Saturday, October 31, 2009
Through my exposure to Christian Science, I had learned to think in terms of a "Father-Mother" God, a much more benevolent and loving entity than the one I had originally discovered in the Bible when I was a child. I had stopped believing in Heaven and Hell entirely and was now firmly convinced that if there was an afterlife, reincarnation was the only logical and plausible possiblity. Conversely, if there was no afterlife and everything simply ended with death, then it didn't much matter what I believed...
Unlike the organized religions to which I'd been exposed over the years, I had no problem reconciling God with reincarnation. The two weren't mutually exclusive in my mind. I considered God a sort of safety net - a sounding board if you will, that helped me along and showed me the way when I was lost or unsure. My genderless God didn't judge, but rather provided guidance, not unlike a loving parent. I leaned on my God's help, prayed every night and gave thanks for all that I had.
The miracles of life were my children. I was in total awe that my body had produced these perfect tiny humans. When my first daughter was born, a love that I had never experienced before simply materialized along with her. From the time I was a very young child I had been a pacifist - I would always turn the other cheek and walk away from violence or conflict of any type. Now, for the first time in my life I understood that if my child was threatened, I wouldn't back down, I would fight to the death and beyond if I had to for her. When she was 16 months old, I became pregnant with my second child. For most of the nine months that I awaited her arrival, I worried that I wouldn't have enough love for 2 children because I had already given it all to the first. I soon discovered my fears were groundless, because when my second daughter was placed in my waiting arms a few minutes after her birth, the love I had to give instantly doubled.
Up to this point in my life, I firmly believed that an idividual's personality was largely influenced by his or her environment. Now with 2 daughters 25 months apart, born into the same environment, the product of the same parents, and logic dictating that they should be alike, I soon discovered just how wrong I was.
My girls were entirely different beings from the moment they were born. Individual traits and personalities were already there and well developed. The oldest was a worrier from the get go. From the time she could talk we couldn't take a Sunday drive without her asking if the we had enough gas, or if we were lost, or if we knew where we are right now. She clearly understood and worried about the ramifications of making a mistake and we had no clue how she came by this trait. The second child was totally different and could care less where we were going or how we got there, as long as we had fun when we arrived. I was astounded at their differences because I had made a point from the very beginning of making a structured, fair and pretty much identical environment for them both. Clearly, somehow they had developed their base personalities without our help, which implies that something else had shaped the people they were. Due to this, my belief in reincarnation became even more firmly entrenched.
While I never experienced any actual past life idicators with either of my girls, at about this same time one of my first cousins also had a young daughter who was 3 or 4 years old. One afternoon as the little girl played with her toys, she casually said to her mother, "I wasn't always your little girl. I had another mommy once." Nonplused by this, my cousin asked, "Oh?". "Yes" said the little one, "but I died at the playground, and then I came here and now you're my mommy".
This type of unsolicited reference to past lives is said to be common in children. They often see and experience things that we adults have been trained to filter out. If children are told often enough that they don't see something, or that they are lying when they describe an experience we don't know about, they'll eventually stop seeing and remembering those things too, thus burying any memories of previous existence. I believe that in our very early years we often have clear memories of other lives we have lived, but because we have to get on with the current 'focus' life, those experiences lie dormant in our minds for most of our lives, until something triggers one and we have a past life memory.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I've always had a healthy respect for the spiritual world and firmly believed that there are malevolent entities on other planes that can be unintentionally 'invited' to join us in our physical universe. These include poltergeists, disembodied entities and other types of base creatures that can wreak havoc if unleashed on this plane. Once on this side or plane, the creatures often become trapped and this results in hauntings, 'demonic' possessions, or just the plain bleak chilliness and mischief that are sometimes experienced in certain places or buildings. So when my children were born in 1979 and 1981, I simply stopped experimenting with the psychic or spiritual, as I was very aware that one could easily attract an unwanted entity by dabbling in the 'black' arts without the protection of an experienced teacher. I was quite content to raise my babies without worrying that they might be affected or exposed to any unwanted spiritual influences.
As the 1970s closed and the 1980s began, I noticed a great shift in religious beliefs and thinking. The rebellious and nonconforming hippies of the 1960s were now seeking spriritual enlightenment to an extent that had not been experienced before. With the prevalence of television and cheap, fast air travel, people were able to experience more ideas, images and lifestyles in rapid succession than had ever been thought possible. Organized religion could no longer hold their congregations solely by blind faith and implied or real threats of punishment in the afterlife - other options were available and easily accessible. Suddenly the western world was exposed to influences from religions other Christianity and it was no longer taboo to discuss ideas like reincarnation and karmic retribution.
In 1983 a famous actress named Shirley MacLaine stunned the conservative western world by publishing a book called Out on a Limb. It was an autobiographical account of her personal search for spirituality, which was quickly followed by two more books recounting her experiences. She appeared on a number of popular talk shows, promoting her books and steadfastly defending her unconventional beliefs. Suddenly, all of the things that I had long studied and believed in had become 'sexy' and fashionable.
Reading Shirley's books reignited my interest in what is now commonly called New Age thinking. I followed Shirley's spiritual journey with rapt interest and not a little envy. I wished that I had her resources so that I could share her experiences and study first hand with the spiritual gurus of the day. She said a lot of things that I agreed with and a few things that I didn't, but thanks to her, once again I was back on my own spiritual journey.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I was always a little disappointed that I didn't have any psychic 'gifts'. I'd never seen a ghost, had a premonition or been able to contact spirits through a seance or ouija board. Still, I had a strong belief that there were people who could do all those things and more - I just wasn't one of them.
I'm not exactly sure when I got my first set of tarot cards, but I think I was 17 or 18. They came with a paperback that described each card and its meaning. I spent hours with them, studying the pictures and reading the interpretations according to how the cards fell in relation to the layout pattern and each other. I liked the Celtic Cross layout and actually got so that I could string a pretty good story together. I was never totally comfortable with my ability though, so didn't use the cards much and eventually gave them up altogether.
At one point I turned my attention to palm reading, with even less luck. I did learn what the main lines on the hand represented, but again, I just didn't get into it. I experimented with a ouija board and I took part in some seances. Nothing really noteworthy happened in either case.
I had better luck reading people's auras. I discovered that everyone has a coloured band of energy around them that shimmers just along the edge of their body. I found that I could see a person's aura if I stared at them and concentrated very hard. It generally worked better in a dark room, but I have been able to see them in daylight as well. While being able to see the aura is kind of fun, I've never really been interested enough to bother reading any books or reference material that might help me interpret what the colours mean.
I've also dabbled in psychic healing (with some success), animal spirit guides, chakras and automatic writing. That still leaves spirit channelling, dream interpretation, runes, voodoo, hoodoo, abra cadabra....you name it.
I think that a majority of humanity believe in the existence of some type of psychic ability or happening, be it the mriacles of Christ, the readings of Edgar Cayce or the tarot card reader in the mall kiosk. The odd thing is that instead of reasoning that a myriad of abilities can exist, many people pick and choose what can and can't be. This may be due to religious upbringing, personal experience, peer pressure, environment, or some other bias. Over the course of my posts, I'll be discussing many of the psychic abilities or beliefs that are mentioned above, and I'll be doing so from the perspective that they are all real and they all exist, even if I personally don't have a specific ability myself.
I hope that the reader will meet these discussions with an open mind, although healthy skepticism is ok, even encouraged.
Monday, October 12, 2009
So, on with this post.
At the same time I was learning about Christian Science, I was still reading my Wheatley books and anything else I could get my hands on that had anything to do with the occult or spiritual. Some of these readings described the existence of truly evil entities and the dangers of participating in such activities as seances, Ouija boards, or out-of-body travel. One of my good friends knew of my interest in the psychic realm and told me that she had an uncle who could "tell fortunes", and he was coming to visit for a week. She'd set something up so that I could meet him and have a reading.
It was a very hot summer afternoon the day I went to meet "Oncle Raymonde". He was a middle aged man and I noticed as he took my hand that he had long, thin fingers. I listened to what he had to say about me and my life, but I wasn't too impressed with his psychic abilities. I had learned from my various readings that many so-called fortune tellers have no special 'gifts' other than a good ability to read people's reactions to what is said. They also know how to ask questions that are designed to actually draw the answers out of the person being "read". These 'psyhics' do all their speaking in generalities that could apply to just about anyone. I didn't say anything or ask any questions, I just let the man talk. The reading was short and so general that I don't really remember anything specific that he said. In all fairness to him, it is possible that at 16 years of age, there wasn't a lot about my life to relate, or perhaps the future he saw for me was so boring he decided to pass.
As we sat outside in the hot summer sun, we conversed lightly about the occult and religion in general; about good and evil and whether things like demonic possession really existed. He said that he certainly believed in the power of evil and that no one should attempt to travel in the astral or physchic planes without knowing how to protect themself. He asked if I knew about the golden rings of protection. I said that I didn't. He took my hand again and told me to close my eyes and picture a long corridor in my mind. I was uncomfortable and unsure of what was coming, but we were outside in the yard in plain sight and my friend was there with us, so eventually I closed my eyes and relaxed. Soon I could picture a long, dark corridor, which I walked down hesitently in my mind. After a while a wooden door appeared and I stood outside for a bit, then with Raymonde's encouragement, I opened the door and stepped inside.
It was a very small room, a closet really, with rough wooden walls, unpainted and unadorned. The wall in front of me was bare, but when I turned to the right, I could see three shimmering gold rings, two were small, about 6" across, the third was about 12" across, and each ring was hanging over a plain nail on the wall. They were really quite breathtaking, shimmering with golden light in such a plain and ordinary room.
I described them to Raymonde. He seemed surprised that there were three, but told me they were my rings of protection and there for me to use at any time and as often as I wished. I need only reach for one in my mind and it could be stretched or condensed to any size to totally encircle the wearer. I could wrap it about myself, or "throw" it around someone else, but I must always remember that whatever was inside the ring couldn't get out and whatever was outside the ring couldn't get in, until I removed the ring and hung it back on the wall. In other words, if I was inside a ring and I thought or visualized something bad or evil, that evil would be turned back on me, the wearer. By the same token, nothing bad or evil outside the ring could reach the wearer unless invited in. They weren't for fun or to be abused, but tools of protection if I ever found myself or a loved on in a dangerous situation. I stood and looked at them a few moments longer, then left the room, closing the door behind me. I stood a few more moments in the corridor, then reopened the door - the rings were still there, glowing softly in the plain bare room. I closed the door and walked away.
When I opened my eyes again, I was immediately aware of the hot summer sun and the sound of bees droning in the flower beds nearby. Raymonde released my hand and I thanked him for his assistance. I can't explain to you how the knowledge of those rings has impacted me, except to say that there is a deep comfort knowing that throughout this life's journey my rings of protection are shimmering softly on the edges of my consciousness.
A sad aside to this story is that Raymonde was killed in an accident just a few months later. I never saw him again, so he never knew what a profound impact the discovery of the golden rings had on my psyche. I have carried the knowledge of their existence all my life, checking in on the room often, but only ever using them once, and that was to protect a loved one, not myself....
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I learned that the First Church of Christ, Scientist was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in Boston , Massachusetts in 1879. Mrs. Eddy wrote a book entitled Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which was intended to be read in conjunction with the King James version of the Bible. If you're interested in learning the full and official explanation of why and how the religion came to be, please consult the Church's official website.
Each day Christian Scientists all over the world read the same "lesson", which is made up of verses from the Bible and companion paragraphs from Science & Health, as predetermined by the Mother Church in Boston. There are no ministers in the church, but instead First and Second Readers, who at Sunday service, read aloud to the congregation all of the passages that had been preselected for each day of the previous week, so if you didn't do your daily readings, you hear them all at the following Sunday service. It's a very comfortable service without all of the dogma I'd come to dislike in my own religion.
In a nutshell, Mrs. Eddy believed that God was omniscient and perfect, and if Man was made in God's image, then physical illness could not exist in Man either. Most devout Christian Scientists do not consult doctors when they are ill. Instead, and often very successfully, they use their faith in God to aid in healing any physical ailments they may contract.
As the months passed and I read my lessons and attended Sunday service, I found a great deal that I could accept and hold. I had long discussions with Peter's grandparents and parents about the merits of spiritual healing. I read and was inspired by Church newsletters containing examples of divine healings that had been documented and accepted. After a while, I began to believe there was something to this divine healing that I had learned about through the First Church of Christ, Scientist.
A few months after I had begun attending church services and reading my lessons, I was diagnosed with a minor physical problem that would require surgery to correct. Frankly, I was afraid of the surgery and began to seriously consider treating the problem in the Christian Science way. When I told my mother this, she made it clear that I could do what I thought was right, but that she and my father would not support me if I took the non-surgical route. I was not yet 18 years old, still in high school and fully dependent on my parents, so I had no choice but to acquiesce and have the surgery. I was in tears when I explained to my future husband's grandparents that I would be having the surgery - I was so sure they would be disappointed in me. Instead, they assured me that they would support me no matter what healing method I pursued. They also explained to me with kindness and understanding that I could combine the medical solution with the spiritual one, and they would help in any way they could.
Through Christian Science I learned that I could refuse to acknowledge sickness (even though it's a hard sell and tough to do). When the physical symptoms of illness are making you miserable or you can see a wound, it's pretty hard to convince yourself that you are whole and well. I admire anyone who can actually do it, but I could not. What I did learn, however, was that there is a definite connection between our minds and our physical symptoms. When I started to feel a cold or headache coming on, I could often stave it off by refusing to accept that I was sick. I could sometimes alleviate simple cold symptoms altogether, sometimes not. For serious illness though, I always sought traditional medical attention, but at the same time focused my mental energy on being well, not on being sick.
While it's been many years since I attended a Christian Science Sunday service or even looked at my copy of Science and Health, what I learned about treating illness with positive thinking and divine energy became an integral part of my life philosophy and remains strong inside me to this day.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The Ka is very busy while we sleep. Besides the problem solving example in my last post, the Ka will often assist disembodied souls who have recently passed from human existence find their way to the the next phase of being and the proverbial "light". The Ka will 'visit' with other entities, both living and 'dead' that are known to it. It will review future happenings and begin preparing the physical mind and body for things to come. It can conduct classes for other less enlightened Kas, to help them as they make their journey through the many phases of being. It may perform healing tasks. And finally, it will just revel in the joy that is life, rejeuvenating and recharging itself so that the physical body and mind can deal with another day.
It's easier to understand just how much happens when we sleep if you think of it this way. If I asked you what you did yesterday, your answer might be something like, "I got up, caught a bus to work, had lunch with my boss, resolved a problem with the photocopier, picked up some groceries, watched Deal or No Deal and went to bed." Sounds perfectly logical - we both can visualize the kind of day you had. Hundreds of other small happens and many conversations happened throughout your day, but when you remember it, only the major happenings come to the fore.
Now if I asked you what you dreamed last night, you might say "I was on a bus trying to fix the photocopier when my boss came in with a bag of groceries and said "Deal or No Deal"? Sounds pretty crazy - kind of a mixed up mess that makes no sense at all. But if you look closely, so was the original description of your day, it's just that with the benefit of chronological time (which is actually only a concept and doesn't really exist), your mind accepts the description of your day as plausible, but the description of your night as illogical. Try to consider this analogy as you weigh the possibility that the Ka exists.
If you think you've never experienced the separation of Ka from body, there is another example that you may be able to identify with. I mentioned in my last post that if the body becomes endangered while the Ka is absent, the Ka will return immediately to reanimate the body so that it can escape the danger. The reverse of this is also true - that is, if the body is in immediate danger and the Ka cannot protect it, the Ka will immediately leave the body to lessen the shock of the body's injury, or even death. This is demonstrated time and again when someone survives, and later describes, a serious accident. If you talk to someone who's been in a serious car accident, generally they won't remember the actual crash at all. They can recall the imminent danger and then waking up after it's over, but the accident itself is a blank spot in their memory. This is because the Ka will immediately exit to spare the body the shock of what may be its death and will certainly be a traumatic and painful event when it is seriously damaged. You can say that the individual "lost consciousness" when the accident occurred. I respond that the Ka is your consciousness and I ask you, where did it go?
This was chillingly illustrated to me around 20 years ago when my sister and I were driving from Halifax to Moncton on a snowy winter evening. Normally, we would not have travelled in such weather, especially in the dark, but our grandfather was ill and we were trying to get home to visit him. My sister was driving her car, a 2 door Camero, which is probably not exactly the best type of vehicle for extended winter driving, but she is an excellent driver and we were determined to just take our time and arrive in Moncton safely.
The drive was uneventful for the first hour and a half, the traffic wasn't too bad and we chatted amicably as the miles passed. The highway at that time wound through the Wentworth Valley and wasn't twinned. We passed safely through the Valley and were coming up on Streets Ridge. A large transport truck had come up behind us, close enough that we enjoyed the advantage of its headlights, but far enough back that we didn't feel threatened by its proximity.
As we approached a level crossing, we saw the car in front of us move into the left lane so that it could turn left across the highway. Because traffic was approaching from the other direction, the turning car waited to for the road to clear. On the other side, to our right, a half-ton pickup sat waiting to cross the highway, and of course behind us, the transport truck was travelling at speed. We were directly beside the car that was waiting to turn left when the pickup truck suddenly pulled into our lane from the right. We were completely trapped -there was no way to escape collision and if we stopped, the transport truck would ride right up over us. I heard the loud blare of the transport's air horn, closed my eyes and steeled myself for the impact.
My next memory is of the car moving quietly along the highway through the swirling snow, my sister's hands locked on the wheel, her eyes straight ahead. In the eerie silence my mind took stock of an impossibility - the car was fine, I was fine, we were still on the road, the transport's lights still illuminating our way. Neither of us spoke for several minutes, then my sister said, "What just happened and why are we still here?" I answered, "I have no idea". We carried on in silence for a very long time. To this day neither of us knows how or why we escaped what should have been a very serious accident. We only know that we both lost consciousness for the seconds it took to carry us through, and neither of us saw what actually happened.
In a future post, I'll talk about this event again, but my purpose in discussing it here is to illustrate that our Kas had removed themselves from the imminent danger, and only returned when the danger had passed.
Even though they are separate, the Ka and the body are absolutely and totally connected. However, the body is merely the mechanical vessel and cannot survive without the essence (Ka) of the living being it contains. When the cord between them is severed, the body dies.
Throughout junior high and high school I had continued to read anything and everything I could get my hands on that smacked of the occult. I still believed in God, but wasn't sure about the Devil or whether Heaven and Hell existed. I was still searching for the answers when I duly handed in my summer reading list, a little worried, but mostly amused by what she might think of the titles. When Mrs. White returned my homework, she also handed me a little advertising leaflet and said nothing about my reading choices, except "This came in the mail last week - perhaps you'll find it of interest".
The leaflet was an advertisement for a series of books written by British author Dennis Wheatley. I'd never heard of him. Each volume would be bound in a red leatherette cover with gold lettering on 'premium' paper. They were $8.95 each plus shipping and handling and would be delivered 2 per month, but only upon my approval. My eyes glanced over the list of titles and descriptions, many of which contained reference to occult matters. Hmmm, sounded interesting, but they were a lot of money for a high school student whose part time job paid $1/hr.
I stayed after class and asked Mrs. White about the author. "He's one of my favourites", she said, "I'll lend you one of his books and then you can decide". I can't remember now which book she loaned me, but I do remember that I couldn't put it down. In no time at all the order for my first 2 volumes was on its way.
It was through the Wheatley books that I first encountered the concept of the "Ka", which can loosely be described as the life force that animates a living human body. Connected to its physical body by a silvery cord, the Ka has the ability to leave the physical realm and travel unimpeded throughout the various Astral planes (which are themselves a topic for another post). While most people are not conscious of the actions of their Ka, some do have the ability to remain in control when their Ka is active and can direct its movements in much the same way they control their physical body.
We are all aware that something animates us - that we are sentient - we know we exist. Some refer to this as the soul, some call it a life force - I prefer to use Wheatley's term and I consider my non-physical being to be my Ka. Generally, your Ka leaves your physical body only (but always) when you sleep. It remains connected to your physical body, but can travel at will instantly, not only in this world, but across the boundaries that separate us from the spiritual worlds inhabited by disembodied souls as well. If your physical body experiences danger while it's sleeping, the Ka will return immediately to reanimate it and remove it from danger, but if the Ka becomes severed from the body, the body will die and the Ka will exist only on the non-physical planes of existence.
Ok - that's quite a concept! Can I prove it??
No, like many religious or spiritual matters, proof is impossible, but I can relate a couple of my experiences and ask you to consider some of your own.
In theory, when you sleep, the Ka leaves your body and begins its 'work'. This work includes any number of tasks in any number of scenarios. If you're experiencing a specific problem or challenge in your waking life, your Ka may expend some of its energy trying out different solutions, some of which you may remember when you wake, or may even be so clear and significant that the solution actually awakens you from your sleep. Most of us can think of a time when an answer came to us in our sleep. There are many other tasks that I'll cover in the next post, but this example is one of the more commonly remembered and is described here to help you understand the Ka concept.
The concept of having a Ka intriqued me, so I had begun experimenting with remaining in control of my Ka when I fell asleep. Night after night I practiced relaxation techniques and tried to remain conscious when my body slipped into sleep. Nothing ever happened. It just didn't work.
Then late one night, while travelling by train from Moncton to Montreal for a vacation with my friend Norma, I was almost asleep and thinking sadly about the fact that I had left my new boyfriend behind and wouldn't see him for a week. Suddenly, without warning, I found myself back in Moncton, hovering near the ceiling in my boyfriend's bedroom. I could clearly see him sitting on his bed, reading - every aspect of the room complete, real and full colour. He was totally unaware of me. I watched in absolute awe for just a few seconds, when the enormity of what was happening hit me and I experienced total panic. Oh my god! I'd left my body behind on a train somewhere in rural Quebec! What the hell?? Again without warning, I literally SLAMMED back into my body on the train. I mean I hit so hard it was a physical blow. I opened my eyes and stared around me, taking in the sleeping passengers and gentle rocking of the passenger car as we rolled along through the night. Norma was sleeping quietly in the seat next to me, blissfully unaware that I had just travelled several hundred miles and back in split seconds. I took a deep breath and pondered that journey long into the night. When I fell asleep again, it was into a deep and dreamless place.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Whoa! you might say, or perhaps, No way! Truly, this was the last and most difficult concept for me to grasp as well, and I hope through this and future posts to introduce this idea to you in a way that you can understand and accept.
How many times have you and a close friend or spouse said the same thing at exactly the same time? When it happens, you usually chuckle and say something like 'great minds think alike' and simply carry on your conversation. Honestly, it happens so often for many of us that we don't see it as unusual or remarkable. In truth, those moments are usually due to being reminded of an experience we've shared together in the past, thus triggering the same response in the present, therefore easily explained and perfectly logical.
Maybe not be so easily explained and perfectly logical is when this happens to us with a stranger or casual acquaintence. It is plausaible that occasionally this occurs because of a common life experience - perhaps a scene from a movie, tv show, or a passage from a book that we're both aware of - but sometimes the cause is simply not apparent or easily explained. And while we're comfortable when this happens with someone close to us, it's generally uncomfortable and even eerie when it happens with a stranger. How do we rationalize it then?
Then there's that "deja vu" feeling that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives - that moment in a conversation or while visiting a new location that we suddenly and inexplicably feel an "I've done this before" sensation. Often the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and/or your arms and legs are beset with gooseflesh, because you know on a primal or instinctive level that you've been here/done this before. How do we rationalize this?
Many of you have at one time or another consulted a fortune teller or psychic, perhaps looking for answers and/or advice about happenings in your life, or maybe wondering what the future holds. Others have participated in a seance or visited a medium in hopes of connecting with a deceased relative or loved one. Still others have consulted reiki healers in an attempt to alieviate painful or incurable health issues. Almost everyone has read their horoscope. The list goes on and on. We all know that there are individuals who have, or purport to have, physchic powers beyond the average. Some of us believe, others have a healthy skepticism and still others dismiss such "powers" outright. Who is right?
When I was growing up it was commonly said that we only use 10% of our brains. Today we know that to be untrue, but I think it may be true that we don't yet understand 10% of what our brains are capable of, and maybe, just maybe, there is more to each of us than we realize.
So now the basic building blocks are in place and all the posts that follow will outline the steps and events of a lifetime that brought me here.