sun coming up over the horizon is a phenomenon. Prior to Copernicus, it would universally have been interpreted incorrectly by those experiencing it. Only by questioning accepted interpretations do we gain understanding.

Anyway, I take your point about not being a discordant note in the choir. I'll not challenge anything in the future, just contribute odds and ends that a few of the lurkers might find interesting. However, it would be a good idea for Michael to point out the expectation for harmonious thinking on the part of future participants in the forum, just so they're not caught off guard.

tsavo, I don't think it's about be a discordant note in the choir. That's just not a fair statement. All sorts of alternative ideas are discussed on this forum. Our host is very reasonable and he often posts blogs about alternative ideas. He comes to conclusions sometimes that some of disagree with. Other times some us come to a conclusion, but Michael stays open minded and less committed because the evidence, to his mind, doesn't firmly enough support a particular conclusion.

Let's just be honest here. You are a fan of the super-psi explanation. That's where you are going with all of the above debate. You have a prejudice against the idea of spirits behind the phenomena. That is fine, of course. However, super-psi has been debated on this forum many times and the concensus is that it's a non-disprovable hypothesis and, therefore, of questionable value.

I can say that Ray saw the medium, obtained information that wasn't in his own mind concerning his mother, and you can say, "well it must have been in the over-mind, the akashik records".

The there's no end to it and it isn't productive to discuss unless some heavy new evidence emerges that bolsters one side or the other in that particular debate.

But please don't act as though we are all close minded "believers" because we won't discuss your ideas. That's not honest. We all HAVE robustly discussed super-psi many times.

Also, I will observe that while you accuse some of us of being close minded, it was you that failed to consider the spirit theory when suggesting angles to be tested.

I will further observe that you seem to be relatively deficient in knowledge of historic paranormal research, sources and concepts. As Matt says, most of us here have had paranormal experiences and we have done a fairly large amount of reading.

FInally, what is holding you back from doing your own research? Why not have a sitting of your own?

no one -

I have argued in favor of super-PSI in the past, but always admitted that it's a close call vs survivalism, and impossible to intellectually discriminate between the two. You say with regard to super-PSI that "...it's a non-disprovable hypothesis and, therefore, of questionable value." Really? Do you think this criticism applies only to super-PSI?

But that's not the issue here. You obviously want it to be so you can dismiss it as such. The issue here was a perceived lack of what I termed intellectual interest in RD's experience. By that I meant a *desire* to try and look at it from as many different angles as possible to see if prodding our thinking in new directions might yield something interesting. Certainly not proof of anything, perhaps just a new perspective. Because of the rather fixed, pre-adapted mindset that is prevalent (yes, I know, I'm in the house of believers and it's not polite to put it that way), any such expectation on my part was over-reaching.

With regard to your criticism about my deficiency in historic paranormal research, maybe you're right. I have a couple hundred paper books in my library dealing with pretty much every aspect of paranormal/metaphysical phenomena, and about as many ebooks on my kindle, many of them scanned copies of books you would find difficult to access. I have read a lot, but have carefully compartmentalized what I've read. I refuse to become a believer in any one point of view, because as I've said before, beliefs are inherently limiting and act to keep you from considering alternative viewpoints.

Let me say that there are layers to what I have come to "understand" as best I can from my reading. Frankly, the layer that appeals to me most as a worldview is that of Zen Buddhism. I'd like to say I've had kensho or satori, but I have not. I do meditate regularly, however, and do have enough intellectual awareness to speculate that universal "oneness" (non-duality) would provide a very nice finesse of both survivalism and super-PSI (both of which are fundamentally delusion or makyo in Zen terms). If we're all one, we all know everything, right? It would be consistent with the more limited concept of an "oversoul". Just extend the oversoul to infinity to encompass everyone/everything. Beyond oneness, there is the "void". Now what the heck could that be? How can a "void" be anything at all? Well, if one considers quantum multiverse type thinking, where there are infinite universes that arise side by side from current existence (you will be hearing much more about this in metaphysical circles in the future), and if one also considers the Seth/new age idea that we create our own reality, the void could well be the *potentiality* from which all things arise. Creativity. We are creating worlds with our thoughts.

When I read RD's account I was wondering whether he might in some way have been affecting subsequent readings by his mindset (ie creating his reality). The latter is a subtle and very complicated thing, not just what's in the forefront of our mind. Hence my desire for exploration.

Finally, I will not overtly criticize Michael since this is his blog. Your defense of him can stand as you wrote it. He has limitations, however, as do we all.

Tsavo, as No One correctly suggests, my objection is not that you're disagreeing with me or with others, but that you're being a tad rude. Internet discussions often deteriorate into mean-spirited personal attacks. As the moderator here, I put a premium on civility. Statements to the effect that 'you ought to try using your brain and see how that works out for you' are discourteous. (I'm exaggerating, but that's how it comes across to me.) It's not necessary to argue that way in order to make a point. In fact, it's counterproductive.

We talk with all sorts of people here. Skeptic Keith Augustine participated at length in several discussions and was (for the most part) treated with respect. And when one or two commenters became disrespectful, they were asked to tone it down. That's how we try to keep things on an even keel in this little corner of the Intertubes.

"I have a couple hundred paper books in my library dealing with pretty much every aspect of paranormal/metaphysical phenomena, and about as many ebooks on my kindle, many of them scanned copies of books you would find difficult to access."

Alright tsavo, I apologize if I have mistated your level of knowledge concerning the paranormal.

The problem with the paranormal is that it lends itself to all sorts of theories - and a lot of those theories are fringe to very fringe and I not even sure that a lot of them are concocted by sane and/or honest and/or intellectually rigorous people. A lot of the arguments come down to being no more helpful than the old, "how many angels can dance on the head of pin"?. Other arguments are made only by disregarding large portions of the evidence (see materialist paradigm defenses by Dr. Worelee, Keith Augustine) and creating chains of proposed alternative explanations, that become less probable as each link is added, to shoot down a single paranormal account.

My own introduction to the paranormal came as a result of personal experiences that commenced by and large, apparently, as a by product of practicing Chinese martial arts and the acompanying meditation and chi raising exercises. Actually that's not completely true in that as a child I had a deep interest in ghosts and used to read everything I could get my hands on concering them. I don't know why, but I did. I also became fascinated by Aldous Huxley's and a few others descriptions of the beneficial aspects of psychedelic drugs. Finally, I had friends that were Native Americans and one, at least, that was deeply involved in what we would call the old shamanic traditions. He thought I had some kind of aptitude (for a white guy) and provided me glimpses of that world. So all of this seems to have culminated in my having some pronounced and life changing experiences when I was in my early 20s. It was only after things started happening to me that I began reading and researching in earnest. I then spent 10, maybe 15, years or so reading everything I could find whenever I could. This was during the burgeoning of the new age movement and when NDEs, OBEs, psi, etc starting becoming popular. So there was a lot to read.

I read a lot less now on the topic(s). I find the reading to have passed the point of diminishing returns. I am almost 50 years old. Something happened to my thinking as I moved through my 40s. I began to simplify in most aspects of my life and, more importantly, I realized that, being a reasonably intelligent person who has worn a lot of hats in life, kept his eyes open and tried to understand that at some point I'd just have to accept that my hard earned understanding of my world is good enough for me.

Most experts I have encountered, in any area of life, are trying to sell you something and/or are egotistical enough to believe they are The Way. Mostly their expertise is self-proclaimed and they are good at getting others to believe them and follow them; that is their true expertise too often, IMO.

I think that part of the journey to self-actualization is being able to say, "I no longer need experts to tell me what's going on. I have enough experience and knowledge and self discipline that I can be my own expert". Which doesn't mean that one goes about preaching to others. To the contrary, it means respecting that others have their own journey to discovery of their own truth. It is fine to share ideas, but not with the expectation of converting others. More, perhaps, it is for companionship and to gently shape outlooks on the margins.

What is all this rambling about anyhow? I guess it is, in a way, a mea culpa concerning my interest in seriously considering alternative perspectives that come down to thin speculation. OTH, if someone presents some truly meaningful, honest and well researched information that has been collected in statistically meaningful way, I am open to considering it, even if it means changing my understanding.

Until then, like I said, I am a simplified person at this stage of life. The medium says its spirit communication. It looks like spirit communication to me (and most others who have experienced it). The communicators say they are spirits. Fraud - my favorite alternative - is ruled out sufficiently. Why do I need to mentally whirl around in circles imagining more complex alternatives that have no way of being proven or disproven at this time?

As Matt says, I am interested, now, in the associated processes and what it all means.

I entertained your ideas on super-psi, but there wasn't anything new there to hold my interest. As far as RD's second and third sittings, I am not very interested because I don't enough background information and I really can't begin inferring anything from a sample of 1 even if I did.

tsavo,

I really like your last post where you are more open with the origins of your own perspective.

Since you haven't denied it yet, I am continuing to go with my hypothesis that you are young, probably 25 or younger. Smart as a whip and very well-read for your age about these matters (and certainly well-read as compared to the average person of any age).

I respect that. I also studied Zen Buddhism. I am not trying to be condescending. It's more like I see the youthful idealism and want to help steer it in the right direction, since there was certainly no one to help steer me.

Also, tsavo, I think that you are forgetting that RD's sittings were a *meaningful and personal* experience for him, so digging right in and wishing to make them fodder for thought experiments (in particular, ones that could invalidate the comfort that the sittings did provide) could be seen as a bit insensitive.

Also, saying that the rest of us are intellectually incurious about the pattern you perceive was seen as arrogant.

BTW, the reason why I gave up on Buddhism myself is that, while I think it gets a heck of a lot right about macro reality and human psychology, I don't think people become "enlightened" with a big kaboom of satori. Rather, I think the New Age perspective is more correct: that we are continually developing, and there are many different modalities for development. There *are* big flashes of insight and key experiences that can push us forward all at once, but there is no one big flash that will push over the edge to perfection.

I like to say that I am already enlightened; I now just have to think, speak, and act in accordance with that enlightenment. Just sharing my perspective here! :)

Agreed Matt. I think the same about tsavo.

I too tried Buddhism and thenlet go of it. It did leave me with some useful insights.

I guess in addition to providing a mea culpa re; my level of curiousity I was, in effect, explaning that I am living my own reality at this point. That is something tsavo should be able to relate to. But that is not to say that my understanding is fossilized or that I believe any weird thing that pops into my head and tickles my fancy. It just means I am getting old - well older - and I am beginning to enjoy the fruits of my intellectual labors.

It's something that only someone at this stage of the game could understand. The young me would have misunderstood and become angry at the old me for making such a statement.

"It just means I am getting old - well older - and I am beginning to enjoy the fruits of my intellectual labors."

I'm a couple of years older than No One, and I feel the same way. There comes a time when you grow weary of endlessly circling the issues without arriving at any conclusions.

It is true that holding a belief makes you more prone to confirmation bias and less interested in questioning your assumptions; that's the downside. The upside is that when you move on from a state of perpetual uncertainty, you can explore the implications of your beliefs and you can integrate your beliefs into your everyday life.

But this state of mind is not something that can or should be rushed. Barring an epiphany, it takes a long time to come to (fairly) definite conclusions about such fundamental questions.

Matt and no one,

Thanks for the honestly proffered input. Your intentions are golden.

Any intellectual analysis of Zen, including my own, is a belief system waiting to happen. The attraction I feel for Zen is that it appears to offer a way to ultimately get beyond belief systems, not that it leads to mystical nirvana. In the end, you are pretty much right where you started. You were always there, to use Zen terminology. Kensho or satori is required to complete the circle, however. You say you are already enlightened Matt. You mean as in "We all have Buddha nature"? You know the answer to that. No offense, but that statement would never be accepted because you haven't actually realized that nature.

Why IS everyone so interested in the afterlife anyway? There are four reasons I can think of, and only one seems to really hit the nail. Grief, a big one, sometimes. Curiosity, sometimes. Hope for something better than this life has to offer, pretty big. Fear of death and reassurance that consciousness goes on in some fashion, the biggest one. Near as I can tell from a lot of reading, and even from following this blog, life on the "other side", however, seems pretty much as it is here, only ratcheted up a notch or two (or 10 per Michael Newton), but still the same fundamental duality, striving, etc. More love to help you through the day maybe, and that's pretty big, but the love aspect is primarily an add-on that doesn't change the fundamental landscape. (Due apologies to anyone about the role of Love in the universe.) Anyway, the bottom line seems to be that you're going to have the same issues in the afterlife that you have here, so the smart thing to do is try and deal with them now. Zen seems to be saying that essentially. Wherever you are, there you are. You are creating yourself moment by moment.

As for my personal approach to the death fear, well, it's certainly different than most. I figure if death is the big black, so be it. That's one compartment. There are many kinds of belief systems, usually based on mystical experience, and knowledge about those possibilities occupies other compartments. My reasoning is that an appreciation for a variety of belief systems, without committing to any one in particular, will give me more options if there is indeed an afterlife. Hopefully I at least won't go wandering around going WTF? I could of course try and use my experience as a human being to target a particular belief system, aim for a corresponding mystical experience to justify it (the order here could be reversed), and wait for death with a smile on my face. But there are just too many assumptions involved in that approach for it to be attractive.

We are considerably off topic here and it would be nice if attention had dwindled to just us three, but I doubt it. One thing you said, no one, that struck a chord, was about trampling on RD's experience by over-using it as fodder for speculation. There is truth in that. The most valuable thing for me about reading this blog are the first-hand accounts of meaningful and even life-changing events that people relate. You're right, it was a "*meaningful and personal* experience" for RD and I should have followed his lead in terms of how much he wanted it discussed.

Great post, tsavo! I think we are getting somewhere.

Letting your guard down and being yourself and open about your thoughts and feelings is the key to participation here, I think. We all kinda let it all hang out.

Re,

||You say you are already enlightened Matt. You mean as in "We all have Buddha nature"?||

Yes, that is an insight from Buddhism. But I would put it a little differently: in some dimension, we are already complete, and we *be* complete now by accessing that ultimate state.

||You know the answer to that. No offense, but that statement would never be accepted because you haven't actually realized that nature.||

It would definitely be accepted by my fellow New Agers! As for Zen, it sadly is a dead religion. Doesn't exist in Japan any more, basically.

BTW, I think Buddhism is a lot like Marxism: both are great critiques of the status quo, yet both fail to offer a vision of replacing the status quo that really works.

"Near as I can tell from a lot of reading, and even from following this blog, life on the "other side", however, seems pretty much as it is here, only ratcheted up a notch or two (or 10 per Michael Newton), but still the same fundamental duality, striving, etc." - tsavo
-----------------

Unless you are me in which I case I believe that the physics of the other side is the physics that one might expect if one lived on or in a piece of holographic film instead of the holographic projection as we do now.

So I believe Heaven is a place where thoughts are things and consciousness creates reality, where time and space don't exist, and the feelings of oneness and connectedness and love are infinite and overwhelming. Whatever you focus your attention on that is what you will experience.

Excerpt from Mark Horton's NDE:
"From this vantage point, I had to merely think of a place and time and I was there, experiencing everything about the place and time and people present."

http://www.mindspring.com/~scottr/nde/markh.html

"we are already complete, and we *be* complete now by accessing that ultimate state."

The colorful chart in the main post is a way of illustrating this idea. The vertical conical projection is intended to represent a person's total consciousness. Each horizontal slice of the cone presents his experience at a certain level of reality. Viewed from a timeless perspective (as best we can imagine it), all the slices are part of a greater whole, and all are happening at once. So the ultimate state represented by the highest level is already achieved, even though the level of consciousness we're experiencing now is not (ordinarily) aware of it. Moreover, we require all the steps from bottom to top in order to get to the highest state. But the highest state, once attained, exists outside of time and therefore has already been attained ...

Sort of like the M.C. Escher print of hands drawing themselves. Technically this is called a "tangled hierarchy."

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/ba/DrawingHands.jpg

Of course it's only an idea. Could be wrong.

"Why IS everyone so interested in the afterlife anyway?"

tsavo, I think your outline of reasons is mostly correct for a lot of people. Personally, though, I got interested in this stuff in part because it got interested in me and, also, for the same reasons you cite as your own. I want to understand so I can be free. IMO, living in igrorance is to live in chains.

"Anyway, the bottom line seems to be that you're going to have the same issues in the afterlife that you have here, so the smart thing to do is try and deal with them now."

Exactly.

"One thing you said, no one, that struck a chord, was about trampling on RD's experience by over-using it as fodder for speculation."

Actually it was Matt that said you trampled on RD's experience. My point somewhere way up thread was that RD trampled on RD's initial experience and literally and figuratively killed the spirit of the thing. Same thing, in the end though.

"Near as I can tell from a lot of reading, and even from following this blog, life on the "other side", however, seems pretty much as it is here, only ratcheted up a notch or two (or 10 per Michael Newton), but still the same fundamental duality, striving, etc."

I think this is accurate in many cases, but not necessary. I think there are souls that have moved on to higher levels where motivations are different and better.

"My reasoning is that an appreciation for a variety of belief systems, without committing to any one in particular, will give me more options if there is indeed an afterlife. "

Well, I think at some point you have to use your accumulated wisdom, experience and sense of things to settle on some kind of system. Maybe it's one that already exists, maybe it's a hybrid you create, maybe it's something that you just feel and can't codify or even put into words very well. As Michael says, the advantage is "you can explore the implications of your beliefs and you can integrate your beliefs into your everyday life."

People who are searching are always very good at telling you what they are NOT, but they aren't so good at telling you what they are. When you're out hunting and searching it is good to discard baggage and travel light. All you need to be is The Searcher. So the mentality is understandable, probably optimal even.

Someday, IMO, when you're ready, you have to decide who you are. And no, I don't think you should build inflexible edifices to your ideas in stone, but you do need to stand somewhere. Like you say, that somewhere would best be if it clean, simple and true.

Well, I'm about tapped out on this thread. I hope to see you around, tsavo.

Ah, suddenly we are back on topic....."The vertical conical projection is intended to represent a person's total consciousness. Each horizontal slice of the cone presents his experience at a certain level of reality. Viewed from a timeless perspective (as best we can imagine it), all the slices are part of a greater whole, and all are happening at once."

I like the diagram, especially the new improved version with vibrant colors :-)

My understanding of how it works is that as long as the mental focus is, in part, on the lower/narrower bands, the totallity of consciousness cannot be realized. Thus issues causing the narrower focus have to be overcome. This would be akin to tsavo's - and my - sense of a need to "deal with them now".

It may be that reality is timeless so we're already there, but if we don't realize this due to ignorance or impelling forces, then we aren't already there. It's all a state of mind and the mind has to be in the right state.

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