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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.



“Explorations in Consciousness With Dr. Joe”: A New Radio Show


Hi, Everyone!

Yes, I am now the host of my own radio show, “Explorations in Consciousness with Dr. Joe”!

The show will start on Tuesday, August 13 and will continue every Tuesday for an hour at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time until November 5. It will be hosted on the 7th Wave Channel of VoiceAmerica (NOT Voice OF America). Each episode will be re-broadcast several times during the week it first airs, and there will be an archive of past episodes.  You may access the episodes for free, either by going to my homepage on the VoiceAmerica website,  or by downloading the Voice America app to your smart phone and searching for my show.  If you subscribe for free to VA, you will get a program by email.

If you miss the first broadcast, you can hear, via my VoiceAmerica home page, the show re broadcast at 10:00 pm Eastern time.  If you cannot tune into the re-broadcasthow, don’t worry, for you can go to my Voice America Homepage and check out the Episode Directory (Archive).  Click on the show you want and then the “Listen Now” link to hear the show.  There are also links to download the episode as an MP3 file and to get it free from iTunes.

During the thirteen weeks, I will focus with my guests on past-lives, past-life regression, and related matters. We will  cover many topics including the nature of past lives, the therapeutic effects of past-life regression, soul contracts, reincarnating souls groups, children’s past lives, incarnations in Atlantis and in the time of Christ, Life Between Lives, “spiritual birth control,” and much more.  My underlying metaphysical approach is based on the Seth Material channeled by Jane Roberts.  For more detail, check out the list of episodes following this introduction.

You may be interested in how all this came about.  On April 18 of this year, I was able to purchase Jane Roberts’ work table on which she wrote some of her own books, accessed her “spiritual library,” painted her sketches, and read proofs of the Seth Books.  The table was in her writing room in the “Hill House” in Elmira, New York, and later in the house in Sayre, Pennsylvania, that her husband, Robert Butts, and his new wife, Laurel Davies-Butts, lived in for a number of years.  (Jane died in 1984, and Rob in 2008).

Jane's Table in the Corner of My Group RoomI am awed and joyous over the presence in my home of this table filled with great psychic energy.  I hope to do some of my own channeled writing (though with a computer rather than with a typewriter or pen!), while seated at the table.  It is no accident that the table found its way to my group room–what a great thing for me to manifest!

And it is no accident that, on the same day that I received from Laurel the first half of Jane’s table, I received also a phone call from the Senior Executive Producer for VoiceAmerica, the largest creator and distributer of internet radio in the world.  I thought with excitement that maybe he wanted to interview me about some aspect of my work.  Well, I was wrong–he wanted me to submit a proposal to host my own radio show once a week for an hour for thirteen weeks!  I was flabbergasted, awed, and, I must admit, a bit scared.  Geez, I would be heard in 32 countries!

Within a week, my proposal was accepted.  The producer said that he had asked his staff to search for potential hosts on the internet, focussing on spiritual counseling, hypnotherapy, and past-life regression.  I was one of about 12 individuals who had made the final cut out of 300 contenders.  And I knew nothing about any of this (though my soul certainly did) until he called on the 18th. He also told me that what clinched the deal for him was that I said that the Seth Material would serve as the underlying metaphysics for my discussions!

So, please join my guests and me for a spectacular exploration in consciousness!



Date:  August 13, 2013

Episode Title: Past Lives and the Seth Material, Part 1: An Interview with Rich Kendall

In this episode, Rich Kendall, one of the New York Boys in Psychic Jane Roberts’ ESP class in the early ‘70s, will help set the stage for the entire 13-week focus on past lives.  Seth, the “energy personality essence” channeled by Jane from 1963 through her death in 1984, talked a great deal about past lives, including the idea that they do not actually exist in our “pasts.”  Besides discussing Sethian notions about the true nature and influence of past lives, Rich will share some of his own encounters with Seth and what that gentle, but provocative personality said specifically about Rich’s past lives.  Rich will also share the impact of Seth’s teachings on his life then and now.  Some of his reflections can be found already in his book, The Road to Elmira, the first volume of a proposed three-volume work.


Date: August 20, 2013

Episode Title: The Nature of Past Life Regression and Participants’ Stories

In this episode, Dr. Joe’s guests are several individuals who have participated in either a group or individual past life regression with him.  With their help, he will explain the process of a typical past life regression and the difference between the individual and group modalities.  They will discuss what is most important to remember in order to have a successful journey to a past life.  They will focus also on the pitfalls that can frustrate success, such as fear both of not being able to access a past life and, paradoxically, of being able to do so.  Tips for overcoming other potential obstacles in the process will be offered, as well as tips about how to select a regressionist.  Finally, one or more of the guests will have a chance to discuss aspects of his or her past life regression and the effect the journey has had on his or her present incarnation.


Date: August 27, 2013

Episode Title: Children’s Past Lives: An Interview with Carol Bowman

In this episode, Dr. Joe will ask Carol Bowman, M.S., to discuss her fascinating and paradigm-busting research on children’s past lives.  Stimulated by the voluminous, pioneering work on this topic by Dr. Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia, Carol furthered his research in her first book in 1997, Children’s Past Lives.  In that book, she describes how she came to believe in her own children’s accounts of past lives and gives guidance to parents about the nature of this phenomenon and how to respond appropriately to the past life disclosures of their children.  Her second book published in 2001, Return from Heaven, is the first to describe reincarnation in the same family, that is, for instance, the return of a deceased adult as the newborn of the daughter of the deceased adult. While family return in particular has many implications for family members, the greatest implication is that children’s past lives offer the greatest proof for the actuality of past incarnations.


Date: September 3, 2013

Episode Title: Past Lives and Attached Entities: An Interview with Greg McHugh

In this episode, Dr. Joe invites Greg McHugh, CHT, to share the ideas incorporated in his book, The New Regression Therapy.  Greg’s trainings and initiation experience in a semi monastic Gnostic Christian order contributed to the development of protocols for the healing of past life and present life wounds and limiting beliefs through the application of Divine Presence.  Such Presence may be drawn upon from the client’s Higher Self, Interlife resources, from Angelic Higher Resources, and great beings like the Heart of Elijah. Greg will discuss how he releases attached entities (mostly spirits who have left their bodies but have not gone into the Light). He will explain how such spirits’ own feelings and issues affect the client. He may also talk about his remote regression protocol with the use of a surrogate for a client who cannot be physically present in the therapy room.


Date: September 10, 2013

Episode Title: Past Life Regression and Shamanism: An Interview with Dana Robinson, B.A., C.S.C. and Shana Robinson, M.S.

In this episode Dr. Joe discusses with Shana and Dana, authors of Shamanism & the Spirit Mate, the connections between Past-Life Regression and Shamanism.  After discussing the nature of core shamanism, Shana and Dana and Dr. Joe share how they c0-created and c0-facilitated the first ever workshop combining the techniques of past life regression and shamanic journeying to effect healing.  Lasting two days, the workshop showed how seemingly very different modalities were in many ways very similar in their intentions, actions and effects.  Workshop participants who call in will discuss their impressions of this unique merging of disciplines, including their enlarged sense of their multi-dimensionality.


Date: September 17, 2013

Episode Title: Past Lives and Soul Contracts: An Interview with Linda Baker

In this episode, Dr. Joe interviews Linda Baker, RN, CHT, author of The Bridge Between the Worlds, Soul Contracts  and co-author of Alchemical Scents..  Linda will describe the nature and purpose of Soul Contracts, particularly how they affect our lives and relationships today.  In the first of two kinds of contract, souls reincarnate together to work through unresolved issues between them; in the second kind, the personality makes a contract with his or her soul to end a pattern of events that persists no matter who the other players are.  Linda will also talk about what she calls Spiritual Post-Conception Birth Control, a very loving process wherein the pregnant woman can communicate with her unborn child about whether the time is right for a birth; when it is agreed that the time is not right, a natural miscarriage can occur.  Of course, what karma is and is not is a theme that will permeate the discussion.


Date: September 24, 2013

Episode Title: Past Life Regression for Intact Groups: An Interview with Janet Cunningham

Dr. Joe interviews Janet Cunningham, Ph.D., author of A Tribe Returned, the amazing story of herself and 25 other people who have memories of being together in a Native American Tribe.  Told that she was the reincarnation of the daughter of Chief Silver Eagle, Janet will talk about how she unwittingly gathered together members of that past tribe.  Janet was told also that she was selected by the Grandfathers to be the next Chief.  As a past-life therapist, she then assisted the reincarnated members in releasing their traumatic memories of a devastating massacre. Janet not only did enormous healing work for the friends, family members and clients who were part of that tribe, but also pioneered a new regression modality practiced today by very few other practitioners: intact-group past life regression, wherein an entire group of individuals who were connected to each other in a past life are regressed together to that lifetime.  Listen to a discussion of an amazing collective journey.


Date: October 1, 2013

Episode Title: Past Lives and Natal Regression: An Interview with Tim Simmerman-Sierra

Dr. Joe interviews Tim Simmerman-Sierra, Certified Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist, the lead instructor at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America in Albuquerque, about Natal Regression, a modality not usually taught in hypnosis schools.  This process, which begins in the Interlife, may involve information from past lives that can be used by the soul to prepare for his or her current incarnation.  After becoming aware of agreements with significant others in the present incarnation, the person is taken through the moment of conception, womb time and the actual birth experience.  During this journey, the soul tunes into the varying feelings and thoughts of parents and the medical personnel present at birth.  Alternating between expansive and narrowed levels of awareness, clients can see patterns in their lives that are the result of unconsciously held beliefs formed during this period of development. This is one of the fastest ways to heal blocks to accessing your divine nature.


Date: October 8, 2013

Episode Title: Past Life Regression to Capture Lost History: An Interview with Joanna Prentis and Stuart Wilson

In this episode, Dr. Joe interviews Joanna Prentis and Stuart Wilson, authors of several books, including a trilogy on the Essenes that focuses in large part on the figure of Mary Magdalene. They will discuss how they worked using regression techniques and with the channeled help of an Angel named Alariel to capture otherwise lost history.  From the past-life perspective of Daniel, a friend of Joseph of Arimathea, they reveal Jesus’ healing in the tomb with the help of the Essenes.  Joanna and Stuart will tell us also how they facilitated other regression subjects to reveal the real significance of Mary Magdalene as a deeply beloved spiritual partner to Jeshua; as a charismatic, powerful and articulate leader of a group of female disciples; and as a counterpoint to the dominance of some of the male disciples.  Come join us for a mind-blowing excursion back to an erstwhile unknown past.


Date: October 15, 2013

Episode Title: Edgar Cayce and Past Lives in Atlantis: An Interview with Nancy Eubel

In this episode, Dr. Joe discusses with Nancy Eubel, MBA, CHT, Rt., QHHT, what the renowned psychic Edgar Cayce has said about past lives and karma and the effect of his perspective on her own teaching and facilitation of past life regression.  Focusing principally on the past lives in Atlantis that Cayce revealed in his readings for others, Nancy will share with us the main implications those past lives have for us today, especially since many Atlanteans have apparently reincarnated during the present time.  With its development especially of nuclear power and the potential for world-wide devastation, our current world seems eerily similar to Atlantis before each of the three cataclysms that apparently ultimately dropped the continent below the surface of the Atlantic.


Date: October 27, 2013

Episode Title: Past Lives and Life Between Lives: An Interview with Dee Chips

In this episode, Dr. Joe interviews Dee Chips, BSW, MHt., CRM, LBLT, owner of American Holistic University and President/Owner of the National Association of Transpersonal Hypnotherapists, NATH.  We will discuss the process of Life Between Lives Hypnotherapy, first popularized in the works of Michael Newton starting in 1994.  In 2000, Dee, along with her late husband, Allen Chips, DCH, and in collaboration with Newton, designed and implemented the first LBL certification training program under the auspices of NATH.  With the help of case studies, Dee will talk about how the process works: it starts from a client’s going back to a past life and then entering the Interlife after the death in that life and meeting guides, his/her soul group, various schools, the Council of Elders and those whom he or she will contract to work with in the next lifetime. Come join us for an absolutely fascinating excursion into a deeper reality.


Date: October 29, 2013

Episode Title: Research on the Positive Effects of Past Life Regression: An Interview With Heather S. Friedman Rivera

In this episode, Dr. Joe interviews Heather S. Friedman Rivera, RN, JD, Ph.D. about her personal and professional discovery of the uses of Past Life Regression and the recent research she has done on the positive effects of Past Life Therapy.  Plagued by chronic illnesses, Heather found much relief in Past Life Regression and decided to do research on what other participants in this modality had said were its most likely and most therapeutic effects.  Her research is unique in that it relies not on anecdotal data and individual cases, but rather on a broad cross section of data gathered from respondents of various ages, gender, religious upbringing, and experiences.  Among other therapeutic effects, the most prevalent reported is that death no longer holds as much fear for most participants in Past Life Regression.


Date: November 5, 2013

Episode Title: Past Lives and the Seth Material, Part 2: An Interview with Lawrence Davidson

In this episode, Dr. Joe interviews Lawrence Davidson, another of Jane Roberts’ ESP students in the early ‘70s. Lawrence shares how he came to find out about Seth, the “energy personality essence” channeled by Jane, and why he came to Jane’s weekly classes.  He also shares his own memories of how Seth approached the topic of past lives and perhaps even what Seth said about Lawrence’s own. His anecdotes about the Seth phenomenon then and through the years, and about how those early class experiences changed his life, add much color to his story.  Finally, his perspectives on the San Francisco Bay Area Seth Conference he has organized for the last several years show the ongoing power of the Seth Material.

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.

Karma: What It Is and Is Not

         In 2012, in an unusual appearance for early March, major tornados wreaked horrific damage to the Midwest and South.  As I watched news clips and read newspaper accounts of the utter destruction of homes, buildings and even entire small towns, I felt enormous empathy.  And, at the same time that I listened to an elderly man weep over the complete loss of his property, I started thinking, for the umpteenth time, of the notion of Karma.

Many people would likely think it inappropriate, if not downright scandalous, to be contemplating such an “abstract” concept while such devastation has concretely diminished, if not flat out destroyed, the hopes and aspirations of those affected.  And those critics would be absolutely correct in the short run, especially if anyone  carelessly and rudely broached the notion with, for instance, that elderly man who is trying so desperately to cope with the end of his world as he knows it.  But the critics’ viewpoint would not be useful in the long run because the “abstract” notion is in fact very concrete and practical since it affects people’s thinking and thus their future manifestations.  Even so, some critics would still object because they would not want to inflict such a notion on a suffering man, a concept which they consider cruel and blaming of the victim.  Yet, such is a crude understanding of the concept.

For many of those new to the concept of Karma and its connection to reincarnation, it may mean simply that one action breeds another, particularly in terms of the old (Biblical) saying, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”  This definition focuses on sin, on apparently negative actions only, and thus does not suggest that any good that is done in one life will bring about good in another. Moreover, this definition of Karma, focused as it is on bad deeds committed in this life or another, suggests what amounts to psychic revenge: if you do something bad to me in one life, I (or someone or something else on my behalf) will do the identical thing to you in the same life or a future one.  This is compensation, “pay-back,” of the most literal sort.

So, now, if I imagine talking about Karma as outlined above at any time to the pained, elderly man, I could understand how I would be combining insult with injury, adding to his intense feelings of victimization and powerlessness the feeling of being punished:  “See, old man, what you created by your sins!  You have only yourself to blame—it is entirely your fault!  You made this bed, and now you have to lie in it!”

Besides blaming the victim, there are at least three other problems with this conceptualization of Karma: First, if Karma is supposed to facilitate major soul learning, there is very little learning involved (basically, do not do the bad deed again…or else!) that might help the person evolve into higher consciousness.  Second, because individuals who are suffering terribly physically or emotionally are immediately and judgmentally seen as having been “very bad” in this or another life, the observer may feel it justifiable to withhold compassion and to distant himself or herself from the “bad person; unfortunately, with such a decision, a major opportunity for both individuals to advance in consciousness is lost.  Third, as Karl Schlotterbeck says in Living Your Past Lives, if a person is always in reactive mode to what he/she or someone else has done in the past, there seems little way to get out of that reactivity and start something new.

Another view of Karma is that it is a manifestation of cosmic cause and effect.  While this conceptualization is similar to “an eye for an eye,” it is less personal, less moralistic, and thus less judgmental. It is more mechanical, suggesting a blind, universal law, such as Newton’s view that for every motion that is a reaction.  So, again, think of talking with the elderly man altered forever by the tornado:  “See, ol’ buddy, it is even worse than you thought—you are not even being punished, which might have a meaning, however horrifying to you.  Uh-uh, there is no meaning except that this horror just happens indiscriminately according to some meaningless, merciless law.”  That would go over quite well, don’t you think?

Yet, as Schlotterbeck notes, this view does not satisfy also because it seems to be only a part, like the view of pay-back, of a larger picture. If one shifts to a slightly different view of Karma, that of “balancing,” there is still a problem, says Schlotterbeck.  In the balancing conceptualization, bad deeds in one life may be balanced, “made up for,” by good deeds in another or by “creative suffering” often idealized by certain religious bodies.  The idea is to always balance good and bad.  However, what if you do a lot of good in one life?  In this view, in order to balance all that good, you would have to do a lot of bad in another life. Accordingly, I can say to the nice, older man, “Hey, mister, you just have to know that all this pain happened to you in this life because in another, you were just too good—how about that!—we gotta keep that balance going!” Now, that’s a kicker!

Schlotterbeck, as I do, sees all of these explanations of Karma as still manifesting a tinge or much more than a tinge of the notion of reward and punishment.  He offers a different view: Karma as action that promotes healing, that is, remembering both the Oneness of all things and the individual’s being part of that Oneness. When someone does a “bad” deed, he (or she) creates the illusion of being separate from that which he harms; in time this separation brings about pain based on the “loss” of connection, pain that can last lifetimes if it is not experienced as what it truly is.  While this process seems to suggest compensation and punishment and balancing, it is much more than that.  The process suggests that there is something in all things which moves towards Completeness, towards Wholeness.  Thus the individual who feels the pain of separation is constantly moved back toward Oneness by something within him that repeats the painful pattern of the “bad deed.” In this way the individual has countless chances really to face the pattern directly and thereby to “wake up,” to break the illusion of separation he himself created and realize himself once more as an aspect of the One.  Moreover, he learns that, when he harms another who like him is an aspect of the One, he is not separate from his harm, for he harms also himself as part of the One.  From this perspective, Karma is the repetition of a painful pattern whose primary purpose is not punishment, but recollection of and reconnection with the One (or, more accurately, awareness that the separation never took place).

This perspective on Karma seems at first much more appealing since there is no blaming the victim and no automatic, impersonal, indiscrimate, merciless and ultimately meaningless cause and effect, and no equally impersonal, distressing balancing act.  So, I now can say to the elder beleaguered by the explosive tornado, “Sir, in time you will see that your current pain is really an illusion and is based also on another illusion, that whatever you did in the past divorced you from Source.  But that separation never really happened!  Once you recognize the illusions for what they are, pain disappears and you realize you did not ever separate from the One.”  Somehow, even if this is a positive conception of Karma, I doubt the poor man, looking for a place to sleep tonight, would be interested in such a high-level, metaphysical perspective. Moreover, something here still seems incomplete and even a bit strange.  For, there is still the implicit view that something happened back then that is still affecting now; moreover, there is no satisfying understanding of why these illusions should occur in the first place!

Still Another View

         There is, however, still another view of Karma: it simply does not exist!  Let me explain.

         According to Seth, channeled by Jane Roberts, time, comprising past, present and future, is one of the “root assumptions” that frame our earthly existence.  So is space.  Here in three-dimensional reality, we operate as though time and space were absolute realities, even though they are root assumptions just of this reality and thus really distortions of what truly is.  They are, in fact, illusions—they don’t exist beyond this reality.  It is perfectly appropriate, while we are here, that we operate within these illusions, as long as we recognize them as illusions developed so that we can learn what cannot be learned without them.  This is especially true when we think of reincarnation, the notion of which is based on time.  As Seth says: “We have mentioned reincarnation hardly at all, yet here let me state that that theory is a conscious-mind interpretation in linear terms….it is highly distorted” (The Nature of Personal Reality, p. 153).

This “conscious-mind interpretation in linear terms” is also the paradigm that informs Newtonian physics, which buttresses the idea that what goes around comes around, that effect follows cause, that for every action there is in time a reaction, and that, extrapolating, retribution follows sin inevitably. In contrast, quantum physics, born at the turn of the twentieth century, disputes the notion of time so enshrined by Newtonian physics and thus, inadvertently, aligns with Seth’s view of time as an illusion. (Quantum physicists have actually found elementary “particles” that go back in time!) Likewise, nearly all mystical traditions say that time, as we conventionally describe it, does not exist; or, to put it another way, all time periods are simultaneous.

If all events occur simultaneously, then Karma, based on the notion of cause-creating-effect, cannot exist.  Cause-and-effect is an essentially time-bound concept: the past essentially creates, then, the present and future.  But if all time is simultaneous, a “bad deed” in the “past” cannot create Karma for the “present” and “future.”  Moreover, simultaneous time means that all events are causes AND effects at the same “time.”  One implication of this view is that the so-called future can “cause” a problem in the so-called present and the so-called past.  Another implication is that the so-called past is not “finished,” done with—in fact, it is still going on and can be changed by the so-called present and future which exist “side-by-side” with it.  There is, then, a constant interplay in the same moment of all “time periods.”  In Seth’s own words:

Those who believe in reincarnation will ask, ‘What about past-life beliefs?  And even if I forget the idea of guilt, am I bound to follow the rules of karma?’

Since all is simultaneous, your present beliefs can alter your past ones, whether from this life or a ‘previous’ one. Existences are open-ended.  Now with your ideas of progressive time and the resulting beliefs in cause and effect, I realize this is difficult for you to understand.

Yet within the abilities of your creaturehood, your current beliefs can change your experience; you can restructure your ‘reincarnational past’ in the same way that you can restructure the past in this present life (The Nature of Personal Reality, p. 374).

Furthermore, says Seth:

Your religious ideas have often told you that deformities at birth were the result of the parents’ sins cast upon the children, or that another kind of punishment was involved in terms of ‘karma.’….The entire idea of reincarnation has been highly distorted by other religious concepts.  It is not a psychological arena composed of crime and punishment.  Again, you have free will in the conditions of your life, given the characteristics that are your own (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, p. 310).

This emphasis on free will is very germane to the notion that karma does not exist in any of the terms I have discussed in the first section.  And free will is also at the very core of the central notion in Seth’s metaphysics: Each of us creates his or her own reality…without any exceptions.  To believe otherwise is to disempower yourself, to allow feelings of victimization to drown you in powerlessness and despair.  As Seth says:

…many schools of thought over-emphasize the effects of reincarnational existences, so that often they explain present-life circumstances as a result of rigid and uncompromising patterns determined in a ‘past’ life. You will feel relatively incompetent to handle present physical reality, to alter your environment, to affect and change your world, if you feel that you are at the mercy of conditions over which you have no control….You are not under a sentence placed upon you for original sin, or any childhood events, or by past-life experience….They affect you as any experience does.  Time is not closed, however—it is open.  One life is not buried in the past, disconnected from the present self and any future self as well (Seth Speaks, p. 58).

But, hold on, doesn’t the belief that we create our own reality bring us back, once again, to the notion of blaming the victim, a disempowering situation?  It is absolutely true that each of us chooses what we experience in our world, no matter how horrible or positive.  But choosing what you create is not the same as inevitably, inexorably, unavoidably suffering the consequences of your actions.  Rightly understood, self-creation is utterly empowering, given, as Seth says above, that we have the power to make any changes we desire at any time if we discover that our self-creation does not bring us what we want. He continues, “You cannot justify or rationalize present circumstances by saying, ‘This is because of something I did in a past life,’ for within yourself now is the ability to change negative influence” (Seth Speaks, p. 181).

We are here, then, NOT to endure the inescapable suffering of karma conventionally conceived, but rather to learn all we can about how we create our own reality.  Outside of three-dimensional reality (3-D), our creations would be instantaneous; thoughts would be immediately realized into being.  Here, in 3-D, our creations take time to materialize, giving us a chance to understand the intricacies and implications of what we create and to modify or provide alternates to what we form. As Seth says, “You may have brought negative influences into your life for a given reason, but the reason always has to do with understanding, and understanding removes those influences” Seth Speaks, p. 181).

Still, why would we choose to create dilemmas and disasters for ourselves if, it seems, we do not have to, if we are not being punished for an “earlier” transgression?  The most fundamental reason for creating and experiencing the negative, as well as the positive, is what Seth calls “value fufillment.” This is the innate, Divine impulse in any entity, from every god and oversoul to every sub-atomic particle and vibrating string, to realize its infinite potential in any and all dimensions and manifestations.  Value fulfillment is the cosmic equivalent of the Army slogan, “Be all that you can be.”

Furthermore, says Seth, without forming both positive and negative creations, we would not really get that we create our own reality, that we have free will, and that we always have choices: “If only your ‘positive’ beliefs were materialized then you would never clearly comprehend the power of your thought, for you would not completely experience its physical results” (The Nature of Personal Reality, p. 99). Abraham-Hicks make this idea a cornerstone of their writings: the contrast between getting what you want and getting what you do not want sharpens your perception of what you want, spurs your creation of what you most desire, and makes much clearer that you are choosing what you experience.

The only reason for creating suffering, says Seth frequently in his books, is to learn that you have the choice not to create it.  Moreover, he goes on to say, even with all the destructiveness that has accompanied humanity’s striving to recognize and understand that we create all of our reality, there is much that is achieved: “The self-discipline learned, the control, the compassion that finally is aroused, and the final and last lesson learned, the positive desire for creativity and love over destruction and hatred–when this is learned, the reincarnational cycle is finished” (Early Sessions, #9).

The compassion and love Seth speaks about emerges from individuals’ seeking together their value fulfillment.  Before each incarnation, we make soul contracts with others to develop our potentials as far as possible in the upcoming lifetime.  This often involves one person’s being the “bad guy” and other the “good guy” to provide the contrast for each to learn more about who he or she really is.  The fact of soul contracts is another major reason why karma does not exist, since each soul freely enters into the tragedy and/or comedy that will soon be staged in 3-D.  There are then, ultimately, no victims or victimizers, and thus no karma.  Dick Sutphen says this eloquently:

We are all different as to intelligence, health and talents, and yet we are one.  We are all saints and sinners and no one is anyone else’s superior or judge.  We have all experienced suffering and we have all caused suffering.  And it is time to let go of the past.  Can you understand now that you create everything…that you are totally responsible for everything that happens to you? (Past-Life Therapy in Action, p. 103).

True forgiveness of self and other is then the achievement of what Seth calls “high intellect,” the intellectual-intuitive-emotional wisdom to realize that at the soul level, no apology or forgiveness is really necessary or makes any sense, since we all create or co-create whatever happens to us–NOT so we can grind ourselves to bits with the consequences of our actions, but so we can realize more and more of who we really are. Thus, the ultimate purpose of the notion of Karma is to realize its non-existence.

Still, because most of us have a long way to go before we can achieve this “high intellect,” we make use of the notion of Karma the way we make use of Newtonian physics.  In the macro world, which is the world of 3-D, Newtonian physics works well enough, until it doesn’t.  When we follow the root assumptions of the 3-D world to their depths, those assumptions prove baseless, especially in the sub-atomic micro world of strings and D-branes.  Yet, if we stay focused in the area where it seems to “work”—the arena where space and time seem to be what we usually imagine them to be—much can be and has been achieved with regard to understanding the dos and don’ts of using energy to create reality. Saying in another way what he constantly says, Seth notes, “Generally speaking, you are here to expand your consciousness, to learn the ways of creativity as directed through conscious thought” (The Nature of Personal Reality, p. 142).

In our learning the dos and don’ts of consciously manipulating energy, the illusory 3-D experience of linear time can be very useful (unless we forget that 3-D is not Ultimate Reality). In articulating the use of such experience, Seth comes closest to any sense of traditionally-conceived Karma by describing what he calls “natural guilt,” that innate sense of justice and integrity:  “Natural guilt is…highly connected with memory, and arose hand in hand with mankind’s excursion into the experience of past, present and future….Any previous acts that had aroused feelings of natural guilt were to be avoided in the future” (The Nature of Personal Reality, pp. 144-5).  But he is quick to say also, “It does not carry with it [as does traditionally-conceived Karma] any built-in connection with punishment as you think of it.  Once more, it was meant as a preventive measure.  Any violation against nature would bring about a feeling of guilt so that when a like situation was encountered in the future, man would, in that moment of reflection, not repeat the same action” (The Nature of Personal Reality, p. 145).

If someone who is now, for instance, a criminal had fully distinguished in childhood between natural guilt and artificial guilt, that person would not later have broken the law.  Artificial guilt is based on deep shame, on the notion that the individual who violates is at core rotten, horrific, incapable of redemption, totally unable to reflect and cease to violate again.  Through such an extremely limiting belief about oneself, either started in the current life or carried over from a past life and reinforced by an abusive family, the individual keeps creating a reality that expands his or her sense of worthlessness and self-loathing with the consequent, often violent, outward manifestations of various kinds.  If our laws and their execution were truly humane, we would, indeed, halt and incarcerate those who grievously violate, not ultimately to punish them, but rather to give them the time and space to do, with a lot of help, the kind of reflection that leads to wisdom and self-forgiveness and awareness of how we create our own reality.  Moreover, if their victims are to find ultimate release from their own rage, hatred and despair, they, too, would need to go deeply inside and finally understand how they are not, at the soul level, victims at all, but rather creators of realities filtered through limiting beliefs about life and their own power and nature.  Dick Sutphen’s words are again pertinent here:

Can you accept that wisdom erases karma?  These past lives [or past events in the current life] no longer need to affect you.  They do so only because you allow it…because you have not forgiven yourself!…Can you make it all right with yourself to release and rise above the past…the past of being a victim and the past of being the bad guy?  Can you let go of all the past situations you’ve lived and suffered?  If you are ready to truly forgive yourself, you can release all the undesirable effects right now.  You can wipe the slate clean and move forward into your present life, clear, focused, in balance and harmony (Past-Life Therapy in Action, p. 103).

Recently, I was called to be a juror; and, like many others so called, initially I was not happy to be summoned away from my life, especially since I had a doctor’s appointment for my injured toe, a meeting that might then have to be cancelled.  But I also started to feel an energy, a flow, that told me that I was going to be doing, not just my civic duty, but, more important, my duty to a soul contract.

I became Juror #11, called to render judgment on a DUI case. The defendant, a middle-aged man, was accused of driving while under the influence of alcohol, eluding police, driving recklessly, and driving 130 mph, double the speed limit, with the result that he crashed his car into a ditch and was severely injured.  Though the memories of a couple of police officers conflicted a bit, though the young prosecutor had to be helped by the judge to ask the proper questions about the chain of blood evidence, the State’s case was quite strong. While the Defense did not call any witnesses, their story was that there had been a second person in the vehicle who was the driver, while the defendant was a hapless victim of the recklessness of that driver.  But too many details provided by the prosecution made this story too fantastic to be credible.  The defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

When the foreperson orally delivered the verdict, the defendant hardly reacted, maintaining the kind of vacant, clueless look he had displayed for two days.  He wasn’t fully present, for his subterfuge created a distance between him and the proceedings.  As I watched him, I knew not only that I and my fellow jury members had done what we were supposed to do, but also that we had done what, on a soul level, he had contracted with us to do.  After the verdict, the judge told us that this was the defendant’s second trial, that the first ruled only by a judge also resulted in a conviction.  Given the incredible nature of his story and his first conviction, it seemed reasonably clear that the defendant had not wanted to acknowledge responsibility for his actions at any level. The substantial injuries he had sustained after crashing into the ditch had not been enough for him to awaken and start the process of owning his creation of his reality in any way.  He needed us, the jury, to quell our distaste for bringing judgment and pain to another human being and instead help him stop his recklessness and to do so even if it meant requiring his incarceration.  Such would become the most compassionate action we could take, even though he might not see it as such at the conscious level. Again, on the soul level, I saw what would happen to him now not as punishment, but rather as a very much needed opportunity to finally take responsibility for and open to his true self.


So, after all this meditation, what am I to say now to that elderly man who apparently lost everything to the tornado last March?  Should I outline to him the argument I just made above to disprove the notion of karma as crime-and-punishment?  Well, of course not!  To do so would be to erect a wall of words between him and me that would not help him in any pragmatic way.  Should I then think to myself, “Well, he created this disaster with the help of the tornado for some learning rather than for some punishment; therefore, I do not have to help him”?  Seth would say no. In another example, he says “You cannot say, ‘The poor are poor simply because they chose poverty, and therefore there is no need for me to help them.’  This attitude can easily draw poverty to you in the next experience.” (Seth Speaks, p. 181). What Seth is saying here is not that you will be drawn to poverty as punishment, but that you will have missed an opportunity to learn about your own capacity for compassion, as well as for poverty, and thus will be drawn to it again in another life. (If there was not already an attraction to being poor, you would not have been thinking so much about it in the first place. The attraction might be present because, for instance, you might be wealthy in the present life and wish, at the soul level, to experience its opposite.)

The argument I delineated above is, then, not for the elderly man–it is for me, so that I can understand in general what is happening and avoid any kind of judgment, so I can develop my compassion further, and so that I can render him in the moment what he believes he needs. I would offer my compassion and other assistance, and listen to him to know where he is emotionally. After a lot of connecting through various kinds of help, I might possibly develop a hint of why he might have created this disaster.  I might wonder, for instance, if he had lived several lives living securely without anything tragic happening to him; if so, he (along with others in the area, but for their own reasons), might then have summoned the tornado to give him a chance to understand how he could develop a higher sense of security, a basic resiliency, by facing immense difficulty and getting through it. Or he might have chosen the tragedy to develop his capacity for asking for help and receiving care and caring from others, after lives of being self-sufficient and giving without opening to receiving.  Or, beneath his immediate pain, he may have wanted, by feeling the power of the tornado, to revitalize his waning interest in life through “fighting back” to rebuild.  Or he may have wanted to simplify his life by living in minimal conditions so he could move without distraction deeper into his internal life.  There are many other possibilities to account for his creation.

No matter what, however, I would do my best to stay as long as I could in the state of “high intellect,” being consciously in both the 3-D world and beyond, and understanding the validity of the useful ficiton of the 3-D world while not being completely blinded by it.  In that way, Spirit would guide me to know in just what ways I could meet the terms of our soul contract and aid my companion soul in his value fulfillment while thereby advancing my own.


Roberts, J.  (1986). Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Vol II.  Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.

_______.  (1997- 2000).  The Early Sessions, Books 1-8.  Manhasset, N.Y.: New Awareness Network.

_______.  (1974). The Nature of Personal Reality.  Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.

_______.  (1972/1994).  Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. Novato,CA.: The New World Library.

Scholotterbeck, K. (1987). Living Your Past Lives: The Psychology of Past-Life Regression.  New York: Ballantine Books.

Sutphen, Dick, & Lauren L. Taylor. (1983, 1987). Past-Life Therapy in Action. Malibu,  CA.: Valley of the Sun Publishing.

A Meditation on Judas

Though I am no longer what I would consider a Christian, every Easter I think about Judas.

Growing up Catholic, around age 12, I attended religious instructions to prepare for my upcoming Confirmation, the process by which Catholics consciously affirm that they are willing to die for their faith. But, while I was always drawn to things Divine, partly because of a pious mother, I was starting to think for myself, starting to wonder about whether the concepts I was being taught by the nuns were making sense.

During one of the weekly lessons, I recall when our nun—was she Sister Mary-Joseph?—started to talk about Judas, the Arch-Nemesis of the Good. In her rendition of him, which embellished a bit on the Biblical text, he appeared as a thin, pale, anemic and angular man permanently hunched over the way most villains have been melodramatically portrayed. How could he not be such, this infamous excuse for a human being who would dare to betray the Son of God for any reward, not to mention the legendary thirty pieces of silver? Suitable gasps of horror escaped the lips of my fellow students, while the Good Sister, nodding approval, pursed even more her already pursed lips.

I, meanwhile, sat deep in thought, thinking about how other presented doctrines, particularly the omniscience of God, squared with Sister Mary-Joseph’s portrayal of Judas and his actions. If God, I remembered thinking, is all-knowing, then He had to know from all eternity, that Judas was going to inform on Christ. Moreover, if Judas had not brought the centurions to the Garden of Gethsemane and kissed Christ to point Him out, there would have been no Crucifixion and no Resurrection, the latter being the most important event in all of Christianity. Somebody had to take on that role. Somebody had to take the rap and be cursed throughout the succeeding centuries. That person did not have a chance—he was set up; he could not have not chosen to be the Betrayer. So why was Judas the “fall guy” for this betrayal of betrayals? What had he done to deserve this horrible and crushing fate? Nothing in the Gospels suggests that he was a heinous individual before the betrayal.

While I am certain that, when I was twelve in that classroom, I could not have said anything quite as articulate as the reasoning above, I did raise my hand and, when recognized, did stand up and say something about what seemed like the grossest unfairness of the situation facing Judas. I was truly perplexed, hoping that my mentor in black and white would make sense of what seemed horrifying nonsense. But I recall that a chilling silence immediately prevailed as I looked at the immobile nun, arms interlocked at chest level, who must have experienced, for a moment at least, what I would now call “synapse failure,” a disconnect in the brain. Then, after an interminable second, only her lips moved, barely, as she voiced in an even, but hard tone, “Sit down!”

So I sat down. But I didn’t shut down. For years the enigma of Judas’ fate and the nun’s response continued to annoy, unsettle, and intrigue me. Looking back, I now know that the nun’s reaction was perfectly created to set me on the course I needed to take: to find my own answers in sources other than conventional authority. Yet, as my general education became broader and broader, I still could not find anything that could come close to granting me a satisfactory answer, even if I had known what “satisfactory” meant.

Then one day, I went to see Zorba the Greek playing at the local theatre. I was enraptured with Zorba’s (and, by extension, his creator’s) zest for and exuberance in life. So, I sought out another of Kazantzakis’ works and found The Last Temptation of Christ. As I settled down to read this magical text, I found myself in a powerful trance that, nevertheless, felt more like reality than the reality I had known. When Judas came on the scene, I was transfixed.

For here was a rendition of the man that Sister Mary-Joseph could never have imagined, or, if imagined, would have had to reject or face possibly a permanent synapse failure. (While I did not check my memory by skimming the novel before writing this post, I am telling you here what was imprinted on my consciousness about Kazantzakis’ portrayal.) If Sister Mary-Joseph could embellish the Biblical account, so, too, could Kazantzakis. Onto his scene strode, not the mousey, sniveling Judas of St. Mary-Joseph’s imagination, but rather a behemoth of a man, a mountain-man type, with huge muscles and stalwart stature.

This Judas was not only a disciple, but also a confidant and protector of Jesus. As a bodyguard, he accompanied Christ everywhere and swore allegiance to Him.

While this image of Judas was startling enough to me who had been programmed to think of him as extremely different, there was one scene between him and Jesus that brought shivers and tingles to my body, that made me jump from my chair and walk with great energy, arms gesticulating in triumph, around my room.

In this private scene, Jesus tells Judas that he has something very important and very sad to tell him. Wanting to ease Christ of any burden, Judas is very eager to hear the disclosure. Jesus goes on to tell him that he, Christ, is going to be betrayed, arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Upon hearing this news, Judas is outraged by what his beloved Master is about to endure; and he is immediately ready and willing to crush the betrayer, fight the authorities and even take Christ’s place and be executed.

With great compassion, Jesus looks up at this man who, to confirm his faith in the conventional way, was more than willing to give up his life for Him; Jesus then says, “No, Judas, you have the harder thing to do…you have to betray me.” It still chills and thrills me to repeat those words.

Finally, I had found the answer I had craved in my youth. My intuition that something was not quite right with the conventional story of Judas was validated by an author who wrote, not from doctrine, but from the deepest well of his heart. In betraying Christ, Judas was not acting as the demonic figure he has been labeled as, but rather as the most loving friend who sacrificed his public honor and legacy for the sake of his Beloved Master and His Mission. Judas then agreed to, chose to, do what on the outside was viewed as the most despicable act, but whose true nature was not discovered and articulated until the heart of one, Kazantzakis—who loved life, often, like Zorba, in the face of death—dared to speak it.

Such was the Sacred Contract, to use Carolyn Myss’ words, that Judas and Christ had with each other, the former probably in order to experience and pledge the deepest love possible, the other to set in motion a covenant of Love, no matter how distorted it would come to be by his followers. In effect, Judas went through his own Confirmation by sacrificing, not his body, but rather something more important—his good name—for his faith; if he had not betrayed Jesus according to their contract, if he had not believed Jesus knew exactly what he was doing and asking, Judas would truly have betrayed Christ and disconfirmed his faith.

So, now my Confirmation of Faith validates the belief that nothing happens without purpose, however as yet unknown; that, as Jane Roberts’ Seth says, we choose all that happens to us; that the Heart knows that which the Mind knows nothing about, and that we co-create freely and deliberately, often with love and atypical (even counter-intuitive) sacrifice, all of our shared reality. This is the New Understanding that rises, Easter-like, again and again, from the death of no-longer-useful and thus limiting beliefs.

Source of Judas Image: http://us.cdn1.123rf.com/168nwm/candyman/candyman1004/candyman100400183/8511695-judas-on-engraving-from-the-1800s-perfomed-by-george-lechner-in-the-oberammergau-passion-play-publis.jpg

Creating My Own Reality: Health

A few weeks ago, in an online course facilitated by Rick Stack, one of Jane Roberts’ original students, I read a quote from Seth that fixated my attention.  In one sense, it was nothing new to me, because it was a reiteration of his core principle that we all form our own realities.

But there was a bit of a twist in this iteration:

When that point of awareness strikes you truly—when beyond what you are told, beyond what you hear and read—you understand emotionally, intuitively, intellectually that you do indeed create your own reality—then, in your terms…a new kind of consciousness is born in you…You feel the birth of intellect and intuition together in a high intellect…It will come again and again, until it becomes a second, newer nature (from Seth Class Session).

What riveted my attention was the word “emotionally,” for I realized that I accepted the notion that I create my own reality intuitively and intellectually, but very rarely emotionally.  Seth was saying that without acceptance on all three levels, an individual cannot move fully into a “high intellect” that empowers the individual on a conscious level to direct his or her life in a total manner.

As I thought more about this issue, I realized that I, like many other seekers, have had moments of “high intellect” that, unfortunately, did not last.  One such occurrence took place almost six years ago while taking an advanced course in medical hypnotherapy.  I suddenly felt that I had to do something about my chronic health issues, and sought the services of “S,” one of the trainers.  Below are my notes from that experience.

Notes from Hypnotherapy Session with “S”, 8-15-06

I went in with the idea that I had to do something about my health.  I tried to get into one statement the feeling I was intuiting about my health and came up with, “I don’t want to take care of my body.”  The emphasis is not on my wanting someone else to take care of me; it is rather on not wanting to bother caring for my body.  I also felt some anger at having to care.  And maybe some fear.  “S” asked me where I felt the anger/fear in my body, and I said, “Around my abdomen.”  I also felt my hands clenched.

“S” helped me create an affect bridge with these feelings and body sensations.  She tried to take me back to a scene in this life, but I went to a scene in 1642 in England.  I was in a dungeon in England.  I was bound by steel/iron bands around my waist, wrists, and (as I discovered later) around my neck.  I was going to be left to die.  I was a member of an outlaw gang and had been caught without my family’s (wife and child) and perhaps my band’s knowing about it.  I was very dirty, with only a kind of loincloth around my genitals.  I had a lot of dark, black hair and a big beard.  I was 42.

It seems that I was probably being left to starve to death.  I was fighting against the restraints; and, when I realized that I was also bound around the neck, I started to panic.  I was trying not to believe that I was completely restrained because that belief, I thought, would make me go crazy.  I wished that I was let loose and given a chance to move and run, even if I was cut down or speared.  Being restrained was the worst fear.  I remember thinking that if I did not have my body, I would be free, free from bodily suffering.  I was angry that I had to worry about my body.

Then, when “S” asked if I saw my captors, I told her one man was approaching me with a metal cup of water, which I drank, but hated the taste and the fact that the water dribbled out of the corners of my mouth.  At that point, I flashed to an image of Christ on the cross being offered a drink on a sponge by one of the Centurions.  Then I realized that I was nailed or roped to a cross for crucifixion as one of the thousands of slaves led by Spartacus, who were crucified along the Appian way when the Romans foiled their great rebellion.  I did not stay long in this incarnation, only long enough to notice that, once again, I was restrained until I died.  Having a body was, once again, the means to suffer.

When “S” asked if I visualized any other experiences of constraint, I flashed to when I was a kid and, one or two times a year, found myself trapped under the covers that my mother had tucked in tightly.  I would wake up and feel trapped by the covers (though I did not know where I was for a moment or two) because my head was near the foot of the bed and my feet near the head of the bed.

Then “S” rolled my head and took me away from all of that and asked me to see myself in a chair a few feet in from of me and talk to me.  She asked me to consult with me.  After the suffering part of me said with anger and anguish to the other that this was not okay, etc., the other part said that it kept creating incarnations for the suffering one because it was “weak,” had not fought back against the constraints, etc.  The suffering part angrily said that it could not fight back with such constraints.  The other part said that the suffering part should still fight back, but the other part did not know any other way to offer the suffering part.

As Joe in 2006, I said that I knew I had created all of the incarnations, that I was the one who was restraining me.

Next “S” asked me to summon and picture a wise figure.  I saw a guy with extremely long white hair and beard, both of which covered his face so I could not really see it.  She asked to talk to him directly.  When she asked his name, he said, “Joab.”  As I spoke for him, I could feel him quite amused.  He told “S” that Joe’s incarnations did not see that this was all pretense, a game, to get Joe to see in a deeply real way that he created his own reality, his own restraints.  He said that Joe was quite bright, but a bit dense about all of this.  He told “S” (paraphrased):

The problem with Joe’s food intake is his belief that food makes him gain weight and maintain his chronic illnesses.  He does not realize that this belief helps him to create the ILLUSION of constraints (that to get better, he has to restrict his intake of food and bind himself to the notion of exercising).  HIS BELIEF THAT HE WAS CONSTRAINED CAUSED HIM TO SET UP THE HEALTH SITUATION WHEREIN HE WOULD FEEL CONSTRAINED (HAVING TO DIET AND EXERCISE) IN TRYING TO OVERCOME IT.  If he dissolves the other belief that he is only strong if he fights against constraint, he will find that he can eat any food he wants and exercise little and BE HEALTHY.  But because he now so believes that only diet and exercise can help him out of his health situation, he will stay unhealthy if he does not diet and exercise.  So, for NOW, he needs to diet and exercise to convince his conscious mind that he has power.  In time, he will realize that he has far more power than he has ever thought; and then the focus will not be on how much exercise he does or how much food he takes in; it will be, rather, on which beliefs he will choose to manifest in his body.

He has worked minor miracles for others, but he now needs to work for himself a miracle around his health to move to the next stage of his spiritual development.  All this setup over many incarnations is his soul’s way of getting him to see in a very concrete way that he creates his own reality, to own that his body is his creation and that he has control over its processes.  That he is sick is an illusion, but he believes in his sickness, so it manifests.

Moreover, he must understand that his body is his instrument in this three-dimensional reality, that it enables him to enjoy the beauty of, for instance, the mountains of New Mexico.  Without this instrument he could not love concretely or be, himself, part of the beauty of the landscape.  He does not have to suffer in his body to prove that he is strong; rather he must show he is strong by being willing to recognize as such the illusion of believing that his body is fundamentally ill or ill-suited for his needs in three-dimensional life.  Had he not adopted these beliefs, he would not have been a slave to his own illusions nor an outlaw from the norm of Life itself, and thus he would not have ‘suffered’ those deaths while ‘constrained.’

I was the agent of the “blood incident”** today.  When he was most relaxed and non-defensive, I was able to cause him to bleed so that he could see that he could stop the bleeding by imagining and willing it.  If he can do that, he can stop the diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.  He will see that he created them for purposes that were well-intentioned to gain him strength, but which had the opposite effect of weakening his sense of his fundamental power.  He does not need these illness any longer; in truth, he never “needed” them.

Joe needs to remember the bleeding incident.  He needs to eat and exercise in the “healthy” way his conscious mind knows UNTIL he gets it completely that what is the root issue is his negative belief(s) about his control of his body.

I then told “S” that Joab was laughing, asking me if he had done well in his “get-up” of the Wise Old Man.”  I told her that I told him that he should get a haircut!

“S” then gave me a lot of relevant suggestions about living in my body for the joy it brings and its use as an instrument of transformation for me and those people I have yet to help.

**Blood incident:  This bizarre incident started right as “T” (the facilitator) was counting us out of the group hypnosis designed to send healing energy to people not in the room (such as “L” and “C” last November).  I felt some “liquid” running down my back on the right side, over my kidney.  I thought someone sitting in back of me had spilled some water on me.  But when I reached back, touched my shirt, and then looked at my hand, two of my fingers were covered in blood.  I was a bit freaked, and put my hand under my shirt in the same place, only to get more blood on my fingers.  So I immediately got up and went to the bathroom.  Synchronistically, one of the other students who is a doctor, “happened” to be in the hallway at the same time, and I asked him to come into the bathroom with me to investigate the bleeding.  When I took off my shirt, I found it soaked in blood (even staining, I found out later, the back of the chair I had been sitting in) and my back smeared with it.  I wondered if I had cut myself.  The doctor, “G,” wiped away the blood,  looking for the source and said, finally, that he thought a mole had come off because there was a minor “indentation” at the site of the bleeding.  He applied pressure and then led me hypnotically to imagine he was placing ice on the site and that the capillaries were capping and my blood was withdrawing from the site.  Well, I had some trouble imagining the ice until I touched the cool sink and was able to do some imaging.  Much to my surprise, the bleeding stopped in about a minute and a half, which is highly strange, given how much blood had dripped out and given that I am on a daily dose of aspirin which thins the blood and extends the time needed for coagulation.  I now believe, as Joab, said, that I was supposed to see that I could control my body.  And I could not understand how the mole got ripped out.  I do NOT remember any scratching of that area; and even if I had done so unconsciously, it would have taken a lot of painful digging to get the mole out.  Just amazing!


So many of the individuals who now come to me for spiritual hypnotherapy have significant  physical ailments (some of which have no medical cause) or simply do not want to be here, do not want to be embodied.  As with me, many of the people have had incarnations where they were abused in body for promulgating a new spirituality.  My experience noted above might be useful for them to know, for the best antidote to the fear of repeating such abuse is to realize, once again, that we are creating all of that because of “past” limiting beliefs that are fully present.

As I reread the notes for the umpteenth time, I, of course, wish that I could attain and retain that level of awareness I reached during the hypnotherapeutic process. I am relieved, however, to note what Seth says: “It will come again and again, until it becomes a second, newer nature.”  And that high intellect will have to come again and again and again and again.

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