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inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #26 of 63: Kevin Wheeler (krome) Fri 21 Jun 13 18:37
    
My last post was written from my phone with auto-correct from hell.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #27 of 63: Holle (dodge1234) Fri 21 Jun 13 19:10
    <scribbled by dodge1234>
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #28 of 63: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 22 Jun 13 05:52
    
Another question related to the Course in Miracles: how does its
content align with the teachings of Gurdjieff, and the teachings of the
Buddha? Another way to ask: to what extent do these teachings align
with each other? 
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #29 of 63: Julie Rehmeyer (jrehmeyer) Sat 22 Jun 13 08:24
    
I haven't had a chance to read your book, Richard, and given that I'm
getting married in less than a week, I won't have a chance during this
discussion. So this is a highly uninformed question, but I'm intrigued
by your book and work. I'd be very interested to hear you pick out one
or a few things that you've found especially profound in this area.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #30 of 63: Richard Smoley (richardsmoley) Sat 22 Jun 13 08:51
    
Wow. That is certainly a spate of questions. Castaneda: if he was
intent, as he said, on erasing personal history, that would include his
history as an anthropologist. His first book was published as a (more
or less) straight anthropological work with UC Press, but the others
took on a more popular turn. He wanted to be an enigma, and he got his
wish.

A Course in Miracles and Gurdjieff and Buddhism: you could do a
compare and contrast with them, but I don't know how illuminating that
would be. They all stand on their own and have their own goals.
Gurdjieff's teaching was about waking from the sleep of everyday life
so that it would be possible to reconnect with a higher energy.
Buddhism teaches the escape from suffering through the healing of
anger, greed, and obliviousness. For the Course, forgiveness is
central. This is, it says, emphatically not the world that God made.
This is a world that the ego made in which to hide from God. Since God
did not create it, it is not real and has no consequence. It can be
escaped simply by relinquishing "attack thoughts" and forgiving. Easily
said, but not always so easy to do.

Theosophy: as a matter of complete disclosure, I am on the payroll of
the Theosophical Society (I edit the magazine and serve as editor of
their imprint, Quest Books). Just so you know. Its essential teaching
is that everything, from the tiniest subatomic particle to the vastest
galaxy, is endowed with a spark of consciousness. This consciousness
has the task of growing and evolving through many different life forms
and incarnations, of which the human is only one and not by any means
the highest. Thus it teaches evolution of a vastly more comprehensive
kind than the Darwinian version. H.P. Blavatsky (1831-91) was its
guiding genius and theoretician, and many consider her work The Secret
Doctrine to be an extremely important esoteric document. (I personally
have never gotten a lot out of it.)

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was an Austrian philosopher who was
initially aligned with the Theosophical Society but broke with it in
1912 and founded his own Anthroposophical Society. The teachings are
broadly similar, although there are also quite a few differences. And
yes, the Theosophists have gone through their share of schisms, which
were really more about personalities than about doctrines. The
Theosophical Society based in Adyar, India (I work for the American
branch), is the original one and still the largest. Its largest branch
is actually the Indian section.

It's the case that Theosophy saw its heyday from, say, 1880 to 1930.
Its leaders (including, but not limited to, Blavatsky) were then
charismatic and powerful. Annie Besant, who head the TS from 1907 to
1933, was among other things an outspoken voice for Indian independence
for Britain, and the Theosophical Society always had connections
(though not official ones) with Indian independence movements. Gandhi
knew and respected Besant, although she sometimes regarded his tactics
as too confrontational.

Congratulations on your wedding, Julie! I don't have anything that
pops out to suggest, but maybe you'll find a strand or two in all of
the foregoing that you may find of interest.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #31 of 63: Linda Castellani (castle) Sat 22 Jun 13 16:32
    <scribbled by castle Sat 22 Jun 13 18:19>
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #32 of 63: Linda Castellani (castle) Sun 23 Jun 13 15:48
    
If the heyday of Theosophy ended in 1930, what about it keeps it
relevant and thriving today?  

You describe its basic teaching as:

"...everything, from the tiniest subatomic particle to the vastest
galaxy, is endowed with a spark of consciousness. This consciousness
has the task of growing and evolving through many different life forms
and incarnations, of which the human is only one and not by any means
the highest. Thus it teaches evolution of a vastly more comprehensive
kind than the Darwinian version."

That *sort of* aligns with the concept of "As above, so below," which
I've run across in more than one philosophy, and the part about growing
and evolving through lifeforms and incarnations, sounds like what
Michael Newton writes about when describing what he calls Life Between
Lives.  Are you familiar with his work?

 
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #33 of 63: Richard Smoley (richardsmoley) Sun 23 Jun 13 16:47
    
I think the THeosophical Society as an organization does provide a
place where people of various different beliefs can gather and explore
what interests them. Since it's not a religious organization per se, it
doesn't require any specific beliefs to join--only a general sympathy
with its "Three Objects":

To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without
distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color.
To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy and
science.
To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in
humanity.

I'm not familiar with Michael Newton or his work. Could you tell me a
little more about it?
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #34 of 63: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 24 Jun 13 12:42
    
I'm definitely interested in unexplained laws of nature...if someone
wanted to know more, is there a link for them to click?

I'd be happy to tell you about Michael Newton, but I want to comment
on the fact that when I talk about it, or anything related to my
interests in the paranormal or supernatural, I always feel the need for
a disclaimer because topics like that are so often dismissed or
received with hostility.  If you go to <paranormal.ind>, you'll find
that there isn't a lot there, in spite of my hopes for conversations in
which people talk about their paranormal experiences.  The reason is
that one reader seemed solely interested in refuting so much of what
was posted that it was impossible to have a conversation without
devolving into defending the experience instead of exploring it.

Do you find a similar reluctance or hostile reception?
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #35 of 63: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 24 Jun 13 13:40
    
And speaking of feeling defensive and heading off the hostile
reception, I discovered Michael Newton here on the WeLL, when someone
posted "I bought Journey of Souls today, because I am interested in
things like that."  "Things like that" was almost code for "what people
don't want to talk about," so I had to investigate.

I bought his first book, Journey of Souls, and was totally captivated
after an initial hesitation.

Michael Newton is a psychologist, still alive, in his 80's, retired
after 30 plus years in practice.

Hypnosis was one of the tools he used.  He would use that tool with
some patients to do past life regressions PLRs), with the idea that the
key to problems his clients were having now might be resolved by
exploring experiences from past lives.

Now, I had some reservations about PLRs because I first became
interested in metaphysics at a time when there were metaphysical
centers all over the place, all of which seemed to offer PLRs.  So I
never put much stock in them.  This was my initial hesitation:  "Oh,
no!  Not past life regressions!"

What made Newton's work different was that, doing a PLR with a
patient, the patient didn't regress from their currently life into
their past lives, the patient went instead to a life between lives,
between incarnations, similar to the Buddhist and Tibetan concept of
the bardo.

And this is where my interest was truly piqued.

Journey of Souls is based on 30 case histories of these journeys. 
What was fascinating to Newton (and to me), was how similar the stories
of what happened when they died were.

The book is organized based on these similarities.  The first few
describe the immediate experience, whose details were pretty consistent
from patient-to-patient, so subsequent descriptions eliminated those
and started with what came next, and so one throughout all of the
cases.  Later, he published another set of cases under the title
Destiny of Souls, that go into increasingly more detailed descriptions
of what happens, where they are, and what they are doing.  Ostensibly
what *everyone* is doing.  Why did this speak to me and cause me to
accept the information?  What people were saying about how they prepare
for incarnations (here or on many, many other planets and places
throughout the "universe," which doesn't describe the magnitude of the
"place")matched my pre-birth experiences, which I thought were mine
alone, never having spoken to anyone else who had similar experiences.

Michael Newton went on to create the Michael Newton Institute, where
he trained scores of other psychologists in his methods, and the book, 
Memories of the Afterlife, are case studies taken from the work of the
new generation of MNI-trained physchologists.

Filmmaker Rich Martini fell into this also, and started doing research
for the purpose of making a movie.  He wrote a book called 
Flipside: A Tourist's Guide on How to Navigate the Afterlife which was
published this past May, and he's made a movie called Flipside: A
Journey Into the Afterlife, in which he has captured actual sessions,
in case you or any of our readers might like to explore these concepts
in a very accessible manner.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #36 of 63: Richard Smoley (richardsmoley) Mon 24 Jun 13 15:36
    
That's fascinating, Linda. I've certainly known people who have done
past-life regressions--probably the late Roger Woolger is the
best-known of them--but I hadn't heard about any work in regression to
the bardos.

I suppose the best approach to this is phenomenological. Whether the
results really do correspond to actual interlife (or past-life)
states--which would be very difficult to determine--they say an
enormous amount about the individual going through the experience. What
does it say about me that I am seeing my life in this particular way
from this particular angle? If I believe (or experience) that my
previous incarnation was XYZ, why is this particular information coming
up?
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #37 of 63: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 24 Jun 13 16:27
    
Those are exactly the questions.

They are guided while undergoing hypnosis to return to the life with
experience pertinent to the life they are leading now.  I find it
useful in everyday life to pay attention to what comes up for me
because it's always pertinent.

There is a MNI group on Facebook that I belong to, so, if you decide
to pursue an interview, I can recommend some practitioners, and
possibly some people who have had PLRs and LBLs.

Did you want to comment on what I said about having to be circumspect
when talking about the types of things you include in your book?  I
think all the subjects are interesting and I could listen and read
forever, but if I'm not careful about my audience, people will look at
me askance and remember an urgent appointment across town.  I think
it's a mistake to require scientific evidence and reproducible results.
 Spiritual experiences don't generally happen on demand.   Although, I
think Dr. Newton's work has come the closest to being reproducible. 
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #38 of 63: descend into a fractal hell of meta-truthiness (jmcarlin) Mon 24 Jun 13 19:58
    

About reincarnation, I found the studies by Dr. Ian Stevenson to be most
intriguing because of the methodology he used. Specifically, when
a child remembers a past life strongly enough for someone to verify dates
and places and has a birthmark which corresponds to an injury suffered
by the person in a prior life, the research becomes interesting. Of course
it's controversial, but he seems to me to have been a cautious and careful
investigator.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #39 of 63: Richard Smoley (richardsmoley) Tue 25 Jun 13 07:15
    
In light of all this, it was amusing to read in The Economist this
week the delicate dance over the Dalai Lama's status and whether he
will choose to be reincarnated in China or elsewhere. Of course the
Chinese will have no trouble finding a suitable candidate whom they can
mold to their wishes. Except this doesn't always work--look at the
Krishnamurti case.

I know he has said that he has thought about not reincarnating
anymore.

In terms of past-life regressions, there are the phenomena and what
you make of the phenomena. I did a past-life journey with some people
in a spiritual group I was leading several years ago. One woman had a
vision that her mother was a black widow spider. This alarmed her
deeply, and she never returned to the group.

I did not say much about it at the time. In the back of my head I
supposed that it was some kind of Freudian issue--obvious enough. But
later it occurred to me to ask what would have happened if this had
been in a Native American group. The leader might have said, "You had a
vision of Grandmother Spider! Very auspicious!" The outcome might have
been quite different.

As I say, this only occurred to me later.

I certainly agree that these matters aren't for everyone. But it's
really not so different from other areas in life. For example, I am
utterly and completely indifferent to spectator sports of any kind.
Occasionally people will try to make conversation with me about the
subject, but it's like talking to the dog. People who know me
better--say, my in-laws--know enough to talk about something else. I
think spiritual matters are the same way, although of course there is
more emotional charge attached to them, and reactions are stronger.
People tend to find these experiences powerful and meaningful, and it's
painful to have them dismissed or derided, as they often are. So
discretion becomes the better part of valor...
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #40 of 63: Paulina Borsook (loris) Tue 25 Jun 13 10:39
    
yeah, one learns early on: generally dont mention the tonedeaf/colorblind
indifference to sports and dont share (except with very trusted intimates)
about the spirit life.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #41 of 63: Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 25 Jun 13 12:43
    
Which is a shame, because we have a lot to learn from each other.

Another area of interest for me is ghosts or spirit activity.  Which,
of course, I can never talk about.

I have had too many experiences to dismiss the existence of some sort
of energy that seems to stick around and not enter the realms of the
afterlife that we've been talking about.

[Confession:  I have well over 100 TiVo Season Passes, many of whose
titles include the words "ghost," "haunted," "supernatural," "secrets,"
"unexplained," "paranormal," and the like.  Even so, I am
discriminating, and the content of the show has to rise above the
tendency to simply accept that every single thing is evidence of the
paranormal.  I prefer the shows that attempt to find alternate
explanations, and only after not finding any do they say that maybe,
perhaps, possibly it's evidence of spirit activity. And each show is
different in what kind of evidence it accepts.  They can't agree on
whether or not orbs are paranormal. Some dismiss them outright, others 
see them as evidence of spirits.  I'm currently out to lunch on the
subject, having not encountered them.]

One thing that bothers me is the number of times an investigator will
be scratched or burned by some unseen entity that is ascribed to
negative or demonic energy.  It bothers me because negative or demonic
energy doesn't fit in with my view of the afterlife.  

So, Richard, what have you learned:  Are There Demons Among Us?
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #42 of 63: Paulina Borsook (loris) Tue 25 Jun 13 14:43
    
(wrt #41)



not sure learning can take place in these realms.

as far as i can tell, the interest in sports/athletic competition has
existed in most human societies (charioteers, bull jumpers, and further back
and in al hemispheres); those of us who dont have the sports receptors are
outliers.

i feel with sports 'i see that you get something from playing/watching
whatever and i intellectually understand the emotions + engagement --- but
not for me. i dont like marzipan either so quit telling me how great it is'.

as for engagement with the suprarational, i also feel the majority of people
do not have the receptors for it so why bother talking with them about that
which they arent likely to ever experience?

in fact i am far more put off by folks who feel they can through study or a
weekend workshop develop these receptors. in my experience people either
have them or they dont.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #43 of 63: Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 25 Jun 13 14:55
    
>i feel with sports 'i see that you get something from
playing/watching
>whatever and i intellectually understand the emotions + engagement
--- >but not for me. i dont like marzipan either so quit telling me how
great >it is'.

I am so with you in regard to sports AND marzipan!

>as for engagement with the suprarational, i also feel the majority of
>people do not have the receptors for it so why bother talking with
>them about that which they arent likely to ever experience?

Do you think there are actually receptors, or just an awareness?  Or,
more likely, lack thereof?  Which would imply that awareness could
shift...?
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #44 of 63: descend into a fractal hell of meta-truthiness (jmcarlin) Tue 25 Jun 13 15:48
    

> It bothers me because negative or demonic
> energy doesn't fit in with my view of the afterlife.  

There are many models of the afterlife with negative realms from the
Tibetan Buddhist/Chinese to more modern descriptoins.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #45 of 63: Cliff Dweller (robinsline) Tue 25 Jun 13 17:05
    
I confess to belonging generally in the dismissive, eye-rolling camp
when it comes to the supernatural; however, I do accept the idea of
so-called extra-sensory perception. I know people who are highly
sensitive to others, and some who are completely clueless.  I feel that
I am fairly perceptive about the emotions of others, and assume there
are people far more highly evolved in this ability, as there are people
far less so.  How does what (used to be called?) ESP fit into this? As
I am not a student of this, I don't know how this concept fits into
more sophisticated thinking on the subject.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #46 of 63: Clare Eder (ceder) Tue 25 Jun 13 20:20
    <scribbled by ceder Wed 26 Jun 13 09:21>
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #47 of 63: Clare Eder (ceder) Tue 25 Jun 13 20:22
    <scribbled by ceder Wed 26 Jun 13 09:22>
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #48 of 63: Stoney Tangawizi (evan) Tue 25 Jun 13 20:29
    
 OK, that's scary.
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #49 of 63: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 26 Jun 13 04:54
    
(Posts 46-47 hidden; they seem to have been meant for another topic.)
  
inkwell.vue.467 : Richard Smoley, Supernatural: Writings on an Unknown History
permalink #50 of 63: Richard Smoley (richardsmoley) Wed 26 Jun 13 07:32
    
Well, people who are haunted by evil images and terrors are
experiencing something, so I suppose you could say there are demons, if
only self-created ones.

But that doesn't tell us whether demons exist in some way that is
independent of an individual's mind. I personally think that certain
strata of the unseen worlds harbor beings that possess their own
existence--at least to the extent that we do. Some of these may be
positive or friendly; others may be hostile.

But I tend to think of it by analogy with the natural world. There are
types of animals and plants that are friendly to us; there are others
that are hostile and poisonous. Usually if we don't impinge upon their
territories, they are neither. Even their appearance is not necessarily
a guide; some of the most horrifying things you will ever see are
pictures of creatures from extremely deep levels of the sea--who never
encounter us and, because of the pressure differences, would explode if
they touched us.
  

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