Monday, December 3, 2007

"Phenomenon" by Sylvia Browne

The paranormal world in which Browne spends a great deal of her time is fascinating, informative, thrilling and God-centered...With the aid of her Spirit Guide, Francine, she is able to give us some input about the other side, and where it's situated comparatively to the earth. Through her eyes, the paranormal world isn't all that mysterious. She would love to lift the veil and shine a light on those monsters in your room you've spent your life being afraid of, to show you that it's just a harmless pile of clothes on a chair.

To Browne, even if you're not eager to confide in other people about your experiences because they may think that you're crazy, you would feel so much better knowing that there really is an explanation for what happened, that there are even words for these things, and that there are other perfectly sane people they've happened to.

As far as your own experiences have shown you, do you think that each of us is equipped with a gift that is unique? Do you believe in these spirits that churches called "guardian angels" and Browne calls "spirit guides"?

About the Author

"Sylvia Browne was born in Kansas City, Missouri. At three years old, Sylvia's psychic powers were revealed when she announced that her grandfather was dead (he was), and that she would have a baby sister in three years.

"Just as predicted, Sharon was born one month short of Sylvia's sixth birthday. Sylvia's grandmother, Ada Coil, was herself a medium; and Celeste, Sylvia's mother, grew up in a home where visions were commonplace. Although she herself was not psychic, Celeste accepted it as normal, if somewhat annoying. She did not welcome more eccentricity in her life, however, and would do nothing to encourage it in her daughter. Their lifelong relationship was strained, but Sylvia's relationship with her father was very close and loving.

"Sylvia is the number # 1 New York Times best selling author and world famous psychic who appears regularly on the Montel Williams Show and Larry King Live, as well as making countless other media and public appearances. She also the president of the Sylvia Browne Corporation, and founder of her church, the Society of Novus Spirit which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2006.

"With her down-to-earth personality and great sense of humor, Sylvia Browne thrills audiences on her lecture tours, and she's still found the time to write a number of immensely popular books (she has a master's degree in English literature). Sylvia lives in California and plans to write as long as she can."

(from Sylvia Browne's "about" page on her website)

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since human consciousness is still a baffling enigma even to the greatest of scientists and philosopher, the jury is still out about psychics... I think there is some modicum of truth...but when they become too confident and money-minded, that is when they can have a big fall...Reality is far more mysterious than any psychic can dream of.....

How did Sylvia Browne expalin the following....

In 2003 she went on the Montel Williams Show with the parents of the 11 year old Shawn Hornbeck who had been abducted four months previously. The desperate and distraught parents were seeking an answer on the whereabouts of their son.

Browne gave a reading on the television show and claimed that her visions were telling her that Shawn was close to some jagged rocks in a forested area, that he was dead and that his killer/kidnapper was a Hispanic-looking man with dreadlocks.

The devastated parents tried to reach her after the show and were allegedly told that she would consult with them for her regular fee of $700 per 20 minutes.

On January 12th of 2007, Shawn Hornbeck was found alive, along with another missing boy, in the apartment of a pale-skinned Caucasian man with thinning hair named Michael Devlin.

Anonymous said...

Everyone makes mistake in life. Sometimes you have to make mistake in order to grow, and making it is inevitable, but not
to do anything about the lesson you learn from it is unforgivable.

Yes! The mistake was made, but it has nothing to do with the discussion of the book. Let's concentrate on the discussion and try to get the best out of it. If
God can forget and forgive, why can't we?

Anonymous said...

Browne believes that reincarnation is the key to understanding one's life. She accepts this as the central theme in her philosophy. In Abrahimic traditions ( judeo-christian-Islamic) reincarnation is frowned upon. In Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, reincarnation is a major belief. Do you believe in reincarnation?

Jeff said...

I personally do not believe in reincarnation. Whether reincarnation is a tenent of certain religions is irrelevant as far as this book is concerned. I think of Sylvia Browne as a con artist. I think she figured out that reincarnation could be a revenue stream for her, and she has profited greatly by exploiting an ancient belief. She says she has storage units filled with evidence backing up her claims regarding past-life regression. Considering her conviction for security fraud, and other documented deceptions, the simplest explanation for this is she is lying. But, if she has the ability to get verifiable proof of past lives, this ability shouldn't go away under controlled laboratory settings. She refuses to put any of her purported abilities under scientific scrutiny that controls for the possibility of fraud or self-delusion, despite a $1,000,000 dollar prize for such a demonstration.

Jeff said...

Everyone makes mistakes, but Sylvia makes a lot of mistakes. I think it's relevant to put this book in perspective by discussing the author of the book. Maybe it's not relevant whether Hemingway was a haevy drinker to understand "The Old Man and the Sea," but if a person is writing a purportedly nonfiction book, it is relevant if the author is delusional or simply a fraud. To tie in previous comments to the book, contrast the success Sylvia claims under "Psychic Forensics." When she is tested by a friend in an uncontrolled setting, she gets twenty out of twenty correct in amazing detail. On television, a more controlled setting, analysis shows she's no more correct than a person making educated guesses. She claims in the book she works steadily with law enforcement. She doesn't go into detail about any cases, but Brill's Content looked at 35 claims she's made on TV. Either the cases couldn't be verified or law enforcement or family members say she played no useful role.

I don't think Browne is growing from her mistakes.

Anonymous said...

When believers in one religious tradition or another talk affirmatively about reincarnation, I can understand why. Pavlov and George Lakoff explains that well. But when respected scientists like Brian Weiss get converted to reincarnation, then at least has to keep one's mind open to the possibility. Maybe the evidence for reincarnation cannot come from scientifically controlled experiments as we moderns concieve them at this point in our evolution. Maybe its a fallacy to expect a different level of reality to fully disclose its secrets to scientific epistemology. Altered states of consciousness are a reality to reckon with as William James pointed out so scientifically and succintly. May be Consciousness (which no one fully understands anyway) has many levels as reality has many layers. Each level or mode of consciousness reveals a different layer of reality. Empiricism does not exhaust the mystery and neither does rationalism or mysticism. All modes have to work in conjunction to see it steady and see it whole. Check this website.
http://www.brianweiss.com/

Anonymous said...

According to Browne reincarnation is nothing more and nothing less than the belief that the human spirit is eternal, survives the death of the body, and return to the recurring lifetimes in a variety of chosen circumstances and bodies... incarnates again and again for the purpose of the growth and learning of the soul.

Do you believe that each of us leave a schematic of our lives, the
chart, to our Spirit Guides before coming onto earth...as it's been mentioned by Browne?

Anonymous said...

As we needed a microscope to discover what is hidden to the naked eye, we need the "inner eye" to discover what is hidden to the conscious mind. Reason is not required until after the experience have been had of the divinity within. The kingdom of God in within you. Mystics of the all world religions have only one practice in common: Deep Meditation. Because it may open the inner eye if done with enough devotion and discipline. The rest of religion is an abnormal phenomenon characterised by power politics, pavlovian propaganda, neurotic clinging, and infantile narcissism. Paranormal phenomenon is just a reminder that this level of reality is not the whole universe. There is infinity in all directions, inner and outer.

Anonymous said...

One of the major reasons behind atheism is the problem of evil-- that if God (Abrahimically speaking) is all good, omniscient and omnipotent then why does he allow evil. This concept of God is limited and inevitably creates conceptual problems like athetism. And they are all conceptual problems until actual experience (including near death) is achieved. Sylvia Browne is right about her NDE. NDE's have been validated cross-culturally. The idea of God (Vedantically visioned) as creator, destroyer, and sustainer squares better with the planetary history as we Homo sapiens know it. Hindus or Buddhists rarely become atheists or need to. The limits of our religions are the limits of our world. Open up to the unknown. Its not why bad things happen to good people. Its creation, destruction, sustainance or some combo thereof, all the way up, all the way down since the beginning of cyclical time. Always be ready for it. How else could evolution work. Evolution is ethics-blind.

Anonymous said...

Browne in her book has mentioned something about having a chart before coming here. She said that we make these brief trips to earth in order to learn the hard way, and so before we come here, we write our charts in preparation for coming to a very boarding school. So the charts themselves are bound to be filled with difficult challenges and lessons learned the hard way.

Browne continues by saying that on the charts we choose our parents,siblings, every aspect of our physical appearance, our preferences, our weaknesses, illnesses etc, etc...and then give them to our Spirit guides.

Do each of us have a Spirit Guide watching over us?

Anonymous said...

Anon wrote: "human spirit is eternal,...return to the recurring lifetimes in a variety of chosen circumstances and bodies..."

If the idea of reincarnation is ture, then why would someone "choose" to come back in circumstances such as the holocaust...I wonder...

How does Browne answer this question...Why would someone want to be born in situations of poverty and disease and ignorance if they can choose...

Blavatsky, Rudolph Steiner, Annie Besant, Leadbeater, Edgar Cayce etc. have important things to say too...

I dont think one has a choice...God wants us to experience the whole universe of thought & feeling, time and space.....as a prince as well as a pauper...Death is nothing but moving to another plane or another planet...

Anonymous said...

According to Heisenberg's uncertainity principle, you cannot simultaneously know the position or momentum of an electron. Similar principle maybe at work in our incapability to verify Occult phenomenon. You have to infer it from inter-related phenomenon. Newtonian physics had to give way to Quantum Physics because the universe is far more mysterious that we have so far imagined. To the militant atheist, Einstein has something important to say: "The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man. To know that what is impenatrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties - this knowledge, this feeling ... that is the core of the true religious sent iment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself amoung profoundly religious men."

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the idea that we can choose our circumstances of reincarnation...According to majority of thinkers in this area, its good karma or bad karma that we accrue with our free will that determines the quality of next reincarnation...Good deeds lead to good karma which leads to good re-birth...Being born in good circumstances is preceded by good deeds in the past life. But many never avail the opportunities for spiritual growth afforded by better birth. Some reincarnation thinkers therefore suggest that one can regress to a lower form in future life.

Only the likes of Dalai Lama can choose to be born wherever... But who knows...This universe is mysterium tremendem...

Jeff said...

There is no epistemological problem with testing the proclaimed powers of Sylvia Browne. We have to distinguish between reincarnation and past-life regression. While science can't disprove reincarnation, it can put boundaries on the forms it can take. As an analogy, if you say there is a God, science really can't contradict you on that (putting aside Occam's razor). But if you say there is a God, and He appears every Friday on the floor of the NYSE and hands out candy bars, then that IS testable. Likewise, reincarnation is a matter of faith. That memories of previous lives can be accessed through hypnosis is a testable proposition.

By her own statements, Sylvia Browne has had AMAZING success documenting the reality of past lives revealed in hypnosis sessions (I question the validity of any of Sylvia's self-reports, but put that aside for a moment). I'm not sure how big her storage unit is, but it seems she's claiming 1000+ cases of verified past lives. If she is so good at getting these results, surely she could get some more under conditions that controlled for leading the subjects, confederates, and foreknowledge, subject to review and statistical analysis by independent parties.

As for Heisenberg, I think all the quantum mechanics stuff has been embraced by believers in the paranormal because it touches on the inherently unknownable, but it's been stretched as a metaphor too far. A great deal is testable, and we know what's still testable. The anecdote, true or not, of her collecting birth and death records to verify these past lives shows that she knows her claims are testable, too.

Anonymous said...

If Sylvia Browne's reincarnation files are not forth coming there are many respectable scientists who have made their research available. Among them Dr. Ian Stevenson and Dr. Stanislav Grof are noteworthy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Stevenson
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Grof

Jeff said...

Stevenson's work apparently falls victim to several statistical fallacies. Also, it seems he used vague descriptions of the areas of deceased persons wounds, and measured from anywhere from that area rather than a specific point. At the very least, his work needs to be replicated and redesigned to address these problems. I think the arguments against accepting his work are pretty convincing. You can decide for yourself. If you have access to Academic Search Premier the link is below (it's available on www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org and many other library sites with a library card). Open the database first and enter this address:
http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=7278806&site=ehost-live

Sorry, I couldn't find a free copy online.

At the very least, Stevenson is a vast improvement over Browne, in that he is following what could be referred to as the rules of science. That is, he is doing actual research, published in peer reviewed journals, that can be either replicated (or not) and critiqued by others.

The field of parapsychology has a long history of fraud and self-delusion, and because of that, it will take really rigorous research to prove its claims, which I haven't seen yet, and I certainly haven't seen anything of the kind from Browne.

Anonymous said...

With the aid of her Spirit Guide, Francine, Browne was able to furnish us that incredible insight.

In her book she has mentioned the word " Quickening" which simply means "to come to life" or in more accurate picture, " To have the Spirit enter and activate the earthly body".

For instance, the Bible (Romans 8:11) states, "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead
dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will quicken your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you."

The point is, according to Browne,once we have decided to undertake another incarnation, we have to go to a long process.

Returning to the Towers after completing everything in one of the departure rooms, warm blankets have been put over whoever is returning onto earth, gently eased into the peace of a twilight sleep, and begin the process of descent into the womb they've charted for their lifetime on earth.

When exactly during pregnancy does the Spirith enter the fetus, and do
you think that you have been there
done that?

Anonymous said...

Browne advanced that life never ends. What is living now always was, and always will be, so there is no such thing as the end on any inhabited planet. She continued by saying that the cosmic other side is as identical a reflection of the universe as our other side is of earth. It's populated by incarnated Spirits and Spirit Guides and messiahs from abandoned planets in every Galaxy. It has its own legion of Angels, and its own venerated Council.

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

From the very beginning people have been trying to explain the unexplainable, and find answers to things that they do not understand. Ms. Brown flows freely in magnificent ocean of parapsychology of people’s believes,Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, all the elements are there.
It is my choice to accept Ms. Brown’s explanations of the Universe, of my past, my future, of my spiritual life or to completely disregard her opinion. I think people’s longing for answers, “What is my place in this world?” makes Ms. Brown’s books so popular.
Do not take me wrong, I do not deny the existence of persons equipped in special powers, they are among us.
I believe that each of us follows special path in our life and nothing happens accidentally.
There is no “luck” or coincidence – if something happens, it is meant to happen and there is a lesson to be learned.
It does not matter what we call it: Chart, destiny or fortune. It does not matter who put it together, it is there for us. We just do not understand the phenomenon. Good and evil exists in every religion and in all philosophies. It is up to us to choose one. We can not have both at the same time.

So, the big question is what our role in this Chart of life is?
Are we just following our path and fulfilling our chart? Or are we entitled to make adjustments by choosing the right decision, even if knowing that the decisions we make will hurt or disappoint another person, BUT, will make us grow?

Anonymous said...

Our role as Browne said is to follow what we wrote and learned from it because whatever it's there
we will have to go through it without missing a iota.

She (Browne) insinuated that before
we come here, we write our chart. It's an understatement to call it
" detailed. " From the broadstrokes
to the most trivial moments, we leave nothing to chance in pursuit of our goals.

She continued by saying, " that a charted life is absolutely a life full of options, and proof that ouur lives aren't measured by what we're confronted with, but how we deal with what we're confronted with."

Jeff said...

In the article Hall of Records, Browne seems to be saying that the total number of souls is approximately equal to the current population of the earth. Does that mean that the Other Side is nearly empty. Wouldn't an increase in population over 7 billion, which is projected to happen by 2011, show that spirit guide Francine doesn't always tell the truth?

Also, Sylvia says there is no time on the Other Side, yet several things occur on the other side that you can definitely distinguish a before and after. Angels start at one rank and advance to a higher level. At the same time as Sylvia is battling lawsuits, Francine is lobbying the Council on her behalf. In the Hall of Tones, Sylvia mentions "high holy days," which implies an Other Side calendar. How does that work, if there's no time?

The earth

Jeff said...

Is Sylvia Browne saying that the the earth is only thousands of years old? If not, why does she say the Other Side is an image of earth from that time? She says that the coastlines are perfectly intact from that time since there isn't erosion on that side. If I go to the current coastline, which has eroded into a new shape, will I see a spirit three feet above the current elevation, or at the original Other Side height? If I do landscaping on my lawn will ghosts walk through the ground or on top of it?

Anonymous said...

About the other side empty, I don't think that will ever happen.
Why? Because if we take a look at the earth that we're living on, people cross over every day, and people are born every day. In that case it is impossible to mention the emptiness of either earth or the other side.

In the case of Hall of Records, Browne presented it to us like an image of a library which goes to infinity. She said, " To get an image of the inside of the Hall of Records, picture an infinite number of aisles, lined on either side with an infinite number of scrolls, books, documents
maps, artwork , blueprint, and even detailed chart of every incarnation of every one of us who's ever lived on this planet.

Do Spirit Guides lie? I do not think so since their jobs ,according to
Browne,is to encourage,advise and support us toward the goals we've set for ourselves in this incarnation.

As far as landscaping on your lawn is concerned no ghosts will walk through the ground or on top of it, unless those ghosts are eartbound. According to Browne, "earthbound is simply another name for a ghost or a spirit that has left its physical body, but unable or unwilling to enter the tunnel and Head home, and as a result stays bound to the earth instead."

Jeff said...

My questions were rhetorically and meant to show that Sylvia can't keep her story straight. Once, again, Sylvia herself gives the number of souls, in her little calculation of how many charts there are, (p. 132) as approximately six billion. That's the approximately the current Earth's population. She also says what is living now always was and always will be (p. 73). I'm pretty sure that means no new souls as the population increases. Since nearly all (or more than all, actually) of the souls are currently living, logic dictates that the Other Side is nearly empty, empty, or less than empty. Yet she never mentions this anywhere in her descriptions.

As for the the heights we see ghosts and spirits, Sylvia dates the topology of the otherworld as unchanged since before the destruction of Atlantis (p. 205), with she dates back to over 11,000 years ago (p. 36). Since large changes of topology have happened since then, spirits should appear at many different heights, but Sylvia consistently places them at three feet.

And maybe I'm too dense, but I can't figure out how events happen, with a before and after, predictates and consequences, on the Other Side without time.

I wasn't really interested in whether Francine lies; it was in showing that Sylvia does.

Even if you accept her claims as fact, like I've done above, they don't stand up to even amateur analysis. They are internally inconsistent with each other.

Anonymous said...

Do you believe in Regressive Hypnosis?

Browne's believed that we all had past lives, on earth and on the other side, and she's believed that's a "fact".

She continued by saying that our Spirit minds reside in the subconscious, and hypnosis could provide access to the subconscious
and to the past life memories held in our spirit minds.

Anonymous said...

Browne advanced that our bodies are made up of billions of interacting cells. Each of those cells is a living, breathing, feeling organism, receiving and responding very literally to the information it receives from the subconscious mind.

She continued by advancing that our spirit mind lives in the subconscious: safe, sound and eternally intact, no matter how healthy or unhealthy our conscious mind might be.

She said that our Spirit minds remember every moment we've experienced, in this life and every other life we've lived since we were created.

My question is this. Since our spirit minds remember every moment we've experienced, Do you think that we can recognize people that we use to interact with in the past life or any other life for that matter?

Anonymous said...

Astral Travel! What is it?
Browne said, "Astral travel is nothing more than our Spirits taking a break from these cumbersome, gravity challenged bodies they're housed in, and taking off to visit whomever or wherever they want. She continued by insinuating that we were born knowing how to travel astrally, we routinely travel while we sleep."

Do you feel that you astrally travel from time to time to visit
someone on the other side?

Anonymous said...

According to Browne, third eye exists. If you were to point to a spot on your forehead that's centered between your eyes and slighty above them, you would be
pointing to the place where your third eye is.

She said that belief in he third eye is ancient and has its basis in physiology. All the way back to Descartes, and the ancient Greeks and Romans, the pineal gland has been thought to be our connection to the spirit world, the other side.

Does it really exist on our forehead?

Anonymous said...

Spiritual eye seen in meditation is spoken of as " The third eye"
or " Single eye ". It is also refered to as the" Star of the East". It consist of a five pointed
white star palpitating in the center of an opal blue light surrounded by a golden ring. The Spiritual eye is the epitome of the cosmic energy in the human body. This is the seat of omniscience.

Anonymous said...

In the third eye, Browne presented
some examples. The most intriguing one is the Renowned Dutch psychic, Peter Hurkos, who was perfectly normal until, at the age of thirty, he fell from a ladder. The brain injury he suffered left him in a coma for three days. When he regained consciousness, he immediately realized that he'd awakened with the ability to know the unknown. Can a head injury make you become a psychic. Is that possible?

Anonymous said...

Browne mentioned that several Halls have been existed on the other side. Among them are Hall of Justice, Hall of Records, Hall of Wisdom, Hall of tones and Hall of Voices, but the three first Halls
have been created some kind of formal entrance to the other side.

They've become the first welcome familiar sights we see when we return Home, but behind the Hall of Justice, according to her, gardens are located, and they are one of our Spirits' favorite astral travel destinations while we sleep, and one of the most popular meeting places for us and those we miss on the Other Side.

Do you believe in the astral travel? If so, have you ever found
yourselves conveying telepathically
with your love ones in those gardens?

Anonymous said...

Some good discussion here...
here are my 2 cents...

Those who demand evidence or proof of the existence of a transcendent reality or reincarnation or spiritual worldview, here is something worth thinking about:

The hidden assumption behind such a statement is often that faith is belief without evidence. Therefore, since there's no scientific evidence for the divine, we should not believe in God. But that statement itself -- that evidence is necessary -- holds a further hidden premise that all evidence worth examining has to be scientific evidence. And beneath that assumption, there's the deeper worldview -- it's a kind of dogma -- that science is the only reliable way to truth. Or that modes of consciosuness which pertain to rationality are enough to understand the mystery of the good old universe.

But that itself is a faith statement. It's a deep faith commitment because there's no way you can set up a series of scientific experiments to prove that science is the only reliable guide to truth. Science can be a dogma too.

May be Consciosuness exists as a spectrum.

The Spectrum metaphor is derived from Ken Wilber's theory of consciousness drawing an analogy to physics.

Ken Wilber likens consciousness unto the electromagnetic spectrum. When psychologists argue that Jung is "right" and Freud is "wrong," for example, or that traditional Western approaches are "right" and Eastern mysticism is "wrong," they are being as narrow-minded and short-sighted as early electromagnetic researchers were when analyzing the numerous forms of radiation.

We know now that one cannot say, for instance, that infra-red is "right" and ultraviolet is "wrong," or that X-rays are "wrong" and gamma-rays are "right." Today, even the most marginally educated student knows that all forms of radiation are but different manifestations of a single phenomenon: the electromagnetic spectrum is broad enough to include them all.

Likewise, Wilber states, consciousness comes in a "spectrum" broad enough to include all various manifestations. Freud and Jung are both "right" - they are simply tuned in to different "frequencies" of the same underlying phenomenon: that of the universal Mind.

The universal Mind is a "spectrum" of Consciousness that shades from complete un-Consciousness on one end, through the various levels of egoism, existentialism, narcissism.....to paranormal, all the way up to complete SuperConsciousness, or Enlightenment, at the other end of the spectrum. Thus Wilber unites the warring factions of psychology into a single, unified field.

Humans did not suspect the existence of alpha, beta, theta, or delta until they improved their ways of observation. What was once invisible to the eye of the flesh does exist. What was once invisible to the eye of the mind can be discovered (i.e. Einstein's relativity). What is invisible to the "eye of the soul" can be accessed provided one works to open that eye, if it is not already open. In the case of some psychics, the spiritual eye is partially open. Prodigies exist in all domains--science and spirituality. Spiritual geniuses can be precocious too.

http://www.elfis.net/elfol1/specconscrev.html

Anonymous said...

In Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is the abstract notion of the " Absolute"
from which the universe takes its origin, and at an ultimate level,
all assertions of a distinction between Brahman, other gods and
creation are meaningless(mononism)

Some gods in Buddhism have the view that they are the creators of the world. For example, Bakka Brahma.
However, Buddha pointed out to them that they do not know the whole extent of the universe( he said that they have no knowledge of
some of the highest heavens), and further, the spiritual power of the Buddha was greater than the spiritual power of the gods who thought they created the world. One of the Suttas dealing with the subject is the Kevaddha Sutta.

Also Buddha said (in DN1- the Brahmajala Sutta or the Net of Views) that their view of being the creator of the world is a misconception, and that these Brahma-gods actually have a cause which lead their origination (taking birth as a Brahma-god). Buddha even tells as the views concerning "creator gods" originate in the world through junior Brahma-gods(with a more limited life-span) who, on their passing away, get reborn as a human, and through practicing meditation are able to remember their previous life as a junior god to a Brahma god.

Anonymous said...

Regular practice of deep meditation maybe the key to spiritual evolution and maybe in remembering past lives too. However, it has been observed in religious/spiritual individuals/communites across the world that meditation is neccesary but not sufficient for a balanced evolution of human consciousness. Religious/Spiritual Narcissism and consequent politics seem to be the norm. We need universal truth, we need universal goodness not triumph of the tribe.

If religion alone could help us evolve, then we would not have the bloodshed in history or the war and weapon spending we have in the post-modern world. To become an evolved human being (compassionate, loving, kind, creative) takes much more than belief in past lives or psychics or meditation. It takes recognition and acknowledgement of the "shadow" side of self, which can take subtle forms. Hitler's willing executioners were pretty patriotic people like most modern humans across cultures who free willingly fall prey to politicians propoganda be it Bush or Bin Laden.

Whether paranormal is true or not is not as urgent a question as whether man can be saved from his own shadow and his own narcissism and his own reptillian brain. Shadow has complex recurrent disguises as manifest in perrenial parenting, preaching and politics of our species.

Reminds me of a Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam:

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door where in I went

But hope springs eternal....shadow is never without light therin no matter how hidden...It can still be contacted...but meditation is only a partial limited way...

"Amidst the chaos there is harmony, throughout these discordant sounds there is a note of concord, and he who is prepared to listen to it will catch the tone."
-- Swami Vivekananda

Anonymous said...

The translator John Chambers in the "conversations with eternity"
written by Victor Hugo has mentioned that in 1851 the French writer Victor Hugo escaped the tyranny of Napoleon III only to end up in the dismal Jersey Islands
in the English Channel. Hugo and his family whiled away their exile
by contacting famous and other dead
spirits floating around in the ether.

The Hugos and their exile neighbors
employed table tapping to convey the messages of these beings, including the likes of Shakespeare,
Hannibal, and the ancient Greek poet Anacreon, among others. Hugo
personally transcribed the messages and kept records of these unusual communications.

The history is presented not with a dreary reporting of mere facts and dates, but rather with something that is strangely alive, pregnant with a timely spiritual urgency. Many of the spirits insisted to Hugo and his seance clique that humanity must raise its vibratory level in order to hasten its evolution towards light-
a message also found in contemporary channeled works such as the Pleiadian Agenda and Bringers of the dawn. The Hugo family's unusually bright social circle seemed to attract a wide range of spirits who often poetically surpassed the Earthbound
audience. For example, poet Andre Chenier described from beyond his 1794 execution by guillotine. " A
luminous line separates my head from my body. It is an alive and feeling wound, which is receiving the kiss of God. Death appears simultaneously on the earth and in the sky; while my body, transfigured by the tomb, plunges
into the beatitudes of eternity."

Coversations with Eternity is replete with channeled Gems like the above, perfect for any jaded history buff looking for a new perspective on the past as well as the future.

Jaye C. Beldo, Fate.

Anonymous said...

Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian Born philosopher, educator and founder of the Anthroposophical Society possessed the ability to perceive information beyond the material world: " a spiritual world" which was just as real to him as the physical world was to others. Steiner claimed that the ability
to perceive the other world could be developed, enabling an individual to see events and information every bit as concrete as the present:

...man can penetrate to the eternal origins of the things which
vanish with time. A man broadens his power of cognition in this way
if he is no longer limited to external evidence where knowledge of the past is concerned. Then he can see in events what is not perceptible to the senses, that part which time can not destroy. He penetrates fron transitory to non-transitory history. It is a fact that this history is written
in other characters than is ordinary history. In gnosis and in theosophy it is called the "Akasha Chronicle". To the uninitiated, who can not yet convince himself of
the reality of a separate spiritual word through his own experience, the initiate easily appears to be a visionary, if not something worse. The one who has acquired the ability to perceive in
the spiritual world comes to know past events in their eternal character. They do not stand before him like the dead testimony in history, but appear in full life. In a certain sense, what has happened takes place before him
- Cosmic Memory -

In terms of Contemporary insights,
perhaps the most extensive source of information regarding the Akashic Records come from the clairvoyant work of Edgar Cayce
(1877-1945). He possessed the ability to lie down on a couch, close his eyes, fold his hands over his stomach, and put himself
into some kind of an altered state
in which virtually any type of information was available. The accuracy of Cayce's psychic work is evidenced by approximately one
dozen biographies, and literally hundred of titles which explore various aspects of his information
and the thousand of topics he discussed. When asked about the source of his information, Cacey replied that there were essentially two. The first was the subconscious mind of the individual for whom he was giving the reading, and the second was the Akashic Records. Most often, when giving a reading which discussed a person's soul history
and his or her individual sojourn through space and time, Cayce would begin with a statement such as " Yes, we have before us the records of the entity now known or called....." In discussing the process for accessing these records, Edgar Cayce describes his experience as follow:

I see myself as a tiny dot out of
my physical body, which lies inert before me. I find myself oppressed
by darkness, and there is a feeling of terrific loneliness.
Suddenly, I'm conscious of a white beam of light. As this tiny dot, I move upward following the light,
knowing I must follow it or be lost. As I move along this path of
light I gradually become conscious of various level upon which there is movement. There is light, Colors become more beautiful. Quite suddenly, I come upon a Hall of Records. It is a hall without walls, without ceiling, but I'm conscious seeing an old man who hands me a large book, a record of the individual for whom I seek information. -Readind 294-19- Report file

Once given the record, Cayce had the ability to select the information which would be most capable of assisting the individual at that time in his or her life

Anonymous said...

You might argue,insinuated Victor Hugo, that reincarnation is not an idea, but a phenomena. A phenomena is an observable occurrence. Hearsay, anecdotes, the amount of people that believes in it or the need for it to give our life more meaning, do not constitute occurrences.
A group of young people in Sweden compares pictures of modern pop and rock stars with painting of classical composers, suggesting that similarity in looks prove reincarnation.
Reincarnation is an idea, if someone wants you to believe in it,
he or she must convince you by means that you can handle intellectually; he needs supporting examples from the natural world that is knowable and perceivable that you can understand, and for john Chambers,
Victor Hugo is perfect.
I do not object to the use of Victor Hugo in this way, provided the information particularly about Hugo is correct. This is especially important since Chambers target group is not the literature or history scholar, but the Joes and Janes curious about the supernatural. They are presented with facts thet are unlikely to check, and suggestions they are unlikely to question

Anonymous said...

According to Voltaire, the word
eschatology is defined in the dictionary as a branch of theology
concerned with the final events of the history of the world. The truth is that eschatology is not exclusively the domain of religion.
The most striking example of a secular eschatology would be Marxism: the convulsions and agonies of the class war, its evils resolving themselves into the classless society, the withering of the state and the blissful existence ever after.
The fact that reincarnation is part
of Jewish tradition comes as a surprise to many people. Nevertheless, it's mentioned in numerous places throughout the classical texts of Jewish mysticism
starting with the preeminent sourcebook of Kabbalah, the Zohar.

As long as a person is unsuccessful
in his purpose in this world, the Holy One, blessed be he, uproots him and replants him over and over again (Zohar I 186B)

All souls are subject to reincarnation; and people do not know the ways of the Holy One. Blessed Be He! They do not know they are brought before a tribunal
both before they enter into this world and after they leave it; they
are ignorant of many reincarnations and secret works which they have to undergo, and of the number of naked souls, and how many naked Spirits roam about in the other world without being able to enter within the veil of the King's Palace. Men do not know how the souls revolve like a stone that is thrown from a sling. But the time is at hand when the mysteries will be disclosed. (Zohar II 99B)

Jeff said...

For anyone interested in what the actual testing of Browne's ability would be, a method was outlined by James Randi, on Larry King. Sylvia agreed to these conditions, but has since reneged.

Ten people would be chosen randomly from a group of people who believe Sylvia Browne has psychic powers and have had a loved one die within the past year. A reading would be done for one of these people over the phone, without feedback from the person. A transcript of the reading would then be given to all ten, and each person would rate it on a scale from 1 to 10 as to how accurate it is for them. The person for whom the reading was actually done would have to rate it higher than eight of the other subjects. Although it wasn't explicitly stated, I'm sure there would be some method of making sure that all ten subjects believed it was a reading for them, not someone else, as this would affect the ratings. If Sylvia Browne has actual pyschic ability it should be easy for her to pass this test. Otherwise, the odds of passing the test would be 1 in 50, which is very generous odds, considering Randi is offering a million dollars (he usually designs his tests to have 1 in 1000 odds).

On a recent episode of Anderson Cooper, Randi again outlined a slightly different test, in which Sylvia would write out readings for ten people, and each person would have to pick out their reading from those ten. There wasn't time to discuss how many she would have to get right for it to be considered a success, but the odds of 4 or more picking their own reading would be around
1 in 75, five or more would be 1 in 600.

Jeff said...

For anyone who takes Sylvia Browne seriously (I don't), explain the following: everyone makes out their charts, in which the events and the people we meet in advance are all mapped out in advance. It seems the only thing left to chance is when we die. In our charts we have 5 exit points, each of which gives us a choice to die, plus in the section called "The Holding Place", apparently it is possible to commit suicide even though that is never in your charts. My problem is, we all interact a great deal on Earth, so we all appear in a lot of other people's charts. What happens if I use my first exit point and return to the other side before someone who has listed me as a spouse, friend, enemy, etc in their chart meets me. Doesn't that make their chart unfufillable?

Also, Browne describes the process of making the chart as a collaboration between you and your spirit guide. If I'm not consulting with other spirits how exactly do we mutually end up on each other's charts. Browne says we choose our friends, houses, pets, before we live. But if my choice of house and pet is constricted by my spouse choosing the same ones, how is this really a choice?

To me, it seems the only resolution to these paradoxes is that Browne's assertions have no reality beyond metaphor.

Anonymous said...

doThe absenteism of many philosophers
at that time, about either Spirit Guides (Guardian Angels as they call them in theology) or Reincarnation, was not present because all of them one way or another were participated in paranormal. For instance, Moliere,
French philosopher, advanced that
Angels exist in a category unto themselves because they are thought to be living beings of Light and messengers of the Divine.
Almost every cultural and religious tradition on earth features Angels of some description, including belief in a personal Guardian Angel in a Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions. Angels are typically represented as winged beings who intervene in times of great need or
the purpose of delivering a message
of guidance or instruction from God to humans.
Even though you probably aren't an actual Angel, you can acknowledge a strong connection to the Angelic realm, as noted in people who have a dedication to representing the presence of angels For instance, Artists who paint their images,
authors who write their interactions with humans, and those who live in some way provide a channel through which their presence is physically manifested,exhibit a rapport with the Angelic realm. Some people are also referred to as "angels" because of the loving and nurturing qualities of character that they embody.

Anonymous said...

Wow look at that! Today is the last day of 2007. This is the time to reflect on the past year and also a time to make conclusions on this book.

Personally, following this discussion was an interesting experience, even though I did not agreed with the respondents in some cases. Sometimes, with all the big names and philosophies the discussion got too scientific but, I believe we are never too old to learn.

I admit that Sylvia Brown’s “Phenomenon” has raised many questions and has gotten me to think about myself and my own place in the Universe. It has made me stop in my tracks and ask myself why certain events occurred in my life. Of course I did not find clear answer in this book but it gave me ideas to consider.
Maybe we are the writers of our own lives; maybe we have our “third eye”, maybe we experience “Déjà vu” without realizing it but I do believe that we are not alone in our journey and each of us has his or her own Guardian Angel or Spirit Guide to help them go through our life.
If the only lesson I learned from reading “Phenomenon” is to accept my everyday life and what is happening to me, I would say: “Sometimes there is only one thing left to say: let it be!”

I wish all a healthy and happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

The discussions of 'Phenomenon' have mostly been about proving whether reincarnation is true or not. Perennial questions here. As an evolutionary biologist said, nothing makes sense in the realm of biology without the idea of evolution. I would dare say that nothing makes sense in the realm of ontology without the idea of reincarnation. But frankly we have been looking at the wrong place and have been employing the wrong means to prove the idea.

Some type of reincarnation doctrine is found in virtually all mystical (mind you, not religious) traditions the world over. Even Christianity accepted it around the fourth century when for largely political reasons, it was made anathema. Many Christian, Jewish, Islamic mystics accept the idea. John Hick, a Christian theologian in his book, Death and Eternal Life, offers some powerful ideas about reincarnation. However Hinduism, Buddhism have reincarnation as an integral component to their system of thought. So someone raised in these two traditions does not have the same resistance as the Abrahimic folks usually do. Cultural conditioning works. Cognitive unconscious is a force to reckon with. Most interpretations are acts of neurobiological memory systems unbeknownst to us. All Machiavellian politicians and propagandists across cultures know that one thing about Homo politicus. No wonder our world is such a partisan hell. Fear, falsehood and greed, not good will, free will or reason are at the helm of world affairs. Can egocentric, ethnocentric, money making psychics do anything about that, I wonder.

Of course, the fact that many people believe something does not make it true. And it is very difficult to support the idea of reincarnation by appealing to 'evidence' in the form of alleged past-life memories, because in most cases these can be shown to be only a revival of subconscious memory trace from this life.

But according to some mystical geniuses of all cultures, the memory or mind does not reincarnate. Soul does.

Mind, under special conditions of hypnosis or altered states, is said to recall past lives...Not so true. Reincarnation cannot be proven by appeal to memories of past lives is exactly what we should expect.

Specific memories--idea, fantasies, knowledge, beliefs--belong to the mind, not to the soul. Mind does not GENERALLY transmigrate. All of that is usually left behind, with the body at death. Perhaps a few specific memories can sneak through every now and then as some (not all) of the compelling cases recorded by Professor Ian Stevenson and others suggest. These are exception rather than the rule. What transmigrates in the soul, and the soul is not a set of memories, ideas or beliefs or fantasies.

Rather according to some branches of Perennial/Mystical philosophies, the soul has two basic defining characteristics: First it is the repository of one's VIRTUE (or lack thereof), or in some systems also called Karma, both good and bad.

Second soul characteristic is one's "strength" of awareness, or one's capacity to witness the dual phenomenal world without attachment or aversion. This second capacity is called wisdom or enlightenment or self-actualization.

The accumulation of these two characteristics---virtue and wisdom--constitute the soul, and that is what transmigrates. So when people claim to be 'remembering' a past life--where they lived, what they did for a living--they are GENERALLY PROBABLY MOSTLY not remembering past lives. Even Dalai Lama does not remember his past lives, what to talk of me and thee.

But if ostensible past life memories are not good evidence for reincarnation, what other type of evidence could there be to support the hypothesis. Here we should remember that perennial philosophers and mystical prodigies acknowledge three levels of self (body, mind, soul), and three types of knowledge (empirical, logical, contemplative). Empirical knowledge is sensory data (eye of flesh). Logical knowledge is mentalistic deduction (eye of mind). Contemplative knowledge is spiritual insight (eye of soul/spirit). Reincarnation is not primarily a sensory or mentalistic hypothesis. It cannot be easily explained or verified using sensory data or logical deduction. Reincarnation is a spiritual hypothesis which is to be tested with the eye of contemplation, not with the eye of flesh, or eye of mind. So once we take up contemplation and become fairly proficient at it, we will start noticing what is not available to other modes of consciousness. Only when we connect with our soul, we know infinity, we taste immortality, and we embrace all duality. Oneness with all is the goal of the soul. Happy sensing, minding, contemplating. And Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

hey there nice awareness data discussing, expect this will be genuinely helpful for everyone

Anonymous said...

Which came first? chicken or the egg