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An Easter Message: Embrace the Discomfort

Posted on 29 March 2021, 9:54

jesus

I had a “foolish” dream the other night.  I dreamt it was April Fool’s Day and I was pretending to be a priest or minister of some kind while giving a sermon for this coming Sunday, Easter Sunday. I remember thinking that the church hierarchy would not approve of one of those I was quoting, but I went ahead with it.  As near as I can remember, the sermon went something like this: 

I see a few young faces among those in attendance today but not nearly as many as I would like to see.  Nevertheless, my sermon today is primarily for you, the younger generation. At the same time, I hope the older folks will stay awake and ponder on what I am saying, keeping it in mind when attempting to offer guidance to their children, grandchildren, or other young people lacking experience in worldly ways. They seem to be more idealistic than earlier generations but not nearly as pragmatic.  But, of course, I’m being “old-fashioned.”

I don’t know how many times within the last year or two I’ve heard some young person say, “That makes me feel uncomfortable,” or “I’m not comfortable with that,” or some other declaration of discomfort, one that seems more feigned than real.  My response to all that is, “Get over it! Discomfort is a part of life’s learning experience. It’s good for you. May you be fortunate enough to feel more discomfort.”

Let me explain my response by suggesting to you that genuine discomfort is most often associated with adversity of some kind.  Call it hardship, difficulty, misfortune, grief, pain, whatever works for you.  If it’s pain, then it is only a very mild or moderate pain. The kind of discomfort suggested here falls well below the real pain threshold and might not even register on a zero to 10 gauge. It usually has to do with a disagreement. Let’s assume, however, that it’s real discomfort, not the feigned discomfort of some self-centered, know-it-all person, and that it does register on the pain scale. Call it an “affliction.” Here’s what the high spirit known as Imperator had to say about it: 


“It is necessary that afflictions come.  Jesus knew and taught that. It is necessary for the training of the soul.  It is as necessary as physical discipline for the body.  No deep knowledge is to be had without it.  None is permitted to scale the glorious heights but after discipline of sorrow.  The key of knowledge is in spirit hands, and none may wrest it to himself but the earnest soul which is disciplined by trial.  Bear that in mind.”

More recently, the late Dr. Elisabeth Kűbler-Ross wrote: 


“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”


And this, from one of our former presidents, Theodore Roosevelt:


“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.  I have envied a great many people who had difficult lives and led them well.”

The bottom line here, as I see it, is that you should embrace that discomfort, not complain about it. Don’t wimp out. Don’t be a cream puff. You should dissect the discomfort and fully examine it, then figure out how it can help you grow spiritually.

Why is it that being “uncomfortable” is now such a common lament? I think I know.  It is because so many young people have been seduced by the entertainment and advertising industries, by Hollywood and Madison Ave. They have been led to believe that life is all about having fun.  Eat, drink, and be merry, and do it with many different partners. It’s about being self-absorbed in the pursuit of fun – not the pursuit of happiness.  Such a lifestyle lacks in commitment, morality, work ethic, and spirituality.  It results in people being less rugged than they were in the past, and so the discomfort threshold is significantly lower than it once was. A two-hour power outage is now a great discomfort to many – no phones, no computers, no television – whereas people once survived with no power at all.

In earlier years, the mass media was less hedonistic. Only in recent decades has it focused on having fun. I recall, not long ago, a dying man was interviewed on a popular television program.  He was asked what he would tell others battling terminal conditions.  “Live life to the fullest,” was his animated reply.  “Have Fun!!!”  He went on to describe the seemingly shallow and superficial ways he was having fun.  The program host and the audience all applauded and reacted as if the man had given sage advice.  I wanted to vomit.

Having fun when you know you are dying is not always as easy as some make it out to be.  In his 2016 New York Times best seller, When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi, a California neurosurgeon diagnosed with terminal lung cancer at age 36, addressed the “one day at a time” philosophy of the nihilistic humanist by saying that such an approach didn’t help him. “What was I supposed to do with that day?” he asked, pointing out that time had become static for him as he approached the end.  He considered more traveling, dining, and achieving a host of neglected ambitions, but he simply didn’t have the energy.  “It is a tired hare who now races,” he explained.  “And even if I had the energy, I prefer a more tortoise-like approach.  I plod, I ponder.  Some days, I simply persist.”

If we can’t deal with discomfort and the suffering it brings in our prime years, how can we possibly deal with it in our dying years?  Many people turn to drugs and alcohol because they didn’t learn how to deal with discomfort when they were younger. They were offended by being around someone who thought differently than they did, and, oh my gosh, it made them feel “terribly uncomfortable.” 

We’ve recently heard members of royalty complain about the difficulties of privilege.  It’s so tough and uncomfortable dealing with all that pomp, grandeur and luxury.  It sounds like it is even tougher than being homeless.  There appears to be a paradox there: the greater the privilege, the greater the hardships and discomforts.

Another lamentation I often hear these days is, “I deserve it.” However, I rarely, if ever, hear the person explain why he or she deserves it.  In most cases, the person seems to think it is deserved as some kind of birthright . I think they’ve been watching too many commercials.

According to child psychologist Dan Kindlon, as set forth in his book, Too Much of a Good Thing, modern parents are too indulgent with their children.  He says they give the kids too much and demand too little from them. When they are overindulged, Kindlon claims, the result is what amounts to the Seven Deadly Sins of religion: pride, wrath, envy, sloth, gluttony, lust, and greed, all of which are symptoms of narcissism.
 
A fairly recent book titled The Narcissism Epidemic, by Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D., offers some interesting discussion on the narcissistic mindset. The two authors begin by stating that Americans are being persuaded that becoming more vain, materialistic, and self-centered is actually a good thing. “The narcissism epidemic has already had serious consequences,” they write. “First there has been a giant transfer of time, attention, and resources from reality to fantasy. Rather than pursuing the American dream, people are simply dreaming. Our wealth is phony, driven by credit and loose lending; this part of the narcissistic dream has already been dashed. Second, narcissism has corroded interpersonal relationships. There has been a switch from deep to shallow relationships, a destruction of social trust, and an increase in entitlement and selfishness.”

As Twenge and Campbell see it, religion has long been a deterrent to materialism and narcissistic behavior, but it has in some ways recently contributed to the narcissism problem. They point out that religions and volunteer organizations that aligned themselves with individualistic values have thrived, while those that have not have often withered. They note that some megachurch pastors, mentioning specifically Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest megachurch in the United States, stress self-love as a requirement to loving others, but they state that there is little evidence to support this idea and conclude that “loving yourself isn’t all that important for loving others.” 

Imagine, if you can, a world without discomfort, without pain, without suffering.  Might it not resemble the picture we have of Nero fiddling as Rome burned?  Is that our goal?  Don’t these superficial and frivolous “discomforts” we hear complained of so much these days suggest that we are approaching such a condition?

If it is genuine discomfort, then let’s grin and bear it, or, as suggested earlier, embrace it and learn from it. If it is fake discomfort, then wake up and face reality. Become more pragmatic. Let me end by again quoting Imperator:

“This is our Easter message to you.  Awake and arise from the dead.  Cast aside the gross cares of your lower world. Throw off the material bonds that bind and clog your spirit.  Rise from dead matter to living spirit; from earthly care to spiritual love; from earth to heaven.  Emancipate your spirit from earthly cares which are earth-born and unspiritual.  Cast aside the material and the physical which have been the necessary aids to your progress, and rise from engrossing interest in the worldly to a due appreciation of Spiritual Truth.  As the Master said to His friends, ‘Be in the world, but not of the world.’”

Next blog post: April 12

Michael Tymn is the author of The Afterlife Revealed: What Happens After We Die, Resurrecting Leonora Piper: How Science Discovered the Afterlife, and Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I.
His latest book, No One Really Dies: 25 Reasons to Believe in an Afterlife is published by White Crow Books.


Comments

Thanks for the book recommendation, Newton. I am not familiar with the book.  I don’t think I would have made a good Spiritualist back in the day as some of their objectives don’t appeal to me now. Perhaps they would have then. I consider myself a “spiritualist” (with a small “s”), not a Spiritualist (with a capital “S” now. I have contributed a dozen or so articles to their magazine, but have never been a member. We don’t have a Spiritualist church where I live. I have attended a few Spiritualist services in other states and countries and they did not particularly appeal to me. I have never encountered an Andrew Jackson Davis or Cora Scott type.  I came upon only one reasonably good clairvoyant medium, she being the subject of Chapter One of my latest book, but she was not a trance medium providing “teachings.”  I think the spirit world gave what it could of that type and then pulled them back. There was only so much they could give.  They gave it, and it was for the most part rejected, so there was no point in continuing/

Michael Tymn, Mon 12 Apr, 19:35

Thanks, Michael, for pointing me toward your blog archives. The wealth of material to be found there, worthy of exploration and contemplation, is to me one of these “boggle phenomena” many of us “afterlifers” are fond of talking about. Are you and your readers familiar with a book called “Radical Spirits” by historian Anne Braude? I ask because a quick archive search did not turn up anything on it. After stumbling upon this unusual work, published in 1989 and republished in 2001, I’ve been eagerly reading about the sociopolitical impacts of spiritualism as outlined in the following quote from the introduction: “While most religious groups viewed the existing order of gender, race, and class relations as ordained by God, ardent Spiritualists appeared not only in the woman’s rights movement but throughout the most radical reform movements of the nineteenth century. They led so-called ultraist wings of the movements for the abolition of slavery, for the reform of marriage, for children’s rights, and for religious freedom, and they actively supported socialism, labor reform, vegetarianism, dress reform, health reform, temperance, and antisabbatarianism, to name a few of their favorite causes.” Although spiritualism is no longer what it was, I can’t help but wonder whether messages from the other side might yet find ways to reach us in our Second Gilded Age, might again guide and infuse with spiritual power our own flailing efforts, often savagely secular to their detriment, to move toward a better, more beautiful world here on this earth.

Newton E. Finn, Sun 11 Apr, 17:20

Newton,

Yes, Cora Scott, aka Cora Richmond, was quite a phenomenon.  See my blogs of November 18, 2013, December 2, 2013 and December 16, 2013 for more about her.  The blogs are in the archives at left.
Thanks for resurrecting that quote.

Michael Tymn, Sat 10 Apr, 20:29

For those interested, I found a website devoted to Cora Scott’s work. Fascinating stuff here. Again, note the sociopolitical impact of spiritualism, from Lincoln on down.

https://interfarfacing.com/

Newton E. Finn, Sat 10 Apr, 16:48

Thanks to the chapter in Michael’s latest book (“No One Really Dies”) concerning Cora Scott, of whom I had never heard (as Michael said would be the case), I was prompted to find a short collection of her lectures on the Kindle, a collection entitled “The Nature of Spiritual Existence.” Therein, I came across the following quote, which further shows how wrong I was when I said that spiritualism lacked liberal Christianity’s prophetic voice for social justice: “And what is the charity, so exalted and so upheld as the chiefest of the Christian graces…? Is the endowment of alms to the poor? Is it the feeding and clothing of the hungry and naked? Is it the visiting of the widow and fatherless alone? It is these, but it is much more…. (I)t means that you shall see to it that there are no paupers in this Christian land; that there shall be no necessity for orphan asylums; that no child shall feel the need or want of a mother’s love…. In this Christian land, in this nation of civilized and enlightened minds there is room for display; room for banners and martial music…; but no room for the spirit of that Christ that would make it impossible for a poor man to starve to death in this city…. I see the visible form of that Christ before me now; not borne from His cross upon Calvary; not laid away in the sepulcher; not resurrected in bodily form again among the disciples, but the visible risen from in the little children that are around me in the streets, in the little countenances that you see day by day in the pain, the woe, and the misery that walks abroad in this land.”

Newton E. Finn, Sat 10 Apr, 03:05

Dear Amos & Eric,
Thank you for your kind words.
It sounds like the book you purchased was a public domain title that has been scanned and “made to fit” a uniformed print size. That technology has enabled millions of titles that were gathering dust in university libraries and only available to the few to be made available. They serve a purpose but are not always aesthetically pleasing.

If you are buying on a site such as Amazon you can usually tell because the meta data/description of the book will be generic, something along the lines of “This book is a pre 1923 historical artifact” and not a description of the book itself.

Jon, Tue 6 Apr, 13:44

Michael,
I returned the book to Amazon for a refund.  I have to agree that I would recommend “White Crow Books” as a publisher. I have ordered many books from them. And when the printer made a mistake in a recent order, Jon Beecher saw to it that I was sent another copy without the error.-Thanks Jon! - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 6 Apr, 12:49

Dear Amos,

Thank you for saving us some money.

We are well aware of the problems, and of the kinds of faults you have noted in the book. Today’s electronic methods, in the hands of those who do not understand how those methods actually function, produce all manner of faults in the finished book. Today is the era of ignorant and careless publishing. Dr Maureen Lockhart and I have between us decades of ACTUAL EXPERIENCE AND PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYMENT in printing, in reprographics, and in publishing itself, as well as two books of our own on the market.

Jon Beecher’s books are far better. A few typos corrected is all they need to present us with far better value than the book you describe. A pity we probably cannot obtain Geley’s work from another source.

Thank you again, Amos, for alerting us to the technical faults of the Andesite Press book.

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Tue 6 Apr, 09:57

Amos, sorry to hear about your book experience. I have a copy of one of the originals and there is no such problem with it.  Can’t you contact the republisher and get a replacement or your money back?

Michael Tymn, Tue 6 Apr, 09:56

Just a word to the wise.  I have just received a copy of Geley’s book “From the Unconscious to The Conscious” republished by Andesite Press and I have to warn everybody that the book is an absolute unredeemable rip-off.  The font size has got to be no more than 6 and every page, except the pages that are missing is printed covering only the top half of the page with the bottom of the page completely blank.  You can not connect what is written at the bottom of one page with what is printed at the top of the next page (if it exists).  It is as if they forgot to copy the top half of each page.  Thumbs down on this publisher.  Very sloppy work! - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 5 Apr, 18:07

Ian,
Your comment was very interesting and thought provoking.  I suppose I would have preferred a comment more relevant to the Easter celebration at hand but perhaps there is some relationship to the suffering of Jesus not only on the cross but arguably throughout his short life. Yours is a comment with deep personal emotion I think but it is not clear to me exactly whom you are talking about—-some false god and its minions—-who is promoting acceptance of suffering by sweetening the poison potion making it more palatable as ‘spiritual guidance’.


Of course it is true that life in the physical world can be painful and that suffering at the hands of cruel people is undeniable and deplorable.  Do I think that that suffering and pain are somehow justified?  Well ‘justified’ for what ends or purpose?  The fight between ‘good’ and evil’, as defined by each generation of people, seems to be part and parcel of life on earth causing much pain and suffering.  But a certain faction of people do “fight like hell” to eradicate that pain and suffering. I may be mistaken but perhaps that is what World War II was all about and similar fights occur every day in medicine and invention, such efforts as part of a struggle to eliminate pain and suffering.


To what extent do a ‘false god and its minions feed on human suffering and pain?  I don’t know!  If the thought is that there are demons preying on humans causing suffering, grief and pain, that they feed upon it and that they are the true rulers of the world, then I have to respond with an “I don’t know” but it does seem so at times.  On a personal level I sometimes think that such demons interfere in my life but that may be because I am unhappy with life’s outcomes for me; outcomes for which I was solely responsible by the choices I made.


I don’t know but sometimes the only way to endure in life is by acceptance.  What is one’s recourse if one does not accept the trials and tribulations that come along.  One can put up an individual fight against pain and suffering but sometimes that is not enough to eliminate it.  What is another recourse?  Taking one’s self out of life?  That is commonly done by some people to end their suffering and pain.  They are tired of fighting and take a bold step, a final step to eliminate their pain and suffering. But I believe that a loving, understanding God will—-with acceptance—-take them unto his bosom and say “Welcome home”. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sun 4 Apr, 16:58

Ian, I, too, feel your passion for social justice and the frustration, the anger, the despair due to its absence in so much of this world—the abundance and dominance, on the other hand, of utter senselessness and wanton greed, callousness, and cruelty. My favorite theologian these days, Albert Schweitzer, tackles this horror head on, and thus while affirming the elemental, universal value of reverence for life, also confesses that it is a lifelong struggle to keep hold of a faith in a loving God. I’ve come to see this struggle for such faith, and the unyielding strength and commitment it brings, as being more important now than ever, as we grapple with a world locked into plutocracy and imperialism, doing our often- ineffective best to oppose it, transform it, humanize it. So thank you, Ian, for your poignantly honest, penetrating comment. And thanks to all who responded to that little poem of Patience Worth. AOD’s poem about the Nazarene is a deep and beautiful thing and, as I see it, a part of what Ian is getting at. More and more as I explore spiritualism, I am less and less interested in the plethora of signs and wonders and am focusing instead on its core ethical teachings. Thus, for example, I was pleased but not surprised to learn that spiritualists were prominent in the historic social justice movements to abolish slavery and promote the rights of women. Will spiritualists step forward once again in the vital social justice battles of our time? We can use all the spiritual help we can get, as Eric indicates, all the assistance the discarnate can provide the incarnate. In closing, I wish Michael and all his readers a blessed Easter. There’s certainly much to ponder about what’s been said, so imperfectly according to Imperator & Co., about what happened two thousand years ago, what Schweitzer calls the spiritual truth and power which continues to flow from a shockingly unexpected event following a pivotal and defining act, not of God but of Not-God, which had culminated, then as now, in the malignant form of human empire.

Newton E. Finn, Sun 4 Apr, 15:48

Dear Ian,

There is much truth in what you say, but your perspective is too narrow, with the result that you confuse two very different aspects of the matter Mike deals with in his Easter blog. And you confuse the various causes and the various effects (and therefore also confuse the ethics) in ways I cannot spend time to unravel now.

You need to sort out in your mind much more clearly the whole vista of spirit influence on life on Earth, at its apex, and life on Earth at its abysmal depths without the presence and guidance of higher spirits. It is true that lower malignant spirits obtrude, but I think they are only allowed to intrude when the willed stances of humans allow them scope. Higher, good spirits stand waiting, their hands open in despair, ready to help, but not able to do so because not called upon by humans.

Of course, my own words here will be cryptic to many, but unintentionally so because I have no time today to try to expound things further, but your thought does need to become much clearer before you will be able to grasp some sight of the multiplex field of spirit influence. Your view is too simplistic, and maligns Mike Tymn wrongly.

I have the very varied work of at least four people to do today, and every day. I can say no more now.

Eric Franklin

Eric Frnklin, Sun 4 Apr, 11:39

Dear Newton, and all,

Thank you again for showing me the Patience Worth poem, the only poem which, in my maturity, I have experienced with deep emotional appreciation. For me, emotion is so deep and genuine that speaking of it is always embarrassing unless with another being with whom I feel totally en rapport. Patience Worth appears to be, and to write about, such a being.

However, the relationship of remoteness from that Highest Being, the all-inclusive One, is not the whole of the truth, for the Being (no doubt through servants, themselves nearly as remote as myself from the Great Whole they serve) has a dual nature, as seen by me. That Being encompasses both remoteness and total inclusiveness AND the limitation of my tiny perception of itself. In one direction totally inclusive, viewed the other way it is remote. It is in the latter that the distance described by the poem shows itself. That Being is, as the poem says, distant, beyond direct sense of any kind, all space, without time dimension of its own (just as Relativity predicts) but encompassing all the times of all the universes, yet it is also ever present, always aware of me despite my distance and my smallness. For me, this is not a Deist Being because ever protective, silent almost all the time, but not deaf, an ever present help in trouble. This is very difficult to describe. Patience Worth expresses the remoteness perfectly, using the same vocabulary that is available to me. I struggle to express that other facet of the diamond, the safety and closeness of warm parental touch around a child’s hand. The difficulty in expressing it does not come only from the lack of that experience in childhood, over seven decades ago. Perhaps Patience Worth has a poem expressing that assurance and closeness too.
Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sun 4 Apr, 02:15

As I get older and see just how much misery and suffering there is on this planet, I’ve wondered if Gnostics were on to something when they said that a false god was the true ruler of Earth, and that it and its minions fed on human suffering and pain. Would it be so far-fetched for them to take on the guise of ‘ascended masters’ and say that it’s a spiritual virtue to embrace suffering, and that we should expect and accept it not only in this lifetime, but in countless lifetimes to come? Any sane and rational person would tell them to f*** off, but if those messages are buried within mountains of other ‘spiritual guidance,’ they would be easier to swallow, like if you sweeten someone’s drink to cover up a single drop of poison.

Far-fetched? Consider how much time we try to justify suffering and pain instead of fighting like hell to lessen it for ourselves and everyone else: We’re like abused spouses justifying being beaten, but have forgotten that we’re being abused in the first place. As the saying goes, if you want others to suffer because you turned out all right, you, in fact, did not turn out all right.

Finally, here’s a mental exercise to try: Imagine going up to the people who are suffering in Myanmar under a military junta and tell them that they must accept the grief of having a loved one be shot by soldiers. Tell them to accept and embrace knowing that their loved ones have been kidnapped, are being tortured, and will likely be executed and buried in an unmarked grave. Tell them that having their lives destroyed by a fascist dictatorship is for their own good. Or, even better, travel back in time to a concentration camp in Germany in World War 2 and tell the Jewish inmates watching their loved ones be gassed that they are growing spiritually as a result, and that they are fools to try and escape their discomfort. And for extra credit, go to modern-day nursing homes where the last elderly survivors of those camps have dementia and relive the horrors of those camps every single day, and tell them to their faces that they should embrace their pain.

Does the thought of doing any of those things make you want to vomit? Then congratulations: You have more compassion and decency than these so-called ‘ascended masters’ and ‘higher spirits’. Pat yourself on the back and know that you have a heart where they have none.

Ian, Sat 3 Apr, 21:52

During this time of Spring renewal and the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead providing evidence of survival of the human spirit after death, it might be fitting to quote another poem by Patience Worth.  Although Jesus may have been called “King of the Jews” or the “Son of God” or “The Messiah”, let us not forget that Jesus was one of us.  He was a man who suffered and died for a cause which he believed would bring humanity closer to each other and to God. Perhaps there might be a tendency for some to see Jesus as remote from us bound in the linen of religious dogma and entombed in cathedrals of architectural grandeur but Patience Worth did not think of him that way.  She wrote:


Ánd they called Him Jesus, the Nazarene.
Yea, with the scourge of scorn they smote Him.
Yea, with the blade of hate they slew Him.
With the cunning of malice the disclaimed Him.
And He went down into the tomb.
And with the seed of His righteousness
Was he resurrected.


And they acclaimed Him king through the ages.
Yea, with their outcries have they exalted Him
And made an abode fitting such a kingly One.
With their ardour they have burned the
  sacrificial fires
Through the nights and well unto the mornings.
Lo, they have called Him king, Messiah,
And anointed Him unto office.


Have they forgotten He was called Jesus, the
  Nazarene?
Have they forgotten the Shepherd?
While they acclaim Him, methinks I see Him
Within a valley’s retreat, clasping His staff
And looking forth unto the West,
Watching His sheep pass before Him
And numbering them after the fashion of the shepherd.

                                                   
                      Patience Worth


Happy Easter everyone and a belated
Happy birthday MICHAEL TYMN.

  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Sat 3 Apr, 13:29

Newton, thanks for the Patience Worth quote.  The bottom line, as I see it, is that God is beyond human comprehension. Most people seem to think that it is necessary to prove God before dealing with the survival issue (a deductive approach), while I have continually argued that we should be taking the inductive approach, i.e., looking at the evidence for survival while not concerning ourselves with the evidence for God. If we conclude that the evidence for survival meets some level of proof, whether a preponderance, simply overwhelming, beyond a reasonable doubt, or even absolute, then we can deal with the God issue, although I don’t see the necessity for it. Personally, I am satisfied with my 98.8% conviction relative to survival and seeing Jesus as in the hierarchy, if not the “chairman of the board” in that hierarchy. I suspect that the hierarchy, if there is such, is much more complex than that, but I’ve gone as far as my limited intellect will allow. 

I also see reincarnation as beyond my comprehension. How does one reconcile the usual interpretation of reincarnation with timelessness, or living past, present, and future lives at the same “time,” which seems to exist in some past-life studies? Attempting to grasp that makes me dizzy and so I avoid going there.

The conviction in survival does it for me, although although there are times when the meter drops down to 97.2%, but it has never gone below 95% in recent years.

Michael Tymn, Sat 3 Apr, 10:55

Dear Newton,

Appreciation, off the top of my head on a very busy stressful morning . . .

I have written a little poetry myself, though it is not my most natural field of expression, so I appreciate Patience’s poem. In fact I respond to it more warmly than to any other poetry I can recall, that impressive fact strongly suggesting to me its genuine spirit-world origin. And its statements, if expressed in non-poetic terms, would be all true. Very remarkable indeed. I note that she refers to the many universes that Relativity proves possible (Yes, I DID say PROVES possible), whether anyone is interested in that scientific and mathematical fact or not.

Thank you, Newton, thank you Mike, thank you Don (whose book I have just finished reading for the second time. It deserves a publisher, and a financial backer for publication, if Don would like that. Just as our book (ITI 2010) is OURS, so is his superlatively researched, superbly analysed, intelligently surveyed and commented work HIS laudable product.)

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Sat 3 Apr, 10:42

This poem of Patience Worth, which I read a moment ago for the first time, is quoted here for Eric and his meaningful musings about many universes, for AOD and his great love and knowledge of the poet’s writings, for Don and his bold and wide-ranging book yet to be widely read, for Michael and his many years of devotion to afterlife research and authorship, and for all readers drawn like moths to this illuminated and illuminating blog. Lastly, I quote the poem for myself (another of those moths) in partial rejoinder to my prior assertion that the God of spiritualism is akin to the God of Deism.

The Remote God

Who is this God remote? I know Him not.
Who is He who within the sanctuary of the ever-
  space
Retreats, forgetting the creation which He flung In an instant of joy, mayhap, spinning the ether?
I know Him not. That God which I acclaim,
Yea, and I know most fellowable, is one
Who kneels upon the fields and kisses the scarred
  earth
Leaving blossoms then to spurt. He is one who
Walketh upon the high spots, yes, upon the
  mountain peaks,
And from the purity of His raiment falleth the
  chaste snow.
He is one who rides the clouds and weeps in joy.
Inasmuch as His tears are fruitful, I believe
That the universes are so much a part of Him
That they cling as dust atoms to His raiment,
And He may not be rid of them, nor they of Him.
Who is this God remote? I know him not.

Newton E. Finn, Fri 2 Apr, 23:39

Amos, I recently saw a list of the top 10 countries where Americans are no longer welcome.  I’m not sure but I think Greece was first. Spain and Argentina were on the list.  So best plan not to come back as an American. 

Beaches are over-rated.  I live less than a mile from a beach that Dr. Beach once rated as the best in the world.  I believe it made the top 10 in a more recent list.  However, it appears pretty ordinary to me and I haven’t dipped a toe in the ocean there in years. My dermatologist recommends staying away from the beach.  Too much sun causes skin cancer.

Michael Tymn, Fri 2 Apr, 06:56

I agree with the narcissism diagnosis.  But I often sense a largely misplaced scolding of the human population, and a failure to acknowledge a critical etiology:

Mike, PLEASE see the BBC documentary “The Century of the Self” on the origins of the mass-consumer society et al: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox2S0km9OZM

It is 4 hours long, but once one begins it is difficult to stop.  And there is an online text transcript which is only 20pp long.

Analise Cross, Ph.D., Thu 1 Apr, 20:46

I think the reincarnation question is being unnecessary complicated.  It seems so simple to me.  If a spirit needs to experience physical life again for further enlightenment, it may choose to do so.  If a spirit desires physicality for just the experience, it may do so.  Now the spirit I am talking about is the consciousness, not a past-life personality exhibited by that consciousness.  Personalities are not eternal.  They are like a suit of clothing that is taken off and hung up in the closet at the end of the day.  The closet is full of personalities.  That is the group soul.

 
Those who want to hang on to a personality in the afterlife risk being side-tracked in the lower spheres until they are able to let go of their past physical life.  Personality is the result of one’s body, that is, its physicality, the environment into which the consciousness was born, the culture and the time period in which it was born.  Most of those things are beyond our control, at least once one is born into the physical.


Reincarnation is what it is.  There is no need to label it as part of some esoteric religion or other spiritual belief system either New Age or Old Age.  I think sometimes one may get hung-up on the seriousness of spirituality but I don’t see that in the spirit world, at least in the higher spheres.  I think most of the time spirits—-like the California valley girls say in the song—-“just want to have fun” and I see that every day in the creation around me.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 1 Apr, 17:30

I don’t want to get too deep here or to stir up controversy but I want to clarify something I wrote a few days ago.  I believe that spirits hover around a body in a state of development that is, I don’t think a spirit is immediately in a fertilized ovum or that I was favored in some way by surviving, being lucky enough to be born. I have a vague sense of seeing my parents before I was born as very happy people and that attracted me.  I also might have seen a need for my mother to have some additional support and encouragement in her life which I think I provided. There may have been prior incarnations with one or both of my parents but how is one to really know.  Somehow it was possible for me to occupy the body of a baby at some time in its development,  -AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 1 Apr, 14:08

Michael,
Do I think I would be up to being born with birth defects?—-no, not the next time around!  I need a period of “rest upon the wind” and then a return to Spain or Argentina to play in the sun. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 1 Apr, 13:11

Dear all,

My response, for what it may be thought to be worth, is to say that my own reading of Imperator as Moses presents his messages in ST, is to find that Newton is correct in his interpretation of the matter of the frequency of reincarnations. Those reincarnate in our low universe, rather than entering higher universes, who have not succeeded in reaching a sort of “spiritual escape velocity” from ours. Children who depart this life, for instance, have had no opportunity to learn all its intended spiritual lessons, so they reincarnate to try again. Stubborn recalcitrants do the same, to embark on another difficult eighty years, until they learn.

An instance of a “special mission”, probably a small one, such as Amos imagines, came a few days ago. It was a very quiet realisation, very simple, very precise and unambiguous (scientifically and mathematically precise and unambiguous) one might say categorial, and with huge implications. It is hugely helpful to my understanding. A sudden wordless but easily verbalisable illumination of something I had never before considered came into consciousness as I was working on a menial task at the top of a stepladder. Imperator tells us that such assistings from beyond our visible limits are very numerous, more so than we realise as we go about our lives. We should become more aware of the help we are given, not seeking the selfish, shallow, unspiritual, pleasures that Mike Tymn’s Blog this time describes to us. The revelation came unbidden, as I say, as I was dreamily tightening a bolt. The higher beings can shed their light wherever, and whatever the circumstances, when the mind is calm and receptive (like that of a good medium). I acknowledge that’s not an easy state to achieve at times. But I am very glad when I achieve it for a moment. A wholly undeserved ripe fruit drops into one’s hand.

What was the realisation vouchsafed to an old man wearily doing a menial job on top of a stepladder? I shared it immediately with Newton himself, Mike himself, and Don Porteous.

Kind regards to all

Eric Franklin

Eric Franklin, Thu 1 Apr, 08:43

Newton,
No, I am not confusing reincarnation with spirit helpers/helping.  I think those are two distinct concepts.  Perhaps there are “spirit helpers” and I think that on rare occasions there may be but I don’t think that those of us who “struggle in earthly life are constantly being helped and guided by spirits who attend to our needs and assist in our progress. . . ” as you suggest.  It is our job to deal with the things of physical life; that’s where the learning comes in.  I don’t think that God or his minions watch over us and pave the way, removing obstacles from our earthly path. I think that I am held in higher esteem than that and those in the spirit world are quite confident that I will be able to live my life without their help. On the other hand, I sometimes think that there are spirits, perhaps from the lower spheres, who harass, intimidate and confuscate me from time to time, at least it seem so to me.


Reincarnation on the other hand allows for more than momentary interference in one’s life.  It provides a longer period of time in which to interact with others. And I think that it may be a very subtle interaction at times.  Sometimes the reason for the reincarnation is just to provide support and encouragement to a spirit who is not advanced enough to withstand the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ , that is, some people need another person to depend on in order to get through life unscathed.  It is hard for me to articulate in a short comment but I think that some spirits are not able to handle the life they were given and need a little support from someone else to get through it.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Thu 1 Apr, 01:45

Newton,

Yes, I like Imperator’s take on reincarnation. The problem is that other supposedly advanced spirits don’t always agree.  It is difficult to tell which one is more advanced. I like the “group soul” idea of reincarnation as a proper compromise.

I’m in the process of rereading The Seth Material, which I first read about 20 years ago. It is not entirely clear from what I have read so far, but Seth seems to be leaning in that direction, i.e., only a fragment of the personality or higher self reincarnates.

Michael Tymn, Wed 31 Mar, 22:55

Amos,

I had this vision of a time about 50 years in the future and on the other side of the veil.  You are in the staging area of souls to be reborn and are looking over the files on some of your potential parents.  The head dispatcher comes to you and tells you that he has a couple in their earth bodies who are in real need of spiritual enlightenment.  To achieve this enlightenment, they must have a child with many birth defects, including being born blind. It’s the only way the parents will learn their lessons. He said it will take a very advanced soul to be that child.  Knowing that you are an advanced soul, he asks you to volunteer to be the child. Do you think you will be up to it?

Michael Tymn, Wed 31 Mar, 22:49

Might you, AOD, be confusing reincarnation with spirit helpers/helping? “Spirit Teachings” makes fairly clear that the sending of a departed spirit back into this world physically, to live another earth life, is the exception, not the rule. On the other hand, we who struggle in earthly life are constantly being helped and guided by spirits who attend to our needs and assist in our progress, without these spirits again having become flesh and blood. Indeed, it’s precisely because they remain on the spirit level that they are able to be of maximum service to us while we remain on the physical level. At least, that’s the way things seem to be structured according to the voices of Imperator & Co. via Stainton Moses. This would also seem to a place where more traditional spiritualism and modern New Age spirituality part company, with the latter often eagerly embracing the idea of multiple reincarnations.

Newton E. Finn, Wed 31 Mar, 18:20

Newton,
Those “special missions” that Imperator talked about may not be what we think.  I suspect that sometimes “special missions” will be very small things, like just being in the right place at the right time to save someone from some dire circumstance.  The purpose or special mission was one of love or a desire to provide solace and succor to another spirit in trouble.  Not all returns to life are for monumental or self-serving reasons.  Not everyone will take on the challenges of Lincoln, Jesus or Gandhi. - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 31 Mar, 16:48

On that vexing subject of reincarnation, Michael, with which we both struggle, I found what Imperator & Co. had to say about it both helpful and hopeful. In response to Stainton’s question concerning whether return to earth was the only method of progression, the answer was: “No; nor even the usual one. We have with us many schools of instruction, and we do not employ a second time one that has proved a failure.” Later on comes a reaffirmation of this spiritual truth with a bit more elaboration: “The majority of those who pass from the body are neither very evil nor very good in spirit. Such, indeed, as are so far progressive as to gravitate rapidly through the spheres nearest the earth, do not return unless called to a special mission.” When I read these words, there was an audible sigh of relief from the reader. I suspect it was the same with you.

Newton E. Finn, Wed 31 Mar, 16:16

For those of you who don’t want to reincarnate take a good look at your life now.  Go on—-take a look at it.  Really now, was it so bad that you would rather never to have lived at all?  Maybe so, but if it didn’t turn out the way you would have wanted it to—-so what!  You had an experience in life to learn something, to grow spiritually and to fulfill a purpose no matter how small it might have appeared to have been.

Let’s say you dropped into life from nothing and will drop out to nothing again.  How lucky you were to have lived at all.  Just think of the billions and billions of cells that never get a chance to grow into a human being. But yours did!  You are a winner in the race to life from the very start. You chose a body and a life that provided an opportunity, whether or not you took it, to learn and grow and to weave your thread in the great tapestry of life.


I want to come back again!  And I am hoping and expecting that I will have some choice in the matter; that I have been faithful enough to have learned a few lessons that my future life will be better in some ways than this one. I won’t be the same personality, I know.  My current personality will become part of my “group soul” but as Kahlil Gibran said in “The Prophet” my consciousness will, after a moment of rest upon the wind, gather sand and foam for another body and another woman shall bear me.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Wed 31 Mar, 15:19

Thanks for offering the other side of the coin here, Newton.  So true.  If I were just out of high school now with my present knowledge, I don’t know what field of study I would pursue in college, or even if I would see college as worthwhile.  I might be among the lost, perhaps the homeless. It’s one reason I have an emotional resistance to the idea of reincarnation: I don’t want to do this over again in what I see as the world of the future.  I much prefer the group soul idea of reincarnation, although that is for the most part beyond my comprehension. 

Thanks to all others for the comments thus far. Let me add another Imperator quote:

“The outcome of the Revelation of Christ, which only now beginning to be seen amongst men, is in its truest sense the abolition of death, the demonstration of immortality. In that great truth—man never dies, cannot die, however he may wish it—in that great truth rests the key to the future. The immortality of man, held not as an article of faith, a clause in a creed, but as a piece of personal knowledge, and individual experience, this is the keynote of the religion of the future. In its trail come all the grand truths we teach, all the noblest conceptions of duty, the grandest views of destiny, the truest realisations of life.”

Michael Tymn, Tue 30 Mar, 23:40

Some might say that I don’t know what I am talking about but I think that opportunities for young people still abound today in the United States.  High-paying jobs still exist in home construction and maintenance.  Plumbers and electricians seem to do very well as do welders, carpenters, bricklayers, concrete workers, dry-wallers, painters, roofers, contractors, mechanics, heavy equipment operators and other skilled trades.  Landscapers do very well where I live because people seem to want an attractive home and yard but don’t want to make the effort to take care of it themselves. 

Society will always need medical technicians in positions that pay well which don’t require years of study or a large financial outlay.  And of course nurses and physicians will always be in demand.

It’s a choice.  Children can go to college and come out with a degree that does not allow them to get a good paying job.  Or they can choose to learn something which will lead to a profession. If one spends a fortune going to college and at the end of it can’t claim a profession, e.g., doctor, lawyer, teacher, architect, biologist, pharmacist etc. then the money has been wasted except for funding a fun time partying away from parents for four or more years.  One can work part-time while in college and during the summer months work full time.  Every little bit helps to pay the way, maybe not for elite colleges but State universities with lower tuition are available in most States and many people can qualify for grants and scholarships to those schools

One has to start early and learn to read and speak well and pay attention during 12 years of grade school.  Many skills can be learned without going to school if one can read a book.  Libraries full of books are usually available in larger towns and of course the internet if full of abundant information. And everyone can learn to type and learn word-processing.  But, one has to take responsibility for one’s own fate.  Waiting for the government or your parents to pave the way for you or waiting for someone to knock on your door offering you a high-paying job is not going to help you to be responsible for your own life.

Sympathy and accommodation for the younger generation is the very thing that has put them were they are today.  There is something to be gained in the struggle and being responsible for your own life and there is pride when you actually work to earn what you have.

Young families I know seem to do very well on a two-salary income when both people applied themselves to obtain a skill or profession that paid well.  But, I also see young families deeply in debt who still think they need to buy a five-bedroom fully furnished house in a new subdivision. with two or more newer model cars in their driveway.  If everything is given to a child usually they have no concept of the efforts it took to make the money that was given to them and consequently they cannot manage their own money well when they become adults.

Where there is a will there is a way.  Motivate children by giving them responsibilities at a young age and teach them that they have to earn their allowance if they receive one.  They will grow up to appreciate hard work and know how to manage the money they have.  Don’t develop a sense of entitlement in children by giving them an allowance without working for it.  Every child can do some chores around the home.

That’s my sermon for today! - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Tue 30 Mar, 20:53

I like the powerful sermon in many ways, Michael, being equally turned off by safe spaces, “snowflake” fragility, cancel culture, and the like. But the young people I know in today’s American working class, as I was in yesterday’s, certainly don’t have it easy, not half as easy as I had it. Secure, well-paying jobs were plentiful back then, even for those who didn’t go on to college. I worked some of those jobs part-time and during the summers and was able to earn enough money to attend college, seminary, and law school, all without incurring substantial debt. Such opportunity and freedom enabled me to throw myself into the kind of law practice that called to me, public interest litigation coupled with community organizing, and the secure, well-paying job of my wife allowed me to continue this personally meaningful and, I hope, socially beneficial work over a lifetime, though it yielded only modest compensation. In today’s world, what I did, the kind of life I lived, would be virtually impossible. What’s now available to the working class kids I know are largely gig jobs with minimal pay, adequate at most for bare survival. There is almost no way for these kids to work their way through various levels of higher education, as I did, and even if they managed to take on enough debt to graduate from college and then graduate/professional school, servicing that massive debt would require immediately taking a job that maximized income, often not a job serving the greater good, far more often one undermining it—a job, for example, with a big player in the FIRE sector. I won’t even get into the financial impediments faced by today’s working class young when it comes to getting married, starting their own families, owning their own homes, etc., vitally important things I was able to take for granted. THIS is the world that my generation brought to fruition, that came to culmination under our watch. So in my Easter sermon, had I preached it, I would have supplemented your message to the young with the following words of Imperator & Co., uttered in the first Gilded Age, now addressed to the older folks in the congregation who helped usher in the second. “Much there is in social knowledge and in the conduct of the State affairs that you must unlearn; much that is to be added to your knowledge…. For your religion, we have said frequently that it is a degenerate offspring of that simple and pure faith which alone deserves the name of Christianity. For your civilization and culture, they are but of the surface, and do but faintly hide festering sores, all too plain to spirit-gaze…. Money-hunting is the business of life, and pleasure is too often found in bodily gratification and sensuous enjoyment. The air is thick with the greed of gold, with lust of power, with self-seeking in all its myriad forms….” In a prior comment, I expressed the opinion that spiritualism lacked the prophetic voice of liberal Christianity, the speaking of truth to power, the imperative, articulated by Jesus, that we devote ourselves to bringing the Kingdom of God on earth as fully as possible. This quotation from Imperator & Co. proves me wrong, and I acknowledge this mistake with a thankful heart.

Newton E. Finn, Tue 30 Mar, 18:06

Discomfort is of course relative to the amount of comfort in one’s life.  And, I think younger people today in the United States have had and still have a very comfortable life.  Most have been free of serious disease or have had unsurpassed medical treatment to heal or cure a disease if they had one. Few children die of typhoid fever, smallpox, measles, tuberculosis or polio today. They have had amenities that were only dreamed of by older generations many of which are just taken for granted by young people today especially in highly developed countries like the United States and others.


How many young people give a thought about having electricity and all that it powers throughout their house, having indoor plumbing, potable hot and cold water in a bath room or kitchen?  They never think about how difficult it was for people to take a bath or to have clean clothing.  Few young girls today would care to stand before a wringer washing machine and rinse tubs for an hour or more in order to have clean clothing and most things had to be pressed standing before an ironing board using, in my generation an electric iron but in older generations an iron made of iron which had to be heated on a wood or coal-fired cook stove.  It is so easy for kids today. Almost every child has to have a cell phone and/or a car and they all are driven to school in a heated or air conditioned car or bus. Few if any children walk miles today to get to school as some oldsters reportedly had to do.  Even the poorest of children in the U.S. today probably has access to a television, radio, and computer in addition to their iphone for entertainment. Few if any children play jacks or marbles outside today.  I see no children playing ‘jump rope’ or ‘kick the can’ today in my neighborhood as was common in my generation.


I hear young people complaining about the weather if the temperature dips below 70 degrees or if there is rain for a half a day as if they deserve weather to be as sung about in Camelot—-only raining after sundown.  Weather predictions always seem to be couched in dire results from the “polar vortex” in the winter or from “el nina” in the summer; terms unheard just a generation or so ago.  And hurricanes and tornadoes are thought to be the result of climate change when they have been happening regularly each year from time immemorial.  In my generation of 60 or 70 years ago people really didn’t complain so much about the weather.  They tolerated the heat in the summer without air conditioning and huddled around a cook stove in the winter to keep warm and dry out their clothing wet from the snow.  There was no central heating. Kids today would throw a tantrum if they woke up in the morning with snow on their bed in the attic as my grandfather said he did.


But my grandfather was strong.  He worked at hard labor most of his life retiring at age 72 and living to 101.  There was something about struggle that made him strong and allowed him to endure.  He didn’t complain about every ache or pain he had.  He just went on and on and often said that he would have taken better care of himself if he knew he was going to live for so long.


The bottom line is that kids in the U.S. today are spoiled by their parents.  Many children are not given responsibilities and as a result they do not become responsible adults.  If they are unhappy it is somebody else’s fault.  If something goes wrong they expect somebody else to fix it.  As I read some of their comments they seem to want to just lay back with a bowl of popcorn and watch the world self-destruct.  - AOD

Amos Oliver Doyle, Mon 29 Mar, 21:23

Mike,

Just read your last blog article… Absolutely brilliant!!! 

You were truly inspired on that one!

Later, I hope to send a more
thoughtful comment.

Blessings & warm wishes,
Yvonne

Yvonne Limoges, Mon 29 Mar, 20:45

Beautiful message. I think that education is an important element. I also think that the media has an important role, all those reality shows and violence, not only on Tv but also in games is a bad thing. They learn the wrong things, I think. So how can you improve that people find they spiritual Selfs? By giving difficult scientific explanations, that you gave to read ten times before you have a clue? Or with simple messages and programs that show us the beauty of live and the world, the love between all living things and the connection between all that exists.Maybe we have to read aloud again more fairytales, fables and parables not only for the children but also for the grownups.

Chris, Mon 29 Mar, 15:38

Not having been in a church congregation for eons, apart from attending funerals, I have not taken on board the content of a sermon for a very long time. Mostly I remember thinking of them as trite. So it was a refreshing and interesting approach you took to your regular blog this Easter, Michael, a well thought out piece, nicely expressed and with plenty to think about. Thanks a lot. Quite apart from this blog I have been noticing the increasing incidence of narcissism anyway, and have, correctly or not, put it down to the prevalence nowadays of social media where people spend their creative effort talking about themselves and what they have done.

Keith P in England, Mon 29 Mar, 15:30

Very well said, Mike. I could not agree more. Mahalo Nui Loa

Bart Walton, Mon 29 Mar, 12:13


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Proof of Survival by Lord Dowding – I think that "Raymond" is a very important book because its main purpose appears to be to convey to the world proof of human survival after death. This proof is conveyed by the publication of a series of messages from Raymond Lodge, the son of Sir Oliver Lodge, the famous scientist and author of the book. Read here
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