Many of you have probably already seen this. It was a graduation speech given by a student, and reminded me a lot of what we have been talking about.
Inspiring Encounters With The Divine
This is a collection of short stories gathered by the author after she had an experience that she believed was undoubtedly proof of the divine. When Jennifer Skiff was 32 she was diagnosed with malignant bone cancer. At this time Jennifer had been struggling with a lot of unhappiness and the news that her life would be soon ending was not really too bad at all. However, it was this experience that showed her how worthwhile her life was. Days after she was diagnosed just about everyone she had ever known came to visit her or send her flowers and the most sincere greetings. She remarks that she was “engulfed by a warm blanket of love.” Nearly a week after the biopsy the doctor came to her room saying, “I never get to say this!… Benign!… the slide we looked at looked malignant but the lab results just came back and they say it was benign!” This event led Jennifer to believe that God concretely touched her life.
Skiff began asking people for their “God stories” after a minister asked her if she had any. When Jennifer asked the minister what God stories were the minister said they were miracle-like events that prove that God exists. People rarely ask this question and people rarely dare to tell others about them, but this book is testament to how many stores are out there. This divine entity many call God may seem far off and distant but God does break through and do somethings completely clear and concrete to touch human lives
This book is a collection of those aha experiences told by people from every faith, religion, and walk of life. I think what is great about this book is that it nudges you to consider your own God stores.
From a skeptical point of view one could say that there were only a few stories that one could find no other rational explanation for but a miracle. However, from my perspective that doesn’t make the stories any less special. I think they all had a meaningful message regardless of if you decide to take every word for truth.
Life Cycles Reincarnation And The Web Of Life
By Christopher M. Bache, Ph.D
This book like many others presents some of the best scientific testimonies about reincarnation (you can read one of these testimonials via the link at the bottom of this post). However Bache joins these stories with philosophical arguments about the implications of accepting reincarnation as a reality. This to me is what makes this book so unique. These implications are mainly directed towards Christianity, as Bache spends a large chapter of the book discussing how reincarnation can be intergraded into and even enhance the Christian faith. Bache even provides evidence showing when Christianity was young as a religion some Christians still believed in reincarnation. These groups of people are now referred to as Gnostic Christians. Furthermore Bache presents arguments that reincarnation did not get integrated into the orthodox faith not because reincarnation was a threat to the theology of Jesus, but because it may have been a threat to the institutional structure of the young church (p. 166). Later the author points out “reincarnation invites Christians to go further then the minimal distance in rethinking their religions relation to other world faiths.”
Reincarnation also has profound effect on our understanding of who we are and what we are on this earth to do. At the end of the book Bache discusses his understandings of the purpose of reincarnation. He states that we are all here to grow and develop spiritually and that earth is a school we attend though our various lives. Each life we learn a lesson or lessons that contributes to our bigger identity that encompasses all the lives we have lived. Although not that different from many peoples current understanding of the purpose of life Bache’s thoughts made me conceptualize life in a slightly different way.
There is much more discussed about reincarnation and Christianity that I found very thought provoking. I would advise anyone interested to check this book out.
Here is also a link to a more comprehensive review of the book:
Link to Testimonial
This Book really put a lot of what we have been talking about into perspective for me. Obviously learning about such things, as a greater consciousness and the impact of meditation are important to know about and explore. But there comes a point when one starts to ask what is the point of it all? What do I make of this universal consciousness? How can meditation or mindfulness have greater impact on my life then just these individual benefits? I think there are many answers to these questions and I believe some of the books we have already read have gotten to the root of some of these thoughts. But I believe Eisenstein addressed these questions in a whole new way.
In a world that is slowly, or not so slowly crippling under this false facade we hide under it is so easy to be disheartened and pessimistic about the world we live in. More and more I am starting to acknowledge my own cynicism, as I am good at seeing the worst in things. I believe that is why this book resonated well with me. I didn’t need Eisenstein to do much convincing to make me see that this world we live in is not what it is cracked up to be.
However Eisenstein did not leave us with only these rather gloomy thoughts but instead with a new revelation, that being that we are all connected. From this new point of view we are empowered to become more resilient as we come to see that the small personal choices we make really do matter because of our interconnectedness. In fact Eisenstein makes the rather profound claim that our good intentions deeds and acts or kindness mean nothing with out coming to terms with the truth that we are not separate from each other.
One part of this book that particularly stood out to me pertained to the question of how meditation and mindfulness can have a greater impact on our lives then just what we have read about thus far. Answers to this question were embedded throughout the book, however one answer I particularly liked came from chapter 19 “Doing.” Here Eisenstein spends some time talking about how our constant doing has lead us down this terrible unforeseen path. Eisenstein points out that perhaps more doing will lead us out of this maize of troubles we find ourselves in but that stopping and reflecting might be a better way to handle our crisis. We as a society often look at these times of pause emptiness and silence as pointless and impractical but Eisenstein points out that this is futile thinking. As we trying to solve the problems in this world “we reenact again and again the same solutions that brought us to our present extremity. Where does the wisdom to act in entirely new ways come from? It comes from nowhere, from the void.
When I read this segment I must confess that I started to feel a bit exhilarated. I think its because I like to see the connections and seeing elements of whatever this greater thing is come together is truly magical. More importantly I think Eisenstein though his thoughts gives us all a clearer view of how this new direction could begin to take form.
This book was so engaging because Dossey was able to connect such diverse fields as spirituality, quantum physics, medicine, altered states of consciousness, dreams, intuition, reincarnation, prayer, healing, basic sciences and more to explain the One Mind. According to Dossey his purpose for integrating all these fields was so that this One Mind “does not rise or fall on the basis of anyone of them but draws its strengths for the whole.”
From my observations this book is divided into four sections each dealing with a particular way in which the one mind leaves its tracks in human affairs. Part One: Glimpses of the One Mind gives us introductions to this concept of one consciousness Dossey starts to make the reader contemplate this One Mind by presenting us with many events that point to the existence of it. I personally was particularly intrigued by the jaw-dropping case histories of this One Mind though events that are hard to explain as mere chance. I particularly loved the story about the dog that traveled over 1000 miles crossing the US to reunite with his owner. This part asks the reader to ponder whether these incidences are just coincidence or something more.
The next section titled: Working with the One Mind discusses a lot of what we as a class have been learning about. Communication with the other side, near death experiences, reincarnation and countless more are discussed within this part. This I feel was the part of the book that is really dedicated a good amount to presenting evidence for the One Mind. In part three: Accessing the One Mind discusses how we can personally experience this One Mind though ordinary human experiences such as love. For me this part was mind blowing because it really put a spin on those things I take for granted. Rarely do we see mental illnesses as anything but mental illnesses however this section of the novel really makes you thing about ordinary life from a different and awe inspiring perspective. The last section: The Way Forward challenges the reader and science to embrace all the evidence Dossey presented. And the very last chapter pained a picture of what the world could be if all people embraced their deep ties to one another though this One Mind.
One part of the book I want to discuss a bit more is chapter 8: Atoms and Rats. In the beginning of this chapter Dossey quotes a Nobel Prize winner who once said “every thing that animals do, atoms do.” Which means, atoms being the foundations of what we all are made up, drive animal behavior. Then Dossey goes on to discuss how atoms work thought the field of quantum mechanics. In particular he discussed the theory of entailment, which is a property, all atoms share. Once in contact with one another atoms remain in contact no matter how far they are separated. That doesn’t sound so miraculous but this documentary might do a better job of explaining how crazy this really is (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYil-x1wAtE). In this chapter Dossey is once again asking us to question what we think we know with that we know; if atoms do these crazy things and we are all made of atoms then can we too do these crazy things?
– Genevieve Wang
This is an autobiography by Rosemary Altea, an internationally renound spiritual medium. In this book she entails her life as a medium and her journey towards seeing her abilities as a gift as opposed to a curse. I decided to reading this book because I had I looked up some videos of mediums on YouTube and found some that made me respect Rosemary Altea as a medium as she seemed very humble and truthful. Here are some of the clips I am referring to
Like I said, after watching more of these types of videos I felt that Rosemary Altea seemed to be very genuine and truthful about her abilities so I decided to check out her autobiography. She starts by sharing that these abilities have been with her, her entire life. She also explains that, from her knowledge, her grandmother was very much like her, only her grandmother died thinking that she was mentally ill suffering from something like schizophrenia. Therefore growing up was particularly difficult as Rosemary parents were not very loving or supportive and would get mad whenever she would have a “bad dream.” or something of that matter. In fact when Rosemary would say anything weird, like something she couldn’t know her mother would get mad and say that she would be sent to “the Towers” a mental institution if she didn’t stop it. Therefore Rosemary grew up never telling anyone of her other life, and ability to see things that no one else could see from fear that she was crazy.
However when Rosemary was about 30 her powers became stronger and stronger and even though she tried to hide them one night it all came out. Her friend had been seeing her struggling financially as a single mother so she insisted that Rosemary spend the night out with her. Ironically, or not so ironically, her friend took her to a demonstration and talk on tarot cards. It was in this small home in the middle of nowhere where Rosemary first shared her experiences with the paranormal. It was also there that she had her first experience working as a medium in trance.
Another video I found before reading this book was of skeptics analyzing Rosemary readings:
These people were trying to prove what mediums do isn’t from to any sort of special abilities but foreknowledge. What I found interesting about this was it shows you anyone will see what he or she wants to see, skeptic or not.
– Genevieve Wang
This is a story of a respected scientists journey from skepticism to awe as he investigates the question of life after death. This book devotes a lot of time to painting a vivid picture of the experiments Gary Schwartz and Dr. Linda Russek conducted, however what I want to discuss in detail is appendix b “the energy is love” where Schwartz describes love as a bioelectric energy and discusses the role love has in motivating people to seek contact with a departed loved one though a medium. In this chapter he also discusses the importance of the heart and cardiac energy, and the nature of love and its role in the universe. Here I will go more into Schwartz’ investigation of love as a bioelectric energy.
In the beginning of this chapter the Schwartz reveals his motivation for conducting these experiments was largely because he was drawn to human beings remarkable capacity to love. But with this relationship between love and the living soul a fundamental question arises. If it is true that we all have souls and that these persist beyond death do all of our emotions such as love also continue after we die?
Schwartz starts to answer this question by discussing the complex nature of love and its role in human relationships. One particular observation of loves complex nature was interesting because it pertained directly to the studies if mediums this book accounts. This observation was simply of the attractive force of love. Weather it be physical, emotion, mental, or spiritual this attraction is widely experienced and accepted. Following this observation Schwartz investigates it by asking: if some people experience an energetic relationship between themselves and the ones that they love can love be more related to science then initially thought? Researchers at the Human Energy Systems Lab believe so as they theorize that the behavior of love is similar to gravity and thus can be studied as a bioelectromagnitic energy capable of surpassing boundaries like death. Considering that those that seek the help of a medium do so typically because they desperately what to hear from someone they truly loved caused Schwartz to theorize that love may be the mechanism mediums use to speak to those on the other side.
This view of love and explanation for how mediums are able to connect with those who have past away was particularly intriguing to me because it made me thing of dark energy. Dark energy, as it pertains to the cosmos, is a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and is causing the universe to accelerate its expansion. I will admit this doesn’t sound a lot like love, but the two are similar in the sense that we know little about them. All we know about dark energy is that it is everywhere, so powerful that it is stronger then the force of gravity holding the universe together, and utterly invisible; we only know about it because there has to be something causing the universe to exponentially expand. Love has many of the same attributes as dark energy it is everywhere, so powerful that it may be what is allowing mediums to transcend the boundaries of physical death, and invisible to us apart from its manifestations in the physical world. My point in saying all this is not two hypothesize that dark energy and love are the same force but instead, while point out how little we know, also considering that there many be more cohesiveness and proof for “the impossible” then we could ever imagine.
~ Genevieve Wang