Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Die Daily

There is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist saying: "When you are born, you cry, and the world rejoices. When you die, you rejoice, and the world cries".

What is death, exactly, and what does it mean to us as we are living? Throughout the world, death and the rituals that surround it are steeped in taboos. Death is celebrated, embraced and feared. Around death and the dead, cultures put in place diverse restrictions and practices associated with clothing, food and ritual.

For the Roman Catholic Church death is the "complete and final separation of the soul from the body". However the Vatican has conceded that diagnosing death is a subject for medicine, not the Church. In 1957 Pope Pius XII raised the concerns over whether doctors might be "continuing the resuscitation process, despite the fact that the soul may already have left the body."

Some Orthodox Jews, Native Americans, Muslims and fundamentalist Christians believe that as long as a heart is beating--even artificially, you are still alive. Followers of religions like Zen Buddhism, and Shintoism believe that the mind and body are integrated and have trouble accepting the brain death criteria to determine death.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead, whose actual title is "The Great Liberation upon Hearing in the Intermediate State" or "Bardo Thodol", is ostensibly a book describing the experiences to be expected at the moment of death, during an intermediate phase lasting forty-nine days, and during rebirth into another bodily frame. The Bardo Thodol is a guide that is read aloud to the dead while they are in the state between death and reincarnation in order for them to recognize the nature of their mind and attain liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

Some think, however, this book is merely the esoteric framework which the Tibetan Buddhists used to cloak their mystical teachings. The language and symbolism of death rituals of Bonism, the traditional pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion, were skillfully blended with Buddhist conceptions. The esoteric meaning is that it is death and rebirth of the ego that is described, not of the body. Either way, or perhaps for both, the death/rebirth process is examined.

A graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, Brian L. Weiss M.D. is Chairman Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. He has written many books on reincarnation, and maintains that we have all lived past lives. All of us will live future ones but at some level time probably does not exist. All lives might be occurring simultaneously. He thinks that what we do in this life will influence our lives to come as we evolve toward immortality. This would make death more of a marker between lives.

What do YOU think?


veryheaven said...

i believe - and can tell a true story - that dying is only a marker between lives. indeed, we - the humans and spirits - are evolving towards immortality, in body, mind, organs, spirit. no crap, life sciences discover every day deeply hidden hints in our cells and genes, e.g. lately announced was a gene that only needs to be clicked, activated, and part of our body grow again, e.g. teeth, arms, bones - it´s not only possible in the animals world, the code is in us, too - it´s so unbelievable, and wahnsinnig, it´s a secret told so often, the secret reveals its secret slowly to all of us, but people might die in shock physically - but hey, that´s the bridge to a new or unknown but real state of living :-)

and YES, we die daily - when we go to sleep, it´s a little death zone we are flying through, we dream, sing in it, meet "ghosts", and many others "online" - saying: connected to the higher self or universal spirit. anybody heard or read about astral traveling yet? body stays at home, soul/spirit flies to twilight-disco ;-) exchanging news, it´s a soul / social networking place, in marketing terms also described as "incentive days" ;-)
as GOETHE said: OMG, two souls in my chest...
keep on laughing, it´s all fine with me ;-)

alija said...

I agree entirely with the idea of Mr. Brian L. Weiss. I believe in reincarnation, and I believe we are Light Beings, living at the speed of Light, but for some reason the software Creator imposed the time dimension in our perception by reducing the speed of Light of our Lives to this very limited degree. In a timeless perception we are pure Light Beings because each particle in our body, at the subatomic level, is moving all the time at the speed of light.
One very good point of your question here is that I am finally going to read the Tibetan Book Of The death I got a few years ago from our daughter Sabina.
The Death is obviously very big business and without fear of it we would have entirely different system, without brainwashing religions and many other obscuring things.

Makram said...

I don't believe it is in our ability to understand what happens after we die. And there is so much other work and exploration to be done on that which is visible to us. A part of me does believe in reincarnation, however, because I've had visions and dreams that seemed like past/simultaneous/future lives; different systems of reality altogether. In any case, death is to me a mystery which I do not plumb because it is life which I am here to seek and explore.

The only solid proof I've experienced personally that leads me to strongly believe that the soul can continue to exist outside the body comes from my astral projection experiences. I've been very, very conscious and awake while my mind was outside my physical brain, floating a few feet above it. I've also been able to put my self into trance while fully awake and astral project, which is more proof for me that death is probably just a beginning, a reaching out to a new (or old) form of existence.

Steve said...

I'm sorry to be a disappointment ..but I think that you are born and then you die..and that's it..
nature is a wonderful thing and we are a part of it..ashes to ashes and dust to dust. but as I've said before ..each to his own..

Morgan said...

Death is an "absence", an absence of life. But we only refer to this absence as "death" after a life has been held, not before.

For example, let’s say you were never born. So therefore there was never a "you" to die. There was an absence of life before one is born, but we do not call it death in this case. We only call the absence "death" after life has been experienced. But the absence is really the same before and after. We just label it differently in relation to one who has once held a life "before" the absence.

Abhaa said...

The Vedanta philosophy asserts immortality of the soul and that it is neither born nor can be destroyed.It changes only bodies. From the lowest of protoplasm to the highest of spiritually enlightened man there is actually one life, one chain. The soul chooses the body to express itself, gains experience ( of who it is really--not the body and not the mind) becomes free and one with the supreme power /Self/God.

The previous deeds/karma is responsible for the soul to choose any body. The physical expression often lets the soul falsely believe/think of the body/mind being Him, as the soul is under the spell of Maya/ Nature which is really beautiful and irresistible . It wants to live in Maya/ Nature and gain power over struggling to free itself from this bondage.

Unless the soul is free of any balance Karma, good/bad..rebirths will be there ( expression in various forms..even the forms that we are not aware of now)
Good actions, virtues free the soul while vices create more and more karmic cycles for him till the soul realizes its true nature.
Also there is no gender for the soul, as per the Vedanta philosophy.
Whatever suffering or joy the body is suffering is confined to the body. The very essence of soul is bliss, knowledge , intellect, luminosity.

Soul is not the body or the mind. Behind the gross body there is this finer body /mind working. Behind this there is the self luminous Soul, who is self effulgent, luminous, and knowledge as its essence.If we were only bodies, even a dead body can think, walk , talk, wont it? The intellect and life comes from this very soul.

The reincarnation philosophy by the Vedanta makes the person responsible for his actions,why do we suffer?( why does the mind-body suffer?)--its because of your past deeds/karma/actions. Your present Karma is creating your destiny.

People we meet, relations, friends, husband wife..are all attracted to one another because of past Karma of the soul. Therefore one often feels like 'things are repeating'. The present Karma ( because of earlier /past impressions/ samskaras of the soul) alters the happenings of future births/ relations , if its the same actions/deeds/karma..then we are bound to die a thousand deaths ( physically)and be back again .
Nothing goes unlearned or waste. Whatever one learns/earns becomes the package of the soul for its next expression. This explains why some people are born gifted . Genetics and circumstances play only a part role --limited to physical awareness.

What is death? Death is not the death of the soul--but only changing of the body , as the Bhagavad Gita ( which is the Vedanta philosophy made simple for common people) asserts.

John said...

I think:

I'm 200 pounds of highly organized dirt, water, and air. I get to ascribe my own purpose to my life and what I do will only matter NOW. To pretend I get to have more chances is a nice illusion for those who need it, but sometimes it keeps us from doing things now - procrastination being what it is (and some religions).

I believe that when I die, that's it.

I believe I can set self aside at any point in an effort to attain some goal or help another person.

I think karma is human nature, working at a larger level, and getting personified incorrectly.

I think that to say a person needs a God to be moral is to misunderstand how desperately we need each other - and what we'll do to ensure it.

Patricia said...

Rumi said, "I died a mineral, and became a plant. I died a plant and rose an animal. I died an animal and I was man. Why should I fear when was I less by dying?"

In my personal view I 'die' when I am not present and when I am present, this is when I am living my life. Much of what we think of as our lives is imaginary...

Abhaa said...

If the present is all for me, I should deny of the future and also of the past that I have lived considering these as imaginary.

We are the products of our past, but this does not mean we are helpless. The Vedanta philosophy lets every one of us take responsibility of his/her own actions. Future is designed by us.Anything we do act react to has a choice--choice of karma, action.
We never die--because our soul is we--which is deathless and is never born and is immortal.

"Reason -- has its limits -- its base --
its degeneration. The walls round it --
Agnosticism. Atheism. But must not stop
The beyond is acting upon influencing us every
moment -- the sky the stars acting upon us -- even
those not seen. Therefore must go beyond -- reason
alone can't go -- finite cannot get at the infinite

Faith its degeneration when alone -- bigotry
fanaticism -- sectarianism. Narrowing
finite therefore cannot get to the infinite
Sometimes gain in intensity but loses in
extensity -- and in bigots & fanatics become
worship of his own pride & vanity"
(Swami Vivekananda)

Molly Brogan said...

Neville Goddard's mystic view is centered around what he calls the "awakened imagination." I like this idea and because of it, agree that most of life is imaginary. We reach a point on our journey where we are released from the karmic wheel. This doesn't mean that our karma disappears, it remains as part of our soul identity, but we are no longer bound to the cause and effect. Of course, to reach this point, much moral and ethical character realization must occur. I think, also, this is the point where our imagination awakens, and we realize that through our imagination, we create our reality and our experience. If we can imagine it, we can live it.

Death, then, becomes what we leave behind as we reinvent ourselves with our awakened imagination. I'm pretty sure that this is what St. Paul meant with his phrase "I die daily.' Each time I allow the possibility that I imagine into my experience, part of me dies, and part is reborn. The part reborn, is closer to spirit.

Julie said...

My father & I had great chats before he died. He used to stress that "It's not about the QUANTITY of life but the QUALITY of life that is important." Both he and my mom suffered from cancer and were ready to die when they left this world. While I miss them, I know that they are in a better place.

Nilesh said...

When we look at the mysticism/rituals surrounding death, we are looking at death from a living person's point of view. Thinking from the other viewpoint, what would we experience when we are dead? Will it be just like falling asleep, but switching off forever? Or will we, as spirit, find ourself floating in the vicinity of our body (or elsewhere), rethinking our entire life-philosophy?

The first case is inconsequential to our discussion (though it may be true). I mean, there is nothing more to discuss. Switched off, that's it. "Our Self", the consciousness, disappears. Our body is recycled by nature and it's remnant atoms, molecules reconstitute as something/somebody else.

The second case presents interesting spiritual possibilities. If we find ourself as spirit floating around. What happens now? Does our spirit travel to some other world or heaven, where it lives another lifetime/forever? Or does it enter into some other body, waiting in a womb?? What happens with the memories of the previous lifetime? Are those memories wiped off? How? By whom? Our previous Karma determines which new body we will take? Who designed this system of Karma? Who micromanages it? All of which lead to the larger spiritual questions.

So, what is my personal view? I think it's the second case. Of experiencing things as a spirit/soul. But how do we see, hear stuff at that time or admire the beauty of a heaven if we have given up our body with all it's organs of sight, sound, etc?? I believe that even when we are alive, in the present, it is not our eyes, ears, etc. which do the hearing, seeing for us. The reality we see around everyday when we are alive is something which is projected upon / experienced by our soul (not by our organs). It is kind of an imaginary or rather virtual reality, which our soul experiences. And Post-Death experience is just a continuation of that virtual reality projected on the soul. Except, it is in different settings and without the pretense of sense organs. Or maybe even with it.

Mirjana said...

Few years ago I had a hard family situation when my sister in-law was dying of Brest cancer. That was the moment I turned to The Tibetan Book of Dead and gave to my brother some instructions how to help her, allowing her to die. I know it sounds strange, but it is a true experience. So, he followed the instructions, the same as her daughter did. It was not easy for them. But it was a turning point in her dying, liberating her of pain and suffering and in spite of very hard previous period that exhausted her body completely in her last moments of life, being already on the path of death, she changed in a pure beauty. Somehow it seemed like her soul illuminated her body enabling her peaceful and painless leaving.
Demystification is liberation. Fear of death stays above all other fears. When free of that, one is free to be what really is and to take the life the same way, just as a moment caught in the net of time/space illusion. In that sense death belongs to life as one of life experiences, But to those who manipulate people in order to put them under the control it serves to make a horror not only of death but of life as well.
Beside, we die each day and we take it quite naturally. Except, that all this new wave about aging seems to be a new born religion that works very hardly to take us this comfort of being well with daily dying.
Again, manipulation leads to mystification and that leads to fear. Fear takes us our integrity and right to be free with that what we are and as such easy to contribute to further manipulation. Quite a crazy circle.

Ulysses said...

I believe that some people have lived past lives but not all as some people are Old Souls, ie: child prodigies, brilliant scientists etc., while others are New Souls ie: idiots without a clue who are easily identifiable. I would not consider reincarnation in the sense that our soul returns in the form of a different species but contend the soul returns as another human being. A human soul does not return as a cow in my opinion. I think we retain life experiences within our soul and would agree with Weiss that life might be occurring simultaneously on different planes and further that there is a level at which time is of no consequence. The concept of old soul and new soul has been a contentious subject for my wife and I as she is deeply rooted in Catholicism and therefore won't accept it other than as a ridiculous notion. However, as a survivor of a two week coma, when prognosis was death and last rites were issued, I maintain without reservation that there is definitely a parallel life plane. While cerebral vegetation was the assessment with short term cerebral hypoxia being the initial cause of the coma, I had not only achieved full recovery but retained much of the experience. Initially random thrashing of mind states was occurring followed by subconsciousness travel sometimes culminating in physical representation in another place. It was during this point that I feel there was no time factor. At no time during the experience did I feel a disconnect where I could say I was dead and that total death did indeed take place. As far as my physical death I could not make any assertion as I was laying still in the hospital so what I'm referring to is my soul and the consciousness of it within the coma experience. I won't go into extensive explanatory detail but I will have to point out that there was a point at which I had feared what I perceived as death or an impending death and experienced panic. Shortly after I did have my two feet planted firmly on the ground on a hill with trees, where people were standing and sitting about near a river. I had not known where I was but the people did turn to look at me which gave me the impression that I was actually a person in physical form. I knew that this was another parallel life plane and I feel it is there right now still but I only visited and didn't stay. As everything returned to blackness, void of anything visible I awoke to a nurse asking me if I knew where I was and if I knew my name, neither of which did I have an answer to. I still do grapple with the idea of whether or not those experiences were dream state manifestations. This I don't know but have been asked, how did I know it wasn't just a dream. Getting back to issue, it seems that belief in certain aspects of death may give credence to what some know as Heaven and the immortality of the soul. For atheists, pantheists, materialists and rationalists there would be no question and conversation of such idea would be moot. So what meaning does death have to us as we are living? Perhaps it is a reminder that life is temporary and that we should pay heed to what lies ahead without paying as much attention to amassing materialistic treasures over spiritual values. Is death just a marker between lives? Possibly and for me most likely, no one has ever come back to tell us anything about it. Is there a Karma that carries from one life to the next? I would think that if the soul retains it's accumulated properties then it might also retain the aspects of retribution. Upon new life in the new physical frame is there a clean slate with which to develop? I often wonder why some people are born into extreme poverty and pain while other live wonderful lives. While both will have to commit to death the interim of life seems to have significance in the fact that maybe there is for them a lesson to be learned. I would also have to examine why it is that a person is born and dies within hours of living if there is any significance to life between birth and death. If Weiss believes that what we do in this life influences our lives to come then I have to wonder what has that person done within it's few hours of life to influence it's future life. Can we lay down a prospective for person's future life based on general observation of the person's current life. IF so then where might be Hitler, Dahmer, Saddam and what are they doing in their future life? Have they returned already and are they living among us as we speak? The question begets more questions which beget even more as the question surrounding the most mysterious aspects of human life remains enigmatic; what of death?

ornamentalmind said...

In my early life, I had a rather naive view of reincarnation. I mostly would parrot what I had read about it which is diverse to say the least. Whether the source was from Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or other systems, I would just take the belief on like most theological faith let alone knowledge in general is acquired.

As I contemplate it more, I have less faith in the view that much or even any sense of a personal ego (redundancy) is eternal. And, I have an even stronger intuition about that which is eternal. And, this view about a personal continuation isn't exactly what is apprehended either. I do know that I have and do experience eternity and not only in the eternal present. So, overall, the specific theological trappings are of little importance to me even though I have done ritualistic work for the bardo and continue with similar notions and works.

I find the sense of eternity to be compatible with scientific thought from as far back as Thales to today's notion of the conservation of energy. It seems that the majority of humanity shares this view. And, yes, I know that an ontology of consensus is of no greater worth that that of the one, that is, unless one just appreciates adapting to their society!

Of course, at the core of philosophy we find the reality of death. Humanity has always dealt with it and will continue to do so.

When you pointed at consciousness mind) with: "...recognize the nature of their mind and attain liberation from the cycle of rebirth. ...", this does appear to be of primary importance whether it be allegorical or in fact what happens.

Oh, yes, the Bonpa were and still are important in this area. And, Tibetan Buddhism did take on much of their trappings as do most political, philosophical, theological, scientific etc. views, from one group to another.

And, when it comes to us all having lived past lives, and will continue to do so, the vast majority of what I hear about this within culture is indicative of our pop culture and thus is appropriately naive and sensational. Analogies can be found within intelligent design, Christmas, radical atheism of the gaps as well as beliefs that society will in fact attend to our personal attachments or survival of the fittest.

Kevin said...

I'm a pretty pragmatic sort of fellow, logically (or so I hope) plodding through the myriad of mystical possibilities that are paraded before my easily impressionable mind.

Oddly enough, reincarnation has come up a few times!!! (yea, my literary style **is** mostly facetious, which doesn’t mean it isn’t sincere.)

I always wonder **how** something would work, if it were possible that it was true to begin with (say, something like **heaven**, but not that one now). There **has** to be some methodology to handle the logistics of the given process. While these following thoughts/ questions are simplistic, they’re not irrelevant (IMHO).

For the current crop of 6,000,000,000 or so lost souls wandering around the planet, how many of **them** had former lives??? How would “new blood” get in, if the process just re-hashed preceding entities (or what decides if an “old” soul comes back or a “new” one gets a shot)??? Does everyone get to play more than once??? In what **real** and **empowering** way would reincarnation affect the most current version of the entity, not having any cognitive awareness of his or her previous existences??? Would this “do-over” phenomenon only occur in species that were astute enough to dream it up??

Well, if you’ve read this far, you might have concluded I reject the notion; I DON’T. (I don’t even reject flying pink unicorns.) I just wonder how far thought has gone into the concept. Life (along with this whole universe) is sufficiently mysterious and (to me) inadequately explained, so sometimes when a position is asserted or even just mentioned in passing, I like to ask about, using certain simple thoughts.

I guess this is one of those times..

ornamentalmind said...

Kev, I agree that your direct thoughts/questions about reincarnation are not irrelevant.

First, I will share that I've only studied a few different views when it comes to reincarnation and am in no way an expert when it comes to the theological ins and outs of it.

That said, I have listened to numerous lectures by Bob Thurman, in person, in class and online. This one lecture (link below) that he gave at TED has a little bit about the Buddhist cosmology which includes billions and billions of worlds and peoples and ghosts and gods etc. Once one understands this view, many of your questions about rebirth will melt away. Of course, you can use google as well as I can, IF you wish to learn more.

Fran, you too might feel a bit of inspiration listening to Bob. :-)

Of course, some Buddhists don't believe in rebirth, some have differing views etc. as do all people differ to some degree when it comes to beliefs.

Kev, AND, when you said: "...I just wonder how far thought has gone into the concept. Life (along with this whole universe) is sufficiently mysterious and (to me) inadequately explained, so sometimes when a position is asserted or even just mentioned in passing, I like to ask about, using certain simple thoughts...."

I will share that since the notion of reincarnation is thousands of years old, AND since some of the best minds of man have debated, contemplated, thought and written about it, IF one looks, even within a culture that is predominately Judeo-Christian and/or Islamic, there is a wealth of information available!

As an aside, great Christian philosopher/scholars have written about it too. See Origin, St Augustine et al.

Pat said...

Kev, as an adjunct to what Orn wrote in reply to your post, I'd like to post the following links:

They both pertain to that region either between or before incarnation. The former is Buddhist (Tibetan), the latter is Jewish. The former is FAR more relevant to Orn's comment, but I thought you might like to hear a different view of it as well. The Tibetan Book of the Dead (The Bardo Thodol) is a treatise on how to ensure oneself in that in-between stage.

Just to be fair, I'll pass along this link, which gives a bit more on the concept of the Guf (Guph).

All this talk of reincarnation allowed a thought to occur to me. I wonder if, on worlds where there is sentient plant life, if they discuss reinvegetation. You see, I wouldn't want to be seen as specieist. Although some may view this point as specious, I don't. To them, I'm sure that their God (which IS God) made them in His likeness and image, as well. Whilst I admit it is, from our knowledge- base, purely hypothetical, it isn't necessarily irrelevant.

Molly Brogan said...

Brian Weiss made a statement in a television interview a few weeks ago that really caught my attention because it reflected an evolution in his thinking that I had not heard before. In researching this post, I did not find it either, so only included what I did find in writing. Maybe it is his next book. But the idea was that we have lived and are living all lives that ever were. This would certainly give new meaning to "what you do to the least of my brethren, you do to me," because it means that we are all the same, we are all together, we are all others living all lives. It would also explain why that golden thread of truth that runs through everything for all of us is ever present.

Having done some past life meditation with Dr. Weiss' method, I will be interested to see him expound on this idea. What I experienced after viewing several past lives was that multiple lives could be viewed at once, and patterns could be recognized that allowed healing, or leaps in awareness (which ever you prefer.) I can only guess that this would be explained under the thinking above by saying that we will find what we are looking for, and if we have the wisdom to recognize our higher selves in what we find, we will be moving in spirit closer to our ultimate goal. "Seek and ye shall find"

Ulysses said...

>But the idea was that we have lived and are living all lives that ever were. <

Can't be or rather, I doubt it! That would imply that upon death our soul becomes part of a huge soul pool or becomes part of the zero point field. (a uniformity) How could we retain soul integrity if we die and our soul is dispersed into a pool? I would rather think my life reflects all the lives I have lived before, not that my life is fractions of Attila the Hun and King Herod etc. What determines who gets what from the soul pool? People are all so different and there is no uniformity, obviously I didn't get any Philo Farnsworth. What would govern the outcome of future lives? Is there a relation to the gene pool in how a person returns to live again? (I think there is) If a person has the same genetic makeup as the great grandfather, is that person partially living the life of the great grandfather? Is there a correlation?

Slips' 2 cents!

PS: Why do I keep having this dream set in 576 BC? {;-)

Juan said...

I take any kind of religious ideas in the spirit in which they were created, to try to find some sort of meaning in life, and encourage us to live well while we live.

Death itself will be a great adventure or perhaps it will be nothing at all. The process of dying doesn't sound very appealing, though.

Pat said...

The process of birth can be traumatic too, but is, perhaps, more easily seen as being worth it. I expect that death is similar, seen from the other side.

Ulysses said...

I don't know much about Tibetan Buddhists other than they believe the Dalai Lama to be the 14th reincarnation of Chenrezig, or Kuan Yin, the Bhudda of Compassion, that there are multiple Buddhas and that we all have the potential to be a Buddha. This to me is an aside as the issue is reincarnation and Dr. Weiss' experimentation with hypnotic regression into past lives to establish previous life issues that are affecting the current life and further making current life changes that are supposedly going to change the future life. I have to admit I'm having difficulty grasping the concept of affecting a future life. In his book he states that we are eternal, spiritual beings finding our way home. The presumptive is that we are on a journey in which we are all coordinating effective changes. I do believe in the past life experience but I wouldn't say there was anything I could do to change my future life or in fact that I could even have a predicted/ predetermined future life. He cites patients that have benefited from his therapy one being Evelyn.
Evelyn was able to release her fears and prejudices after reliving a past life as a Nazi officer and a future life as a teenage Arab girl.
( Future life as a teenage Arab girl? I don't know! In my above post the people that were sitting around during my coma experience were dressed in ancient garb, women wore hoods not burkas and men wore sandals and robes. This I could very well perceive as a past life experience IF it were certain that it was not a dream state manifestation. Even if it were a past life it would infer that there are many more past lives since then and now just based on the time line. Unless of course people did live to be 900 years old at one time in history, personally I think they measured time monthly as 900 months would be 75 years, but who knows for sure (they thought the earth to be flat). According to Weiss I could have in those past life experiences made adjustments that would have impacted the life I am living now. (obviously I screwed up, lol) Not at all familiar with the techniques of past life regression methods I am as usual limited. However, opinion is just that and of course I have a well of it. These theories are hypothetical and speculative at best and substantial proofs have never been presented so if anything is eternal it's the enigma of life and death. It's all as Hocu Pocus as Catholicism's liturgy of the Eucharist (Hoc est enim corpus meum) You asked what do you think and so you provoked my thoughts and I so with my run on sentences and
sometimes faux paux approach I spew out my mind.

Tangent; My wife dragged me to church one Sunday and so I went the whole nine yards. During the mass they ran out of wine and I felt jilted and jokingly complained that I didn't get any blood. You can imagine the argument that ensued. I'm still laughing at it. (I hope that won't mess up my next life). I've always asserted that if the priest can do it at the church then we could do it at home. She insists that they are "ordained" and that I cannot bless the bread and wine at home. I will have to start a post on this topic because I really want to know what you think.

Pat said...

The dogma is that one has to have accepted the sacrament of 'Holy Orders' and be ordained into the priesthood (thus a monk or nun cannot perform transubstantiation) in order to have the 'power' to utilise the blessings for transubstantiation. So, this boils down to whether or not you accept the dogmatic point regarding the acceptance of Holy Orders and priesthood. I have a copy of 'The Catholic Rites', here, on my bookshelf, which has the full text for those blessings. Although I, personally, don't accept the concept of transubstantiation, so my faith (or, rather, lack of it) might prohibit me from being effective.
I don't suppose that, in your argument, you dropped the concept of ritualistic cannibalism, did you? That one put me in the doghouse for a while. Yet I still chuckle about it, too. ;-)

Molly Brogan said...

You bring up many good questions, Slip, about Dr. Weiss' philosophy. Having read his stuff and used his methods, I can say that I think, like many great theorists, his views are evolving with his experience and practice. I find them fascinating.

"if anything is eternal it's the enigma of life and death." - How eloquent.

"The presumptive is that we are on a journey in which we are all coordinating effective changes. I do believe in the past life experience but I wouldn't say there was anything I could do to change my future life or in fact that I could even have a predicted/ predetermined future life."

I think the idea is that if you are viewing a future life, you can only be viewing a possible future life, because your realization and awareness now - all of the charge you carry about events, ideas and issues, will determine what needs to be played out and realized in the future, that is, if you die still having a charge on anything with more to realize. If you view a future life, and recognize parts of yourself that can be brought into awareness and integrated into your being in this life, in such a way that you no longer hold a charge on it (positive or negative), you effect the change and then you are free of it in this life, and will not need to play it out in a future life. Like in past life regression, you regress to witness parts of yourself that you carry from life to life that no longer serve you or interfere with the quality of your life so that they can be recognized and "healed." You don't change the past life, you change this life with the recognition that you carry a charge on a particular event, idea or issue so that you can say - this doesn't make a difference anymore, I can let it go.

If you take his method out of the context of past and future lives, and see yourself as living all lives that have ever lived, are living, or will ever live, the perspective changes a bit. You can then see that you are positing your consciousness only where you hold a charge. That emotional charge is the charge of creation - it brings us into creation as the vehicle of life and death. Dr. Weiss' method is all about releasing the emotional charge and getting rid of unwanted events in our lives.

Neville Goddard's mystical method also depends on this charge - but his method takes us out of the realm of karmic cause and effect and into the realm of the creator. He instructed his students to visualize their desire (whatever it is they wish to bring into their life) and FEEL the joy of receiving it every night before sleep and each morning when they wake up. It is somewhat like the law of attraction although he stipulates that the desire must be centered in being and becoming, not possession. This takes us into the realm of the creator. Where Dr. Weiss instructs us on house cleaning, Neville instructs us on house building.

I see these two, Neville's and Dr. Weiss' views as compatible, although I am not sure many would agree with me.

On transubstantiation, the ritual of transforming bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ is powerful. The search for the Christ in you is also powerful. If you fully own your Christ aspect, and can feel the glory of manifestation and spirit when you eat and drink the wine and bread, I would say you have mastered what the priests have been trained to do. I do think that we all have this in us. Again, I am sure not many would agree.

Ulysses said...

A person would have to be completely aware of every significant instance in detail that would have to be played out in the future in order to perceive a future life. Evelyn was able to release her fears and prejudices while in a hypnotic state which I feel can be manipulated through power of suggestion. Dr. Weiss is a well respected psychiatrist, he delves into the mind of a patient as psychiatrists do, he then establishes a parameter of issues that encompass the patient's traumatic dilemma, he then poses a set of suppositions that may in fact be the cause and affect of the trauma and last he suggests to the hypnotized patient that past life which may effect change. Example; Through Evelyn's extensive therapy sessions Weiss establishes that she has prejudice and hates certain ethnic people (possibly Jews), he first suggests that the problem is rooted in her past life experience, under hypnosis he suggests to her that she had been a Nazi officer if she hated blacks she might have been a slave owner), upon acceptance of her past she effects changes through the understanding that her past is the basis of her dilemma and now she can let it go as it no longer affects her current life. It is truly an interesting concept and requires further investigation on my part in order to understand the complexities of it. However, I would lean more towards Goddard's approach in that by focusing one's mind physical change can take place. This I have experienced and always make a point of it to focus on something that shortly after through a series of events becomes attainable. Of course my view might be biased as having experienced one and not the other. Maybe you are right in that the two concepts can coexist, while one clears out preexisting events new events can be created. There is viability but everything has holes in it.

As for the transubstantiation I feel that Jesus never did actually change the bread or wine but expressed it as a metaphor. Therefore I feel if I am home on a Sunday and I have some bread and wine I can merely bless them in remembrance of Jesus and partake. Pat: ritualistic cannibalism? I wouldn't dare mention it! In fact, for fear of inflicting hurt among my fellow earthlings I most often refrain from religious discussion unless it is totally unavoidable. I rather let people believe whatever they want.

Francis said...

Pat, classical Catholic theology teaches that faith, or the lack of it, in the minister carrying it out, has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the sacrament. By virtue of the sacrament of ordination, the spiritual essence of the priest is irrevocably changed, empowering him to carry out transsubstantiation. This means that I, although I left the priesthood 22 years ago, am no longer a member of the Catholic Church (in fact am legally excommunicated, because I married without a dispensation), and do not believe in God, can still effectively carry out the Eucharist. Furthermore, according to Catholic teaching, I am still obliged to hear the confession of any Catholic in danger of death and the absolution I would speak would be valid, according to strict Catholic criterea.

This way of thinking also means that I can't give up the priesthood, I can only be dispensed from carrying it out (a difficult and humiliating procedure I have never felt the urge to go through).

... I've been wondering recently about the efficacy of absolution on- line ... there might be some money in it ... or, given the scarcity of priests in some areas, automatic communion dispensing machines ... :-)

Pat said...

People WILL believe what they want. But sometimes I like to put forward different ways of looking at things in order to open poeple's minds to new ways of thinking. The fact that it was forbidden for Jews to partake of blood, makes the institution of such a ritual unlikely. If Jesus was a good Jew, he would never have asked his closest friends to imagine they were drinking his blood. The concept would have been both abhorrent and revolting to them all. Of course, after Jesus' death, when Paul enters the scene, things change dramatically. In my opinion, Jesus probably only said, "remember me when you eat and drink" and the rest was built up over time by Paul conflating that 'Last Supper' with certain Mithraic worship practices, in order to entice Greek conversion.

Ulysses said...

I agree that is has evolved throughout history and in the early church sharing the bread and wine was part of a prayer associated with supper. I've played piano for many non-denominational as well as Catholic churches and can see the stark difference in perception. Many non-denominational churches have a service once a month. The non- ordained minister/pastor administers the communion to the congregation and by virtue of their faith they receive the blessing. I don't see the need for ordination by anyone for anything associated with spiritual matters. All that is just a control mechanism by powerful church heads akin to those who labeled Galileo a heretic and sent him off to prison. One of the most apparent traits of the human species is the need to feel important and the quest for power. Ordination is power!

Pat said...

I agree. That's why my own leaning is more towards shamanism. What's important is the individual's spiritual relationship with God and/or the universe. We are all ordained by virtue of our existence. And any reconciliation between oneself and God needs nothing more than oneself and God. That was Jesus' view and I can't understand how his supposed followers require him as an intercessor. Oh yeah...Paul again. ;-)

Molly Brogan said...

I die daily - thank you, Paul.

Molly Brogan said...

Isn't that what the Pentecost is about? Jesus knew the apostles weren't getting it, so after he was gone, he sent "the great comforter" in the form of the Holy Spirit to them. I think that each bible story leads us to a higher truth about consciousness raising. We all have within us the potential of Christ consciousness. Most of us struggle to get there, like the apostles. The dialogue and the allegories between Christ and the apostles are clues along the path to redemption (meaning the leap to the non dual perspective.)

Ulysses said...

If you find bible stories factual evidence of events then yes. Otherwise it would be debatable. Considering the apostles needed validation soon after because Jesus was no longer there in physical form and people would look towards the apostles for guidance. Biblical references never really have a shred of evidence but only other stories that explain something that on the surface appears incredible. Faith is the cornerstone of religion and faith requires no proof. Why else would a culture endure famine while sacred cows walk the streets. My view is the ancients had many questions concerning the world and those who had answers were revered. Unfortunately those same people thought the earth to be flat and the sun to be burning embers revolving around the earth. (among other beliefs). Now that we have scientific explanations it would only follow that we question these ancient concepts. Genesis 1 tells us that God created the heavens and the earth (obviously I would assume that considering I was standing on the ground looking up) etc. etc. basically just by looking around one could see land, water, sky, clouds, trees, animals, and of course people. The existence of the universe was attributed to God the Creator and of course the transcribers of all these events write themselves in as the chosen people of God. I can imagine God was thinking "Uh oh! I see a problem here!". Other cultures feeling left out created their own Gods and pursued their own course of deity worship. The struggle for control ensued and religious crusades followed resulting in the deaths of millions throughout history. The annals of history are littered with atrocities associated with religious zeal, hence the birth of the atheist. Tragically it continues in our "civilized" world only now with weapons of mass destruction to annihilate entire populations with one pop. Ultimately, concerning life's truths, we have progressed very little from our primordial beginnings. We remain minuscule in the universal scheme but tantamount to God in our own minds. That is why the majority of deities take human form. Why is that?

Michael said...

I think we live all lives simultaneously, exist at many levels, at all levels. The holographic universe.

Reincarnation can be looked at in many ways.

Certainly the experience of having lived and even knowing other lives, occurs. Is this actual reincarnation of a spirit (I would hesitate at 'ego', as ego is formed in life through the sum of experiences and qualified by the underlying nature of the spirit, it's goal and karmic baggage) ? It could equally be the affinity of like spirits, simple leaks in the temporal frame or any one of a thousand other possibilities.

I don't believe we struggle towards immortality. We are at some level already immortal, it's just very hard to hold that vision in focus in the biological frame.

I believe in time as I believe in the sun and stars, but that is only the view from here.

I think that to enter into discussion on the theology of any religion, or belief system, is to enter a labyrinth of mirrors. YOU ARE YOU TO BE YOU. Religions take that away from us and we let them because we are afraid to be what we are. This is also true of our relationship with society.

I believe that we are what we are in this life because we chose it before we were born.

I believe that if you truly want to understand you must understand that you can only understand for yourself. Not for anybody else.

I believe that if you want to understand you must look to the large and the small.

Is there life on other planets? Yes. Why? Because nature never does anything once.

Are we immortal? Yes. Why? Because nature wastes nothing.

What is death? It is walking off stage, going to the dressing room and taking off your makeup. What do we see in the mirror then? I don't know.

I believe the closest we can come to truth is paradox - that falling feeling where there is nothing above or below and no navigational points.

I believe that the underlying nature of the universe is love.

I believe we partake in the creation of the universe at every moment of every day.

I believe we are born on every in-breath and die on every out-breath.

Everything I have written here is somehow for me true. None of it is reason. None of it is for anybody else to believe. And there, of course, I am being disingenuous.
All will be well, all manner of things will be well

Joy said...

I believe that all lives are occurring simultaneously. We call them past or future lives because that is how it is conceptualized in this, our human form.

Is dealth a marker between lives? Since I think all lives are occuring simulatenously, that this thing we call death, can be compared to what we know as a sneeze (if you will). It simply happens, just as a thought disappears from your mind.

Our incarnation is mearly a quick thought in the grand scheme of everything that is. While experiencing it in this vibration, it seems to last a long time, there seems to be billions of different beings involved, and billions of different events. But it is ALL just part of that grand scheme of everything that is. I am me, and I am Sky and I am Tig, and I am Dave, and I am Mirjana, and I am Alex, and I am Gillies, and I am Molly, and I am Infinity, and I am my children and so on and so on. And when I die, part of that thought is gone, but I am experiencing that thought in another form.

Bebbie said...

Molly, thx for a provocative Post #1... you offer plenty of imagery with which I'm unfamiliar (such as Tibetan Book of the Dead).

I take my image of Death from Carlos Castaneda: Cruise your vehicle down the highways at night. Suddenly from out of the dark, headlights appear in the rearview mirror. Feel panic; Where in the world did THAT vehicle come from on this road where we haven't seen a soul for many hours?

Don Juan replies: That vehicle in the rearview mirror is Your Death. It was always following you every minute... but tonight turns its headlights ON.

Jann said...

I was at a funeral a month ago for my God-Daughter's Grandfather. He was cremated, and a lovely wooded box was at the front of the church. She came and sat beside me and said 'is Gramps really in that box?'. I could tell by the look on her face that at 9, she wondered how a 6'2 man could fit into something the size of a Kleenex box.
We chatted for a bit about life, and that only his ashes are only in the box, but his spirit is all around her. I tried to explain the best I could...then she looked at me and said....'oh I get it Aunt Jann, It's like when a crab dies and it just leaves it's shell on the beach, it's spirit has gone and only it's shell is left behind'

(I think I'll steal that line from the kid...don't tell!)

Charlene said...

I have been very interested in reicarnation, Molly, from an early age.

At age 9 and on I've had vivid dreams of my maternal grandmother who died on my ninth birthday. When my father died in 1986, I then and now have dreams of him as he would be talking to me in present time. So Brian Weiss' theory about souls living on different planes does make sense to me.

I believe we never truly die. Being raised Catholic I was taught all souls went to purgatory, heaven, hell. Well, I eventually thought out my own process and know that it probably doesn't really happen that way. I believe in life's religion the way I personally see it. I know I have been here before by the way I see the world...and space I live in. Everyone is connected regardless if you live in PA or Ontario.

Sometimes I have trouble putting my thoughts into mind is so busy. I do believe that death is a rebirth of the soul..Mistakes are made on a daily basis in any life. What I do not understand is the theory of many lives making mistakes to get it right. What exactly is right?

zaZen said...

The answer to this, for me personally, were I given, 2 paragraphs or 40, I still could not touch wholly on what consists of my belief in regard to "reincarnation, rebirth, death and Karma."

I will live again, I may be living on many dimensions now...... is my soul ready for merging with the Creator...... I don't know. I don't remember how far I've come in being ready for that transition.... did I make the kind of mistakes that will require, in my mind, more work here or elsewhere ........ I hope not..... but probably... if so, I hope my next incarnation will prepare me for not having to return too many more times....if any.

I have been wrestling with this concept in all it's nuances since I was 7 years old..... after an amazing experience. I have not decided on "too awful" much that I could say is written in stone, since then. But I'm working on it.

Happy said...

All lives being lived simultaneously. Hmmmm--well, yes, that makes sense in the realm of quantum physics.

Personally, I feel that everything in existence is a message from God, and if we would just stop to observe the apparent world, we would have all the answers.

Take the butterfly, as a for instance.

Nick said...

It seems to me that Michael has had some valid experiences, and I don't question or disagree. Rather, I wish to add. Therefore, I'll give the best response I can based on my experience:

What is experience? I hold that experience is contact. What is knowledge? Knowledge is simply another word for experience, although it is also used to indicate predictability based on previous experience. It is as though the universe agrees to do stuff for us so that we can be knowledgeable.

Because things we know come from experiences, this mandates that our experience is simply that -- experience. What is experience? It is sense-experience. What causes sense-experience? Connection between objects. Because experience is this, experience is part of connections between objects. Planets experience gravity. Because planets experience gravity, our dead bodies experience similar things. Therefore when we die, we don't disappear entirely. How do we know it is this and not some other thing? Because experience is about the most easy thing in the world to experience. When one experiences experience, clearly, one can tell exactly what it is. It is contact.

This is why I think the world is alive. However, I do hold special regard for human beings, because human beings are the only beings who have a "soul." A soul, I think, gives us the ability to live forever in heaven. Why do we have this ability? I think it is because of our brains -- our minds. Because we have such powerful brains, we have the ability to recognize and cast away evil, and recognize and cherish good. We have so many experiences, we reach something of a critical mass, and can generalize about all experience in general. This gives us the right to make posts like Michael's. I don't think animals (let alone rocks) can do this adequately.

It is clear that conditions gave rise to us, and it is clear that conditions will be formed while we live and when we die. What is unclear is exactly how these conditions interact with the world. When the electromagnetic and other energies (conditions) hit the Earth, what happens to them? It probably takes a while for the energies (conditions) to recollect and reform in any meaningful way (thus giving rise to our next bodies).

I think we are inseparable from this world. However, I also think we help form this world. This formation process we engage in indicates possibilities for escape from this world. This is the paradox.