Spiritual and Religious Apathy: Consequences for Life and the Afterlife

The other day I listened to a TED talk called ‘Why There is No Way Back for Religion in the West’ which discussed the implications of a recent study showing the massive decline of religion in the western world.  I’ll admit that I would have formally received this news with smug approval, but as I’ve grown in my own spirituality, I realize that the loss of our world’s religions and the rise in the belief in materialism without a corresponding spiritual replacement is not necessarily beneficial for our collective spiritual progress, either on earth, or later, when we are confronted by an afterlife that we are completely and utterly unprepared for.

Other studies have shown spirituality and overall belief in life after death has remained high despite the dire projections for religion, but spirituality that is not well defined does not replace all of the benefits of religious affiliation. Namely, frequency of spiritual observance, membership of a unifying belief system, and practical ways to develop positive attributes in life, such as repentance, forgiveness and service to others.  In my experience, even those non-religious people who say they believe in a ‘higher power’ or claim to have a spirituality do little to explore or demonstrate that belief in any significant way in their daily lives.  I used to chastise members of my family for their church-going, claiming that spending an hour a week being ‘holier than thou’ doesn’t amount to much. Then I realized that despite all of my intellectual spiritual pursuits, I wasn’t devoting even a fraction of that time putting my own spiritual beliefs into practice.  There is a difference between knowing spiritual truth and practicing it.

Despite my railings against religion in other posts, religion has served an important purpose in communities and civilizations throughout the history of the world. Not only has it provided man with a moral code to follow, it has predisposed people to belief in an afterlife as well as some sort of judgment for their actions.  Now, atheists would rightly decry any statement that suggests religion is necessary for moral behavior, as many atheists are committed secular humanists.  Atheists aren’t my issue, though.  The typical atheist is well versed in religious history and dogma, and has made a decided stand against organized religion while still making provisions for replacing the benefits of religion in their lives through other secular service organizations.

My concern is instead for the spiritually apathetic, people who give spirituality so little thought that even the term agnostic doesn’t properly apply.  They simply live in a materialistic, externally-based world.  While they may be decent, moral people, they are consumed with achieving the milestones of physical life: building a career, finding a mate, raising children, acquiring wealth and so on.  Spirituality is simply not on their radar, so to speak, despite what box they check on a survey.

Unfortunately, a lack of spirituality may also contribute to selfish, competitive, materialistic behavior in those people who have been taught to believe in materialism in the scientific sense: Life on this planet is an accident. Free will is an illusion. We are our bodies. When we die, it’s over. Religion is no longer necessary to explain the meaning of life, for it is meaningless in all but evolutionary terms.  The influence of scientific materialism unfortunately translates for some into a desire to prioritize physical pleasure, self-gratification, and competitive advantage.  According to the Global Report of Religiosity and Atheism, the more wealthy a person is, the less likely they are to describe themselves as religious.  Does that mean wealthier people feel less need for religion, or do the non-religious have a greater tendency to prioritize the acquisition of wealth?  The cause of this positive correlation is unknown, but it is not surprising.

I also blame this materialistic philosophy for our youth-obsessed culture.  The benefits of aging, among other things, have traditionally been spiritual in nature.  As the body begins to decrease in efficiency and outward beauty, spirituality and wisdom are meant to increase.  The elderly were historically the keepers of spiritual wisdom and revered for their unique experience and knowledge.  A lack of spirituality means that we now prize youth, physical beauty and strength above all else, for science has united our very existence with our physical bodies.  If a society believes death is the end of consciousness and thus worthiness in the world, our value to others will naturally decease as we continue our march ominously toward it. The aging process no longer presents any advantages in an increasingly materialistic and atheistic world and the outward signs of aging may even be perceived as threatening and met with fear rather with reverence. This is why, in my opinion, we are increasingly measured socially by our ability to hang on to the illusion of youth and peak physical desirability.

It might seem completely normal to consider the millions of people in the western world living without spirituality, but if you look at history as a whole, the abnormality of the situation becomes clear. In no other civilization, at no other time in history have so many people lived with so little faith to unify and guide them.  This is not a statement that ignores the perversion of religion, or the use of religion as a weapon. Even for all of the atrocious things man has done in the name of faith, religion has played an important role by preparing people for their transition to a non-physical existence after death.

Jürgen Ziewe has commented on the effect of spiritual apathy in his book, Vistas of Infinity: How to Enjoy Life when You are Dead.  An expert in meditation and out-of-body travel, Ziewe has documented his visits to the spirit dimensions for over four decades.  Over time, he has noticed something quite disturbing about the dense, near-earth dimensions.  It is packed with people who have died on earth without any spiritual belief.  Unaware of their own demise, they have unknowingly turned these dimensions into replicas of earthly cities and either simply carry on their daily lives in an illusionary state, or find themselves distressingly in external environments that mirror the self-centered lives they developed on earth.  According to Ziewe and many others who have visited the spirit world, the afterlife functions far differently than the objectively stable earth: “When the relay station and filter, which is our brain, stops functioning and the body is returned to its individual atoms, our conscious and subconscious mind become our new external reality (Ziewe, 22).

“I found that with the majority of people who are mostly driven by powerful needs for self-gratification and subjected to strong drives over which they have little control, their first encounter with the afterlife reality is anything but the proverbial Summer-Land. […] Many people who have been living a life of bad habits and poor psychological hygiene will now see it manifested and reflected around them (42, 43).”

Ziewe describes an afterlife that is “tinged by the state of mind” of its inhabitants.  Negatively-inclined people will find themselves in dreary afterlife states, living in run-down cities or squatting in dark hovels. Stuck with the contents of their own dark thoughts manifested in their environment, many will have no understanding of why they’ve entered such a hell.

“Our current afterlife condition is much a catastrophe and humanitarian emergency as any on the physical level and is crying out for change in the same way as many of our social and spiritual problems here on the physical level are crying out for enhanced awareness.  Just as our mental health will need to be addressed in order to heal society’s ill, I am finding that our mental disease-ridden human conditions, which we carry over into the afterlife, need to be dealt with in much the same way as our physical ones (Ziewe, 45).”

Certainly, not all non-spiritual people are so negative but a lack of awareness in spiritual matters still has dire consequences.  Ordinary people may find themselves still trying to ‘catch the bus, try to get to work, buy their sandwich at the sandwich bar, go to the pub and mix with others (p. 38)’  When guides or family members who have already died try to explain the situation, these people may think the idea of their own death absurd, and continue to live in this dream world indefinitely with the many thousands of others in the same predicament.

“The near-earth dimensions are the levels the majority of people are likely to find themselves in when they die.  There will be changes, alterations, differences, but as mentioned these differences will soon be taken for granted and accepted as the real status quo.  everything that is here in the physical world will be very much in place over there as we were used to.  There is a higher dimensional copy of everything, sustained by the living as well as the dead.  No dead person will think much of it or waste any time thinking about it. Reality is.  We will find buses, taxies and cinemas, cafes, bars and strip clubs.  We will find shops and people will pay with money without blinking an eye and receive goods in return, or we may not think of money at all and nobody will be the wiser or take offence (Ziewe, 40).”

For those readers who immediately consider the thought of strip clubs in the spirit world to be repugnant, consider that the religious ideas of heaven are just as illusory.  The overly religious have a similar problem to deal with in the afterlife, though I would argue that they are far better positioned to be reasoned out of their own delusions.  Upon death, zealots of one religion or another would find themselves in the heaven of their very expectations.  Once acclimated, guides would slowly begin to reveal that the afterlife contains a million heavens.  At least all of the major religions are represented to welcome the pious directly after death.  Guides work with these souls and after a time, they might begin to accept a greater reality beyond the confines of their particular orthodoxy and such rigid belief systems would be discarded.

Seth describes this condition in Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul:

“A belief in hell fires can cause you to hallucinate Hades’ conditions.  A belief in a stereotypes heaven can result in a hallucination of heavenly conditions.  You always form your own reality according to your ideas and expectations.  This is the nature of consciousness in whatever reality it finds itself.  Such hallucinations, I assure you, are temporary.  Consciousness must use its abilities.  The boredom and stagnation of a stereotyped heaven will not for long content the striving consciousness.  There are teachers to explain the conditions and circumstances.  You are not left alone, therefore, lost in the mazes of hallucination.  You may or may not realize immediately that you are dead in physical terms.”

So why allow people to be received into these illusions to begin with?  Why should faith in religion, even misguided ones, be better than no faith at all if it means both groups of people enter into an illusory afterlife?

Again, Seth provides the reason:

“Certain images have been used to symbolize such a transition from one existence to another, and many of these are extremely valuable in that they provide a framework with understandable references.  The crossing of the River Styx is such a one.  The dying expected certain procedures to occur in a more or less orderly fashion.  The maps were known beforehand.  At death, the consciousness hallucinated the river vividly.  Relatives and friends already dead entered into the ritual, which was a profound ceremony also on their parts.  The river was as real as any that you know, as treacherous to a traveler alone without proper knowledge.  Guides were always at the river to help such travelers across.  It does not do to say that such a river is illusion.  The symbol is reality, you see.  The way was planned.  Now, that particular map is no longer generally in use.  The living do not know how to read it.  Christianity has believed in a heaven and a hell, a purgatory, and reckoning; and so, at death, to those who so believe in these symbols, another ceremony is enacted, and the guides take on the guises of those beloved figured of Christian saints and heroes.  Then with this as framework, and in terms that they can understand, such individuals are told the true situation.  Mass religious movements have for centuries fulfilled that purpose, in giving man some plan to be followed.  It little matters that later the plan was seen as a child’s primer, a book of instructions complete with colorful tales, for the main purpose was served and there was little disorientation. In periods where no such mass ideas are held, there is more disorientation, and when life after death is completely denied, the problem is somewhat magnified.  Many, of course, are overjoyed to find themselves still conscious.  Others have to learn all over again about certain laws of behavior, for they do not realize the creative potency of their thoughts or emotions.”

A life with religion, or at least a well-defined spirituality, has far better prepared a person for the concept of an afterlife and therefore it is easier to acclimate to the true reality of life after death.  Regardless of what iconography a person has used on earth to symbolize the process of death and transition, they are well-received and most will be able to understand and accept their death and entry into the spirit world.

Conversely, a person who has spent little to no time contemplating life after death may not be convinced of it, even after death has occurred. They may remain in a loop of delusion, continuing their daily lives as if nothing at all has changed.  According to Ziewe, the population of people in this state has dramatically increased.

“As far as I can see, this lack of general awareness is responsible for a massive boost in population on the lower non-physical dimensions, which are closest to our physical plane, since the world population has rocketed.  If people were more aware this would not be the case and they would quickly move on toward more agreeable pastures (Ziewe, 39).”

Avoiding disorientation at death is most certainly not the only reason for faith on earth. It is also imperative for that all-important step so fundamental and life-changing for thousands of near-death experiencers: the life review.  I often wonder if the fantastic rise in reported near-death experiences since the 1970’s has less to do with medical advances in resuscitation, and more with an imperative to combat spiritual apathy.  In every near-death experience that is shared, the experiencer describes a lesson or philosophy gained that has completely changed the course of their life. For Howard Storm, a self-described selfish, cruel person who valued wealth above all else, his NDE taught him love and forgiveness. Anija Moorjani, who nearly succumbed to her stage four cancer, returned with a lesson about the disastrous effects of fear and worthlessness which preceded her miraculous recovery. Dr. Eben Alexander came to realize his misguided faith in materialism through his experience. Nearly all gain a life-long spirituality and complete loss of fear of death.

These are the lessons that most religions have taught in one form or another, even as the ritual and orthodoxy has changed or has been polluted by humans over centuries.  The core message remains the same: love one another. Seek enlightenment not in physical pleasures but in spiritual wisdom. Our souls are eternal. We reap what we sow. But with the loss of religions and the rise of spiritual apathy, these ancient guidelines for spiritual progress are falling out of daily practice.

I am an evidential spiritualist. I define beliefs about the nature of reality from the spiritual wisdom contained with the incredible wealth of personal spiritual experiences shared by thousands of people who have touched the spirit world in some way. I listen to the messages of those who have had a near-death experience, or the sage words of the dying as they begin to see the light.  I listen to the whispers of my guides, and find inspiration in both the prophets of old and the channeled teachings of the modern world.  I work hard to apply these teachings to my life, and fail often.  I can be stubborn, prideful, arrogant, selfish and dour.  But my spirituality has also taught me to keep working at it because I know I will eventually sit in judgement of my own behavior and answer for my actions.

How many people will die today with no belief in an afterlife and wake up in a world that looks identical to the one they left?  How much time wasted living in illusion while guides attempt to school them in all of the basic spirituality that was so widely available while on earth?  How many sad, angry people will suffer in self-made hells because they never learned to let go of the fear and anger while alive? Religion is dying in the west and it is a process that may irreversible.  However, it is up to us to ensure that spirituality doesn’t die with it.

Many non-religious or formerly religious people are beginning to search out the incredible evidence of life after death and are discovering a new kind of spirituality with it.  The problem is, the vast majority of people who have an NDE or an after-death communication, or witness a deathbed vision don’t share their experience out of fear that they will be labeled ‘crazy’ or ‘delusional’.  There are things you can do to combat the pervasive spiritual apathy taking over the world.  If you have had a spiritual experience that has touched your life, share it. Or, share a book that has opened your eyes to the reality of life after death.  Many people may not realize that a strong, vital spirituality can be had without being a part of an organized religion.  Secondly, live your own spirituality fearlessly. Engage in conversation when you can.  Don’t push if rebuffed; we are not evangelists. On the other hand, don’t shy away from someone who seems interested.

Ultimately, the spiritual path must be sought.  One cannot be dragged to it, or forced into belief.  As religion wanes, we can fill the gap by finding courage to promote truth and fight against fraud or exploitation.  We can shepherd those who are newly awakened to spiritual belief and inspire them with our kindness, generosity and peace.  We ourselves can remain open-minded to any spiritual truth that comes our way, and be open to the many different ways people choose to express it -whether that is through religion, spirituality, or through secular paths of service and generosity.

Finding Jane Robert’s channeled Seth Books are what inspired me to find spirituality again after a time of dark atheism and anger toward my former religion.  Therefore, I will end with one of my very favorite Seth quotes:

“Organize your reality according to your playfulness, according to your dreams, according to your joy, according to your hopes. And then you can help those who organize their realities according to their fears.”

-Seth, as channeled by Jane Roberts

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21 thoughts on “Spiritual and Religious Apathy: Consequences for Life and the Afterlife

  1. I am sharing my spiritual experiences also and they are getting published soon! Thank you for this fascinating post on religion and spirituality. It really does make sense how we need both to attain our true selves in the afterlife,

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    1. That’s wonderful! Thanks for having the courage to share your experiences. You never know who you can inspire. Sometimes what you can offer is just the right thing to change someone else’s life. 🙂
      -Jenn

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  2. “Organize your reality according to your playfulness, according to your dreams, according to your joy, according to your hopes. And then you can help those who organize their realities according to their fears.”
    -Seth, as channeled by Jane Roberts
    I am doing that! And, I have no fear in helping others alleviate their suffering, and sharing my experiences with them if they ask and am open to receive :). Yet most are fervent believers in their own beliefs, even if they are not backed up with facts or truth and make them unhappy, as most are herd creatures, following what is popular. Their greatest fear is to be an individual, to tune into their own truth and to follow that guidance, as they want others or something to tell them what to do, and religion is perfect for this.
    I think the key is to find the sacred and meaningful within the natural and the little things in life- just as our ancients did- and to follow our bliss. I’m personally glad that Christianity( and its many factions) is on the decline, yet sadly Islam ( the extreme fundamentalists)is growing with the advent of Isis and the Taliban and their desire to convert all to Allah! I think as Billy Connelly said, ” Religion is over… you had 2000 years to get it right and your failed… ” is his comment on the failure of religion to help people. And, personally I would like to see it over with, as we do not need a prophet or scriptures in order to find a connection with God/ess! I think ever since we made God a male Godhead, with the advent of monotheism( Ahkenhaten/Moses-Judaism-Christianity-Islam and the further splintering of these religions) we have been in strife as we had forgotten the whole. To debunk the feminine, to deny and demonize the feminine, to rape the Earth for men’s gain, and to fight over who’s male God head is the true one is not spirituality, but control and conquer mentality, and leads only to further fragmentation and separation, and further fear and suffering. And, much of our materialistic view of the world for those that deny God, is a product of behaviourism in the 30’s, 40’s which denied our emotions and our spirituality, as an excuse to do horrific experiments and to justify that we were merely physical stimulus/response individuals, and that set the stage for creating the collective shadow, which has demonized communisim/socialism and any ideal that puts the whole greater than the individual. And, we see the results of this every day, with the great divide between the rich and the poor and the rhetoric and propaganda that is used to reinforce individualism and to demote the collective. I think Joni Mitchell had it right when she sang, “We are stardust, we are golden.. and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden…” Because we are not going to find it in our social institutions!

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    1. I agree. We are severely out of balance in terms of our male/female energies on this planet and it shows in our politics, our social order, in everything. I also agree that the waning of religions is probably irreversible and likely, once the dust clears, a good thing over all. Islam is extremely male dominated and such an imbalance cannot last. Right now, Islam is being spread through the sword but in time that will no longer work. As Swedenborg says, belief will not stay unless chosen by free will. I feel for all of the people who have been so harmed by a religion gone wrong – whether that is Christianity, Islam or whatever. I fear that they will discount all spirituality when leaving their religion for good. We need people like you and others who shares their spirituality freely to remind people that religion does not have to dominate spiritual thought in this world. Better options exist. All one has to do is reach out..
      Thanks for your thoughts and for your excellent and articulate comment!
      Jenn

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      1. You are welcome, and thank you for your article too! 🙂 I hope Swedenborg is correct, yet history has shown a preponderance of conversions by the ‘sword’, and many people have been ‘dumbed down’ (due to inadequate education and corrupt extreme right winged media)and/or due to dire circumstances- injust social inequality- and ‘social control’ methodologies), many can not choose free will; and often when they do exert it, it is violent, extreme or delinquent in its expression and serves no one. I think love and compassion are the great levelers, and knowledge and wisdom acted upon pro-actively is what gets results! Too many people are apathetic and just ‘pray’ for help and solutions, and/or do what they are ‘told to do’ and do not actively seek or do anything to help themselves, and that is why they so readily accept the status quo, and are powerless to change their circumstances. Maybe, it has to do with ‘soul age’ and as there are so many ‘souls’ here now, maybe many are baby, or extremely young souls, who cannot think for themselves. And, that is why we need to have so much more compassion, and why our work so hard! 🙂

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  3. Well Jenn, you’ve done it again – another wonderfully insightful post that offers food for thought for those of us who are sure we know all about the failures of religion and the superiority of our own brand of spirituality. Thanks for the reminder that in 1976 Seth pulled me out of my own dark, bitter adolescent period of hatred against my fundamentalist upbringing and set me on a path of lifelong spiritual discovery. Keep up the good work! Suzanne Carter, Editor, IDigitalMedium.

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  4. Jenn,
    This was a great insightful article if I do say so myself. I’ve been waiting for years for others to bring religion and spirituality to light. I discovered many years ago the faults of organized religion and how it would be detrimental to mankind’s spiritual progress thru the ages. That was 46 years ago or round about there. You’ve done a great job at expressing that reality.

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    1. Thanks Timothy! I certainly wouldn’t cry over the loss of some of the worlds religions, but as I stated in my post, I do worry about the decline of spirituality. I am hoping that some of the more closed minded religions, such as some branches of Christianity and Islam will dissolve over time as people begin to become more open minded and have access to different points of view through the internet. That’s why I have a blog – I’m hoping to reach those people who want a spirituality in their life, but can’t stomach whatever religion they grew up with.
      Thanks for writing!
      Jenn

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  5. An excellent, thought-provoking Post. While I agree that religion is on the decline in the West, I believe that this was to some extent inevitable, given the fact that most of us live more materially-fulfilling lives than our ancestors did. However, because of over-population, over-use of resources, and environmental pollution, the earthly world is becoming less and less the paradise we once believed it was or could become. I think that religion and spirituality will increase as life in this world becomes ever harder and less fulfilling.

    And speaking as someone who doesn’t believe in reincarnation: I wonder if the spirit planes near earth are going to become ever more crowded with discarnate souls who mistakenly believe that their spiritual destiny is to return to earth rather than to ascend to the higher planes of spiritual existence?

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    1. Thank you very much for your comment, Jim. I so rarely come across a spiritual person who doesn’t believe in reincarnation so I give you credit for ‘going against the grain’, so to speak. Recently I heard a very interesting ‘non-reincarnational’ take on why some people allegedly remember past lives. This was from Emmanuel Swedenborg’s work and it was part of a topic on the subject by the YouTube channel OffTheLeftEye from the Swedenborg Foundation. Here’s the link to the whole video: https://youtu.be/kVYKEfpnxj0. Swedenborgians don’t believe in reincarnation either, but some of their other views are quite ‘new-age’ in nature. I really love their work, even if I don’t necessarily agree with all of Swedenborg’s ideas. There is definitely a lot of spiritual literature out there that suggests that we do not reincarnate, so your views are certainly supported. All of Anthony Borgia’s channeled material from Hugh Benson was from the perspective that we do not reincarnate, and in a way, I agree that we don’t in a sense. I will never be Jenn again. This is a one time deal. I do believe that my soul will experience other lives, but ‘I’ will not. I’m still not solid on what I believe or understand, but that’s the best way I understand it for now, subject to change of course!

      I also completely agree that spirituality and religion will increase as life gets more difficult. I believe that is why that study said that so many wealthy people were non-religious. When your life is physically comfortable, I think people have a tendency to forget about the need for spirituality. I know that when I was younger, I tended to be more spiritual during hard times then during the good times. Now that I’m older, I have recognized the importance of maintaining and developing my spirituality in all times, but I think it’s probably common that people only appeal to their spirituality when the need is great.

      Thanks so much for writing, Jim, all the best!
      Jenn

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      1. Thank you, Jenn! Yes, my non-belief in reincarnation is becoming an increasingly minority view. I attend a Unity Church where I am possibly the only person who doesn’t belief in it. It doesn’t make much sense to me in theory: I have not even a glimmer of a suspicion that I ever lived before: most of the evidence brought forth in favor of it is laughable: and I’ve never seen anything in the relatively good evidence that couldn’t be explained just as adequately by spirit overshadowing, or by an out of body experience, as by an actual past life.

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  6. When I taught preschool, I received some wisdom from a psychologist who said that children need to be given some structure and certainly some language around aspects of spirituality.

    How were YOU taught to speak of, think of, converse about All Things Unseen? In a Jewish framework? A Catholic system? On a foundation of Islamic principles? Under the Bahai faith? Via the power of nature?

    This is why the foundations offered by systems of religion are useful–to give grounding, comparison, and as one of my relatives said, “Something to reject when it’s time for them to think their own thoughts.” (My cousin said something that still makes me laugh: “When I found out there was no Santa, Jesus had an even higher hill to climb!”) Religion as System offers comfort, language and…if it chooses to align with what seem to be the universal principles of spirituality–which I see as: 1. God is not human-like, but a bit of God-Energy from the Big Organism Of GodEnergy forms the essence of the soul of a human being (and the soul is the core thing that is uncorruptable yet allows layers of personality-energy to surround it). 2. Earth is more of a laboratory than a “school” where humans perform experiments, gather data, learn things, play with free will (experiments either reveal new information and thus ‘succeed;’ they ‘fail’ and thus give confirmation and support for the hypothesis; or, they go completely off the plans and make new maps that we learn to navigate by the trust, faith and seats of our pants. 3. Karma is some kind of advanced level of the concept of “trade.” If I am mean to you and you feel bad, it won’t be long before someone is mean to me and I feel bad–and also understand how I made you to feel, so I get a chance to tap into my honesty and take a chance to correct and clear.

    I’m all for the idea of “Christmas” for teaching kids how to celebrate the entrance of a teacher who brings truth and good and beauty, but I’m also for “Buddhamas” and “Krishnamas” and “Gandhimas” and “Martin Luther Kingmas” and “Mother Teresamas” and … well, the list goes on and dilutes, but a child further understands his or her own birthday when great/good leaders’ birthdays are also celebrated in a culture.

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    1. mlhe, such great points you have made. First, I am in total agreement with the notion that kids need a linguistic and conceptual framework of spirituality and religion in order to allow them to reflect on their true beliefs as they get older. I am grateful that my mother introduced me to church at a young age. Even though I no longer follow that particular religion, I was at least taught to look at my world as filled with meaning and developed ideas and thoughts around the concept of life after death. Raising children without any observances at all will make it far harder, in my opinion, for them to develop spirituality as an adult. My mother always encouraged me also to experiment. I went to Catholic churches, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal; I went to a Jehovah Witness meeting house a few times with a friend, I celebrated with Jewish people, I went to a Baha’i fireside, met a few Wiccans, etc. It was incredibly valuable to me to understand how different people celebrated their spirituality, and it gave me the courage to strike out on my own to develop my own.
      You also make an interesting point that earth is more like a laboratory than a school.. I guess I would agree with that as well. We aren’t really being taught anything, we are experimenting and creating and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I have never felt that there was some master teacher grading us on our performance.
      Jenn

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  7. Thank you so much, Suzanne, for your support and gracious compliments. It sounds like we share a similar experience with finding Seth. Although my religious upbringing wasn’t fundamentalist, I too found Seth after leaving my childhood religion. At the time, I really thought that it was religion or atheism. Seth opened a world of new, interesting and diverse spiritual ideas and it seems it did for you. Thank goodness for Seth and for the many other teachers who have touched our lives. I feel sorry for religious people who feel there is such a prohibition on channeled works, mediumship and other spiritual literature for there is so much richness and inspiration to be had. Thanks for your work promoting spirituality with iDigitalMedium, it is a such a worthy endeavor and wish all of you nothing but the best!
    Jenn

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  8. We at IDigitalMedium are with you, Jenn. Never hesitate to ask for our support. We are now focusing heavily on preservation of Afterlife artifacts supporting survival (photos, audio & video tapes, transcripts, apportis, websites, etc.) that might otherwise be lost to the public. If any of your readers need assistance, we are here to help. Suzanne, Editor, IDigitalMedium.

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  9. I appreciate your engaging this complex and important subject especially where you took it to at the end.
    Now i question Z reporting as to the nature of the astral plane. from my readings many if not a large majority, especially pre 1979 or so (publication of Life after Life) ND experiencers had no significant spiritual belief. With plenty of acknowledged atheist and agnostics. Yet most if not almost all have a spiritual experience. You mentioned two of the more notable ones. This is a bit of a disconnect for me. And i’ll note that the teenage boys of your last blog would be corroborative examples of Z’s testimony. But their stories are channeled. Seems NDE’s events and channeled information don’t agree for me. And Natalie Sudman has gone to the Monroe institute to engage in ‘lost soul…furthering’s’.
    And these apparent contractions do not necessarily invalidate your conclusion and suggestions.
    Recently carrying around Life after Life, 2 people commented on it to me. This will now be a way for me to find those who have some interest in this subject. A happy accident for me as almost none of my friends whom i’ve tried to engage with NDE information have had any interest in or willing to explore it, notwithstanding that they are all involved in spiritual pursuits.
    Also i seem to remember reading that a majority of americans have some sort of belief in a supreme being and or afterlife. Look at the people and topics that Opera has had on her show, and books she’s recommended. And perhaps a number of these citizens belong to fundamentalist churches or are of the diluted spirituality of the New Age, much of this is a spiritual legitimizing of ‘Me deserves what i want’ that is popularized by such as Abraham Hicks. I’v not encountered ND events for the latter. Of the former there are many whom you can listen to on youtube.
    Or the hatha yoga popularity, which has actually introduced many people to Hindu thought.
    Maybe it’s always been ‘the best of times and the worst of times’.
    This is a complex subject and i appreciate your opening opening these dialogues.

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    1. You are very observant, silrakk. Yes, there are inconsistencies and I have myself wondered how to connect NDE testimonies, LBL reports, and the “OBE Reports” books written by Ziewe and Bulhman, which seem to correlate within themselves, and, of course all of the channeled descriptions of the afterlife. In the nine-part series that I posted of different death experiences, not one of the them went through a tunnel. Galen questions this, and is told by his guides that the tunnel imagery is an implanted memory in order for the NDEr who is returning to a human body to help make sense of their experience. Now, I do believe that some NDE imagery is the product of both expectation and provided for the benefit of the experiencer, and not meant for a literal translation of the afterlife. This is why, I believe, some people see Christian iconography, Indians go through a ritual of sorts where there is a ‘mix-up’ in the afterlife and they are sent back. Some people have very complex abstract experiences with God, and some people describe their NDE as very physical and earth-like. It seems to depend on what the experiencer will most benefit from and what will most resonate with them when they get back to earth. LBLs, I believe are even more constructed. After reading all four Newton books again, including the one that he aims toward other therapists, I realized that after the past life is reviewed, the client more or less goes into ‘now-time’. Their ascent into the afterlife after the previous life is not a recreation of what they experienced before, it is a new experience that is crafted for them by guides at the time of the regression session. That is why so many people can ask their council questions about their current life and they may even meet up with people who are currently incarnated. Newton also devotes a chapter or two on the difficulties of working with client’s guides, as they will only show the client what they feel is beneficial for them to see. In fact, Newton states that he won’t usually take any client younger than 30 because their guides block so much of the LBL experience. That says to me that LBL is highly crafted, highly monitored and thus not the best way to determine the full landscape of the afterlife. That’s not to say that there isn’t a ton of useful information that is allowed through about the afterlife, but that what is shown is highly selective. The reason? Our guides care less about our curiosity and more about what is good for us for our current lifetime. So here’s the bottom line: I believe that not all experiences are the same in terms of intellectual freedom. NDEs and LBL sessions, in my opinion, are highly selective and closely guided. They make the most sense in terms of the needs of the experiencer. I believe OBEs are guided, but less so as a person becomes more adept and mature. Ziewe and Buhlman have been honing their OBE craft for decades, and that’s why I believe they are allowed to explore more and report their experiences. Same thing with spirits who reach back to contact earth. Not all of them are permitted to work with mediums; it depends on what they, the medium and ultimately we, who read these reports, will get out of it. A spirit must be in a pretty good place psychologically to get the support needed to work with mediums/channelers otherwise I believe they won’t be allowed through. In a way, the reports we get from the afterlife are those that some higher up has judged to be appropriate and in the best interest of people who want to learn more about our true reality, but not exploitative to spirits who aren’t in the right place to communicate yet. Ultimately, I feel like trying to make complete sense of the afterlife using NDEs, LBLs, OBE reports, channeling and mediumship is like tuning into a set of radio stations from another country and only hearing a few selected reports that are controlled for content. I don’t feel like the spirit world is trying to deceive us, but I think we must consider that our experience on earth – our amnesia – has a purpose, and what we can know is limited. There is still much that is offered, and much to know for the truth-seekers among us. Honestly, if we weren’t meant to know anything, there would no NDEs, LBL or the like. It simply wouldn’t happen. They do happen, and these experiences are meant to be shared in order to give us a new type of spirituality and faith and prevent us from falling completely into atheism. As I said in my post, with the decline of religion, I believe the veil was purposely thinned just slightly enough to give us a tantalizing alternative.
      These are, of course, my opinions. By I thank you for bringing up the subject, Silrakk, because it has definitely been on my mind too for the last few months.
      Jenn

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  10. I want to comment on mlhe’s post. First of all a yes to providing a language for pointing at the Mystery. A quote from Rilke says it best.
    Here is the problem.
    That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter. That mankind has in this sense been cowardly has done life endless harm; the experiences that are called “visions,” the whole so-called “spirit-world,” death, all those things that are so closely akin to us, have by daily parrying been so crowded out of life that the senses with which we could have grasped them are atrophied.
    This is a really important idea for me, and you, and Jenn.
    Next. The first of the 3 points you mentioned could have more briefly left with just the first 2 words, God is. Unless want to say it as God has, I Am.
    The second point about the earth being either a school or laboratory. It doesn’t need to be either/or it can be both/and. We are conditioned to either/or thinking as part of our survival. The Mystery, our Higher Power, (don’t think it cares what we call it, that’s our trip) etc. is not daunted by paradox’s. Bring them on. It allows my mind to stretch into synthesis and reconciling insights.
    Number 3. Karma, well, I’ve found it more complex than my ‘eye for an eye’ conditioning gave me. I couldn’t really understand Seth’s clarification nor a Tibetan Buddhist explanation. Seems to have something to do with non-attachment to our thoughts or actions. Non-attachment is one of the 3 important things I can work on here. I can’t remember the other 2 now. I remember some revived dead doctor saying that a light being answered her request for what to do here with: Paraphrased – Gratitude, constant prayer, and be joyful always. That’s a tall order, especially the second 2. I’m glad I didn’t meet that ‘angel’.
    I’m grateful for Jenn and others who are providing a venue for keeping these kind of conversations alive. And you and I for our comments.

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  11. Yes I completely agree with your hypothesis as they are basically the same as mine though you have extrpolated them further. I liked the radio station metaphor. And ‘expectations’, ‘constructed’ and ‘crafted’ were keywords for me. Yes you really contextualized it well.
    Regards the tunnel perception, which PMH Atwater said was a smallish minority of the testimonies she heard and became more frequent for experiencers familiar with Moody’s books.

    Here’s my 2 cents that I started writing before I read your response.
    Besides that I believe that all of what NDE, LBL and OBE travelers, and every kind of tourist experiences is subjective, it can’t be otherwise, and so I speculate that all of them are “set pieces” staged by their higher self or a light being. And if so has many or complex aims; with larger, or as large a possibility as is potential for that individual to make use of and also for a broader audience. (Maybe something like ‘interesting stories happen to the people who will tell (write) them.’) And these sort of educational-events potential is tailored to the ‘audience’ that audience being bigger than just the experiencer. People with a loved one are looking for proof of continuation; and the larger society needs cautionary tales about the consequences of selfish choices, and so on.
    There may not be much crossover of audiences. Like prefer and trust NDE’s and so research much less in LBL’s especially.

    Even though I basically completely agree with your framework I can’t quite rest with it. And so it continues.

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