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Book Review - Experiencing the Next World Now

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2009-01-13 07:58:03     
Article by Henry Reed

Will we survive? Will global warming wipe us out? Will the U.S. government go bankrupt? Will New Orleans recover? Will an asteroid, a volcano, an earthquake, or tsunami destroy life as we know it? How much life support can we offer to a person in a vegetative state? Is there life after death? Tremulous times we live in, for sure, and in so many ways we face the question of survival. No wonder we seek comfort in miraculous reports of transformative miraculous near-death experiences and heart-warming stories of mediums reconciling the bereaved with the spirits of their relations recently passed over. We need to believe that life goes on. Wouldn't it be even better to know, from our own experience, that life continues beyond the death of the body?

It is such a quest that drove Michael Grosso, Ph.D., to explore how such experientially based knowledge might be obtained. In his book Experiencing the Next World Now (Paraview Pocket Books), he shares with us his discoveries, and they are worth examining. It would seem that we do have the ability to experience the afterlife now, even though it may require faith in one's intuitive abilities to trust the validity of the experience.

Grosso's exploration of the possibility of survival begins by reviewing the various human experiences that are suggestive of life after death: out-of-body experiences, ghosts, deathbed visions, mediumship, spirit photography, and memories of past lives, to name a few. Although, as he judiciously points out, these experiences fall short, to a logical mind, of actual proof of an existence after death, we should not underestimate their value in exciting our imagination and enhancing our intuitive sense of an afterlife.

He concludes, along with Edgar Cayce, the Tibetans, mystics and poets, among others, that it is our creative consciousness, our imagination that survives the death of the body. To quote the mystic artist-poet William Blake, "This world of Imagination is the world of Eternity, it is the divine bosom into which we shall all go after the death of the vegetative body." In other words, death is a change in consciousness.

Equipped with this understanding, Grosso then examines the various techniques, practices, and rituals developed over time to alter consciousness, so that the subliminal consciousness ordinarily hidden behind the veil becomes clearer in awareness. After examining shamanic ecstasy, lucid dreaming, and yogic practices, his explorations finally focus on cultivating the imagination to discover the inner experience of light. He concludes that becoming aware of the afterlife domain is ultimately a function of attention. Where attention points, there lies our experience. And where attention points, he notes, in agreement with Edgar Cayce and William James, is a function of our will.

Grosso's final chapter is not devoted to what you might expect. His focus on the use of the will takes him into the territory of daily life. Are we so much "in this world," he asks, that we have become too much "of this world"? He argues persuasively that our contemporary excesses of overeating and overwork block out the space needed to allow our subliminal imagination to bubble up with messages from that other world. He describes the experiences of those who practice fasting, of those who spend time alone, in silence, doing nothing, showing that glimpses beyond the veil are easy to come by to those whose brains are not overstimulated by TV, consumption, work, and socializing. What drives these earthbound behaviors? How can these compulsions be arrested, tamed, or redirected? He doesn't say, but I found an important clue in an earlier portion of his book, having to do with the impact of our judgments.

The spiritual traditions that advocate preparing oneself to become a conscious spirit that can migrate seamlessly into the afterlife emphasize the development of the imagination. The practices involve not simply learning to experience oneself more as an immaterial than a material being. They also require working to get beyond judgments, to reconcile opposites, to get beyond the sense of separation that judgment creates and that is supported by the materialistically bound physical senses. These judgments drive our eating and working beyond necessity. "Love and light," terms that sometimes seem clich├ęd in the New Age communities, eventually come to be experienced as the ultimate reality. Grosso quotes Al-Ghazzali the Sufi philosopher, "I owed my deliverance not to concatenations of proofs and arguments, but to the Light that God caused to penetrate my heart." So it would seem that the easiest bridge to the other side is to make time in our day, in our attention, in our awareness, not to the life outside us, but to that within.

Henry Reed, Ph.D., is on staff at Atlantic University He has been the prime designer of A.R.E.'s psychic development program, in its various aspects, for the past twenty some years. He is one of the trainers of A.R.E.'s most successful, and long running, psychic training conference, "The Edgar Cayce Legacy: Be Your Own Psychic." He developed A.R.E.'s program of evaluating psychics. He has published scientific articles on his research into intuition and psychic functioning. He is the author of Edgar Cayce on Awakening Your Psychic Powers, Edgar Cayce on Channeling Your Higher Self, and Your Intuitive Heart.

Specialized in: Book Review - Experiencing - Next World
URL: https://www.atlantic-university.org
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