Research on Soul mates
This week, I decided to do reading on soul mates. As we saw in class today, the belief in soul mates is not very common. I wanted to start out with my explanation of what I believe soul mates are. My definition of soul mates is two or more souls that have a special connection to each other, who are always drawn together every time they are on Earth. It does not have to be a romantic couple (though let’s be honest, that is always the most fun), it could be sibling, friends, cousins, animals, anything. Well, anything that has a soul (so not a chair). I believe that when you meet your soul mate, you know. You might not realize it right away, but with hindsight bias you will come to see that you knew who this person (or animal or whatever) was all along. Also, I believe that the purpose of soul mates is to have a companion on Earth, to always remind you of the collective consciousness and the connection you have to all others deep down inside. They are someone to keep you company, and to love you unconditionally. And yes, as corny as it is, I do believe that my boyfriend and I are soul mates, and you cannot tell me otherwise!
From a near death experience website, I found an article entitled “Soulmates and Consciousness: New Understanding from NDE Research.” This article describes how consciousness studies, NDEs, and relationships are related to the ongoing Soulmate study the author is doing. She defines soul mate as “a loving relationship involving positive co-creation and manifesting spiritual growth,” so it differs from my definition a bit. The researchers collected NDE stories, and found that many NDE experiencers found soul mates to be a necessary component of soul development. One of the six most important principals NDE experiences described was that soul mates are one aspect of individuals feeling connected to a supreme creative being. So basically, your love for your soul mate, and the love you feel coming from your soul mate, are a substitute for God while you cannot be with him. I would like to think that I would love my boyfriend more even if God was in the room, but I might just be selfish. I was unable to find the research that the author and her co-researcher did in 2000 that she referred to in the article, so I would be curious to learn more about their findings. I did not really buy into any of the other soul mate research I found online, like the one about soul mate energies.
The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler
The Art of Happiness is a book written by a Western Psychologist, with help from the Dalai Lama, as a guide for changing your life in order to increase your happiness. This book presents Easter thinking in a way that Westerners, and really all humans, can understand. I think this is a book that everyone should read. The path to happiness really creates a better world for all, because at the core of happiness is compassion towards others. The Dalai Lama teaches us that we can connect to all humans in the sense that we share the similarities of being human, wanting to be happy, and not wanting to suffer. Dr. Cutler provides many ways for us to bring about the change necessary for personal growth and happiness, as well as ways to deal with various situations that can threaten our happiness.
The book is filled with many great lessons, and I will cover only a few here. First of all, the steps to make positive changes in your life are as follows: listening, conviction, determination, action, and effort. Through these, you can achieve any change you want to make. Dr. Cutler also notes that there are studies showing that more educated people tend to be happier, so as college students, we are already on the right path. Furthermore, as mentioned about, compassion towards others is a key component; how we treat others, how we act towards them, is very important. Regularly helping others will increase our happiness, and even if we at first do not care about the people we are helping, after a while our attitudes will change to match our behaviors. Dr. Cutler also included lessons on smaller, ever day happenings. One example is that if you are angry with someone, you should try to think of the positive qualities that person or the event surrounding the person possesses. It may be hard at first, but no person or situation is 100% evil. Focusing on the positive qualities will qualm your anger and bring you back to your path of happiness.
The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible
I do not think I connected with this book as much as I was hoping I would. Overall, I got this dystopia, living in a state of doom type vibe. It reminded me of reading 1984 or the Hunger Games. Though Eisenstein is suggesting ways for us to change the world and ourselves to be better, this book did not resonate that well with me. I am not completely sure why this was the take away I had from the book. It could simply be that I was not in the right mindset when reading it. I did find the book interesting, but not exactly life changing (as I expect was the author’s intention). I did, however, find the chapter on consciousness rather noteworthy—which I guess is fitting, seeing as this class is called Psychology of Consciousness.
“Chapter 32: Consciousness” brought up some points that we discussed in Mind, Brain, and Spirituality. Though I do not think these are life-or-death topics, I do think they are good things to think about. One of the main points in that chapter is about deciding what exactly is consciousness, and at what point do we say something is or in not conscious. This is always an interesting thing to think about, especially when you are presented with the notion that we are either all a part of one consciousness, or the opposite notion that there is no such thing as consciousness and it is all in our heads, no pun intended. I like that the author made a point in this chapter to make us stop and think about what or whom we attribute consciousness to, and how this affects the way we interact with different parts of the world (such as animals, plants, and each other). It is always good to stop and remember that most of the thing that we come into contact with are alive and have a spirit and therefore deserve respect, and that the parts of nature that are not conscious in the way we consider humans to be deserve respect as well, because we are all living on the same Earth.
One Mind by Larry Dossey
I really enjoy this book and Dossey’s concept of the One Mind. I think that this book goes along very well with what The Dali Lama is trying to teach us through his book, The Art of Happiness. Both authors are teaching us that we need to be more considerate of authors, and this will lead to love and happiness. I think the concept of the One Mind, the fact that we are a all connected on a different dimensional level, makes a lot of sense. This would explain how people can read others so well, how psychics and mediums work, how people’s minds are connected. I also think that this is very compassion, empathy, and sympathy stem from. If everyone learns about and taps into the One Mind, I think our world will overall improve. I would be interested in practicing tapping into the One Mind, maybe together as a class one day.
I also found the chapter about love being a way to tap into the One Mind very compelling. Love is a way to tap in because love gets rid of isolation, separateness, and (the bad type of) individuality. Love allows us to blur our own identities and connect to each other. I also particularly agreed with his notion that love can change the physical world, which should really be common sense. We are literally born from the love of two parents. Dossey provided some good examples of how emotionally bonded people can affect physical objects. I think everyone should learn to be more loving so we can all reap the benefits of being interconnected through the One Mind.
Chapter 3 on One Mind experiences described some interesting occurrences that I think we can all relate to. I am sure we have all had a gut feeling that told us to do or not do something, a feeling we could not explain, and after listening to that feeling something terrible was avoided. For example, Dossey shares a story of a man from America that was in Nicaragua on business and had a strange urge to suddenly leave. This man ended up avoiding a major earth quake that would have killed him. It does not have to be that extreme though. It could simply be a feeling that compels you to take a different street when walking home, and running into an old friend. I know this has happened to me a few times. Another interesting story shared by Doessy was of a woman who had a feeling that her son was in danger then all of a sudden had a string of numbers pop into her head. She called the number and ended up being connected to an emergency room, where her son had just been taken in after being in a car accident. Though there is always the argument that things are coincidences, I think Dossey’s explanation of the One Mind should not be disregarded. Odd occurrences aside, the One Mind would explain why we feel a special connection to certain people, and are moved by the humanity of all.
Joseph Gallenberger: Brothers Forever
Brothers Forever is a story of Joseph Gallenberger and his journey to contact his beloved brother Pete after Pete’s suicide. The book describes their life, their relationship, and the spiritual world. Though Joseph contacts his brother a few times, the time that I found most important was the last channeling session Joseph has with Pete. During this session the medium describes how Pete’s soul is buoyant, free, angelic, and sweet (much different from the way Pete was during the later half of his life). The medium comments that Joseph can communicate with Pete better now because Joseph has let go of his guilt and sadness. Next, the medium comments that Pete is finally getting out of his hell, and will probably reincarnate to a better life than he had before. Next, Joseph learns about Pete’s separation from work (Pete was a very hard worker during his life, though this never paid off for him). Apparently, people have a consciousness for work and the experience of work will lead to toil and disappointment; this must have been why Pete had such a rough life. Next, the medium sees an image of a firefly, though neither she nor Joseph understand the meaning, and it is never revealed/explained. Following this image, Pete tells Joseph that during his physical life he had a chemical imbalance, so all his suffering was unavailable. Finally, the session ends with the medium saying Pete is now free; he understands that he has choice in the plans he draws up for the lives he leads. Pete flies away into the freedom of the nonphysical.
This is only a glimpse of the story, and I feel that I have not done it justice. However, this book was amazing and by far my favorite that I have read this semester, so I do recommend that everyone get a chance to read it. It was very interesting to hear someone who is not 100% sure of his abilities take a journey into the spirit realm to be able to be able to connect to his brother. It was also interesting to hear the story of someone who was having a reading done by a medium instead of just from a medium him/herself. I know that the author believes in everything that happened in the book. As always, I am a bit skeptical, though I do believe that Joseph and Pete did have an interesting connection that could not be stopped by death.
New Material: Group NDE
In many of the groups I have been in for discussion during class, we have brought up the notion that we cannot experimentally test whether or not Near Death Experiences are true. I thought that a good alternative to experiments to test NDEs would be if multiple people had the same experience. Thus, I began to look for material depicting group NDEs; I found two main sources that spoke of the phenomenon of group NDEs. The first was a section of the website www.near-death.com. This website shared many stories of near-death experiences. On their group NDE page, http://www.near-death.com/group.html, the website explains what group NDEs are, and presents two examples. The website cites P.M.H. Atwater for their definition of a group NDE:
These are rare, but they do occur. With this kind, a whole group of people simultaneously seems to experience the same or similar episode. What makes these so spectacular and challenging is that all or most of the experiencers see each other actually leave their bodies as it happens, then dialogue with each other and share messages and observations while still experiencing the near-death state. Their separate reports afterward either match or nearly so. Reports like these emerge most often from events of a harrowing nature that involve a lot of people… Shared and group experiences imply that no matter how sure we are that near-death states mean this or that, and are the result of whatever, no single idea, theory, or pat answer can explain them. Even clues from the powerful patterning that researchers like myself have identified, fail to explain all aspects of the phenomenon.
Following this definition, two stories of group NDEs are presented. I further researched P.M.H. Atwater and came across a book of hers entitled The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Near-Death Experiences. This book provides great, simple to understand information about NDEs, and is available online through the Mirlyn catalogue.