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When Seance Spirits Are "Befogged"

PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:55 am
by judasdisney
I thought many of the follow-up readers' comments were insightful, so I reproduced them here also. Let me know if it's a bandwidth problem, and I'll take it down...


Many people complain that mediumistic communications are disappointingly trivial or obscure, and that the purported communicators forget basic facts they should remember. In his fascinating 1961 book The Supreme Adventure, Robert Crookall explores several explanations for these anomalies. One of them is that the communicators, in order to make contact with earthly minds, must "lower their vibrations."

"Their minds," Crookall writes*,

are then more or less dulled and their descriptions may, in some respects, resemble those of the temporary inhabitants of Hades conditions [a transitional state immediately after dying] : they may complain of being "befogged", "semi-conscious", "drowsy", "dreamy", "suffocated", "not all there", etc., and their mental condition may affect their memories and therefore their messages. Jane Sherwood transmitted a typical statement on this subject. "Coming back is difficult... One has to lower one's vibration -- something like going into a trance or being drugged or finding oneself again in the misty, half-alive state."

He goes on to cite the researcher Richard Hodgson, who

compared the condition under which a discarnate communicator contacted a mortal friend with that of two mortals who were obliged to communicate with each other by employing a messenger who was dead drunk!... On one occasion, [the discarnate] Myers, communicating, said it was "like entrusting a message on which infinite importance depends to a sleeping person"; on another it was like "dictating feebly to a reluctant and somewhat obtuse secretary".

Mrs. Gladys Osborne Leonard was told by a communicator that "sometimes the spirits who are not ordinarily in touch with the earth conditions would find themselves overcome by a sleepy, dreamy condition when actually entering physical vibrations...."

And he makes reference to a case cited by Hereward Carrington.

A communicator said that he had performed a certain act during his earth-life. Actually, it was known that he had not performed this act -- but he had made the same statement when, in the course of passing, he had been in a delirium. The suggestion is that, in order to attune with the medium and communicate, he had had to lower his vibrations in near-earth level: this caused him to re-enter the pre-death delirious state and so he mechanically repeated a statement which was, nevertheless, erroneous.

To buttress his point, Crookall assembles a lengthy collection of quotes, some of which I reproduce here. These quotes are taken from a variety of sources, including popular books and more academic studies. First, here are quotes attributed to discarnate communicators.

"When we come to you a portion of ourselves rests. We are in a drowsy state... it makes it easier for us to pick up the earth-vibrations and talk to you."

"When we plunge down into your atmosphere we feel stifled at first and can't think -- but improve with practice."

"I am, as it were, but semi-conscious while communicating it communicating thus.... It is one of the reasons for fragmentary communications."

"In my own sphere and place it would all be clear, but I now find a difficulty with my memory which is curious..."

"As I speak to you, I am not manifesting with complete consciousness. Much of which I am normally aware is indistinct to my vision. I am troubled by the miasmas of earth."

"Only a part of the consciousness [of the communicator] is getting through to earth conditions".

"In all these matters my memory is perfectly clear when I stand free and unhampered in the spiritual atmosphere, but somehow when I return into earth's atmosphere, so many things become hazy and incomplete."

"In certain circumstances we are only able to communicate with a fraction of our mentality here, which means that the messages get through to you in a hazy state... There are degrees and layers of consciousness... the whole personality" is not engaged in communicating -- that which communicates is "ourselves as we were on earth", the greater and higher levels being asleep.

"I am more awake than asleep, yet I cannot come just as I am in reality." (This was the discarnate "George Pelham" speaking to Dr. Hodgson through the medium Leonora Piper.)

"You [mortals] to us are more as we understand sleep and, in order for us to get into communication with you, we have to enter into your sphere, as one like yourself, asleep. This is why we make mistakes..."

"When we... desire to communicate through some sensitive, we enter a dream (or subjective) state... If we are but slightly entranced we are detached from the memory of concrete facts in our past life... we are frequently unable to communicate through the medium's hand or voice many exact facts about our past career on earth, sometimes not even our own names.... My perceptions, when adjusted to earth, are not rapid in their working.... When we seek to communicate, we... slow down our processes of thought... I may compare the experience with a passing from active life into a still, sleepy world..." (This was the discarnate "F.W.H. Myers" communicating through Geraldine Cummins.)

"It is not my whole self talking."

"If you will wait for me, I will remember all... I seem to lose part of my recollection... I intended to refer to Uncle John, but I was somewhat dazed... Strange, I cannot think of the word I want... I am working to keep my thoughts clear."

"Our first reaction is that of being encased, feeling very limited... In the process of entering the medium, we lose much of our thoughts, ideas and knowledge, all so clear to us a moment or two previous to our contact with the body, and so, on many occasions, the controlling spirit cannot answer some seemingly simple questions from the sister concern.... The feeling of being limited and encased fades away after a few times of trance."

"All your mind is not in your brain at one in the same time: you have your conscious and your sub-conscious mind. He [the communicator] also develops a conscious and a sub-conscious section when he comes here... The part left outside the medium's mind forms, for the moment, his sub-conscious mind. When you wish to recall what your conscious mind has lost, you try to obtain it from the sub-conscious... It is more difficult for him than for you, because a smaller portion of his mind is operating in the medium... You see, therefore, why he cannot, while controlling, think so clearly or remember so much as you can." (This was Gladys Osborn Leonard's control "Feda.")

"It is so suffocating here. I can appreciate their [i.e., former communicators'] difficulties better than ever before."

"After you die the soul suddenly seems to expand... When we communicate with you, we have, in a sense, to form a body; a body that will compress the soul again to the dimensions of that before we cast off the [physical] body.... The whole thing is a strain. When we speak to you we are in an unnatural condition."

A discarnate named Nellie, communicating through Mrs. Piper, said that the discarnate Myers was "much more lively" and "much more wakened up" in his normal spiritual life than when he was speaking through the medium.

In addition to these and other quotes from mediums, Crookall cites the conclusions of researchers. James Hyslop wrote,

The general supposition which, to the mind of Dr. Hodgson and myself, explains the persistent triviality of the communicating spirit at the time of communicating (not necessarily in his normal state in the spirit world) is in a sort of abnormal mental state, perhaps resembling our dream-life...

And Hereward Carrington wrote,

They [i.e., discarnate communicators] experience great difficulty in holding their thoughts together connectedly during the process of communication... This does not mean that they are ordinarily in this confused state, but (very often) as soon as they come in contact with the medium's psychic atmosphere and magnetism, they become confused and their minds tend to wander as they would in delirium or in a state of trance... It is because of this that many of the messages we receive commence well but dwindle off into incoherence and triviality.

Besides lowered vibrations, Crookall suggests other reasons for unsatisfactory communications. These include the likelihood that many communicators are earthbound spirits in a state of confusion, that some apparent communications result from the medium reading a discarded "astral shell" or reading the minds of the living, and that communicators may not know which parts of their messages actually get through.

He concludes,

Mortals, not unnaturally, expect communication with departed souls to be as simple and straightforward as is conversation between mortals. But it cannot be so: conversation is simple, communication is complex. It is particularly complex in those cases in which the communicator must retard his mental activities in order to attune with the medium.... A man whom we knew in earth-life to be of a well-informed and clear-thinking type may communicate inaccurate or vague statements: he may, nevertheless, be doing his best to get through. The claim that a communicator may forget details of his past life -- even his own name -- is paralleled by what can occur in partial anesthesia or hypnosis. The argument often advanced, therefore, "That can't be X -- it must be either the sub-conscious mind of the medium or an ignorant impersonating discarnate personality" is not necessarily sound.


*All quotes are from pp. 216-224. In quoting Crookall, I have omitted some of his italics and single-quote marks, because I feel he overuses them.

January 01, 2008 in Robert Crookall | Permalink
"You [mortals] to us are more as we understand sleep and, in order for us to get into communication with you, we have to enter into your sphere, as one like yourself, asleep."

These quotes parallel exactly what many near death experiencers say about the physical reality.

excerpt from Michelle M's NDE:
"I felt an understanding about life, what it was, is. As if it was a dream in itself."'s_nde.htm

and it also corroborates statements made by physicists.

"Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real." - Niels Bohr

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

"As the religions of the East have long upheld, the material world is Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we are physical beings moving through a physical world, this too is an illusion." - The Holographic Universe,

This leads me to believe that there are no coincidences, everything happens for a reason, even the bad stuff, and free may very well be an illusion.

Posted by: Art | January 01, 2008 at 03:04 PM

Illusion is a very misconceived word or concept. The synonyms for illusion are not representative of the physical laws that exist in the physical world, as we know it. Jump out of a tall building and find out if the law of gravity is also an illusion.

I believe what is an illusion is when we believe that the physical world is ultimate reality. One could even say that the idea of a separate soul is an illusion or even all the other dimensions that may exist beyond this physical world are mere illusions.

From the book the supreme adventure on page 176 the following quote: “when the bodily factor (ectoplasm) is borrowed in very large amounts by a discarnate soul from a physical medium (if such a process does indeed as we believe occur) there is a correspondingly great effect on the level of consciousness of both the discarnate and the incarnate souls concerned.

This suggests that one should not expect too much accuracy from the discarnate soul or the medium.

Posted by: william | January 01, 2008 at 05:21 PM

Illusion is a very misconceived word or concept. The synonyms for illusion are not representative of the physical laws that exist in the physical world, as we know it. Jump out of a tall building and find out if the law of gravity is also an illusion. - william

Sometimes it is. Read Arthur W's NDE and Robert K. Blair's description of his experience.

from Arthur W's NDE:
"Instantly I was outside my body, hovering above the scene. I was completely alert. I was in a void and surrounded by only darkness, but I could see the scene below me. I was quite aware that I was no longer inside my body. I could see myself laying on the ground and all those I had been with looking on. My wife was standing in the street turned facing the other direction and I realized she was watching the vehicle that had hit me turned around and heading back towards us for a second time. Three things came to my thoughts. 1) That if the vehicle was to hit me again that would be it! 2) That my wife was in danger again. As she was standing in front of my body with her hands waving to the automobile in a fashion as to flag them down. Only they were going way to fast to stop and way to close to miss. 3) My 6 month old son was foremost in my mind. I remember sensing a presence, nothing visual but I knew I was Not alone! I said, "Please Dear God, No! Not Now!" I saw the car pass through the scene, it did not swerve, it did not turn. It passed directly through, leaving my wife and my body untouched. Instantly after that I found myself laying on the ground, back inside my body writhing in pain. This story can be confirmed! Teresa, who was my wife at the time can confirm it. We are no longer married. But she recalls this event as well as I do. She also claims that the car passed directly through the scene, there was No way for it not to, it was going way to fast and was too close to either miss or swerve out of the way. But miss it did, and left everyone untouched. In my experience this was nothing short of miraculous."'s_nde.htm

Robert K. Blair's experience:
"Robert Blair Kaiser is an author and a former correspondent for Time magazine. Reviewing a book about miracles he wrote: "In 1994, behind the wheel of my Mercedes, I lurched out of my driveway and was awakened from my dreamy preooccupation by the sight of a speeding car bearing down on me, not five feet away on my left. I knew I was a dead man.

"All of a sudden, that car was on my right. The driver weaved a bit, braked for a moment and then drove off, shaking his head in disbelief, as I was. For it was clear to me, there was no way he could have missed crashing into me, no way he could have steered aside. His car had flashed through my car, his steel and glass and rubber passing through my steel and glass and rubber like a ray of light through a pane of alabaster."

Kaiser ends his anecdote with a reflection: "This miracle moment was a turning point in my life, for I took it as a sign that God wasn't finished with me yet and that I had some new business to attend to." ... ondon.html

Posted by: Art | January 01, 2008 at 06:30 PM

art there are two words that get my interest. sometimes and should.

thanks for sharing these stories once again these stories show how little we know about the world we live in.

what would life be without these mysteries?

when two people talk about illusion they must first agree upon an operational definition of the concept of illusion.

one could say that everything is an illusion except the absolute infinite isness.

Posted by: william | January 02, 2008 at 12:22 AM

when two people talk about illusion they must first agree upon an operational definition of the concept of illusion. - william

When I say "illusion" what I mean is that matter ain't made of matter. Atoms are mostly ghostly space (99.9999999% empty space to be exact) and the sub atomic particles themselves are hardly like anything we've come to know as matter (not like a rock or a BB). Sub atomic particles do all kinds of weird things, sometimes appearing as a wave and sometimes as a particle, appearing and disappearing, able to communicate with each other and the people investigating them, making quantum jumps between orbitals inside the atom, able to pass right through "solid" matter, etc. The Universe is more bizarre than we can imagine.

Posted by: Art | January 02, 2008 at 10:40 AM

Hi Michael
I've been reading your blog for awhile and thought it very interesting
but I do have a question:
While the dream like state of the afterlife seems very reasonable especially if it's a different reality, and it seems reasonable for communicators to make mistakes at least once in awhile, doesn't that leave us a bit of a problem in proving the validity of a medium or making sure that it's not his subconscious that is speaking to us?

Posted by: Vicky | January 02, 2008 at 11:11 AM

"While the dream like state of the afterlife seems very reasonable especially if it's a different reality, and it seems reasonable for communicators to make mistakes at least once in awhile"

Vicky not sure the afterlife is a dream like state for those that cross over to another dimension but maybe a dream like state for those that are earth bound or those that have to lower their vibrational level to communicate with a medium.

The book the supreme adventure goes into a lot of detail on this you may want to purchase it on line under used books like Abe books.

My impression is that those on the other side that do make the “complete” transition to the other side such as Summerland tell us they are more awake then we are in the physical world. Look back over your life Vicky and remember events in your life and don’t they feel somewhat like a dream.

You also may want to read the book the open door by Theon Wright as to the validity of the medium as in that book the medium dies and comes back just as he was as the medium in his physical life and not as the master mind that came through him when he was in the physical world.

But you raise a good point in the book the course in miracles I always suspected that it was Helen’s subconscious that came through and not Jesus.

Posted by: william | January 02, 2008 at 12:21 PM

Art: yes we are for the most part empty space but we have something that is called a consciousness.

My qualm with those that go around saying it is all an illusion and some even go so far as to say we are nothingness and do not really exist miss the point and meaning of human life.

I believe that life has meaning and to say it is all an illusion or that we are nothingness reduces the majesty and expression of life to irrelevancy in my opinion. These kinds of statements suggest to me that they believe that life is meaningless.

And those very people that say that life is nothingness and that they don’t exist sign their name with a personal identifier and some even write books on how to be successful in life.

If you think life is an illusion go find a high mountain, jump off, and find out if the sudden stop is an illusion. Even if their souls left their bodies before they hit bottom does not mean their experiences in life were not meaningful.

Life I believe is an unfoldment process and I suspect it is how the absolute expresses itself. If indeed the infinite absolute is expressing itself I would say that life has incredible and marvelous meaning and significance.

The illusion is for one to think they are separate from the absolute. Our consciousness is capable of varying levels or degrees of perception and awareness. We must be ignorant (not know) of our true reality or the absolute could not express itself in I suspect an infinite number of expressions.

Posted by: william | January 02, 2008 at 01:24 PM

I believe it is a mistake to interpret the quotes from Crookall that Michael P has provided as being related to the earth plane environment's being illusory. What these statements speak to is a change that takes place in the consciousness of the communicators when they re-enter the "miasmas of earth." The question of the reality or non-reality of anything is not addressed.
Further, there is nothing in these quotations to lead us to think that the environment from which the communicators come is dreamlike. There are many sources in the literature that establish the exact opposite.
It is also a mistake, in my opinion, to place too much reliance on the statements of NDErs. This is like asking a brand new freshman on the doorstep of the registrar's office what college life is like. Such a person really knows very little. The same holds trude for death bed visions. I have come across quite a number of accounts, purportedly from those in the afterlife, cautioning the reader not to take what they have to say for anything other than their own opinion. Even after having been on the other side for some time cosmic truths have not been revealed to them.
To me there is a caveat behind the Crookall quotations. We reside in a region of low-frequency, muddled thinking, where certainty is hard if not impossible to come by. We ought then to proceed cautiously, eschewing sweeping statements about the nature of ultimate reality.

Posted by: wvogt | January 02, 2008 at 02:10 PM

william says:

"Vicky not sure the afterlife is a dream like state for those that cross over to another dimension but maybe a dream like state for those that are earth bound or those that have to lower their vibrational level to communicate with a medium"".

I would look at this from a slightly different angle. Shamanic states are trance-like in nature and shamans enter these trances to communicate with other dimensions. I know for a fact that in these altered states of consciousness, the shaman claims to be able to access these other worlds and communicate with beings that inhabit them. Shamans, equate these states to dream like visionary ones and for all intents and purposes, to an outside observer, many of these shamans, look like they are either asleep or almost comatose.

Now, would it be possible that the reverse is also true? that when the inhabitants of these worlds come to talk to "us", they also need to enter trance like states to be able to enter an equally altered state?

Could it be that we can only meet through dream and that dream-like states are similar to portals that enable souls on both sides to travel?

I don't know the answer to these questions, but thought I would bring it up to see if it makes sense for anyone else.

Posted by: edna | January 02, 2008 at 03:15 PM

In reading through Michael’s post, I’m again reminded of the Seth Material. At the beginning of Seth Speaks, Seth comments that “My consciousness is fairly well focused within Rubert’s (Jane Roberts) body . . . It is not just a simple matter of having this woman speak for me. There are many manipulations necessary, and psychological adjustments. We have established what I refer to as a psychological bridge between us.”

Seth goes on to describe himself as “an energy personality essence, no longer focused in physical matter.” My interpretation of this is that he’s describing himself as an advanced ‘spirit’, although he objects to that term a little earlier, saying, “if your definition of that word (spirit) implies the idea of a personality without a physical body, then I would have to agree that this description fits me.”

What is interesting here is that we have someone representing himself as what we would call ‘advanced’ describing himself only as “fairly well focused.” Seth produced a logically coherent manuscript of six-thousand pages, and is admitting from the get-go that he’s not perfectly clear. If most of the medium communications referenced above do not involve similarly advanced spirits (for lack of a better word), I would consider it reasonable to expect there to be difficulties in communication of some severity as described in Michael’s post.

I also find remarkable references to the vibratory nature of this and other realms in Autobiography of a Yogi. The resurrected Sri Yukteswar describes to Yogananda the physical, astral and causal realms of existence in detail in Chapter 43:

"The astral universe, made of various subtle vibrations of light and color, is hundreds of times larger than the material cosmos . . . In the same way that human beings live on the surface of the earth, worms inside the soil, fish in water, and birds in air, so astral beings of different grades are assigned to suitable vibratory quarters . . . Everything is vibrant with God's creative light . . . Astral desires center around enjoyment in terms of vibration . . . “

Sri Yukteswar goes on to address the “illusion” question that William and Art have been discussing as follows:

“The nearly-free beings who are encased only in the causal body see the whole universe as realizations of the dream-ideas of God . . . Causal beings realize that the physical cosmos is not primarily constructed of electrons, nor is the astral cosmos basically composed of lifetrons - both in reality are created from the minutest particles of God-thought, chopped and divided by maya, the law of relativity which intervenes to apparently separate the Noumenon from His phenomena.”

The entire text is available here:

I can’t personally recall a Self-realized master suggesting that one should test the validity of the statement that ‘all is illusion’ by dropping an anvil on one’s foot, let alone leaping off a mountain.

I tend to take the message as the understanding that arises from the experience of enlightenment across all cultures and religions. Far from implying that this existence is pointless, as William suggested earlier, it suggests to me that the purpose of existence is to personally reach the level of consciousness that allows one to realize the true nature of all existence (this realm and all others), as Dream-ideas of ‘All that Is’ in Seth’s terms, or ‘God’ in Yukteswar’s.

Posted by: Michael H | January 02, 2008 at 03:41 PM

>The question of the reality or non-reality of anything is not addressed.

True. In fact, Crookall takes some pains to say (elsewhere in the book) that the physical world and the various spiritual dimensions are all equally real, differing only in the density of matter. In his view, even the higher spiritual realms are material to some extent, and only God or "Cosmic Consciousness" is completely immaterial and ineffable.

Posted by: Michael Prescott | January 02, 2008 at 04:16 PM

I believe that life has meaning and to say it is all an illusion or that we are nothingness reduces the majesty and expression of life to irrelevancy in my opinion. These kinds of statements suggest to me that they believe that life is meaningless. - william

Not at all, only that one doesn't need to take it too seriously. As in "don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff." Personally I think the soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it (the soul) learns holistically what it needs to learn whether we want it or not. We don't have to do jack squat. Duality and separation are inherent and inescapable properties of the physical universe and the soul learns what it means to be separate - regardless of what we say or how we live our lives. The soul also learns about time and space just by living in a physical universe where time and space seem to exist.

Posted by: Art | January 02, 2008 at 05:19 PM

“It is also a mistake, in my opinion, to place too much reliance on the statements of NDErs.”

I spent years studying NDE’s and although I learned much that was such variation in much of what was stated. The analogy of the freshman knowing what college will be like on the first day of school is a good one.

My approach has been to study as many areas such as life after death, the paranormal, theoretical quantum physics, the universe as much as possible and look for a cross validation of information. Not a perfect plan but I felt I had to do something as there is so much what appears to be conflicting information when we study the mysteries of life.

“Far from implying that this existence is pointless, as William suggested earlier”

William never intended to suggest that existence is pointless what I meant was that those that call life an illusion or nonexistence or nothingness suggests to me that they believe life is pointless. My point I had hoped was quite the opposite that life is pointless.

This aspect of life being pointless has been the impression I have gotten from my dialog with what I refer to as the Advaita types.

Edna: I have read that for those of us that cannot get into a trance like state to connect to the other side that sometimes we can communicate or they can communicate with us from the other side in our dreams. Some call these dream states visitations.

Posted by: william | January 02, 2008 at 05:29 PM

I have no doubt there is life after death. My 18 year old died almost 5 years ago and I don't believe there's been a week that's gone by since, he doesn't remind us somehow he's still here.

It started the day he died, before we even knew he was dead. The smoke detector in our bedroom went off at daybreak. Initally, I thought nothing of it, just bad batteries, but as the day progressed the alarms went off all over the house. One in the hallway at 11am, one in the entry foyer at 2pm and the last, again in the entry foyer, at 5pm. Four total over a 12 hour period.

By the time the third one went off I was really scratching my head and when the fourth went off I was stumped and remember asking my husband how come all the smoke detectors kept going off all day?

I didn't think again about it that day because the police were at tbe door notifying us of our son's death, but two days later when we went to talk to the detective and he told us our son died at daybreak, it suddenly hit me...

The first alarm went off at daybreak, in our bedroom, at the same time our son died.

The second alarm went off in the hallway, next to the garage door, exactly when my husband came home from his weekly ritual of bowling. Only he came home 2 hours early that day because he was worried about our son.

The third alarm went off when my youngest son arrived home at 2pm from spending the night at a friend's house; shortly before he entered through the front door.

And the final, fourth alarm went off right as the police pulled up to the front of the house. That is when I asked my husband why they were all going off, only he never answered me because he was opening the door.

I could tell you stories all night. Life is so much more than we can see, than we know it is.

Thank you for listening, I enjoy your blog! Nancy

Posted by: Nancy | January 02, 2008 at 08:15 PM

Nancy, this is fascinating. If it's not too hard for you, could you share some other stories of things you just can't explain? Anything particularly indicative of your son? I'm sorry for your loss.

Posted by: John | January 02, 2008 at 09:26 PM

William, you were clear in your earlier posts that you didn't personally consider existence pointless. I was referencing your comments that indicated that you felt those who claimed "all was illusion" were implying that.

There's no doubt that the phrase is bandied about by many who have not had the experience behind it, but are repeating the words of those who have. It gives some relevance to Lao Tzu: "Those who know, don't talk; those who talk, don't know."

All may be an illusion, but it's certainly a well constructed and very convincing illusion. I think the idea is to realize it, not just grasp it intellectually.

Posted by: Michael H | January 02, 2008 at 10:49 PM

Michael h: I think that is my point about intellectualism. I went thru that stage in my life of making intellectual statements with my newfound knowledge. I suspect many or some of those attributes are still with me.

Then it took me time to realize that there were a lot more questions I could not answer than I had answered in my newfound knowledge.

Also there appears to be different levels of truths or comprehension. One person's truth's is another's ignorance.

The universe has a way of humbling a person if not in this life then I suspect in another life back here on earth or in another dimension.

What fascinates me is how difficult it is to see one’s own intellectualism, paradigms, and how our beliefs impact our view of the world. It appears that the most dangerous people on earth are those that feel certain that their beliefs are absolute truths.

Posted by: william | January 02, 2008 at 11:10 PM

"It appears that the most dangerous people on earth are those that feel certain that their beliefs are absolute truths."

It's often occurred to me that absolute truth may be available only to those who no longer have beliefs. The ultimate paradox . . .

Posted by: Michael H | January 03, 2008 at 12:38 AM

these quotes were taken from a larger article that rupert recently wrote on a question someone asked of him and that was:

"What have you changed your mind about? Why?"

below is part of the article he wrote about what he has changed his mind about.

"The skepticism of believers"
"I used to think of skepticism as a primary intellectual virtue, whose goal was truth. I have changed my mind. I now see it as a weapon………………………….."

"In practice, the goal of skepticism is not the discovery of truth, but the exposure of other people's errors. It plays a useful role in science, religion, scholarship, and common sense. But we need to remember that it is a weapon serving belief or self-interest; we need to be skeptical of skeptics. The more militant the skeptic, the stronger the belief."

Rupert Sheldrake

Posted by: william | January 03, 2008 at 01:16 AM

Michael h: from my point of view beliefs are in the realm of consciousness but absolute truth/s are in the realm of pure awareness.

I highly suspect that we humans are very, very low on the scale of having absolute truths.

Posted by: william | January 03, 2008 at 01:22 AM

william, I know many will cringe at my recommendation, but there is another way to obtain a deep trance for those who have troubles doing so: a hefty dose of ayahuasca.

Last year I met a certain shaman from the amazon (I am in this path for a few years already). I attended an ayahuasca ceremony with her for the first time (my first time with her, not with ayahuasca). From the get go, she impressed me like no one else had up to that moment. In the middle of the ceremony, I realized I would ask her afterwards if she would, in the future, take me on an apprenticeship. I don't know who, but I had this vision of a spirit (through lack of a better word) who said to me, if you want to learn from her, the time is now. I asked why and this spirit said, because she is going to die soon. I didn't make much of that at the time, as I have gotten it wrong many times before. I only commented this with my partner and with a friend with whom I regularly discuss these subjects.

Lo and behold, two months later, this shaman was dead. From that moment, I knew I had tapped into something that, up to that point, I didn't quite have any certainty about.

Posted by: edna | January 03, 2008 at 03:26 AM

I sure am glad I discovered these discussions. Threads like this one remind me of watching a group of people arranging a jiggsaw puzzle, and slowly a bigger picture starts to form.