Interesting and Informative

intolandofsnowsInto the Land of Snows by Ellis Nelson

Summary: A troubled, sixteen-year-old Blake travels to Base Camp on Mt. Everest to spend time with his physician father. When a deadly avalanche occurs, his dad is forced to rethink things, so sends Blake off the mountain.

Now accompanied by a Sherpa guide, and in possession of a mysterious camera, Blake undertakes a journey which will challenge everything he believes. The magic of his experience in the Himalayas, will forever change him.

Recommendation: Yes

Review:  The first thing that intrigued me about the book was the title, “Into the Land of Snows.” I found out later that the title is actually another name for Tibet, Nepal, and the surrounding Himalayan area. What a clever idea by the author to use it as the title of her book, then.

Throughout the novel, the Sherpa guide (Ang) consistently tries to engage and educate Blake (the teenage protagonist) in the ways of life. However, Blake, being a self-absorbed, typical U.S. teenager, is hardly interested. That is, until they end up in several harrowing situations that require him to pay attention so that he can learn and understand how to overcome the challenges.

During their trek through the mountains, Blake and Ang debate philosophy (primarily Buddhism), encounter differences in social mores, and work through several ethical and moral issues.

Having never been to the Himalayas or met a Sherpa, I found the descriptions and societal insights fascinating and educational. However, the conversations on philosophy seemed stilted and unnatural. Overlooking that unnaturalness, though, I did find the snippets of information gleaned from the book helpful and intriguing. Intriguing enough to get me to check out several books on Buddhism from the library.

Will this book appeal to young adults? I can’t really say. But as an adult, I found it quite interesting and very informative.

[To learn more about the author; or to purchase the book]

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Ascending Spiral Book Review

AsccendingspiralimageAscending Spiral by Bob Rich

Summary: Dr. Pip Lipkin has lived for 12,000 years, incarnated many times as man, woman, and even as species beyond our world and senses. But he’s here for a reason: to pay restitution for an ancient crime by working to save humanity from certain destruction. “Ascending Spiral” is a book that will take the reader to many different places and times, showing, ultimately, that our differences and divisions, even at their most devastating, are less important than our similarities.

Recommendation: Yes

Review: “Ascending Spiral” by Bob Rich is the book “Cloud Atlas” aspired to be but, unfortunately, never was.

“Ascending Spiral” takes you on a journey through the past and present of Dr. Pip Lipkin, a psychologist and counselor. In so doing, it gives you a view of the experiences and ways in which each of us develop and grow through our different lifetimes on Earth.

In each life we interact with many of the same souls repeatedly as we learn what the expression “an eye for an eye” really means. Throughout the book, Pip experiences love, hate, war, depression, incarceration, and slavery, all while searching for that one moment when enlightenment sparks an awareness in his soul. Each moment of awareness brings his soul more light and a greater ability in making love-filled choices instead of fear-based ones.

Once I stepped beyond the prologue and into the actual story, I was hooked. The characters were vibrant and as alive as you and me. With every choice made, and every battle fought, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know what would happen next.

Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation or past lives, you can enjoy this book by simply looking at it as an historical adventure novel. I found that the historical accuracy combined with the great pacing made for an entertaining read. The only time the pacing bogged down (for me) was toward the end when the story popped back into (almost) current time. What I mean by that is, we joined with Pip as young adult in university. However, soon after we jumped back to Pip as a child. I became a little confused with the story here, because of the age hopping, but once we got back to Pip as a young man, the story smoothed out again.

Overall, this is an excellent adventure for those who just want a good story; an extremely thought-provoking book for those contemplating the bigger question of “why are we here;” or a wonderful book for those wishing to explore the idea of past lives and reincarnation.

Mastering Meditation–Now in Paperback

I’m proud to announce that my Mastering Meditation book is now available in paperback. Because the images included in the book are (to me, anyway) important, the book will be printed in color. While this does push the price a bit higher, I believe it is worth it.

Take a look, just go to Amazon.com for your copy.

 

We’ve All Lived Before

pexels-photo-346796.jpegI did a review on a book regarding children and past lives, and while the book wasn’t all that great, the topic is still one that interests me.

One of the reasons it interests me is because of my own remembrances of past lives (some from when I was young and other memories that have occurred at different moments throughout my life). Another reason why the subject interests me, though, is because of several occurrences I’ve had of coping with the spontaneous recall of other’s memories.

The first time I had to help someone else cope with such a spontaneous memory was when I was in my late teens/early 20’s. I was babysitting my nieces and nephews (ages 9 to 4). This was a typical request and I wasn’t expecting anything unusual.

The kids (3 boys and 2 girls) were outside playing in the backyard, the dog was lying in the shade of the big ol’ oak tree, and I was just trying to make sure that they didn’t kill themselves or each other with their antics. Two of the boys were trying to climb the tree, while the two girls were having a tea party with their dolls over by the swing set.

52205_soarSuddenly, the third boy, and the youngest, burst into tears. Thinking that one of the other kids had done something, I raced over to see what was wrong (the other kids continued to play, paying us no mind).

Donny (not his real name) was squatting near the tree, tears just streaming down his face. When I got there, he appeared inconsolable. I got down next to him and wrapped my arms around him. As his tears slowed down a bit, I asked him what was wrong.

He choked out the words, “I did it.”

“Did what?”

He pointed at the dead bird at the base of the tree.

I hadn’t seen him hurt anything, but then I was trying to keep track of five energetic and crazy kids. So, without thinking, I asked, “Why did you kill it?”

“Because my dad told me to.”

I stood up, surprised, because I knew his dad would never do such a thing. After a moment, I squatted back down. “Are you sure it was your dad who suggested it?”

“Oh, he didn’t just suggest it; he insisted.” (Insisted was the word he used, speaking at a level above his age of four.)

Still puzzled, I pushed for more information. “Do you know why he insisted you do this?” And I indicated the dead bird.

Continuing to speak in a way that was older than his four years, he responded, “He said I would be considered a pantywaist if I didn’t.”

Okay, I knew something was odd, because who says ‘pantywaist?’ That was definitely not a term his father would use.

“Your dad told you that?”

He blinked, then said, “Not this dad. The dad I had before.”

“You had a dad before this one?”

“Sure. But that was when I was Robert Aikers.” (Again, not actual name.)

That got me. I plopped down on the ground and stared at him.

“My dad at that time thought it was manly to kill things, but I didn’t approve. So, he mocked me until I finally went hunting with him. We came across a partridge nest in the west field.

“I didn’t want to do it, but I finally pulled the trigger, killing the mother partridge.

“I felt so badly afterwards that I snuck out for weeks to take care of the babies. When he found out, he went out to the field and stomped the nest flat. Then, he made me leave the babies to the barn cat.

“I hated him after that.”

To say I was surprised, is a gross understatement. But I pulled myself together and tried to help him through the experience. I explained that he had taken responsibility for his actions back then by trying to help the baby birds, and it wasn’t his fault that his father had killed them. I also told him that hating his father from back then was a waste of energy. His father had had different values at that time, and eventually he would come to understand that killing for the sake of killing was harmful to himself and the environment. Until then, Donny/Robert needed to forgive himself and his father and move on from that life.

I then explained that the dead bird now was not Donny’s fault. That he hadn’t caused the bird to fall from the tree. I then suggested that we dig a grave for it and bury it along with his anger for his past father.

Once we buried the bird, Donny went back to being Donny and he never mentioned Robert Aikers again (at least, not to me).

So, while some people need help to remember and use meditation, hypnosis, or regression therapy; others, sometimes spontaneously remember. While these spontaneous memories can lead to catharsis, they can also (sometimes) trap the person in a mental time warp loop. The person can get caught up in the memories and emotions from the past and find it difficult or impossible to move forward in their current life.

What they need is someone to help talk them through the memory so that they can let go of whatever emotion or fear is holding them back. Even if they can’t work through the memory (especially if the fear is too great), if they can just let it go it can be enough to help them get back to their current life.

So, sometimes the best way to help someone when they have a spontaneous past life that threatens to take over their current life, is to tell them to let it go. Let it go until another life or until they’re between lives.

MM_FinalCover - Copy

Available at most online book vendors.

Death and Dying

butterflyDeath, like a butterfly, comes on wings of beauty. It is a ray of light that carries you to glory. But dying…dying is a vulture that devours the body. It swoops in like a raptor, ripping you from your life. — Tricia A. Sullivan

That’s a poetic way of saying that death is not ugly or harsh. Death is quiet and full of beauty. It is the dying that can be harsh.

Dying is different than death. Dying is the affliction that causes the physical body to shut down and die. Death is the transitioning of the soul from physical life to afterlife.

You might be dying of cancer, which is painful; yet, your death, when it occurs, can be filled with joy or loneliness—whichever you choose. You can die from any number of afflictions—illness, trauma, poison, murder, accident, old age, or even nature’s tantrums. But your death can be calm, tumultuous, lonely, joyous, frightening, sad, filled with regret or hope, or any way you choose. Both death and dying are chosen by you (at least, most of the time). There are some exceptions, and an imbalance of energies (aka, karma) is usually involved; but, overall, we each choose the manner in which we die and the way in which we experience death.

It seems like such a fine distinction—between dying and death—but it is a distinction that can affect the entire experience. For instance, perhaps you wanted to experience being murdered (yeah, I know, who would choose that? Believe it or not, most of us do choose it in at least one life). So, the cause of death (the dying) is supposed to be a quick gunshot to the head; while, the death itself (the transition from life to afterlife) is supposed to be filled with joy for having taken the bullet to save someone else. However, the person who agrees to be your murderer makes the killing more painful than it needs to be; perhaps, wounding you several times before killing you. So, now your death also has fear, pain, and maybe even regret for having acted bravely instead of the joy you originally planned.

The way you die can color the whole death experience, changing it, twisting it, or (sometimes) making it even better than you planned. For instance, you may have opted to take an overdose of pills because you believed that no one cared about you. Therefore, you planned on a death filled with the same type of loneliness and depression that you had faced in life. However, the person who finds you, holds you and cries for you as you’re dying, and you realize that someone cared. This may make your death (your transition to the afterlife) more joyful and less traumatic because now you know that someone really cared about you.

Dying and death are usually planned as a unit, which enables each person to create a full experience for themself. However, plans can change, needs can vary, and other people’s choices can interfere. That means you may need to re-evaluate your original plan and try something else. And, while death escorts can step in and help, most souls prefer to just accept the experience as is (changes and all). After all, that’s what life (which includes dying and death) is all about…experiences, with all the unpredictability and fickleness that goes with them.

So, the next time you speak of dying and death, remember that they are two distinct steps in the overall experience we call life.

 

Transitioning, again

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I’ve been tran’zing again lately, and not easy ones, either. These transitions have been quite stressful. So stressful in fact, that I’ve been waking up almost more tired than when I went to bed. Usually, I look forward to sleeping and dreaming. Primarily because my dreams normally help me solve some problem or answer some question from my day-to-day life.

I’m sure most of us can think of at least one dream that has helped us resolve some issue or some question. I’m speaking of the types of problems or questions that prey on the mind, that keep you tossing and turning until suddenly you wake up one morning just knowing exactly what you need and want to do. You may not remember the dream details that prompted your decision (and some people will claim that never dream at all), but sometime during the night you gained the insight you needed to make the best choice for you at this particular time and place in your life.

However, the “dreams” I’ve been having lately are tran’zing dreams. (Tran’zing is what I call the traveling I do between planes—the physical plane and the astral planes; primarily the transitional plane, the astral plane closest to the physical.) Tran’zing dreams aren’t really dreams, though they do occur at night while my body is sleeping. But these are actually memories – little snippets of memory from places I’ve been and things I’ve done or said while my body slept.

Tran’zing is actually a type of out-of-body experience. The energy that is you (sometimes called essence, sometimes called a soul), travels at night. But even though it leaves the physical form and goes off on its own ‘adventures’, it still remains connected to the physical body. Because of this connection, the physical mind receives input as to what the soul is doing, seeing, and saying. However, not everyone is willing to accept this input. Some will block it completely (the same way they block all dreams). Some filter it so that it becomes very dreamlike and unreal (the information their mind receives is so far outside their frame of reference, that they eliminate those parts that they can’t accept). And others (like me) remember enough to know what we’ve been up to each night.

For many people, though, playing on the transitional plane is too frightening and so they adjust the information to something acceptable. This is fine; it’s the way everyone adapts and grows. As each person grows, life after life, they will filter this information less and less, until, like me, they barely filter it all.

What does that mean? It means that most of what I do when tran’zing is often remembered by me once I awaken. It also means that any problems I encounter, any stresses that I put on myself when out of body, are felt by my body even though it is sleeping. So, while I’m home asleep, I’m also off gallivanting around, which means I sometimes wake up unrested.

When I’m tran’zing, I’m helping other people cross between planes. Some of these people are dying, so I escort them from the physical plane and their dead or dying bodies to the astral planes where they can decide what it is they want to do next. Sometimes, I escort a soul from the astral planes to the physical. It might be they have a new body waiting for them, or it can also be that they have wandered where they don’t belong. (It’s not unusual to encounter ‘accidental travelers’ — people who have through the use of drugs, fever, or other non-intentional means — have ended up in the transitional section of the astral plane.)

Other times, I transition myself or others to the astral planes where we work on emotional lessons that we can’t do while in the physical world. It might be that someone chose to resolve an issue through violence, but they now realize how foolish that was. So, with my help they cross to the astral levels and we recreate the situation and they try to find other resolutions. This can take one night, or many, but each time I bring them across, I create the situation, I supply the participants, and we play out the scene until they feel they understand the full consequences and ramifications of every choice and every possible resolution.

All of these come through to me while my body is resting, and these super-emotionally charged activities drain me, so when I awaken in the mornings I feel as if I’ve had no sleep. But despite the stress, despite the tiredness that comes from all these midnight wanderings, I relish the opportunities to help all of these people. I relish the opportunity to transition ‘home’ and visit with my astral family.

In fact, as crazy as it sounds, I look forward to the day when I can transition and stay there. Then I can help people all the time, and not just during my sleep periods.

 

 

Psychopomp vs. Grim Reaper

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What’s the difference between a grim reaper and a psychopomp (other than the fact that psychopomp sounds much cooler; while grim reaper has become a Halloween and horror story cliche and an overused media trope)?

Both are spiritual entities that assist the soul to cross over to the afterlife; so, what really makes them different?

grim reapers:

  • actually take lives
  • are considered the personification of death or demons
  • escort souls to the afterlife, but are primarily associated with the underworld
  • are identified with Halloween and horror stories, so present themselves as frightening figures or demons
  • bring fear, regret, and despair to those they interact with

So, in brief, grim reapers are the personification of death and demons. They represents all the fears of the unknown that people still harbor about death, dying, and the afterlife.

psychopomps:

  • wait until the person has died
  • act as guides and escorts between planes
  • are identified with angels and demigods
  • can present themselves as friends or relatives of the dying person
  • bring comfort, solace, and hope to the dying

Briefly, psychopomps are angel-like beings. They represent all the hope, love, and spiritual comfort that people expect and hope for when they die.

A grim reaper is a much more grisly being than a psychopomp. In fact, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse (Death) is depicted as a grim reaper. You can’t get much more grisly than that. Whereas Psychopomps, when depicted in human form, are usually shown as angels—gentle, kind, and with an ethereal glow about them. This is just one of the fundamental differences between a psychopomp and a grim reaper.

Reapers are, as their countenance depicts, there to reap your soul. However, they are not there to ease the soul’s hurt or turmoil during the transition. If anything, they may deliberately make the crossing as traumatic as possible. This is because it is their job to fulfill every fear that the transitioning soul has regarding death and dying.

However, when psychopomps come, they counter the soul’s fear and try to ease the trauma. Psychopomps attempt to show the soul that death is just a new beginning and not a fearsome or pain-filled event.

Neither option is wrong or right. In fact, both options are needed so that every soul can have a wide range of experiences. Some people embrace death and the act of dying because they’ve had nothing but positive experiences. So, perhaps they need a less-positive experience to understand and develop compassion for those who are more fearful of dying. Just as those who are ‘deathly’ afraid of dying may need several positive experiences before they begin to understand that the experience of dying isn’t always something to fear. It is simply another part of life. A moving beyond this reality by the spiritual part of you.

The real key to dying (besides not doing it), is to understand that the choice of guide (grim reaper or psychopomp) is up to you. You get to decide what type of death experience you will have. So, if you want something traumatic and eventful because you feel the need to learn some spiritual lesson, then (by all means) let the grim reaper be your escort. However, if what you want is something more tranquil and a little less gruesome, then call on that psychopomp. Either one will come when you ‘call.’ And either one will give you whatever type of experience you desire. Therefore, only you can decide whether your experience of death requires a grim reaper or a psychopomp.

So, which will it be?