A Site for the Expansion of Consciousness

Posts tagged ‘multidimensional self’

The Present Power of Past Lives: The Experts Speak


Hi, Everyone,

I am delighted to announce the publication of my new book,
The Present Power of Past Lives: The Experts Speak.

It is now available on Amazon!

In late 2013, I conducted a series of radio interviews on globally-based VoiceAmerica with experts in the field of past lives, past-life regression, and the expansion of consciousness. Based on those interviews and with additional materials, my book starts with my practices and tips for helping a client achieve a successful past-life regression and finding an appropriate regressionist.

After I interview three of my clients about the healing that past-life regression can provide, I discuss what Karma is and is not. In contrast to a time-bound, cause-and-effect mechanism that tends to focus on what amounts to predetermined punishment for transgressions committed earlier in the present or in a past life, I see a pattern of freely-chosen contracts/choices made with others to try out a different path.

Following the chapter on Karma are ten other chapters devoted to the different contexts in which practitioners have accessed past lives. See the Table of Contents below.

Through the text and Endnotes, I comment on what is presented in the interviews from the point of view of Seth, that “energy personality essence” channeled by Jane Roberts from 1963 to her death in 1984.

Making this perspective even more concrete are the interviews with two of Jane’s ESP students, Rich Kendall and the late Lawrence Davidson, who share what it was like to have Seth comment on several of their own past lives.

This book will appeal greatly to followers of Seth, those interested in the expansion of consciousness, those curious about past lives and related matters, and novice and experienced practitioners of past-life regression.

I hope you will purchase and read the book and, if you like it, write a review of the book on Amazon.


Table of Contents
Preface 13

Introduction 23

Chapter One: The Nature of Past-Life Regression and
Participants’ Stories 37

Chapter Two: Karma: What It Is and Is Not 57

Chapter Three: Past Lives and The Seth Material, Part 1: 70
An interview With Rich Kendall

Chapter Four: Children’s Past Lives: 89
An Interview with Carol Bowman

Chapter Five: Past Lives and Attached Entities: 111
An Interview with Greg McHugh

Chapter Six: Past-Life Regression and Shamanic Journeying: 130
An Interview with Dana Robinson and Shana Robinson

Chapter Seven: Past Lives and Soul Contracts: 151
An Interview with Linda Baker

Chapter Eight: Past-Life Regression for Intact Groups: 169
An Interview with Janet Cunningham

Chapter Nine: Past Lives and Natal Regression: 187
An Interview with Tim Simmerman-Sierra

Chapter Ten: Past-Life Regression to Capture Lost History: 205
An Interview with Joanna Prentis and Stuart Wilson

Chapter Eleven: Edgar Cayce and Past Lives in Atlantis: 225
An Interview with Nancy Eubel

Chapter Twelve: Past Lives and Life-Between-Lives: 241
An Interview with Dee Chips

Chapter Thirteen: Research on the Positive Effects of
Past-Life Regression: 259
An Interview with Heather S. Friedman Rivera

Chapter Fourteen: Past Lives and The Seth Material, Part 2: 275
An Interview with Lawrence Davidson

Postscript 288

Appendix I: Further Tips for Having a Productive Past-Life Regression 291

Appendix II: Grounding Exercises for Spiritual Journeying 295

Appendix III: Comparing Shamanism to Past-Life Regression 303

Appendix IV: Images and Words from Dr. Janet
Cunningham’s Book, A Tribe Returned 318

Bibliography 323

Guest Bios 332

Host and Author Bio 344

Chapter Notes 347



Seekers of expanded consciousness will revel in Dr. Joe Mancini’s compilation of cutting-edge work and key practitioners in the field today. As a talk show host, he takes the reader on a journey into other dimensions that offer new ways not only of healing ourselves, but also of recharging and reconfiguring our minds, hearts, physicality and spirituality. He dares to lead us into our own natal experiences, past lives and life between lives. He explores the Seth Material’s perspective on Karma, time and space and leaves the reader empowered with choice. This is a powerful book for novices and professionals alike!

Barbara Lane, Ph.D., CHt., is a past-life researcher and has regressed thousands (of people). Her work has been featured on TV, radio and in newsprint. (For over a decade, she served as hypnotherapist at George Washington University’s Center for Integrative Medicine in Washington, D.C.) Her most recent book is Celebrity Past-Life Clues: A Closer Look into the Past Lives of 50 Famous People.


This remarkable book, heavily influenced by the Seth material by Jane Roberts, is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the concept of past lives and their influence on the current existence. With a Harvard Ph.D. and other impressive degrees and certificates, including a specialization in Spiritual Hypnotherapy, Dr. Joseph Mancini Jr. has become a unique explorer into the past lives—and the implications of those lives—of many people. In crystalizing the concept through his own knowledge and the expertise of twelve practitioners whom he interviewed as host of a very popular radio show, Joe opens our own insights to a spectacular degree. This book is one-of-a-kind and not to be missed!

–Lynda Madden Dahl is Co-Founder of Seth Network International and author of eight, Seth-based books, including her Living a Safe Universe series.


Dr. Joe Mancini, Jr. takes the reader on a very interesting journey into not only past-life regression, but also, among other topics, Soul Contracts, Children’s Past Lives, Life-Between-Lives, Edgar Cayce’s Atlantis—all glossed through the perspectives of the Seth teachings. His book is a fascinating blend of interviews, case histories and even helpful hints about experiencing a past-life regression. Those new to metaphysics and professionals alike will benefit from this material.

Katherine Zimmerman is an internationally known author and speaker, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, and EFT Practitioner. She is the Director of the California Hypnotherapy Academy, a former guest lecturer for the University of California Medical Center, Davis and a conference presenter.


Through interviews with experts in the field, Dr. Joe explores a fascinating array of topics related to past-life research and past-life regression therapy, ranging from natal regression to the Interlife to the true meaning of Karma. Encompassing both personal accounts and professional perspectives, Dr. Joe delivers the equivalent of a full-length course in a single volume. Best of all, Dr. Joe locates these conversations within the framework of Seth’s teachings on the nature of reality. In so doing, he makes a substantive contribution to the body of secondary writings that support and extend the Seth Material.

Joyce Kilmartin, M.B.A., MTP, Ph.D. is a former corporate consultant and now

a transpersonal coach and counselor in Barrington, R.I.; she is also the author of Worldviews in Transition: Applying Three Models of Human Development to the Seth Texts, and the creator of the blog, “Seth Says: Worldly Advice From Out of This World.”


For any reader new to metaphysics, Dr. Joe Mancini, Jr. has done an excellent job focusing on a number of intriguing topics within spiritual counseling, hypnotherapy and past-life regression. Using the Seth Material and Past Lives as a helpful lens, Joe interviews experts who discuss important areas that do not typically receive a great deal of visibility. Topics include, among others, Soul Contracts, Attached Entities, Natal Regressions, Shamanic Journeying, Edgar Cayce and Atlantis, and Life Between Lives. Plus he offers a helpful discussion about the research into the positive benefits that can come from exploring one’s Past Lives. I heartily recommend this book to those who are eager to learn more about these fascinating topics.

Peter Wright is a Santa Barbara-based, Board-Certified, Past-Life Regression Therapist with 24 years of experience in this field.


I’m delighted and honored to review Dr. Joe Mancini’s marvelous achievement, The Present Power of Past Lives—What the Experts Say. Dr. Joe is a modern day “psychic archaeologist,” whose broad talents include his first-rate ability to help people access not only their past lives, but also their future, probable, and parallel lives while under deep hypnosis. We are all multidimensional beings; and, indeed, Dr. Joe’s subjects reveal a rich tapestry of vivid, past-life experiences, many of which allow the regressed the opportunity to explore their own inner landscape and permit the regressionist, Dr. Joe, the opportunity to balance their inner and outer spiritual needs as necessary.  Dr. Joe’s work offers unique insights into consciousness explorations via various hypnotherapy modalities as accepted means of assisting people who wish to explore their “past.” I feel that we owe Dr. Joe a debt of gratitude for bringing us, with the help of other experts he interviews, to the cutting edge of this exciting field. Go Joe!

–Ron Card is a retired photojournalist and a Seth presenter and practitioner who has read and applied the principals and philosophy of the Seth Material for over forty years.


As a practicing, certified, clinical hypnotherapist who specializes in past-life regression, I found Joe’s book not only insightful, but also compelling and greatly enjoyable.  Dr. Joe’s book lovingly furthers the conversation on reincarnation and the very real potentials for healing and learning in the present lifetime by including a wealth of perspectives from first-person experiences of past-life regression.  The Present Power of Past Lives—What the Experts Say is accessible and coherent, and is presented in a practical format, which is of use to both the clinician as well as lay explorers of consciousness.

Jeff Ennor, CCHT


Joseph Mancini’s new book is an exciting array of eclectic therapeutic disciplines. Comprising a broad selection of inspiring, thought-provoking information, this book appeals to a broad, avid readership for both the curious professional and the spiritually-oriented reader. Using the “Seth” material and past-life regression as the focal point, The Present Power… introduces some of “the worlds beyond our ordinary space-time reality,” e.g., prenatal regression, earth-bound entities, between-lives material, soul contracts and group reincarnation. Shared in the format of radio interviews, the amassed information is easily understood and has a nice flow. Curious professionals can glean a number of valuable techniques for expanded exploration. This book contains also an excellent section of clarifying notes interspersed with Seth material, as well as the therapeutic perspectives, beliefs, and findings of those professionals interviewed. Mancini’s book is a most welcome edition to the expanding field of transpersonal regression therapy.

–Albert Marotta, MA., CHt.


This book is one man’s journey through the fields and valleys of his intellect and intuition with the Seth material and his Self as his guides—as he explores the minds he meets and tries to answer metaphysical, psychological and practical questions for himself and all of us, questions concerning how the existence of simultaneous time and past and future lives expand our present awareness and identities, and greatly impact our present experiences.

Barrie Gellis is a teacher, poet and one of the original New York Boys in Jane Roberts’ Elmira ESP Seth Classes in the 1970s. Among Barrie’s 4,000 poems is the poetry book, Outside Is A Secret Key.



At the Crossroads of Beliefs

With a sigh and a shrug of her shoulders, she gazed down at her hands, her right index finger tracing circles on one of her jeans-clad thighs.  Slouched in the overstuffed chair opposite my own, she suddenly jerked her head up and said.  “But I’ve tried everything, and I still can’t find the perfect man for me…he just doesn’t exist!”  As she looked right at me, her eyes, imploring me for help, were filled with fear, sadness, anger, despair, and hope.

What I was seeing and hearing in front of me was not unusual in my hypnotherapy practice.  Heather* was typical of most individuals who came to me, desperate to understand how they could create change in their lives.  Certainly, I, myself, was not immune to the same quandary, but I had learned some truths about working through obstacles in order to move ahead.

In the last few years, many people, by watching The Secret and/or by reading books on manifestation and the Law of Attraction and/or by listening to speakers on the topic, have discovered keys to bring about some desired change.  Most writers agree that one key is setting an intention about what you seek; another key is “revving-up” the intention with emotion; and the final key is actually accepting what you asked for. A process that is simple…until it is not.  Throughout the manifestation process, trouble arises when the beliefs that are often hidden beneath our desires/intentions intersect at a crossroads and create cross purposes, a subject not often discussed in depth.  Before I can explain these conflicts of beliefs, I must first clarify what a belief is and is not.

The Nature of Beliefs

So, what are beliefs?  They are interpretations, translations, and assessments of Reality, but are not Reality Itself.  Because of the nature of our usual perceptual ability, which comprises the five senses, no perception/perspective/interpretation/translation/ assessment, even if it is positive and furthers our agenda, can capture the whole of Reality, which is infinitely multifaceted, frustrating any attempts to encompass it. Thus any belief is only one angle by which to perceive Reality.  While that angle or vantage point is valid as far as it goes—that is, it does indeed capture some aspect of Reality—nevertheless, it inevitably distorts what it captures since what it records is only part of a whole it cannot ascertain.

Think here about the conundrum of several blind men who meet an elephant for the first time: one, touching the elephant’s trunk, declares it to be snake-like.  Another, touching its huge ear, argues that the creature is shaped like an enormous wing.  Still another, touching one of its massive legs, insists that his compatriots are fools in not perceiving that the animal has an affinity with trees.  Each man’s physical blindness is, however, less important than its psychological counterpart; for each is blind to the fact that his version of the reality, while seemingly valid in its limited scope, does not encompass the whole.  As a result, each man inadvertently creates a misrepresentation of both the part and the whole, believing the part to be the whole; and each, if he believes the stakes are high enough, might actually fight to the death to defend his perception, believing it is the Truth, rather than only an imprecise and limited aspect of It.

Like the blind men, many of us do not actually see most of our beliefs or acknowledge them as such.  Think about when you could not find your car keys, only to notice, finally, that they were in one of your hands under the package you were also holding.  Or remember the last time you were looking all over your desk for a particular envelope that you ultimately found right in front of you.  Or what about your glasses that, strangely enough, were on top of your head the entire time you were frantically searching for them. Why couldn’t you notice these items?  The answer is that your limiting beliefs about where they could be literally blinded you to the “obvious” whereabouts of these artifacts.  For instance, you might have believed that you left your keys somewhere in one of the places you looked for them—in no way could you believe you were holding them in virtually plain sight.  As for the envelope, well, you believed, knew without a doubt, that the envelope was the brown, 9” X 11” type.  As you scanned your workplace with this belief, this template of perception, the white, business-size envelope right in front of you did not fit this template and so was literally not seen.  And those glasses—well, you never, ever place them on the top of your head; and thus that location isn’t part of the search, even though part of your scalp is actually feeling the pressure from the clinging temples.  Such beliefs actually keep us from seeing all that is before us, including the very existence of the beliefs as such.  In the examples above, it never occurs to you that you are searching for things through a limiting belief, one that filters out what does not fit its parameters.  You simply know that you are open to everything around you—to think otherwise is just plain crazy….uh huh!

Moreover, we very often do not recognize any one belief as an interpretation of reality because each one is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Because the belief allows us to perceive only that which it focuses on, what it focuses on validates the belief as the Truth, rather than just a perspective on the Truth.  You see what you believe, and then believe what you see.  With its subjective, inadequate spotlight, the belief does not illuminate any data that would disconfirm its validity as the Truth.  So the young lady in my office complaining about not finding “the perfect man” is actually telling her truth; for her limiting beliefs—about what such a man would be like or how able she is to attract him—never allow her to see him, even if he were to sit beside her on a park bench.  Her reality comprises only that which her limiting beliefs allow her to perceive.  Like one of the blind men adamant about his conception of the elephant, she is, in effect, trapped in that portion of Reality framed by her beliefs.  And thus her beliefs are so constantly reinforced/validated that she would be thoroughly shocked to discover that Reality is quite different from what she thought It was.

Ontological Shock and Disconfirmed Beliefs

In fact, the shock might be so great that she refuses, momentarily or permanently, to accept the disconfirmation.  In such a case, to accept that Reality is so substantially dissimilar from what she has held as the Truth would necessitate a complete reconfiguration, a change of identity, of both self and the world.  Other people, when faced with an even greater disconfirmation, might fear losing their sanity if what they deem sane is identified by an authoritative other as a limiting belief.  In Passport to the Cosmos, one of two books he wrote on alien encounters and abductions, John E. Mack, M.D, the late Harvard psychiatrist, uses the term “ontological shock” to describe the experience that many abductees go through at the moment when they can no longer deny that what they have undergone is in some way real” (p. 52).  He goes on to note that “A worldview….is a source of security and a compass to guide us.  For an individual it holds the psyche together.  To destroy someone’s worldview is virtually to destroy that person….People who present ideas that seriously challenge a worldview are punished—by death for heresy in the past and now by ridicule, debunking, and efforts to destroy their reputation” (p. 34).

While most of us do not have to face this particular encounter with a much more complex reality, nevertheless, such psyche-altering situations happen quite frequently to us in a vast array of physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually traumatic situations.  Even the normal transitions between life stages, such as adolescence, mid-life, and old age, can trigger huge shocks that may or may not result in positive transformations.  The ontological shock is such because the worldview, often called a paradigm, is not just one belief, but rather a series of layered/interlocking beliefs that govern most of what we experience.  Thus, these intertwined beliefs are mutually reinforcing and create a seemingly impenetrable thicket or matrix, which is fiercely defended. No wonder some of my hypnotherapy clients react with a degree of hostility to my efforts to show them that their limiting beliefs about identity and Reality frustrate their getting what they say they want.

Such was the case with Heather, who had cast herself as the all-suffering victim of some outside force that refused to bring her what she consciously, seriously thought was her greatest desire.  Even after I actively, empathically listened to her account of innumerable strategies she had employed to seek out her beloved, she reacted with narrowed eyes, slightly clenched fists and even an air of condescension to my wondering if she was missing something in her analysis.  For hadn’t she just provided me with unassailable proof that what she said she wanted was actually what she wanted?

The Multi-Dimensional Self: “Parts-of-Me” vs. “I”

What I had next to do was to explain, gently, the notion of the multi-dimensional self, the idea that the self is not unitary, but rather a gathering of many aspects that sometimes function in unison and sometimes not.  Using common examples—from her trying to decide what type of ice cream she wants today to choosing what educational institution she wants to attend—I demonstrated to Heather how all of us constantly make choices between one wish, inclination, or desire and at least one other.  The fact that we have to choose so often between two or more directions strongly suggests that there are competing yearnings and therefore competing parts of the psyche, each of which has its own structure of beliefs.  Unfortunately, when Heather (or anyone else) tends to speak with “I” as the subject of her sentences, she fosters the illusion that she is univocal and that, therefore, there could be no inner conflict.  When I asked her to speak instead with “part-of-me” as the subject, she at first resisted and then complied, sensing that that construction was more accurate.  She reluctantly came to understand that there might be other inner perspectives not totally in alignment with that part she labeled “I.”

To illustrate more concretely what I was suggesting to her, I told her the story of a young man who came to me many years ago when I was a traditional therapist.  A vibrant, good-looking man of 32, Jerry* had been divorced about a year and a half before he came to see me.  He was managing fairly well as a single father of two boys, 8 and 10, though sometimes  felt overwhelmed.  What Jerry was not managing well was his love life.  Feeling ready to begin dating again, he described himself as “quite horny,” but could not find anyone with whom to begin a relationship.   Just after his divorce was final, in order to help himself get grounded and focused, Jerry committed to a church which he really enjoyed, except for one thing: there was a prohibition on pre-marital sex.  A conundrum of the highest order, to say the least!

As I listened, I wondered what this conflict of yearnings and the beliefs that sustained them would bring to him.  A week later Jerry announced that he had met an incredibly beautiful woman—a picture he showed me of her underlined that fact—who was very sexy and wanting to make love to him.  He might have succumbed to her charms, except for one problem; she belonged to the same church that frowned on premarital dalliances!  After a while, the sexual/spiritual tension was too great, and they split up.  A couple of weeks later Jerry proclaimed that he had met another woman, who was nearly as attractive as the first woman, who was ready to have sex, and who did not belong to that church.  Once again he might have chosen sex over his religious affiliation, but—you guessed it!—another problem arose when she disclosed to him that she was a single mother of three boys.  The thought of managing five boys was more than overwhelming, and Jerry said goodbye to her also.

Had all of these occurrences not been so painful to Jerry, I would have shared my amusement with him.  What happened to him was a perfect illustration of the Law of Attraction: you get what you focus on.  Since he focused on both celibacy and sexual attraction, he received in his experience with each woman a combination of both desires/beliefs.

This un-integrated, unresolved combination of conflicting wishes/beliefs caused Jerry much anguish; he felt victimized, extremely frustrated and overrun by something he could not understand.  But, with some gentle prompting from me, he soon began to discern his competing needs and beliefs; still, we both sensed something else lying beneath this conflict of desires.  As we turned our focus to how he felt about his divorce, it was not long before Jerry realized that he had felt so blown away by his wife’s betrayal in having an affair for several years that he made a half-conscious decision not to get close to another woman again, fearing a repetition of the infidelity.  Hence the conflict between sex and celibacy served Jerry’s underlying belief that he should not get deeply involved with a woman again.  When we explored further his near-phobia of intimacy, we found still more global, limiting and obstructing beliefs, such as the “fact” that all women (including his mother) betray men, the “fact” that all women (like his other girlfriends) use sex for control, and the “fact” that all men (including his father and uncle) eventually fall victim to women’s machinations.  Though I do not recall if we checked for the influence of beliefs he may have imported from one or more past lives, they would certainly be another source of relevant, limiting beliefs, such as the idea that the world is not a safe place.

Despite his initial bewilderment, once he became more open, Jerry saw that it was relatively easy to find those conflicting beliefs that prevented him from getting what he consciously said he wanted.  As Jane Roberts’ Seth repeatedly says in his dictated books, for the most part, these beliefs are not deeply hidden in the subconscious, but are instead mostly conscious and relatively easy to access if we learn to step back, change focus and have the courage to ask what inner perspective may be getting in the way of our getting what we say we want.  However, such access will not seem easy if we refuse to believe that opposing beliefs exist—how can they exist if we believe the self is univocal? Operating from the belief that the self has one voice, Jerry, at the outset, did not even look for a competing belief/self.

Nor are we likely to see these beliefs if they are self-reinforcing (as explained above) or if we see through them as though they were glasses.  Those of us who wear glasses often forget we have them on, even if they are tinted sunglasses!  All glasses distort the world we see, either to allow us to perceive something we would not otherwise see as with prescription lenses; or to appear “cool” or to hide; or to protect our eyes from sunlight; or to give a “color,” tone, mood to what we observe.  In each case, the distortion serves a purpose just as all beliefs serve purposes that seem positive until they are not.  Even when the distortions that are beliefs serve a useful purpose, problems inevitably arise when we forget we are deliberately distorting reality or seeing only one aspect of it.  What we need is the reminder that the right side mirror on most vehicles provides.  Inscribed on the mirror itself is the caution: “Objects are closer than they appear.”  In order to provide the driver with a greater field of vision, the mirror is shaped to show objects farther away than they are; but, to prevent an accident, the mirror reminds us that the useful distortion is still a distortion.

So, in summary, we often do not notice those beliefs that obstruct our getting what we say we want because: 1) We say that what we perceive is reality and not just a perspective on reality; 2) We see only what the belief allows us to see, and thus it is self-reinforcing and blinds us to disconfirming data; 3) Beliefs interlock with one another and become woven into our identity, which we do not want to change; 4) Many of us tend to think of the self as one-dimensional, instead of multi-faceted and thus use “I” when “part of me” is often a more accurate subject of many sentences we say about ourselves; 5) Many of us are sure that, if there are, indeed, competing beliefs, they are beyond reach in the deep subconscious; 6) Even when we are aware that beliefs may distort Reality, we usually eventually forget that fact.

We Create Our Own Reality (Even Our Not Getting What We Say We Want)

The biggest obstacle to getting what we say we want is, however, not knowing or not being willing to know (and function from) the fact that we create our own reality.  Seth has said that this fact is one of three statements he has made that is not in any way distorted by Jane Roberts’ channeling, and is, therefore, not really a belief, but rather a true reflection of All That Is.  Seth calls it a “primary” or “basic” reality, one operative in every system of reality/consciousness. Whether we open to this fact consciously or not, we still create every bit of what we experience, even our not getting what we say we want.  At every moment, we walk into the materialization of our thoughts, beliefs and emotions, whether they are in alignment with each other or not, and explore them, consciously or not, from the inside.  Becoming fully aware of this truth enables us to be totally conscious creators of our worlds.  To accept the fact that we create our own reality with no exceptions is deeply empowering; it allows us immediately to understand that, notwithstanding what we consciously intend, what comes to us is always, at the very least, the co-creation of all of our inner selves that are in or not in alignment with each other.

Yet, even those individuals open to the fact of self-creation often hedge here or there, thinking and acting as if some areas of our experience are not designed and generated by us.  To hedge like this is to disempower ourselves in many ways, including limiting our ability to see all the other obstacles listed above that get in the way of what we say we want.  Sometimes we show our hedging in the way we discuss how our intentions operate.  For instance, a short while ago, a beloved soul companion said something to me that I have heard often from others: “What if what we put out there is not what is supposed to happen?  Then what happens?”  Implied in this sentence construction, whether the speaker intended it or not, is the notion that there is something like God or the Soul, that ultimately “calls the shots.”  In one of Jane Roberts’ ESP classes in the ‘70s, Seth said:

You form the reality that you know, not esoterically, not symbolically, and not philosophically. Some great over soul doesn’t form it for you- you cannot put the burden there, either. You have in the past, collectively and individually, blamed a god or a fate for the nature of your personal realities – those aspects, indeed that you did not like.

The personality is given the greatest gift of all; you get exactly what you want to get. You create from nothing the experience that is your own. If you do not like your experience, then look within yourself and change it. But realize also that you are responsible for your joys and triumphs, and that the energy to create any of these realities comes from the inner self. What you do with it is up to the individual  personality.

In saying that the inner self (i.e., the Soul, the Divine aspect of each of us) provides the personality with a flow of energy for creation, Seth is declaring that that flow may have a general direction, but it is ultimately directed by the personality (with its many parts/egos), who may even direct the flow against the flow. Thus the Divine or Soul aspect does not hold the trump card.  And that is so because the personality has free will!  If we did not have free will, our personality self(ves) would be robotic and learn absolutely nothing to develop the Soul and contribute to the Divine.  The Divine aspect of who we are needs our personality self(ves) to be free-will explorers at the edge of what is known by the Soul; thus, even “detours” from the main line of development facilitated by the Soul aspect can provide knowledge, including, at the very least, information about why that route is not entirely useful to pursue.

In a rough analogy, the Soul is like the voice in my GPS that offers me the most expeditious route to my destination, given the time of day, one-way streets, the traffic situation and other parameters at that particular moment.  (Some GPS systems, like the one on the Apple iPhone present “equifinality,” giving three possible routes, each with the same outcome, but with a different experience, e.g., most scenic route, one that is quickest, or one that bypasses something.)  As the driver, no matter my reason (including just being “defiant” as I sometimes am!), I have the freedom to ignore the GPS voice, which, however, will continue to offer me new opportunities to reach my goal in the quickest, least problematic way.  Again, any so-called detour will always provide some new experience even if it might be relatively more onerous and takes longer to achieve the goal.  The Soul acts in just this way vis-à-vis the personality, though it does not give up after a while, as does the GPS voice!

Knowing What We Want: The First Step to Getting What We Want

Given the information about the nature of beliefs, the multi-dimensional self, and the fact that we create our own reality, how do we intentionally bring to us what we want?  The first step, as I noted early in this post, is to set the intention; but to do that, we have to know clearly, unequivocally, what we want.  And such knowing is not as easy as some people might think.  For, as I have shown with the case of Jerry, when we are searching for what we want, often several parts of us vie for dominance in choosing what is desired.  In fact, if we are not getting what we think we want, there is no doubt that an inner interplay of conflicting, obstructing forces is operating.

There are several hypnotic processes that can facilitate awareness and resolution of this kind of conflict.  One is past-life regression during which the individual’s subconscious is asked to take the person’s awareness back to a time when some vow or decision (even about the degree of ones worthiness or about whether ones actions in a prior life can be forgiven) was made that now, in the present incarnation, if the vow is accepted by the current personality, inhibits action/intention in a certain conscious direction.  For instance, an individual who believes he wants to set up a practice as a psychic recalls a vow never to do so, a determination made at the end of a lifetime in which he misused his psychic gifts or was murdered for speaking of esoteric truths.  Or a woman who desires a career as a gymnast recalls a past life in which, as a child swinging joyously on tree limbs, she slips and falls, breaking many bones in her body.  In each case, to bring that part of the individual that is still fearful or doubtful into alignment with the aspiring part requires a new perspective, e.g., the individual may simply acknowledge that circumstances in the present life are far more advantageous and thus limiting vows are no longer needed; or may alter the outcome of the past life to a much more positive, less inhibiting ending; or may change the fearful part’s role from anticipating terror to prescribing caution.

A related process is to go back to the Interlife when plans were being made by the personality with or without other personalities for the upcoming life.  At least two primary modalities are possible here: the first is Michael Newton’s Life Between Lives Hypnotherapy, a thorough, but very long process that allows the individual in trance to examine not only the pre-conception contract, but also many other aspects of the Interlife.  A much briefer, though still effective process developed by David Quigley, the creator of Alchemical Hypnotherapy, leads the individual in trance directly to the contract he or she made with another individual or with God/Higher Self, a contract that has proved exceedingly burdensome and inhibiting of progress toward what the individual now wants.  When the contract is with another individual or small group, the person seeking a change in the contract needs to “clean up” what caused the contract to be made in the first place; he or she then does a replay of the contracting experience more in keeping with what the person presently wants.  The person, in trance, then communicates the new contract to the other individual who may or may not accept it; if the new contract is not accepted, the person who desires change will either renegotiate or completely end the contract.   If the contract is made with God or the Higher Self, the petitioner, in trance, engages that Entity in a dialogue, hoping to end or at least mitigate the terms of the contract, especially if most of the lessons have been learned or if the purpose of the contract can be served in less painful and inhibiting ways.

Another hypnotic process to facilitate clear intention is what NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) practitioners do every time they assist an individual to sumount blocks to achievement: they ask the subconscious if every part of it agrees to the change.  This is called “checking ecology” (the degree of integration of parts in the psychic environment) in such NLP modalities as 6-Step Reframe. A part that disagrees is summoned to image itself in the individual’s inner world in a symbolic way that reflects what/who it is.  The part is then asked what its positive intention is in frustrating the forward movement of the individual.  Always framing the intention as positive allows the part to feel heard and respected.  The individual is then asked to summon his or her creative part to help the inhibiting part to accomplish its intention for the psyche without the present negative side effects.  If the inhibiting part accepts the new way of accomplishing its goal, the individual then once again checks the ecology of his inner world of parts until there are no objections.

Negotiating with inner parts/subpersonalities to achieve an agreed-upon intention is the overall object of various other parts therapies, such as Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis, Gestalt therapy, Hal Stone & Sidra Winkelman’s Voice Dialogue, and David Quigley’s Conference Room.  Each of these therapies emphasizes some inner dynamics over others, e.g., Gestalt’s focus on Top Dog/Under Dog, Voice Dialogue’s concentration on the Inner Critic, and Quigley’s spotlight on the Inner Child.   But all of these modalities agree that the psyche is multi-dimensional and thus all aspects/parts/subpersonalities must be in alignment for the person to consciously set an unequivocal intention for what he or she truly wants.  (Byron Katie’s modality, called “The Work,” while not a form of parts therapy, is also useful in questioning the validity of limiting beliefs, in effect deconstructing them so that room is left for other, more expansive beliefs to emerge.)

Emotionalizing What We Want: The Second Step to Getting What We Want

Once all the parts agree with each other as to what the intended outcome is to be, that intention requires some “juice,” which is accomplished by adding emotion to the mix.  No matter how clear the intention, without our emotionalizing it, the intention loses its power to materialize.  While some individuals might think such a prerequisite is onerous, they might pause a moment to reflect on what would happen if this requirement were not operating: in that case, every thought and whim, with or without emotion, would be immediately materialized, creating infinite chaos.

As Seth has said many times in his books, every thought, no matter how small or insignificant, has an electromagnetic reality.  Thoughts, then, are “things” of greater or lesser substantiality or energy.  If every thought were amped up and materialized to the same degree, it would be impossible to have any meaningful experience on the Earth plane because of lack of discrimination, prioritization, and overall organization.  When we are outside of this plane, our creations are instantaneous, but not substantial in the way manifestations show up on this plane; in the Other World, then, we are better equipped to deal with such creations.  However, we cannot learn in the Other World what we can learn here, where creation is slowed down so we can become much more aware of and responsible for what we bring into being.  Here we have time to think twice or thrice about our choices; fortunately, for most of us, wanting to “kill” someone who has hurt you does not immediately translate into action as you cool down and understand your emotions.  In a less dramatic scenario, for instance, my client, Heather, has time to thwart her growing desire to “swear off” men before she becomes an emotional hermit.

However, if Heather keeps repeating to herself that she wants to “swear off” men, then what amounts to a hypnotic auto-suggestion becomes more potent, more emotionalized through that repetition.  Repetition is a key way to emotionalize and energize, for it produces a trance, a framework of beliefs, that is self-reinforcing because of the aforementioned nature of beliefs to blind one to disconfirming data.  In Heather’s case, her emotionalizing and energizing her limiting beliefs is mostly unconscious and productive of misery.  Yet, if she was aware of emotionalizing and energizing a more expansive belief about her possibilities with men, she would more likely get what she says she wants.  Moreover, if her emotionalizing is accompanied by her concretely imagining with all of her senses what she wants (what Neuro-Linguistic Programming calls “future pacing”) she will truly experience herself as a conscious co-creator with All That Is.

Still, if we have to add emotion and energy to our intention, that effort implies that we did not do as good a job as we could have in seeking the input of all of our parts about our intended outcome.  If all of the parts had agreed, the emotionalizing and energizing of the intention would have been automatic because at least one or more of the parts would amp up intentions.  In doing “parts work,” we often overlook one or more parts who may be afraid to exercise their powers (for fear of some retribution), or may be hiding to gain and exercise power behind the scenes, or are being repressed by other parts who speak louder and more insistently.

To rectify this situation, we must go back to any of the modalities outlined above, e.g., past-life regression, contract work with others or with God/Higher Self, Gestalt therapy, Voice Dialogue, NLP ecology work, Psychosynthesis, or the Conference Room.  In parts therapies, we must ask directly, “Is there anyone here who objects to giving energy to this intention?”  As when we are asking about the intention itself, parts may reveal themselves and “speak” through body sensations (e.g., itches, sharp or dull pain, stomach rumblings, sudden desire to sneeze or cough, curious smell) or through images that suddenly surface in the mind’s eye.  We then dialogue with the part, which may respond with further images, body sensations, inner voices or automatic writing.  Once again, some negotiating needs to take place with the help of other parts to bring the dissenting part on board.  Occasionally, in doing such dialoguing, a spontaneous regression to a past life or the past in this life (or even to the future or the Interlife) may occur as a response demonstrating the part’s objection.  One can also ask the part directly when it was “born,” when it came into being a dissenter.  For instance, in the case of Jerry, the part that objects to intimacy with a woman may have been born in this life, when he saw the effects on his father of his mother’s infidelity. Or that part may have been born in response to a past life in which his female past-life persona was the “other woman” in a marriage.

Receiving What We Want: The Third and Final Step to Getting What We Want

So let’s say that your intention is clear and energized, and you focus on it repeatedly.  That should do it, right?  Uh, no, those conditions are not enough for complete manifestation of your desire.  You need to be open fully to receive what you asked for.  Many of us are not.  The adage, “Be careful what you ask for—you may get it!” is operative here.   Whenever I discuss this part of the manifestation process with clients, I often get looks of utter shock, of profound disbelief that I could say something so…stupid!  “Why wouldn’t I want it?” says the typical doubter with annoyed condescension.   When I broached this perspective with Heather, her narrowed eyes and tight lips told me she was containing her anger, concluding that I am downright crazy.

But I am not (at least not in that way!).  Yet, I can understand how Heather could wonder about my mental stability, given how much time, effort, and tears she expended to create what she says she wants.  When she came down from her haughty perch, however, I reminded her of the phenomenon of ontological shock, which I first discussed relative to ones finding out that the universe is far more complex than one had thought.   Now, in this final phase of the manifestation process, ontological shock may emerge once again when some part of the individual realizes that a great deal may have to change in his or her environment and in himself or herself–even his/her identity!–if the manifestation is truly embraced.  For instance, Heather would have to see herself as an empowered woman instead of as a victim, as someone honestly open to intimacy instead of someone pursuing what she is also secretly afraid of because it is so foreign.  We tend to stay with our old, even painful limiting beliefs because they are frequently more “comfortable” than the more expansive ones that nevertheless often seem very strange, if not downright alien to our usual way of showing up in the world.  Remember what Hamlet said, “Our present fears are less than horrible imaginings.”  Or recall the saying, “The Devil I know is better than the Devil I don’t know!”

Unfortunately, many individuals like Heather will not believe my warning until they have a real chance of getting what they want.  Then, suddenly, they don’t have the time to receive something new because of an impending physical relocation for a job, a sudden illness, or, as in Heather’s situation, the reemergence of an old, but toxic lover.  What has really happened is that still another part of the psyche has been ignored, not adequately seen or consulted, or downright repressed.  What needs to be heard is that part’s beliefs about the internal and external changes likely to occur if the individual gets what she/he says she wants.

Once again, to make contact with the part that holds off acceptance requires doing some of the same parts work I outlined for the other two steps of the manifestation protocol, and/or doing contract renegotiation, and/or investigating past-life (and future-life) situations.  In doing past-life regression, for instance, Heather may discover that she is hesitant in this life to embrace full intimacy because, in a past-life, her soul-mate may have died soon after she married him, or because she may have experienced a conflict between marrying someone and an opportunity to travel the world experiencing multiple, very different relationships that made her feel immensely and exotically desired.  Whatever part is objecting to embracing what the person wants and receives must be respected and dialogued with if there is to be total alignment of all the aspects of the individual.

Only then is the manifestation process complete.  Only then at the crossroads of beliefs is the traffic managed properly and thus allowed to flow without obstruction.

*Names are changed to protect privacy.

Ultimate Presence

There he stood with a curious grace, all 230+ lbs of him, dressed in shaggy, faded blue jeans, a red-and-blue plaid shirt with short sleeves rolled up even shorter and, low on his brow, a dark blue baseball cap, the arch of its visor matching the curve of the friendly smirk brightening up his face.  “I don’t teach dogs how to sit, stay, roll over and all that stuff,” he said, the smirk transforming into a wide, confident and infectious grin as his audience of dog owners struggled to keep their variously-sized charges from lunging at each other and now wondered if they had come to the right training class.  Obviously enjoying his showstopper as he swept his gaze from one side of the room to the other, he then said with slow emphasis, “I teach them…how to be.”

His name is Dave,* a very wise man seemingly disguised as a hillbilly, good ol’ boy.  Though his words oddly resonated deep within me, and probably within many of the nine other humans there, his impact on the dogs was even more pronounced.  A couple of the larger canines, a chocolate-brown, slobbering Lab and another that was a cross probably of a Boxer and a Pit Bull, were nearly dragging their frustrated, even somewhat frightened owners off their chairs and toward the man they wanted to eat raw.  Without flinching, Dave instructed each owner to dig in his or her heels and hold tight the leashes; then he faced each bared-tooth animal and snapped a command, “Ou(t)!”  It was the word “out,” but without the “t,” a vibration, he explained later, that was the archetypal sound of the mother dog directed at her wayward pups.  Within literally a second, these seemingly ferocious dogs were sitting, panting happily, then tranquilly lying down and gazing up at the man they now loved and licked as he stroked each of them behind its ears.  Puzzled, even awed expressions took over the human faces around the room.

A miracle?  No, simply a manifestation of presence.  Dave has his techniques, but what he has most is the way he is, the way he shows up in the world, at least when connecting with dogs and their owners.

So, what is this powerful quality that most people know when they encounter it, but nevertheless have trouble articulating?  This post is an exploration of the many aspects of presence, from the most common attributes to what I believe is its ultimate expression.

Most dictionaries will agree that someone manifesting presence truly, really exists here and now, close by in time and space, and has an air or aura of self-assurance, poise, coolness, equanimity, unflappability, and an overall powerful, sometimes dignified and in control (as opposed to “controlling”) bearing and comportment.  (see http://www.thefreedictionary.com/presence) The legal definition of presence adds to this portrait; an individual is present or displays presence only when he or she is truly capable of giving consent, when he or she personally acknowledges something as valid, or when he or she is “constructively present” through valid representation by a designated party. (see http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/presence).  And presence is even important in understanding how we now connect electronically with each other.  “In an instant messaging (IM) system, [presence] is the status of a person’s current availability (online, idle, offline, etc.)….”Rich presence” implies conveying more information about the user’s current status, including type of device being used and its operating environment, location and local time of user and any other messages the user might wish to announce (http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/presence).

Putting much of the above together gives us a fuller portrait of the individual manifesting presence: he or she (to repeat) truly, really exists here and now, close by in time and space, is truly focused and undistracted, and has an air or aura of self-assurance, poise, coolness, equanimity, unflappability, and an overall powerful, sometimes dignified and in control (as opposed to “controlling”) bearing and comportment. In addition, the individual displaying presence is choice-full, fully empowered to give his or her consent and validation to anyone representative of him or her, and clear and communicative about whether he can be or is fully present at any one time.

Dave certainly exhibited many of the features listed above as he managed the canines.  And he displayed another quality of someone with presence: the ability to elicit the same state in those near him; the dogs immediately recognized his ability to free them from their own distractibility and fears and thus to encourage them to be focused and present in their natural, loving state.

Presence as the Authentic Self

Here I am reminded of two other men I had encountered many years ago when I was a soldier in Vietnam.  One was the epitome of someone without presence; the other was the quintessence of it.   In 1970, I was sent from advanced Army training in the States to the 3rd Squadron, Fifth Calvary (I do not remember the regiment, etc.) operating from Dong Ha, eight miles below the DMZ.  Though I was supposed to be a tank crewman operating in the “boonies” for three months at a time, my education helped me get a job as an Operations Clerk in the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) located in a bunker twelve feet below ground near the center of the compound.  In case the enemy breached the perimeter, which was about five hundred feet away from the TOC, a main target of the enemy, everyone was assigned a defensive position.  Mine was near the top step of the only entry into and only exit from the TOC.

During the day, from this vantage point, I could see the officer’s hootch (quarters); among its occupants was the Executive Officer (XO), a major, who fancied himself as the reincarnation of Patton.  At least several times a week, when he was in from the field, he would strut around the TOC, much to the repressed laughter of the other personnel, including me.   Invariably, he wore a shiny helmet, which he may or may not have exchanged for a dull one in the field so as not to become an enhanced target for an enemy bullet.  Clinging to the helmet was a set of goggles, even though these were not important in an environment without the extreme dust Patton had encountered in North Africa.  Around his neck, the XO had tied a yellow cravat, meticulously arranged to match the scrupulously starched uniform he wore, complete with jodhpurs—after all, wasn’t the tank corps the modern equivalent of the cavalry?  Moreover, he wore his jodhpurs “bloused” (tucked) into his always spit-polished boots in the way only paratroopers were allowed to wear their trousers during the War.  I have a dim remembrance of at least one pearl-handled pistol holstered at the hip.   And, topping off this elegant regalia, was a riding crop, one end of which he used to slap an open palm as he swaggered around the TOC.  I always wondered if he occasionally used it to slap the tank turret to make the machine go faster.  And I wondered also if this distracting, preposterous posturing had ever gotten one of his men maimed or killed.

One night around 1:30 a.m. while I was working alone, later than I usually did, in the TOC, the dreaded siren sounded, alerting us to a possible breach in the “wire.”  As I clamped on and fastened my helmet, shouldered my flack jacket, grabbed my M16 and flew up the stairs to my assigned position, I suddenly realized that I had not been given any rules of engagement.  These rules regulate when to fire and where, a crucial issue given that I would not be able to distinguish foe from friend in the darkness that descended when the compound lights were deliberately doused to deny illumination for the enemy.  In my utter fright at the possibility of my first firefight, I chambered a round, crouched down and waited for I knew not what.

Suddenly, the door to the officer’s hootch burst open, and out hobbled the XO, constricted by his untied boots whose laces provided him with a major opportunity to fall on his face.  Still shiny, his helmet lay cockeyed on his head, unfastened, a dangerous situation when one may be facing imminently the abrupt, physical movements of combat.  Covering his torso was a regulation Army T-shirt, which I soon realized was inside out.  As for his trousers—well, he had none on…which allowed anyone interested to view his shorts decorated with huge, red polka dots.  In his right hand he grasped a .45 pistol, which he waved nervously in my face after he had finally shuffled and crouched his way to me.  “What’s going on?” he said, terror flooding his eyes.  “Where the f— is everyone?”

Though I had been nearly shaking in my own fear, I could barely suppress my laughter and disgust at my superior officer’s total lack of presence.  As I was about to respond, from around the mound that was the top of the TOC came the Commanding Officer (CO).  Dressed in a dull helmet and in Army fatigues distinguished only by his camouflaged, colonel insignia sewn on the shoulders, the CO was the portrait of leadership.  His broad shoulders and erect stature were an outward manifestation of his inner commanding presence.  Barely suppressing his anger and repugnance at the nearly sniveling XO, he said, “Go put on your pants!!  Get the hell out of here!”  Away scurried the XO while, again, I could hardly contain my amusement; yet, immediately, I grew fearful once more, wondering what the CO would now say to me.

I met his gaze, which was stern but not unfriendly.  After a moment, he calmly said, “Son, do you have a round chambered?”  “Yes, sir,” I said, waiting for the reprimand.  “Give me the rifle,” was all he said.  After taking the weapon from me, he quickly ejected the round, then handed it back and said, “Don’t chamber another round until I tell you.”  And off he walked into the darkness.

Thankfully, the siren soon stopped, a false alarm.  Along with my relief, I felt a renewed strength, as well as a certain awe and inspiration.  By the CO’s model in the moment, I developed a growing sense of my own presence.  And, though I had and have no love for war, I would have followed this CO into battle.   In his bearing, authority, attention, understanding, fairness, and discernment about what was going on for each of his soldiers, he was manifesting an irresistible presence, unlike the XO who was inauthentic and, in short, a fake not to be respected or followed—by the way, I never saw him again after that night!  In Leadership Presence, Halpern and Lubar say about the leader with the CO’s presence: “The world sees him as secure and fully comfortable with himself; he never tries to be someone or something he’s not.”

Presence as Improvisation

Halpern and Lubar note that presence is also “the ability to be completely in the moment [conquering fear, distraction, and pressure in ones daily performance] and flexible enough to handle the unexpected.”  This description further describes the CO and Dave, while revealing an aspect of presence that suggests its even deeper roots.  Halpern and Lubar are here describing presence in terms of improvisation, the process of staying in the moment while being open to and making use of whatever is available or emerges.  An individual can practice improv only if he or she is totally in the here and now and thus observant of everything not only around him or her, but also within in terms of all the mental, emotional, and physical assets he or she has.  Such a person is like a tennis player totally focused with heightened sensitivity and receptivity, waiting for the opponent’s serve, and balancing on the balls of the feet, ready to move back, forward, to either side, or up or down to connect with the slammed ball that may land anywhere in his field of responsibility.

Yet, this is possible only if the player first recognizes both the expansive beliefs that help him or her discover and tune into various kinds of inner power and also those limiting beliefs that constrict his or her sense of self and thus the depth and fullness of his or her presence.  In short, to actualize all of the qualities already listed and still others that inform presence, the individual must continually grow, that is, develop more and more awareness of all that he or she truly is.

A case in point is the stuttering King George VI, informally known to his family (and soon his voice coach, Lionel Logue) as Bertie.  In The King’s Speech, Bertie at first believes his stutter is congenital until Logue, with much effort, persuades him to see that his upbringing by an angry father, cold mother, physically hurtful nanny, and teasing brother inhibited his expressing himself and caused him to develop limiting beliefs about who he is and his weaknesses and strengths.  Believing his demanding father who tells him his stuttering makes him useless as a potential monarch, and believing that protocol must be preserved at any cost, Bertie does everything he can to stifle his own desire to become king; such is the case even when his brother David eventually ascends the throne and neglects his duties in favor of an affair with a twice-divorced commoner whom he wishes to marry.   When David finally abdicates and thus propels Bertie into succeeding him, nevertheless, because of continuing limiting beliefs about his own abilities, Bertie is still not fully present to accept the coronation.  Only when Logue, during preparations for the coronation, provocatively sits in the ancestral coronation chair and thus angers Bertie, does Bertie demand that the seemingly impertinent Logue get out the sacred chair.  Logue asks by what right does Bertie make such a demand; Bertie responds with a major declaration, finally claiming what, before this moment, he has been too scared to pronounce:  “I have a voice!” shouts Bertie without stammering, thereby owning his fuller self and kingly aspirations.  He is now on his way to becoming wholly present as he learns to give less and less halting, yet eloquent speeches to his countrymen, who are hungry for inspiration from their monarch during WWII.

Multi-Dimensional Presence

After the first of the King’s successful speeches, Logue ceases to call Bertie by that name and, instead, finally addresses him as “Your Royal Highness,” thereby acknowledging the monarch’s kingly presence.   Still, there is more to the King that could be present, if he expanded his awareness and knew how to access those dimensions.  I am referring here to his multi-dimensional self.  In Jane Roberts’ Seth Books, Seth constantly notes that each individual comprises not just many traits,  but also many dimensions or selves, all of which affect the nature of our presence in the world.  Besides reincarnational and future selves, we have and are parallel selves and counterpart selves.  As for parallel selves, these form at every moment we decide to do one thing (as simple as a finger movement to the right) and not one other or several others (finger movements to the left, up, down, curled onto itself, etc.).  By choosing one such action, we collapse the “quantum wave,” which contains all possible actions; the one action we choose may be as small as (or much smaller than) finger movements, and as large as (or larger than) dropping a series of gargantuan bombs to end life on Earth.  While we have chosen one of these actions, our other probable selves nevertheless actualize in parallel universes all the other possibilities not chosen by us in this reality.  And, of course, each of our other probable selves creates its own parallel selves each time it acts, and so on infinitely.

In this life, for instance, Bertie chose to claim his kingly aspirations; in one parallel life, he chose not to take the throne with the result that the government shut down with grave consequences to England in the upcoming war.  In another parallel life, Bertie became a shadow king advising his brother on what to say and do without taking any credit and so diminishing himself still further; in another parallel life, Bertie became mentally incompetent from the stress, and his daughter Elizabeth took over at age 10 with tumultuous consequences.   Likewise, in this life, the CO reprimanded the XO; in one parallel life, he overlooked the XO’s deportment and thereby possibly endangered everyone; in another parallel life, the CO never came by, and thus the XO and I were left to decide what to do…and so on.  In each parallel life, a different decision by the Bertie or the CO led to a very different result for each of them and for those around each man.

As for counterpart selves, these are other aspects of ones Oversoul, living in the same time period—though each is a different age—and working on the same basic challenge; but each does so from a different perspective.  For instance, Dave, my dog trainer, may have a male counterpart who is 6 years old, living in an impoverished country and eating wild dogs as his only sustenance.  Another counterpart might be a woman of 22 in Texas, who is researching how to extend the life of thoroughbred canines, while another counterpart might be a shaman of 85 in China who has Dog as one of his power animals; and still another female counterpart is 52 and runs a rescue shelter and regularly and with much grief has to put down unwanted dogs.  All these incarnations of Dave’s Oversoul, including Dave himself, may be working simultaneously on different ways to view and relate to canines.  And the Oversoul Itself, which embraces and knows all of the selves/dimensions and how they reflect an infinite number of approaches to the Oversoul’s current mission, may be accessed directly through meditative, hypnotic processes.

Most important in this discussion of presence and the multi-dimensional self is the fact that there are constant “bleed-throughs” among all these selves, communications that appear in dreams, hunches, waking fantasies, and, more deliberately, in visualizations and other kinds of spiritual hypnosis.  For someone who wants the fullest presence possible, learning to accept the reality of these selves and then consciously to access them will provide new resources, even talents and abilities, to enhance what the individual can bring forth, improvise, from within in the present moment.  For example, in at least one parallel life, Bertie is not a stutterer and is, in fact, an eloquent orator; by tuning into that self, Bertie in the present life might then have his own, inner voice coach.  Or Dave could connect to a counterpart self who knows how to extend the life of thoroughbred dogs and thus make helpful suggestions to clients whose purebred dogs are nearing the end of their lives.  Or the CO could have opened to a future self as a Major General and thus gotten advice on choosing better junior officers.

Ultimate Presence

If we look for an example of such full-blown presence, we might examine the doctrine of “Real Presence,” promulgated by Catholic, Orthodox, and some Anglican Christians.  This is the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Wafer consecrated by the priest during Mass to become mysteriously the actual body and blood of Christ and then given to qualified participants to eat.  Theophagy—god-eating—was, according to Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough (1922; accessed at http://www.bartleby.com/196/120.html ) a ritual known to many ancient societies.  What may be unique, though, in the Christian view is the nature of the god’s presence: “None of these churches sees what is really in the Eucharist as a lifeless corpse and mere blood, but as the whole Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity,” even though the wafer and wine appear to be only what they seem. (http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Real+Presence).  More emphatically “…in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech (metaphorically), or by his power (dynamically)” (http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Eucharistic+theology).  In short, Christ with all of his living humanity and divinity is completely present in/as the Wafer.  As such, as well as in his historical form, Christ, hypostatically merging his full divinity and complete humanity, is the exemplar of the Ultimate Presence possible, open to all of His infinite dimensions/selves.

Yet there is more to understand about Ultimate Presence if we go to John 6: 51-57 (The Jerusalem Bible translation), where Christ Himself describes his Real Presence:

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world….I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.  Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.

As is commonly understood, Christ seems here to be emphasizing several points: 1) that He is the Sacrifice exacted by the Father to atone for the sins of mankind; 2) that when the faithful consume his Flesh and Blood and connect also to His Divinity, they are thereby bonded to Him and to each other; and that individuals not participating in this communion will not have everlasting life.

However, these interpretations seem to rest on the assumption that Christ is essentially different from humans, that He is one-of-a-kind, and only through absorbing His Unique Presence is there life everlasting.  Yet, the Church teaches that Christ is wholly human.  While the understanding of Christ as Divine is certainly underlined in the passage above, nevertheless, His “Son of Man,” Human, flesh-and-blood nature is even more emphasized.  So, unless his followers eat, take in, his “real food” and “real drink”—his material existence—and experience its utmost value, and make it one with their own tissue, paradoxically, they cannot experience immortal life.  What Christ is ultimately saying here, I believe, is that matter, flesh and blood, earthy existence are inherently sacred, even immortal at some level—recall that He later rose with His Body into Heaven after the Crucifixion; that His mother, Mary, was also taken into Heaven with Her Body at death; and that He noted that he was the “living bread which has come down from heaven,” a curious statement seeming to imply that he was already one with materiality before he was born!

Thus, Christ seems to declare that there is no real distinction between the physical and the spiritual, between the body and the soul; and that the body is the soul’s expression,”face” or extension into three-dimensional existence.  If Christ were to deny that the material world, His Body, is sacred, He would be repudiating His full reality, His Ultimate Presence, and thus also not be telling the truth when he says eternal life comes through His Flesh.    Furthermore, if Christ is wholly human, his Physicality that is His Soul made Flesh is no different from that of anyone else.  Thus, when one eats Christ’s material being that is also His soul and His Ultimate Presence, one is simply eating, ingesting, absorbing in a very concrete way one’s own divine humanness.  In this view, anyone who truly and completely realizes this truth can manifest the Ultimate Presence that Christ models.

This means that an individual who is Ultimately Present, in addition to all that was described earlier, is also fully in his or her body, which is wholly sanctified as the 3-D expression of his or her soul; is aware that to claim life everlasting is to fully realize that matter is simply divinity of high density; is committed to earthly, material life as the necessary means for the soul to realize more of its potential; and is grounded in here-and-now existence.  In contrast is the individual who believes that to be spiritually present is to want to depart physical existence, to escape the “heavy,” constricting body, and to focus on cultivating only the higher level chakras.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  As Robert Bruce says in Energy Work: The Secrets of Healing and Spiritual Growth:

Modern New Age people tend to stimulate and attract mainly higher spiritual energies.  But to function well on all levels…we need a balanced intake of energies.  Low vibrational energies are not negative or toxic or bad, any more than are low musical notes and tones….Low vibrational energies are grounding, balancing, and healthy, and should be an essential part of ones elemental dietary balance (p.113).

Using Ultimate Presence

Just as Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist cultivates communion with others, so, too, when an individual shows up with his or her Ultimate Presence, he or she is able not only to connect quickly to provide solutions and solace, but also to help elicit the other’s own presence.  Dave showed this faculty at one level when he tuned in to the growling dogs and drew from them their calm presence to match his own.  At a deeper level, mental health and health practitioners—those with “healing touch,” for instance—first tune in to their full selves, paradoxically, in order to tune into their clients.  To the degree that their helpers become present to them, clients typically respond positively, emotionally and/or physically.  Because of trauma of one kind or another, these clients frequently disembody and un-ground themselves in an attempt to leave what has harmed them.   However, the helper’s grounding presence, void of any deliberate masks, subterfuges, or distortions, signals to the client that it is okay to stay embodied and present.  The helper can give this indicator only if he or she accesses from within whatever he or she needs to stay in his or her own body experienced as soul.

Another use of Ultimate Presence is best illustrated by what happened to me during one phase of my writing of my doctoral dissertation at Harvard in 1975.  I had just finished a chapter on one of John Berryman’s poetic masterpieces, Homage to Mistress Bradstreet, which was, among other things, Berryman’s own experiment with presence.  For in this poem he wanted Anne Bradstreet, living in the middle seventeenth century as American’s first published poet, to come alive again, be fully present to him, so that he could dialogue with her.  To explain completely how Berryman accomplished this would take up far too much space (check out my book, The Berryman Gestalt); suffice it to say that, with some difficulty, he opened himself and became present to her reality, speaking initially as her in the poem, until she was sufficiently concrete and present for him to address her.

To do so required him to call forth dimensions of himself, some of them represented by Anne’s own character, which he had not until then explored or allowed to surface, including his ability to love deeply.  His now greater presence allowed him to quell his initial intent to seduce Anne and instead open lovingly to her soul manifesting as flesh.  At the end he discovers that being fully present is equivalent to loving deeply.  When he breaks off the dialogue with Anne so she can go back to her life and eventually experience her death, he continues to encounter her powerful presence because he has not shut down, constricted his now expanded sense of who he is: “Hover, utter, still/a sourcing      whom my lost candle like the firefly loves” (ll. 457-8).

Thus, while I had discovered through Berryman’s Homage another use of Ultimate Presence—the evocation of profound love—there was more for me to learn directly about this phenomenon. When I started to explicate his Dream Songs, his major work, I found the poems often quite opaque.  One day, while working in Harvard’s undergraduate library, I started reading books about Gestalt Therapy, one of whose modalities consists of inviting the client to have dialogues between and among aspects of himself or herself.  One of Berryman’s syllabi—he had been a teacher at the University of Minnesota until 1972—featured one of these books.  As I read the text, I unexpectedly felt a rush of energy flooding my body.  I suddenly saw that Berryman was doing Gestalt dialogues with aspects of himself in the Dream Songs—he was discovering even more of who he was, thereby expanding his sense of his own presence beyond what he had learned in dialogue with Anne.

Likewise, by beginning to understand the new and greater dimensions of his presence, I, too, was becoming open to new aspects of myself, a process that allowed me to connect to him even more. For about two weeks after my initial discovery of his core poetic tactics, I started every day by reading in the Gestalt texts to get that rush of energy going that expanded who I was; then with more of me present to listen deeply to the Songs, I was amazed how easily they offered up their meanings.  I found that Berryman, in his quest to discover his full presence, was using not only Gestalt dialogues, but also many triple and quadruple puns to elicit and embody and present together many of his different and even conflicting voices/selves.**

Then one day, the energy became so expansive within me that I felt propelled out of my chair; pacing up and down the room I was in, I could barely contain the physical energy, as well as the mental acuity I was experiencing about what was going on in the Songs.  When I finally sat down and looked out the window, thinking that the rapid expansion of my identity might thereby be relieved or at least slowed down, I experienced just the opposite.  In a split second, everything in the room and outside became what I can call only super real, that is, super present.  The edges of everything, from the paper clip on my table to the stain on the brick wall of the building thirty feet away became at once very solid and very fluid, glowing without glowing, a combination of energy and matter, soul and body.  I was experiencing not only my own extended self, but also the expansive essence of each thing, its here-ness and there-ness, its eternal now.

And the experience went on.

A second wave of energy suddenly swept through me; and, abruptly, I was in a review of my life and remembered everyone who had touched me, positively or negatively and everything that had moved me, again happily or sadly…and all of that was…totally okay, completely right on, in a way I could only deeply encounter, but not articulate.   It was an experience of my totality, all my humanness and divinity emerging from a complexity beyond understanding but experienced fully in an instant.  In that instant I have no doubt I was consciously my multi-dimensional self.

And when the third wave of energy washed over me, my sense of my own presence extended to include everything around me, as I felt compassion (i.e., feeling with) beyond understanding, encompassing every single thing, including the dust mote dancing in the sunlight streaming through a library window, the thief stealing a wallet in Harvard Square, the ink blotch on a paper on my table, the reeking garbage in the wastebasket just outside the door, the spectacular colors of the descending sun. I finally understood and experienced for myself what Berryman must have felt when he was fully present for Anne’s death while also welcoming her continuing presence: “In the pain of rain and departure, still/Love…presides the sun and elfs from silence melody” (ll. 454-6).

In that sublime moment of ecstasy, in that flash of “standing outside” of my constricted self, I was experiencing Ultimate Presence…I was Love.


So, Dear Reader, what are your most important experiences with presence of one level or another?  What was the effect on you and others?  Have you experienced still another dimension of presence?

*Names are fictitious to preserve privacy.

**Evidence of how fully present Berryman became to me through his poetry and I to him through my finding inner resources to listen more openly and closely to his presence were two things: 1) the fact that I once felt his actual presence in the library and telepathically heard him give me a clue about why he had committed suicide four years earlier, and 2) the comment made in a testimonial for me by Edward Fitzgerald, one of my thesis readers, a sometime friend of Berryman, and the renowned Harvard translator of the Iliad and the Odyssey;  “Joe has written about Berryman the way Berryman would have wanted.”

Tag Cloud