Posts Tagged ‘life after death’

Religion Failed Us—but we Still Need It.

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

from Samuel Kronen’s excellent essay:

To live a religious life, we must engage in a spiritual practice. I don’t think there is any way around this. To remain in contact with that what is beyond ourselves, beyond the domain of our individual thoughts, we must find some way of continually remembering that this connection exists and is always possible to attain.

This can be achieved in many different ways, from charity, to meditation, to some form of deep contemplation, and so on. What is necessary is engaging in whatever practice we choose on a daily basis or something close to it—otherwise we are susceptible to falling astray and moving away from this essential connection.

Try to remember that life is infinitely wondrous and beautiful, and do everything in our power to live in a way that serves this remembrance. This is the foundation of a holy life.

We don’t need to buy into religious lunacy to be close to God. We simply must allow ourselves to be active participants in the grace and artistry of the universe, rather than merely being passive observers in a purely material world.

In reminding ourselves that there is more to life than what we think, we become present to the immediacy of life itself, and in my experience, this expands our capacity for love.

Love is at the core of a truly religious life.

More.

Tennessee Santa grants final wish to child who died in his arms

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The boy, who could barely open the PAW Patrol toy that was given to him, hugged the man and asked him several quick questions.

“They say I’m going to die. How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?” the boy asked.

Schmitt-Matzen then told the boy that when he got there to say he was Santa’s No. 1 elf and he’d be let in.

Near the end of the visit, the boy asked one last question: “Santa, can you help me?”

“I wrapped my arms around him. Before I could say anything, he died right there. I let him stay, just kept hugging and holding on to him.”

Schmitt-Matzen said he ran past the family and the nurses’ station crying — questioning whether he was cut out to be Santa.

 

More.

Spiritual tourism has travelers asking the big questions

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

They’re among a fast-growing number of travelers doing more than lying on beaches and roaming through museums. They’re seeking spiritual encounters, from private healing ceremonies with a shaman in Peru and Sufi meditation sessions in India to monastery stays in northern Thailand and Christian pilgrimages to Fátima and Lourdes.

Travel companies report that the number of people taking “faith-based” vacations is up as much as 164 percent in the last five years, even at a time when surveys show that the fastest-growing religious category in the United States is no religious affiliation at all, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

“In the absence of belonging to an organized religion, I still think there’s a universal desire for people to connect with deeper things,” said Ben Bowler, the Australian founder of Monk for a Month, which offers Westerners long stays in Buddhist monasteries in Thailand. “They’ve already been to the beach on holiday. So when they get the time and resources, they think of doing something more meaningful.”

In addition to that search for a higher purpose — especially among retiring baby boomers — observers speculate that all kinds of factors are driving this wave of spiritual tourism, including anxiety caused by economic and political uncertainty, the popularity of Pope Francis, the looming 500th anniversary in 2017 of the Protestant Reformation, and the once-in-10-years Oberammergau passion play that will be staged in 2020.

More.

Annie Kagan writes

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Dear Thomas,

I’ve been stressed out lately. The news is daunting; terror attacks, families fleeing war torn countries, the environmental mess.

In my book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, How My Bad-Boy Brother Proved To Me There’s Life After Death, my brother Billy teaches how to better navigate life on planet Earth. Amazingly, Billy began sharing this wisdom with me a few weeks after he died. Two years of our conversations are recorded in our book.

One thing Billy says is;
People spend lots of time on things that make them unhappy. To cultivate joy, pay attention to what you like.

So, with all the disturbance happening on Earth, I made a list of things Billy says can soothe the soul.

SPEND TIME IN NATURE
The light, colors, scents and sounds of the natural world bring pleasure to and heal the senses. Walking in the forest, planting a garden, or simply feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, help you tune to the miracle of creation.

SAY THANK YOU
Many spiritual paths promote the concept of gratitude. Saying “thank you” may be simpler than trying to feel grateful. Saying thank you to all the things that please you, silently or out loud, helps you notice the grace in your life. Thank you is an easy step down the road toward gratitude.

PAUSE FOR BEAUTY
Take time every day to admire something of beauty. Beauty is evocative; it awakens something deep inside and transcends the noise and static of the world. Beauty reminds you of the awe at the heart of life itself.

MAKE LIFE MORE MUSICAL
Singing, dancing and listening to music connects you to the special pleasure of being alive. Have favorite songs on standby to enhance your mood or change it. Some music could be bright and upbeat, some slow and melancholy, some designed for healing. Melody and rhythm turn the ordinary into the magical.

CHANGE YOUR VIEWPOINT
A change in perspective is powerful. According to Quantum physics, the way you see things can actually change them. If something upsets or frightens you, look for what you like about it. When it comes to people, focus on their deep voice, their sparkling eyes, their quick smile, their unique wit. When someone senses positivity coming their way, they may respond in kind.

CELEBRATE THE PURPOSELESS PURPOSE OF LIFE
Joy comes from doing what we love simply for the pleasure of it. Keep a journal, learn to surf, sing in a choir, bake bread, plant a garden, feed the birds. Everything you do doesn’t have to lead to an outcome. The doing can be its own reward.
© 2015 annie kagan

With Love
Your friends
Billy Fingers
Annie Kagan
From the Cosmos

ANNOUNCEMENT OF MY NEW NOVEL

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

MY NOVEL–
READING THE SIGNS: A PARANORMAL LOVE STORY

Ted Jones, campus chaplain and English Professor in downtown Denver, doesn’t need more problems. His life has been full of them. More than a few of the clergy seem to think of the church as a sex club, and those who administer the English Department are vipers. Yet, at the beseeching of the spirit of an old woman who appears floating near the stained glass window of St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Ted soon becomes involved with Sharon, the deceased woman’s grown granddaughter.

Damaged though she is, Sharon responds, trying to return the steadfast love that Ted offers. After her grandmother died, she lost that capacity in herself and couldn’t find it in any of the people who professed to love her.

Although Sharon and Ted’s trials are multiple, their love forms the crux of the novel. Such love reaches beyond time and space as we normally conceive them, to involve intersecting planes of existence that touch both past and future.

*******
While fiction, and centrally a love story, it is essentially true. My experiences teaching at CU Denver and the Episcopal Cathedral stick very close to the facts.

*******

The novel ends with a vision of meeting Sharon on the fields of eternity:

For a moment, my earthly sight blurred with tears, I glimpsed Sharon and me. We stood on fields of gold, there, where chronos meets kairos, and earthly time rolls into eternity.

Link to Amazon Reading the Signs page. Here you can examine the cover and read some pages of the book.

Signed copies are also available from me. See WRITING page of this site.

When Grief Becomes a Disorder

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

As M. Katherine Shear, MD, professor of psychiatry at the Columbia University School of Social Work, puts it: “Grief is not one thing. It is a shorthand word for a complex, time-varying experience that is unique for each person and each loss.”

There is no timetable for the healing process. “In general, grief usually evolves over time from an acute form that tends to dominate a person’s mind to an integrated form in which the core features of sadness and yearning are much more subdued,” Dr. Shear says. When those feelings persist or intensify, the result may be a condition known as complicated grief or prolonged grief disorder (PGD). As much as 10 percent of all bereaved people experience complicated grief.

Complicated grief is marked by “broad changes to all personal relationships, a sense of meaninglessness, a prolonged yearning or searching for the deceased, and a sense of rupture in personal beliefs,” according to the American Psychological Association.

People with complicated grief often experience chronic sleep disturbances and disruptions in their daily routine. Studies have found that they are at increased risk for hypertension, heart disease, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. They may “try to avoid confronting the intense pain associated with the loss and this, paradoxically, ends up increasing the pain and interfering with the natural adaptive process,” says Shear, who is director of Columbia’s Center for Complicated Grief.

More.

Is there anything more?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life
after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something
after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be
later.”

“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life
would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we
will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses
that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our
mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we
need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically
excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different
than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one
has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the
after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes
us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and
she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If
Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her.
It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not
exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t
exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus
and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her
loving voice, calling down from above.”

— Útmutató a Léleknek

Children who remember past lives

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

I am fascinated by such memories. For instance (from an Epoch Times story):

Beth Culpepper’s daughter, Carson, reported memories at a young age of what Culpepper thinks is her daughter’s past-life death in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

“If you die in a violent event, you can come back remembering your past life,” Culpepper said. Her daughter reports a memory of a man who drove his truck into a building, an explosion.

“I was scared. I wanted to know if there were other kids out there who had talked about the Oklahoma City bombing. When I went online I found there were a lot of families who have children who will have what they call spontaneous memories of past lives, but I did not find anybody else who has a child remembering Oklahoma at that point.

But it was still reassuring to see that other families had these spontaneous memories. I wasn’t the only one that their kids talked about living before.

More.

As those who know my dog books are aware, my current Afghan hound Melchior (Melkie) is, from much evidence, the third incarnation of my earlier Afghan hound Balthazar (Baltho), who came back to me for the second time in Hattie. Melkie’s cat Noir is Baltho’s cat-friend Figgy/Figaro back again. See my book Baltho, The Dog Who Owned a Man and the books which are to follow.

What Not To Say To Someone Grieving A Pet

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a pet, you know that the pain and grief is deep and real — and can even be overwhelming.

Despite that, grief over the loss of a pet is often not treated with the same respect or sensitivity as grief over the loss of a human.

More.

I’m doing more and more coaching and counseling around loss of animal as well as human companions, since I seem so well equipped by life experiences to deal with this. My popular book, Baltho, the Dog Who Owned a Man, and my other books all talk about this in one way or another.

People grieve because they love.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

From the Forever Family Foundation. I agree.

Traditional therapies are oriented to disconnect the bereaved from the ones they have lost, yet inside, that love tells them not to let go.

Could this be because our loved ones are still with us?

Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.

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