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As always, a thoughtful post, Michael.

“I've noticed, for instance, that unless I write down a synchronicity or successful premonition immediately, I will forget it. Within an hour it's gone from my memory, and I cannot retrieve it. Many people report the same thing. Similarly, most people forget their dreams as soon as they wake up”

I understand that the same thing generally happens when we awake in the afterlife – physical life fades away like a dream. Almost instantly if the life-dream was uninteresting, and a bit longer if it was a vivid nightmare.

“Perhaps we are just not supposed to think outside the box.”

I detect that you are beginning to think the paradigm shift will never happen. Post 2012 blues is quite catching.

“As Plato said, when we are born into this world, we forget what we knew in spirit. This forgetting is necessary in order to play the game and take it seriously.”

Necessary, or we will be comparing all our previous spouses and their various charms; and telling our children they aren’t as clever as the ones we had three lifetimes ago.

“But any trader will tell you that there is a difference between a paper trade and the real thing. No matter how much you pretend that real money is at stake in a paper trade, you know you are only playing around.”

Unfortunately, a lot of money really is just paper these days (the fiat money keeping us afloat. But don’t tell everyone, it will lead to a lack of confidence in the whole economic structure, and then where would we be?)

Excellent! ---- excellent thinking Michael. I have often wondered if this need to cloak reality of a spiritual existence is the reason why, what I think are the more legitimate communications from spirits, are vague about the specifics of the spiritual world(s). I am somewhat leery of those communications that provide too much description of a travelogue variety of the afterlife. (See Chico Xavier’s Nosso Lar.) That detail, however, is just what most people want in order to reassure themselves that a spiritual existence is a reality; it’s kind of like a wish fulfillment that a spiritual life is exactly the same as a physical life. I don’t think that that reassurance can ever be obtained (or allowed). Immersion in the reality or the ‘game’ in which we find ourselves is, I think, the way to live life to the fullest, either here on earth or in some other realm and that we forget any experiences we have previously spent in the spiritual worlds for a reason. As you said, “This forgetting is necessary in order to play the game and take it seriously. If we knew we had designed it as a test or an exercise, we would not be fully engaged.”

I also like Wordsworth’s related thoughts on the subject in his Ode: Intimations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.

When asked about ‘the other side’, Patience Worth is reported to have said that “This be His Kingdom. Would thy handmaid mar it with her touching? What folly that ye ask to prate about it. . . . Did I for to set me o’ word that stood as cloud’s-weave and made me mouthings that sounded o’er the in-take o’ their skull’s cap, lo, then would they for to shake them o’ nays. . . . This be not the will o’ Him . . . that thou shouldst see the Here.”

I am ashamed to admit that the most appropriate epitaph for me is, ‘He was afraid to live because he was afraid to die.’ What a horrible waste of the gift of time in the physical world to play the game.

I wonder if this idea that the mystical and material are at odds is simply a product of Western culture. The psi taboo only really exists in the West. You won't see the same hostility in India or China. Before the modern era it was much rarer outside of the West for the apparatus of state power to be used to hunt down heretics. It was the Roman tradition starting with Constantine that made it the interest of the state to assist the Church in rooting out heresy, enforcing religious uniformity, and banning witchcraft. The reaction against the abuses of the Church during the Enlightenment gave us ideological materialism. So I wonder whether this dividing line between materialism and spiritualism is a cultural peculiarity and not a universal human truth.

This is a very provocative post and I really enjoyed it. However, I ultimately disagree with the premise. I think it's mostly an observation of a local non-universal sociological phenomenon as opposed to a metaphysical proposition.

What Michael says about the correctness of immersing oneself in the game is damn true when it comes to the aims and ambitions and associated propaganda of the power structure in monotheistic and atheistic societies (e.g. western/near eastern capitalist, socialist and monarchical)with a heavy division of labor. Indeed, buying into the game - playing one's role without deviation as a reliable cog in the machine - is highly encouraged by the system. What would happen to socialism or a monarchy if people went around thinking for themselves and deciding what they wanted to do with their lives? What would happen to capitalism if people said, "Hey, I don't need all that stuff they are trying to sell me every minute of every day. I don't need to be that guy; to keep up with the Jones"? Or, "I don't want to work in the stinkin' salt mine any more".

Simple examples of a brain washing that is far more insidious and far more pervasive and invasive. Brainwashing that fixates the tuner on the receiver's dial.

Moving across the spectrum to more multi-theistic and less top down organized societies we begin to see a respect and societal integration of people that have contact with other dimensions of reality. Traditional shamans and medicine men are an example. True, the good sturdy farmer often fears the shaman and the shaman may be marginalized somewhat in some of these societies, but he exists and is recognized for what he does. In other of these societies he is a leader.

Then we have India with two major religions and hundreds of millions (billion?) adherents that have, as a central philosophy, the notion that this world is an illusion. What of India?

Even in the USA we have large - not so underground any more - movements where the people seek all kinds of direct experience with other dimensions of reality, whether this be through the adoption of philosophy and practice from India, psychedelics, deliberately induced OBEs, recounting of NDE stories........and on and on. Despite of the objections of the power structure and its efforts to stamp out contrary understandings to the archetypes it wants us to wear from birth to death, it seems that even in a highly materialistic consumer society there is a natural human drive to transcend "the game".

It's like a lid cannot be kept on transcendence. It just has to come out. This is the "trickster" from the point of view of the power structure.

Perhaps the most powerful counter point to the idea that transcendence is undesirable is the testimony of those who have experienced a powerful visit to other dimensions. NDErs are an example with which we are all familiar. They don't come back saying, "Oh man, this life is a meaningless game, the hell with it". Rather, they come back with a focus on living this life with a purpose infused by, in line with, and spreading the word about, universal love, peace and harmony. In other words, they bring new and improved energy to this system; much as shamans do. It's a good thing.

shoot....this is the quote that my comment was aimed at,"If it is a game, it is clearly meant to be an immersive game."

I just don't agree (same disagreement I have with Grof/Bruce). I don't think it is "meant" to be anything other than what you make of it. Becoming totally immersed in the game is a possible feature of being a member of a modern western society, but by no means a dictate. It's just something that happens to many people. A trap that is easy to fall into. India, shamanistic societies and modern popular movements such as new age, psychedelic, NDEs/OBEs all demonstrate that it is possible to both transcend and yet function as a productive creative member of society. A healthy balance seems to be best for humans. One extreme or the other, not so much.

Since this is the case (and I suspect it may well be), then wouldn't delving into one's past life memories be considered cheating? ;-)

Such an interesting post and one that happens to speak to my current state of mind, which is that of a mystical type trying to find a meaningful way to play the game. Even for those of us who are inclined to see "beyond" the game, there's still the sense that you're supposed to play it. And most spiritual teachings can be seen as alternative guides to playing the game, or a version of it (Don't play by those rules, play by these, the "real" rules of the "real" game.)

What you say about obstacles to transcending the game is definitely true, yet once you have seen through some aspect of it (the fact that we don't die, for example), there's no going back. You see the game differently. The game has expanded. But still you search for ways to make meaning, to live well, to participate in the game.

Life has to be the way it is in order to evoke enough emotion to overcome the physics of the other side, those feelings of oneness and connectedness, lack of time and space, and make memories that are powerful enough and long lasting enough to last for eternity.

We here in the physical universe can't begin to understand the overwhelming feelings of oneness and connectedness on the other side. We simply learn here the things that can't be learned in heaven. The education of the soul is too important to leave up to chance. The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it is holistically imprinted with what it needs to learn regardless of who we are, or what we believe, or where we live.

If we knew absolutely for certain that this life was only a holographic projection and we'd be reunited on the other side we might not mourn our loved ones quite as much and death would cease to be the powerful lesson in what it means and how it feels to be separate, what time and space look and feel like, and make memories of what it felt like to inhabit a physical body and be in control of that body.

And it being only a holographic illusion means that after we die and our soul goes to the other side it looks back on this life like it was a dream or illusion and it realizes that everything happened for a reason, even the bad stuff, but that it was only a holographic illusion. We are actors playing our parts, actors that by participating in the play we call life are able to learn the things that we were sent here to learn. You can't become a separate unique individual unless you spend some time here first.

As I have gotten older, I have come to believe in destiny, that is, I believe that some things were destined to occur in my life; some people I was destined to meet---all for a purpose that may have been about me or may have been about the other person. That is not to discount free will, but overall in my life there seemed to be a plan that no matter what I wanted to do or my efforts were to do it; no matter what my wishes or dreams may have been; no matter how hard I tried to insure that my life didn’t wind up the way it did, it seemed to be on a path that I just couldn’t divert---at least permanently--- no matter what I did. Eventually the path circled around and I was back on course to my destiny.

From my vantage point now, I can see that there were points at which I had to make a decision; I had a choice either go forward in this direction or pull back and go in that direction. Most of the time I pulled back out of fear and was immobilized. I was afraid to make a choice, to immerse myself in my life, thereby following my destiny and as a result my life was full of anxiety, frustration and anger. But I now know that not making a choice is making a choice. If my choices had been different would my life have turned out any other way than it did? I don’t know!

Perhaps there are many minor destinies for one’s life but I think there is an over-riding plan for each one of us that helps the oversoul to achieve growth. I think that one’s major destiny may only be an instant in which one is there at the right time and place with the rest of the life a kind of freebie or one’s purpose may be a long-term presence interacting with other people over time for mutual growth. It may not have been understandable or welcome growth at the time, but from my perspective now I think I understand the meaning of some of it in my life.

Perhaps though, there is no understanding or meaning at all and I am just trying to provide some explanation for a life lived in a chaotic and purposeless universe.

AOD, I also have come to believe there is some element of destiny or fate involved in life.

That said, I don't think it is necessarily to encounter a certain distinct person or necessarily be in a certain distinct geography or that sort of thing. More it is about being with a certain type of person in a certain type of situation. I think it is far more general than we often make it out to be.

The more I think about the premise of total immersion in "The Game" the more I am completely convinced that it is exactly what we are NOT supposed to do, but it is something that happens merely as an unfortunate byproduct of our cultural conditioning. It takes a lot of constant training to get a child to adopt the foci of the culture, subculture and family.

My own training involved coming to understand that one should select a path in life based on one's predilections and walk that path as long as it has heart; knowing that the path is just a path;a way to do something in this world that allows you to project the soul and spirit. The Buddhists have joyful participation in the world, knowing all the while that it is an illusion. In many NDEs the being of light asks the experiencer, "What did you do to tell others about me" or something along those lines. How could you spread the message of the being of light *if you were supposed to forget and totally immerse in the material*?

In fact, as I think about it, it seems to me that a world containing only people who had totally forgotten the spirit and soul and became totally immersed in the physical, whole be a most brutish, dreary and ugly place. There would be no inspiration beyond the cold - and often savage - mechanics of animal existence.

This, btw, is also why I reject Grof's amorality. Clearly the spirit, being of light, the personal soul, all demand expression. Human psychology, unless it has become pathological, values expression of and contact with, the ineffable. This is why we have art,poetry and music and why we have a new age movement, etc, etc.

There seems to be a war between those who are drawn toward spiritual inspiration and those who demand that we see the physical as all there is and ourselves as biological robots with all the attendant ramifications of that paradigm. Spirit always seems to value its expression whenever it has a chance to comment.

Wow, guys, I have something to talk about that was a bit surprising to me... and may be to you. On a couple levels.

My friend and I got readings at a New Age store tonight. I went first. While I was waiting for her, I picked up a David Icke book, simply because it was right in front of me. I do think this was a synchronicity related to this post.

Now, I think David is kinda crazy. But the book is "Children of the Matrix," and the last chapter of the book (which I read a big chunk of) is called, "it's just a ride."

OK, this is Michael's "information is fundamental" combined with, well, basically this whole blog post!

It was just beautifully and intelligently written, putting his whole reptilian/Illuminati theme in perspective, by saying that... it all comes down to perspective. And he affirmed that, in the end, the Universe at its highest level is pure love, and we are all aspects of each other (Grof's "Cosmic Game" and our friend Bruce here!).

It just all reaffirmed to me that we are seeing/experiencing a real philosophical convergence, and it's coming from many different directions toward a central point. I would not have thought David Icke was so much on board, but he clearly is.

There is a *real* trend at work here, and it's a positive one!

no one wrote,

||The more I think about the premise of total immersion in "The Game" the more I am completely convinced that it is exactly what we are NOT supposed to do, but it is something that happens merely as an unfortunate byproduct of our cultural conditioning.||

And this is basically what David Icke is saying in the chapter. The "Matrix" is that web of illusion that people can immerse themselves in if they so choose.

BTW, love no one's comments here, as usual.

"And he affirmed that, in the end, the Universe at its highest level is pure love, and we are all aspects of each other (Grof's "Cosmic Game" and our friend Bruce here!)"

Thanks for the nod, Matt. It does sound like Icke is on to some good things.

Response to Matt Rouge-' its just a ride' is borrowed from Bill Hicks

I enjoy this blog. But the characterization of mystics in this article is poor. Does is it fit with the Dalia Lama or Rumi or Sankaracharya or Marpa?

Some mystics speak of the dream-like nature of ordinay awareness and they provide methods for waking up!

North, I think you bring up a good point. The stereotype of the mystic is a hermit living alone in a cave. But there are so many examples of mystics who actually take conflict head-on, such as Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, and many more. You could even say Jesus Christ was a mystic, and he certainly didn't withdraw from anything. I guess it depends on how you define a mystic. I think someone like the Dali Lami is much much more aware and awake than anyone imagines. There do seem to be people who just don't seem to like the physical part of life though.

Comparison of NDE to Spiritism

I have been researching about determinism and have been exploring the concepts of Spiritism. The doctrine is perfectly aligned with NDE experiences and the concept that we are put on earth to learn. Allan Kardec, in 1857, wrote The Spirits Book, where we are told, by spirits, that we are reincarnated to continue to learn to be more spiritual beings and to leave our materialistic and selfishness behind. In a couple of books by Chico Xavier, the spirit Andre Luiz tells of his dying and how he was met by spirits and taken to a higher plane. The book Nossa Lar, is in english and you can get it at amazon. He also wrote The Messengers, about how as a spirit, he helps people on earth. The basic point is that upon reincarnating we are going to travel through pre-planned events. How we react and behave during these events will determine our spiritual growth. Life is as if we are going to school and travel from one class to the next, each time learning more.

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