I have posted previously about some of my favorite books dealing with spirituality. I’ve mean meaning to write this for awhile, and I just read another book that has prompted me to write this post.
I grew up Catholic, but I am now nonpracticing. I don’t go to any church, actually. I have a difficult time conforming to the ideals espoused by some (read most) segments of organized religion. I have firm, set views on things, and they aren’t too popular with the clergy.
For one, I believe strongly in reincarnation. I believe in a spiritual dimension, and that our loved ones who have passed continue to watch over us. I believe in “ghosts” and all of that stuff. I believe in near-death experiences.
I have the unique experience of being a nurse. I have worked in healthcare for the past ten years, and my first hand experiences with people who are gravely ill and dying feed into my beliefs. I have countless personal accounts about patients “seeing dead people”, talking to family members who are not of this dimension, and specifically with the hospice population, people who are lucid enough near the end to tell others about it.
I have also been to Gettysburg several times and I have had vivid experiences on the battlefield.
No, I have never “seen” a ghost, but I have felt them, smelled them and heard them.
I also have the experience of watching my own family members die. My grandpa was on hospice for six weeks and the experiences I have with him further cement my beliefs.
I guess my mom is responsible for forming my beliefs. I may not agree with her politics, but we do agree on the fact that we have been here before, and we were probably related. My mom is the one who told me about John Edward; Many Lives, Many Masters (Brian Weiss M.D.); and Journey of Souls (Michael Newton Ph.d). Additionally, I have this core feeling of just “knowing” that I was here before.
Believe what you want to believe about John Edward, but I’m a big fan. I have read most of his books too. I have seen him in person, and I do believe in mediums and their ability to communicate with another dimension. There are those that are frauds, but I genuinely believe that the majority of mediums are trying to help.
On to the books. Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss M.D. is the one I would start with for someone new to this genre. It features the personal experience of the author who used hypnotism to assist his patients with severe psychological issues. As a technique, he would have his patients “go back in time” in their memories to find the source of a particular phobia. One of his patients went back a little “too far” and began reporting memories from previous lives. The book fascinated me and I moved on to read more of his books. The one that stays with me the most is Only Love is Real. It is basically the story of two of his patients who reincarnated in several different places all over the world and finally were together in this most recent incarnation.
I feel strongly that this is the case with myself and my husband. I won’t get into details, but we found each other by chance when we were teenagers. Many things got in the way (other marriages, kids) but we finally got together four years ago. I know in my heart that I have been with him in the past. I have had vivid dreams about him (even before we officially became a couple) complete with visions of places I have never been before.
The most recent book I have read on the subject is Life after Life: Children’s Memories of Previous Lives by Jim Tucker and Ian Stevenson. I was particularly drawn to this book because my child (Sunshine) experienced the same phenomena. When she was 2 1/2 year old, she began talking about being “big before”. She told me she lived in Africa and took care of “big animals”. She has also said time and time again that “I was big when you were little”. Just knowing her and her personality, I truly feel that this is possible. I have to remind her from time to time that I’m the mommy this time around. Now, at age six, she has no memories of what she told me when she was younger. She still professes a desire to be a “peternarian” and take care of animals. I wish I would have specifically written down exactly what she said, but I never did.
The book Life after Life is a scientific study of sorts into the claims made by children all over the world that they have “been her before”. The author spends a great deal of time presenting the evidence he and Ian Stevenson have compiled over years of research. He comes at it from a “science” point of view, with a hypothesis, and systematically looks at the cases they have studied, taking into account the possible causes (i.e. a child’s imagination, fraud, etc). Many of the cases presented feature children who have actually found the previous personality through research by family or a third party.
Many of the cases are from southern Asia where a belief in reincarnation is a part of the culture. It is not taboo. The children are encouraged to talk about their memories and often know information that no one could know about the previous personality.
The only thing I do not agree with is the discounting of past life memories that arise out of hypnosis. I have never been hypnotized, but I do know the power of the human mind to block and retrieve memories. In this life, I have experienced PTSD and the intense memories that come with it. Current literature proves that when trauma is experienced (i.e. rape, warfare, natural disaster), the brain “records” these events in a faulty manner. These faulty memories can later result in flashbacks, nightmares and depression/anxiety. It does not make sense to me that these memories just die when the vehicle of our spirit dies. And for some, these memories are so intense that the process of self-preservation prevents ready access of these memories in order to protect the psyche.
I will leave with some anecdotal evidence. My husband is a pretty strong person. He grew up in the asphalt jungle of a major northeastern city. He has never been camping in his life, unless you count pitching a tent at music festivals, which I do not. This man has never had an experience with bears, but he is terrified of them. Polar bears, grizzly bears, the sad looking bear at the zoo. He has this intense irrational fear. Perhaps he was killed by one in a previous life?
My recommendations for starting this spiritual journey is to start with Many Lives, Many Masters and then progress to the Journey of Souls/Destiny of Souls books. John Edward is fantastic for a perspective of being a medium and conveying the images and feelings he gets to those on this plane.
Please don’t attempt to post anything skeptical, I have my own, firm beliefs on this subject from my own personal experiences.
I look forward to reading more about this subject, and I do have several books by Raymond Moody that I just haven’t got to yet.
If your thoughts on this is respectful, I’d like to hear about them.