Sunday, November 18, 2012

Life Between life by Dr Joel L. Whitton and Joe Fisher

“Death and emptiness are the firm ground upon which life walks…" – Alan Watts, Cloud Hidden, Whereabouts Unknown

I finished off the book, ‘Life between Life’ by Dr Joel L. Whitton PhD and Joe Fisher about a week ago. This book was first published in 1987. I have to admit, there was not actually that much life between life material in it, so I was rather disappointed. Most of it was past life related and not about the goings on between lives. I am a bit over past lives now since I have read about so many past lives and had them come up performing past life regression.

However, I did make a few notes while I was going through the book and I plan to write about them in this entry.

There was one chapter that was a perfect example of how the system of Karma works, which most of us humans are stuck in on Earth, but karma is of course mostly coming to an end with the shift coming. ('it is known')

Note that Joel Whitton is a past life regressionist and uses hypnosis to take his patients into the past lives to relive events so that illness and disease in the current life related to those events in the past can be released (cured).  Joe Fisher has accumulated information from the many past lives from Joel’s clients, and this is what the book is based upon. However, Joe has also referenced many other books and has done a lot of research. My impression is that this book would have been a classic/well known book back in it’s day.

By the way, the term ‘Bardo’ will come up during this so I need to explain what that is. It literally means ‘the space that separates islands, a space that is crammed with events of great significance to the soul departing the insularity of the body’.

Life between life our Natural Home
A quote from the book, ‘The ancients knew what modern man is just beginning to understand, that the life between life is our natural home from which we venture forth on arduous journeys oh physical embodiment. Manly P. Hall in “Death to Rebirth” compares the experience of incarnation to a diver in a diving suit leaving the light and fresh air in which he is comfortable and descending, by lifeline, to the bottom of the sea…

“…the heavy diving suit is the physical body and the sea the ocean of life. At birth man assumes the diving suit, but his spirit is always connected by a line to the light above .Man descends into the depths of the sea of sorrow and mortality that he may find there the hidden treasures of wisdom, for experience and understanding are pearls of great price and to gain them man must beat all things. When the treasure has been found, or his hours of labour are over, he is drawn back into the boat again, and taking off the heavy armour breathes the fresh air and feels free once more. Wise men realise that this incident we call life is only one trip to the bottom of the sea, that we have been down many times before and must go down many times again before we find the treasure.” ’

“Life between death and a new birth is as rich and varied as life here between birth and death…” – Rudolf Steiner

This next quote from the book, in my opinion, is very accurate to how I think all this works when we first pass over. Some of our first experiences after passing on are based upon our belief system and how open our mind is.

The Domain of the Discarnate
‘Home is what you make it. That is to say, the environment of the life between life is a reflection of each person’s thought forms and expectations. The Tibetan Book of the Dead asserts repeatedly that the bardo dweller produces his own surroundings from the contents of his mind. Rudolf Steiner maintained that thoughts and mental images of our inner realm appear to us after death as our external world. “After death,” he said, “all our thoughts and mental representations appear as a mighty panorama before the soul.” Adrift in metaconsciousness, Dr Whitton’s subjects report a wide variety of topography. Here’s a sampling:

“I see splendid palaces and the most beautiful gardens.”
“I’m surrounded by abstract shapes of all different sizes, some oblong, some cylindrical.”
“Landscapes, always landscapes, and waves lapping on the shore.”
“I’m walking in endless nothingness – no floor, no ceiling, no ground, no sky.”
“Everything is extremely beautiful. There are no material things and yet everything is there… churches and schools and libraries and playgrounds…”
“I’m not aware of being anywhere. Images appear to me out of nowhere.”

One man who was carried back beyond his birth in this life found himself, at first, in a huge corrugated cave .At the end of the cave stood a wall and, lifting himself to the top, he looked back to a lush, green vision of the Earth plane. He continues : “I was conscious of having a foot in both worlds. From my vantage point I could sense the vegetation and the atmosphere of Earth .But in the other direction there was much more light and the air was rarefied. With my guide, I began walking towards this other world which appeared like a scene from the Mediterranean. It was quiet, measures, peaceful,. Whitewashed buildings nestled under low hills. There was a special luminosity about the buildings, each of which had low, broad-based arches. Soft, golden light was tucked up under the arches and was shining from inside the rooms.”

It appears that people are sometimes afforded the setting they have imagined or have wished for while on Earth. But fundamentalists who believe strictly doctrinaire living will be rewarded by an audience with Jesus Christ and pew in his Kingdom of heaven are courting disappointment. Dr Whitton’s subjects with narrowly religious past lives have discovered that the complex and protracted course of personal evolution cannot be supplanted by the simplistic notion of being “saved”. Victor Bracknell, a past life personality of Michael Gallander, the subject of our first karmic case study (chapter 7) was a pious seventeenth century puritan, unshakeable in his conviction that he was doing God’s will. He was equally unshakeable in his belief that he would be rewarded at death by the sight of Jesus. But the life between life brought him no Christ-like vision, no heavenly haven. Instead, he was confronted with the conflicts that had caused him, in his blindness, to inflict suffering on others.’

The Oversoul

I loved this lyric in the book by Brihadaranyaka -

“You cannot see the seer of seeing,
You cannot hear the hearer of hearing,
You cannot think of the thinker of thinking,
You cannot know the knower of knowing,
This is your self that is within all,
Everything else but this is perishable."
- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

I am not going to go too heavily into all the material on Karma in this book. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in focusing more on the system of Karma, then past lives or life between life in general as it excels as explaining situations that relate to Karma in a persons current life.

I am going to quote the end of a chapter in this book which goes into the link between health, tragedy and patterns in general with past lives, karmic laws, and soul searching/higher purposes(this is really interesting).

‘Physical and psychological disorders and personal tragedies of all kinds can be attributed to karma. As the case study chapters will illustrate (earlier in the book-Laron), moral deficiency and unresolved and repressed emotions are conferred on future incarnations in the form of disease, trauma, phobias and various other manifestations of difficulty. Hypnosis may shed light on specific karmic conditions and bring the realisation – integral to the healing process – that the suffering has been self-willed. Karma’s unfinished business will always pose problems and if there must be lamentations it can only be directed at ourselves. Writing in “Man and the World in the Light of Anthroposophy”, Stewart C. Easton declares…

“…Whenever we bemoan our destiny on Earth and complain of our ill-fortune, we are railing against our own choice, not the choice of some arbitrary god or gods who have done us a bad turn. In consequence, the one vice which no one with knowledge of karma should permit himself is envy, either envy of anyone else’s life situation, or of his talents, fortune or friends. For we have what we have chosen and earned…”

If we must endure a hard life, we are not necessarily coming to terms with misdemeanours from an earlier existence. By undergoing certain trails, we may be preparing ourselves for future tasks and accomplishments. Karma, despite its demands and implications, should not be considered as iron-clad destiny which forces us to act in a given manner. The very essence of karma implies the preens of motive which, in turn, necessitates the exercise of free will.

Karmic evolution embraces the development of personality and the refinement of skills and aptitudes. Dr Whitton has noticed how his subjects, in the course of many lifetimes, advance along a road that leads fro the infantile and egocentric to the adolescent and, eventually, to the mature personality Progress is always determined by the strength of will. He has also seen how talents are worked on in incarnation after incarnation. An unusual facility in this life can be traced to a reincarnational history of effort and application. From this observation it is logical to assume that great statesmen, musicians, philosopher and others of world renown must have gradually learned and built upon their abilities in past lives until these abilities reach fruition in a life of influence. Alternatively a person with a dearth of leadership qualities and scant organisational flair is unlikely to have been a leader of historical significance in a previous life.

Karma is at work in every area of human endeavour. In his book, ‘Wisdom of the Mystic Masters’, Joseph J. Weed observed the following expressions of cause and effect in the workings of Karmic law:

-Aspirations and desires become abilities.
-Repeated thoughts become tendencies.
-Will to performance becomes action.
-Painful experiences become conscience.
-Repeated experiences lead to wisdom.

The trouble with karma is that it can obscure the soul’s higher purpose even as its snakes and ladders provide the means for attainment of that purpose. The karmic cacophony that accompanies all personal striving and human interaction frequently drowns the background theme in our lives – the soul’s inner struggle to know itself more clearly. To draw upon yet another metaphor, it is as though we are all driving automobiles along the grand highway of evolution only to have the destination obscured by the constant obstructions of karmic traffic jams. In the life between life, knowledge of higher purpose is always at hand. The earthly expression of the quest for the fulfilment of destiny, however, is awakened progressively in ‘soul searching’ that appears to advance through five distinct stages that may span many lifetimes. These stages are: (I think this is a very accurate depiction for the early 80’s – Laron)

Materialism : The search for physical well-being, a state dominated by sensual craving. There is very little consideration for the feelings of others and philosophical goals are non-existent. There is no recognition of an afterlife or a supreme power of any kind.

Superstition : The first awareness that there are forces and entities greater than oneself. Practically nothing is known about this omniscient power; there is solely the appreciation that something is out there which cannot be controlled except, perhaps, by amulets and rituals. A materialistic lifestyle continues to prevail.

Fundamentalism : The practice of simple, superstitious and rigid thinking about God or the Almighty. Such thinking becomes the rationale for living. There is belief that prayer, adherence to ritual, and the practice of certain attitudes and behaviour will guarantee the supreme reward – a place in heaven or the afterlife. A leader is usually required to intercede with the all-powerful God, who must be appeased. It matters little whether the leader is a guru who wears a turban or is called Jesus Christ; someone is needed to harness, direct, and expound upon basic conviction.

Philosophy : Early awakening to the awareness of self-responsibility. Religious conviction is maintained, but there is an appreciation that reliance on dogma will not suffice. This stage is marked by respect for life, tolerance of the beliefs of others, and an understanding of the deeper teachings of the orthodox religions.
Persecution: The prevalence of inner tension and anguish which springs from the intense desire to understand the hidden meaning of life. Awareness that there is a profound meaning and purpose to existence is fraught with uncertainty as to how such knowledge can be attained. The search for answers frequently takes the form of extensive reading, study, and membership of various mystical and metaphysical groups. The title of this sage is taken from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount and the phrase “Blessed are the persecuted”.

(That above description sounds pretty much what I have gone through in this life. But I am over joining/being part of groups and I feel comfortable and content with the knowledge I have now obtained - Laron)

When these neophyte stages have been successfully completed, the individual steps firmly on to a path of evolution. Evolution can be likened to a huge mountain criss-crossed with trails, some more travelled than others. These diverse paths may lead up the Eastern side through meditation and transcendent contemplation, or they may climb the Western face through mysticism and intellectual metaphysics.

So long as the desire remains to be, to do, or to possess, karmic consequence will continue. The better the law of momentum is understood, the more one can foresee precisely how personal motivation, attitudes and behaviour are constructing karmic conditions. Even Buddha, who derived much of his philosophy from the writings of Hindu sages, still suffered from the long arm of karma, much to the amazement of his disciples. On a day when a cactus thorn had entered his foot, strangers had spoken unkindly of him, and a quest for alms in a nearby village had left his begging bowl empty, Buddha was asked to explain his own karma as carried forward from other lives. He replied:

“...the bonds of karma, like true servants, ever attend on all creatures. …Karma is like the stream of time. Never can its course be stopped in its constant pursuit of man. Long is the vine of karma; new, and yet always covered with old fruit; a wonderful companion of all creatures, and yet immovable, however you may pull it, grasp it, part it, uproot it, twist it, rub it, or skilfully break it into atoms, it is never destroyed.”

Buddha was making it very clear that high attainment could neither evade nor nullify the mistakes of previous lives. A law is a law and there is no short cut to wisdom – the goal of karmic circumstance. “…Man’s karma travels with him, like his shadow,” wrote Alan Watts in “The spirit of Zen”. “Indeed, it is his shadow, for it has been said, “Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it is dark.”” For Karma to end, old debts must be paid off and there must be no new indebtedness created. And the only way the account ledgers of many lifetimes may be balanced is through the wholehearted adoption of the precepts of love and selflessness. To quote once more from Joseph Weed :

“As long as there is the slightest tinge of self in any of our actions, as long as we are good because we hope for reward, then we shall have to return here in order to receive that reward. Every cause as its effect, every action its fruit, and desire is that cord that links them. When this thread is broken and burned out, the connection will end and the soul will be free.”

The most important conclusion to be drawn from the idea of karma is that chance has played no part in arranging the circumstances in which we find ourselves. On Earth, we are the personification of choices that we have made in the bardo. Our discarnate decision making has assigned us to our situation in life, and through subconscious inclination, continues to bring forth the bouquets and brickbats of destiny. To be convinced of the truth of the law of karma is to endorse the stage of affairs in which one has placed oneself, no matter how difficult it might be. The individual seeks out challenges and ordeals, knowing that they contain the greatest opportunities for learning and growth.’

Well, I hope you enjoyed that as I found it very interesting. I lean towards the information and teachings out of the religion of Buddhism more so than any other religion, however, I still find some things are very strict and when such restrictions are put in place with anything, I tend to naturally be pushed away (like moving into an energy that doesn’t resonate with me) from it and this is why I will never succumb to a religion or any organised group fully.

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