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All you need is love… and maybe a little wisdom

This morning I replied to a Tweet that said the important question is whether a person is “alive” before death.

I suggested that it might be more fruitful to talk about being “awake” before death because to imply that someone isn’t alive – i.e. dead – seems a bit judgmental and final.

“Awake” and “asleep” are softer terms than “alive” and “dead.” And rarely do strong proclamations or insinuations do any good in helping ourselves and others.

So afterward, I walk to my local parish. And funnily enough the theme (and wording) for today’s Mass was about the soul not dying!

It made me think…

What did Jesus really say? The Bible has so many additions, glosses, translations, contexts, versions, and deletions that sometimes we can’t be sure. Even scholars and linguists quibble over the precise meaning of biblical terms (probably partly why I never bothered to learn Hebrew and Greek).

Dead Awake

Dead Awake (Photo: Wikipedia)

After a short while I came to the tentative conclusion that we’re all different and have unique roles to play in the grand scheme of things. So even someone who seems spiritually “dead” could be doing something vital. And even someone who seems spiritually “alive” could be out to lunch on other important issues.

Instead of a “this or that” approach, I think it’s more realistic to view people as complex, evolving creations. This involves a multi-dimensional or, if you like, a multi-factorial model of consciousness instead of a binary one.

With a multi-model we would be less inclined to judge and more open to finding out the inherent strengths in others. And more importantly, we might be better disposed to love, even if the “dead” or “sleepers” irritate or harm us.

Now let me be clear. I’m not talking about being a doormat. Nor am I suggesting we don’t defend ourselves or speak out against perceived injustices. I’m just talking about making practical instead of ultimate judgments.

For sure, I steer clear of people if I have reason to believe they’re borderline and possibly violent. You get people like that in big city churches. But I don’t hate them. And I don’t think they’re hell bound or simply going to disappear at death.

Loving people who have insulted or hurt us is not always easy. It might take a while to work through our own resentment. But I find that choosing to love usually works best for everyone, provided it’s done with discernment.

Discernment is a Catholic term with two related meanings. On the one hand it means finding out God’s will for us. On the other hand, discernment is learning to recognize the good and evil influences acting on our souls. Like anything, sincere seekers tend to get better at this over time.

So what will you choose?

Related articles

 We gather together to share our faith (helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com)

 Sermon: It Finally Happened, Acts 2 (grantspasschurchofchrist.com)

 Be a Good Steward (danpolecheck.info)

 New Bible Study, “Dynamic Studies in Hebrews” by Fred Scheeren, Helps Readers Who Long to Live a Life More Pleasing to God (prweb.com)

 6th Sunday of the Year: Choosing the Lord with all our heart (studyprayserve.com)

 We Were Made For Something Greater (faithandfootsteps.wordpress.com)

 God Hates Pride (challies.com)

 We’ve handed over Buhari’s death wishers to God – Community leader (vanguardngr.com)

 Overcoming Your Fear of Death (pakalertpress.com)

 Scripture Verse Of The Week ‘Philipians4 Verse 4’ (mylordmyfriend.com)


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EP Today – When teachers get creepy

eptoday-copyWay back, when Earthpages was a website instead of a blog, the main page had a feature called “EP Today.” Some of my early web pals might remember this.

I’ve decided to go back to that name for commenting on current news and general interest stories.

So here it is. Our first reinstallment of EP Today!

Today I’d like to briefly touch on the (imo) silly idea of the perfected being. The more I get into the spiritual life the more I recognize the importance of humility. Also, to think that someone is more evolved or pure than another may carry potential dangers. Some gurus and charismatic figures can really disrupt family relations.

I remember living in a small town about 100 miles out from Toronto. A group of local devotees would drive every weekend, abandoning their spouses and children, to be with a high profile NYC guru. That’s a pretty long drive to make every weekend!

At a gathering designed to welcome and orient potentially new disciples, some devotees’ family members showed up and openly spoke out. They said the guru was stealing the hearts and minds of their loved ones. I was surprised. The concerned family members seemed almost angry. And I must admit, back then at my young age, I leaned toward the side of the devotees whose manner suggested that their families just didn’t quite get it. They weren’t enlightened enough to understand…

But about 25 years later, I can empathize with the complaining family’s perspective. Imagine if your wife or mom was rushing off every weekend to be with a NYC guru? Wouldn’t you be a bit concerned? I would.

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The difficulty, as I see it, is this:

Most gurus claiming to be perfect often emanate some kind of soupy, numinous power. It’s not clear like the Holy Spirit. But it’s still there. A buzz, if you will. And sensitive but naive followers pick up on that buzz and are impressed. They’ve never encountered numinosity (spiritual power) before. Or perhaps they’ve never experienced anything better. So they believe, mistakenly, I’d say, that the guru’s ‘light’ is ultimate.

To me, true spirituality isn’t hero worship or getting spiritually drunk or stoned. Instead, it involves realizing that we carry each other, and on many levels. Healthy spirituality is not a one-way street with some pampered, contented teacher at the top, supposedly raising up disciplines who are far beneath them. No. The dynamic is multidirectional. And anyone who says otherwise is probably naive or, if they’re squatted at the top of an unhealthy guru-disciple relationship, an egotist and possibly a mind-abuser.

So many sham gurus and questionable spiritual leaders seem like bullfrogs posing as kings and queens. They rule from tiny little mudponds, like that creepy turtle in Dr. Seuss’ Yertle the Turtle. And until an oppressed turtle speaks up, the kingpin or Queen Bee will keep scamming cash and mental energy from the gullible and inexperienced below.

Would anyone in their right mind really want to have anything to do with that?

 People Theorize What It Would Be Like If Dr. Seuss Wrote Erotic Novels and Now Our Childhoods are Ruined (cheezburger.com)

 Health and Technology (forwardthinking.ashford.edu)


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Today’s Top Tweet – Armchair psychologists doing more harm than good?

I’m using a really old computer tonight, waiting for more RAM to come in the mail. Rather than carry my newer laptop up and downstairs all the time (which has plenty of RAM), I thought I’d just copy a quote from Today’s Top Tweet instead of using highly.co (which really only works with a half-decent computer). 🙂

People have a tendency to make accusations of mental illness against someone if they’re angry with the person, or if they sense that the person is acting differently from what is normally expected.


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What Are Visitations and What Do They Mean?

Image credit: Ernest James

Dream State by Ernest James via Flickr

By Keith Ward

When someone loses a loved one, especially one that is very close, they may be so distraught that they cannot accept this death. The need to keep a connection to the person whom they have lost is so strong, they may experience visitations. Many times these people will wake in the middle of the night to see their loved one in the room with them. There are even reports of talking to the departed one.

Is it a Dream or is it Real?

Although many believe that the visitation during a dream is nothing more than the need to see the person again so badly that the mind manufactures the visit, there are some visitations that are not so easily explained. Visitations have been reported when the person was not sleeping. They may sense a presence around them and turn around to see their son, daughter or husband who has recently passed.

Visitations are not always seeing the individual. Some are feelings or a smell such as the scent of the perfume worn by the deceased. Others are arrangements of objects that were important to the person who has passed. There have been instances of collections that belonged to the deceased being re-arranged even though no one was near them.

What this means can be interpreted in many ways. The most popular belief is the person wants to let their loved ones know there is life after death. In addition, they may want to assure them that they are okay where they are now. Often people will make a sort of pact. They will promise each other whichever one passes first will use a certain sign to let the other one know they are still around. This visitation reassures the remaining person that they will not just cease to exist when they die.

Near-Death Visitations

Many times when someone is near death, they may see a loved one who has passed before them. Relatives have reported the ill person saying the name of a mother or husband who has been dead many years. They also have noted that the person will look happy and seem to see them in the room. Is this a figment of our imagination or does the person actually see their deceased relative? If you believe in an afterlife, you will most likely believe they have actually seen their relative.

Many movies have focused on this and some have been based on true-life happenings. The spirit of a deceased person trying to communicate with the living is one of the great mysteries that we want to understand. So why does the visitation happen? Many believe that the person who died may have left unfinished business. They may feel the need to visit their loved ones and reassure them that they are fine. There are also theories that the person never really leaves and their presence is felt constantly in the home in which they lived.

Consciousness of the Living World

This brings up the subject of knowing what is going on after you die. Does the person who is no longer of the physical world know what is happening here anyway? The soul is the core of this discussion. Since many believe in the existence of the soul apart from the physical body, the conclusion is that there must be knowledge of what is still happening on Earth. It cannot be impossible for them to know that their loved one miss them and are grieving. In some instances, this will be a reason for a visitation.

In other cases, when it comes to the visitation, it is most likely that the deceased wants to make contact with the living for a reason. It may be that the person left unfinished business. They may want to warn the person they left behind about something. If the deceased was the victim of a murder, they may want to let their loved ones know who was responsible.

Sometimes visitations are made in times of stress. This may mean that the departed person knows the person is going through life-altering transitions and wants to let them know they are not alone. The connection between the two may have been so strong that when one was upset, the other was upset as well. Therefore, when they visit to let it be known that they are still with them this is a sign that you are not handling everything by yourself.

Have you ever heard an instrument play by itself or found the same objects day after day? This is also considered a visitation. The spirits are said to be able to manipulate electronics more easily. Often this would seem to be a way of allowing the living to know that the spirit of someone is still around even though we may not know whom. There are psychics who believe this is the way some spirits visit the world of the living.

Religion and Visitations

It cannot go without saying that if you believe in the existence of God and Jesus that you must believe in life after death. This is the basis of the teachings of the Bible and the way a person is supposed to live their life. The visitation of angels is another basis of the belief that there is something more than life as we know it now.

Whether or not you believe in visitations is a personal belief. Those who have experienced them believe and they believe they know why they received the visit. The world is full of mysteries that we will never understand. When it comes to the meaning of visitations, many are easier to understand than others are.

Keith Ward is the Founder and Director of the Circle of Professional Clairvoyants, which offers Psychic Readings with fully qualified Psychic Readers and Senior UK Clairvoyants.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Q: Ah… breaker breaker what’s your 20? A: Astral realm K17… what’s yours?

A little bit of humor tonight for today’s top tweet. Back in the day my pals I used CB radios. “What’s your 20?” means what’s your 10-20, the CB code for “what’s your location?”

So from TTT I guess paranormal spirits can bridge the gap between the spirit world and the electromagnetic world?

But seriously. IMO the two worlds are not the same at all. One is in the matter/energy realm, and the other in something entirely different, even if it does permeate the matter/energy of our bodies.

I suppose one could say that if a spirit can animate a brain/body to speak, it could animate a radio to make sounds. But I think that a radio is too clunky and materialistic. A brain is a living, biological organ. Much more sensitive than a radio.

Photo - Wikipedia

Photo – Wikipedia

But I could be wrong.

Several years ago I was emailing with someone about whether or not a microwave oven messes up food and drink, making them dangerous to ingest.

I argued with a conventional, high school physics view that all microwave radiation does is speed up molecular vibration, which is harmless if not too intense (too hot).

My correspondent politely replied that she wasn’t convinced a microwave doesn’t make other changes on the atomic level.

Now, with all sorts of strange, new things being discovered in the subatomic realm, I see the wisdom of her skepticism. And I also see, looking back, how I thought I was being smart when really, I was just being unreflective and narrow-minded, parroting what I was taught in high school.

I dislike it when people parrot science “facts” without really thinking about it.

So with regard to spirits and AM radios, again, I could be wrong. But I still think the best way to “get in touch” would simply be to purify oneself enough to be open to the spiritual world. Then we wouldn’t need any radio gear to be in tune!


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Today’s Top Tweet – Navigating states of consciousness (without pandering to the lowest common denominator)

Ralph Metzner has been around a long time. Seeing his name this morning brought back memories of psych 101 classes, and paying big bucks for those ‘captive audience’ university textbooks!

But seriously. Metzner was one of those names that kept cropping up over the years. So you can expect a certain level of quality in his writing… both style and content.

Today’s tweeted article is written by Metzner. It gives a nice short history of some of the important events in the scientific study of consciousness. Probably not too many of us remember when REM or biofeedback first hit the scene. More recently, we have brain imaging. But still, that data is all correlation… not causality. So when people say they feel a certain way, some researchers project their preexisting biases onto the observed data.

Image via Wikipedia

Mozart via Wikipedia

For example, if subjects say they feel a sense of “oneness” that correlates with an empirical observation, some researchers go on to say that “all religions are the same.” What these lab coats overlook is the possibility that the same external observation could correlate with different internal experiences.

Skrillex via Wikipedia

Skrillex via Wikipedia

By way of analogy, a mp3 player runs on 1.5 volts. Regardless of the tune we listen to, a technician will always be able to measure the same 1.5 volts. So Mozart is the same as Skrillex?

The Metzner piece has other limitations and unexplored ideas that I hesitate to write about. I already tried at the doctoral level, a place where you’d think advanced theory would be welcome. But after getting through the admissions door, I soon realized that one has to pander to the lowest common denominator—otherwise you fail.

I was admitted to the doctoral program hoping to make a contribution to interactions of consciousness not explored by most depth psychologists.¹ This would involve ideas like “karma transfer,” “intercession,” “the taking of another’s sin” and, even more esoteric, “subtle body sex” (something like tantra at a distance).

Again, these ideas apparently went way over the heads of most at the U. Any who had an inkling of what I was talking about were either closeted mystics or just plain secretive (possibly because they used their abilities to aid and abet questionable activities).

So I shelved the idea of writing about interactions of consciousness and settled on synchronicity. Even that was cutting edge for a PhD back in 1992-97.

But today I feel it’s time to pick up the torch. In my opinion, our world is not as simple as many psychologists and psychiatrists tend to see it. And this lack of insight among some “professionals” could do real harm to budding mystics mishandled by, for lack of a better term, bungling idiots.

¹ Here’s the Projected Thesis Outline I sent to the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa in the early 1990s. Soon after admission, the topic was narrowed down to something more “manageable.”

https://mclark.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/phd_jung_stamp.pdf (scroll to second last paragraph: “Moreover, to redefine and broaden our understanding…”).


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Today’s Top Tweet is a no-brainer for me… neurology, psychology, spirituality and society

Today’s Top Tweet leaped off the page because my doctorate is in psychology and religion. I find the interface interesting… especially when we include societal issues in the mix.

Here’s an accessible but not overly simplistic story that makes a great stab at trying to weave together several elements – neurology, psychology, spirituality and society. I highlighted the main points. Follow the links for the full article.