Right Hand of Fellowship

Members of the Spiritualist Society of Reno commit to pursuing the Spiritualist ideals while actively supporting the Society. There is no cost for membership in the Society, but there is an annual renewal of commitment.

Right-hand-Lindarae-Adriane-2016
May 2017: Society President Jannet Caywood conducts the Right Hand of Fellowship ceremony with new members Adriana and Lindarae (right)
April 2016 Right Hand of Fellowship
April 2017: Society President Jannet Caywood conducts the Right Hand of Fellowship ceremony with new members Alissa, Pam, Rita and Carol (Right).

New members are asked to join in a ceremony marking their membership. Part of the ceremony includes five questions:

  1. Have you tested to your own satisfaction the truth of spirit communication and accepted it as a means for the upliftment of humanity?
  2. Do you promise in your life to conform to your highest conception of right, honor and truth?
  3. Will you aid and assist those who are in need of help by supplying their physical need, in so far as you can without injury to yourself or family, and give them such spiritual consolation as may be appropriate whenever the opportunity offers?
  4. Will you cheerfully contribute your just share toward the support of this church and do all that you can reasonably to promote harmony among its friends and members and to help it be a positive influence in the community?
  5. Do you affirm your acceptance of and belief in the Declaration of Principles of the National Spiritualist Association of Churches and will you conform to the Bylaws of that Association and to those of this Church?

Trusting Your Intuition

by Pam Meiser, 2017

In the 18th century, Europe and America went through what we call the Age of Enlightenment, which was an intellectual and philosophical movement that included, among other things, the idea that reason is the primary source of authority and legitimacy. Emphasis was put on scientific method and the increased questioning of religious orthodoxy. Inquiring minds were becoming more concerned with wanting to know and understand the world around them through reason based on tangible evidence and proof.

The Age of Enlightenment certainly gave us Western civilization as we know it today, with many desirable ideas such as liberty, progress, tolerance and constitutional government. Facts can be good things, but in fact, some might say that they can be inconvenient things. Yet there is something more than reason which can help to guide us throughout our daily lives, and that is something called intuition.

The dictionary definition of intuition is “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” Some also refer to this as “trusting your gut.” A more thorough definition comes from SageThinking.com:1

Intuition is really nothing more than an internal mechanism, free from language, which assists us in making decisions. It is sometimes called gut feeling, instinct, inspiration, a sixth sense that tells us, non-verbally, to do something or not do something. The great thing about intuition is that it can be developed and is amazingly accurate and has only our best interest at heart. The problems arise when we begin to second-guess our hunches or fight against it because we either doubt ourselves or it is leading us in a direction we are resisting or don’t want to go. It takes courage to act on our intuition and go against what seems rational and obvious.

In their book Nutrition for Intuition, Doreen Virtue and Robert Reeves add an additional definition, one that they received from their angels:2

Intuition is your ability to receive and interpret Divine healing and supportive messages for your journey. It gives you the clarity to know that you are going in the right direction, and to understand what changes you need to make in your life.

Here is a list of ten things that intuitive people do differently than the rest of us:3

  • They listen to their inner voice.
  • They take time for solitude.
  • They create.
  • They practice mindfulness.
  • They observe everything.
  • They listen to their bodies.
  • They connect deeply with others.
  • They pay attention to their dreams.
  • They enjoy plenty of down time.
  • They mindfully let go of negative emotions.

When is the last time you felt that something wasn’t right, or that there was an answer to a question you have been presented with, but you couldn’t explain why? Intuition is something that all of us have, yet because in today’s world it is so common to be cut off from our feelings, most of us do not even realize it is there, much less pay attention to it. As Sonia Choquette says, we must learn to “trust our vibes.”4

The cost of ignoring your intuition can range from a minor inconvenience to real problems: You had a feeling that you should have gone through town instead of taking the freeway but you didn’t, and now you’re stuck in a major traffic jam and you’re going to be late for work; You ignored that pit in your stomach that told you not to go out on a second date with someone, and as a result you end up married to an emotionally abusive individual (yes, this happened to me).

But is it just a matter of not trusting yourself? Or are you worried that others might be skeptical of your intuitive gift because you cannot prove it quantifiably? No matter what, you must remain true to yourself. Don’t let what others think or say cause you to deviate from what you believe to be the right path for you.

However, believe it or not, there can be an upside to ignoring your intuition. Sarah Prout says,5 “I believe that when you ignore your intuition and proceed in a direction you know is going to be troublesome, you are actually putting your hand up to learn some pretty powerful spiritual lessons.”

In my case, I definitely learned some powerful spiritual lessons, and although I went through a couple of very difficult years, I came out a much stronger and healthier individual. I am much more in touch with myself than ever before.

Learning to trust your intuition can have many benefits. It can help you learn who to trust and who to avoid, it can help you to discern real threats from imaginary ones, it can help you to ward off illness and even save your life, it can help you make better decisions, it can help you take smarter risks and it can help you help others.6

Still not convinced? Need more quantifiable proof? In a study published in the April 2016 edition of Psychological Science,7 intuition does indeed exist and researchers can measure it. Lead author of the study, Joel Pearson, associate professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales in Australia, said that “Previous studies didn’t actually measure intuition because researchers didn’t know how to quantify it.” These previous studies simply relied on questionnaires that asked people how they were feeling when they made a decision.8

But Pearson and his colleagues came up with a series of experiments that helped them to determine whether people were using their intuition while making decisions or if they were simply using their judgment. The researchers defined intuition as the influence of nonconscious emotional information from the body or the brain, such as an instinctual feeling or sensation. When shown a series of both positive and negative subliminal images, study participants not only did better at the task they were assigned to accomplish after viewing the positive images, but reported feeling more confident in their choices and responded more quickly. This is because the subliminal images were meant to stimulate the type of information involved in intuition; they were brief, emotionally charged and subconsciously perceived.

Not only did participants show immediate results, but according to Pearson, the experiments suggested that the participants became better at using their intuition over time.

Maybe now I’ve convinced you. Great! But you may be wondering exactly how you can foster this precious gift in yourself. Here are some tips and suggestions to get you on your way.

In her book Trust Your Vibes, Sonia Choquette advises:4

If you want your vibes to guide you, then it’s up to you to be as open to them as possible. One way to do so is to become flexible in your thinking and actions – in other words, go with the flow. As your sixth sense guides you from moment to moment, it will often suggest that you abandon your original plans and redirect your course of action quickly, without question or resistance. Spiritual law states that in order to live in a higher way, you should only make loose plans and be open to following all intuitive urges along the way.

She suggests that you practice becoming looser by doing some gentle bending and stretching before you start your day, along with some mental flexibility stretches by asking your spirit what it wants to do. Say “yes!” to your intuitive impulses throughout the day and see where they lead you.

Kyle Gray, author of Raise Your Vibration,9 suggests the following: “As you follow the intuitive impulses you receive, you will raise your vibrations and your aura will be shining and golden.” He suggests an exercise which prompts you to listen to the voice within. Close your eyes and visualize yourself immersed in golden light. Say, “I am listening to my soul.” Then ask, “Where would you have me go today? What would you have me do today? What would you have me say? And to whom shall I say it?” Listen to what your soul shares with you. Trust it. It will give you many home truths. Act on them and you will connect more strongly to your intuition.

Spiritual writer and teacher Tova Payne has a list of six things that you can do to awaken your intuition:10

  • Start each morning with a 3-5-minute meditation. Consistency is key.
  • Ask a question – any question, such as, “What do I need to know?” Take 10 deep breaths by taking 4 counts to inhale and 4 counts to exhale. At the end of the 10 breaths, sit with yourself for about a minute (or longer if you can) and listen for any insights that arise. Sometimes an insight will arise immediately. Other times the insight may trickle in during the day while you’re at work or in the shower. Keep paying attention to insights that arise through your day.
  • Go out into nature, which not only helps you to revitalize, but helps you to gather insights.
  • Be on the lookout for signs and synchronicities. The more you pay attention to them, the more you’ll see them and be aware of them, which in turn strengthens your intuition.
  • Go with the Glow. When you’re making a decision, look at your options and do the thing that glows brightest even if it doesn’t necessarily make logical sense. (A “glow” means you feel an inclination towards it, it does not mean you’ll see lights shining over it!) The way to practice this and strengthen your intuition is to practice on things that you feel are minor such as which color shirt should you wear (black or blue) or what color apple should you choose. Sometimes you might see a glow over the yellow apple even though you thought yellow apples weren’t so tasty. But if you follow the glow you might be pleasantly surprised with the results. That yellow apple ends up being so good that it becomes your new favorite apple. After practicing little things for a while, you’ll become so accustomed to feeling and trusting the glow that when it comes to the bigger decisions you’ll be more confident in your ability to feel where the glow is.
  • Pay attention to your dreams. Our unconscious mind will often deliver us messages from our intuition and inner truth when it’s too much for our everyday-mind to accept. Intuition can feel scary when it asks you to go out of your comfort-zone—which is why we sometimes ignore it or question it. If you’ve been blocking your intuition for a while, your intuition will try to speak to you through your dreams.

Speaking more about dreams, in her book Practical Intuition, practicing intuitive Laura Day warns:11

It is commonly thought that dreams can foretell the future. In fact, intuition is at work in such cases. Dreams are your psyche working out the unconscious conflicts and experiences of the day. In that “space,” intuition can make use of the same symbolic language as dreams. But receiving information through intuition is not at all the same as receiving it through your dreams. A key difference is that, whereas intuition is objective and often predictive, dreams are always subjective and descriptive.

There is more to it than exercises like the ones I just shared with you. Being in touch with your intuition goes hand in hand with being in touch with your physical self. As Belinda Grace describes in You Are Clairvoyant,12 “These days most of us live in our heads without even realizing it. We are often unaware of the stresses we put our bodies through – a lack of exercise or excessive intake of stimulants such as coffee or alcohol can have devastating effects over time.” In other words, take care of your body.

In their book Nutrition for Intuition, Doreen Virtue and Robert Reeves agree:2

Nutrition, then, is the nourishment that your body needs to thrive – not just survive. You don’t want a body that just goes through the motions of life. Instead, you want one that’s filled with enthusiasm, motivation, and inspiration. So, aim for uplifting, high energy, fresh, easily digestible organic foods and beverages.

Everything you consume, whether food or drink, has a direct influence on your chakra system. With a diet that’s high in fats, carbohydrates, and processed foods, your outlook on life can become depleted and miserable. Constantly struggling to get on top of things, you see the world as a harsh environment, where nothing seems to work in your favor.

So, how do you know when it is your intuition talking? Consciousness growth mentor Kristina Mills has some insight:13

For some people, their sixth sensory insights fire up all the time. For instance, when I receive channeled messages, these messages come from many different sources. Some of them are useful and some of them most definitely aren’t.

The way I can tell the difference is the vibration that is attached to that message. What I mean by that is that each message I receive has a feeling attached to it. The higher the feeling of bliss that is accompanied by the message, the more profound the source is.

For instance, some people hear a voice from a deceased relative telling them to take that job or ditch that guy or something else.

That isn’t intuition. It’s simply your deceased relative trying to help you … in the same way a living relative would. It’s no different.

Just because they spoke with you doesn’t mean their advice is correct. And just because they have passed over doesn’t make them any wiser than they were when they were alive.

It is, however, an intuition if you’re in a present and calm state when you hear the message and what that deceased relative says to you gives you that AH-HA feeling and a sense of knowingness that the message is your truth.

I’d like to close with some inspirational quotes from some very successful and famous people regarding the importance of following your intuition:

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.” ~ Apple founder Steve Jobs

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~ Albert Einstein

“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.” ~ author Paul Coelho

References

  1. Egle, Caron. “Fostering Intuition – Following Your Hunches.” Sage Thinking. com.au/resources/articles/on-running-your-brain/fostering-intuition-following-your-hunches/.
  2. Virtue, Doreen; Reeves, Robert. Nutrition for Intuition. Hay House. 2016. ISBN-13: 978-1401945411.
  3. Gregoire, Carolyn. “10 Things Highly Intuitive People Do Differently.” Huffington Post Healthy Living. huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/19/the-habits-of-highly-intu_n_4958778.html.
  4. Choquette, Sonia. Trust Your Vibes. Hay House. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1781802830.
  5. Prout, Sarah. “What Really Happens When You Ignore Your Intuition.” Sarah Prout. 2016. com/when-you-ignore-your-intuition.
  6. Warrell, Margie. “Trust Your Intuition. Not Doing So Can Be Costly.” Forbs Leadership. 2015. com/sites/margiewarrell/2015/05/12/trust-your-intuition/#257f5fb76c60.
  7. Pearson, Joel; Lufityanto, Galang; Donkin, Chris. “Measuring Intuition: Nonconscious Emotional Information Boosts Decision Accuracy and Confidence.” Sage Journals: Psychological Science. journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797616629403.
  8. Nierenberg, Cari. “The Science of Intuition: How to Measure Hunches and Gut Feelings.” Live Science. livescience.com/54825-scientists-measure-intuition.html.
  9. Gray, Kyle. Raise Your Vibration: 111 Practices to Increase Your Spiritual Connection. Hay House. 2016. ISBN: 9781401950361.
  10. Payne, Tova. “6 Ways to Awaken Your Intuition Today.” Tova Payne. 2016. com/2016/08/16/awaken-intuition-today/.
  11. Day, Laura. Practical Intuition: How to Harness the Power of Your Instinct and Make It Work for You. Broadway Books. 1997. ISBN-13: 978-0767900348.
  12. Grace, Belinda. You Are Clairvoyant: Simple Ways to Develop Your Psychic Gifts. Llewellyn Publications. 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0738727233.
  13. Mills, Kristina. “Is That Your Intuition Talking? Here are 7 Ways to Tell.” Kristina Mills. kristinamills.com/intuition/is-that-your-intuition-talking-7-ways-to-tell/.

“Calling Earth” Video

Calling_EarthYou can watch the video on Dan Drasin’s website.

CALLING EARTH (2015-2016 Version – 95 minutes): A documentary about communication with the deceased through modern electronic technology.

Produced, Directed and Edited by Dan Drasin.
Associate Producer, Tim Coleman
Music Courtesy of Mitchell Covington, James Crocker, Harold Moses,and John Rowcroft

FOREWORD • Because the conscious survival of physical death makes no sense in terms of our materialistic (essentially 19th-century) scientific paradigm, Western science is only now beginning to play catch-up in this arena. So please don’t take this documentary as the final word. In another decade or two we may well look back on this type of research as primitive, but for now it’s a start. Just try it on for size and see what you think, keeping in mind that a documentary film can only scratch the surface of any subject. We hope you enjoy it.

Camera: Dan Drasin and Tim Coleman • Special thanks to Leslie Kean and Jolyn O’Hare • Editorial Services: Tim Coleman and Boris Zubov • Interim Narration by Dan Drasin • Dedicated to the memory of Jane Kimbrough • © 2015 by Daniel Drasin • Produced for free, educational viewing only. Unlicensed materials are included under applicable Fair Use provisions.

MW: 2015-3

Issue 121

Worldview Explorations (WE) is an educational program developed by the Institute of Noetic Science. It is a research-based experiential program for middle school, high school and college students. The curriculum was published after six years of development, pilot testing and refinement. The twenty-two lessons include self-reflective practices and project-based group activities that can be integrated into existing classroom subject areas. According to IONS, their “research suggests the most powerful step people can take toward achieving their highest potential is the willingness and ability to understand new perspectives. By making youth aware of the lenses through which they experience the world we prepare them to become compassionate and self-aware leaders of a global society.”

One-tenth grade student wrote, “I learned to think about things in a whole new way. It made it seem as if we are all the same but we all have different ideas. And if we come together, we can combine our beliefs in ways that allow us to learn and find ways to be peaceful. See: noetic.org/education/worldview/overview/

Crowd Wisdom: British paranormalist Ron Pearson is conducting an experiment to see if “… the wisdom of crowds [can] predict when the Yellowstone super volcano will erupt.” He notes that individuals tend to be poor predictors, but that the average of many people’s predictions tended to be astoundingly accurate. For instance, in one study 160 people were asked to guess how many jellybeans were in a jar. The answers ranged from a few hundred to about 60,000; however, the average of the guesses was 4,200 which were within 0.1 percent.

Pearson is conducting a study to test the predictive ability of crowds by asking people to submit a guess as to when Yellowstone will erupt. As it happens, in geological time, the super volcano is way overdue. You do not need to be psychic to submit a guess. Just go to Yellowstone.cfpf.org.uk and fill out the form.

From: Pearson, Ron, “Crowds and Catastrophes,” Paranormal Review, Winter 2015, spr.ac.uk

Does Time Exist? David Sunfellow NDE researcher says while time unfolds in a linear way in this world, one of the core truths presented by near-death experiences is that time does not actually exist as we experience it here. From the perspective of NDEs, time not only doesn’t exist as we experience it, but everything—past, present, and future, along with every possible reality—Is actually happening right now. One of the mind-tweaking ideas that emerge from this perspective is that we are not only in constant communication with our past and future lives (both our lives and the lives of others), but that we can change past experiences and affect future ones now, resulting in better, happier, more connected lives right now.

From: NHNE Near-Death Experience Network, nhneneardeath.ning.com

PreBirth Experiences: Sarah Hinze has spent more than two decades researching PreBirth Experiences. This research indicates that there is a continuity of self, that the “same you” progresses through each of the three life stages. The one we know best is the one we are currently experiencing: Earth Life.

Near Death Experiences (NDEs) have given us a glimpse of the life that comes after this one, our Life After Life. PreBirth Experiences or PBEs are giving us a glimpse of the life we lived before this one, the life our unborn children are living now—the Life Before (mortal or earth) Life. In a typical PBE, a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparent, etc., receives communication from a child before the child is born, or in many cases, before they are even conceived. These unborn children at times can warn, protect and enlighten us through the veil. The Prebirth Experience is compelling evidence of the eternal nature of our souls.

See: sarahhinze.com

Can Tweets Predict Heart Health? A new study out of the University of Pennsylvania says they can. Your tweets reflect your current state of mind, and certain emotions, like anger, stress, exhaustion and frustration and can increase your likelihood of cardiovascular disease. How do you measure a population’s mental state? Researchers are doing it by looking at Twitter. Billions of people use Twitter to vent, exclaim, complain, rejoice and share. So there is a lot of data showing what people are feeling.

Researchers looked at tweets by geographic area, focusing on both positive and negative key words like “hate” and “wonderful” and mapped them. They then compared their findings with heart disease rates in the same areas. They claim Twitter was better able to predict mortality from cardiovascular disease than a traditional model which looks at demographic, socioeconomic and health risk factors combined. This is certainly a reminder that we should watch what we are saying.

From: “Can Your Twitter Predict Your Heart Health?” Yes Five, 1-23-2015, yesfive.net

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Anomalistic psychology is more and more in the paranormalist news these days. For instance, a recent SPR Journal includes a research report concerning how people decide something is paranormal. The test subjects were first given a questionnaire to determine their beliefs: prone to believe in things paranormal or inclined not to. They were then shown a series of pictures and asked to decide if each was about something paranormal or not. As you might expect, people who believe in things paranormal more often identified a picture as paranormal.

The problem with this kind of research is that it ignores the influence of actual paranormal experiences on a person’s thinking. A picture of an apparition should be considered paranormal if you have reason to think survived personality exists. If you believe in the paranormal, then you are likely more open to a picture of a UFO being about something paranormal.

Anomalistic psychology is all about seeming to study paranormal subjects in an affirmative way—are they real, how do they happen, what do they mean—while actually seeking to show how the believer is delusional. In effect it is a very clever form of debunking.

From: Irwin, Harvey, Paranormal Attribution for Anomalous Pictures,” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, January 2015, spr.ac.uk

Parapsychology or Psiology: Rhine designated parapsychology as a subject for academic study. “Para” means alongside, but you cannot study an alongside of anything unless you can name and define what that alongside happens to be. “Ology” is a suffix meaning a branch of learning, so without ambiguity the branch of learning concerned should be identified. Prefixing “para” to “psychology” does not define a branch of learning. “Para” is meant to somehow stand for telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis and so on. But these are mental processes and as mental processes comprise the subject of psychology and must be integral to it not “para” it.

Rhine coined the term extrasensory perception (ESP) for non-sensory acquired information and psychokinesis (PK) has remained the term for the effect of mental intent upon matter. ESP and PK are assumed to be the activities associated with a mental faculty called psi. As parapsychologists are agreed that psi is what they are actually studying, “psi-” is the correct prefix to attach to the “-ology” suffix. Psiology then, is the correct name for an academic discipline that studies psi.

From: Charman, Robert A. “Prefix to Suffix – Parapsychology should be replaced by Psiology,” The Paranormal Review Issue 68, spr.ac.uk

Resource for Widows and Widowers: Soaring Spirits (soaringspirits.org) creates and maintains innovative peer-based grief support programs for widowed men and women. Based on the powerful connections created by shared experience, they endeavor to ensure that no one need grieve alone. The group offers understanding, friendship, inspiration and encouragement.

Widowed people created Soaring Spirits because they discovered that connecting with other widowed people made the challenges of surviving a spouse or partner a little easier to manage. Soaring Spirits communities, online and in person are diverse, inclusive, secular, and positive. They share resources, ideas, energy and hope. They offer programs that connect widowed people around the world providing both online and in-person opportunities for finding peer support. You can access our programs from the comfort of your own home, or you can meet up with other widowed people in person … whatever works best for you.

Benefits of Altruism: We have often heard that it is better to give than to receive and now we know that this is backed up by research. Studies show that altruism is good for your emotional well-being and can measurably enhance your peace of mind. Studies also show that what goes around generally does come around. More specifically, when people make altruistic personal sacrifices, they end up reaping what they sow in the form of favors from others.

Helping others in need, especially those who are less fortunate than you, can provide you with a sense of perspective on how fortunate you are to have what you do in life—be it health, money, or a safe place to sleep, and help you focus less on the things you feel you lack.

Helping others with their problems can also help you gain a more positive perspective on the things in life that cause you stress. When you do something nice for someone else, often the positive effects go beyond just you and that other person, influencing your whole community. When you feel stressed and overwhelmed, you may feel like you’re least able to give. However, acts of altruism can be a great form of stress relief. Studies have shown that the act of giving can activate the area of the brain associated with positive feelings, lifting your spirits, and making you feel better the more you give. And given that altruism can lead to lasting emotional well-being, a more positive perspective, a positive effect on others and better social standing, altruism certainly does the job as a healthy means for relieving stress and increasing life satisfaction.

From: Scott, Elizabeth M., Benefits of Altruism, stress.about.com/od/lowstresslifestyle/a/altruism.htm

MW: 2015-2

Issue 120

Happiness and Health: One of the studies coming from Marty Seligman’s Happier.com website shows that 92% of people felt happier and 94% who had said they were depressed felt less depressed after simply counting their blessings for one week. It seems that gratitude is as powerful as antidepressants and therapy. But it isn’t just gratitude that’s been found to have such positive effects, positive emotions, including learned optimism, generosity and hopefulness also change our lives.

Barbara Friedrickson, Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has demonstrated that a three-to-one ratio of positive to negative emotions creates a life in which we thrive. (unc.edu/peplab/people.html#aaron)

From the article: “From research done on Buddhist monks’ brains, we are beginning to believe that when we think positive thoughts — about gratitude, kindness, optimism and the like — we activate our left prefrontal cortex and flood our bodies with feel-good hormones, which give us an upswing in mood and strengthen our immune system. Conversely, when we think negative, angry, worried, hopeless, pessimistic thoughts, we activate our right pre-frontal cortex and flood our body with stress hormones, which send us into fight or flight mode, depressing our mood, and suppressing our immune system. In other words, we are bathing our body/minds/spirits in good or bad chemicals based on our thoughts.”

From: “How Random Acts of Kindness — and Lots of Practice — Made Me Happier,” by M.J. Ryan, EveryDayHealth.com. Ryan is one of the creators of the New York Times bestselling book Random Acts of Kindness, and the author of How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For, The Power of Patience, The Happiness Makeover and Attitudes of Gratitude

eva-carriere
Eva Carriere

Mistaking Evidence as Fraud: According to the Wikipedia article about researcher Charles Richet (1850-1935): “In 1954, the Society for Psychical Research member Rudolf Lambert published a report revealing details about a case of fraud that was covered up by many early members of the Institute Metapsychique International (IMI). Lambert … discovered photographs depicting fraudulent ectoplasm…. Various ‘materializations’ were artificially attached to Eva Carrière’s hair (photograph right) by wires. …[IMI] members … knew about the fraudulent photographs but were firm believers in mediumship phenomena so demanded the scandal be kept secret.”

This Wikipedia article was actually written in December of 2014. It is clear that it is written to make it seem that fraud did occur, when in reality, there is no evidence of fraud. Some of the pictures appear to show threads and faces with a flat appearance. These ambiguities were used as evidence of trickery, even though no mechanisms for proof of the trickery were found. A number of rebuttals were published in the IMI, including an eyewitness report by the photographer. Nevertheless, the Wikipedia article cites no such alternative views.

Modern examples of ectoplasm frequently show threads of the sticky material stuck to surfaces as if fastened there. Author Renaud Evrard asks at the end of his report about the article, “Was it appropriate to base a charge of fraud on hard-to-check testimonies, a long time after the death of the main protagonists, rather than on concrete available evidence”?

From: “Wikipedia, Lambert , and IMI’s “Concealed Fraud” by Renaud Evrard, Mindfield, December 2014, Parapsychological Association, parapsych.org. Also see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Richet

Spirit Shows Light: Well-known mediumship researcher Gary Schwartz has developed a technique whereby faint light can be detected in a totally dark box. Measurements are taken at the beginning of an experimental session, and then a specific “hypothesized spirit collaborator” is asked to show a “spirit light” in the box and a second reading is taken. The conclusion that “It appears that instructions for specific spirits to enter a light sensing system can be associated with reliable increases in the apparent measurement of photons” suggests those communicating from the other side are able to hear, respond and produce light in an otherwise dark enclosure.

From: The Sacred Promise: How Science Is Discovering Spirit’s Collaboration with Us in Our Daily Lives, by Gary E. Schwartz, PhD., Atria Books, 2011. See:  Photonic Measurement of Apparent Presence of Spirit Using a Computer Automated System” by Gary E. Schwartz, PhD. 2011, drgaryschwartz.com

death-makes-life-possibleDeath Makes Life Possible: This film looks at how popular culture deals with the ever-present fear many have about our own mortality. Interviews with mental health experts, cultural leaders and scientists explore the meaning of death and how we can learn to live without fear. The interviews and evidence presented are interwoven with personal stories of people facing their own death as well as those who report encounters beyond death.

Death Makes Life Possible features some of the leading scientists, anthropologists, philosophers, spiritual teachers and thinkers of our time including Deepak Chopra Michael Bernard Beckwith, Dean Radin, Rupert Sheldrake and Dr. Jim Tucker to name a few. Hospice Maui wrote, “Our Spiritual Care Counselors are particularly attuned to the existential suffering that is often present as someone faces their last days in this world. The film ‘Death Makes Life Possible’ is a very welcome and very powerful new tool. We will be using it for years to come, not only to help relieve the suffering in some of our patients, but also, and sometimes much more importantly, with their families to ease their grief and distress before and after the death.” To view go to imdb.com/video/wab/vi1744543769/

Retrocausal Effects: Volunteers were given a questionnaire designed to determine if they were intuitive or rational thinkers. They were then presented with randomly chosen shapes and instructed to either respond or not respond, depending on the shape. In a second task, participants only had to respond to one shape. This shape was randomly chosen from the two that were used in the first task.

After the second task, reaction times to the shapes in the first task were compared and the reaction time for the one selected for the second task was about 2% shorter. The reaction time in the first task would normally have been the same for each shape. According to the researchers, the study seemed to “… confirm the growing literature on retroactive influences on cognition and emotions, where future events seem to have an anomalous, retroactive influence on responses and behavior in the present.”

The participants scoring the highest in intuitive thinking accounted for virtually all of the effect.

From: Dick J. Bierman and Aron Bijl, “Anomalous ‘Retrocausal’ Effects On Performance in a Go/Nogo Task,” Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 28, 9/30/2014

afterlifefilesThe Afterlife Files: Documentarians Todd Moster and Nancy Williams are working on a television docu-series titled: The Afterlife Files. Most information on TV about survival has been produced by mainstream media in what are really “for entertainment only” programs. Factual exploration of paranormal subjects is not always exciting, especially when science is involved and therefore it is often very difficult for this type of program to get funding. Many people are turning to public funding to fund these factual programs.

This is perhaps the best hope of the Spiritualist community to see a balanced presentation to the public about what is known about survival. You can see the pilot video for the program, which will be launched on the crowd-funding website at kickstarter.com on January 28, here: vimeo.com/115815330.

A Successful Life: Arianna Huffington was named by Forbes magazine in 2014 as the 52nd most powerful woman in the world. Huffington launched The Huffington Post in 2005. It was sold to AOL in 2011. Huffington writes that “More and more people are realizing we’re living our lives in a way that’s not sustainable.” She says that, in our working culture, busyness and sleep deprivation are held up by some as a badge of honor. She cites a study from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, showing that sleep deprivation reduces our emotional intelligence, self-regard, assertiveness, sense of independence, empathy toward others, the quality of our interpersonal relationships, positive thinking and impulse control. She writes about how stress affects our rates of disease and about how “It’s not an exaggeration to call meditation a miracle drug” A key path towards fulfillment, she argues, is through empathy and giving. “If our life’s journey is to evolve as human beings, there is no faster way to do it than through giving and service.” The view of “man as an exclusively material being” has dominated how we live our lives and what we consider success, Huffington says. “But today this is all changing. We have increasingly come to realize that there are other dimensions to living a truly successful life.”

From: “Arianna Huffington: ‘New science is validating ancient wisdom’” by Seán Dagan Wood, 2014, positivenews.org.uk/2014/wellbeing/16269/arianna-huffington-new-science-validating-ancient-wisdom/

othersidepressThe Otherside Press: A new initiative to unify the paranormal community has begun with publication of The Otherside Press Magazine. Because of the amount of unreliable information about things paranormal, there is a growing need for a reliable, authoritative source for “the real story” and real answers about The Otherside.”

Even in the first issue, you will find excellent and informative articles about a wide range of paranormal subjects. Tom Butler will be contributing a column titled “All Things Etheric” as the token philosopher. You can read the first issue at theothersidepress.com/.

MW: 2015-1

Issue 119

Scientists Call for More Psi Research Funding: Some ninety scientists and academics have co-signed a letter, written by Etzel Cardeña of Lund University and published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, that calls for more mainstream support of open and honest investigation of parapsychological topics, and related mysteries of human consciousness. Cardena points out; this type of research has continued for over a century despite the taboo against investigating the topic, despite almost complete lack of funding, and professional and personal attacks; results supporting the validity of psi phenomena continue to be published in peer-reviewed, academic journals in relevant fields from psychology to neuroscience to physics; more than twenty Nobel prizewinners and many other eminent scientists have supported the study of psi or even conducted research themselves; and, meta-analyses and other studies suggest that data supportive of psi phenomena cannot reasonably be accounted for by chance.

From: “Scientists Call For Open, Informed Study of Psi Effects and Consciousness,” Posted by Greg 13 Jan 2014, dailygrail.com/Fresh-Science/2014/1/Scientists-Call-Open-Informed-Study-Psi-Effects-and-Consciousness

Conscious Aging: The final third phase of life is a great opportunity for spiritual, emotional and psychological growth. It’s a time to celebrate a life journey, to harvest the wisdom of those experiences, and to share what was meaningful in the company of others. And yet in our youth-obsessed culture there is a lot of fear and anxiety about growing older, especially for those who enter their later years alone. Recognizing this, the Institute of Noetic Sciences has developed a program specifically for facilitators who want to work with seniors ready to embrace this phase of their journey. This program is called Conscious Aging. It was created over four years, and field-tested across a broad range of practitioners and settings.

If you are interested in being a facilitator for this program, please see noetic.org/education/conscious-aging/.

Praise for IONS’ Conscious Aging Program from Nan Merrick Phifer, author of Memoirs of the Soul: A Writing Guide writes, “This program gently leads participants toward compassionate self-understanding. Though written for people past midlife, it is a guide for all mature people who seek connectedness and inner peace, for it identifies those qualities in oneself that bring about fulfillment.”

From: Conscious Aging Workshops Facilitator Training Program, noetic.org/education/conscious-aging/

Survey at CSAPP: Researchers from the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes (CSAPP), based in the Psychology Division of the University of Northampton, are interested in whether people seek support following an anomalous experience. They acknowledge that anomalous experiences can be both distressing and positive and would like to know where people go if they want to discuss the meaning of the experience or seek support. If you or someone you know can help them with the survey, find it at survey.northampton.ac.uk/care. The survey is completed anonymously and takes around ten to fifteen minutes to complete. The deadline for the survey is August, 1 2015 and you need to be at least eighteen years of age to take part

From: “CARE Project: Help-seeking behaviors following an anomalous experience (AE),” The University of Hampton, northampton.ac.uk [Closed]

Shared Deathbed Visions (SDEs): We previously reported on Raymond Moody’s recent work concerning reports of how people near the moment of their transition sometimes indicate the presence of discarnate loved ones, and that those visions are sometimes shared by friends and family who are present. The “Shared Death Study” (Shareddeathstudy.org) is the global shared death experience research study and story repository site.

Dr. Raymond Moody writes, “It is the study of these experiences that may finally prove life after death.” It is the aim of SharedDeathStudy.org to collect as many shared death experience stories from all over the world, in as many languages as possible. When participants add their stories, they are asked a specially designed list of questions that will help researcher cross-compare accounts to better understand this amazing phenomenon. Another interesting discussion board regarding this phenomenon is the Deathbed Visions pages at: allnurses.com/general-nursing-discussion/death-bed-visions-301825.html.

Physical Séance Room Recollections: Stewart Alexander has recently launched a double CD album with a series of first hand fascinating physical séance room accounts told by senior Spiritualists, who in years gone by, were privileged to sit with mediums who today we can only read about. A few of the mediums discussed are Gladys Osborne Leonard, Helen Duncan and Alec Harris. All the speakers witnessed and personally experienced the manifestations they describe and took the time and trouble to record them in audio form for the interest, education and benefit of contemporary and future Spiritualists and all other interested parties. That they did so prior to their own transition has left us with a marvelous legacy and we owe an incalculable debt to them all. Often exceeding the “boggle factor,” their amazing séance room recollections bring back to life the wonders of the past and thereby keep alive that which must never be forgotten. The cost is £12.50 for orders email stewart.alexander  [at] finka.karoo.co.uk or contact via postal service, Stewart Alexander c/o 85 Alexandra Road, Hull. HU5 2NX. UK. Also see review at spr.ac.uk/publication/physical-s%C3%A9ance-room-recollections-compilation-album-no-1-2014

Recording EVP During Séances: An interesting experiment for people who have a home circle is to record for Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) as a background activity to their normal development activities. EVP are voices found in recording media that were not audibly heard during the recording session. There is information about how to record and how to find possible EVP in a paper that can be downloaded at atransc.org/itc-white-paper/.

Also see the article, “A report of the relationship between physical phenomena and EVP” by Rachel Browning at atransc.org/evp-in-seances.

Meditation’s Benefits: In recent years Meditation practice, derived from various branches of Buddhism, has made its way into the secular world as a means of promoting calmness and general well-being. Three common forms of meditation—focused attention, mindfulness and compassion—are now practiced everywhere, from hospitals to schools, and have increasingly become an object of scrutiny in scientific laboratories worldwide.

Physiological changes in the brain, such as an altered volume of tissue in some areas, have been shown to occur through meditation. Practitioners also experience beneficial psychological effects: they react faster to stimuli and are less prone to various forms of stress. A recent article in Scientific American magazine claimed meditation is like Valium and Oxycontin without the side effects.

From: “Neuroscience Reveals the Secrets of Meditation’s Benefits” by Matthieu Ricard, Antoine Lutz and Richard J. Davidson, Scientific American, November 2014

Meditation Research: The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is continuing to encourage scientists and health care practitioners to expand the boundaries of their research and practices into areas of human existence that are meaningful to most people, yet scientifically under explored. In their “Future of Meditation Research” meetings they invite scientists who study meditation and ask them to reach further into their research questions and methods to look at the effects of meditation, not only on physical and cognitive processes, but also on the extraordinary abilities and transformative experiences that can arise in the course of meditation practice. See: noetic.org/meditation-bibliography/overview/

For Seekers: “Enlightenment is always there. Small enlightenment will bring great enlightenment. If you breathe in and are aware that you are alive—that you can touch the miracle of being alive—then that is a kind of enlightenment. Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive.” Thich Nhat Hanh

MW: 2014-6

Issue 118

Quiet Time: Several San Francisco middle and high schools are using a stress reduction strategy called “Quiet Time.” Twice daily, a gong sounds in the classroom and students shut their eyes and try to clear their minds. An impressive array of studies shows that integrating meditation into a school’s daily routine can markedly improve the lives of students.

In the first school where it was tried students are doing light-years better. In the first year the number of suspensions fell by forty-five percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to ninety-eight percent, well above the citywide average, and grade point averages improved markedly.

On the California Achievement Test, twice as many students in Quiet Time schools have become proficient in English, compared with students in similar schools where the program doesn’t exist, and the gap is even bigger in math. Teachers report that students are less emotionally exhausted and more resilient.

From: “Meditation transforms roughest San Francisco schools,” by David L. Kirp, SFGate, 2014, sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/Meditation-transforms-roughest-San-Francisco-5136942.php

Consciousness: Is consciousness generated by the activity of the brain or is it a fundamental property of the universe? The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) research team has been studying this question for several years using various kinds of optical systems. Their latest experiments, published recently in the journal Psysics Essays confirm their earlier findings. This line of research suggests that consciousness may play a key role in how the physical world manifests. This does not mean human consciousness literally “creates” reality, but it does suggest that there is more to consciousness than is implied in today’s neuroscience textbooks.

When we observe an everyday object, meaning an object that can be adequately described using classical physics, the act of observation does not influence the object’s properties. This is not the case when observing a quantum system. The behavior of quantum objects is exquisitely reactive to the act of observation; this sensitivity can easily be seen whenever a quantum object is measured. The measurement causes the quantum wave-like behavior to change into particle-like behavior.

A controversial interpretation of this effect—that consciousness itself is responsible for “collapsing” the quantum wavefunction—was proposed by mathematician John von Neumann and supported by other prominent physicists. Much has been debated about this “quantum measurement problem” from philosophical and theoretical perspectives; IONS is taking a more pragmatic approach by explicitly testing von Neumann’s idea, and in their latest paper, they report the results of three experiments which all showed results consistent with von Neumann’s proposal.

From: “Series of Experiments Shed Light on the Role of Consciousness,” by Dean Radin, Noetic Now, 2014, library.noetic.org

alfred-russel-wallace
Alfred Russel Wallace

History: The Slade Trial: Alfred Russel Wallace (shown in picture), who was the co-discovered of Natural Selection, went on to become one of history’s most prominent defenders of Spiritualism, and several of his writings on the subject are on the “Alfred Russel Wallace Page,” at wku.edu/~smithch/index1.htm.

When the subject of spiritualism was introduced at an 1876 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS), skeptics challenged proponents of spirit writing to show that the phenomena were repeatable. In answer, Wallace cited the work of American medium Henry Slade (1835–1905) who had recently moved to England. Slade was known for spirit writings performed by his deceased wife, Allie, who facilitated communication with other spirits by writing on a piece of slate and chalk against the underside of a table.

Outraged about the introduction of spiritualism into the BAAS, a member set out to humiliate Wallace by revealing Slade as an impostor. His logic was that, all he needed to do was to expose Slade to discredit every psychic and medium that dared to prey on bereaved relatives and the gullible.

Slade was charged under the Vagrancy Act (still on the books today). Amongst other crimes, it condemned to three months hard labor “every Person pretending or professing to tell Fortunes, or using any subtle Craft, Means, or Device, by Palmistry or otherwise, to deceive and impose on any of His Majesty’s Subjects.” He was ultimately acquitted, but only because of uncertainty surrounding the interpretation of the act and not on the reportedly decisive evidence in Slade’s favor, thus leaving uncertainty as to the validity of spiritualist claims.

From: “Capturing the will: Imposture, delusion, and exposure in Alfred Russel Wallace’s defense of spirit photography,” by B.D. Mitchell, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 46 (2014) 15–24, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24603059

Mediumship Study: A study done by the Institute of Notetic Science (IONS), and funded by BIAL, investigated the mental activity of mediums as they were tasked with communication with the deceased. The mediums were guided to experience four distinct mental states: thinking about a known living person (recollection), listening to a biography (perception), thinking about an imaginary person (fabrication) and interacting mentally with a known deceased person (communication). The reason for such a protocol is that skeptics will often argue that the mediumship mental state is akin to making up an imaginary person or remembering previously obtained information. Electrocortical activity was measured during each state. Reliable (i.e. statistically significant) differences among the four conditions were found in all participants. These data suggest that the mediumship state is a subjective experience with brain correlates that are distinctly different from activities like recollection, perception or fabrication. In other words, from this empirical foundation it appears that mediums are involved in a process that cannot be explained as imagination or some other form of known recall.

From: “New Study Sheds Light on Brain States During Mediumship Readings,” by Alan Pierce, Noetic Now, 2013, noetic.org/blog/new-study-on-brain-states-during-mediumship/

PEERS: Public Education and Empowerment Resource Service (PEERS) is deeply committed to cultivating community and transformation through inspiration and education. PEERS is a nonprofit organization that embraces a bold vision of building a brighter future by inspiring a sense of global community based on love and cooperation. They offer free online personal growth courses. These include: The Inspiration Course, The Hidden Knowledge Course, The Insight Course and The Transformation Course. From their website: “The lessons in these personal growth courses contain thought-provoking essays, quotes from some of the greatest thinkers ever, beautiful photos, moving online videos and empowering exercises designed to inspire and bring greater understanding and deeper meaning to people’s lives. Promote your personal growth and treat yourself to the treasure chest of inspiration and education here.”

From: PEERS, peerservice.org and personalgrowthcourses.net

Dogmatic Materialism: Grahame Mackenzie interviewed Professor John Poynton of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in December for a Spirit Today article. Professor Poynton takes a critical view of the dogmatic materialism promoted both by current science and by current philosophy and has helped many people break free from the chains of materialism through his books, his teachings and motivational talks.

john-poynton
John Poynton

Poynton says that “True skepticism does allow facts to guide conclusions; it is the false skepticism of debunkers that accepts no guidance from facts, because such people “know” the answers already.” He says that the SPR has consistently met closed doors when trying to interest the media in some event or idea.

In his inaugural address of 1882 to the SPR, Professor Henry Sidgwick said, “It is a scandal that the dispute as to the reality of [psychic] phenomena should still be going on, that so many competent witnesses should have declared their belief in them, that so many others should be profoundly interested in having the question determined, and yet the educated world, as a body, should still be simply in an attitude of incredulity.” This “attitude of incredulity” is resistant to facts and argument and is maintained aggressively in academia, the media and things like Wikipedia.”

From: “Interview with Professor John Poynton of the Society for Psychical Research,” by Grahame Mackenzie, Spirit Today, 2013, spiritoday.com/interview-with-professor-john-poynton-of-the-society-for-psychical-research/

adventures-in-the-afterlifeAdventures in the Afterlife From the book: Adventures in the Afterlife is a powerful journey of spiritual awakening; a bold quest for answers and enlightenment. The old assumptions of heaven are confronted and an expansive new vision of our continuing life is presented. After being diagnosed with cancer, William Buhlman, author of Adventures Beyond the Body, pursued answers to the mysteries of our existence after death. Confronting his mortality, he experienced profound insights into what lies beyond our physical body. Our journey into the next life is the basis for Adventures in the Afterlife. The author chronicles his out-of-body experiences and lucid dreams through the eyes of a fictional character, Frank Brooks. The insights are sometimes surprising, but a clear message is always apparent; we are powerful, spiritual beings and we shape our reality now and in the future. The purpose of this book is to prepare us for the many thought responsive environments we will experience. William Buhlman teaches and lectures worldwide on the subjects of out-of-body experiences and spiritual empowerment. Visit the author at astralinfo.org.

MW: 2014-5

Issue 117

Tradition and Modern Knowledge: “The conflict between tradition and modern knowledge has led to devious and contradictory behavior in which pulpit pronouncements disagree with ‘head-office instructions.’ The Rev. David Kennedy discusses in his book (Kennedy, 1973) how, as long ago as the 1920s, a very learned committee appointed by the Church of Scotland reported, among other things, that:

The Church cannot dismiss these phenomena [i.e., spirit communications] with indifference…. Ministers may even encounter genuine phenomena in the course of their duties…. There is room in the larger life of the Church for Christian Spiritualists whose special experiences have been sufficient to convince them.

Similarly, he quotes the majority report of the Church of England’s Committee of Enquiry in the late 1930s which stated:

We think that it is probable that the hypothesis that they [i.e., messages received by mediums] proceed in some cases from discarnate spirits is the true one.

However, it is significant that the latter report, although commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury and taking three years to compile, was resolutely ‘pigeonholed’ by his successor (Cosmo Lang) who flatly refused to have it discussed, despite howls of protest from Spiritualists who had cooperated in its compilation. It was quietly issued without discussion some thirty years later.”

From: “Blue Sky Thinking – Part Four: Spiritualism and Religion” by John D. Ralphs Paranormal Review Issue 67, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk. A Venture in Immortality, by D. Kennedy, Gerrards Cross, Colin Smythe, 1973

schtouris
Elisabet Sahtouris

Crisis is an Opportunity: Dr. Elisabet Sahtouris says that our scientific models of nature have become our cultural creation stories, telling us through physics that we live in an accidental, non-living universe in entropic decline and through biology that we are doomed to an endless Darwinian struggle in scarcity. Sahtouris, an evolution biologist and futurist, presents us with an updated scientific model of nature. Showing us instead a living, self-organizing universe in dynamic balance and an evolutionary process in which hostile competition gives way to mature collaboration—a view that encourages people everywhere to express their unique talents through contributions to peaceful cooperation, both local and global. In this view it is clear that the globalisation of humanity is a natural, biological, evolutionary process away from exploitation and toward global family. Revealing Nature’s own secrets of success permits us to see clearly how to overcome current obstacles to achieving these ends, thus showing the way to a possible future in which humanity and other species thrive in cooperative ecological sustainability despite severe climate changes.

From: “Crisis is Opportunity: The Evolution of Humanity from Competition to Cooperation Living Better on a Hotter Planet,” Lifeweb, sahtouris.com/pdfs/A2011Flyer.pdf

Mental Intention: “Many Studies have found that the rate of cell multiplication in Petri dish cultures, or in one series of studies, the rate of experimental skin wound healing in mice, has increased beyond chance expectation when these were exposed to periods of mental intention. This finding offers support for the hypothesis of a psychokinetic effect whereby, in certain circumstances, mental intention can result in objective, measurable effects across space”

From: “After Dr. Mayer Said “This Changes Everything,” What Happen Next? Part Two” by Robert A. Charman, Paranormal Review Issue 63, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk.

john-poynton
John Poynton

PSI: In a Study Day talk on PSI presented by the Society for Psychical Research, John Poynton suggested that Out-of-body Experiences (OBEs) occur not in the physical world but in a parallel one. He cited the writings of Whiteman, who has suggested that we exist within a hierarchy of different spaces. Therefore he suggests that a many-world ontology is needed to account for OBEs and mystical experiences. Perhaps there are an infinite number of other worlds that manifest according to the state of mind of the observer. Poynton also expressed caution about an ‘all-embracing theory of psi,’ claiming that this might have the effect of limiting or misdirecting investigation. He noted that (Immanuel) Kant’s insistence that science stick to its ‘proper district’ curtails investigation. Kant also claimed that a belief in ghosts ‘corrupts all use of reason,’ and defied ‘natural laws.’

From: Study Day Review: “Making Sense of PSI” by Matthew Colborn, The Paranormal Review Issue 63, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk.

After Death Communication: In 1973 a University of Chicago sociologist asked a sample of 1,467 Americans if they had ever felt they had contact with someone who had died. Twenty-seven percent answered that they had (Greenley 1975). A similar survey in Iceland (Haraldsson et al 1976) found that thirty-one per cent said yes.

British physician Dr. W.D. Rees found that of a sample of widows in Wales, forty-seven percent, had experiences, often repeatedly over a number of years, that convinced them that their dead husbands had been in contact with them (Rees 1971: 37-41). An earlier British experiment by Dr. P. Marris (1958) had found a figure of fifty percent.

Dr. Melvin Morse, a pediatrician who has done many studies of death and dying, claims that they are so common that it is rare for someone to lose a child and not see them again in a death-related vision (Morse 1994: 135).

From: Victor and Wendy Zammit’s “Friday Afterlife Report,” victorzammit.com/archives/2013/December6th2013.htm

Studying the Brain: “At the present time, there are two main approaches to studying the human brain. The clinical neurologist is intent on mapping the functions, on identifying which area of the brain carries out each function and tracing the major connections between them. The academic parapsychologist acts on the assumption that the brain is a calculating machine and tries to understand the ‘programs’ underlying those calculations. Each assumes that any brain function must ultimately be explainable in terms of the laws of physics, accepted or new. In the latter case [it] seems to be tacitly assumed that any discoveries will only require an addition to present knowledge, not requiring revision or alteration of the current canon. I disagree, and am convinced that it is possible (in fact in my opinion, highly probable) that the cause(s) of most ‘paranormal’ phenomena will ultimately be traced to a serious error or omission in the fundamental assumptions on which science is based.”

From: “Blue Sky Thinking – Part One: Spiritualism and Religion” by John D. Ralphs Paranormal Review Issue 67, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk. A Venture in Immortality, by D. Kennedy, Gerrards Cross, Colin Smythe, 1973

the-sacred-promiseThe Sacred Promise brings us into the laboratory of scientist Dr. Gary Schwartz, where he establishes the existence of Spirit by its own Willful Intent—a proof of concept for deceased spirits. The author takes readers on a personal journey into the world of spirits and reveals their existence and desire to help.

Dr. Schwartz poses several important questions. What if our feelings of emptiness, loneliness, hopelessness and meaninglessness are actually fostered by our belief in a “spiritless” Universe? What if our physical hunger is symptomatic of a greater spiritual hunger? What if Spirit is actually all around us, ready to fill us with energy, hope and direction, if we are ready to ingest it? What if Spirit is like air and water, readily available for us to draw within; that is, if we choose to seek it?

Sacred Promise shows how we can attune ourselves and receive this guidance from Spirit.

This text is based on promotional material.

 

Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and nonconscious parts of our mind, and also between instinct and reason. Albert Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the mind.”

From: “The Intuitive Compass: What Is Intuition, And How Do We Use It?” by Francis P. Cholle, Psychology Today,  psychologytoday.com/blog/the-intuitive-compass/201108/what-is-intuition-and-how-do-we-use-it.

22 Things Happy People Do Differently: Dr. Joseph Mercola writes, “Many people spend their lives waiting to be happy. You may think, ‘if only I had more money,’ or ‘could lose weight,’ or … you fill in the blank, then I would be happy. Well here’s a secret: you can be happy right now. It’s not always easy, but you can choose to be happy, and in the vast majority of circumstances there’s no one who can stop you except for yourself. The truth is, happiness doesn’t come from wealth, perfect looks or even a perfect relationship. Happiness comes from within. This is why, if you truly want to be happy, you need to work on yourself first.”

Some of the things he lists that happy people do are; let go of grudges, treat everyone with kindness, speak well of others, dream big, regard their problems as challenges, express gratitude for what they have and take time to listen.

From: “22 Things Happy People Do Differently” by Dr. Mercola, articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/08/22-happy-habits.aspx Which is sourced from an article of the same name by Chiara Fucarino, successify.net/2012/10/31/22-things-happy-people-do-differently.

MW: 2014-4

Issue 116

Psi Performance and the Personality: “Despite interest in the correlations between psi performance and personality variables, the intimate life of mediums and other participants in parapsychological studies remains virtually ignored. It is not necessary to say that this is something that we cannot evaluate solely using questionnaires and scales; it is a knowledge that requires careful observation and deep consideration of the life of a person. When we ignore the emotional…and social life of mediums, focusing only on the phenomena that they convey, we tend to reduce these individuals to mere ‘vehicles,’ running the risk of an excessive idealization or, conversely, of a destructive devaluation. Besides, we lose the opportunity to understand better how their behavior and their subjective experiences can influence, or even determine, their mediumistic manifestations.”

From: “Individual and Group Dialectics in the Study of Mediumship: A Psychosocial Perspective” by Everton De Oliveira Maraldi and Wellington Zangari, Paranormal Review Issue 66, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk.

from-heaven-is-for-realTo Heaven and Back on CNN: Mary Neal “drowned” during a kayaking trip on January 14, 1999. She says when she saw her body, it was purple and her pupils were dilated. Anita Moorjani says she had end-stage cancer when she claims she left her body. Benjamin Breedlove suffered heart failure, and he says he left his body. On the brink of death, all three tell stories of leaving their bodies, going to heaven and coming back. For each, their story raises questions: Is heaven real? What does it feel like to die? Each of their stories was featured in a program on CNN this past December call “To Heaven and Back.” The program presented by Anderson Cooper is a testament to the large number of people who are interest in Near Death Experiences. cnn.com/2013/11/29/us/to-heaven-and-back/

A child’s Near-death Experience: Heaven is For Real is a movie that was released in April of this year. It stars Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly as Todd and Sonja Burpo, a couple whose son Colton (played by Connor Corum) claims he had a near-death experience. The days that follow young Colton’s experience challenge the family to understand the significance behind the event. The film has gotten good ratings and has gained favor with film lovers who want a feel-good movie that suggests evidence of an afterlife, seen through the eyes of a child. The film explores the changes that take place not only in people who claim to have near death experiences, but those in their immediate families and surrounding communities, as individuals try to accept something they don’t fully understand. Heaven is For Real could readily appeal to individuals of all backgrounds, regardless of adherence to religious faith. The movie is based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent. movieinsider.com/m9027/heaven-is-for-real/releases/

Backwards-in-time Effect on the Present: “Studies using recording of autonomic nervous response and/or EEG recordings on brainwaves have shown changes indicating increased subconscious anticipation of a forthcoming strongly emotive visual image or sensory shock occurring some five seconds after a preset signal. For computer images the screen remained blank until an emotionally neutral image such as grass, or emotionally charged image such as violence . . . was shown. For studies using sensory shock there was either a shock or a non-shock stimulus after five seconds. Sometimes the anticipatory onset commenced even before the computer had executed its random choice of emotive versus neutral stimuli. These studies imply that a future event-to-be experienced, but not yet chosen, can have a backwards-in-time effect on the existent present.”

From: “After Dr. Mayer Said ‘This Changes Everything,’ What Happen Next? Part Two” by Robert A. Charman, Paranormal Review, Issue 63, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk.

Matter and Mind: “A number of theories have used developments in physics to bridge the gap between matter and mind. There are some signs that psychic functioning may have physical dependencies, such as the link between geomagnetism and Local Sidereal Time. One issue is that different kinds of psi phenomena pose different levels of challenges to physics, micro-PK being less of a challenge than retro-P­K, which in turn is less of a challenge than macro-PK. Similarly, clairvoyance poses less of a challenge than precognition and OBEs fewer challenges than NDEs.”

From: “Study Day Review: Making Sense of PSI” by Matthew Colborn, Paranormal Review, Issue 63, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk.

Psychical Research: “The rebranding of psychical research as parapsychology did not alter the negative assessment of the subject by mainstream science. In response there have been constant efforts to yoke aspects of psychical research to new scientific findings in order to legitimize the former and until recently these efforts focused on theoretical linkages. Recently, however, there has been a shift in emphasis towards practical aspects of the relationship . . . and this shift in emphasis has opened up new avenues of investigation. Meanwhile, psychical research itself still struggles for recognition among mainstream scientists because it is perceived not to use the methods of science.”

From: “Study Day No 65: Historical Aspects of Psychical Research and Its Links with Established Science” by Tom Ruffles, Paranormal Review, Issue 67, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk.

God: Victor Zammat saysOccasionally, I am asked what I think of God because I do not mention God in my research. I usually allow for people to follow their own concept of God. I was brought up as a Christian so that the concept of God and the Trinity was drummed into me for years. But whilst I accept there is an ultimate power beyond my comprehension, I cannot accept the Biblical Jehovah, a jealous God, a God of enormous cruelty, God of vengeance and a God of war.

However, as an empiricist I have been given the powers of observation. When I look at the universe, seeing billions of stars, I see order. A tiny drop of water one millimeter in diameter contains 5,000 billion atoms (5 plus 21 zeroes!) all obeying order—the laws of physics. I accept that the order that governs the universe is the product of a UNIVERSAL MIND. I do NOT accept that all has come by chance because chance does not explain order; a directed force has to maintain order. The possibility of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the complete works of Shakespeare resulting from an explosion in a printing shop. Further, when Professor Albert Einstein was asked the same question about God, he replied, “Suppose I bring you a portrait that wins everybody’s admiration, do we need to see the artist? No, but we know that there is a MIND that created the portrait.”

From: “Friday Afternoon Report” by Victor and Wendy Zammit, victorzammit.com

lighting-spiritualLighting Your Spiritual Passion: Past editor of The National Spiritualist Summit Magazine, Laura Lee Perkins, has written a book of twenty-two essays about subject important to Spiritualists. Typical of the reviews is this one by “Willow” on Amazon.com: “Beautifully written and so accessible to the reader. Laura is the consummate teacher and guide for the journey into soul, heart center and the process of self-understanding. This is a book of essays that belongs on my nightstand. I know that I will reference it often over the years since each essay stands on its own; they are touching, encouraging and enlightening. Thank you Laura for sharing your journey and your care for each of us on our individual paths.”

Lighting Your Spiritual Passion by Laura Lee Perkins, Maine Authors Publishing, 2013, 149 pages.

The Science of Happiness – an Experiment in Gratitude: What makes you happy? A new study has shown that simple gratitude exercises increased happiness. “Two of the exercises—using signature strengths in a new way and three good things—increased happiness and decreased depressive symptoms for six months. Another exercise, the gratitude visit, caused large positive changes for one month.”

In the study of “positive psychology,” the researchers refer to six overarching virtues that almost every culture across the world endorses:

  1. Wisdom: Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge
  2. Courage: Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal
  3. Humanity: Interpersonal strengths that involve “tending and befriending” others
  4. Justice: Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life
  5. Temperance: Strengths that protect against excess
  6. Transcendence: Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning

From: “Positive Psychology Progress, Empirical Validation of Interventions” Martin E. P. Seligman, Tracy A. Steen, Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson, American Psychology, July-August 2005, ppc.sas.upenn.edu

MW: 2014-3

Issue 115

Reading at a Distance: Robert Charman “After Dr Mayer Said in ‘This Changes Everything,’ What Happen Next? Part Two” that the distance between the person or object to be detected and the person doing the detecting is an irrelevant factor. This anomalous finding applies equally to claims concerning telepathy, remote viewing and intuitive readings. There is no loss of signal strength and no degradation of signal information. Experiments that include electromagnetic shielding of rooms containing senders or receivers in trials on anomalous cognition find no difference in hit rates compared to non-shielded trials. Intervening buildings, hills, mountains and deserts make no difference; nor does the number of people with the same name of the client who happen to live in the area between them, nor the sheer number of intervening brains and minds. It is as if there is only the object or person to be detected and the person doing the detecting.

From: “After Dr Mayer Said ‘This Changes Everything,’ What Happen Next? Part Two” by Robert A. Charman, Paranormal Review, Issue 63, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk

first-sightFirst Sight: Parapsychologist James Carpenter has developed a theory about how people process information from the environment. Based on psychical research, he argues that everything and every action is preceded by a subtle energy (psi) signal which people sense with psi functioning just as they use their physical senses to sense the physical world. This “first sight” information is unconsciously processed and it is the result of that processing which people become aware of. As such, people sense how their unconscious mind reacts and that is based on worldview, which is what they have been taught to think is true.

The two important messages in First Sight theory for Spiritualists is first, the importance of making sure your worldview (personal reality) accurately reflects the true nature of reality, rather than local beliefs taught by the community. Second, it is possible to learn to pay more attention to those small impressions that precede full conscious awareness of external influences. Greater lucidity between conscious and the subconscious can be learned.

Carpenter, James C. (2012-03-23). First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4422-1392-0 (ebook), Copyright © 2012. Amazon.com

And: firstsightbook.com/wp/?tag=james-carpenter

Free Online Meditation Course: This free course on Sahaja Yoga-style Meditation promises to take you on a journey in which you will learn the first steps towards meditation. All knowledge and experience are introduced through videos and audio guided meditations and the images, music and sounds of nature are so chosen to help guide you and to give you a feeling of peace. The course features a 10-part online meditation course, guided meditations, meditation videos, meditation music, a support forum and a follow-up meditation after the course.

See: onlinemeditation.org to try it out.

Tapping into Creative Potential: Research has demonstrated that meditation can in fact boost focus and creativity. A 2011 study found meditation to boost both divergent thinking which helps new ideas to be generated and convergent thinking which is linked with effective problem solving. With more and more research proving meditation’s extensive cognitive benefits, increasing numbers of artists, writers, musicians, athletes and business innovators are turning to the practice to tap into their deepest creative potential. But even before meditation entered the mainstream, a few public figures quietly credited the practice with their greatest ideas and successes, two of these are Apple’s sleek design and the idea behind the business Whole Foods.

From: “The Unexpected Source That Inspired Whole Foods, Apple’s Sleek Design and The White Album,” by Carolyn Gregoire, 11/20/2013, huffingtonpost.com

The Immortality Project (update): Phenomena related to near-death experiences, immortality in virtual reality and genes that prevent a species of freshwater hydra from aging are among the first research proposals funded by The Immortality Project at the University of California, Riverside. Grants totaling $2.4 million will be awarded to 10 research teams from the United States and Europe. The Immortality Project was established at UC Riverside in 2012 with a $5 million, three-year grant from the John Templeton Foundation to undertake a rigorous examination of a wide range of issues related to immortality.

John Martin Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy at UC Riverside and the project’s principal investigator, says that “The research should push forward the frontiers of knowledge about death and immortality in various ways. For example, I expect that we will advance our understanding of the prospects for increasing human longevity and of the ability of certain creatures (hydra) to achieve a kind of immortality by reproducing themselves; that we will achieve a more refined evaluation of the nature, significance, and impact of near-death experiences; and that we will gain a better understanding of the relationship between our ‘commonsense’ or ‘natural’ beliefs about personhood, religion or the deceased and our views about immortality.”

See: ucrtoday.ucr.edu/15075 This project was previously reported about December 2012.

Direct Knowing: “The state of mind in which `direct knowing’ of the person or lost object is claimed to occur is experienced by the knower as different from the state of mind in everyday life. During an interview intuitives said that, when they were engaged in a viewing or reading, they entered into a state of mind that was different in kind, not degree, from their everyday mind. It was as if they changed mental channels from, say, Channel One of everyday awareness of oneself as being separate from an external world of other people and objects, to a Channel Two of `direct knowing’ of the object or person…. When on Channel Two, the everyday sense of separateness disappeared once contact/was made. One intuitive said that the two mindsets remained so distinct from each other that if she later met a client socially she had no memory of what she had seen and said during the reading, but if that client came back for another reading, even years later, memory of the previous reading returned in full when she re­entered her intuitive mindset.”

From: “After Dr Mayer Said ‘This Changes Everything,’ What Happen Next? Part Two” by Robert A. Charman, Paranormal Review, Issue 63, Society for Psychical Research, spr.ac.uk

Surviving Death was the Official Selection of the Portland Film Festival 2013. Surviving Death chronicles the Near Death Experiences of people who were interviewed for the series “Consciousness Continues.” The project from Heather Dominguez and Laura Perez-Martinez came from their desire to make a film that was spiritually uplifting and inspiring. Laura suggested Heather do a documentary about NDE because Heather was always talking about the subject and had been studying it for over twenty years. Episode 1 was released on Amazon Instant Streaming in January 2014. For a preview see: youtube.com/watch?v=pgBdf1GqNlA

Giving Hope: Harris Rosen went from a childhood in a rough New York City neighborhood to becoming a millionaire whose company owns seven hotels in Orlando. But his self-made success is not his proudest achievement. In the last twenty years, he has pumped $10 million into impoverished Tangelo Park, Florida, funding free daycare, a scholarship program that pays college tuitionharris-rosen and a community center where families can take classes and get counseling. Since Rosen began his program, the town’s graduation rate has climbed from 25 to 100 percent, with many students attending college, crime has been cut in half and property values have shot up. “We’ve given them hope,” Rosen says. “And hope is an amazing thing.”

One Tangelo Park resident admitted that she was ready to move away twenty years ago, saying the neighborhood was “drug-infested” and remembering when people were afraid to walk outside. Gordan decided to stay when Rosen offered free daycare, and her daughter eventually became a college scholarship recipient from Rosen’s program.

Rosen is hoping other private donors see the positive effects of his scholarship programs and start their own versions in hard-hit communities across the country. His generosity continues to benefit students like scholarship recipient Kamillia Crawford, who is a freshman at Central Florida studying to become a lawyer. “(I want to) make sure that I show the world that with his gift, I was able to reach my max potential”

From: “Millionaire uses fortune to help kids in struggling town” by Scott Stump, Today News April 17, 2013, today.com/news/millionaire-uses-fortune-help-kids-struggling-town-1C9373666

Bad News about Cell Phones: Well should I say that we could see this coming. Researchers at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business have found that after a short period of cell phone use, subjects were less inclined to volunteer for community service when asked compared to the non-cell phone control-group. The authors cited previous research in explaining a root cause of their findings. “The cell phone directly evokes feelings of connectivity, thereby fulfilling the basic human need to belong.” This results in reducing one’s desire to connect with others or to engage in empathic and prosocial behavior.

From: “Cellphone Use Linked to Selfish Behavior” by Neil Tickner, University of Maryland, umdrightnow.umd.edu, Feb 14 2012 and “A World Transforming” The Noetic Post Spring/Summer 2012