(Q) Part II – New Information, Miraculous Events, and Book Reviews
It is my intent in this section of the website to mention any new additions to those chapters already published. Also, here I will post any new information or articles that are not, nor will be, included elsewhere on this website. The most recent post will appear at the top and all others will follow in (P) Part I – New Information, Miraculous Events and Book Reviews in their respective chronological order. A reader new to this section of the website is advised (although it is not necessary) to read from the bottom up and, starting with (P) Part II [here]. In some cases the post’s contents are linked to the contents of the one previous to it.
December 16, 2016
“The Secret History of Dreaming” by Robert Moss
(continued from post below dated December 1, 2016 – please read that post first)
In Islam – The ancient history of dreaming and a pre-Darwin theory of evolution.
Moss finishes his chapter titled Divine Dreaming with some information about the importance of dreaming and dream interpretation in the history of Islam. He introduces us to two medieval Arabic books. The first, produced in the 4th century by a certain al-Khallal, is titled The Classes of the Dream Interpreters. It contains the life histories of no less than 7,500 people who were dream interpreters. And, reflects on dream interpretation not only in the Muslim world but also includes an awareness of other dream interpretation traditions; especially Greek, Jewish and Indian.
What is most interesting though is the second book the “Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun,” an introduction to a universal history composed in 1377. Moss describes Ibn Khaldun as “a philosopher of history with a searching, far-ranging mind.” Five centuries before Darwin, he offered a theory of evolution, daring to suggest that in the course of life on earth, lower forms have always had a tendency to evolve into higher forms. “… The higher stage of man is reached from the world of the monkeys.” Humans, in turn, may evolve to the level of angels.
The most arresting of Idm Khaldun’s essays is the one devoted to the various types of human beings who have supernatural perception either through natural disposition or through exercise. He argues that human history unfolds through engagement with suprahuman forces. And, that a key requirement for civilization is the presence and activity of individuals who are alive to the hidden order of events and can mediate between humanity and higher powers. [Quite reminiscent of Rudolph Steiner’s “How to Know Higher Worlds” featured on this Miracles For All website]. Idm Khaldun states that, “God created man in such a way that the veil of the senses could be lifted through sleep. And when the veil is lifted, the soul is ready to learn the things it desires to know in the world of truth.” “Every human being has, more than once, seen something in his sleep that turned out to be true when he awakened.” He adds, what is possible in sleep “is not impossible in other conditions …”
America’s Founding Fathers Benjamin Rush and John Adams
In chapter 6 titled, How Dreaming Gets Us Through, Moss advises that the Founding Fathers John Adams (1735 – 1826) the first Vice President and second President of the United States, and Benjamin Rush (1746 – 1813) a Philadelphian physician and politician (both signed the Declaration of Independence) were avid dreamers and exchanged dreams; one of which restored the friendship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (Jefferson beat Adams in his second bid for the Presidency). Apparently President Adams and Dr. Rush corresponded with extraordinary intimacy and liveliness: the doctor’s wife said they wrote to each other like “two young girls [writing] about their sweethearts.” And that Adams had “a heart formed for friendship” and shared it with the doctor without hesitation.
Moss cites a couple of dreams these men had. For example, Rush reported a dream in which he became president and used his power to bring about prohibition. This resulted in a storm of protest and, finally, a visit from a wise old man who counseled him that “the empire of habit” is stronger than “the empire of reason” and must be respected. Rush was a supporter of prohibition, until this dream.
As a doctor and pioneer psychiatrist, Dr. Rush recorded the dreams of his patients and used them in diagnosis. He had also been keenly interested in precognitive dreams and developed a lifelong habit of journaling his own dreams.
Here I will add that it was at this time I reached for another book on my nightstand about dreaming I had yet to look into. The title of the book is “Dreaming – an introduction to the science of sleep” by J. Allen Hobson a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (published in 2002). I flipped through the book looking at pages highlighted in gray [by the publisher] to illustrate their significance. The text in two of these pages are under the heading that asks, “Can dreams foretell the future?” The author states, “There is absolutely no scientific evidence for this theory and considerable scientific evidence against it.” He goes on to say that “… dreaming about a loved one at a time when that loved one’s life is threatened is not in the least bit surprising.” “If the dreamer then calls and finds that the individual has died, it is understandable for him or her to assume that the dream was a premonition of that death.” Hobson advises that these are merely coincidental correspondences, etc.
Back to Moss’ book: Rush wrote Adams in 1809 where he describes a dream wherein his son showed him a page from a history of the United States. The dream page described “the renewal of the friendship and intercourse between Mr. John Adams and Mr. Jefferson, two ex-Presidents of the United States.” (They had been good friends then became bitter political rivals). The dream history then added, “These gentleman sunk into the grave nearly at the same time,” having outlived their adversaries.
Their reconciliation was not immediate. However, in 1812, on New Year’s Day, three years later, Adams penned a careful overture to Jefferson and the two former presidents moved quickly and gratefully to full reconciliation. Fourteen years later, they both died but a few hours apart: Jefferson in Monticello, Virginia, and Adams in Quincy, Massachusetts, on the 4th of July 1826; exactly 50 years following the issuance of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 – considered the birth of the new nation.
Joan of Arc
Having finished reading the chapter above I placed my book marker on chapter 7 titled, Joan of Arc and the Tree-Seers thinking to myself this should be interesting for I know very little about Joan of Arc.
Then later that evening at “A Course In Miracles” book meeting one of the fellows attending mentioned his admiration of Gandhi (1869 – 1948) and Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) for the mystical guidance they followed thus resulting in the ousting of British forces from India and France over the course of their respective time periods. Then, during an early morning hike the following day with a hiking group I hike with on occasion, I was chatting with a fellow who mentioned something about a woman welder whom he had contracted to do work for him who had named her company Joan of Arc. That evening I resumed reading the book and in chapter 10 titled Mark Twain’s Rhyming Life I read: “When Sam [Mark Twain was Samuel Clemens’ pseudonym] was fourteen, a page of text flapped along the street like a fall leaf and wrapped itself around his leg. When he removed it, he found it was from a book about Joan of Arc.” This eventually led to his works titled “Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.”
Other than the synchronicities I experienced associated with the Joan of Arc chapter I’ll refrain from giving a more in-depth description of the author’s review of her life. For the sake of brevity, I shall leave it to the reader to acquire the book should they wish to know more.
Mark Twain’s Dreams and Synchronicities
In the chapter titled Mark Twain’s Rhyming Life Moss informs us that Twain experienced a significant precognitive dream, numerous coincidences [synchronicities] – too numerous, Twain felt, to be considered insignificant – and, what he referred to as telegraphy [telepathy] in his life and was quite inspired by these events. The dream, foretelling the details of his brother’s death on a riverboat is reported below in the post dated August 12, 2016, “William James and the Search for Proof of Life After Death.” Twain’s dream life contributed much to his creativity as writer and when speaking in public he recommended that one write their dreams down.
During this time I watched a couple of videos (I have no idea what prompted me to watch these particular videos): one, an interview with, and the other a lecture by Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997). Dr. Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and holocaust survivor (he spent three years in three concentration camps during WWII). He states in these videos that the most important quality that another can achieve in life, beyond anything else and regardless of one’s circumstances, was the discovery of their life’s meaningfulness. He cites that love kept him going while in the concentration camps. He would think of and feel the love he had for his wife (also interned somewhere, he knew not where or even if she was alive) and this kept him going while in such a dire state. He said that the image of her in his mind was so much more than a memory; that it obtained a life-like quality and this gave him the will to going on living. Frankl goes on to say that it matters not what your circumstances are; even if you are dying of cancer and have but days to live. That even in those last hours and regardless of one’s other qualities (rich or poor, well-educated or illiterate, CEO or janitor, athletic or crippled) finding the meaningfulness, what truly matters in one’s life, is what that life is for.
After watching the videos, that very evening, I began reading where I had left off in the same chapter about how a synchronistic event, a conversation Twain overheard, led him to call on Ulysses S. Grant (image on left) to urge him to write his memoirs which no one else had be able to do. Twain offered him 75% of the profits from the book; a sum that would make any author swoon in any era according to Moss. When Grant accepted Mark Twain became a book publisher. Moss states that an overheard remark produced a runaway bestseller, a work of lasting importance that rescued Grant’s family from financial distress. And, gave him the will to go on living and working while an excruciatingly painful illness (cancer of the throat) ate away at his life. Grant died of starvation just five days after he finished his editorial revisions. Mark Twain’s personal profit from Grant’s book also made him a very wealthy man.
Twain believed that “mesmeric currents” flow across mountains and deserts, thousands of miles between like-minded souls, souls that resonate with each other, telepathically transmitting information. [This is along the lines of Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance theory described here below [in the post dated July 22, 2016] and in greater detail on this “Miracles For All” website in chapter (K) Rupert Sheldrake “Morphic Resonance.”] Twain also had what he was pleased to refer to as a “superstition.” If he wanted to hear from someone he would write that person a letter then tear the letter up. Infallibly, he claimed, he would then receive a letter from the person to whom he had written. He described it as a superstition of the most practical kind: it worked.
Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung on Synchronicity
In chapter 11 titled The Man Who Blew Things Up we are introduced to Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung. Wolfgang Pauli (1900 – 1958) was an Austrian-born, Swiss and American theoretical physicist and one of the pioneers of quantum physics. The “Pauli effect” is named after the odd ability of his to break experimental equipment simply by being in the vicinity. These strange occurrences were in line with his investigations into parapsychology in collaboration with Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875 – 1961). Jung believed that among the central concepts of analytical psychology is individuation – the process of the differentiation of the self out of each individual’s conscious and unconscious elements. He created some of the best known psychological concepts: synchronicity, archetypal phenomena, the collective unconscious, etc. Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity.
Moss tells us that Jung suffered a heart attack whilst seeking medical help for an injury to his leg and nearly died. He felt he was leaving the Earth which he could view as if from a thousand miles above and was content to let “the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence” fall away. When in this state, and about to enter a temple, his heart specialist floated up and told him there was a protest on earth about his departure and that he must return. The cardiologist died not long after his recovery and Jung felt that in some way their lives had been traded.
Synchronicities and overlapping dreams involving his students and associates abounded during and after his medical crisis; as is often the case when life and death are being experienced most passionately, Moss claims. One of Jung’s students had succumbed to a terrible case of the flu and nearly died. She recovered after Jung appeared to her in a vision [during the time of his illness] and told her urgently, “I have decided to go back to the Earth; get back into your own body as quickly as you can.”
Jung firmly maintained at the end of WWII that work for positive change has to focus on the individual because “the psychopathology [in this case, people’s mental health considered collectively] of the masses is rooted in the psychology of the individual.” Moss informs us that he was drawn to reflect on group thought-forms and the possibility that a whole collective can be possessed by them. He had noticed that as early as 1918 in the dreams and preoccupations of his German patients “peculiar disturbances … which could not be ascribed to their personal psychology.” “… there was a disturbance of the collective unconscious in every one of my German patients.” He saw that Hitler’s rise was made possible by “an upheaval of forces lying dormant in the unconscious, ready to break through all moral barriers.” As the full horror of Nazism unfolded, Jung came to believe not only that Hitler was possessed by a dark force but also that the collective mind of the German people had been possessed.
Note: I had no idea the book was going in this direction when I viewed the Viktor Frankl videos mentioned above. I had a German immigrant teacher in the 5th grade (he would come to our class and teach us German) and I clearly recall his saying that the terrible events of WWII were the result of groupthink and described what groupthink was. For some reason this had quite a profound psychological impact on me which I can honestly say did much to mold my personality.
Moss informs that in a recent study, Suzanne Gieser defines Jung’s “spiritual testament” theory of synchronicity as follows: “… an attempt to pinpoint, alongside the law of causality, another factor ordering the world of our experience – a factor which builds on relatively simultaneously occurring constellations [groups] of a certain [like, or similar] quality or significance.” Pauli disagreed, for him meaningful coincidence has to do with the intersection of timeless forces with the world of time; the understory beneath and behind surface events irrupting into our field of perception. This certainly produces synchronous experiences but can also generate “rhyming” sequences played out, in dreaming and in waking over days, weeks or years. Meaningful coincidence to Pauli is the convergence of an internal condition related by meaningfulness with an external event; as though the world is mirroring back your thought or commenting on it.
Moss’ book goes into far more detail about Pauli’s and Jung’s insights on synchronicity which I will not go into further here. This chapter alone is worth the price of the book.
Note: Rhyming, as is used here and in chapter 10 titled, “Mark Twain’s Rhyming Life,” refers to a life where many of the events seem to naturally unfold in a meaningful relationship with the event or events prior. And, in a way, metaphorically speaking, similar to the way words in a line of poetry, or a song, rhyme with previous words in a previous line as the meaning of the poem or song unfolds. These events are less symbolically apparent, or obvious, as are synchronicities but, along the same lines, meaningful. If one observes the synchronicities in their lives they will notice that, in general, the events in their lives start to coherently and connectedly unfold like synchronicities – seemingly acausally.
Winston Churchill – a true visionary
Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. He was also an officer in the British Army, a non-academic historian, a writer, and an artist (a painter). He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1953 for the totality of his written works. The title of this chapter is Winston Churchill’s Time Machines for, Churchill considered H. G. Wells, the author of the novel “The Time Machine,” a seer. His physician recorded in his diary that Churchill said “… that it is a wonderful book … one of the books I would take with me to Purgatory.”
Moss tells us that by Churchill’s own account, he received a visitation from his dead father, Lord Randolph Churchill in 1947, more than fifty years after his father’s death as he was painting a portrait of his father (Winston was in his seventies at the time). It’s an amusing story that opens with Lord Randolph asking Winston:“Is that you, Winston? Good heavens, boy, how did you get to be so old and fat?”
Churchill replies, “It’s called time, father.”
The conversation continues from there. The point here being, that Churchill was fascinated with time and the possibilities of transcending time, or time travel. At age fourteen he told a friend that he dreamed of the future, “I tell you I shall be in command of the defenses of London … In the high position I shall occupy, it will fall to me to save the Capital and save the Empire.” On several occasions before he won his first parliamentary seat, he predicted he would be prime minister.
Moss informs us that in the war rooms during WWII, his grasp of future developments seemed uncanny to those around him and they credited him with second sight. For example, his ability to scan a naval map and foresee where the German U-boats would be in a few weeks.
He foretold of “wireless telephones and television” among other predictions. Churchill, a true visionary, declared the need for moral and spiritual progress that would enable humanity to contain the possible effects of new technologies used for the sake of raw power and fanatical beliefs stating, “It is above all things important that the moral philosophy and spiritual conceptions of men and nations should hold their own amid these formidable scientific evolutions. It would be much better to call a halt in material progress and discovery rather than to be mastered by our own apparatus and the forces which it directs.”
Moss informs us that Churchill not only could call on the power of vision but could transfer it to others. And it was the ability to transfer a vision that he most admired in Joan of Arc [there she is again]. Moss writes, let us recall what he accomplished in his greatest and most decisive speech; how he fired up his people to believe in the possibility of victory against seemingly impossible odds in his most famous sentence: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
Moss points out two distinctive elements in Churchill’s vision transferred into the minds of many. The first was the time shift carrying his listeners with him into the far future where everything has long been resolved. Second, he engineered a shift to the witness perspective, to a place above, a place of eagles, as we look down on our current struggles from a higher level. The bigger self looks down on the smaller self and says with admiration, “This was their finest hour.”
Here the author refers to our confidence in technology: finding a nickel using a satellite in space, making a sixty year old woman look twenty, and our trust in only what can be measured and manufactured; consigning our health to doctors, cosmeticians and pill pushers.
Moss advises that we revive and nurture the true art of seership having seen how Joan of Arc did it. [I am uncomfortable with the recent synchronicities I had associated with, and the author’s, and others, references to, Joan of Arc given how badly things turned out for her in the end (burned at the stake for cross dressing). That and her – and yes, I am not at all reluctant to say – strangeness is why I did not go into further detail about her life [page 3 above] but mention only the synchronicities I had associated with Joan of Arc. Maybe men find her inspiring for they tend to find warfare inspiring. Instead of a female seer of warfare, how about a prophetess of peace?]
Regardless, Moss states that there are three types of seership: receivers, travelers, and far-seers. For the sake of brevity here I’ll shall mention only that he informs us of a lively New Age tourist traffic that involves going into the jungle to ingest rather nasty stuff, like ayahuasca. Drugs, he insists, are not recommended for Western travelers, and they are not required. A practiced traveler requires [in brief] only a relaxed body in a quiet and protected space, a mental picture, and an intention. He goes on to say that in our time, as in other times, the core training of the seer comes from paying the closest attention to dreams, coincidences, and the symbolic language of the world [as in the symbolic language of dreams, I shall here add. For, it is my impression that the concrete/material world is more dream-like, malleable, in its nature than we realize].
The author mentions the placebo effect – now receiving widespread attention amongst the scientific community as well as the general population. In Latin, he informs, placebo means “I shall please.” In healthcare, the term “placebo effect” is used to describe an improvement in health due to the patient’s belief that they are receiving treatment when in fact the patient is not. He goes on to suggest that in a society where we find authority in white coats and medical degrees, the placebo effect is stronger in patients who meet face-to-face with medical practitioners.
In the last paragraph of his book, Moss refers to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. And, at that time, the Andaman’s (peoples of the Andaman Islands between India and Myanmar) were usually to be found at their seasonal fishing settlements along the coast. Yet, following the tsunami, their shelters were gone. The Indian government assumed that the Andamans there had drowned as did nearly 250,000 others did throughout the region. Yet, they reappeared on their forested hills. They knew the tsunami was coming and got out of its way. They knew because they observed the movements of animals, and listened to the voices of the wind and water [not cell phone text messaging]. And, he adds, they travel on the web of dreams.
“The Secret History of Dreams” is a very good book. And, the recall of my dreams has much improved because of it.
Images source: Wikipedia
December 1, 2016
A Look at Synchronicities and the book “The Secret History of Dreaming” by Robert Moss
I went hiking yesterday, the day following Thanksgiving, November 26, with a group. I had mentioned to a woman on the hike that I thought that spiritually uplifting choral singing involving anyone who wants to participate (not just persons with lovely voices performing for others) could heal themselves and others, given its harmonious, wave-like (sound waves) thus unifying effects. I went on to say that the healing effects could be both psychological as well as physical with its joyfulness and unifying [dare I say oneness] sensations – especially if done repeatedly. I told her I thought it could also be utilized for any number of other of hoped for outcomes. She went on to say how much she liked African American Gospel singing. We spoke of how they would take traditional Christian church songs and unabashedly put so much feeling, soul, into their spiritual singing.
Back home, following the hike, I began reading the book “The Secret History of Dreaming” and on page 4 it says “American musicologist and anthropologist Marina Roseman has recorded Temiar [a Malaysian tribe] dream songs but also has sung in the women’s chorus when healers have sung over a patient.”
Despite this synchronicity, and not immediately liking the book, from there I began leafing through the book randomly selecting pages and consistently landing on other paragraphs that, like the circumstance above, would also qualify as synchronistic with other recent occurrences in my life.
For example, and continuing along the same theme, on page 187 it states, “Words borrowed from white [religious] services were charged with a different power and identity when infused by the spirit of Africa.” The book continues, “… black churches were just beginning to be born in North America; we are present at the original fusion of Christian and African traditions and styles.”
I shall here add that on the following evening Chad told me that during lunch with his mother earlier in the day prior to our getting together, she mentioned a tutorial CD and booklet she has titled: “Singing in the African American Tradition: Choral and Congregational Vocal Music.” Also, during the course of our visit, I brought up the concept of gratitude and how spiritualists advise us to express gratitude following which Chad mentioned his mother had also, during their lunch, brought up the physical healing effects of gratitude and findings suggesting the validity of these effects. I’ve never met his mother. I believe she is spiritually oriented toward Buddhism (and I Christianity) and we have never shared these concepts with each other. These are clearly acausal, synchronistic events and synchronicities are never meaningless. By the way, these synchronicities involving Chad’s mother and what I had mentioned of these topics (and their already having been synchronistic with my fellow hiker) quite surprised him. Yet, he and I were about to experience an even more surprising occurrence. But first, back to my hike on the previous day and the book on dreaming:
Another individual on the hike mentioned that he thought many persons named their children in the 50’s and 60’s after the names of characters in television programs. Following the hike I reflected on what he had said and his full name, David Nelson. There was, when I was a child in the 50s, the Ozzie and Harriet Show featuring the young popular rock singer Ricky Nelson, his older brother, and their parents. I then thought perhaps Ricky’s brother was named David. I looked this up and indeed David Nelson was his brother’s name. From there I read a little about Ricky and that he had died in a plane crash with his band on the way to a concert in the 1980s.
Again, as I was flippantly perusing “The Secret History of Dreaming,” I randomly turned to page 133 and read a paragraph in a chapter about dreams that inspired musicians (e.g. Paul McCartney states that his song “Yesterday” came to him in a dream). It described a precognitive dream one of the backup singers to the Leonard Skynyrd band had of a plane crash involving the band members. She went to considerable lengths to warn them not to fly in the plane as planned which they did not heed resulting in many of the band members dying in the crash.
Following that, on page 135, the author writes of a gifted contemporary Russian classical concert pianist who was to compete in a Rachmaninoff competition. She dreams of the composer Rachmaninoff. He is sitting at a piano and she shows him how she plays a rendition of the Barcarolle. He then shows her how it should be played. Following this instruction, she won the Rachmaninoff competition. The flute piece I am working on presently is Barcarolle. So, I looked up Barcarolle …
Barcarolle refers to a traditional folk song sung by Venetian gondoliers. I then recalled an exercise in free form visualization I had done following which I wrote down the results: I found myself as a passenger in a gondola in a Venetian canal and upon emerging from the canal and entering a vast ocean the gondolier told me to look up at the sky and see that which I most desire. The word “KNOWING” written in white cloud vapors appeared. He said choose again and the word “FREEDOM” appeared instead.
Note: Once I had written the paragraph about the two plane crashes involving band members traveling to their respective concert performances I had an uneasy feeling that another plane crash was to occur in the near future. I thought of an individual I knew who was to fly to Colorado from overseas the next day but, the circumstance was not at all similar to the two above – so that plane did not seem likely. When I met with Chad to review this piece, following his having read the paragraph above, he stated that just that just that very morning he had learned of a charter plane crash in Columbia occurring the night before, November 28, killing members of a Brazilian Soccer team along with several others associated with the team on their way to an important match.
I continued to randomly flip through pages of the book and landed on page 66, the section titled “The Bishop of Dreams” in the chapter titled “Divine Dreaming.”
The author cites some insights from a fifth century bishop, Synesius of Cyrene, in the bishop’s treatise titled “On Dreams” composed around 405 AD. Moss claims that it is one of the wisest books ever written about dreams, coincidences [synchronicities] and imagination. He informs the reader that the bishop believed that we have direct access to sacred knowledge in our dreams. Synesius states that dreams are a personal oracle that reveal the future and help us to prepare for it. He advises against dream dictionaries (apparently available in his day as is the case now) for, dreams are personal and no one symbol fits all. The bishop also instructs in his treatise to pay attention to signs from the world around us; know that everything in the universe is interconnected and constantly interweaving [thus synchronistic interwoven connections perhaps]. He claims that what we grow in our imagination will be stamped on our world and on our soul; the energy body in which we will travel to another life after death.
I shall here add that this is why I focus spiritually mostly on the teachings in “A Course In Miracles” given its reminding us of our holiness, of our being, in truth, Son of God (eternal, invulnerable, one with God), and its intention of maintaining our focusing on such. Of course, there are a myriad of other similar teachings, many of which I am familiar with and much admire.
The bishop recommends setting an intention for the night – pray for a dream. He also stresses the value of keeping a dream journal, a “night book” and, as well a “day book” for our observations during the day of signs and synchronicities (which I also suggest at the onset of this Miracles For All website).
Here’s quite a striking paranormal event involving the book (in particular the part about the bishop), Chad, me, and a past paranormal occurrence:
The Eye of the Soul
I had mentioned to Chad (on the same evening referred to above) that what I learned from Moss’s book about the bishop, Synesius of Cyrene, impressed me. In fact, I said “It touched me.” I began reading aloud to him that which I was referring to including what I have already written above regarding the bishop:
“He received the best education possible in his time, in Alexandria. It was in Alexandria that Synesius experienced his first and deepest conversion when he found “the eye of the soul” opening to reveal the sacred depth of the universe. His consciousness expanded to give him the clear vision of the One beyond the many. He saw the reality behind the forms of religion. In his quiet hours, he dedicated himself to the “mysteries without rites” devoted to awakening the divinity within the human that corresponds and coincides with the divinity within and beyond the cosmos.”
Not long after I had read this to Chad I looked down the living room hallway at the beveled glass front door of my home where I saw, detailed and unmistakably, an image of an eye in the upper left portion of the beveled glass. No other form, reflected or otherwise, appeared on the glass. It was eight to nine inches in width and most regular and proper in its shape and anatomy – like a realistic drawing. I was stunned. It stayed and stayed. Initially I was concerned that if I moved and gave up my position on the couch for Chad to have a look at it, it would disappear. However, I did so and he too saw and was equally impressed with the vision. It disappeared after maybe 8 minutes total. Then the circumstance became a bit humorous; to me anyway – I’m not sure about Chad. I suggested that he go to my computer and select a music video for us to listen to. He did this then exclaimed, “Oh my God, an eye!” On the video he selected was an image of a woman’s eye, just her eye.
Around two years ago, I had a similar supernatural experience which I have mentioned to Chad several times since telling him I wanted it to happen again. It was late (thus dark outside) and I was inside standing directly in front of the same beveled glass door looking outside. I saw a very distinct eye, as in a realistic black and white drawing looking directly, and rather sternly, at me. It was a male eye (it reminded me of my father’s eye actually) and about the same size as the one mentioned above. What was curious was, I was unable to place it in any specific dimension, so-to-speak. It was not on the glass nor positioned on or next to any object outside. It was as if it were drawn on its own separate spatial dimension (just as light sometimes appears as though it has a dimension of its own). As I looked and looked more of the face appeared: an abstract, line drawing of the nose and an anatomically correct and detailed rendition of a mouth. Another eye, also detailed and anatomically correct appeared in its proper position on the face to the left of the other eye, only it was a different eye; a more feminine and softer one. I marveled at this. On more than one occasion since, with Chad, I would go to the door saying aloud, “I wonder if my ghost is back?” Apparently so.
Needless to say, I am now reading “The Secret History of Dreams” properly, from beginning to end, and thoroughly enjoying it.
November 22, 2016
“A COURSE IN MIRACLES” Lesson #19 states that “thinking and its results are simultaneous, for cause and effect are never separate.”
Proof that there is no cause and effect – simultaneity is the fact of all that is.
A mathematical framework utilizing an “arrow of time” or, more correctly, space-time (space and time: one only exists because of the other which only exists because of the other) represented as vectors [from moment → moment → moment, and so on] seems to exist when we assume the abstract notion of an arrow of time, and thus time itself, to be actual, or a useful concept. The same is true of all other abstract mathematical symbols and their operations. The limitations of self-awareness are a consequence of these mathematical notions and thus, the perceived so-called “fundamental laws of physics;” or, conversely, the fundamental laws of physics and their associated mathematical abstract notions (their quantifications, their discreet and separate parts, their causal operations [first this → then that]). In other words, mathematics (again, quantification) is associated with what is promulgated as the fundamental laws of physics. This thinking paradoxically, simultaneously (there is no “this then that,” i.e. no physics then mathematics or visa versa) collapses the wave function of Consciousness; the collapse of being one with, All that Is. Consciousness (with a capitol C) extends eternally throughout infinity. Space-time and separateness (contrary to infinity, eternity), does not exist in the higher, the transcendental, state of Consciousness.
So where do we go from here? “A Course In Miracles” teaches that miracles are natural and available to all as Son of God.
ACIM Lesson #30 states that:
Real vision is not limited to concepts such as “near” and “far” (nor long and short, nor big and small). These are states, or perceptions, of consciousness and, Consciousness is without limit; not constrained by concepts such as space-time; thus beginnings and endings, cause and effect.
Relativity of Simultaneity – Events in Spacetime
Abdul Event A Event B Mikhail
To Abdul Event A happened first then Event B for the information is perceived by Abdul over space-time traveling at the speed of light (300,000 kilometers or 186,000 miles per second). To Mikhail Event B happened first then Event A
To Jose, at some distance from the circumstance, both events A and B happened simultaneously. It is impossible to say absolutely whether 2 events happen at the same time when separated in space-time. This could have metaphysics implications when considering viewing one’s circumstances from a higher state. ACIM states that in truth all events occur simultaneously.
Relativity of Simultaneity, Length, and Distance in Spacetime
Abdul ______________________________________________________________________________________ Mikhail
The solid bar between Abdul and Mikhail is 10 light seconds long (approx. 3 million kilometers).
Jose is a .001 light second away from Abdul, the bar, and Mikhail
Abdul pushes a bar toward Mikhail. It takes 10 seconds for Mikhail to see the bar move in his direction. According to Jose’s observing this at, say, a .001 light second distance from the event, he sees the entire bar moving all at once. For, to Jose, who observes the event a .001 light second later than the onset of the event, the bar is quite short, say, a centimeter long and both sides move simultaneously. Should he move further away the bar would appear shorter still; closer – longer) for, space-time in its entirety is relative. Abdul and Mikhail for the most part see only their ends of the bar and the bar itself mostly disappear into the void of space. They don’t see each other.
Again, ACIM states that, in truth, all events occur simultaneously.
Self (as opposed to self) Awareness
Envision a man in a maze. He is unable to see the exit out of the maze from where he stands. However, from a state of awareness, or consciousness well above the maze (we’ll call it the Self) where the exit is, is quite apparent. In fact, the Self sees the whole of the picture all at once (the man, the maze, the exit); in other words, simultaneously.
October 27, 2016
Synchronicity, ESP, and Widespread Apathy Toward the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections
From ACIM Lesson 19 titled: “I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts.”
ACIM states: “You will notice that at times ideas associated with thinking precede those related to perceiving,” (i.e., like when one reads something that arose in their mind prior). “While at other times the order is reversed,” which is generally the case – in other words, you see something then think about it. According to ACIM the reason for either case is that the order does not matter. Thinking and its results (or conversely, experiencing then thinking about it) are really simultaneous for, cause and effect are never separate. We sometimes refer to the former (e.g. first I thought then I saw) as synchronicity.
Or, as a scientist might define it: a spacetime collapse or, collapse of the wave function at the moment that a system is observed, or measured [wave-particle duality]. Another scientific concept, entanglement, may apply: where two formally entangled particles (such as two electrons sharing an orbital surrounding an atomic nucleus) are separated and, as was prior to their separation, one responds simultaneously to a effect made upon the other. The distance between the two is irrelevant (could be millions, billions, or more, of light years even). It is even suggested that all the electrons in the universe are but one, the same, electron!
According to ACIM, simultaneity is the fact of how things are.
This lesson also emphasizes the fact that all minds are joined; thus ESP, which is natural and probably not all that uncommon. As well, collective seeing thus collective thought; collective belief systems. For, minds being joined means that there are no private thoughts, thus experiences. This may seem like an invasion of privacy and, carries with it an enormous sense of responsibility. Yet, ACIM insists that minds are joined and must be so if salvation is possible and, salvation of the world is the will of God – All that Is.
There are other teachings that espouse a similar philosophy. The fact that ACIM has become so widespread, internationally even (along with these other teachings), may have produced a “tipping point,” so-to-speak, and this is why there is so much apathy in the U.S. toward the current elections and specifically, the candidates for president. For many can no longer go along with the vilifying of other world leaders and the condemnation of other nations’ forms of governance, as well support of the military and violent warfare, and/or impoverishing (due to economic sanctions), as a way of settling differences.
There’s a better way.
Link to MFA Chapter (D) “A Course In Miracles” : https://miraclesforall.com/a-course-in-miracles1/
October 9, 2016
“Modern Physics and Ancient Faith” by Steven M. Barr
The author, a professor of physics at the Bartol Research Institute at the University of Delaware, writes of the conflict between religious faith (or more specifically the central teachings of Christianity and Judaism) and, not science in general, but rather scientific materialism. He states that he is a religious man.
The book is very good. It covers numerous (albeit superficially for, he has to) physics, chemistry, biochemistry and cosmology findings and concepts in the language of the non-scientist and non-mathematician. Although, I found that even though I’ve had a reasonable amount of exposure (at an undergraduate, non-technical, level) to these fields, at times the book required repeated reading and further research in order to adequately follow along. Yet, it was worth it.
Barr notes of the many modern day atheists who claim that the laws of nature prove that there is no need of God. Historically, he also cites the famous statement of Pierre-Simon Laplace, who when asked by Napoleon why God was nowhere mentioned in his great treatise on celestial mechanics, replied, “I have no need of that hypothesis.” Although, he cites another renowned physicist’s, Joseph-Louis Lagrange, response to Laplace’s statement, “Ah! But it [God] is such a beautiful hypothesis. It explains so many things.” The book also lists numerous important mathematics and scientific contributions by men of faith; about twenty cardinals, bishops, archbishops, priests and monks.
The author addresses materialists’ requirements, or demands, in order to define things scientifically. It is here, he claims, we reach an impasse with such persons when speaking of experience, or phenomena, which are not reducible to numbers (particularly with those who work in artificial intelligence) for, we risk being accused of speaking of unreal things.
I am going to jump ahead now to chapter 22, “Is the Human Mind Just a Computer?” And here we will encounter what is meant by a formal system:
Barr advises that in order reduce the process of reasoning to the level of mechanical symbolic manipulation it has the effect of draining it of most, if not all, of its meaning. Such systems are referred to as formal systems. Computers (computer programs, or algorithms) operate on this level.
The author then goes on to describe consistent versus inconsistent formal systems as proposed in 1931 by the Austrian logician Kurt Gödel. A formal system is inconsistent if it is possible that, using its own [algorithmic] rules it can both prove a particular proposition and disprove the same proposition; its contrary such as: a = b and a ≠ b. And, if any contrary statements in a formal system (again, like a = b and a ≠b) about a particular proposition can be proven then all statements in that system can be proven contrary and it is therefore considered inconsistent. The author uses the example: If 1 = 0 then one can also prove 14 = 7. Take 1 = 0 and multiply both sides, 1 and 0, by 6 and you get 6 = 0. Then add 7 to both sides, 6 and 0, and you get 13 = 7. In other words, a formal system cannot be just a little inconsistent; if it is inconsistent it is inconsistent all the way, thoroughly, radically, completely. In an inconsistent formal system anything that can be stated by that system can be proven (using its own rules, or programming).
Conversely, if we find even one proposition that can be (mathematically, or algorithmically) stated in a formal system but cannot be both proven and disproven, then we know that the system is completely, thoroughly, consistent.
Barr elaborates further on what formal systems can and cannot prove and claims that human intelligence can, in the end, outwit the computer with its ability to think conceptually and abstractly – thought processes that are beyond the capacity of such formal systems (or computer programs).
He addresses what is meant by abstract thinking: theoretical, conceptual, metaphysical, ideal, intuitive, and philosophical, to name a few. To the non-materialist, mind and the ideas of mind can indeed be real, although not reducible to matter or the behavior of matter. To the materialist however, there can be nothing more to our minds other than the operations of our central nervous systems. The author quotes Sir Francis Crick (1916 – 2004) who jointly won the Nobel Prize with two other scientists for the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule, “You are nothing but a pack of neurons.” Or, to quote Sir John Maddox, the former editor of “Nature,” the prestigious scientific journal, “… an explanation of the mind, must ultimately be an explanation in terms of the way neurons function.” Barr then mentions a recent (as of 2003 when his book was published) “Newsweek” magazine article that claims, “Thoughts … are mere will-o-wisps, ephemera with no physicality. They are instead, electrical signals.”
The author states that, in these cases, the very theory which claims that theories are but neurons firing is itself nothing but neurons firing; the snake eating its own tail, or head. What G. K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936) a British writer, poet and philosopher referred to as “the suicide of thought.”
My own observations on the topic: An elderly woman in a scientific group I belonged to was telling me of her atheism and rational thinking. She referred to herself as a “rationalist.” I’m very open-minded and far from expecting others to think as I do. However, as I was listening to her I got an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach. I began to feel as if I were talking to a soulless individual and that perhaps her desire to be so had diminished her to not much more than a machine – regardless of how high functioning. When the materialist claims that the human mind is little more than neural firings perhaps that is because that is all that they are, and for the most part, choose to be.
Those other qualities, emotional, intuitive, aesthetic, creative, empathetic, involved in the quest to understand the purpose, the meaningfulness of life, what love or the soul is, the natural inclination to ponder the possibility of a divine source – God, and so on are no doubt atrophied in the materialist out of lack of regard for the usefulness of such thoughts. What is unfortunate about all this is, for the most part (or so I have read and have been told several times), in order to be an actively involved member of the mathematics, or artificial intelligence, or scientific community, let alone professionally advance, one has to profess to ascribe to the dead mechanistic, materialist view of life.
If I may digress here, I strongly believe that it is important that we carefully consider, who and what groups of persons, personally or professionally, we spend out time with and not just for the obvious reasons: status, social and professional connections, parents wanting their kids not to be adversely influenced by kids who get bad grades and are inclined to get in trouble, the same is true for adults needing to be cautious about the adults they come in contact with over the course of their lives. The collective, group thought does, not just consciously but subconsciously, greatly influence. This can be strongly felt even for, who has not felt exceedingly uncomfortable in a group of low-minded people?
When, as mentioned throughout this website, I was surrounded and menaced by these members of organized crime involved in prostitution and pornography who were attempting to forcibly recruit me, the thought of permanently being involved with these persons and their organization seemed a worse fate than death to me. A young man, a lawyer with impressive academic credentials and whom I could not understand why he would be affiliated with, professionally represent, these people told me he rued the day he met so and so. A much older man, another attorney whom I suspected was years ago in the same predicament as I, said to me, “Leslie, believe it our not you do get used to it.”
My ex-husband and I were not careful enough in making associations with certain individuals in our neighborhood. We were not even friends with them, just neighborly social contact and interaction (as fellow members on the board of the HOA, the homeowner’s association, mostly). Another neighbor, whom we knew very little about came to our home one day. He said he had knowledge of these individuals and advised that we not associate with them. Unfortunately, we did not take his warning seriously.
Back to the book:
Speaking of minds that that are limited to the quantification and parsing of the whole of the worldly experience, the author quotes from a recent (around 2003) article “Numbers are … neurological creations, artifacts of the way the brain parses the world.” Yet, he continues, when we consider the abstract concept π (3.141592653… without repetition or end and presently calculated to 50 billion figures!) to a materialist, as the quote suggests, π is but a pattern of electrochemical nerve cell discharges. However, as Barr perceives π, “It is a surprising and remarkable concept with unexplainable qualities a mathematician otherwise experiences as an ongoing process of discovery.”
In this same chapter, “Is the Human Mind Just a Computer?” Barr goes into greater detail to explain Gödel’s Theorem and why it proves that humans can consistently surpass, or outwit, the intelligence of a computer no matter how often a new program is applied to trump human thinking.
Next he includes, as a furtherance of Gödel’s Theorem, what is referred to as the Lucas-Penrose argument (initially proposed by John R. Lucas, an Oxford University philosopher in the 1960s and later picked-up by the mathematical physicist Roger Penrose in the 1980s). The language used to support the argument is entirely symbolic. For example, and without going into describing what the symbols represent: P, G(P), G(P’), P’’, H, G(H). I found this part of the book to be exceedingly boring and difficult to follow so, I began to daydream.
I thought of my difficulties having been targeted by criminals, members of organized crime. I contemplated that their excessive lying (a tactic, one of several, intended to confuse their targeted victim) was so constant that their mental programming had probably reached a point where they did not know themselves when they were telling the truth or a lie. And, I thought, during questioning by an attorney or law enforcement official they may very well contradict, thus undermine, their own testimony. It was suggested to me at the time that I have a conversation with them to learn what it was they wanted from me and perhaps arrive at some sort of agreement. Yet, I knew it was pointless to ask them a question or have any sort of conversation with them, let alone negotiate, given my having so often observed their consistent lying.
This and similar thoughts went through my mind for some time and eventually I became annoyed with myself for wasting so much time daydreaming about something that had no apparent connection with what I was reading. I returned my attention to the book with the firm commitment to grasp the author’s symbols and their conveyances. I reread the previous two pages, got their meanings, and from there went on to read:
“A truly inconsistent program (or formal system) can prove anything whatsoever … just as a liar is able to assert more things than an honest person can.” “… when a person is prepared to say anything, and is prepared to contradict himself without any qualm or repugnance, then he is adjudged to have lost his mind.” The author continues with the analogy of the inconsistent (lying) individual and their attempts to avoid, by stonewalling, the acknowledgement of their inconsistency, and similarly a machine, a computer, utilizing a “stop-rule” thus too preventing an enunciation of an inconsistency. Accordingly, in both cases, the individual with their stonewalling and the machine utilizing a stop-rule, both having affirmed and denied their propositions are, regardless, considered inconsistent.
I continued reading till the end of the chapter then reverted back to daydreaming:
I recalled having witnessed two small claims court hearings in Boulder, Colorado in 2011. Both cases were small business disputes. I was quite impressed with the efforts on behalf of all parties; the two defendants and two plaintiffs in both cases. Their claims were well researched, they provided good quality evidence, and comported themselves in a most professional manner. At the end of both hearings I was at a loss as to how the judge either could or would come to a decision, a verdict, in either case. After the disputants had finished presenting their evidence and explained their positions the judge excused herself from the courtroom for perhaps 15 minutes. I thought she may have gone to her office and conducted some research online, or meditated perhaps, or both. At any rate, both times when she returned and stated her rulings and why she came to the conclusions she did I was most impressed for, I could see that she had decided fairly. At the time, and still to this day as I reflected on the proceedings, she seemed wise to me. As though she had hovered above the situation (of course she did in the courtroom from her raised bench) and could therefore observe the circumstances wholly and impartially, yet with sensitivity and concern for the parties involved; from a higher state, if you will.
Again, I reasoned that I was wasting my time daydreaming and returned my attention to the book, now on chapter 23, titled “What Does the Human Mind Have That Computers Lack?”
The author begins this chapter by elaborating a bit further on that which Gödel’s Theorem proved: A formal system is a true one although it is “formally undecidable.” To say that a proposition is formally undecidable within a particular system means that it cannot be proven or disproven using the rules of that particular system. It may, nevertheless, be provable using some other form of reasoning not programmed into that system. The program follows certain rules but, it cannot look at those rules from the outside (the author’s italics).
Barr goes on to use the analogy of an individual wandering inside a complicated maze. From where the individual stands inside the maze he is unable to find the exit. However, to someone who can look down on the maze from above they can see where the man is, how the maze is constructed, and that there is an impassable barrier between the man and the exit and, that there is no way out from where the man stands inside the maze.
In this case the maze is analogous to a program, and there are certain things that a consistent formally undecidable program cannot prove because of the limitations of its program, its algorithms. But, a mind not trapped can examine the program from outside (again, the author’s italics) as it were. And, in that way it can gain insights that enable it to reach conclusions unavailable from the inside, from the program itself.
Gödel’s Theorem and the Lucas-Penrose argument based on that theorem points out the ability of the human mind to go beyond a specific set of rules and procedures to an insight. And, Barr continues, it is precisely the fact that we do not merely operate on the “formal” level (again, the level of mechanical symbolic manipulation) but also, on the level of meaning and understanding. A machine can only reason to the extent that it can blindly follow some steps of reasoning that are on its list of allowable procedures.
Barr points out that materialists feel that they are fighting the good fight against what they regard as the superstitious idea of a “soul.” And, that it used to be that those who rejected religious tenets usually did so in the name of human reasoning considering themselves “rationalists.” Yet now, a new kind of skepticism is willing to call into question the actuality of human reason itself.
As I had been reading (and daydreaming) I am reminded of a recommendation by the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner. On this “Miracles For All” website, Chapter [E] “How to Know Higher Worlds” page 2, number 5:
Daily Internal Practice
- During these periods one should adopt such a position that they may pass in review before their soul their joys, sorrows, cares, experiences and actions from a higher point of view. The aim here is to contemplate these feelings and events as though they applied to another, and not themselves, with the impartiality of a judge. For, in every individual resides the higher-self and this self remains hidden until awakened, and this practice greatly assists in the awakening of this higher, internal self.
September 19, 2016
Synchronicities: Dancers, Russians, Prayers for the Planet Earth and Deck Restorations
Please ignore the seeming banality of some of the events reported below that occurred over a four day time period and consider instead what may be at work here that would lead to a synchronistic event:
– During the past four days [as of this writing] I had been quite engrossed in the repair, scrapping, sanding, priming and painting of my deck; a laborious and strenuous task.
– I had finished writing and publishing the post (dated September 8, 2016) titled “Books Produce Synchronicities, Precognition, and other Wondrous Effects” on this Miracles For All website. Referenced in the post are two famous Russian ballet dancers: Vaslav Nijinsky and Mikhail Baryshnikov. I also wrote of plans I had to go dancing (I love to dance).
– Also, during this time, I had watched two interviews with Igor Kufayev on Conscious TV titled “The Impact of Awakening” and “Flowing Wakefulness.” Igor was born in Russia. He was also an artist (although, like me he quit painting). I was so impressed with his intelligence and how well he articulated his yogi spiritual findings, views and experiences that I watched the interviews twice and took notes as well as recommended the interviews to a friend.
– Following having come across some text at this time about the power of prayer I sat quietly, closed my eyes, and visualized the Earth (realistically as seen in satellite images) suspended in a circular room with many other individuals (maybe 100) stationed around the globe and sending, as well as receiving, guidance and strength for the much needed salvation of the planet. (Or, more specifically, all or most of Earth’s life forms which our species are systematically destroying – the Earth will go on). I have visualized this very scenario several times, perhaps ten, over the past few years.
– Two days ago [again, as of this writing] I had a hair appointment during which I made a point of recommending to Sarah, my hairdresser, that she read the chapter on my Miracles For All website titled “Leo Tolstoy – The Tough Pacifist” about Tolstoy’s interpretation of Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount.” For, as I emphasized to her, I felt his views about “non-resistance to violence” or the “turning of the other cheek” were profound and that he had altered my views on the topic prior to which I did not think were reasonable. I added that he wrote the piece (a chapter in his book “The Kingdom of God is Within You” that I then paraphrased and included on this website) in Russia around 130 years ago and it is as applicable today, here in the US, as it was in Russia when he was alive. I told Sarah that I felt his views on peace, or non-violence, in response to what is believed to be an evil could very well save the world if enough people were familiar with them.
– Once the work on my deck was completed I went a local Whole Foods store to pick up some groceries and have an iced tea on their outdoor patio to relax following my exertions.
– I overheard a couple seated nearby talking with a carpenter, whom they knew and happened to encounter at Whole Foods, about their needing his services to restore their deck. They described the condition of their deck to the carpenter as being in a similar state as mine had been. And there I was, relaxing, following having just completed my deck restorations.
– The carpenter and the woman’s husband departed and she remained, seated alone. We then began conversing with one another. She told me that she was Russian and that her husband, an American, was a minister who taught dance; “dancing in a spiritual sense.” She said she met him while a student at University in St. Petersburg and that he was there to introduce his ministry of “unity dancing.” It is multinational (not folk dancing) she said, intended to promote global peace. She invited me to attend their next gathering at a place in the mountains in Boulder, Colorado called the Star House. I told her I love to dance and would look into it. Once home, I searched online for images of the Star House and this is what I found:
I did not go. I have learned that synchronistic events need not be interpreted as messages to be literally followed. However, a friend suggested that I regularly continue doing my global prayer (as described above) and I think his suggestion is a very good one.
A list of observations of note:
– Repetition: Renowned artists, writers and spiritual teachers of Russian descent, dancing and prayers for world peace were all repeated aspects prior to the synchronicity. In fact, this was the second time around I worked on the restoration of my deck. The first, three months earlier, was a failure for the most part and I had to repeat the project.
– Feelings: All these events had feelings associated with them; they were not just bare facts to me.
– Meaningful: Synchronicities seem to underscore that which is meaningful to the experiencer and may lead to guidance and/or an inspiration or, the actualization of a subconscious or consciously desired outcome. (Of course, similarly, if you’re a practitioner of the teachings in “The Secret” I suppose you could manifest a mansion, a shiny new sports car and, lots of amorous women vying for you even).
– The Harmonizing Principle: All the aspects leading to and including the synchronistic event, notwithstanding the deck restorations, were creative (artistic and aesthetic) and, possessed a genuine “caring for” quality shared by, thus harmonizing with, the other individuals and their interests:
- The Russian author, Leo Tolstoy’s profound literary works expressing his interpretations of Christ’s teachings thus further contributing to world peace.
- The discipline, perfection and beauty of the fine art of ballet as exemplified by the famous Russian ballet dancers. As well, the spiritual dancers’ intentions (that I was informed of by the Russian woman) as expressed with their art endeavoring to promote world peace.
- The Russian artist, now spiritual teacher, Igor Kufayev, with his well-researched and eloquently articulated eastern mystical teachings with the intent of contributing to individuals’ peace of mind. And, I should add that, like Kufayev, I too was a painter.
Links to Kufayev’s Conscious TV interviews:
“The Impact of Awakening”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyXcxLuzV38
“Flowing Wakefulness”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNURxo1QN3U
September 15, 2016
Current Status Regarding Criminal Case Referred to Throughout MFA Website
The criminal case referred to in the title above is in part described in the locations on the website cited at the bottom of this post below the email correspondences with the FBI. Much of the spiritual and metaphysics content on this site expresses that which was quite helpful enabling me to better deal with the circumstances I was confronted with that lead to my allegations and, hopefully, FBI investigations of criminal conduct and potentially widespread corruption (based on the responses by local law enforcement officials). For, over time, and following my repeated pleas for help, it became increasingly apparent to me of their intent to conceal, and perhaps other objectives I am not knowledgeable enough to consider, as the reason for law enforcement’s responses to my pleas for help; not helping but rather treating me as though I were crazy. Therefore, my including descriptions of the circumstances on this website are appropriate as it is quite possible that anyone who finds themselves in an exceedingly difficult situation and reads much of the material on this website may benefit as I did and continue to. For, as most of us know, there are times when the greatest and/or the only help one does receive is of a spiritual nature.
Following-up on the recommendations of the FBI in Denver I have requested copies of any records of FBI investigations involving me from the FBI’s FOIPA (Freedom of Information Act/Privacy) office. I was advised that this is how I can best learn of the status of the case for, their investigations division cannot reveal anything at all about a case. Below are emails to and from the FOIPA office regarding such:
August 30, 2016
Dear FOIPA agent,
I have waited for some time now to have my request for information from your office fulfilled. When may I expect answers? The circumstance was very difficult for me and I would like to know the results of my considerable efforts. Also, I need closure.
I submitted a request for information on May 11, 2016. Initially by email then later filled out a hard copy form requesting more information which I assume was properly filled out as I have not heard otherwise.
Having just now checked the status of my FOIPA request online (see ONLINE RESULT below) I see there is no new information.
Please advise when I may hear back from your office regarding my request.
ONLINE RESULT – a/o 8/30/2016
The FBI’s FOIPA Program has identified potential responsive information to your request(s) and awaits assignment to a Government Information Specialist (GIS) for further processing.
August 31, 2016 (response from FOIPA agent)
Thank you for your inquiry regarding the status of your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request. A review of your request has determined the following:
The request is presently awaiting assignment to a Disclosure analyst who will then review the records to determine if any redactions [censoring or obscuring part of a text for security purposes] are required pursuant to subsections of Title 5, U. S. Code, Section 552 and 552a. Upon completion, the records are forwarded to a supervisor for review. If approved, a release will be forthcoming. However, the supervisor may send the records back for further review which may delay the release.
The estimated date of completion for the request is January 2017.
August 31, 2016
Dear FOIPA Agent,
Thank you for your prompt response.
However, I am getting a little frustrated for, the ordeal began in roughly 2007 and continued until roughly 2012. I know you have probably heard this, and who knows how many times but, for the victim in such a circumstance to know nothing of the course, let alone the outcome, of the investigations or even if there were investigations (which it appears there were, perhaps still are) is exceedingly frustrating. Surely the FBI could do more here – my circumstances (meaning its psychological effects and my right to know the outcome and find closure) are relevant to the case too!
I realize, given how long this has already taken, 5 months from now is not long. However, I am concerned that, due to title 5: 552 & 552a, information will be continued to be withheld or another reason for prolonging the release of information to me will be applied.
Perhaps you can provide me with some assurance that I will know the outcome of the investigations in Jan. 2017 or, where else I may turn to.
September 3, 2016 (from FOIPA agent)
Please keep in mind the FBI receives a voluminous amount of requests daily and the requests are processed in the order in which they are received; the January 2017 date provided is an estimate based upon our current average processing times and not a deadline for completion. All responsive material is processed pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts.
(The email then included the necessary requirements and available options enabling an individual’s request for information to be expedited, which I do not intend to pursue).
For a review of circumstances of that which I here [above] refer go to: chapter (A) MIRACLES and scroll down to the posts titled Divine Message – A Most Difficult time, page 22, then Downtown Art Studio, page 23, and next Paranormal Visions of Menacing Entities, page 23. Following having read these posts, the reader should next go to chapter (C) MIRACLES and read the first post titled A Most Difficult Time (organized crime and pornography) pages 53 & 54. Then on chapter (F) “The Varieties of Religious Experience” – Part I, page 27 & 42 [above] and from there chapter (G) “The Varieties of Religious Experience” – Part II, pages 71 and 72 and chapter (H) “The Varieties of Religious Experience” – Part III , on pages 93, 111 & 112, and 142 & 143.
Links to the chapters referred to above:
(A) MIRACLES – https://miraclesforall.com/miracle-stories-page1/
(C) MIRACLES – https://miraclesforall.com/miracle-stories-page3/
September 8, 2016
Reading Books Produces Synchronicities, Precognition and Other Wondrous Effects
Often when I read, as I have stated previously throughout this website and have cited several specific examples, I experience synchronicities associated with the written material and my own circumstances and, sometimes they are rather astounding. There are also occasions when I seem to precognate, know in advance, what information in the book will later appear. Here I will describe a couple of such circumstances that I experienced recently while reading the book, “The Man Who Could Fly, St. Joseph of Copertino and the Mystery of Levitation” by Michael Grosso, which I have reviewed in the post below [Levitation – August 28, 2016].
The Placebo Effect
On page 43 the author refers to a well-known placebo effect case involving a Mr. Wright; a man in his mid-fifties who was very close to dying from cancer of the lymph nodes. The placebo is a chemically inert (or non-reactive) substance, such as a sugar pill, utilized as a therapeutic treatment. Or, it can refer to a procedure, a surgery even, where an operation is performed though nothing inside the body is surgically altered. The placebo is intended to facilitate a healing response by appealing to an individual’s trust and positive expectations. There are so many well-documented cases of the placebo effect that the scientific community has taken these reports quite seriously and has conducted several scientific experiments substantiating the helpful effects of the placebo.
Mr. Wright had read reports of a new experimental drug, Krebiozen, and believed the drug would result in the reversal of his terminal condition. He begged his doctor to try the new drug on him. After taking the drug it is reported that his “tumor masses melted away like snowballs on a hot stove” and the patient was discharged from the hospital ten days later. Then, Mr. Wright read another report declaring that the medicine was ineffective. Within two months all of the patient’s cancer symptoms returned. The wise doctor (realizing what was going on) deciding to improvise, and persuaded the patient that the newspapers were wrong and that his relapse was due to inadequate dosage then injected him with distilled water. He noted that the patient was “ecstatic” in his expectation to be healed. The tumors once again disappeared and Wright was thus described as “the picture of health.” And so he remained healthy until he read an announcement from the American Medical Association: “Nationwide tests show Kreboizen to be a worthless drug for the treatment of cancer.” In a matter of days, Mr. Wright had died.
The Anti-placebo Effect
I was sitting outdoors on my upstairs deck on a pleasant Saturday afternoon as I was reading this after which, my mind drifted away from the book and I began contemplating the concept of an anti-placebo effect where exactly the opposite can occur – as in the belief in the power of a curse. I then recalled an incident my niece had related to me years ago while she was in high school. She and a friend of hers went to a festival where both had their palms read by a fortune teller. My niece informed me that her friend was quite distressed because the fortune teller told her she would die at a young age. I was horrified that this dreadful person would say such a thing to a teenage girl (or anyone, for that matter) and explained to my niece that the girl’s belief that what the woman had said to her may be true was the only matter for concern here. I told my niece to be sure to impress upon her friend that she was not destined to die at an early age and not to believe the horrible woman. To this day, I regret not having my niece call her friend right then and there so I could speak to her myself.
My mind wandered from there reflecting on the main topic of Grosso’s book – levitation. I thought of my plans to go dancing that evening and fantasized about how fantastic it would be to levitate and stay aloft for a bit during one of my spins on the dance floor. Then I recalled having long ago read of the famous Russian ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (image on left) it appeared as though he stayed up in the air during his jumps. The same was said to be true of the other stupendously talented Russian ballet dancer, Mikhail Baryshnikov (image below). Both were often asked how they managed this feat.
I ceased my reveries and returned my attention to the book and on page 45 the author refers to Nijinsky! He tells of his wife asking her husband how he managed to stay up in the air and that he responded saying that he could never understand why others could not. He just took a leap, held his breath, and stayed up; he felt supported in the air. In admiration, she once told him what a pity it was that he could not see himself. He answered in all seriousness, “But I do, I always see myself. I am detached. I am outside. I make myself dance from the outside.”
This synchronistic, or precognitive, event certainly caught my attention. I continued reading. Three pages later, on page 48, the author writes of case histories of individuals who were otherwise healthy, yet died because they were convinced they were going to die due to a supposed curse, or a fortune teller’s prediction! He writes of a woman, a nurse, who told him of the strange way her husband met his end. When he was a teenager at a carnival he sat down with an old fortune teller. She gazed at his palm and said, “You are going to have a wonderful life, but you will die at the age of thirty five.” His wife reported that he pushed this incident out of his mind but, as he approached his thirty-fifth birthday he grew unaccountably ill and, on the day of his birthday, he died. The coroner, Grosso informs, could not identify the cause of death.
An Unexplainable Scent of Spring
I read on and as I was doing so a lovely scent wafts by. It was not at all subtle. In my mind I identified it as smelling just as blossoms do in Spring and here it was late August; there were no blossoming trees. It appeared again and remained present and lasted and lasted. I put the book down briefly; marveling instead at the lovely scent and how much like springtime it was especially when walking near blossoming trees or bushes of which there are so many where I live. This continued for over 10 minutes, never abating, and I began to wonder of its source. There was a gentle breeze now and again coming from the direction of my neighbor’s home (she was not home at the time). I peered down into her back yard (my deck is on the second story) to see if something there could be producing the fragrance and there was not. This went on for several more minutes lasting, on total, a half hour or so during which time I resumed reading.
On page 63 the author writes of the odor of sanctity and that it is encountered at the tombs of the holy ones. Later on in the book (and this is mentioned in the review of the book below) he states that St. Joseph was possessed of the odor of sanctity and goes into some detail about this. However, what I had read here of the odor of sanctity was the first time I became aware that such a phenomenon was believed to exist. He goes on to describe that the unexplained odors convey the freshness of spring, life, blooming youth!
I should add that I had experienced three or four other similar-type, yet less remarkable, occurrences at this point in the book. I became so excited about these incidents I had to stop reading, call a friend, and tell him about them. Curiously, there were no more after that – they just stopped happening. However, I do not believe it was my excited emotional state that prevented more from occurring. But rather, as I continued to read the book I began to form a critical view of it; finding factual and grammatical errors, judging the author to be too biased in his beliefs about Joseph’s levitations and other supernatural phenomena, and developing feelings of revulsion towards the subject of the book, St. Joseph (he was exceedingly peculiar). Although, the author does adequately cast Joseph’s bazaar behavior (not just his levitating) in the context of the religious, social and political circumstances during his place and time in history (Italy during the 1600s).
My presumptions (I began to believe that St. Joseph was possessed rather than spiritually pure) and judgmental attitude toward the book could very well have closed me off from further experiencing (not just reading and comprehending the material) the book wholly, or holistically. By the way, one can experience these same synchronistic, precognitive, and other wondrous effects, while listening to another or others (animals and infants even) – or not and probably for the same reasons.
A Photographic Memory Associated with Books
When my ex-husband was in graduate school at the University of California Berkeley we became friends with a fellow student of his, I’ll call her Melinda, who had what she qualified as a photographic memory. She could read a book and upon finishing it, she could report exactly where in the book any specific sentence was located: what chapter, page, and paragraph. She told me that she had always had this ability; that she was born with it. Melinda also told me that when she read a book it was as though she was in a hypnotic state of sorts and that two hours of reading felt like a half hour to her.
During this time, just this past week [as of this writing], I opened up a book a friend had just returned to me that I had loaned him, “Heaven and Hell Unveiled” by Stafford Betty. I have a brief written review of this and another one of his books, “The Afterlife Unveiled” and, a Thinking Allowed video of an interview with him in chapter (J) Brilliant Scientist / Philosophers. Betty has done extensive research on the topic of what life is like in the afterlife; in particular by researching the Society of Psychical Research records. On the first page of chapter one of Betty’s book about the afterlife, as revealed through communications with spirits through mediums, he writes:
“British and American psychical researchers working a century ago created thousands of “book tests” to assure themselves that invisible intelligences, or spirits, really were the sources [of communications]. In a typical case the spirit would reveal, through the medium, what is on a particular page of a particular book in the library that had been his before he died – and there, when checked, it would be.”
It seems plausible to me that many of these psychical abilities, or what I think may be whole, holistic knowing (as in telepathy, or precognition, or a photographic memory) rather than ordinary, temporal, linear cognition are perhaps carry overs, if you will, from a higher state. In other words, Melinda, for example, is doing what is seemingly natural in these higher states; what may have been natural to her prior to her current incarnation.
Vaslav Nijinski (1889 – 1950) of Polish descent born in the Russian Empire, now the Ukraine.
Mikhail Baryshnikov (b. 1948, current age 68 years ) born in Latvia, then part of the Soviet Union.
And, of course, below we have Rudolph Nureyve (1938 – 1993) with Margot Fonteyn:
Images source: Wikipedia
August 28, 2016
“St. Joseph of Copertino and the Mystery of Levitation” by Michael Grosso
Joseph of Copertino (1603 – 1663) was born to a woman who was abandoned by her husband during her pregnancy. He was raised in impoverished circumstances. The author describes his mother as cold and cruel for, “she was harsh as times were harsh,” as Grosso puts it, and adds that she had lost four other children (I gather that Joseph was the only one to have survived infancy). At nine, he became bedridden from a growth on his backside that led to infection and gangrene virtually crippling him for five years. It also produced a most unpleasant odor. The author’s further detailed descriptions of Joseph’s physical condition and circumstances are so dreadful that it was difficult to read about and, if true, it is understandable the boy would rely heavily on spiritual consolations. “So it was with Joseph to dissociate from his body; he learned to explore fantasy, visions, and budding ecstasies” writes Grosso.
Joseph’s life improved little until he was ordained as a priest at twenty-five years of age. And, due to his fear of failure (for, up to that point it appears his life was an extraordinary struggle and abject failure) he “resolved anew to die entirely to the world and to lead a supernatural life.” The author reports of Joseph engaging in extreme asceticism and self-torture (the details of which I shall spare the reader of this review) and that the friar referred to his body as “the jackass.” Yet, despite this, his fame as a miracle worker spread throughout Italy and beyond.
Grosso writes of numerous legitimate accounts of Joseph’s levitations sparked by his many ecstatic reactions to religious ceremonies, symbols, structures, music and works of art (particularly paintings of the Madonna who, in his mind, supplanted his mother whom he referred to as “the nurse”). For example, during Mass at the altar of a cathedral Joseph raises his hands, is immobile briefly, then he begins to tremble for a time. He then fixes his eyes on the Most Holy Sacrament on the altar following which he launches himself into the air. Many of the author’s other accounts include Joseph screeching prior to his levitations (among other bombastic effects). Grosso describes these events as “shocking aerial displays.” Apparently, the friar would have no recollection of what his body was doing while aloft nor did he feel pain should he be pricked, poked, or jabbed. His robes did not flow (or move at all) as he flew. Nor would they catch on fire if exposed to a flame. On two occasions (and please, bear with me here) flies were observed to crawl on one of Joseph’s wide-open eyeballs during levitation and this produced absolutely no reaction on his part.
Apparently Joseph was possessed of the gift of the mystical perfume referred to as the “odor of sanctity” which, according to the author, everyone could smell. “It penetrated his body and his clothes and his cell and everything belonging to him – a smell so pleasant that it astonished all who knew it. There were many testimonies.” However, the attention he received from the odors, like his ecstatic raptures, were making Joseph’s life difficult and he often used tobacco in an effort to conceal the fragrance of heaven that permeated the atmosphere surrounding him. (I know that’s why I used to smoke and, let me tell you, it works).
Grosso underscores the validity of Joseph’s case in that it does not depend on a few good observations, one or two scenes that so-and-so mentioned, but on thirty-five years of roughly continuous eyewitness testimony. About 150 sworn eyewitness reports have been deposed from persons of all walks of life: ordinary men and women, popes, cardinals, artists, inquisitors, princes, kings, and so on from all over Italy and parts of Europe. He adds that in preparing for the beatification of Joseph (an act of the Pope who declares that a deceased person lived a holy life and is worthy of public veneration – a step toward canonization), Prosper Lambertini (later, Pope Benedict XIV) critically examined the documents and made a distinction between ecstasies and raptures that are God-inspired, or natural (e.g., caused by illness), or caused by diabolical possession. Following Lambertini’s resignation from the office of the Congregation of Sacred Rites during which time Joseph was discussed regarding the doubt of his virtues, Lambertini writes that the issue [quoting Grosso here] “… was happily solved; in which unexceptional witnesses deposed to the most frequent elevations … on the part of that ecstatic and rapt servant of God,” [presumably Joseph].
Joseph levitated without a doubt according to Grosso based on his research of hundreds of written testimonies from reliable persons under oath. However, the friar’s histrionic and theatrical levitations were a disruption wherever he appeared and the church considered this a problem which eventually contributed to his being subjected to inquisition and house arrest. (The inquisition in Italy, the author informs us, was not as horrible as the infamous Spanish inquisition). Grosso states emphatically that whether or not Joseph levitated was not an issue for the accusers – it was an observed fact. He further adds that “At the same time, Galileo (1564 – 1642) was laying the foundations of experimental physics and modern cosmology, both saint and scientist ended up under house arrest by decree of the Holy Office.” Then, “the old miracles of Joseph went out of fashion eclipsed by the reproducible marvels of science.”
In the chapter titled “Speculations on the Physics of Levitation” Grosso considers possible explanations for levitation from a scientific point of view. For example, Joseph’s localized dream-like state with his body and his clothing appearing rigid and unresponsive to any external stimuli as being similar to what theoretically occurs at the event horizon of a black hole – “where 3-D space is compacted into 2-D space.” Here I’ll add that I have read elsewhere that an observer, at some distance away from the event horizon, would see an object, a spaceship for example, as an inanimate 2-D image of the spacecraft on the event horizon even as it continued on its perilous journey past the event horizon and into the black hole. For, beyond the event horizon the gravitational force is so extreme that not even light can escape. As to why that would produce a static 2-D image of an object on the event horizon, I could not say.
The author also considers quantum mechanics in search of a plausible scientific explanation for Joseph’s extraordinary phenomena (i.e. the uncertainty principal, wave/particle duality and the collapse of the wave function the result of mental intentionality, and so on).
Grosso here introduces the physicist Sir William Crookes (image on left) who, in 1870, set out to investigate the phenomena of Spiritualism. He, according to Grosso, along with some assistants, his physicist and astronomer brother Sir William Huggins (although I cannot find evidence online that they were related in any way) and attorney Sergeant Cox launched a series of experiments with Daniel Dunglas Home (see post dated August 12, 2016 directly below if unfamiliar with D. D. Home) who was observed to levitate his body as well as objects (such as an accordion that played by itself in the air). Again, I’ll here add that I’ve read elsewhere, in a couple of publications, that Home claimed friendly spirits were responsible for these and the other startling phenomena that surrounded him.
Grosso writes that Crookes responded to the severe criticism from the press and skeptics in reaction to his report to the Royal Society in 1871 by stating that: The phenomena I am prepared to attest to are so extraordinary, and so directly oppose the most firmly rooted articles of scientific belief … that even now on recalling the details of what I witnessed there is an antagonism between reason which pronounces it to be scientifically impossible and the consciousness of my senses as well as the senses of all who were present, etc. Crookes went on to explain that Home levitated (about 100 times) and found the evidence overwhelming. He referred to his report as “The Theory of Psychic Force.”
Back to St. Joseph of Copertino: One feature of his life that is not unusual for theatrical careers (as Grosso here refers to it) is that he became a victim of his fame; fans and fanatics pursued him, women tore at his tunics seeking relics, and jealous superiors watched him like hawks and contributed to his difficulties with the Inquisition. Even his death was part of his stupendous act. The brothers stood by and observed, participated, and recorded every word and gesture of his grand finale. It was even set to music according to the author.
Ten days prior to his dying Joseph requested Extreme Unction (the sacrament for anointing the sick, especially the dying) and while being anointed the father heard him whispering, Oh, what light! Oh, what splendor! Oh what fragrance! What a taste of paradise! Four days later at the sound of the bell announcing Holy Communion, Joseph leaped from his deathbed and ran to and fro shouting to the priest, “This is my delight, this is my delight!” then lapsed into ecstasy for a quarter of an hour before collapsing back into bed. He was then heard repeating, “The jackass has already climbed half-way up the mountain,” then grew weaker yet moved about restlessly. Suddenly he cried out, “Take away my heart! Burn it! Cut it out! Rip open my chest! … Oh, love, love!” He continued to talk of the jackass wanting to rest and finally, on September 18, he died.
I would imagine at this point in the book review a reader is thinking,
“Leslie, lighten up! Please, how about something a little more uplifting?
Okay, I shall.
There are two miraculous accounts conveyed to me by persons who both claimed that had they not had these experiences they probably would not have considered others’ testimonies of miraculous phenomena, such as levitation, as being real or valid.
The most recent, perhaps 6 years ago (as of this writing, August 2016), was from a man whom I was in email contact with having briefly signed onto an online dating site. This is what he shared with me:
During his teens he and a buddy went on a hiking and overnight camping trip together. When it grew late the two of them rolled out their sleeping bags on the ground outdoors (no tent) and got inside ready to retire for the evening. He said suddenly several orbs of white light (about the size of golf balls if I recall correctly) surrounded them. He claimed that more and more continued to appear; they hovered above the boys, flew around them and sometimes alighted in the nearby trees. He explained that as this was occurring both of them, who were wide awake and conversing with one another the whole time, felt a wonderful sense of peace and serenity. He stated that this went on for a couple of hours. He then wrote that he was ashamed to admit that they both eventually became bored with the experience and fell asleep.
Here’s another one that an engineer whom I went out on a date with in San Francisco in the 1980s shared with me:
He told me that while he was a student at the University of California, Berkeley he and several friends (seven or eight persons perhaps) gathered at one of the student’s residences. They decided to try an unusual experiment suggested by one of them. One fellow lay down on the ground on his back with his arms at his side and his legs straight forward. He then closed his eyes. The others placed the two first fingers of both hands under the fellow and on que, together they lifted him as if he were as light as a feather. The young man’s body remained straight and rigid. That, although remarkable enough, was not the most amazing thing to occur. They then, one by one, began to remove their fingers and, once all of them had done so, the young man remained aloft. The engineer said they had to push him back down to the ground. When the levitated fellow opened his eyes he stated that all he felt during that time was a great peace.
August 12, 2016
Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death – by Deborah Blum
This book is about a group of investigators involved in a lifelong quest for evidence of the paranormal (or supernatural). When William James embarked on the project to prove the existence of the spiritual world and the validity of psychic phenomena, he did so to the astonishment and amusement of his colleagues.
He was involved with the London-based Society for Psychical Research from its founding in 1882, joining a number of eminent British colleagues, including: William Fletcher Barrett, philosopher Henry Sidgwick and his wife Nora, Samuel Clemens (the writer known of as Mark Twain), Lord Arthur Balfour (pictured left) who became England’s prime minister and was president of the society for a time, as was the chemist and physicist Sir William Crookes, among several other notables.
While Ms. Blum’s book is largely about the courage and conviction of William James and his colleagues to scientifically investigate, study, and document the paranormal, at the heart of her story lies the [still today] combative relationship between empiricism and spiritualism (and other paranormal phenomena).
Many of these individuals involved in this extraordinary effort did so at great risk to their reputations and with little or no financial remuneration or acknowledgement of achievement believing that their findings would ultimately contribute to the understanding of the full extent of life (after death), and to the further development of human cognitive faculties (as in telepathy). Their biggest obstacle, and the reason most people today know very little about these researchers and their important work, was the adverse reaction of the scientific community in response to their thorough investigations and legitimate findings.
Some Interesting Highlights in Blum’s Book:
Table tilting: The author states that in the 1850s America seemed possessed, as she put it. And, that spiritualist publications claimed there were at least two million “solid” citizens that could be considered believers. Invitations to “tea and table tilting” became standard social events. Sometimes tables did more than tilt: they hopped, cracked, hummed like a vibrating string and some rose into the air as if being tugged by invisible hands. In 1853, three published books by various clergy made their position clear – table talking was the work of the devil. One was titled “Table Talking: Disclosures of Satanic Wonders.”
Michael Faraday (1791 – 1867) was your consummate nineteenth century scientist. He demonstrated how to liquefy chlorine showing that an element (a substance composed of the same atoms; not like H2O) could transit from a gas to liquid – referred to as a phase change (as in ice, to water, to steam – from crystal, to liquid, to gas). He isolated the molecular compound benzene, which became a critical component in motor fuels. He developed an electric generator and a prototype of the electric motor. He also designed a simple battery, and so on. Many thought that industrial production rapidly advanced largely due to him.
Along entirely different lines however, Faraday also conducted a laboratory test of a supposed talking table following which he wrote letters to the Times and the Athenaeum where he dismissed every theory put forth by the spirit believers. There was no ghostly energy guiding the tilts, no electrical force generated by dead-to-living communications. He didn’t want to hear any more pseudo-science from people who “know nothing of the laws” of electricity and magnetism. He’d been pestered enough by the superstitious and his aim in writing the letters was to restore sanity to the public: “If spirit communications, not [being] utterly worthless, should happen to start into activity, I trust the spirits to find out for themselves how they can move my attention.”
Yet, as Ms. Blum informs us, Faraday’s sober call to sanity did not have much effect on a public caught in the thrall of spiritualism. For next, their attention turned toward the unearthly Daniel Dunglas Home.
Daniel Dunglas Home (1833 – 1886) was born in Scotland and immigrated with his aunt and uncle to New York as a child. He was soft spoken and possessed a gentle affectionate nature. Regardless, when he was seventeen, his aunt threw him out of the house for, she claimed, he had become a child of the devil. Tables floated when he entered a room and he laughed when his frightened cousins shrank from an airborne chair.
Blum goes on to report that D. D. Home was silver eyed and copper haired, tall and slim, pale from underlying tuberculosis and that he appeared translucent; a man made for magic. Knickknacks moved without being touched. Knocks sounded and lights appeared, glimmered and faded. Muffled voices whispered in empty corners. The wings of invisible birds rustled overhead. Ghostly hands touched people then melted to mist.
“We were touched by the invisible,” the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning [of “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways …”] wrote following a sitting with D.D. Home. She found the spectral hands completely believable and the medium, wonderful. She dragged her husband and fellow poet, Robert Browning to the affair following which he resentfully admitted only to having experienced a peculiar evening. One hand literally crawled, spider-like, up Home’s arm and another had tapped Browning on the shoulder, “a kind of soft and fleshy pat.” A table had risen off the floor at Home’s bidding and the medium invited Browning to inspect it. Browning felt around and under the legs, he watched Home’s hands kept clear of the table as it shuddered into the air. “I don’t pretend to explain how the table was uplifted altogether,” said Browning.
Home promised that he could help people see God, prove to them that the afterlife could be seen and touched. “Fear not,” wrote a ghostly hand to a young woman who had frozen into a white silence during one of his séances. And, as she shrank back, a heavy bookcase began to trudge ponderously toward her, thumping across the floor. Home claimed that friendly spirits were the source of these and the other remarkable phenomena that surrounded him.
On the left is an artistic rendering of an event in 1867 where it is said that Home had levitated exiting feet first out of the second story window of one room, and back in through another window from the outside, head first.
The Davenport Brothers: Of course it was not just scientists and the clergy that proved to be objectionable toward spiritism and the efforts of the SPR researchers. Another source of irritation was that the whole business was rife with fraud and conjurers (or illusionists). Spirit shows drew audiences in villages and cities across the land. There were many, and many that were obviously phony.
The editor of the Boston Courier offered $500 to any medium who could really produce spirit phenomena provided that the results had been verified by Harvard University. Blum reports that a cranky team of scientists made its way from Harvard University to upstate New York to investigate claims that the sons of a Buffalo police officer, Ira and William Davenport, were able to summon spirits into a theatrical performance. Among their repertoire of extraordinary feats were: spirit hands that fluttered about, along with rolling hoops, ringing bells, and twanging mandolins that were brought to insane life while the brothers sat tied to chairs.
The professors issued a report condemning the performance as a trick adding that their finding need not be dignified with details. According to Blum, the Davenports may have been charlatans but, they were capable and charming ones. People liked them whereas aloof and autocratic university scientists with their rational cynicism seemed far less appealing.
Mark Twain (1835 – 1910), otherwise known as Samuel Clemens, had a purpose in joining the SPR. Blum writes that he wanted an explanation for a dream that had haunted him for twenty-four years:
In 1858 the Clemens brothers, Sam and Henry, were training to be riverboat captains on a big steam powered paddle wheeler called the Pennsylvania. The boat docked in Saint Louis and the brothers went ashore to visit their sister. After dinner, Henry went back to the boat whereas Sam stayed the night at his sister’s house.
Just as Sam was starting to fall asleep an image formed; a horrifyingly detailed dream in which he saw his younger brother’s body in a casket. The coffin lay balanced across two chairs. A cascade of white roses with a single red bloom in their center lay across Henry’s chest. Just a dream, Sam told himself, just a dream.
The next day Sam was transferred to another boat that trailed behind the Pennsylvania by one day. Three days later the boiler on the Pennsylvania exploded just as the boat cruised south of Memphis. One hundred and fifty people were killed or injured. As soon as the news reached Sam, he hired a fast horse and rushed to Memphis where survivors were filling the local hospital.
Henry Clemens died that night with his brother sitting beside him. In the morning Sam numbly walked into a room where the bodies were awaiting burial. Henry lay in a metal casket, balanced across two chairs. As Sam Clemens stood there, a nurse stepped up to the coffin and gently laid across it a bouquet of white roses with a single red bloom in their midst.
Twain also pondered the many coincidental experiences most people have. For example, he wrote “We are always mentioning people and in that very instant they appear before us.” But, he felt these experiences happen far too often to be an accident. In 1891 he had published a personal endorsement of the “science of the supernatural” declaring that the SPR had accomplished what many others could not, “…they convinced the world that mental telegraphy (now referred to as telepathy) is not a jest, but a fact and that it is a thing not rare but, exceedingly common.” “They have done our age a service, and a very great service, I think.” For, Twain had many of his own telepathic experiences (which Blum goes into further detail about in her book) and felt that the SPR pioneers had freed people like himself to speak out on such subjects.
Joseph Jastrow (1863 – 1944) was the founder of the “American Journal of Psychology” and professor at the University of Wisconsin. He wrote in “Scribner’s” magazine a response to Twain’s article regarding the demonstrable existence of telepathy stating that, “… nothing could be farther from the truth. And, if Mark Twain perceived that he lived in a world too full of coincidences, he could be excused for, he was only a writer, and a former journalist at that.” He added that Twain was a typical spiritualist, insisting on the supernatural explanation when an ordinary one would do.
Leonora Piper (1857 – 1950) was an impressive medium and the individual most studied by the SPR for, she consistently produced remarkable evidence of her being able to facilitate communication amongst those who have passed on and her sitters (her guests, or clients) wanting to know of their deceased loved one’s well-being. Blum’s book covers much about her, yet here I can mention but a little.
According to Leonora’s parents, the first hint of any such ability occurred during her childhood in Nashua, New Hampshire. While playing in the garden, Leonora felt a sudden, sharp blow on her ear then the name Sara which was then followed by a sentence. She ran into the house, hysterical, eventually stammering to her mother “Something hit me on the ear and Aunt Sara said she wasn’t dead but with you still.” Several days later they received a letter from the aunt’s husband telling them that Sara died on the day that the voice had spoken into the child’s ear.
The neighbors began to notice that the young Leonora was not quite normal. She could tell them things about their lives that she could not have known. She could tell them family secrets that they themselves didn’t know at the time. And, the rumor spread that she could hear the voices of the dead.
Her family wanted nothing to do with the whispering voices or the whispering neighbors. They knew of children celebrated for their psychic gifts but had no intention of seeing little Leonora become such a freak. They put the eerie little incident involving Aunt Sara behind them and raised their daughter as an upright member of the Methodist Church. At twenty-six years of age she married into middleclass respectability and lived with her in-laws in a home in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts.
Leonora Piper (above), like other mediums, shared the convention of being controlled by a spirit guide who relayed messages having summoned other spirits into conversation. Her spirit guide claimed to be a Frenchman named Dr. Phinuit who had lived from 1790 to 1860. She would drift into a trance which she described as feeling like descending into a dense and chilly fog. Her voice would change into his; deep and rough with a country French accent. Phinuit could report of specific private incidents involving sitters and the deceased individual of interest that were no less than astonishing.
Years later, another control took over Leonora during sittings, a George Pellew. Pellew was a philosophy student, a writer and friend of SPR researcher Dick Hodgson. He was an outspoken skeptic of psychical research and promised Hodgson that if he died he would return and “make things lively.” He died at 32 years of age in an accident on a chilly February day in Central Park when his horse lost its footing on an icy path.
Five weeks after the fatal accident in New York a new voice interrupted during one of Mrs. Piper’s trances. The personality identified itself as George Pellew. Soon, and persistently, this new presence would alter the very nature of a Piper sitting. For, although he first manifested his presence as a voice, he preferred to communicate through automatic writing. Early on, a few bizarre and hectic trances occurred in which Phinuit answered one question verbally while the medium’s right hand wrote Pellew’s answer to another sitter on a paper tablet. Gradually, the familiar Dr. Phinuit personality began to fall silent. [For more information see “The Remarkable Mrs. Leonora Piper” in the July 30, 2016 post below].
Mrs. Piper was followed and investigated by hired detectives, her and her husband’s private activities were observed, their mail intercepted, etc., in an attempt to prove fraud which was never found to be the case. She did not accept money for her sittings during the eighteen years she was investigated by the SPR. There seems to be conflicting information as to whether or not she did prior to her involvement with the SPR. Those that want you to believe that she, along with any and all mediums, was a fraud claim she made a fortune as a medium.
Eusapia Palladino (1854 – 1918) was another remarkable medium much researched by the SPR whom I have to, regrettably, forgo giving a brief biography and account of her abilities (this is but a book review, after all). For, she was exotic, erotic, flamboyant and mischievous but, at the same time, unexplainable phenomena did indeed occur in her presence despite her inclinations to cheat. In other words, lots of fun to read about. On the right is a photograph of Palladino levitating a table while a researcher is feeling around the table for ways she may be fraudulently doing so.
Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931): Blum informs us that a Times reporter turned to Thomas Edison regarding the subject of life after death for, as he explained, Edison is one “who has solved for us so many problems.” Yet, Edison saw no particular puzzle here. He didn’t believe in immortality because he didn’t believe in the human soul. The article’s headline read, “Human Beings Only an Aggregate of Cells and the Brain Only a Wonderful Machine, Says the Wizard of Electricity.” Edison saw the universe as purely mechanistic and that there was no reason to believe that the human brain would continue after death any more than one of his phonographic cylinders could be immortal.
“No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life – our desire to go on living – our dread of coming to an end as individuals. I do not dread it though. Personally, I cannot see any use of a future life.” “Mercy? Kindness? Love? I don’t see ‘em,” he continued. “Nature is what we know. We do not know the gods of the religions. And, nature is not kind or merciful, or loving.”
Enough on Edison. There’s more in Blum’s book about him but you can just skip that part.
Nora Sidgwick (1845 – 1936) born Eleanor Balfour into perhaps the most prominent political clan in 19th-century Britain. Her brother, Arthur Balfour, would eventually become prime minister. She was an activist for the higher education of women and Principal of Newnham College of the University of Cambridge.
As Blum describes her, Nora was a slight woman, strait in posture, crisp in manner of dress. Her hair was pulled severely back from her thin, fine boned face. Her eyes were ice-water silver and her voice as cool as a winter’s day. She rarely laughed, never joked, loathed small talk. But she was amazingly, fearlessly, openly intelligent. One of her favorite pastimes was doing mathematical calculations with her sister’s husband, the noted physicist, Lord Rayleigh. Raleigh was known for his famous answer to the famous question: Why is the sky blue? Answer: Because of the way blue light from the sun bounces off of small atmospheric molecules – called Raleigh scattering.
Both Nora and her brother, Arthur Balfour, were for a time presidents of the Society for Psychical Research. She believed that the society had made a powerful case for telepathy. As she put it, “Few people who looked into the evidence we [already] have, thoroughly and without prejudice, would fail to be convinced that telepathy is a fact.” The difficulty was, as ever, to overcome prejudice, especially among scientists. Science proved its power and worth every day, she said, and for many educated people it had replaced religion as the most believable way to explain the world. Yet, in any belief system there is the risk of blindness, especially when it comes to unquestioning belief. “Danger only arises when the scheme becomes a system of dogma which is master instead of slave,” Nora claimed.
Based on the author’s information about Nora I felt that she was too persnickety and too quantitative in her thinking to be of considerable help to the SPR. While she was convinced of telepathy based on her and other’s research and findings she continued to think that Leonora Piper was telepathic rather than facilitating spirit communication. Among other phenomena that could not be explained away as telepathy, there were several incidents where Piper was able to convey information from a deceased individual that the sitter knew nothing of yet was able to verify later.
William James (1842 -1910) with whom I shall conclude this book review by including his thoughts on why some persons are unusually receptive to psychical phenomena and others are not. According to James, some people may be entirely focused on the conscious world, unable to detect any sensation of an other-worldly reality. Such individuals might well become scientists or pursue other fields based in logical deduction. And, perhaps other people, more naturally open to subconscious, non-empirical, experiences would be more inclined to accept the possibility of miracles or spiritual powers. For, he considered the prospect that mystical or paranormal experiences made their incursions into the conscious mind by way of the subconscious.
I have to include that our current [western] culture strongly values and rewards one type of world view: the empirical, the mechanistic, the utilitarian. And, tends to negate, if not outright denigrate or, at best tolerate, the other: the spiritual, the miraculous, the paranormal. Yet, cultural practices and attitudes change and I sense many are feeling that something important and true is missing. More and more people it seems are becoming less reluctant to share their own valid miraculous/spiritual experiences and are taking a genuine interest in others’ similar type experiences.
Note: To learn more of the aforementioned and other fascinating people and their work associated with the Society for Psychical Research I heartily recommend Deborah Blum’s book: “Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death.”
Links (you may have to copy and paste):
The author’s, Deborah Blum’s, website: http://deborahblum.com/Home_Page.html
The Society for Psychical Research – the SPR: http://www.spr.ac.uk/
The American Society for Psychical Research – http://www.aspr.com/
Images source: Wikipedia
August 9, 2016
Is This a Dream? Am I dreaming?
I have been wanting to experience lucid dreaming for some time now but, I realize I am not committed enough. I have had a couple of brief lucid dreaming experiences which got me rather excited but no lucid dreams seem to follow for some time thereafter. So, I lost interest and ceased doing the recommended practices. Besides, I have difficulty enough recalling dreams let alone facilitate lucid dreaming. I have read diminished dream recall is typical as one gets older. Dream experts advise to immediately upon awakening recall and review as much as possible the last dream that one was just having. I have gotten better at doing that first thing when I awake rather than ruminating over past or upcoming events and concerns and, this does seem to help.
One lucid dreaming exercise I’ve read about is to ask oneself throughout the day “Is this a dream? Am I dreaming?” The intent of the practice is to lead one to ask oneself that question while dreaming. I have been doing this (while awake) and, although I’ve not had a lucid dream, I have begun to consider the possibility that the waking state is a sort of dream state despite its concrete appearance and need for physical work in order to do anything, to get anywhere. And, perhaps that is why paranormal experiences are real and a commonly experienced phenomena. Of course, this idea (or concept) is nothing new, it’s been around for a very long time; I’ve just been giving it considerable thought lately.
In the post below dated July 30, 2016, Two remarkable cases as reported in the book “Beyond Physicalism – Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality” I include a quote in the book from a Mrs. Willett: “Don’t you ever walk out of yourself? Aren’t you tired of being always yourself? It is so heavenly to be out of myself – when I am everything, and everything else is me.” It is such an interesting quote and I have been pondering this too these past few days; to the extent of feeling (that’s important) what she expresses then next considering, and feeling, that this waking state is but a type of dream.
When I wrote the July 30th post I wanted to include yet another very interesting case reported of in the Beyond Physicalism book about a bishop who regularly levitated. However, I could not again find the account in the book. I thought perhaps I had read of the it elsewhere or, what I had remembered was incorrect.
Last night (as of this writing on August 3, four days following the July 30, post) I was doing the mental exercise of pondering, then feeling, that the waking state is a type of dream and then feeling (or trying to anyway) myself extending in the way Mrs. Willett described her transcendent states. I did this for maybe ten minutes when I randomly opened the Beyond Physicalism book (where I had left it on the couch next to where I was sitting) and, as I opened the book, I internally suggested that I would find something meaningful. (By the way, though this can produce some surprising results I rarely do this – maybe once every six months). I landed on and looked directly at a paragraph on page 265 (of the 600 page book) and began reading:
“Could hyperspace models explain the ecstatic levitation of St. Joseph of Copertino [1603 – 1663] and the dramatic changes observed around him during his raptures? Besides the gravitation aberration, he appears immune to fire and pain, and even his clothes and the objects which he is holding are unaffected. In fact, the accounts resemble the space we experience in our dreams, where our bodies are also released from the constraints of ordinary physics.” “… it is as though we are watching Joseph inside a dream bubble, which amalgamates [combines] public waking space with private dream space [what I had just been pondering!]. Indeed, the concept of a dream bubble seems to apply to all the quasi-physical phenomena discussed above [where the author cites other paranormal phenomena]. Joseph became cataleptic during his levitation and had no memory of it afterward.”
I have mentioned throughout this Miracles for All website, and have repeatedly reported of specific incidents where books in particular (but certainly not limited to books) contributed to miraculous experiences.
I have recently discovered and ordered a book titled “The Man Who Could Fly: St. Joseph of Copertino” by Michael Grosso.
We’ll see what happens.
August 5, 2016
“Seeing” is a common theme throughout this website. For example, as is written in chapter (A) MIRACLES: “…the Hindu belief that gods, Heaven, Earth, and Earth’s inhabitants, are inherently radiant and seeing brings sanctity. Darsan, as it is referred to, is a two-way flow of vision, or seeing.” And, in Chapter (D) A Course in Miracles, the post titled “Above All Else I Want to See” is about seeing truthfully. Here’s an excerpt: “Everything looked upon with vision (vision meaning seeing truthfully) is healed and holy …”
Recently (as of this writing) I had the same brief dream two nights in a row. I was trying to open my eyes yet the light was so bright, I could barely open them. I kept trying then had to repeatedly close them again. That was all, nothing more.
The next two days, following the second of these two dreams, I had gotten out of bed very early in the morning, around 3:00am. I had awoken and was unable to fall back asleep so I went downstairs to work on my computer. When I turned on the computer the light from the screen immediately caused me to shut my eyes due to the brightness. For minutes I would repeatedly try to open them yet the light continued to hurt my eyes. And other than these two incidents, the light from the computer screen has never prevented me from fully opening my eyes. I then recalled my two dreams.
I have been working on a review of Deborah Blum’s book “Ghost Hunters – William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death.” Yesterday (as of this writing), Sunday, was my birthday and Chad was to arrive early to take me to a birthday breakfast picnic he had prepared. As I waited for his arrival I briefly worked on a paragraph of the book review about Daniel Dunglas Home and the impressions he made on the two poets Elizabeth Barret Browning and her husband Robert Browning (both poets and one of the most romantic literary couples from the Victorian era) following their having attended a séance with him. The doorbell rang, I closed the document, and off Chad and I went.
He took me to Eldorado Canyon, just outside Boulder city limits, and we situated ourselves on a park bench in a location near the river that flows through the canyon. Before breakfast he surprised me with a poem he had written in honor of my birthday. It is a beautiful poem. In fact, as he read it aloud it brought tears to my eyes, it had moved me so. I brought up the coincidence of his surprising me with the poem and that I had just been writing about two poets that morning, just prior to his arrival.
Many hours later, upon our having returned to my home, I mentioned that poetry has unfortunately become a lost art. Yet, I went on, it can have more of an emotional impact than ordinary sentence structure. I then referred to the poetry-related synchronicities reported on this site [specifically at the end of chapter (C) MIRACLES]. So, given that, we decided to together, verbally, try to form a poem with him saying one line, then me the next, then him again, and so on. We thought it would be fun to see what we could spontaneously come up with. Towards what became the conclusion of our mutually improvised poem he contributed a verse about a puzzle piece following which I contributed a verse about an eye featured on the puzzle piece. I then explained that it was inspired by a true experience where I had once put my hand into a pile of upside down puzzle pieces then said to myself “I want a meaningful puzzle piece” and randomly pulled out one that had but an image of an eye from the face of one of the people featured in the puzzle.
The poem (albeit not a particularly good one), we realized when finished with it, was about seeing.
Chad said he was tired and wanted to take a brief nap. So I went downstairs, turned on the computer, and began transcribing a paragraph in the Ghost Hunters book where I had left off that morning – just below the part about D. D. Home and the two poets. I then looked at the computer screen to check what I had thus far written and this is what I saw:
“HE PROMISED THAT HE COULD HELP PEOPLE SEE God, prove to them that the afterlife could be seen and touched. I cannot believe that I, unaware, hit the Caps Lock button on and off again, and so perfectly there. It’s doubly interesting that’s exactly where I had left off, then later began again.
I have referred to Dr. Iain McGilchrist and his profoundly important book “The Master and His Emissary” in the chapter on this website titled “(J) Brilliant Scientist / Philosophers.” McGilchrist is a psychiatrist that has studied brain imaging (among other resources) in attempts to learn of the differences between and contributions of the two brain, left and right, hemispheres.
It is challenging to attempt to mentally figure out how the realistic artwork on the cover of the book depicts a situation that could actually be. I had to recreate the situation with two hand held mirrors; one smaller than the other representing the mirror shard, and it does work.
“Anyone with half a brain can see that!” is a TEDx talk given by Dr. Iain McGilchrist:
Dr. IaIn McGilchrist’s website: http://www.iainmcgilchrist.com/
July 30, 2016
Two remarkable cases as reported in the book “Beyond Physicalism – Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality.”
As I had mentioned in a previous post [below] dated July 10, 2016, I was surprised that a 2015 special edition of “Scientific American” magazine titled “Memory – Today’s Leading Minds Reveal How We Remember and Why We Forget” (mostly dedicated to current scientific research and findings associated with memory) included, not only a biography of William James on the inside of the magazine but, the entire back cover featured a photograph portrait of him. The articles in the magazine, all of which I read, were very good, by the way.
James initially studied to become an artist with William Morris Hunt [image on right] then later studied to become a physician earning his M.D. at Harvard medical school in 1869. But, he never practiced medicine. He went on instead to become an instructor of physiology and psychology (a field he introduced to Harvard) and later became a professor emeritus of philosophy there. And, as I also mentioned in the [July 10, 2016] post, James wrote a seminal and influential book published in 1890 titled “The Principles of Psychology” which gave him widespread recognition. On the surface, one would not be surprised that William James was prominently featured in, and on, the magazine for, as I already mentioned, it is an issue dedicated to scientific explorations of how neuronal processes are (potentially) involved in memory storage and retrieval.
That’s far from the whole story though. William James was quite interested in the paranormal and was actively involved with both the American and British Society for Psychical Research for many years. In fact, he was president of the British SPR for a number of years; albeit while residing in the U.S. for, they felt his prestige and reputation would be helpful to their cause. Yet, when his schedule permitted, he did work closely with the full time researchers and other members of the society there as well as with those in the U.S. What captivated his interest considerably was that his wife, Alice, had met with the spiritual medium Leonora Piper and she was most impressed with the results of their meeting. They had lost their youngest son due to scarlet fever and this led to her meeting with Mrs. Piper. On the left is a photograph of James at a sitting with a medium.
My point here is that the scientific community then, as is still the case today a hundred and thirty years later, has been, at best dismissive, and at its worse, hostile towards paranormal claims, evidence and research. Apparently, not so much so with the editor of “Scientific American” magazine. Or, perhaps attitudes are changing within the scientific community in general.
I plan on including a book review of “Ghost Hunters, William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death” by the Pulitzer Prize winning author Deborah Blum on this page in a couple of weeks. It is an historical account of the SPR: the society’s courageous and dedicated founding persons, the opposition they faced from the scientific community, and a review of the results of their investigations of the paranormal, etc.
For now however, I will mention two incredible circumstances involving automatic writing as reported in the (exceedingly erudite, scholarly) book “Beyond Physicalism – Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality”:
The Curious Case of Anna Winsor – as described by William James in his report on automatic writing:
“Its central feature is that the patient, Anna, at a certain point lost voluntary control of her right arm, which was taken over by a distinctive secondary personality. This personality, whom Anna herself named “Old Stump” was benign, often protecting Anna from her pronounced tendencies toward self-injury. Stump typically wrote or drew while Anna was occupied with other matters. Stump also continued writing and drawing even when Anna was asleep, and sometimes in total darkness. This secondary personality also remained calm and rational during periods when Anna was feverish and delusional, and it manifested knowledge and skills (such as knowledge of Latin) which Anna herself did not possess.”
The Remarkable Mrs. Leonora Piper – much studied by William James and several other SPR researchers:
Mrs. Piper underwent deep dissociations, with the normal consciousness entirely displaced during periods in which “spirit guides” (non-physical communicators sometimes referred to as controls) appeared to gain more or less complete control of her body. In some particularly spectacular cases, more than one control at a time appeared thus permitting the medium to interact with multiple sitters concurrently; speaking with one sitter while at the same time writing, with one or both hands simultaneously, to others about different matters!
The book goes on to state that while some medium attributes can be faked (or fraudulent) others cannot. For example, Mrs. Piper became profoundly isolated from her sensory environment and did not respond to intense stimuli such as pin pricks and open bottles of ammonia held under her nose.
The book briefly mentions others here, a Mrs. Willett and a Mrs. Leonard who also possessed similarly impressive mediumistic abilities. On another page is a quote from the medium Mrs. Willett: “Don’t you ever walk out of yourself? Aren’t you tired of being always yourself? It is so heavenly to be out of myself – when I am everything, and everything else is me.”
Images source: Wikipedia
July 18, 2016
The Number of Religiously Affiliated Persons Worldwide
Note: Please, for full understanding, read posts directly below dated June 20 and July 10, 2016 prior to reading this informative piece.
Motivated by the quote [posted below on July 10, 2016] by neuroscientist and Nobel laureate Dr. Eric Kandel, and others’ (in particular scientists’) similar statements (such as Dr. James Kalat’s statement in the post dated June 20, 2016) I found some interesting statistics on how many persons of faith there are in the world. In-other-words, most persons are not at all likely to share the atheist or agnostic reductionist/materialist point of view as both he and Kalat claim they are.
First I will repeat Kandel’s response when asked if brain research will change our culture and the way we think of ourselves. He claimed “… surely it will. It is beginning to do so as the notion that every mental act comes from the brain becomes common knowledge. The mere fact that most people are no longer [mind-brain] dualists is a major cultural advance.” Kandal believes in the scientific notion of monism (quite different from the theological or philosophical definition); that being that mind, or consciousness, is merely a product of the central nervous system and not separate, nor other [dualism], nor more than that.
Here are the results of the statistical findings as reported by Jennifer Harper: “The Washington Times” – December 2012:
“Worldwide, more than eight-in-ten people identify with a religious group,” says a new comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.
“There are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84 percent of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion,” the analysis states.
Here’s the breakdown of the global religious landscape based on an analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers:
- 2.2 billion Christians (32 percent of the world’s population).
- 1.6 billion Muslims (23 percent).
- 1 billion Hindus (15 percent)
- 500 million Buddhists (7 percent).
- 400 million people practicing various folk or traditional religions (6 percent), including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, American Indian religions and Australian aboriginal religions.
- 14 million Jews
- 58 million people (estimated) – slightly less than 1 percent of the global population belong to other religions, including the Baha’i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism, “to mention just a few,” the study says.
About half of all Christians in the world are Catholic, 37 percent are part of the Protestant tradition, and 12 percent are Orthodox Greek or Orthodox Russian.
The largest population of Christians (243 million) is found in the United States, followed by Brazil, Mexico, Russia, the Philippines, Nigeria and China.
Find the entire massive study here: http://www.pewforum.org/.
July 10, 2016
“Scientific American” Magazine and a Synchronicity
I had been reading “Scientific American” magazine, a 2015 publication featuring innovators in the field of neuroscience, in particular the study of memory. The publication is titled “Memory” and subtitled, “Today’s leading minds reveal how we remember and why we forget.” While reading the magazine, and perusing other scientific materials (specifically in the field of psychology) over the course of a couple of weeks, I had noticed that there was a cessation of synchronistic events in my life. They come and go; sometimes I can experience as many as one every few days up to a couple a day and for several days in a row. During other periods of time they can disappear entirely for weeks, months even. In the past I had wondered whether reading materials of a purely scientific nature contributed to a cessation of these events given that science does not consider, for example, synchronistic, precognitive, and mystical experiences, and miraculous healings (excluding, as of recent times, the placebo effect), etc., as real or of value.
I categorize, or name, the more coincidental-type events “threads” (not as unexplainable or as surprising as synchronicities). While reading the neuroscience articles in “Scientific American” magazine I did notice perhaps four “threads.” For example: I had recently mentioned to Chad, more than once, that while living in San Francisco (for around twenty years total) I briefly dated an attorney in the early 1980’s and mentioned to him of the miraculous experiences I had. He then told me he would never have believed in such had he not had a significantly detailed precognitive dream the night before the recent (as of that time) and tragic American Airline plane crash at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
In the SA magazine, there is an article titled “Remembrance of All Things Past” about people with prodigious memories. Of pertinence in this case, it refers to a woman who could name significant events associated with an exact date from many years ago that she was randomly given. When given the date of May 25, 1979 she reported that was the day of (the aforementioned) plane crash in Chicago. Again, I qualified this minor coincidence as a thread, and not a synchronicity.
Chad had loaned me the SA magazine and I placed it face up on my bed thinking I would begin reading it that night. I then took a brief nap and was awakened by a thud and soon realized the magazine had fallen off of the bed. I got up and was quite surprised to discover that the entire back cover featured a phototgraph of William James. Half awake, I felt as if he was looking directly at me! It is not the exact same photograph as the one of him on another page on this website (see page (F) William James “The Varieties of Religious Experience” (image on left) but, clearly similar and most likely taken during the same photo session. There’s also a biography of William James in the magazine which surprised me as the magazine is known for predominantly publishing articles in support of materialist, scientific research and findings. For example, here is a quote by the neuroscientist and Nobel laureate Eric R. Kandel when asked if brain research will change our culture and the way we think of ourselves. He replies, “… surely it will. It is beginning to do so as the notion that every mental act comes from the brain becomes common knowledge. The mere fact that most people are no longer [mind-brain] dualists is a major cultural advance.” Kendal believes in the scientific notion of monism (quite different from the theological nor philosophical definition); that being that mind, or consciousness, is merely a product of the central nervous system and not separate, nor other [dualism], nor more than that.
In contrast, William James was quite interested in the societal value of religion, the religious (or mystical) experience, metaphysics, and was actively involved in the Society of Psychical Research; in particular their efforts seeking scientific proof of the afterlife (specifically spirit communication). James, however is also noted for his contributions to the field of psychology and he is considered the father of American psychology. In his seminal works on the subject, “The Principles of Psychology,” he proposes a bilateral system of memory consisting of a primary and a secondary memory.
Regardless of the fact that the magazine prominently features William James (whom I greatly admire) inside and on the back cover and, having experienced a number of threads associated with the written material in the magazine, I thought perhaps my reading the science articles was preventing my having synchronistic experiences. So, I turned my attention to an online video, which I randomly selected, about an Indian boy’s belief in, and potential evidence of, his remembering his previous incarnation thinking my watching the video might facilitate my experiencing more synchronistic events. There was one scene in the video that immediately caught my attention as it was so very much like a dream I had months ago of an Indian man behind the counter of his shop with lots of small appliances around. The boy claims to have owned a television and radio shop in his previous life and the shops in my dream and in the video were similar. There was also a rather startling scene featuring a hand holding a pistol; all the viewer sees is the hand and the pistol as if pointed directly at them, then shots are fired (for, the boy died in his previous life having been shot in the head, presumably).
This triggered my memory of a dream I had at the Pearl Street Studio. I was in my bed sleeping, and two men entered my bedroom. One pointed a gun at my head and shot me. I then was outside my body watching as the two men carried my body out through the bedroom door that led to the corridor outside. Also, besides my recalling this dream, I reflected on, in reality, my having purchased a gun around that time with the intent of ending my life believing that the individuals menacing me while living on Pearl Street were going to kill me and, potentially, in a far worse manner. (They were/are members of organized crime and this was a legitimate concern. May still be for that matter.) After moving from the studio, and to where I now live, I returned the gun. At the time I was so depressed I thought I could impulsively shoot myself or, the persons menacing me would shoot me then make it look like a suicide. Occasionally, while awake, I would distinctly hear the sound of a gunshot go off inside my head and thought at that time that it was an effect of post-traumatic stress disorder. I no longer hear these sounds.
Because of these ruminations, I then decided it best that I return my attention back to the articles about memory in the “Scientific American” magazine which I had, at that point, nearly finished reading. I soon turned to page 109 which features a full page photographic image of a hand holding a pistol directly pointed at the reader (much like the image described above). I’ve been a bit reluctant about writing and posting this synchronistic event for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, here it is.
Note that the video was about an Indian Boy’s memory of his previous life and my memory of two dreams (similar in content), and memory is the sole topic of the SA publication. Also, notice that the dream of the two men shooting me led to my observing myself outside my body. I was still alive although my brain, and thus my body, were destroyed. The articles are about memory and include the scientific view that without a brain one is no longer conscious. This is also the exact topic of the previous post below [June 20, 2016] and includes links to findings about persons who function normally regardless of their being born without brains. And, of course, the synchronicity of the two images of a pistol pointed directly at the viewer’s head suggest not only can synchronistic events occur despite reading materials of a scientific nature but, given the theme of gunshots to the head, seemed to say “here’s one that will blow your mind!”
In addition …
I am compelled to add that the British biochemist, philosopher, and author Dr. Rupert Sheldrake states in an interview that it is [verifiably] noted that 90% of academics, including philosophers in academia, and probably 95% of scientists today believe that human minds are nothing but the activity of the brain; the result of nervous impulses and chemical transmitters. And, that a God “out there” is a naïve childish view. Sheldrake adds that even if most of these persons do not actually believe this point of view they have to [for professional reasons] pretend they do. Historically, this is the result of the scientific revolution over 100 years ago (since Neo- Darwinism, in fact). I seriously doubt, as Eric Kendal claims above, that this scientific view of monism is, or is becoming, representative of most peoples’ belief in the nature of consciousness due to current neuroscience research and findings.
- “Boy Remembers Previous life Incarnation”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of2O-_aZR-g . (At 15:40 during the 16:01 minute video a hand holding a pistol pointed at the viewer is shown then shots are fired).
- “Rediscovering God with Rupert Sheldrake“: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxsNpMpPT3Q
June 20, 2016
The “Mind-Brain Problem” As Explained by a College Psychology Textbook
“Introduction To Psychology” is a contemporary college textbook written by James W. Kalat. On pages 5 and 6, at the very onset of the book, the author states:
“Everything you say or do depends on the physics and chemistry of your nervous system. Then what, if anything, is the mind? The philosophical question of how experience relates to the brain is the mind-brain problem (or mind-body problem). In a universe composed of matter and energy, why is there such a thing as a conscious mind? One view, called dualism, holds that the mind is separate from the brain but somehow controls the brain and therefore the rest of the body. However, dualism contradicts the law of conservation of matter and energy, one of the cornerstones of physics. According to that principle, the only way to influence any matter or energy, including the matter and energy that compose your body, is to act on it with other matter or energy. If the mind isn’t composed of matter or energy, it can’t do anything. For that reason, nearly all brain researchers favor monism, the view that conscious experience is inseparable from the physical brain. Either the mind is something the brain produces, or mind and brain activity are just two terms for the same thing. The mind-brain problem is a thorny philosophical issue, but it does lend itself to research …”
Response to Kalat’s college textbook position:
Quote: “Everything you say or do depends on the physics and chemistry of your nervous system.”
Response: In other words, you are nothing more than a, fluidic, fleshy, skeletal structure the result of electrochemical processes.
Quote: “One view, called dualism, holds that the mind is separate from the brain but somehow controls the brain and therefore the rest of the body.”
Response: Here are two more accurate descriptions of dualism than the one given above: Dualism – In philosophy: the view that the world consists of, or is explicable as, two fundamental entities, such as mind and matter. In theology: the world is ruled by the antagonistic forces of good and evil and that humans have two basic natures, the physical and the spiritual.
Quote: “For that reason, nearly all brain researchers favor monism, the view that conscious experience is inseparable from the physical brain.”
Response: That may be the scientific conception of monism however, in philosophy and theology it is defined as such: Monism – the view that there is only one kind of ultimate substance; that reality is one unitary wholeness.
Quote: “Either the mind is something the brain produces, or mind and brain activity are just two terms for the same thing.”
Response: In other words, all spiritual concepts (to say nothing of other scientifically unexplainable phenomena such as telepathy, spirit contact, precognition, synchronicity, miraculous healings, near death experiences, mystical experiences, etc.) are meaningless. As well, the material universe and all that exists within has no higher purpose nor value – here today gone tomorrow. Without a higher purpose why then be troubled with matters of a moral nature? How easy it is then to go about callously destroying persons, or other sentient creatures, places, and things while performing experiments to gratify one’s curiosity, validate an hypotheses, or for exploitation purposes, or for profit, etc. After all, consciousness awareness [the source of – the very essence of – all of nature – all of existence] is nothing more than the result of chemical reactions in a particular brain of sorts.
Persons found not to possess brains yet function normally:
This is a perfect time to refer to some research findings I included in chapter (H) “The Varieties of Religious Experience” Part III by William James, page 139, [link below] citing individuals whom, it was discovered, had no brains yet functioned normally and, in some cases, better than normal. Persons who study consciousness and its affiliation with the brain have come to take these findings into serious consideration:
Dr. Lorber, a neurology professor at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, recalled when, in the 1970’s, a campus doctor asked him to examine a student whose head was a bit larger than normal. Lorber discovered that the student had only a thin layer of mantle and his cranium was filled mainly with cerebrospinal fluid. The man had hydrocephalus and such a condition is usually fatal within the first few months of life. If individuals survive beyond infancy, they are usually severely retarded. In this case, the student was a math major at the University of Sheffield; he had an IQ of 126 and graduated with honors. Dr. Patrick Wall, Professor of Anatomy at University College, London, stated that there existed scores of accounts of people existing without discernible brains. The importance of Lorber’s work, Wall said, was that he had conducted a long series of systematic [brain] scans rather than simply collecting anecdotal material. Lorber and other scientists theorize that there may be such a high level of redundancy in normal brain function that a minute amount of brain tissue may be able to assume the activities of a normal sized brain.
Sources: “Is Your Brain Really Necessary?” Alternative Science News, September 9, 2002 and Encyclopedia of the Unexplained; Mysteries of the Mind.
May 26, 2016
Three Synchronistic Events
As I mentioned in the first chapter of this Miracles for All website I have experienced a number of synchronistic incidents involving books; sometimes quite astounding. I also mentioned that I have experienced them with two movies (several synchronicities throughout) where books, antique books specifically, are an important element featured in these movies. I’m compelled to include the events below. However, if you find them insignificant and difficult to follow don’t allow that opinion to prevent you from reading the rest of the material on this page.
Below are a string of synchronistic events involving three books: “Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill” by Jeremy Taylor (about dreaming), “The Kingdom of God is Within You” by Leo Tolstoy, and “A Room with a View” by E. M. Forester. I underlined the synchronistic correlations to make it easier to follow them.
Note: A skeptical individual will lock onto the fact that Taylor and Johnson are common American surnames. But, these synchronicities are not just about surnames, rather they have something meaningful, something of the divine, to impart.
I had the book “Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill” by Jeremy Taylor about dreaming on my nightstand which I had quit within the first couple of chapters weeks ago. I was reading the book before going to sleep hoping to improve the recalling of my dreams. I picked it up again last night and randomly opened the book (several pages from where I had previously quit the book) and this is what I read: “In dreams, I believe, we look directly at the Divine, at the God Within …” I had, but two days prior, completed chapter (O) Tolstoy – the Tough Pacifist; an excerpt from “The Kingdom of God is Within You.” Yesterday, Chad Taylor (we have the same surname as Jeremy Taylor), during his editing of the piece, dwelled on Tolstoy’s use of the word ‘divine’ as a verb (rather than as a noun or adjective as is grammatically correct) and we reworded that part. I’ll here add that Tolstoy is an ardent pacifist and his reasoning is profound and brilliant and I cannot say that enough.
As I continued reading on the next page of “Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill” Taylor writes, “The Kingdom of God is indeed within, and as Emerson says so succinctly and clearly, “Within is so great as to be Beyond.”” I am currently listening to an audio version of E. F. Forester’s book “A Room with a View” in the morning as I am having my coffee. The heroine is named Lucy and the other main character, who is in love with her, is George Emerson. ” I shall add that William James mentions the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson in his book “The Varieties of Religious Experience” and I include a brief biography of Emerson in my abridged version of James’ book on this “Miracles for All” website/book. In fact, it is having been inspired by James’ book that I began reading Tolstoy’s works and thus feature excerpts on this site.
Then, two pages later in Taylor’s book, a new chapter begins titled “Dreams, Nonviolence and Social Change” where Taylor discusses the work he was assigned to in 1969 (the year of my high school graduating class – class of ‘69) given his being a conscientious objector (a pacifist) to the war in Viet Nam thus, he was not drafted into military service. I mention the drafting of high school boys into military service once out of high school to fight in the war in Vietman at that time, in the 1960’s, in my Tolstoy piece “Tolstoy – the Tough Pacifist” that, again, I had just completed, and posted, yesterday. Taylor’s book is about dreams and I had no way of knowing that his book would go in this direction and specifically where I had randomly opened it.
Taylor talks of groups he worked with during that period of his life in Oakland and Berkeley, California , directed by a Reverend George Johnson. I was born in and lived for a number of years in Berkeley. My ex- husband’s wife’s maiden name is Johnson and only recently had I made a mental correlation that a sign in my current neighborhood states that it is part of “Johnson Farm” (probably the original land owner). I then turn to next the page and read that Jeremy Taylor later worked with another reverend, Reverend Gilmartin, in Walnut Creek, California where I attended grammar, middle, and high school.
Book Synchronicities: I had the book “Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill” by Jeremy Taylor about dreaming on my nightstand which I had quit reading within the first couple of chapters weeks ago. I was reading the book before going to sleep hoping to improve the recalling of my dreams. I picked it up again last night and randomly opened the book much further from where I had before ceased reading and this is what I read: “In dreams, I believe, we look directly at the Divine, at the God Within …” I had, but two days prior, completed chapter (M) Tolstoy – the Tough Pacifist; an excerpt from “The Kingdom of God is Within You.” Yesterday, Chad Taylor and I, during his editing of the piece, dwelled on Tolstoy’s use of the word ‘divine’ as a verb (rather than as a noun or adjective as is grammatically correct) and we reworded that part (specifically in my abridged version of a chapter titled “Non-Resistance to Evil by Force” in his book). Tolstoy is an ardent pacifist and his reasoning is profound and brilliant and that cannot be said enough.
There were more synchronicities than I have written here. They are meaningful and I cannot recommend enough that the reader, if not having done so already, read MFA chapter (O) Leo Tolstoy – The Tough Pacifist. If enough persons read it I believe it could change the world.