Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.John 3:6-8
This is the tragedy of the human condition. Like the wind, we don’t know where we came from, and don’t know where we are going. Did we exist in some form before birth? Will we continue after death? If the answer to both questions is yes, then we must ask why our spiritual memory has been obscured from us, seemingly by design. What is the purpose of veiling of our consciousness? More importantly, what steps can we take to reconnect with the wisdom beyond the veil?
The concept of the veil is as ancient as the concept of the soul itself. In spiritual traditions that embrace reincarnation, the censure of the soul’s memory of prior existences is a crucial step before rebirth. The most well-known description of the process is from ancient Greece, where the soul is made to drink from the river Lethe, the river of forgetfulness. The soul falls asleep and awakens in a new body with no memory of its previous lives. In Chinese mythology, Meng Po, the goddess of forgetfulness, performs this duty. She stands at the Naihe Bridge, which connects to the only path in and out of the underworld. For spirits wishing to cross the bridge and incarnate into a new life, Meng Po serves them a soup (or tea) that will erase the memory of their previous lives and karmic debts. In some versions of the myth, Meng Po is herself unable to reincarnate due to her grief over losing her husband. In a compassionate gesture, she serves the soup to other souls to relieve them of their guilt and grief before embarking on a new life. It is said of children who remember past lives that they did not drink ‘the five-flavored tea’ before rebirth.
The compassionate gesture of Meng Po frames the soul veiling process as beneficial. The emotional attachments, guilt, fears and trauma of past lives may be too burdensome for a soul to make the most of a new life. In fact, there is some evidence to support this idea in the phenomena of children who are born with anamnesis, a Greek term for the memory of previous existences. According to research done by Dr. Jim Tucker, author of Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children who Remember Past Lives, children who remember past lives may recall a traumatic death, feelings of guilt or remorse over spouses and children left behind, and have difficulty adjusting to their current life. Often these children are plagued with nightmares, or yearn for their ‘real parents’. The psychological trauma of past-life memories in children can be intense and quite severe. Mercifully, the memories tend to fade by the time the ‘age of reason’ sets in, around seven years old.
As traumatic as spontaneous past-life recall can sometimes be in children, it can be therapeutic for some adults to explore past life memories. In Life Between Life regression hypnotherapy pioneered by Dr. Michael Newton, clients can access both past lives and the time in between lives. However, interestingly enough, there does seem to be an imposed limit on the information that a person is able to access; an extension of the pre-birth veil, even when a person seeks this information deliberately. In Dr. Newton’s book Life Between Lives: Hypnotherapy for Spiritual Regression, written as a guide for therapists, there is an entire chapter devoted to “Blocking by the Client’s Guide”. Dr. Newton provides this advice:
When a client forcefully states, “I am being blocked from going further,” I suspect a guide is at work. If you believe information is being blocked in some way by a spirit guide, it generally means this person has not progressed to the stage in life where they are supposed to have certain information. This individual’s guide may not want to preempt self-discovery. Perhaps a major fork in life has not yet been reached and a guide feels choices need to be made without advance coaching. This is one reason why I eventually stopped seeing most clients under age thirty. Moreover, there are personal guides who want the amnesiac block we are given at birth regarding who we really are, and our purpose, to remain in place for a lifetime because it serves our best interests.Newton, Michael. Life Between Lives: Hypnotherapy for Spiritual Regression (p. 85). Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.. Kindle Edition.
Those of us on a spiritual journey of self-discovery can look upon these blocks as frustrating. The veil not only blocks our past life experiences, but obscures our spiritual agreements and the major aspects of our life’s plan. Some near-death experiencers have experienced the blocking effects of the veil first-hand. While in the out-of-body state, some NDErs have described learning the details of their soul’s mission and purpose in this lifetime only to lose the memory again once they return to their body. In other cases, near-death experiencers are simply denied the information outright. An NDE submitted to the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation on NDERF.org by Wendy on February 24, 2021 describes this conversation with an angel:
I asked the Angel what my life purpose was meant to be and said that I so wanted to fulfill my purpose, but he just shook his head gently and wouldn’t answer my question. I looked around at the others and they pantomimed various versions of zipping their lips and throwing away the key, which struck me as so funny! One put duct tape over his mouth – several just shook their heads no, they could not tell me.”http://www.nderf.org: Wendy NDE, 2-24-2021
There are some rare instances when a person is allowed to retain some memory of their existence prior to life. Christian Sundberg, author of A Walk in the Physical, regained his pre-birth memories in adulthood, which was a condition of his agreement to incarnate at all. Incredibly, Sundberg describes in detail the excruciating process of having the veil applied to his consciousness before his rebirth. I highly recommend his book for Sundberg’s spiritual philosophy, but you can listen to his pre-birth story in his interview with host Luisa on the YouTube channel Passion Harvest.
Christian’s experience with the veiling process was difficult. He failed the first time around, and sadly it cost the life he was supposed to inhabit. Christian’s experience highlights the contrast between the security and joy we naturally feel as spirits to the painful loneliness and separation we undergo during the rebirth process. More than once I have heard Earth referred to as one of the most difficult experiences a soul can have specifically because the veiling process is so absolute. Here is how Christian explains the purpose of the veil in A Walk in the Physical:
When we come to have a physical lifetime, we have to accept a set of consciousness constraints that we as humans call simply “the veil.” The veil is an important and necessary part of the incarnation process. In order to actually be human and to have the full physical experience, we need to forget all of everything else that we are. The veil is the “spiritual mechanism,” or perhaps even “consciousness technology,” by which this is accomplished. It is like a great cloak the passes over your being, cutting you off experientially from your connection to all knowledge, and veiling the conscious awareness of your living connection with all things. From a state of both simultaneous individuality and blissful Oneness, you collapse into individuality only. You plummet from an extremely high vibration to an extremely low vibration as you interface into the physical reality system. After I accepted the veil, I experienced my “knowing” be cut off, and I suddenly felt separate, dark, and alone. Metaphorically, for me it was like going from rich, vibrant connectedness, straight into the airless, cold, and desolate vacuum of space!Sundberg, Christian; Sundberg, Christian. A Walk in the Physical: Understanding the Human Experience Within the Larger Spiritual Context (pp. 4-5). Kindle Edition.
In the context of reincarnation, the veil makes sense. It would be difficult to live an authentic human life if we retained memories of past lives. However, that is not the veil’s only purpose. The veil preserves our free will to choose our life’s direction, develop deep and meaningful relationships, and live fully in the present. The veil also encourages us to explore our connection to source through our separation, something that cannot be done in the same way when we are in the spirit world. To observe a thing clearly, one must separate from the object one is observing and gain a new vantage point. Separation puts our spiritual identity into sharp contrast so that it can be better examined and defined.
This secondary purpose for the veil survives in the Jewish tradition through the story of Lailah, goddess of conception and teacher of souls. While a soul remains with God, Lailah teaches the soul the secrets of the universe and the laws of God. When a soul is ready to be born into the world, Lailah visits the baby in utero and presses her finger against the infant’s lips in a gesture of silence. The baby is born with no memory of their divine nature, but retains the philtrum (the groove above your lip) as a reminder of this lost knowledge. The purpose of Lailah’s act is to encourage each person to freely explore their connection with God through study and dedicated spiritual practice.
There is a lot of wisdom in the Jewish emphasis on ritual and devotion. Spiritual and religious practice are an integral part of our human experience. I believe spiritually-transformative experiences, divine revelation and religious inspiration are purpose-built into our human experience precisely to encourage our spiritual progress. Should we become so materialistic that we stop believing that life has extrinsic purpose, our experiment on earth will have failed.
So what can we do to thin the veil and gain knowledge that will enhance our spiritual and human experience? Well, it helps to remember that it’s a veil and not a wall: ordinary people reach across the veil everyday. Guides will always be present to ensure that you aren’t given access to information that will harm your life’s plan, but that doesn’t mean that all information and experience is off-limits. Near-death experiencers and out-of-body experiencers believe themselves to have literally traveled through the veil and they return utterly transformed. For the rest of us, the process of thinning the veil need not be so dramatic. We may wish to increase our intuition, learn how to connect with guides or loved ones in the spirit world, get creative or scientific inspiration (the ‘eureka moment’ felt by great innovators is said to originate from the superconscious) or simply get clues to our life’s purpose. Since I’m not an expert (unfortunately, I’m about as psychic as a rock), I’ve been studying the advice of mediums and intuitives who have successfully developed an ability to connect beyond the veil.
Their advice nearly universally begins with meditation. And before your roll your eyes at this earth-shatteringly obvious suggestion, let me explain a few things that helped me understand why meditation is so crucial. To begin with, it helps to understand how philosophical dualists and idealists understand the relationship between the brain and the mind, or consciousness. The prevailing view of non-materialist scientists and philosophers such as Dr. Donald Hoffman, Dr. Eben Alexander, Dr. Bernardo Kastrup and others, is that the brain acts as both a transmitter of consciousness and a reducing filter. The reduction of stimuli is important to our physical survival. It keep our focus sharply on our physical experience and enhances our awareness of threats – useful for avoiding lions, speeding cars and ax murderers. Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon well-known for his near-death experience, explains the concept in his book “Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Heart of Consciousness”.
“Some of the more modern scientific thinking now sweeping the field of consciousness studies concerns a wholly different concept of the mind-brain relationship: that the brain is a reducing valve, or filter, that reduces primordial consciousness down to a trickle—our very limited human awareness of the apparent “here and now.” The physical brain only permits certain patterns of awareness to emerge from a broad group of possible mental states.”Eben Alexander; Karen Newell. Living in a Mindful Universe: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Heart of Consciousness (pp. 22-23). Rodale. Kindle Edition.
Evidence of the filter hypothesis is best seen in cases where the filtering effect becomes less pronounced or eliminated, such as in cases of terminal lucidity, the expanded awareness of NDE and OBEs, in nearing death awareness (ELDVs) and in cases of demonstrated ESP. In addition, there has been an interesting study on the effects of psychedelics on the brain showing that a greater intensity of experience is correlated with less brain activity. In other words, inhibiting the filtering effect of the brain resulted in a more intense hallucinatory experience. This runs counter to what materialists would expect if consciousness is produced by the brain, but not if the brain’s role in consciousness is somewhat inhibitory. Another study done in Brazil looked at the state of the brain during psychographic mediumship (automatic writing). Ten experienced mediums participated in the study alongside ‘control’ participants with no experience with psychography. The mediums produced far more detailed, extensive and sophisticated writing, but their brain scans showed a reduced level of activity than the control group.
“Intriguingly, experienced psychographers showed lower levels of activity in the brain’s frontal lobe regions of the left anterior cingulate and right precentral gyrus during psychography. These areas are linked with reasoning, planning, generating language, movement and problem solving, perhaps reflecting an absence of focus, self-awareness and consciousness during psychography. These psychographers also experienced less activity in the left hippocampus, which is linked with emotion, and the right superior temporal gyrus, which is linked with hearing. “It’s very interesting — we typically think of the brain being very active when a person is doing a particular task, but here we find the opposite,” Newberg told LiveScience. Less expert psychographers showed just the opposite brain behaviors, such as significantly increased levels of blood flow in the same areas during psychography. This increased activity may be related to how they apparently had to “work harder” during psychography, researchers said.”https://www.livescience.com/25055-medium-brain-trance-writing.html
Today, our brains are bombarded with more stimuli than ever before. We barely spend any time away from our phones, our screens, and social media. We need to turn down the volume in our brains and learn to enter more relaxed states where brain activity decreases. Theoretically this should allow us to more easily pick up on the subtle energy of the superconscious state. Meditation quiets the mind so that those signals can be perceived.
Meditation also reestablishes our connection with the now; which is the only state by which you can receive information from across the veil. If you get stuck in your own emotional renderings of the past or the future, you’ve left the receptive state completely. Learning how to quiet the mind during meditation can help you maintain mindfulness during the rest of your day. Guides can communicate important information to you during this state of quiet awareness. This is also the state of passive receptivity that mediums claim to use to connect to the subtle vibrations of the spirit. Once you become attuned to that energy, your intuitive senses will increase. Over time, you will be able to achieve this state even during normal waking awareness.
There are many techniques available that can help you get started with calming your mind and achieving the state of expanded awareness. Some people enjoy regular forms of transcendental or mindfulness meditation. Others do well with guided meditations. You may experiment with auditory brainwave syncing, such as the Monroe Institute’s Hemisync technology. If you would like to try something a little more interactive, you might consider the AWE technique, created by Michael Sandler. You may be familiar with his YouTube channel and podcast Inspire Nation, and his catchphrase, ‘Are you ready to shine?’. His book, AWE: The Automatic Writing Experience, published in 2021 presents a technique for gaining access to inner wisdom through automatic writing. Now, the practice of automatic writing is certainly not new; it was popularized during the golden age of Spiritualism as a form of mediumship. AWE is different. There is no deliberate spirit contact involved; your consciousness is not surrendered to the will of another that writes through your hand. You are very deliberately writing from your own stream of consciousness. However, as Sandler says, as you write, deeper wisdom and information will start to come through.
I was skeptical. This morning, I tried the AWE technique for the first time to see if it would be worth recommending for this very post. I wrote a lot of nonsense like “what am I writing? I don’t know what I’m writing. Is this even going to work?” And then, as I continued to write mindlessly, a few things appeared in the midst of these nonsense sentences that felt.. well, different.
Two things in particular stuck out:
“Do you feel the security within your own mind? Do you feel the sanctuary in your heart? This is the place of wisdom and grace. This is the place of soothing source.”
And, in reference to the Lailah myth, which was the original opening paragraph for this post, this quip:
“Forget Lailah and just remember your divinity. It’s there waiting for you.”
Did this come from my brain or did I actually connect with something more profound? I’m not sure. Sandler says that it will take a few weeks of daily practice before you really get into the flow, but so far the AWE technique seems promising. It certainly feels more engaging than the usual meditation and for a practical, results-driven person like me, it provides some interesting feedback. Over time, the AWE technique can be used for more practical and specific guidance of your life’s challenges, and perhaps even lead to channeling or developing other psychic and mediumship skills. At the very least, taking the time slow down is beneficial regardless, especially now while we are dealing with a world in crisis.
The veil is not often discussed in spiritual literature, but its presence defines our physical human experience. The veil, in concert with the brain, provides us with a narrow and intense focus, blotting out the larger reality of which we remain part. Seth, as channeled by Jane Roberts, has compared our lives to actors in play who are unaware that they are fulfilling a temporary role in a highly specific set of circumstances. From time to time, even the best actors can benefit from stage direction. I hope that this discussion of the veil will encourage you to explore its boundaries and go beyond them. The wisdom of the universe gathers at the edge of our awareness, ready to spill into our perception if we only turn and glance in that direction. Perhaps there we may find the spirits of loved ones who have been patiently waiting to get our attention. Perhaps the muse of your creative passions will be unleashed. Or maybe you’ll get that little nudge you’ve needed to make the right changes in your life. I don’t know. I write as a fellow student, not as a teacher. But I’m going to give it try, and I do hope you’ll join me.