Apologies for the light blogging lately. I've been preoccupied with a personal matter and haven't been able to give much attention to this blog -- or, unfortunately, to Chris Carter's new book, Science and the Near-Death Experience From what I've read of it, I would say that the book is intellectually serious, comprehensive, and persuasive, but until I've read the whole thing, I can't give a proper review. I do encourage those who have read the book and enjoyed it to post a reader review at Amazon.com or Amazon's UK site.
One thing I was thinking about before I got sidetracked by "real life" was the perennial controversy surrounding reincarnation. I'd been reading Michael Newton's second book, Destiny of Souls, and while I can still see valid reasons to be skeptical of Newton's hypnotic regression therapy, I must admit that the concepts his patients elucidate while in trance somehow "ring true" to me. Of course, the fact that something feels right doesn't prove that it's actually true. But I am finding more value in this area of research than I'd expected.
Probably my biggest reservation about Newton's work is the difficulty in reconciling it with accounts provided by mediumship. However, the stories told by Newton's patients do dovetail pretty neatly with some mediumistic material, notably The Spirits' Book by Allan Kardec (text online here). Another interesting area of overlap is the so-called "Seth material" channeled by Jane Roberts. As you probably know, the alleged entity called Seth said unambiguously that reincarnation is a reality, though he also indicated that the mechanism is more complicated than we realize.
Here is an interesting excerpt from the book Seth Speaks, which bears on this subject:
When you have learned to your capacity in this in-between period [i.e., the period between incarnations], you are ready to progress. The in-between period itself, however, has many dimensions of activity and divisions of experience. As you can see, to put it as simply as possible, everyone does not "know" everyone else.
Instead of countries or physical divisions, you have psychological states. To an individual in one, another might seem quite foreign. In any communications with those in these transitional states, messages through mediums can appear as highly contradictory. The experience of the "dead" is not the same. The conditions and situations vary. An individual explaining his reality can only explain what he knows. Again, such material often offends the intellect that demands simple, neat answers and descriptions that tally.
Most individuals from these stages who communicate with "living" relatives, have not reached at the time of choosing [a new incarnation] as yet, and have not completed their training.
They may still be perceiving reality in terms of their old beliefs. Almost all communications come from this level, particularly when there is a bond of relationship in an immediately previous life. Even at this level, however, such messages serve a purpose. The communicators can inform living relatives that existence continues and they can do it in terms that the living can understand.
They can relate to the living, since often their beliefs are still the same; in fortunate circumstances they can communicate their knowledge as they learn. Gradually, however, their own interests change. They take up relationships in their new existence.
At the time of choosing, therefore, the personality is already preparing itself to leave for in other existence. In terms of time this in-between period can last for centuries. It can last only a few years. Again, however, there are exceptions. There are cases in which a personality goes very quickly into another physical life, in perhaps a matter of hours. This is usually unfortunate, and is caused by an obsessive desire to return to physical life.
Such a quick return, however, can also be taken by a personality who is charged with a great purpose, who disregards or discards an old physical body, and is reborn almost immediately into a new one in order to finish an important and necessary project already begun.
[pp. 184-185 of the Bantam paperback edition]
Reproduced by kind permission of Michael Prescott
Life gets in the way by Michael Prescott
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