Author Archives: Liana Rosenbloom

4/9 Weiss

For my final week of exploration, I read Dr. Brian Weiss’ Many Lives, Many Masters, which chronicles the treatment of patient who has experienced multiple past lives, and is therefore struggling to cope with her experiences in her current life.  I found this story somewhat unbelievable, primarily because of the magnitude of her past experiences, however, found the therapy techniques enlightening and beneficial to forming my own opinions of reincarnation.

Throughout his sessions with the patient, Catherine, Dr. Weiss is working to uncover her past lives in order to help ease her anxiety, tension and panic attacks, which could not logically be linked to experiences from her current life.  Week after week, Weiss uncovers more information about dozens of past lives and experiences that have shaped Catherine’s personality, feelings and psychological state in her current life.  Often times, Catherine is able to provide vivid details of things she is experiencing (the nature she sees, the specific color of buildings or clothing, and often the date of the specific event she’s recalling).  While some of the information Catherine is divulging could be purely her imagination, the strong links these happenings have to her current life anxiety was extremely captivating.

For me, I found this story to be somewhat unbelievable.  However, as I worked my way thought it, I also wanted to find some kind of closure, given that this was my last piece of new material for the semester.  After this independent exploration of spirituality and reincarnation, I’ve found that I was not able to entirely suspend my disbelief and become completely immersed in these ideas and theories.  However, I have found other materials (such as Tucker’s Life Before Life), to be extremely compelling evidence that some types of reincarnation or communication with the other side is possible.  I find it very difficult to completely disregard this evidence and attribute it to pure coincidence.  That being said, it is difficult for me to place myself in a category of “believer” or “nonbeliever.”  I’ve come to the conclusion that there are certain aspects of life that we are not going to be able to explain, and that not everyone will be able to reach agreement on.  Reading Catherine’s stories, I’ve seen the comfort that these beliefs and theories can bring to those working to cope with difficult life experiences.  Additionally, this type of material has allowed me to reflect on how I lead my life from day to day, and inspired me to consider aspects of my spirituality more often as I made choices in my life.

2 April 2014- Tucker’s Life Before Life

Tucker’s Life Before Life explores the stories and experiences of children who claim to be reincarnated souls, and also explores the thoughts of skeptics and those who are inclined to believe their stories are not true.  While I am still somewhat skeptical of the concept of reincarnation, primarily because of religious reasons, I found this collection of stories and information to be extremely compelling and helpful in my journey to understanding my views on the overarching themes of spirituality that we’re exploring in this course.

One of the most interesting chapters of Tucker’s investigation was that which detailed some of the abnormal behaviors that are common in children who claim they are reincarnated souls.  He describes things such as “surviving emotions,” which is often in the form of longing for a connection with family members who have passed, and “un-acquired taste,” where children have odd preferences in things like food and entertainment.  As an example, a striking case of twins, Gillian and Jennifer Pollock, is told, showing behaviors that indicated they were the reincarnated souls of their late twin sisters, who had passed only one year before they were born.  As a number of situations unfolded, it became clear that their lives were more than coincidentally similar.  For example, Gillian suggested that Jennifer’s birthmark was the result of an accident that had actually involved her late sister Jacqueline, and both girls expressed a desire to visit a park because of the swing set, when they had no first hand knowledge of the park’s swing set.

This evidence, to me, makes a strong case that these children have undergone some kind of significant emotional and spiritual experience.  While some of these stories may seem far-fetched or simply coincidental, and I’m not entirely confident in how I’ve will interpret them collectively, I am very intrigued by this possibility.  Additionally, it seems that this idea of reincarnation is often comforting to those who have lost loved one and are eager to reconnect with them.  Knowing the spiritual and emotional comfort that this idea can bring to people makes me more receptive to the idea and willing to accept it as a possibility.

26 March 2014

Liana Rosenbloom

Dr. Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls dissects the track that a soul takes into the spiritual world.  He looks at everything from the movement into the afterlife, to different varieties of souls, to life selection and rebirth.  All of this is presented through a series of cases, with both Newton’s summaries and analysis, accompanied by transcripts of the conversations with these individuals after their rebirth.  As I continue to work through the spiritual aspects of the material we’ve learned so far in this course, the chapters on what Newton terms “beginner, intermediate and advanced” souls were extremely beneficial to me.

Through the stories told by the reincarnated souls with whom Newton speaks, the reader sees examples of the lives that are categorized as each type of soul, from beginner to advanced.  Most notably is the focus on perfection, morality and communication between souls as they advance along this path.  Beginner souls are known for having a difficult time accepting the faults of themselves and others, and are a contrast to the “perfect,” idealized image we tend to have of souls.  “People tend to think of souls in the free state as being without human deficiencies,” Newton says, when in fact, he notes, they are a lot like real-life groups and families, having flaws and undergoing daily struggles.  As souls become “intermediate,” Newton gathers based on his conversations that there is less interaction between souls and that high moral standards become a key.  Newton also explains that these souls are likely modest about their achievements.  Finally, advanced souls, which are supposedly rather scarce, are known for their patience with others and ability to cope.  They are also relatively solitary in their activities.

This evidence presented by Newton from those who have experienced life on the other side still leave me with a certain degree of skepticism.  In some ways, I feel this division of souls sounds too nit-picky and specific.  I am not sure that I can accept the idea that souls are divided into such distinct categories, but the cases that are presented do give me some security in the role that souls play in our daily lives.  This feeling is best captured by the line “souls eventually made us human, not the reverse.”  The relationship between the physical world, souls and the aspects of what make us human are extremely beneficial concepts, and are helping me shape my view of the spiritual world moving forward.

 

3/19–Eisenstein

Liana Rosenbloom

      In his book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, Charles Eisenstein works through a variety of topics, such as hope, despair, and science, and how they relate to our understanding of our lives in the physical world, and what exists beyond what is visible to us.  Most prominent and poignant to me, however, was the chapter on “Spirit,” where Eisenstein explores the complex relationship between the physical and spiritual worlds.

      The chapter begins with the hypothesis that spirituality is an escape from the difficult universe in which we exist on a daily basis.  He quickly, however, acknowledges that spirit helps us reflect and better ourselves, rather than run away.  “Without deep work on yourself, how will you avoid re-creating your own internalized oppression in all that you do?” he asks.  Eisenstein quickly contests this statement by noting that this would mean  “the goal of spirituality becomes to transcend the material realm and ascend into the spiritual,” and that one of these “worlds” is superior or inferior to the other.  He then raises a battery of questions regarding people’s seemingly unavoidable desire to understand what is on the other side, and to escape the material world.  He explores the idea that science and religion are often presented as opposing ends of a paradoxical spectrum, when in fact, maybe they can work together to help us understand the world in which we live, and come to terms with the unknown.  He agrees with Alexander’s Proof of Heaven that a certain variety of spirituality resides in each one of us, and that science and spirit are merely different forms of intelligence.  Together, each of these forces can help us find true happiness in the material world and beyond.

Personally, this chapter was extremely intriguing to me, given that I’m continuing to work through my own ideas of spirituality as I digest the remainder of this course’s material.  Eisenstein brought to light the ways in which all aspects of our beliefs and lives intertwine by saying “we need to change out habits of thought, belief, and doing as well as change our systems.  Each level reinforces to other.”  This has led me to an understanding of the idea that the material and spiritual worlds can co-exist and work together.  We don’t have to think of the former only as means by which was achieve the latter.  That being said, this theory has helped me move closer to an understanding of where my own spirituality falls.  While I am still working to define and categorizing it, simply by allowing my beliefs to govern my behavior in the physical world, I will eventually find peace with that in the spiritual world, regardless of what I do and do not believe.

One Mind–Match 12

Liana Rosenbloom 

In his book, One Mind, Dr. Larry Dossey introduces readers to the concept of “one mind,” explores the different aspects of this theory, and expands on it in such a way that readers can utilize it in their daily lives.  This is done by explaining the stories of others, as well as scientific research on the topic, giving readers important insight into the theory.   He describes “a collective, unitary domain of intelligence, of which all individual minds are a part,” which he sees as a “potential way out of division, bitterness, selfishness, greed and destruction that threaten and engulf our world”.”

One of Dossey’s most powerful stories was in his chapter on “Communication with the Deceased,” about a young woman named Iris.  At only 15-years-old, Iris experienced an extreme personality change, after which she claimed to be a 41-year-old woman named Lucía Altarez de Salvio, who she said had recently passed away.  The two women came from extremely different backgrounds—Iris was from a well-educated, young girl from Hungary, and Lucía, a working-class woman who married young and worked multiple jobs to support 14 children.  Remarkably, as details of Iris’ “new personality” surfaced, it was found that she now spoke fluent Spanish.  Though Iris admitted to working experimenting with séance when she was younger, investigation indicated that this was not logically able to explain what she was experiencing, and also that ESP was not a proper explanation.  Scientists and doctors performed countless tests and analyses, and were unable to come up with a theory to support Iris’ new personalit, other than “One Mind.”

In addition to his work on “One Mind,” Dossey also does a fair amount of work on the power of prayer for healing purposes.  In this appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s Soul Series, he discusses the data, from both laboratories and actual hospital cases that show the incredible strength of prayer in health those in poor physical and mental health.  For me, personally, both of these excerpts from Dossey are extremely helpful as I move forward in my understanding of this material, and essentially, the knowledge I’ve acquired over the entire course of the semester.  Upon entering this course, spirituality did not play a huge part in my life, however, hearing stories like these open my mind to the immense power it has.  Theories like “One Mind,” and Dossey’s data on prayer’s healing powers, give me motivation to continue to develop my own personal spirituality, in whatever way suits me best.  I am beginning to gain a greater appreciation for the fact that while that not everyone’s story is exactly the same, the belief in spirituality and the desire to be a better person is what connects individuals to one another.

Feb. 19 Paper

Liana Rosenbloom

PSCH 401—Mann

18 February 2014

John Holland and Allison DuBois

In order to more fully grasp the practices of mediums, their opinions of their work and what they view their personal role in people’s lives to be, I explored the personal stories of both John Holland and Allison DuBois.  Holland, author of Spirit Whisperer, and DuBois, author of Don’t Kiss Them Good-Bye, shed an interesting and important light on the work of mediums and how they came to explore their abilities.

In Spirit Whisperer, Holland explains a few important aspects of his life that have influenced his work as a medium.  He notes that as a child he was always “hungry for knowledge,” and was slightly different than other children.  His abilities were brought to the forefront during a “sitting in circle” session, which he describes as a meeting for psychic development between like-minded people.  He also references a nearly fatal car accident he survived at the age of 30, explaining that this near-death experience also enhanced his spirituality and passion for his work as a medium.  Finally, he emphasizes this importance of seven principles of spiritualism from the Spiritualists National Union (SNU).  He puts a strong emphasis on the fact that working with these spiritual principles (such as the fatherhood of God, existence of the human soul and personal responsibility) has a strong impact on one’s ability to both process and come to terms with information from the other side.

DuBois does similar work to Holland, focusing on spirituality and the departed, noting on her website that she, “prides [herself] on accuracy and bringing closure to people who have lost loved ones.”  In a video FAQ (http://www.allisondubois.com/index.php/faq), she explains that one of the ways in which she does this is working with those who have lost a child and helping them cope with this loss.  She notes that when she “brings children through,” they are often still attached to their favorite things about childhood (their room, being with their family in their home, etc.) and often ask her to tell their parents that they are okay.  She explains that many parents feel as sense of guilt when they lose their child, regardless of the cause, and she sees her work as a way to connect parents with their child again, spiritually, and help the parents come to terms with their loss.

In general, I am still somewhat skeptical of mediums, but I think it is primarily out of shock.  Both Holland and DuBois have long standing records of accuracy, and I find it hard to believe, but also hard to dispute.  Whether they are “frauds” or are truly communicating with those on the other side, I can imagine that I would find comfort in a reading with them.  To that end, I think it is beneficial that they are using what they see as their connection with the other side, and their spirituality, to bring comfort to those who have lost their loved ones.

Link to John Holland’s website: http://johnholland.com/

Link to Allison’s website: http://www.allisondubois.com/