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Posts Tagged ‘Kirsten A. Thorne’

Medium-Eva-Carriere-1912.jpg
The medium Marthe Béraud with an ectoplasmatic structure (materialization) on her head. Marthe Béraud also performed under the names Eva C. and Eva Carrière. Photograph taken in 1912 by German parapsychological researcher Albert von Schrenck-Notzing M.D.(1862 – 1929).

When my mother informed me that my cousin had passed away, I knew immediately what had happened. She had no information that day, but after we hung up, I struggled to contain the flood of images surrounding his death. I found a quiet place, asked for permission to contact him, and then I spoke to him. What happened during the 30 minutes that we spoke, and the images and knowledge that were shared with me, is something I cannot share publicly; however, I can say that it was very difficult to manage the emotions that my connection with him produced in me. I prayed for him, I spoke to him about God, and I tried to guide him to something familiar, someone who might lead the way. After it was over, I ‘heard’ a deep, resounding voice say, “thank you.”

I was not raised to have such experiences. My father was an academic and a skeptic, and although my mother was freer in her world view, she saw me as someone with a big imagination and prone to fantasy. She did not take my paranormal knowledge seriously and refused to allow me to take it seriously, either. Anything that might inflate my ego she was sure to shoot down, and communicating with the dead, in her opinion, was a way of drawing attention to myself. So, I learned to disappear as much as possible and not say or do things that others might find odd, weird, or incomprehensible. I gagged myself and throttled my natural instincts. But one’s true nature has a way of breaking through all resistance.

When I was walking home after contacting my cousin, the skeptic’s voice cropped up; was I making this up? Was what had just happened a delusional, wish-fulfillment fantasy? I decided that, if my details were wrong, if my cousin had NOT died the way I saw that he did, I would give up on the idea that I could talk to the deceased, or receive any information from them. I would, in other words, give into the world’s low opinion of mediums and psychics and continue the not-so-venerable tradition of self hatred.

I recorded everything that came through to me on my phone, so that later I could check my accuracy. When I arrived at home, I cried to my husband. What I had seen and experienced was hard; it had broken my heart. If I had ‘make it up’, there is no explanation for why I would choose something so terrible to invent. The next day, there was more information about my cousin. Everything that my family told me had transpired was exactly what I had seen. I had not been wrong in any of the details save for one, and the one I ‘missed’ had been an auto-correction of previous information that had been true. Of course, some of what came through could not be verified, as it was information that only my cousin could have had. I had seen and sensed what had happened to him; now, the question was, had I helped in any way?

I set up an appointment with a psychic medium that I had met once, long ago, who struck me as compassionate and gifted. Although her student, who did most of the reading, missed many pieces of information and was wrong more often that she was right, the professional medium honed in immediately on what I needed to know. “Yes, you did help him. He thanked you. He has crossed over; he is not here anymore”. There had been no leading questions up to that point. She simply knew. She confirmed what I had seen and sensed, and added a couple of details that explained what I had experienced during meditation that didn’t make sense to me at the time. Some of the ‘hits’ were so specific, not even a super-skeptic could possibly be left unmoved. It was a reading that went on a long time, much longer than planned, because family members kept coming forward. In the end, though, everyone who wanted to say something was able to do so. And although I recognized when one or both of them was filling time or bridging gaps with generic information, there was enough there to convince me that indeed, I was able to reach someone who needed help, and in some way, I was able to guide him.

Does that mean I can call myself a medium? I don’t feel comfortable with that word, but I suppose so. I do what mediums do, and I’ve done it for decades, even when ridiculed or marginalized for it. I have never taken money for my time, although I respect the fact that you can’t work at this for free, once you are open to sharing what you can do with others. I think many people, if not all people, could develop these gifts for themselves; and yet, most people are afraid of this kind of contact, feeling it to be somehow outside the bounds of acceptability. Our culture is fascinated by death and destruction and terrified by the prospect of life as a never-ending reality that changes form, but not essence.

Most people seem to prefer the idea that we die and do nothing but rest for all eternity in some kind of oblivion. I believe that American culture is profoundly fearful of life and mistrustful of its continuation in a new form. We hide and protect ourselves from the grandeur of existence, the riotous explosion of forms radiating energy and consciousness. We distract ourselves, we make ourselves small and unobtrusive, and we hide from our most powerful connections to Spirit. Sometimes, however, Spirit itself doesn’t allow you to hide, to deny, to ridicule or to pretend. Sometimes, Spirit simply refuses to allow you to be anyone else but who you actually are.

And who I am is someone who has allowed herself to speak to and for those who have moved on. I hope to be able to share that talent with others who are open to it and take it seriously. This is not an ego project, something to brag about, or an ability that makes me feel special or superior; quite the opposite. I am terrified and humbled by it, and I work very, very hard not to misinterpret what I pick up. I would appreciate support and genuine interest; my only purpose is to help and to educate, if anyone is willing to listen. My support system is very weak within my family; my husband is always there for me, however, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I am planning to start my own, small business doing readings for donations. If anyone is interested in taking these first, few steps with me, simply send me a message. I can be reached through this site or at kirstenthorne@gmail.com.

May you have a blessed day in the midst of so much uncertainty and chaos.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD

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Death popped into my inbox recently and into my life. Someone wrote to me about losing his father to Alzheimer’s, wondering how–if the brain does not produce consciousness–his loved one could have been so completely lost to the world. Around the same time, I lost my cat Nod. Nod was family. She helped me raise my daughter. We had her for 12.5 years, and she was the soul of the house. My husband stayed with her while the vet injected her with a lethal cocktail. I ran away and cried hysterically in the parking lot. What do Nod’s death and the loss of my reader’s father have in common? One, fundamental, question: where is my loved one now?

Here was my response to his question:

“First of all, my sincere condolences on your loss. Our family lost someone recently, so I understand the tremendous pain and confusion. 
My grandmother had Alzheimer’s, and I have had multiple surgeries where my consciousness was altered by anesthesia. So, I understand how vital this question is. My grandmother had moments where a different level of awareness would operate, even in the worst of her disease. Suddenly, the light would go on, and she was ‘back’—of course, nothing about her diseased brain had changed; yet, she would go ‘online’, as if plugged in to an entirely different level of consciousness. There were no medical explanations for this. In my own case, of course anesthesia would knock out my everyday, operating consciousness. However, on more than one occasion, I became aware of myself on the operating table and was able to ‘see’ what the surgeons were doing to me. Once, I saw myself with my eyes closed and a mask on my face, even though I had made the anesthesiologist promise me that no mask would be used during surgery (the very idea terrified me). I remember confronting the shocked doctors about that fact. There was no way that I could have known what they were doing via ‘ordinary’ consciousness.
So, there are different mediators for consciousness. This higher awareness is like the generator kicking in when the electricity fails. Another common metaphor is the television set or the radio—if the machine is damaged, the signal is scrambled or lost, but the signal does not cease to exist. The brain interprets, filters, and modulates consciousness, but it does not create it. There are many (countless, really) examples of the brain being “offline” and conscious awareness finding another way to make sense of one’s surroundings and circumstances. The lucidity in one’s dying moments that so many nurses and family members report (and I have witnessed) is not due to a sudden recovery of the brain, but to a higher consciousness going online, a switching over to another system.
Another example are people with traumatic brain injury who are still able to execute functions that biology would tell you are impossible. I had a friend who had half of her brain removed and lost no significant function—nobody could explain her complete lack of disability given the catastrophic injury she had sustained. There were experiments with mice where so much brain was removed that they should have been utterly non functional, and yet they ran mazes based on memory that should not have been there at all if memory was stored in the brain.
So, your father is still conscious, but at a far greater level than he was before. Exactly how this works or what form we take is still part of the great mystery; but everything points to the same conclusion: consciousness is not dependent on or created by our brain. I hope that is of some comfort to you during this difficult time.”

Even if one fully accepts that consciousness continues on, there is nothing that erases the physical pain of losing your loved one. After deaths in my own family, I would feel the loss as actual pain in my body. It would affect my stomach, my back muscles, my energy levels, my ability to sleep, my concentration, and show up as depression and fear. Loss of the physical presence of your loved one is brutal. There is nothing that erases that, not even knowing that their consciousness continues, because we don’t know HOW their consciousness continues; my kitty can’t sleep on my chest anymore, and my reader can’t talk to his father anymore.

Sometimes, the signs that our loved ones leave for us can create even more pain and confusion. Nod has appeared in many, many, ways; she has jumped up on the bed and walked up to me; but when I reach for her, there is nothing but air. She can’t appear in her physical form. It’s as if she were both here and not here; exists and doesn’t, in equal measure. In that sense, she is like Schrodinger’s cat, both alive and dead at the same time. I have felt that acutely since her passing, as I did when my grandmother passed away and when my two friends from Wisconsin killed themselves. They, too, left tantalizing evidence that their energy was still active in the world, but I could not talk to them or reach out to them. If they decided to come to me, they did; but when they decided not to, the loss and emptiness was overwhelming.

A few things are clear from my experiences with the ‘transitioned’ states of my loved ones: I cannot force contact, I cannot predict it, and I cannot control the form that it will take. Contact does not respond to or respect my fantasies, desires, and needs. It happens when it happens, and each time someone makes the effort to reach out to me, I try to respond with gratitude and grace. Lately, however, I’ve been stuck in depression over the magnitude of the losses. Like my reader, I wonder how it is that it is possible for consciousness to continue in the way that I have observed. It feels like energy and memory, sparking reactions and effects in the physical world. And yet, it also serves to remind me that so much of what makes this life meaningful is the sheer physicality of it, the warmth of a hug, the sensation of petting your kitty as she sleeps on your chest, the electricity of a kiss, the joy of shared laughter. I want to use all my five senses to reconnect with my grandmother, my cat, my friends–and yet, I am asked by the Universe to redefine my senses in order to make contact. I am asked to connect on a far more subtle level, one that requires energy, concentration, meditation, and an intense ability to observe and tune in.

This refinement of the senses in order to contact one’s loved ones is not simple, because it can be clouded by grief and depression. It is hard to focus on the signals when you are wracked by sadness and overwhelmed by loss. For all of you who know exactly what I am talking about, let me make one thing very clear: the essence of who our loved ones are, their essential pattern of energy, their personality, does not disappear. However, in order to appreciate it, we can’t be in a state of denial, deep despair, anger, or resentment. We have to accept the physical losses and the radical change in the nature of the relationship. Once we have accepted the loss and let go of the need to hang onto to form, we can clear a channel for communication.

I feel for all of you who have endured a loss. It’s a long process to come to terms with our own emotions. Grief can overwhelm the body and the mind with such force that we wonder if we will ever feel ‘normal’ again. We will. It takes time, patience, and abundant love. I have felt the love and concern of my loved ones from beyond this world. They want to know if I am OK. Well, not yet; but I will be. Death tends to bring up every trauma that we have suffered through, every death to which we had to adjust. It is soul work, and it hurts.

But I will do the work, because love is stronger than any force in the universe. It is from that love that we take these forms in the first place, and it is to that love we will return.

—Kirsten A. Thorne

(kirstenthorne@gmail.com)

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I have been gone for a long time. However, there is a good reason: I have been writing a book on the broader topic of spirituality that includes personal details that I have not revealed on Soulbank. The following is a chapter from that book–I hope you enjoy reading it and will be looking forward to more ‘teaser’ chapters.

I read a book one night: The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer. Mr. Singer believes that anyone can achieve enlightenment at any point by simply allowing reality to exist and flow through us without the mediation of our emotions, thoughts, and judgments. A quote that nicely sums up the main thrust of his book is this one: “Deep inner release is a spiritual path in and of itself. It is the path of nonresistance, the path of acceptance, the path of surrender. It’s about not resisting energies as they pass through you.” (250) I decided that if that is ‘all’ that it took to become enlightened, that I could do it. And so I decided to put into practice everything that Mr. Singer suggested.

The first night after I made this decision, I lay on the floor and cried. Emotions needed to flow through me in order to not control and dominate my life and my decisions. I released the pain of my daughter moving to England and taking away the security blanket for my life, exposing my fears and vulnerabilities. I writhed in anger over the mass shootings of recent weeks, the tragic situation at the Southern border, the fact of the hottest July in recorded history, and the deep, painful divisions that our country is living through. I felt like a bottomless pit of pain, but after awhile, the intensity of what I was feeling subsided, and there was a measure of peace.

The next day, I decided that my emotions, judgments, preferences, desires, and fears would ‘pass through me’ without affecting my clear view of reality: the present moment. I downed a theanine gummy (an amino acid present in green tea that is supposed to help with anxiety and lack of focus) and drank a mug of English Breakfast tea while playing Scrabble with my husband. About 30 minutes later, I started to feel very, very strange. The room lightened and colors intensified, and I experienced the bizarre sensation of my head opening up and allowing my consciousness to expand into the room. I seemed to be losing myself as a body and became more of an awareness. The instant reaction was fear. I didn’t want to ‘go’ where this bizarre process was taking me, because I had not intended to experience cosmic unity today. I wanted to hold on to the everyday, mundane reality that I love so dearly, which included taking my turn at Scrabble; but the Universe was not allowing it.

Panic sets in for me when I cannot find a ‘reason’ for a sensation or an experience, and when I cannot control the sensation or experience. I was not directing this expansion of my mind, nor could I stop it from happening. One hundred milligrams of a theanine gummy intended for children could not possibly be the causative agent for what felt like the beginning of a full-blown psychedelic trip. Instead of allowing panic to take over and determine the course of the next hour or so, I lay down on the sofa and decided not to fight the process, even if it made no sense to my terrified mind.

I cried and shook as waves of emotion and energy passed through me. I do not know what had to be released, for any sense of myself as an independent entity vanished, and I was simply a being experiencing something that I was unable to name, comprehend, or describe. “I” was not there to perform those functions. My job was to stay on the couch and not fight it. Indeed, I doubt there was any way to fight the experience, for ‘it’ was far too powerful to be managed.

After about an hour or so, I was able to sit up. I was woozy and confused by what had transpired, but I felt clear, in the way one feels after crying hard for a long time. I was even able to continue playing Scrabble, losing for the second time that weekend. I would love to say that my experience on the sofa cleansed me of my ego and took me straight to Enlightenment, but I found myself angry and resentful about losing the Scrabble game and realized, yet again, that I had not achieved the goal of life ‘passing through me’, even though I had just experienced life passing through me while pressed into the couch! What happened?

I have written before that I do not believe in a ‘path’ or that such a thing as “Enlightenment” truly exists. In fact, I view the concept as an ideal that can easily turn into a spiritual trap where the ego involves itself and starts charging money for the experience at a nice resort where people can smoke toad venom and enlighten themselves instantly. The idea that anyone could ever become–in Mr. Singer’s words–that “open, that complete, and that whole” seemed impossible, idealistic, and in a sense, a denial of human nature at its most fundamental level. We are material beings safeguarding our survival, and to think that we could ever simply allow reality to pass through us without creating meaning around it is something of a pipe dream. After all, do any of us KNOW anyone who does this? Can any of us say that we have met an Enlightened being? And how do we KNOW that someone has achieved such a state?

Stories about gurus who devolve into licentious and criminal behavior are everywhere. I had friends I respected as spiritual seekers who took the content of their cosmic experiences and used that to open psychedelic retreats and charge significant amounts of money to be ‘guides’ for others’ transformative experiences. So many people I know are trying to earn a living selling Enlightenment to lost and desperate souls looking to be happy. I am deeply wary of anyone who profits from spirituality. I watch myself carefully when I write for an audience, even if that audience is very small. I do not know what Enlightenment is, and I do not preach anything to anyone.

And yet, how do I explain experiences that force me to ‘give up’ and allow emotions and strange energies to run through me? How do I explain the psychedelic or spiritually transformative experience? I do not explain it, because I have come to the conclusion that explaining those moments is fundamentally impossible. The force behind such cosmic connections is so mysterious and ineffable that words, even lots and lots of words, do very little to transmit the meaning of the experience. I do not know if these tsunamis of spiritual openings have anything to do with what we think of as Enlightenment. After all, right afterwards, I experienced anger and fear, irritation and resentment, and I did not get the sense that I was ‘liberated’ from any of those emotions.

I think about the basic teachings of Jesus, and they are pretty basic, indeed: Love one another. Easy to say, very hard to do. I think that, in the end, if you can manage to love yourself and others enough that you don’t cause any damage and can perhaps sow the seeds of compassion for the human situation, then you have accomplished as much as can be expected of yourself and others. I am someone who reacts, holds on, rages, refuses to accept a great many situations I find unjust, and is generally quite emotional. I do not think that I am capable of allowing my emotions, thoughts, and judgments to flow through me without any identification with them.

I am willing to admit that I could be wrong about Enlightenment. Perhaps it is achievable by some people; maybe I know someone who fits the criteria, and I am not aware of it, because that is how unenlightened I actually am. When Mr. Singer states, “You truly can reach a state in which you never have any more stress, tension, or problems for the rest of your life”, I want to throw the book across the room. I do not know if I WANT a life without stress, tension, or problems, because all those undesirable states and situations propel me to take action and figure things out. Without resistance, there is no pushing through to the other side of your limitations. The chick must peck her way out of the egg in order to build the muscles to survive. If she passively accepted her state of being in the egg, she would die.

The struggle for survival shapes and creates us. Of course, sometimes we must give up the fight. Nobody wants to die flailing and screaming, although I suspect I might be one of those who do not ‘go gently into that good night’. I will probably resist until the last moment, when I surrender myself to God with a completely open heart. And perhaps, we are supposed to surrender to God on a regular basis, just to remind ourselves who is in charge. Resistance might be futile, but it is so very human. I am here to be human; I am not God, nor do I aspire to be a spiritual leader.

There is something liberating about stating that you do not have a clue how something works. I do not understand the overall design of the Universe, how consciousness works, what God is, or whether or not enlightenment is possible. What I love is the process, the ‘seeing through a glass darkly’. I suppose I adore the mystery, the fight, the illumination, and the falling into humanity and ignorance, only to climb back up and start the process all over again.

May you enjoy the journey as well, and if you find yourself enlightened along the way, send me an email explaining how you got there and what it feels like. I’m guessing not like I’m feeling now. I want iced cream and a nap.

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Dear Readers, (in case any are left)
I apologize for the extensive delay in posting. After I declared that there was no spiritual path, I was not sure how to follow up. After all, the entire point of this blog site was to address issues of a spiritual nature, and Soulbank in many ways WAS an important part of my spiritual path. So why would I declare that all of this was an illusion?

I spent the better part of the last 20 years deeply engaged in questions related to life after death and survival of some form of consciousness, in addition to reading everything that I could get my hands on that was in any way related to paranormal phenomena, mostly what we call spirits or ghosts. What I needed was some kind of direct experience of God, the universe, the Goddess, the cosmos, whatever you wish to call that which transcends human experience and yet somehow produced it. As you all know, I experienced a sudden memory of my death from a heroin overdose as Mary, a foster child who died in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. That memory kicked off a strange series of events in my life. My emotions bubbled to the surface, and I was overwhelmed with traumatic memories from not only Mary’s life, but my current one. I had no idea that the bizarre physical, emotional, and perceptual symptoms were due to a recognized phenomenon: spiritual awakening, or spiritual emergence. It was a total transformation, one that continues on unabated (although not nearly so intense) to this day. I can only describe it as a completely unexpected trip to my subconscious mind, where I met God and assorted spirits and guides. Was it real? It was at least as real as my everyday life. If you wish to call our day-to-day existence an illusion, then I would say it was MORE real than said illusion. It’s very difficult to explain the process to someone who has not experienced it. I was not seeking this out, because I didn’t even know what it was. The process shocked and surprised me precisely because it was utterly unpredictable and was orchestrated by some force far greater than me; it was so awe inspiring and humbling that all I could do was bow down to it and give up.

I still wake up at 3:00 AM feeling like I’m about to crawl out of my skin and overwhelmed with energies that I can barely comprehend. I stretch, jog in place, pray, fall to my knees, and wait for the spiritual episode to run its course. I am something like a conduit now for cosmic energies. I don’t know to what end or for what purpose this is happening to me. It started on June 26th, 2017, and rolls forward.

With that in mind, what I would like to do is revise my statements in the last post. I don’t think that there is no such thing as a spiritual path; I think that most humans cannot understand said path. I certainly do not know why this is happening to me, or where I will go with the cosmic downloads of energy, visions, mood swings, and my new perspectives. All I can say is this: I take more action now for the people I love, and the people I love number far higher than before. I feel intense empathy for the plight of human beings and our planet. I want to do something, no matter how small, to ease our collective sufferings and to celebrate our accomplishments and our innate beauty and promise. I am showing up and ready to work for something better. I want to create small spaces for peace and beauty that perhaps, one day, will grow larger and affect more and more of us.

I have become a beginner and am starting over. The journey begins with the small hope that you are all still out there, that you care, that you want to help me raise the collective vibration; I still love to talk to ghosts and read about where memories are stored in the brain, and figure out how time was created, and whether or not space actually exists; I remain curious, dazzled by life, and ready to research any fascinating topic. The difference is, I no longer feel agonized in the process, because I found out that I’m eternal and the Universe loves me. Even if that statement makes you want to roll your eyes, consider that it might possibly be true. I can’t convince you of that; all I can do is ask that you go find the way–however you choose to do it–to answer the question yourself.

This site is no longer about proving anything to anyone; it’s about creating a community of curious seekers and adventurers who are dedicated to enjoying this human experience. Much love to you all,

Kirsten

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I dread the ‘reveal’, the ‘outing’, of Kirsten as Paranormal Investigator; or, God forbid, Ghost Hunter. This happens, eventually, at work or at church, which is part of the reason I have joined and abandoned eight churches in five years. The voice changes, lowers: “so . . . ” they say, as if they were about to ask me about a sordid affair I’m having, or query me regarding illicit drug use, or any number of other unsavory possibilities, “I hear you . . . hunt ghosts”. Then they giggle, or raise their eyebrows, cock their heads, and smile in that particular way that tells me that they are thrilled that they have just discovered that I am mad or stupid. They are normal in comparison; they are infinitely stable, acceptable, and logical when standing next to a GHOST HUNTER. Then come the questions. I feel heavy, trapped, and exhausted by this point, because I know exactly how the conversation is going to go. I usually fall into a chair and prepare myself for the stereotypes, the ignorance, and the criticism that is about to come my way. Yes, I could simply refuse to discuss this topic with people and walk away; but deep in my heart, I still think that I have the opportunity to change hearts and minds. And no, it doesn’t usually happen; but hope springs eternal. So, without further delay, here are the Top Three Most Annoying Questions for the Paranormal Investigator:

1. So you believe in ghosts???

No. I don’t believe in them. I don’t believe in you, either. I see you and am talking to you, but I don’t BELIEVE in you. You are not God or Jesus or Buddha. I am interacting with you. Therefore, I ascribe some reality to you. You seem rather material and solid, and you are asking questions that I can hear, and I am responding to you, so you exist–materially and spiritually. Now, for that word, “ghost”, let’s drop that already, OK? Nobody knows what a ghost is. All we can do is describe what we think it is, but since we are talking about a non-material entity that manifests itself in a variety of mysterious ways in this visible universe, let’s stop pretending that we know its identity and purpose. Oh, and if you’re envisioning Caspar floating in a sheet, can we just end this miserable conversation right now???

2. You’re so smart; why do you believe this stuff is real?

Well . . . thank you for the compliment. I am, like, SO SMART. So to prove that to you, let’s deconstruct your assumptions, turn them on their head, and force YOU to define reality. I already discussed the ‘believe in’ issue. Let’s move on to ‘this stuff’: what you mean by this is ANYTHING that you don’t understand or that you can’t sense. If your definition of reality is challenged by what others have discovered, or simply by other people’s observations and experiences that point to something beyond the everyday, ordinary reality of collective consciousness, then you decide to attack someone else’s cosmovision. In other words, if you don’t perceive it or understand it, it doesn’t exist. Let’s talk about the word “real”: this is one of those words like ‘love’ or ‘ghosts’ that simply can’t be defined in a simple, straightforward way. What you REALLY mean by this word is this: real is what is real to me, to my community, to my colleagues, to my family, and is supported by my values, ideologies, politics, beliefs, and stereotypes. If what you experience falls outside of what my community values, or what makes me comfortable, or what my church says, or what my chem professor told me, in other words, if YOUR experience causes me discomfort because it falls outside of what I am willing to accept in my life, I will turn on you and label you delusional or strange. The labels keep you at a distance and allow me to continue to live in my little bubble.

3. Can I go with you on an investigation?

No.

Truth is, most people who ask insulting questions of a paranormal researcher are, deep down, fascinated by the varieties of anomalous consciousness (ghosts). They want to know more, but they’re afraid. I understand that. It’s wise to be afraid. At some point, they admit that they are scared of what I do. So I ask them: “What are you scared of?” The answer is, usually, “I’m afraid that ghosts are real”.

That’s where the conversation can start. Yes, my dear, ghosts are real. Now please stop calling them that.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD

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Anyone who meditates on a regular basis knows that some strange material can float to the surface of our minds. I used to dismiss such information as a product of random, subconscious associations, but now I pay attention. I realized that what I used to ignore was teaching that I didn’t want and lessons that contradicted what I desired to believe. It seems, sadly enough, that I don’t grow as a human being unless I suffer the pain of reality contradicting my illusions.

I was far away in space during a meditation where I quickly vanished as a ‘person’. I found myself in an odd, geometric void where there were several points displayed in front of ‘me’, or the observer. A master teacher was explaining that the points represented versions of the self. During our lifetimes, we create multiple copies of the true Self, typically by assigning them roles to play. There is the self as mother, teacher, wife, daughter, and so forth. We come to identify with those roles, and therein lies the pain and suffering that so many of us experience when we realize that the roles we play are primarily determined by our culture, family, country of origin, media, and other forces that act upon us in hidden ways. The ‘false selves’ are only painful when they separate from the true Self and take on a life of their own, divorced from a higher, ultimate reality (some call this God, the Divine, the Field, or the Theory of Everything). When the role-identified ego fragments view themselves as independent, the emotional pain grows and intensifies every time we fail to meet the ego’s standards, which are tied to our culture’s definition of success. We become bad mothers, poor teachers, disappointing wives, or bankrupted entrepreneurs. There are an infinite variety of ways we ‘fail’ in our culture: we are old, fat, unattractive, and unsuccessful. Every negative judgment we struggle with is a result of identifying with a false construct of the self that has broken off from the True Self and become autonomous.

Our very culture, the medium in which we live and act, promotes the fragmentation of the self. If we are ‘unsuccessful’ at any of the roles assigned to us, then we will spend money to ‘fix’ the problem that our society created for us. We chase solutions to invented problems, and the people responsible for selling us said ‘solutions’ become rich and powerful at our expense. To some extent, we are all responsible for selling ourselves and others the lies of our culture: how many times have we promoted a damaging, false view of who we are ‘supposed’ to be that is in service to a diseased, dominant culture? If we think that we are substandard employees, daughters, sons, parents, citizens, and so on, we exist in a perpetual state of self loathing and criticism, making us far less likely to pursue avenues of change in our environment, politics, educational system, or social networks. How do you keep the population from rebelling or protesting? Make them believe that they are not good enough to try. I have classrooms filled with students who believe that there is no point in attempting change of any kind. They passively accept the version of themselves that their communities and cultures promote, consciously or otherwise.

While I floated in this space of false selves, I decided that I must be ‘the Observer’ who understood the lessons; the student, if you will. But the Voice, very gently, asked me: “Who observes the observer?” This sounded to me like one of those impossible Zen scenarios where there is, for all intents and purposes, no answer. I was then led to, and ‘infused’ with, the Observer of the observer, and discovered that it was God; but God was me. I was God. Of course, this upset the little ‘me’, who considered this blasphemy. The little observer started protesting that she was a miserable sinner, far from God, and that this truth that I was experiencing could not be true (a tautology if there ever was one). This was now the second time that I have been shown that the true self is God. After all, God experiences herself/themselves (no pronoun works here) in an infinite variety of forms and beings, and I am one of those beings whose true identity is with God.

If we were all to believe this, instead of the lies and distortions that we DO believe, how would the world change? Indeed, the world as we know it would look utterly different (to be clear, I am not talking about the ego delusion that one is God; that’s entirely another problem. I am talking about the actual, true, real Self through which God experiences creation). How beautiful our experience on Earth would be if everyone followed the path of the true Self. It’s too painful to see how far we are from that vision. Perhaps the whole point of life on Earth is to overcome the vast distance between our repressive cultures/constructed selves and our true nature. We come back here again and again, learning and remembering these lessons in various ways, in differing circumstances. Pain and suffering are the most effective teachers when we are ready to accept the falling away of the myriad, scattered, ego selves.
This is why we pray, why we meditate, why we alter our consciousness: to get closer to our true identity and to realize that fundamental change is possible. To make that change requires those little selves floating out there in space to self destruct under the weight of their false values and internal contradictions. Losing those fragments hurts. Those painful identities don’t seem to actually ‘die’: they become ghosts and haunt our collective consciousness forever and ever. But they don’t have to define me anymore, or crush me under the weight of their unprocessed emotion. I choose to send them to the far corners of the Earth, where they can rattle their chains, moan and lament, and scare the paranormal investigators and urban explorers. For that is where they belong, after all: in the agonized and remote regions of our worst fears.

I will keep moving towards the Light, which we all need to do long before we die.

–Kirsten A. Thorne

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Have you ever glimpsed something so beautiful that your life changed?

Did you call it Heaven, Paradise, Nirvana, cosmic bliss, or something else? Did it matter what you called it? You know that names mean nothing now. Only experience teaches.

How did you get there? Did you fast for three days, eat a mind-bending plant, drag yourself on your hands and knees to Talpa, whip yourself into a frenzy, pray until you collapsed, or did you simply look deeply into the eyes of a loved one and see God? Does it matter how you got there? You know it doesn’t matter. It is in the finding it.

What did you see? Is it beyond words? Of course; but words are all I have, all you have, in this strange, disconnected world. Can you describe it? The world is glowing from a perfect Light, but most of the time we see through a glass darkly. There is perfect Love, but most of the time we can’t feel it. Life never ends, but we choose to kill ourselves, just a little, every day. Eternity is where we live, but we ruin our lives with clocks and fear, because time is terrifying when you see it with human eyes. There is a center to everything, and it’s still and quiet; there is a communion every day with every creation, and you could live there . . .

There is this place, which is not a place, there is this reality, which is nothing like reality, there is this state, which is constant, behind and over and through the buzzing craziness of us and the world we created, which is, which is, which is . . . something like the deepest love we ever felt, the freedom of when we were eight, climbing a tree and seeing every leaf as a novel, something like that, which now we can’t reach, can’t grasp, can’t see, can’t touch.

But we know it’s there.

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Sometimes, it feels like I have joined a secret organization of spiritual adventurers and knowledge seekers, but the club never meets. The members stick to the Internet and keep out of sight. There seems to be nobody to talk to about spiritual issues who are not intimately involved with the Christian faith, and I suspect that those pastors, vicars, and priests would not approve of where my spiritual seeking has taken me. So I remain alone in a culture that does not support or even understand profound spiritual experiences that occur outside of church. I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. If anybody out there knows of any group accepting of ‘alternative spirituality’–whatever that means–please let me know. I don’t mean New Age, Topanga-style, rich white hippy stuff. I just mean, where are the people who have had a massive breakdown in their concept of self, of religion, of God, of reality, and of all creation? Where are the people who have felt that they are finally on the path to understanding a tiny portion of what and who God is, but that understanding is not what they’ve been taught?

I failed at Christianity the way it was presented to me, as something I was supposed to figure out. I was supposed to understand the Bible as mainly allegorical, but sometimes I was instructed to take it literally; the convoluted doctrines pertaining to sexuality and morality made little sense to me, and the Old Testament seems like the story of God on a power trip, all ego and little compassion. Jesus makes more sense, but even He is wrapped up in doctrine that probably had more to do with Church fathers and ancient cultural norms and beliefs. I think Jesus probably both understood and believed in the concept of reincarnation, for example, but the passages where that issue is referenced are always explained and circumvented by those who have the power to interpret God’s word. I thought that was us. I thought that could be me. Jesus says that ‘Ye are gods,’ but that is explained away as meaning ‘judges,’ even though the judge reference makes no sense in context. There is no point in continuing. It’s an endless battle of interpretation that has no definitive answer outside of an authority figure telling you what it means.

I have found out part of the answer to my biggest, most pressing and often painful questions regarding God, the nature of reality and identity, and what ‘spirituality’ means. I got there through a spiritual crisis that involved vivid memories of a past life–more specifically, of a past death–but that was only the beginning. After that, the process of illumination sped up and left me in a state of shock and awe. How I got there is less important that the fact that it happened; and once you arrive at this knowledge, there is no going back. That might also mean, no going back to church.

Briefly, this is where I am right now. And, this is probably where many human beings end up at some point, some very young, and some old, and others like me, at the midway point. All of the following is probably blindingly obvious to the many people who are farther along their spiritual path than I am. However, I just figured out that I’m a spiritual novice and that I basically know nothing. Well, I know a little. This is what I know:

  • I have lived many times. The purpose of past lives, no matter how objectively painful they may be, is to present us with a spiritual challenge that we must learn to overcome. If we don’t, we come back and re-experience the same challenge in a new guise. Since there is no time in the world of God, it doesn’t matter how often we return to work things out. Once one challenge is met, there are many others. Why don’t we all remember our multiple lives? Simply put, our conscious mind can’t handle that much trauma and pain in addition to whatever we are working out now. Our previous lives are stored as patterns of behavior and emotional/instinctual responses to our environment. Our subconscious mind knows  who we were and what existential dramas we are working through. We would be flooded with overwhelming spiritual chaos if we were aware of all our lives.
  • My stories, my trauma, my past life trauma, my status as a victim of people and circumstances, are all unimportant in the final analysis. There is a purpose to remembering emotional upheaval and unfortunate circumstances, but those terrible events do not define me, they don’t explain me, and they don’t control me. During a unique moment of insight while I was babbling on and on to my husband about how my past life trauma fed into my current life issues, I realized that none of those stories were necessary to my spiritual development or my sense of self. Bad things happened to me. Those bad things did not destroy me; I survived them all. Here I am.
  • When I wonder where God is, why He allows me to freak out about everything on a regular basis and won’t simply remove my panic and anxiety problems, I realize that God is with me constantly. He is with me when my husband looks at me with tears in his eyes as I pour out my soul to him. He is with me when my husband wraps his arms around me in the middle of the night when I’m consumed with terror. He is with me when my kitty sits on my chest and purrs at 3:00 AM when I can’t sleep. He is with me when my kid tells me how much she loves me. He is with me every second of every day for all eternity. He is the love in everyone I know. He is everywhere, always, trying to make me see that I am cherished. God doesn’t want to punish me, He doesn’t want to send me to Hell, he doesn’t want to hurt me, He doesn’t wish any harm to me at all. He wants me to heal, to evolve, to understand, to transform, to see and feel the truth of Eternity and the kind of love that radiates throughout all of creation.
  • Panic and anxiety are, in a sense, defense mechanisms against God and love. I can’t imagine that there is a force that loves me that much; I cling to the idea that I have to protect myself from a scary world where I can control the outcome if I worry enough. Anxiety reflects a lack of faith in a loving God. It’s also an expression and representation of the ego self, the little Kirsten who is terrified and defines herself by being in control in a world that is chaotic and confusing. There is evil in the world, and I can’t stop it. I don’t understand how this works, but God uses evil to arrive at the good and the holy. It’s pointless to be angry about dying from a heroin overdose or suffering abuse at the hands of those who were supposed to protect me. I can recount stories all day about how unfair one’s circumstances can be; but in the end, I do not know the purpose, the plan, the design, the Big Picture that is working throughout the multiple universes, dimensions, and realities that we inhabit. I don’t know the mind of God. But as someone who is, on occasion, invited to be directly in God’s presence, I can know that I am loved, no matter what the outcome of this life or what stories will play out in the coming decades.

That’s all I can say for the moment. This process is exhausting and frequently challenging. I don’t know if anything here resonates or makes sense to anyone, but whatever is happening to me, I can only hope that it leads to a better version of me that loves more, helps more, and can do her part to lend a hand to those standing on the precipice, wondering if it’s worth it to keep pushing forward. It is. It’s not easy, not at all, but it’s always worth it.

–Kirsten A. Thorne

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By Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD

Bio: My PhD is from Yale University in the area of Spanish and Modern Languages. Although I am not a physicist or a scientist by training, I was trained in critical thinking across the disciplines and have read a wide array of texts on the nature of time, physics for the lay reader, and theories of reality in the field of philosophy. I have attempted, though direct investigations of the so-called paranormal, to access the nature of reality, death, time and the afterlife, although most of my research is academic in nature. I have experienced anomalous events my entire life, and my primary goal here at Soulbank is to find plausible scientific theories to explain common human experiences that science has not yet adequately explained. If you are a professional scientist/physicist who happens to stumble across my blog, I ask that you please consider seriously my analyses and patiently correct any misstatements or misunderstandings that might inadvertently arise due to my lack of technical (mathematical) training. 

My last post attempted to elucidate the “block theory” of time and how–if we were able to view events from a vantage point outside of the spacetime bubble we occupy–we would see time as an endless series of events stretching from what we call the ‘past,’ through something nebulous and impossible to define called the ‘present,’ on into what we consider the ‘future.’ My theory, pieced together from various theorists such as Richard Muller, Sean Carroll, and John Ashmead (a big influence) among many others. These are my basic starting points:

  • Past, present and future are human categories of understanding experience and have no necessary, permanent standing in reality;
  • Although most texts seem to affirm that the “Big Bang” kicked off entropy and our current perception of time as following entropic processes from low to high, this is by no means everyone’s opinion; Richard Muller argues that there are many instances of entropy working in various directions all around us, and that there is no reason to assume that increasing entropy creates time. Therefore, I will leave that discussion alone for the most part, seeing as there appears to be no general consensus on the matter.
  • Humans associate time with their own aging and eventual death, based on the breakdown of material substances we observe daily. We see nature’s cycles of birth, growth, decay and death and create our timeline based upon them. However, and I believe this is an important point to make, not all cultures measure time in the same fashion. The Maya calendar is nothing like our modern, Western version. Many indigenous calendars are based on ever-widening cycles that, when viewed, bear a fascinating resemblance to block time. All events are laid out in cycles that allow for predictions of what is to come. Not all cultures are as aggressively ego-centric as the West concerning measuring time simply as a function of the self’s material decay; we are obsessed with our mortality and our aging, to the point that we’ve created a culture that deifies youth and demonizes death. There is certainly a cultural explanation for why time, for the West, is tied to the shortening of our telomeres. Correlation is not causation: we correlate the passing of seconds, minutes, hours, years, decades, etc. to our observations of physical decline and from those observations, create time. Simply because we’ve chosen to create this association between physical death and time passing, does not imply that there is anything fundamental or necessary (no rules required here) about it. We have not defined time by associating it with aging and death. Death is simply another event in the block universe, inevitable because we occupy a physical cycle of experience, but not ontologically the terminus of anything but a body (now, of course, would normally be the moment when I argue that the biggest illusion of all is to tie our consciousness to a body, but I’ll wait on that).
  • I will not be the person to reconcile quantum theories of ‘spooky action at a distance’ with General Relativity. However, it makes sense to me that our consciousness is quantum based, and Stuart Hameroff, MD has extensively discussed this. I realize that most physicists won’t touch this topic, or anything related to consciousness, but I am at liberty to do so and hope some of you are willing to take it seriously. It seems to me that the only way to reconcile two apparently irreconcilable theories of reality is to accept that consciousness plays a role in the reality we experience and possibly creates what we observe. This is not really a novel statement. Many others have said it before. The implications are, however, stunning. It is our consciousness that has access to the block universe and can overcome the limitations of time and death by recognizing the non-material basis of experience, observation, self awareness and the universality of concepts such as justice, love, peace, selflessness and sacrifice. And if all of that sounds too New Age, please be aware that I base this on reading intensively across several disciplines, and it’s not a belief system based upon nebulous emotions or desires.

The above points represent the basics for what I am about to say next. Any theory on time, reality of events, observation of events and the role of consciousness in the creation of the reality we observe must always circle back to what makes intuitive sense an average, rational, thinking human being. We must respect human experience while enlarging said experience at the same time. While it is true that we observe aging and death in all living things, that is not the ONLY reality that we are aware of; it’s simply the only reality we feel comfortable sharing, discussing, and advocating for fear of criticism, ridicule or censure if we openly discuss alternative experiences that point to a different interpretation of our lives.

Human beings across the centuries have shared certain anomalous experiences (although they were not considered ‘anomalous’ for most cultures) that point both to the reality of the Block Universe AND to the quantum underpinnings of consciousness. It may well be that free will and autonomy–two concepts so central to the West’s ideology of limitless expansion, progress, perfectibility, and endless opportunity for self creation–are not real in and of themselves, but simply appear that way to us. In the end, if it SEEMS that we create the future, do we really need to panic if that isn’t how the universe works? But first, let’s look at some common features of human experience that point to Eternalism or some close cousin to it:

  • Precognition: Knowing what is about to happen and consequently experiencing that event is not about motion towards the future and then backwards motion to the past, but about human consciousness briefly occupying a different ‘slice’ of spacetime that contains the events that result from previous conditions in spacetime slice X1. Both slices–X in the ‘present’ and X1 in the ‘future’ are both forward and retro causal in keeping with observations that the distinction between cause and effect is not fundamental to the field of physics. Of course, cause and effect rules the physical world, but once you are in the realm of precognition and retrocognition, you are in a realm where the ordinary laws of physics may or may not apply.
  • Deja-vu, or the ‘reliving’ of an experience that you don’t consciously recognize as ever happening before. Often, there is an abundance of veridical information that the individual could not have known under normal circumstances. Consciousness can have glitches, where the brain stops ordering experience chronologically and for a moment allows us to enter the Block Universe by skipping us to another page in the flip book. Both deja-vu (‘already seen’) and precognition are not ‘reading’ future events or reliving past events that haven’t occurred yet, but reflecting a breakdown of our perception of time that allows access to other realities in spacetime that are always already there.
  • It’s possible that we experience ‘prior’ and ‘post’ events on a regular basis, but our brains only record experiences that allow for the perception of time as flowing into the future. Our memory function is designed for this perception, thus memories of the future are routinely ‘wiped’ from consciousness in order to preserve the illusion of the self moving into an uncreated future of infinite possibility. If we did not believe that the future is open and uncreated, then we would cease to evolve, to struggle, to create, to suffer, to work, to dream, to hope and to transcend our physical, material reality; for those with faith, we would stop seeking God.
  • GHOSTS (finally): What we call ‘ghosts’ are simply human beings freed of the material universe moving freely through the Block Universe, or not moving at all and simply experiencing everything all at once, always. They are also us in a different spacetime slice. They might be entirely free of time, or they might have reversed to a particular reality where they are frozen and on endless repeat. To use the analogy of a record, they could be experiencing the whole of the album timelessly, or stuck in a glitch with the needle circling endlessly over the same experiences of trauma, desire, grief or guilt. Our ability to perceive them is an act of reciprocal consciousness: we observe them observing us. We call each other into existence similar to quantum experiments where the observer ‘collapses the wave function.’ A ghost is a collapsed wave function that consciousness has called into being. Before that, they were everywhere; or, they were stuck in a spacetime slice. Either way, seeing the ghost, accessing the future and remembering events that never happened, and all manner of other paranormal experience represent quantum effects of consciousness acting in and through the Block Universe of physics. With so-called ‘ghosts’, we need to remember that the old trope of ghosts ‘not knowing that they are dead’ represents a false conception of reality in the Block Universe. We have accessed their CURRENT REALITY. It’s not in the same ‘place’ as ours, so we assume that they are communicating from a place of non-existence (death), when in reality,  there is no such thing as non-existence in the Block Universe, and therefore no such thing as ‘death’ as we commonly understand it as the ‘end’ of one’s existence.   

This paradigm has staggering implications. Your death as a physical being is simply another event in the Block Universe, no more real than any other event; and since you obviously exist now, in the Block Universe you always exist somewhere. You will continue to exist after your physical functions cease, because somewhere in spacetime your physical functions have NOT ceased; so, when your brain is no longer filtering, ordering, organizing and interpreting your experiences, you can range through multiple ‘reality slices’ freed from the constraints of illusory chronology. Since consciousness creates, directs, and filters your experiences through a brain, connecting them to a body that is, in turn, ruled by entropy, once the body succumbs to disorganization, consciousness is free of time but not of experience. Consider this quote from the website scienceandnonduality.com:

“You create the experience of movement by thinking that the ‘you’ reading this article is the same self that ate breakfast this morning or went running yesterday. But in fact, all those selves are distinct, each one existing at a different point in time–which you could see simultaneously if you stepped outside of the universe. It’s only when your mind ties all these separate selves together that time starts to flow, much like flipping through the frames of an animated movie.”

Of course, these ‘selves’ are of necessity connected in some way, or the result would be psychosis or schizophrenia. Consciousness transcends the selves in the flip book, being atemporal and connected to all “time” frames at once. Consciousness chooses the form, format and organizational principles of human existence, so that we do not experience the fragmented selves of the flip book but a continuous flow of experience.

Consciousness can be said to have a dual function: The creation of the temporal flow, and the illusion of moving through time; and the transcendence of the previous illusion. Therefore, consciousness both creates and destroys the illusion of temporality, aging and death; it creates the fear of non-existence and is responsible for transcending that fear, since in the Block Universe, non-existence is a tautology.

If all of this is indeed how reality works, then we would expect that different versions of ourselves are already ‘out there’ and affecting material reality in some way. In fact, I believe that other versions of ourselves are occasionally perceived both by us and others. In Frederic Myer’s Census of Hallucinations (1894), some of the most intriguing reports concerned apparitions of the living. There is an extensive literature on astral projection, doubles, and ‘ghosts’ of those who are still alive appearing in various locales. It is possible for one to ‘haunt’ oneself, when another version of the self imposes itself on the consciousness of the version we most identify with. I have investigated sites with a friend who swears that she is haunting the sites of past trauma, and I myself have been told on more than one occasion that someone saw me clear as day somewhere other than where I was at that time. Instead of dismissing all of these accounts as psychological distortions or misperceptions, we should consider the possibility that our many, many selves in the Block Universe can occasionally wander through our current world and make themselves known to an observer.

There are so many versions of us and our stories out there that the possibilities for experiencing ourselves are infinite; if our stories have countless versions, then perhaps we have some control over which one we consciously experience. This might be as close as we can get to free will: we can make choices in this vague ‘now’ that will collapse the wave function of all those ‘future’ Kirstens out there. I can pick the version that will play out like changing the record. The records library is out there for all eternity, but I can choose which one to listen to. Maybe.

I think of all the mediums in history who were discredited by someone who believed to have ‘tricked’ them by asking for contact with someone who is still alive. There is no reason why a medium could not pick up on another version of an individual who has not experienced physical death. The Block Universe makes this just as feasible as contacting the physically ‘dead’. In fact, the Block Universe negates the power of death altogether.

The big question, however, remains: just what do we experience after physical death frees the brain from its task of making our lives seem coherent and chronological? I think of the fantastic possibilities of one’s consciousness invading someone else’s spacetime slice (possession or oppression), or of returning to your 10th birthday party unaware that you just ‘lived’ 96 years and ‘died’ and now you’re back to re experience another version of yourself from 10 onwards, perhaps only dimly recalling your retirement party (that won’t happen for another 55 years).

I can also see us jumping into another story altogether with a different body, family, country, language, customs, and so on. Ian Stevenson certainly provided compelling evidence for reincarnation, and the Block Universe provides a framework for consciousness to re-experience itself in a different physical reality. Or perhaps we can move into a universe entirely different from our own and experiencing a consciousness that we would not call human. Once you remove the boundaries of time and space, the scenarios are endless and awe inspiring. If nothing else, it should be clear to us that our current categories of understanding are often breached by direct experience. Those of us who believe in ‘progress’ are often shocked to realize that we cycle back to primitive behaviors on a regular basis. Those of us who think we live once and die to nothingness cannot explain consciousness using a materialist paradigm. How many times do we say things like, “I can’t believe I did that,” as if the person who did ‘that’ were someone else? We talk about ourselves all the time as different people in time; hence the reminder note for the future self who will forget the priorities of the past self. We all, in practice, recognize that our ‘selves’ are distinct, yet we also know that we are connected by ‘something,’ which is our awareness of ourselves and the world as an eternal reality.

How many panic attacks and relived traumas come from selves that ‘died’ in a moment of extreme suffering? Could our ongoing anxieties have less to do with ‘memory’ and more to do with our free access to other selves who might, on occasion, occupy our spacetime? And what of others who might take advantage of our ‘moment’ to express themselves in our body? The Block Universe fixes all possible events, or our consciousness fixes all possible realities, but in the end, the controls over experience can slip or falter in a number of ways. These ‘glitches’ are built into the fabric of spacetime so that we might be allowed a glimpse into who we really are and how everything works; yet we will never ultimately solve this grand mystery while encased and ensconced in our physical bodies. I will end with beautiful quote by David Fontana in Is There An Afterlife: 

“William James may have been right when he lamented that it rather looks as if the Almighty has decreed that this area should forever retain its mystery. If this is indeed the case, then I assume it is because the Almighty has decreed that the personal search for meaning and purpose in life and in death are of more value than having meaning and purpose handed down as certainties from others. If the certainties of life and death were so well known that they appeared in every school textbooks [sic], there would no longer be scope for the personal search, and for the inner development that may be possible only as a product of such a search.” (327)

Be that as it may, the truth is indeed ‘out there’, and I ask that we all continue to seek it with renewed vigor, especially in dire times where the lack of Light is particularly obvious and painful. We should never forget the role we all play in creating this multiverse and bringing certain realities to the forefront. The future may be written, but we can always edit it for the betterment of all.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

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It’s instructive to look at what a culture believes and completely deconstruct it. I find that we are lied to by the dominant culture on a regular basis; social media, media in general, all the images and words that we process in infinite doses teach us a version of reality which, I suspect, is skewed at best and completely false at worst.

One of the biggest assumptions that we carry around with us concerns the afterlife. You are taught to fall into two camps: the ‘scientist,’ who believes there is no rational basis for a belief in the continuation of consciousness, or the ‘believer’ who is either following a religious doctrine based on faith and ancient scripture or the ‘New Ager’ who has dragged the consciousness raising, flower power philosophies of the 1960s and 1970s into the present day. In the latter cases, you are considered by academics, intellectuals and amateur, ghost hunting ‘scientists’ nominally following a method, to be gullible or simply ignorant.

Is the choice really a scriptural ‘Heaven’, total obliteration or some fuzzy ‘white light’ scenario where you are kindly judged by a benevolent God who gently leads you into a non-denominational paradise where your loved ones await you? Do any of these versions make sense of the life you are living? For me, these are not real alternatives but fantasies generated by tradition or desire. I see things quite differently. For one, I tend to think that Heaven and Hell were always meant to be allegorical, describing a state of mind rather than a state of being ‘somewhere else.’ We create Hell on Earth on a regular basis. In fact, it is relatively easy to find Hell if you listen to the news or frequent social media sites. As you navigate the photos of starving children, abused and beaten dogs and melting ice populated with dying polar bears, it seems that God took off a long time ago.

Unless Hell is right here, right now. Why are some of us in Hell when others are so close to Heaven? I don’t know. Maybe God is watching to see what we do. Do we ignore evil in all of its forms? Do we make an attempt, no matter how seemingly futile, to provide comfort and aid?

If Hell is here, surely Heaven is, too. We know that when we hold our child or sleep surrounded by our devoted pets or when we simply contemplate the stunning beauty of nature. Both Hell and Heaven are states of mind that lead to states of being. We can visit both places whenever we want. Sometimes, you can visit Hell simply with one, destructive, pernicious thought. The opposite applies, too.

The Afterlife is not After. It is right here, right now, all of the time. Death, that big, scary concept that keeps us all running in a million directions attempting to evade or outwit it, is a minimal experience that has deluded us all. I remember death. I revisit past deaths in dreams. I have a repeating dream where I realize that I am about to die, and I experience all the terror of the death, usually the one where a giant wave sweeps me out to sea and drowns me. The fascinating aspect of those dreams is that after I die, I realize that I didn’t die. There is this huge sense of relief of having endured the physical death only to come out of it as alive, or more so, that I was before. The second life is completely devoid of fear. I realize that death is an experience, but not a final reality. When I realize this in these repeated dreams, I also feel that I wasted most of my life fearing something that didn’t change anything about me at all.

Piecing together dreams and memories of before I was born, it seems that we ‘wake up’ to a very similar reality with exactly the same identity and personality blueprint. The circumstances are different. But I am the same. Or, as Ortega y Gasset put it, “Yo soy yo y mis circunstancias” (I am myself and my circumstances). I find this to be the most succinct and perfect way of understanding identity. You have always been, and always will be, you; only your backdrop changes. The fact that I can’t explain how this works–whether this is reincarnation, transmigration of souls, or something else–does not invalidate it. There are some things you know on the deepest level of your soul, at the level of your basic humanity, in the blueprint that God (or Spirit) created and that you spend lifetimes attempting to figure out.

There is this deeper reality that invalidates death. I think we all know that it’s there, like a memory that we intuit but can’t capture, an experience we had but can’t put into words. It’s that feeling when you walk down a street you have never seen in this life, yet you can predict every landmark around the bend. It’s when you know something before it happens. It is also when time seems to be the strangest illusion of all, always appearing to move forward, even as you float in a matrix of eternity.

–Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD/PHW

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