「生きがいの創造」 英語版 公開中！
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(Copyright: Fumihiko Iida & Muneo J. Yoshikawa)
ＣＲＥＡＴＩＮＧ ＴＨＥ ＶＡＬＵＥ ＯＦ ＬＩＦＥ
By Fumihiko Iida
( This book became best-seller in Japan
and achieved more than 600,000 copies. )
Muneo Yoshikawa, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Upon the Occasion of Publication
Prologue -- A Small Miracle
How This Book Was Written; Gratitude to All
How It Began
Memories of Past Lives
Section 1 Hypnotic Regression
Section 2 The Past Reborn
Swallowed By the Flood
Enveloped By Smoke
A Japanese Who Lived As a German
Memoirs of a Woman Subject
Section 3 Proof of Past Life Memories
Conformity to Historical Facts
Consistency in Different Subjects' Memories of Past Lives
Terror at Auschwitz .
Children Tell of Past Lives
Encounter With One's Own Corpse
How the Process of Reincarnation Works
Section 1 Going Home to "The Other World"
Consciousness of Self As "Spirit"
View of the World After Death
Visions of Tunnels, Rivers and Gateways
The World of Light and Undulations
Meetings With Those Who Have Died
One Happy Moment
Messages From The Dead
No One Dies Alone
The Existence of "Guardian Angels"
Section 2 Memories and Recollections of Life
Panoramic Vision of Life
Self-Assessment of One's Life
How Much Did We Love Others .
Tears of Shame and Grief
A Message from the Beings of Light
Karma in Human Relationships
Section 3 One's Own Plan For Life
The Never-Ending Quest for Growth
How We Plan Our Lives
A Flow Chart of Choices
Motive is the Key
The Defeated Can Always Try Again
Self-Chosen Tests and Trials
Facing Things Head On
How Karmic Justice Works
Section 4 The Huge Drama of Karmic Justice
Big Event On Board Ship
The Man He Killed Became His Mother
The Detailed Workings of Hypnotic Regression
Conversation With His Own Kidney
Section 5 There is a Time For Everything
Deliberately Choosing a Tough Environment
Why People Die Young
Section 6 Reunion With Soul Mates
The Ties That Bind
Mysterious Family Ties
Hatred of a Son
Relationship With a Husband
Soulmates Fortify and Help Each Other
A Joint Life Plan
Grateful to Soulmates
The Mystery of Synchronism
The Art of Loving
Section 7 Revisiting the World
Our Sojourn in the Next World
Memories Hindering Self-Development are Suppressed
Birth Into This World
We Are Responsible for Everything
Communication With The Dead
Section 1 Reunion With The Dead
Experiments Using the Apparition Booth
Conversations With Dead Relatives
Dad Asked What She Wanted
Dr. Moody's Experience
Encouragement From a Deceased Husband's Spirit
A Very Good Marriage Partner
Section 2 Messages From the Dead
The Miracle of Readings
Conversation With a Dead Son
Encouragement From the Spirit of and Aborted Fetus
I'll Marry You Every Single Time I Am Reincarnated
A Dead Wife Apologizes
The Importance of Prayer
Thinking Scientifically About "Life After Death"
Section 1 The Persuasiveness of the "Life After Death Hypothesis"
Between Science and Religion
History Repeats Itself
The Humility of a Scientist
Section 2 The Superiority of "Theories of Life After Death"
It Can Never Be Proven That "There Is No Life After Death"
A Denier Will Realize His Error..But an Affirmer Will Never
Theory of the Meaning of Life, Based on Reincarnation
Section 1 The Value of Belief
The Rationality of Choosing the "Non-Scientific"
What Do We Mean by "A Feeling That Life Is Meaningful?"
Scientific Knowledge as "A Source of Meaning"
Fundamental Changes in our Set of Values
Section 2 A Message from "Theories of Meaning"
For Those Who Have Lost a Close Relative
Love From Wife and Children
The Courage to Accept the Death of a Friend
The Strength to Overcome a Mother's Death
Advice From a Son's Spirit
For Those Who Have Lost a Sweetheart
For Those Stricken With Serious Illness or Handicap
Physical Pain is a Sign of Spiritual Progress
Messages From Colleagues
The Significance of Volunteer Work
For Those Who Are Soon to Die
Cheerful Intimacy With Death
For Those Troubled By Human Relationships
Why We Were Born in This World
Love and Forgiveness
Gratitude to Soulmates
Why We Choose Our Parents
The "Breakthrough" Created By Changing Our Set of Values
Value is Born When "Knowledge is Put into Practice"
"Positive Thinking" is a Source of Energy
Section 3 The God of Meaningful Life
Free to Believe; Free Not to Believe
Gratitude for "A God In One's Own Image"
It's Not "Painful Hard Work," But Joyous Self-Cultivation
Finding Out Who You Are
It Is Still Not Too Late To Change
We Are All Brave Travelers
Epilogue -- The World Will Be As One
Won't You Join the "Network of Life's Meaning?"
UPON THE OCCASION OF PUBLICATION
- Why This Book is Being Sent Out From Japan to the World
Muneo Yoshikawa, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii
In the latter part of March, 1996, a trusted friend sent me a copy of Professor Fumihiko Iida's article, "The Dawn of Meaning." I read it immediately and was amazed that a traditional academic journal at a major public university in Japan had published a research article on life after death and rebirth, especially since the topic is so remote from economics and management, the journal's usual genre. I was full of emotion as I realized that the new world-shaking paradigms (views of the world, of the universe, of nature, of humanity and of the corporation) have at last started to make inroads in Japan.
On the one hand, I was speechless with admiration for the bravery of Professor Iida in submitting such theories to a journal of economics and management. I have spent over thirty years in the academic environment of a public University in the U.S., and I know very well that a scholar of management must be prepared for the worst when he publishes theories such as Professor's Iida's within the discipline of management science, where they appear out of place, at least at first glance. I contacted Professor Iida immediately because I was convinced that he had some compelling reason, a reason beyond human knowledge, to act as he did. One week later I visited Professor Iida's office at Fukushima University.
As I suspected, Professor Iida did have a reason beyond human knowledge to write his article. I am unable to explain it simply, and Professor Iida has requested that I refrain from trying. However, the overwhelming response to his article made Professor Iida resolve to publish a greatly expanded version of his article as a book. As I spoke to Professor Iida, I felt very strongly that his theories were too important to be confined just to Japan; I felt that Japan must send his ideas out to the whole world. For that reason, I have been asked to write the introduction to this book, a task which I, a non-Japanese, perform with great hesitation.
Transpersonal psychology and molecular physics, disciplines on the forefront of global knowledge, are currently dealing with such concepts as the invisible world, the realm of the unconscious and idea of life fields. In philosophy, such concepts are termed the "celestial" realm and the realm of "nothingness." The Japanese have words for these astral realms in the world of art where the concepts are called yohaku (blankness, empty space), yo'in (reverberation, lingering note) and yojo (suggestiveness, lingering charm). These realms have meaning in a psychological and emotional sense. Fellow Japanese very clearly understand and share this realm of emotion.
In the world of business as well, Japanese have a shared understanding in this astral plane of the "life-field" called the "workplace." Just as in the world of art, this realm or life-field of work can also be understood psychologically or emotionally. For that reason, the realm of work has a nature that cannot ask "why" things happen.
As someone who is not Japanese, I think that Japan got so caught up with the question of "how to" during the days of high economic growth that the nation lost sight of the question "why." Corporations fulfilled their destiny as entities with the shared understanding that the goal is the pursuit of profits. When considered from a cultural perspective, there was virtually no consciousness of purpose to generate the question "what," nor was there any consciousness of vision to generate the question "why." And then one day the hyper-inflated "bubble" economy suddenly deflated, leaving Japan finally conscious of the emptiness of a materialistic civilization. Now Japan is starting to search for real wealth and seeking to find the meaning of life and the meaning of work.
Professor Iida grapples head on with these problems as a scholar of management. The conclusion he reaches is this: it is impossible to find the meaning of life or the meaning of work unless one changes one's human consciousness and set of values in the most fundamental and basic of ways.
This book proposes a "theory about the meaning of life," through a comprehensive treatment of scientific research findings about "life after death" and "rebirth," ideas that are found throughout the world.
A course on "Death and Dying" has been part of the curriculum at the state-owned University of Hawaii for the past twenty-five years. Thinking about human life and death has become a respected academic discipline. Japan is behind the rest of the world in this regard; however, Professor Iida makes every effort in this book to elucidate the meaning of "life" and "death" in as scholarly a fashion as possible by giving specific examples, based upon the scientific research of scholars around the world.
What this book makes clear is that, "Human beings are creatures that create meaning and that create value." Dr. Victor Frankel, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, has stated that the people who survive even the most horrible environments are those people who are able to find value in their lives even in the midst of suffering. By publishing this book, Dr. Iida also hopes to emphasize strongly the following: "People who discover value in their own existence are strong people. Discovering value in your own existence provides the most powerful reason for living."
It has been reported that the chief cause of death in the U.S. is "the loss of a sense of meaning." Japan is no exception in this respect. Japan presently has no vision (why) nor does it have clear goals (what). Japan has lost its way and is buffeted about here and there by the immediate situation. Professor Iida makes us aware of the world we cannot see (past and future lifetimes) and, by thus raising our consciousness, draws our attention to the one, unbroken chain of life that continues forever. This book is essential required reading for most Japanese people because it reveals the importance of attaching meaning anew to the "celestial" realm and the realm of "nothingness."
As the author emphasizes, we are linked to all the objects, people and living creatures that surround us. When we understand the meaning of our existence, then for the first time, our ways of perceiving, of thinking, of understanding and of interacting spring out of the boundaries of "humanity," spring out of the boundaries of "nationhood," and spring out of the boundaries of the "world." Heightened in this fashion, our very consciousness acquires a bright and shining hope in dealing with problems which face all human beings such as racial issues and environmental issues.
This book is required reading not only for Japanese but for each and every one of the many people living on this earth. I myself plan to translate this book into English shortly, so that I can spread Professor Iida's "network of meaning" throughout the world.
I fervently pray that even one more person will read this book.
PROLOGUE -- A Small Miracle
It happened one day in Autumn when their oldest son Hiro was four.
There is a family in Tokyo, composed of a cheerful husband who works for a large manufacturer, his practical wife, who is a full-time housewife, and their son. The couple are trustworthy and well-educated and not the sort who would tell a facile lie nor deceive others.
One morning, their son Hiro was absorbed, as he was every morning, in watching an 8:30 program on NHK Educational Television titled "Let's Play in English." His parents were eating their breakfast nearby.
Hiro was very quick at English. Without any formal instruction, he was able to easily remember and accurately repeat, not just words, but entire sentences of the English dialog spoken by the lady in the program.
Hiro was speaking fluently in English that morning too, and his mother casually remarked, "Hiro, you speak English so well!"
Hiro answered in a perfectly offhand manner. "Oh, that's because I used to live in the United States."
Of course, Hiro had never lived in the U.S. He had been born in Tokyo and had spent his entire four years of life in the same condominium.
His mother thought to herself, "I wonder how this child learned about the U.S. when we've never taught him anything about it. Could he have found out through T.V. or some child's magazine?" She said encouragingly, "Oh, really. And so that's why your English is so good." Hiro's parents had promised each other to always listen carefully to their child and to never make fun of what their child said.
Hiro then calmly concluded, "Yes, I used to be very happy when I was living in the U.S. That's why I decided to be reborn once more."
His mother was at a loss for words. His father, who had been eating breakfast and listening to the interchange, turned to look over in shock.
Hiro's parents were agnostics, and had never spoken of the concept of "reincarnation." In fact, they were totally uninterested in reincarnation, and knew scarcely anything about it. It seemed bizarre to them to hear their small four-year old easily using such a difficult expression as "reborn" when this was totally unlike Hiro's usual way of speaking. "How could this child, who probably doesn't even know the meaning of the word 'life' as yet, be speaking so fluently about "being reborn once more," his mother thought to herself, as she muttered non-committally to Hiro, at a complete loss for words.
Several months later, Hiro's mother was suddenly motivated to ask Hiro again about what he had said. She thought that if he answered her question the same way as before, even after several months had passed, it would prove that he had not just been speaking random nonsense before. She casually asked him, "Hiro, dear, where did you live in the past?" Hiro gave exactly the same answer as several months ago. But this time he made a surprising addition. "I used to live in the United States. I lived in the U.S. and I was very happy, so I decided to be reborn. Then someone told me to go to Japan, and so I flew here."
His mother hid her agitation, and asked, "Who was it who told you to go to Japan?"
"Um... I don't know. But I was told to go to Japan, and that's why I flew here. Then I was inside mommy's tummy."
Just before he had turned three, Hiro had started to show her "the way I held my body when I was in your tummy." Naturally, his parents had never taught him anything about this, and it was impossible for a two-year old to have such knowledge.
His mother asked him once more in a serious tone, "Hiro, dear, do you remember being in mommy's tummy?" Hiro answered, "Sure, I remember. I could hear daddy's voice. And I could hear mommy's voice too."
As he was speaking, Hiro pulled his legs up and rolled into a ball. "This is the way I held my body. When I was awake, I stretched out my hands." He kicked his legs and stretched out his hands.
"Do you remember when you were born."
"Yes, I remember. I was upside down, and my body was turning around and my head came out first."
Hiro's mother could no longer deny what she had seen and heard with her own eyes and ears. She had never once taught Hiro any of the kinds of things he was telling her. While it is certainly true that a baby's body rotates in his mother's birth canal as it is being born, there was no way that Hiro could have learned that.
She and her husband, who was standing nearby, were convinced that this was a true "memory" of what Hiro had actually experienced. Hiro spoke calmly, but his speechless parents were overcome by emotion.
"When I came out of mommy's tummy, it was so very very bright and cold."
Several months later, at the end of my interview with her, Hiro's mother said in conclusion, "My husband and I feel that we have learned the meaning of life from our four year old son. Our son's words taught us that we should live happily, enjoying all the things that happen in our daily lives.
Hiro's words-- "I was so very happy that I wanted to be reborn again."-- will remain forever in his parents' hearts.
HOW THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN; GRATITUDE TO ALL
In September of 1995, I published some of my research in Shogaku Ronshu, the university academic journal. My article was titled "The Dawn of 'Meaning' -- Regarding the Influence of Scientific Research on Reincarnation On Our Outlook on Life" When I published it, I was terrified that the other professors would reproach me, that other people would laugh at me and that I would lose my precious friends.
However, the things I feared have not materialized, even though over six months have passed. On the contrary, requests have soared for copies of my article in response a comment that I had written at the end of my article, "Free copies will be sent to those who request them." I was eventually sending out over one hundred copies of my article every day. There were times when letters and faxes totaled over 170 per day.
As a result, I ran out of the copies that I had prepared, and repeatedly had to make new copies at my own expense. Braced by warm support from all of you, I sent out over 7,000 articles, including copies, in six months. Many people copied their own articles to send to friends, so there must be thousands and thousands of people in Japan who have seen my article.
Naturally there were heartless materialists who made unpleasant and gloomy comments; and there were some people who began to keep their distance from me.
However, there were hundreds more strangers from all over the country who sent me warm and appreciative letters and faxes expressing their support and opinions.
This gave me great strength.
At this point, I would like to introduce some representative letters selected from the hundreds that I have received. I have been greatly strengthened by the heartfelt emotion which permeates these letters
Words cannot express my gratitude for this manuscript. I am terribly excited about it. I received the report on February 15. Just by thumbing through it, I knew instantly that what I had received was extraordinary. I felt as if the manuscript had grabbed that shining vital part of my heart, and shook it violently from side to side.
Before I had finished reading it all, I faxed seven or eight key people in my life, telling them about this report. I rejoice that your report had been published.
I now feel that I have been reborn. As I read your report, I found myself sometimes nodding in deep agreement, sometimes breaking into tears, and sometimes smiling quietly. When I read on the train, those around me would vacate their seats, leaving me pleased that I could read in peace! I can feel the dawn of a new age!
This is my first letter to you.
I lost a person I loved in an automobile accident on (date deleted). He and I had built up a very strong relationship together. I respected him very much. I wanted to learn more about him. Now it is all gone. I was unable to put my mind to anything the first four or five days after his death, and I agonized over what would become of me.
After about a week had passed, a friend gave me a report and asked me to read it. It was Professor Iida's article, "The Dawn of 'Meaning.'" I read it through the first time in about an hour. Then I slowly read it over again and again and again. I am still unable to express my feelings very well in words. The best I can do is to say, "Professor Iida saved me."
I had been secretly thinking about killing myself. But then I found Professor Iida, and learned the meaning of living. I began to think seriously about "reliving" my life. "The Dawn of 'Meaning'" is my bible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I'm sure there will be many days when I feel miserable; however, I will be able to move forward optimistically because I have "The Dawn of 'Meaning.'" I will never forget the past as I move forward with my life, and I will sometimes stop and look back at the road I have taken. But I will be able to choose my path and calmly accept all that happens around me.
I will go on living so that I may become a truly, truly good person. With your help, Professor Iida, I now want to go on living. Please forgive me for getting carried away and writing so exclusively about myself in such messy handwriting. I am so happy that I read your work. From now on, I will put my heart into living. I will put all my energies into living on. I offer you my deepest gratitude for giving me my life back.
I've just finished rereading your article. Words cannot express the overwhelming gratitude that I feel as I wonder how to incorporate into my everyday life the strong impressions that were engraved on my heart by each phrase of "The Dawn of 'Meaning.'" I am ___ years old and operate a small ___ store. I also have some young people working for me and managing the store cheerfully and happily. Still, some people leave me each year because of their inability to share the same dreams and hopes. This fills me with sadness, even though my own powerlessness and lack of education may be the cause.
However, after being exposed to Professor Iida's ideas, I have sensed my innermost feelings slowly becoming brighter. We have been placed on earth in order to perfect ourselves through discipline. His ideas have allowed me to resolve one by one many of the strange and naive doubts that I had. I see now that there is a reason for the unexpected words of others. And I now understand with painful clarity that nothing can be resolved or settled through grief and anger alone. Most important of all, I believe that I have started to understand the meaning of my own life.
I want to start now to change my own way of living. I want to spend each day consciously aware of my gratitude not only to my wife and family but also to my parents, my friends, my employees, my business connections, and most of all, my customers.
I see now that there was a reason for everything that happened. Each event was a big link to the meaning of my life.
I do not want to selfishly hoard my blessed peace of mind; I have decided to make every effort to impart this lesson to those around me.
I am a Director of a trading company. Thank you for sending me your article.
I read it right away. As the world becomes more and more virtual, there are fewer and fewer things that truly make a strong impression. For the first time in ages, I felt emotions that seemed to well up from deep inside me. Since reading "The Dawn of 'Meaning'" I have become aware of my reason for being alive in "this world," and I want to share your article with those around me in my network. Please continue your research and lectures, secure in the knowledge that you have many supporters like me.
Along with letters like this one, many strangers wrote to say, "I want my loved ones to read your article, but the bookstores don't carry academic works. In any event, your style and wording are too difficult and scholarly. Please create a more readable book, and have the bookstores carry it." I was grateful for their chastisements and entreaties. To tell you the truth, their reprimands were completely unexpected, but welcome.
That is how this book was born.
The true parents of this book are those many letter-writers with their words of encouragement.
Thank you all very much.
This book is a simplified, readable presentation of the results of scientific research on reincarnation and the afterlife. It is a book about the "meaning of life," written from a new perspective, which shows how wonderful our everyday lives will become and how our views of human nature will change when we apply the knowledge gained from this research. This book does not aim to prove the existence of "reincarnation" and the "afterlife." No one could possibly provide sufficient proof and no method would suffice to convince 100% of the people of these truths, not in a world where some people say, "I doubt; therefore, I am."
To give an example, suppose a dead soul came back to this world as a ghost and gave a press conference on television for all the people of the world to see. Those who do not wish to believe could use circuitous logic to deny the phenomena that they saw before their very eyes. They could refuse to believe to the very end, explaining away what they see as a collective hallucination or as an illusion caused by some mental mischief or as a trick played by the television station or as something that is impossible by the laws of physics. They are perfectly free to deny what they see, and, in fact, it is their right to do so if they wish.
For that reason, when I am asked whether "reincarnation" and "the afterlife" are "real" or not, all I can answer is, "Well, you'll find out for sure after you die." However, regardless of what is true, as a researcher into "the meaning of life," I find it tremendously worthwhile that the results of my research on various phenomena have greatly strengthened and revitalized many people.
Consequently, my interests lie not in "truth," but rather in those "phenomena" that heighten the feeling that life is worthwhile. This is because I am not a psychologist nor am I a philosopher nor am I a physicist; I am instead a results-oriented teacher of management, whose role is much like that of a physician, in the sense that I "heal the heart." For this reason especially, this book is not about the unusual themes of "reincarnation" and "rebirth," but really about "the meaning of life."
There is a big difference between "believing" and "confirming." To "believe," one does not need any evidence or basis for belief, but only the will to believe. Until now, this has been the province of "religion." In order to "confirm" something, however, one must have sufficient evidence to be convinced, and one must investigate, thus entering into the realm of science.
In that sense, this book first will explain in easily understandable terms the results of scientific research on "reincarnation" and "the afterlife." Whether or not these scientific results will be enough to elevate a "desire to believe" to the level of "a confirmation" will be at the discretion of each reader. I am sure that there some who will deny it, saying that there is insufficient proof, but there are others who will say in astonishment, "There's so much evidence, that I'm convinced."
At this point, what I want each of you to ask yourself, based on the research results presented in this book, is the following, "How would my life change if I started to believe in reincarnation and an afterlife?" I am not stubbornly insisting that you recognize these as truths. This book is not intended to convince the disbelievers. Instead, it is intended to encourage those who are in doubt about what to believe, and to provide scientific information to those who already "believe," in order to encourage and support them in their lives.
Furthermore, this book never quotes without very good reason writings by psychics or religious figures, nor private therapists nor journalists, nor those who term themselves social commentators and entertainers. Of course, I do not deny that their numerous publications include several excellent works; however, in order to maintain a scholarly and objective viewpoint, the quotations used in this book are chiefly from the research of renowned university professors, of researchers who hold Ph.D. degrees and of clinical physicians.
In addition, my family and I do not belong to any religious group, but instead follow the typical Japanese religious hodgepodge, visiting Shinto shrines during the big Shinto New Year's festivals, visiting Buddhist temples during the Buddhist festival of the dead, and putting up a Christmas tree at Christmas. It is true that once I had a paranormal experience that convinced me concretely of the existence of "spirits;" it is also true that I was aided in writing this book by the strong encouragement of the "spirits." However, I wish to stress strongly once again that neither the contents of this book nor I have any connection with any religious group.
If you are a person who "will never accept" the existence of "reincarnation" or of "the afterlife," please go ahead and enjoy this book as an ornate and colorful fantasy.
If you are a person who "is in doubt" about acceptance, please open up this book with excitement.
If you are a person who is already a fervent believer, please nod your head deeply in agreement as you read, as you confirm what you already know.
Let us begin the narrative.
HOW IT BEGAN
I am a professor of management. For my research in "human resource management," I constantly think about the questions of "what makes work fulfilling," of "what makes life worthwhile," and of "what brings feelings of happiness."
These days in particular, I have been getting an increasing number of requests from all over for speeches on the theme of "Managing the Meaning of Life," and I have become more and more keenly aware of the importance of this theme.
Originally, I did research in what is called, in technical parlance, "organizational culture," or "communal group values." I pursued my theories within the rubric of traditional "management science," from the viewpoint of "increasing work fulfillment by changing value systems." In other words, managers and superiors were to reform the organization, using the rallying call "human values" as a means to attain a type of "desirable mind control."2
However, I have recently noticed that managers and supervisory personnel share an awareness of a common problem. What worries them is this: "We tried various methods to increase employee motivation; however, these were no more than superficial fixes. At best we were temporarily able to trick the employees into thinking that they liked work." Therefore, these managers and supervisory personnel want to know how to affect their employees' value systems at the deepest of levels, in order to make profound changes in the employees' ways of thinking, so that "increased work motivation" will no longer be a superficial and temporary phenomena.
I was inspired to try to relate the special information that I gained through a personal paranormal experience. When I did so, those people who learned of the information listened with great intensity, widening their eyes in astonishment, and sometimes breaking into tears.
One manager nodded in agreement, saying, "That is exactly what I have been seeking. I was mistaken. I have remembered what is really at issue here: the issue is not what I can make my employees do for me, but what I can do for my employees." Another administrator said with great enthusiasm, "I want my families and friends to learn about this, not just my employees." One student was full of joy, "Now I am no longer afraid of anything. From now on when I go home to my single room, I will not be lonely at all."
This special information mentioned above, the topic of this book, is a discussion of the results of recent scientific research on "reincarnation" and "the afterlife." I was astonished at the tremendous results that occurred when I conveyed this information to others. Eliminating the listener's preconceptions and imparting this information accurately created an impact that went far beyond producing greater motivation in the workplace -- it made people start asking fundamental questions about the "meaning of life" and about what comprises "happiness."
I could not help but feel the immense power working whenever I saw the same people who had adamantly resisted change no matter what the inducement, start casting off and discarding the hard shells of their ego. This made me realize that the world is full of people who are searching in their hearts for this information. I finally understood that people who are undergoing an ordeal, those who have been visited by a sudden tragedy, and those who have had a major setback find a great spiritual comfort in the ideas of "reincarnation" and "the afterlife."
As a university professor I frequently counsel people. However, as an individual I can only suggest a very limited number of alternatives to help, for example, the woman whose boyfriend has thrown her over, the student who has failed to get into the college of his choice and the senior who was not offered a job by his dream company. How then can my very limited strength possibly encourage and hearten a handicapped individual or his parents, a young person maimed by an accident, a grieving young widow or a patient suffering from an incurable disease?
Of course, it is easy to say encouragingly, "Cheer up and do your best!" However, so many people who have lost meaning in their lives have lost the very "source of strength to live." They are in the same situation as a piece of equipment with dead batteries. Nothing will move even if you press the on switch. You can shout all you want, "Don't leave the switch off; turn it on," but you cannot hope for any results.
So many people surround us who have lost "the source of strength to live." We can find them in our companies, among students, among our families and relatives. And the friend who is full of hopes today could very well lose everything and sink under misfortune tomorrow.
If misfortune occurs, how can we possibly recreate "the source of meaning" for the victims of misfortune?
If we assume temporarily that "reincarnation" and "the afterlife" are true, then all of our small daily discontents will cease to matter, and our misfortunes and setbacks which had seemed so meaningless, could instead take on a very significant meaning.
Such knowledge might work better as a powerful "source of life's meaning" than all the words of encouragement in the world.
That is precisely the reason why I developed an interest in research on "reincarnation" and "the afterlife" while I was still a young management researcher, just starting out. It is because both "reincarnation" and "the afterlife" are components of "theories of the meaning of life" essential to basic humanity.
By so doing, I broke out of the traditional boundary of "management science" and recklessly ran into the broad research jungle of "human studies.
MEMORIES OF PAST LIVES
The evidence for reincarnation, although mostly circumstantial, is now so compelling that intellectual assent is natural... The reader....I hope, will arrive at the same conclusion as I have: that we've lived before in past lives and will likely live again in future lives--that our current life is but a small link in a long unbroken chain.3
The above quotation is from Dr. Joel L. Whitton, who is Chair of the Psychology Department of the Medical School of the University of Toronto.
Dr. Robert Almeder, a professor at Georgia University, analyzed various recent stories and examples of life after death, and objectively researched the claims of both supporters and deniers and came to the following conclusion in 1992:4-A
For the first time in human history we have a body of factual evidence strongly supporting belief in some form of life after death... The results of this examination are philosophically striking and constitute, I believe, strong evidence for belief in some form of personal survival after death...So, not only is belief in personal survival verifiable by appeal to public evidence, it has been verified by evidence that is public and repeatable. 4-B
We can broadly divide scientific research into human life after death into two types.
The first type conducts research under the following premise: "Even after we lose our physical bodies, we continue to exist as a consciousness (or, in other words, as a spirit)."
The second type starts with the premise, "We exist as a consciousness (a spirit) after death, and take on physical form again when we are reborn."
The first type is research on "life after death," and the second type is research on "rebirth," or borrowing Buddhist ideas, research on what is called "the transmigration of souls."
Research of this nature was carried out prior to the nineteenth century under the form of the study of "Apparitions" or "communications with the deceased." While some writings are persuasive, in general they are inspired by religious impulses or popular interests.5
From what I have seen, pure academic theorizing and research using the scientific method of collecting and analyzing data began in the field of clinical medicine. We can trace its beginnings to the end of the nineteenth century; however, it has only been in the last ten or twenty years that interest in the topic has spread to many researchers, and that corroboration of results has increased.
The majority of the people interested in this theme are serious researchers who are highly regarded in various other disciplines. Generally, they report that initially they disbelieved in an "afterlife" and in "reincarnation," and, in fact, had never felt any interest in these topics. Furthermore, many of these researchers refuse to believe in "reincarnation" even now. Since they are believers in Christianity, a religion that does not deal with "reincarnation" they have to be very courageous to publish the results of their research because those results do not square with the beliefs that they have learned since childhood.
The issue is not whether Christ Himself was correct or mistaken. There were ancient Christian sects that recognized "reincarnation."6 At one time, many Christian sects, in the process of explaining "the world of the afterlife" in plain language, stressed the difference between the glory of Heaven and the horrors of Hell, and decided, as religious bodies, not to recognize "reincarnation."
Currently researchers of these themes are no longer interested in proving the existence of an "afterlife" and of "reincarnation." Instead their interest has shifted to studying the actual way these concepts operate and in methods of communicating with disembodied spirits.
Most of these researchers are actual physicians or clinical doctors. Consequently, they do not consider that their mission is to convince old-type physicists or materialists who are hopelessly locked into their old value systems. Instead, these researchers put their emphasis on unlocking practical knowledge that they can use in counseling the suffering, and in comforting those who are trembling with fear at imminent death.
This book aims at organizing and synthesizing "practical knowledge for living" discovered by these researchers, and in exploring it from the perspective of "meaningful life theories." Well then, let us begin by looking at various research results about memories of previous lives.
The reason that we know that we humans have lived "past lives" on this earth, and that we have the potential to be reborn any number of times is because of the introduction of the psychological therapy known as hypnotic regression about twenty years ago. (In this book, I will use the term "past lives" to refer to all the lives we have lived until now; I will use the term "previous life" to refer to our immediately prior life.)
People frequently fail to understand that "hypnotism" is not a spell or magic, but is merely the focusing of consciousness on one specific point. Induced by a trained physician, the body of the test subject (the person agreeing to be experimented upon) or of the subject being hypnotized relaxes completely, and forgotten memories surface with prompting or suggestion. The act of remembering enables floating anxieties to be alleviated and phobias to be eliminated.7
For example, a subject who is terrified of "water" may remember under hypnotic regression that he nearly drowned as a child while playing in the water. Another subject who has an abnormal phobia about the dark may recover a childhood memory of being attacked in the dark.
In this connection, Dr. David Chamberlain, Vice Chairman of the Pre-Birth and Neonatal Psychology Association, has regressed many of his subjects back to memories of their birth or to their time in the uterus. He has discovered that a fetus can distinguish his mother's voice, and a newborn baby can understand the emotions of his parents.8
He relates that infants read their parents' emotions very perceptively. For example, he says that if a new parent says, "Oh, what a disappointment. I wanted a boy," the infant can be deeply wounded, and this pain can take form later as a mental or physical ailment, as, for example, a male complex. (Readers, please be careful what you say around your pregnant wives and infants!)
Someone under hypnosis is not sleeping, and is fully conscious of all his experiences. In response to the doctor's words, he may express his views, make criticisms or investigate his own memories. Hypnotism does not force someone to speak of his hidden secrets, nor does it create memories against one's will.9
I have learned that when one remembers past lives, sometimes one observes them as if watching a movie, and sometimes one responds emotionally as if thrust once again into the past. There are times when one can actually hear sounds and smell odors.
Unless the doctor indicates that the memories induced under hypnosis must be forgotten, the subject will remember all that he experienced under hypnosis after awakening. If the subject wishes to stop, he can emerge from the hypnotic state at any time through his own volition.
Consequently, the subject is able to respond to the doctor's question, to speak in his usual fashion and to know where and when the events happened that he is remembering, even while he is remembering past events under a deep hypnotic trance. As a result, a subject who discovers that he was a farmer fighting a war during the Middle Ages in Europe may sometimes recognize a contemporary friend appearing also in his past life (they were acquaintances in a past life), may compare the primitive weapons he was using in his past life to modern weapons, or may tell what the date was in the part of his past life he is remembering. In other words, the subject in a hypnotic regression, "is the movie's observer and its critic and usually its star at the same time."10
Hypnotic regression began in the 1890s with the work of Albert de Rochas, whose research involved using hypnosis to make his subjects remember past lives. The subjects gave what seemed to be convincing evidence of past lives, such as telling where they had lived and what their family name had been; however, there was no way to prove whether such a person had actually existed. De Rochas was groping blindly in the dark, as one always is when confronted with a the birth of a new science. The psychologists and psychiatrists of de Rochas' day dismissed the results of his startling experimental research, saying that his subjects' memories of past lives were due to mental derangement.11
However, Dr. Alexander Cannon began scientific experiments on reincarnation once again around the middle of the twentieth century. Dr. Cannon was successful in regressing his over 1,300 subjects back to memories of events that had occurred even thousands of years before the birth of Christ.
For years the theory of reincarnation was a nightmare to me and I did my best to disprove it and even argued with my trance subjects to the effect that they were talking nonsense. Yet as the years went by one subject after another told me the same story in spite of different and various beliefs. Now well over a thousand cases have been so investigated and I have to admit that there is such a thing as reincarnation.12
Dr. Cannon treated thousands of subjects with phobias in the 1970s and 1980s. His methods became known as "regression therapy." Dr. Edith Fiore, a clinical psychologist, supported the reincarnation hypothesis, stating:
If someone's phobia is eliminated instantly and permanently by the remembrance of an event from the past, it seems to make logical sense that that event must have happened.13
Other researchers also gradually began to recognize the authenticity of reincarnation.
All human minds have a subconscious area, which is beyond conscious access. When a person endures some mental trauma, this trauma can be suppressed and stored in their subconscious, with the trauma appearing on the surface disguised as a neurotic symptom. Psychological analysis, using free association and dream analysis, has been a useful treatment in unlocking long-repressed childhood memories in the unconscious mind; however, regression therapy carries this one step further, using hypnosis to find reasons going back to past lives.
A very high level of skill at hypnosis is necessary to regress subjects to their past lives. Not all subjects are able to enter a trance deep enough to recall memories of their past lives. Therefore, regression therapy is not yet for general use since it cannot be used easily on everyone everywhere.
There are popular practitioners using hypnotism therapy in the United States; however, some are charlatans who are out to make money and cannot be trusted. Just using the words "past lives" in Japan can frequently lead to misunderstandings. Japan is still at the stage where only a very small numbers of practicing doctors are researching this topic, and there are only a few therapists who are experimenting with it.
THE PAST REBORN
In what form exactly do the subjects of regression hypnosis remember the past? I will discuss several simple examples.
SWALLOWED BY THE FLOOD
In 1982, Dr. Brian L. Weiss, Chairman of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, used regression therapy on a subject named Catherine. Dr. Weiss was a serious researcher who had published copious research in the traditional scientific areas. At the time, he totally disbelieved in reincarnation and in the afterlife, and he had absolutely no interest in those topics. Catherine, who was a Christian, also appeared not to believe in the principles of reincarnation.
Dr. Weiss had not been able to discover the reason for Catherine's terror of water, even after he regressed her to her childhood memories, so he gave her a deliberately vague suggestion, "Go back to the time from which your symptoms came." Dr. Weiss describes what happened then as follows.
''Go back to the time from which your symptoms arise." I was totally unprepared for what came next.
"I see white steps leading up to a building, a big white building with pillars, open in front. There are no doorways. I'm wearing a long dress...a sack made of rough material. My hair is braided, long blond hair."
I was confused. I wasn't sure what was happening. I asked her what the year was, what her name was. "Aronda...I am eighteen. I see a marketplace in front of the building. There are baskets... You carry the baskets on your shoulders. We live in a valley....There is no water. The year is 1863 B.C. The area is barren, hot and sandy. There is a well, no rivers. Water comes into the valley from the mountains...
...I'm wearing...sandals. I am twenty-five. I have a girl child whose name is Cleastra...She's Rachel. (Rachel is presently her niece; they have always had an extremely close relationship.)
I was startled. My stomach knotted, and the room felt cold. Her visualizations and recall seemed so definite. She was not at all tentative. Names, dates, clothes, trees--all seen vividly! What was going on here? How could the child she had then be her niece now? I was even more confused. I had examined thousands of psychiatric patients, many under hypnosis, and I had never come across fantasies like this before--not even in dreams. I instructed her to go forward to the time of her death. I wasn't sure how to interview someone in the middle of such an explicit fantasy (or memory?), but I was on the lookout for traumatic events that might underlie current fears or symptoms...
..."There are big waves knocking down trees. There's no place to run. It's cold; the water is cold. I have to save my baby, but I cannot...just have to hold her tight. I drown; the water chokes me. I can't breathe, can't swallow...salty water. My baby is torn out of my arms." Catherine was gasping and having difficulty breathing. Suddenly her body relaxed completely, and her breathing became deep and even.
"I see clouds...My baby is with me. And others from my village. I see my brother."
She was resting; this lifetime had ended. She was still in a deep trance. I was stunned! Previous lifetimes? Reincarnation? My clinical mind told me that she was not fantasizing this material, that she was not making this up... The whole gamut of possible psychiatric diagnoses flashed through my mind., but her psychiatric state and her character structure did not explain these revelations...
...These were memories of some sort, but from where? My gut reaction was that I had stumbled upon something I knew very little about--reincarnation and past-life memories. It couldn't be, I told myself; my scientifically trained mind resisted it. Yet here it was, happening right before my eyes. I couldn't explain it, but I couldn't deny the reality of it either.
"Go on," I said, a little unnerved but fascinated by what was happening. "Do you remember anything else?" She remembered fragments of two other lifetimes.14
Dr. Weiss had experienced for the first time the moment when hypnotic regression makes a subject recall "memories of past lives. As a scientist, Dr. Weiss did not want to believe in reincarnation and life after death; however, as the hypnotism therapy sessions continued, Catherine demonstrated repeatedly when in a trance she was aware of many of Dr. Weiss' personal secrets, secrets which no outsider could have known.
What is more, as you will see below, Catherine indicated that those secrets had been related to her by her "master," as she termed the guiding spirit from beyond.
My arms were gooseflesh. Catherine could not possibly know this information. There was no place even to look it up. My father's Hebrew name, that I had a son who died in infancy from a one-in-ten million heart defect, my brooding about medicine, my father's death, and my daughter's naming--it was too much, too specific, too true. This unsophisticated laboratory technician was a conduit for transcendental knowledge. And if she could reveal these truths, what else was there? I needed to know more.
"Who," I sputtered, "who is there? Who tells you these things?"
"The Masters," she whispered, "the Master Spirits tell me. They tell me I have lived eighty-six times in physical state.15
Thereafter, the "guiding spirits" from the world beyond would directly answer Dr. Weiss' questions, using Catherine's voice. Some of the interesting things that were relayed by the spirits will be introduced in other parts of this book, together with the findings of other researchers.
Dr. Weiss took every possible approach to debunking this strange phenomena, but, at last, he had no choice but to accept the truth of what he had seen with his very own eyes. He experimented with many other subjects using hypnotic regression, to have them remember past lives.
He discovered that about 60% of the subjects who needed hypnotic regression as a therapy were cured of their ailments just by remembering their childhood experiences in this life, without needing regression to previous lives. However, the remaining 40% of the subjects could not discover the cause of their emotional wounds unless they remembered their past lives.
The best therapist working within the classically accepted limits of the single lifetime will not be able to effect a complete cure for the patient whose symptoms were caused by a trauma that occurred in a previous lifetime...16
Dr. Weiss performed regressive therapy individually on hundreds of persons, from all walks of life -- medical doctors, company directors, lawyers, therapists, housewives, factory workers, salesmen -- with every type of socioeconomic, religious and educational background. He also hypnotized many times that number of subjects in group hypnotic regressive sessions, and almost all of the subjects remembered past lives. Dr. Weiss reported that these subjects were cured of myriad and sundry unexplained ailments, including fear complexes, panic attacks, bad dreams, obesity, anthropophobia, physical pains and so on.17
ENVELOPED BY SMOKE
Doctors other than Dr. Weiss have also reported several examples of subjects who were freed from serious disease by reliving memories of past lives. For example, a physician from New Jersey, Dr. Robert Jarmon related an example of hypnotic regression.
The patient, Elizabeth, was a fifty-one year old executive who suffered from respiratory disease. She came to Dr. Jarmon for hypnotic regression, thinking that the real cause of her ailment lay in her past lives.
"Now I want you to go to an old scene," Dr. Jarmon instructed Elizabeth. "I want you to go back to the first time you had that problem where you couldn't breathe, the feeling you couldn't catch your breath. As you see that scene, describe what you see."
Elizabeth began to tremble. She grimaced.
"There it is," Dr. Jarmon said. "I want you to look down at your feet. What are you wearing on your feet?"
"Dark shoes," she reported, in a child's voice. "Old lady's shoes."
The doctor probed further. "Where are you? What are you doing?"
"Where are you? What are you doing?"
"Sewing. But I know what's going to happen. There's going to be a fire." Elizabeth stammered and began coughing. Her breathing became rapid and shallow. "Smouldering...the rags over there in the corner."
Elizabeth described herself as a sixteen-year-old girl named Nora who lived in Sterling, Massachusetts, in 1879. Nora worked in a shirt factory. She was deaf, could not speak, and wore braces on her legs. She had been working in this factory since age twelve.
"Smoke...Flames!" she coughed. "They are trying to put it out...they are hitting it. They're beating it. Someone threw water on it, but there's not enough water," she cried. Her breathing became very labored.
"Everyone's trying to get out," she sputtered.
"How about you? Are you trying to get out?" Dr. Jarmon asked.
"I can't. They won't help me."
"Why do you need help?"
"I can't walk...I have braces on my legs," Elizabeth cried, gasping for air.
"They don't even see me. I'm there. I can't breathe. I can't stand it any more," she gulped.
Suddenly, she went limp. After several silent and tense minutes, Dr. Jarmon asked her to describe the scene.
"Is the fire still raging?"
"Yes..but I am resting.... I'm dead...still sick...have to rest. Some need more rest than others. But it's okay. Now it's peaceful."
Elizabeth's respiratory problems disappeared after she reexperienced her death in the fire. She lost her lifelong fear of suffocating. Her values and her life Changed dramatically.18
In the course of conducting hypnotic regression on literally thousands of subjects, Dr. Weiss discovered a phenomena that spans many lifetimes.
Many of my patients have recalled different traumatic patterns under hypnosis that repeat in various forms in lifetime after lifetime. These patterns include abuse between father and daughter that has been recurring over centuries only to surface once again in the current life. They also include an abusive husband in a past life who has resurfaced in the present as a violent father. Alcoholism is a condition that has ruined several lifetimes, and one warring couple discovered they had been homicidally connected in four previous lives together. 19
Later on in this book, I will explain in detail this karma or fate that stretches across several lifetimes as I discuss other researchers' discoveries of the same phenomena.
A JAPANESE WHO LIVED AS A GERMAN
Now I will discuss the case of a Japanese male who underwent hypnotic regression with a Japanese doctor who has kindly granted his permission for me to discuss it. The doctor is a neurosurgeon who was trained at New York University and is a member of the U.S. Hypnotherapists' Association (check name). I have interviewed him, and can guarantee that he is a sincere, cool-headed, trustworthy source.
This doctor uses hypnotherapy as just one treatment method, and does not want his real name used for fear that he would be inundated with people curious about their past lives, so we shall call him Dr. S. Since hypnotic regression takes a long time for each patient, Dr. S. says he prefers to use other therapies except when the patient can only be cured by the use of hypnotic regression.
At a later point, I shall discuss several other cases, but let us start for now with the case of a twenty-eight year old Japanese woman. Doctors and their patients make progress by asking and answering single questions, but in the interests of clarity, I have chosen here to combine and condense their dialogue in a narrative fashion. 20
After Dr. S. induced a hypnotic state, the Japanese woman remembered several childhood scenes from her present life before she started remembering her past lives.
The next instant, she saw before her eyes a broad plain.
Doctor: What is your name?
Woman: Father is calling me from far away. I hear him calling "Cathy."
Doctor: What do you see.
Woman: I am so happy. I am standing barefoot in a beautiful natural
setting. I can feel nature with my whole body.
There a chain of mountains in the distance. I am surrounded by a field of flowers. My father is a farmer and we have one cow and one horse. We are a family of three, my mother, my father and me. We used to have a dog, but it died when I was five. My father and I are talking and laughing while my mother is cooking.
The woman remembered several other previous lives. One time she mentioned a place name.
Woman: I am eleven years old and I am at Bodensee Lake with my family.
According to Dr. S., when he brought this woman out of her hypnotic trance and asked her about "Bodensee Lake," she replied that she had never heard of the lake and had no idea where it is. Bodensee Lake is close to the border between Germany and Switzerland, and is a tributary of the Rhine.
This Japanese women recalled places that had impressed her in the past life that she was recalling.
Woman: My mother is calling my father, "Franz." We are on a train.
Finally the woman related how her past life had become embroiled in war.
Woman: My father was killed fighting in the war when I was thirteen years
When I was fourteen years old, some German troops broke into our home. The German soldiers beat up my mother. My mother hated the Germans. After that happened, my mother never again spoke of the war.
Finally the war ended. Her life became happy again, once she had overcome the death of her father.
Woman: I am twenty years old now. My mother and I work in a bakery in
Vienna. We love our work. I do not know what the date is.
Thereafter, she was married and became a mother.
Woman: I can't remember my husband's name exactly. It was Roy or Rodieu
-- something like that. We were married in the church. Eventually we had a daughter, and I became a mother.
Unfortunately, her hard-won happiness was not to last. While still young, she developed lung disease.
Woman: Now I am thirty years old. My chest hurts terribly sometimes.
There are many days when I can't even get out of bed. I think I am going to die. What will become of my daughter after I am gone? It's getting so hard to breathe.
Her memories of this past life stop here. She died, survived by her husband and her only child. Hers was not an extraordinary life. Yes, her life had its ups and downs, its tragedies and its triumphs, but millions of people have lived similar lives.
In addition to Dr. S., there are a number of other Japanese therapists who have
used hypnotic regression and meditation in past life therapy.
The "Live for Now Society," (Ima o Ikiru Kai), headed by Mr. M., includes many Japanese who experienced "healing" by reliving their past lives. One housewife, who had past life therapy from Mr. N and also had hypnotic regression with Dr. S., related her experiences as follows.
The past life that I remember most clearly was when I was a Tibetan. In that lifetime, I was male, and lived with my parents and many brothers and sisters. We were very poor, so when I was just a small boy, my parents sent me to the Temple to be trained as a monk so that there would be one less mouth to feed. I relived my lifetime memories from when I was a one year old infant until I died at fifty. I spent my whole life as a monk.
In my other lifetimes, I was a European knight clad in armor who was beheaded in battle. I also lived as a Japanese in the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912); I was born into a poor family. No one cared for me as I spent my last moments of life alone, shivering with cold in a thin, old blanket.
Some mercenary individuals may abuse this book and take unscrupulous advantage of human curiosity by claiming they can reveal the secrets of their customers' past lives. In return for an exorbitant sum, they may manufacture some fictitious tales of alleged past lives. I want to stress that, as the author, I am fearful that publishing this book may have such as undesirable effect.
MEMOIRS OF A WOMAN SUBJECT
I want to acquaint readers with the memoirs of a thirty-year old Japanese woman who experienced hypnotic regression under the care of Dr. S. This first-hand experience of a subject, written in her own words, will bring the experience of hypnotic regression very close to the reader.21
I am following the directions of the therapist and returning to my past. I am going back and back to my previous life. I see a yellow vision before my eyes.
"What do you see? How old are you"
My consciousness was responding to the doctor's questions and showing these things to me.
I see a weapon like a hatchet or a pick, and I know that it is a tool used in field work.
I am a fifteen-year old boy, an only child, and my parents are out working in the fields in this scene I remember. I am not really seeing it, but speaking about what comes out of the world of sensation, and so it takes me time to express it. I get confused about the vision I see and it takes me time to reply.
"Some foreign country."
"What's the name of the country?"
My answers seem to arise spontaneously in response to the questions. What a strange feeling!
..In my heart I wondered what he was talking about, and whether it was all right to talk about such strange things, but I heard myself saying, "Pedro," or some such difficult to pronounce name. In a few moments I realized that my name in that life was "Peter."
The scenery around me was like one of Millet's paintings in atmosphere and coloration.
I was lonely. I felt that my parents didn't love me very much. I remembered that I had fallen from a cliff when I was fifteen, and that no one had found me (for a long time). I remembered being caught on a tree, hovering between life and death. I also saw myself at thirty-two when my eldest daughter was born.
When the doctor suggested I go to the moment of death, I saw myself at eighty-five, breathing my last surrounded by grand-children.
When the doctor asked me to move forward in time, I saw myself after my death floating slowly towards a 'big, white light,' that was bright as the sun, but not hot at all. I knew I would become one with the light. After overcoming a few obstacles, I merged into the light in the next instant.
I felt a great sense of security and peace. Inside the light was a presence like a mother, a friend who would always be on my side. I wanted to stay there forever, but my fate was to be born unto the earth once more.
The doctor asked why I had to be reborn again.
I replied that there were things I had left undone.
What was it that I had left undone? That is the theme of my present life. What is my destiny? What will happen to me when I finish doing this thing left undone?
The doctor asked what I had left undone.
With that, I saw my ideal self unfold before my eyes.
Since I had not yet accomplished my mission, it was somewhat fuzzy, but I saw myself shining with love and making other people shine with me, my neighbors, their neighbors, everyone reflected that brightness and made it brighter and bigger. That was the image I saw.
Once it had been decided that I would be reborn, I saw the earth coming closer.
In my previous life, I had been from Argentina. I am embarrassed to say that I don't know where Argentina is. I don't know why the name Argentina came so readily to my lips, and I find it very mysterious. In the vision I saw while hypnotized, the poor farmers were harvesting an abundant fields of ripe grain.
I felt the dreams of a young man wanting to go to the big city and do work which would draw people's attention. According to Dr. O, who knows about my present work as well as about the dreams I had in my past life, it is all very convincing.
As you see, hypnotic regression allows us to relive our memories of past lives.
In the previous example, why did the subject answer, "Because there are things left that I have to do," when she was asked "Why do you get reborn again?" Her words contain a vital key to deciphering the grand meaning of reincarnation.
PROOF OF PAST LIFE MEMORIES
Are these past life memories genuine memories of a lifetime that occurred in the past? Or are they merely hallucinations or dreams concocted by the brain of the subject?
To tell the truth, those who research hypnotic regression initially did not give credence to "reincarnation" and used various methods to accumulate evidence proving the validity of these memories.
CONFORMITY TO HISTORICAL FACTS
Dr. Joel L. Whitton had a male patient named Harold who claimed to have been a Viking in a past life. Dr. Whitton jotted down the 22 foreign words that Harold remembered from his past life, although Harold claimed that he did not understand their meaning in this life.
Seeking an expert opinion, Dr. Whitton consulted linguistics authorities well-versed in Icelandic and Norwegian. According to them, ten of Harold's foreign words were of Old Norse, the language of the Vikings and the precursor of modern Icelandic, and these words were actually used by the Vikings. The other twelve words were all related to seafaring, and of Russian, Serbian and Slav derivation, and it was confirmed that these words had also been used by the Vikings.
These words were no longer spoken by anyone in the world, there was no way that Harold, an average person, could have learned them in this lifetime. This is exceedingly strong proof of the authenticity of remembered past lives.
In addition, there are numerous subjects who begin speaking languages that they could not know in this lifetime while reliving their past lives during hypnotic regression. These languages originate from the far corners of the globe, and apparently include ancient Chinese and dialects spoken in the jungle. 22 Dr. Helen Wambach, a clinical psychologist, published an epoch-making statistical proof of reincarnation. 23-A Ignoring their gender in their current lives, Dr. Wambach recorded the sexual gender reported in many of their past lives by hundreds of subjects who had been regressed back as far as 2000 B.C. Her results showed that 50.6% remembered having lived as men and 49.4% reported living as women. The remarkable fact that the past life memories of so many unrelated subjects produced a male/female ratio so close to the actual ratio tells us clearly that these memories were not just fabrications of each individual mind.
Moreover, Dr. Wambach's subjects were almost all middle class white Americans. Nevertheless, their past life memories accurately reflect the true historical distribution of races, social classes and population in the world. In addition, the clothing, footwear and utensils that the subjects reported using in their past lives were all true to historical fact, no matter what the period was.
Dr. Wambach used the following analogy to show how her statistical research objectively proved the theory of reincarnation.
If you are sitting in a tent on the side of the road and 1,000 people walk past telling you they have crossed a bridge in Pennsylvania, you are convinced of the existence of that bridge in Pennsylvania.23-B
CONSISTENCY IN DIFFERENT SUBJECTS' MEMORIES OF PAST LIVES
Dr. Brian L. Weiss reported an unexpected incident that he believes proves the validity of past life memories.24
Once Dr. Weiss had a forty year old female subject named Diana from Philadelphia who told Dr. Weiss that she was deeply troubled by the hostile relationship that she
had with her own daughter. Diana said that from the very instant that the new-born infant was put in her arms, she had felt such violent hatred for her daughter that she had not known what to do. Diana's daughter Tamar was then eighteen years old, and the two were constantly at each other's throats, like a pair of sworn enemies.
Through hypnotic regression, Diana was able to remember a past life where she was in a bitter struggle with Tamar over a man. Furthermore, Diana realized that the man, so coveted in her past life, was now her husband, who had been reborn as Tamar's father. The violent feelings of rivalry and struggle in her past life had carried over into her present life, poisoning the relationship between mother and daughter.
Once Diana remembered this past life, and resolved to abandon her meaningless fight, her feelings towards her daughter improved dramatically. Diana kept the whole story a secret from Tamar, perhaps embarrassed to speak to her daughter of her experience with hypnotic regression.
However, Tamar herself decided to be hypnotized and she was regressed by a hypnotherapist other than Dr. Weiss. Amazingly, Tamar remembered a past life with events identical to those of her mother's; in her past life, Tamar was caught in a love triangle, bitterly vying with the spirit, now reborn as her mother, over a man who is now her father. When Diana heard this story from Tamar, she was stunned, and confessed, "I went to a different doctor and remembered the exact same past!" After that, their relationship chanced completely, and they are now very close, more like friends than mother and daughter.
An example like this, where two people, each unaware of the other's actions, go to different doctors for hypnotic regression and remember identical past lives from different viewpoints, proves that past lives remembered through hypnotic regression are not just delusions or fabrications.
TERROR AT AUSCHWITZ
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom, one of the leaders of the New Age Movement in the U.S., reported that, as of 1990, he had met with almost three hundred people who remembered living as Jews in past lives and being tortured to death by the Nazis.
He reports that people with such memories are plagued with nameless terrors whenever they hear tales of the Holocaust. Some widen their eyes and collapse in tears the first time they hear the Jewish hymn "Ani Maamin ("I Believe")" a song that many thousands of Jews hummed when they were taken to the gas chambers.
Almost all those who remember being killed in the Nazi Holocaust were born during the early "Baby Boom," between 1946 and 1953.
This, of course, is the "baby boom" generation, which later became active in civil rights and gave birth to the peace movement of the Sixties. Did those millions of souls come back as quickly as possible, to work for peace on earth so that the horrors they had been through could never happen again? Surprisingly, most of the people I have met with Holocaust past-life memories are not Jewish.25-A
Most have not returned as Jews, neither ethnically nor by belief, in this life, and none displayed any greater interest in Judaism than the average person.
This research shows that those who had been persecuted because they were Jews in previous lives avoided Jewish parents when they were reborn into this life, possibly because being a Jew in a past life had been such a very bitter experience. One might expect those killed in the Holocaust in previous lives to berate the Nazis in this life, without knowing the exact reason, or to become active in efforts to preserve historical records of the Holocaust.
Some unusual statistical facts are reported by Rabbi Gershom. Two-thirds of those who hold memories of being slaughtered as Jews in previous lives have been reborn as people with blond hair and blue or hazel, and furthermore state that they are the only ones in their families with this coloration.
Rabbi Gershom notes that the Nazis' ideal type was blond, blue-eyed Aryans, while most Jews have darkish hair and eyes. Having been so brutally tormented in their previous lives, one can assume that these spirits chose blond, blue-eyed embryos to house their spirits to escape persecution again in this life.
Most of those who remember being murdered in Nazi gas chambers have an irrational terror of barbed wire, of police and of uniforms, and some suffer from respiratory diseases such as asthma.
A typical case is that of Beverly, an employee at a social welfare organization, who told Rabbi Gershom that she had repeatedly had the same bad dream during her childhood. In the dream she was a boy of about eight years old. She stood with her mother in a line of people.
They got to a table where a man told some people to go to the left, and others to the right. He pointed and they went through a door. The scene shifted, and they were in a horrible place which had a terrible smell. Some men were throwing people into a fire alive, and then the little boy was thrown in, too. He kept patting himself trying to put out the flames, then died. Her dream continued with the little boy and his mother again standing in a long line of people. Up ahead were beautiful gates, and he knew it was Heaven... The boy grew tired of waiting and wandered off, down to a lower level where he met a 'male angel' who said, 'Now that you have come down this far, you will have to go back to earth again.' He didn't want to go, and kept asking for his mother, but the angel said they would find him another mother. The boy was then shown a beam of light that he followed into the womb of a woman. And then 'he' became Beverly.25-B
Some who remember being Holocaust victims in a previous life have visited their death places in this life.
According to Rabbi Gershom, Judy, an American exchange student in Germany, went on a sightseeing trip to a concentration camp while living in Germany. To a startling degree, Judy remembered everything at the camp and was able to say where the buildings stood and what they were used for, before her guide could get a word out of his mouth. Although the building where she was murdered had long ago been demolished, she could accurately pinpoint its location.
CHILDREN TELL OF PAST LIVES
Dr. Ian Stevenson, Director of the Division of Parapsychology, Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, is doing research on people who remember past lives, as a powerful means to prove the existence of past lives without using hypnotic regression. Dr. Stevenson turned his attention to remarkable children who speak foreign languages that they could not possibly know in their present lives (responsive xenoglossy), and collected detailed data from all over the world. He confirmed that there is ample scientific proof to confirm at least three cases, and reported his results in 1984 as follows:
...authentic instances of speaking a language that has not been learned normally (responsive xenoglossy) suggest that another personality (perhaps one of a previous life) had learned the language. Cases of responsive xenoglossy thus add to the evidence concerning the survival of human personality after death.26
Dr. Stevenson also collected worldwide data on cases of small children such as Hiro, described in our prologue, who spontaneously speak of past life memories.
He claims that over two hundred children with birthmarks somewhere on their bodies have memories of an immediately previous past life when they were killed by a bullet, sword or other weapon which struck them where their birthmarks are now.
When he visited the places where the children said they had spent their past life, he discovered in seventeen of the cases, real individuals corresponding to the persons they claimed to be in their past lives, real individuals who had died just as the children had said they died, and he was able to get the medical charts.27
After long years of research, Dr. Stevenson made the following definitive statement:
The evidence for reincarnation that we have suggests that living human beings...have minds, or souls if you like, that animate them when they are living and that survive after they die...I do not think scientists in other disciplines need lose anything except some of their assumptions--such as that a person is nothing but a physical body--if they examine open-mindedly the evidence we have of life after death. Reincarnation, at least as I conceive it, does not nullify what we know about evolution and genetics.28
Based upon this conclusion, Dr. Stevenson makes the following hypothesis about how the process of reincarnation works.
...the universe has at least two realms: a physical one and a mental (or psychical) one. These interact. During our familiar lives, association with our physical bodies restricts the actions of our minds, although perhaps also enabling us to have experiences that we cannot have without physical bodies. After death, unencumbered by our physical bodies, we would at first exist exclusively in the mental realm.
Later, some persons or perhaps everyone in that realm may become associated with new physical bodies, and we would say that those who did this had reincarnated.29
In addition, Dr. Satwant Pasricha, an Assistant Professor at India's National Psychological Health Neurology Research Institute, has collected data and subjected it to rigorous scientific analysis on 45 cases of subjects with past life memories who specifically "remember their previous parents."
Most of the subjects gave sufficient details regarding the previous lives they claimed to remember. In 38 cases (84%) the respective previous personalities were identified and the subjects' statements verified. Five subjects recalled previous lives as members of their present families. They claimed to be the lineal descendants of the previous personalities. In the remaining 40 cases, the two families concerned were widely separated both geographically and genealogically.30
Dr. Pasricha reports that almost all those remembering their previous lives had unusual behavioral characteristics, such as "unusual likes or dislikes toward food, clothes, persons, and themes of play; phobias of bladed weapons, wells, and guns."31
Their unusual behavior was incomprehensible in terms of their present lives, but conformed perfectly to what they declared about their previous lives and, in the majority of cases, was related to the circumstances of their deaths in their previous lives. For example, it was discovered that a person with an abnormal fear of swords in this life had been killed with a sword in his previous life.
Thus, Dr. Pasricha proved that reincarnation really occurs, by confirming these
authentic cases of rebirth, cases which can not be explained by the many negative
hypothesis which argue that reincarnation is imagination, trickery, genetic memory, dormant memories, tricks of memory or fraud.
ENCOUNTER WITH ONE'S OWN CORPSE
Dr. Stanislav Grof, the first chairperson of the International Trans-Personal Academic Association (CHECK) succeeded in inducing a trance in his subjects and having them remember their past lives through medication rather than hypnotic regression. Referring to the content of those memories, Dr. Grof pointed out the following:
There are observable facts about reincarnation. We know, for example, that vivid past life experiences occur spontaneously in non-ordinary states of consciousness...In many instances, these experiences contain accurate information about periods before our own that can be objectively verified. Therapeutic work has shown that many emotional disorders have their roots in past life experiences rather than in the present life, and the symptoms resulting from those disorders disappear or are alleviated after the person is allowed to relive the past life experience that underlies it.32
Dr. Grof also maintained that he had confirmed the existence of his own past lives.33
It happened when Dr. Grof was participating in a group tour visiting Moscow and Kiev.
Although it was not on the itinerary, Dr. Grof felt strangely compelled to visit the Monastery of Pechorskaya Lavra. Although he knew that it was dangerous to go anywhere outside the itinerary, he initiated the action by himself.
Although Dr. Grof did not know it then, one of his previous incarnations had lived and died in that monastery several hundred years ago. Dr. Grof was suddenly and inexplicably seized by the feeling that he knew the place well. Just then he came upon a mummy with its arms placed in an odd way, unlike the other mummies with their hands folded in prayer, and he felt waves of feeling welling up in him from deep inside.
Several years later, when Dr. Grof was working at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Baltimore, he had the opportunity to view his past lives through hypnotic regression, with a hypnotherapist named Joan Grant. Under hypnotic regression, Dr. Grof remembered living a previous life as a young Russian boy, and described what happened in that life as follows.
Then I saw myself in the dark, primitive workshop of a blacksmith. A giant, muscular man, half-naked and covered with hair, stood in front of a glowing furnace. He was pounding the anvil. all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my eye. My entire face contorted in a painful spasm and tears poured down my cheeks. With horror, I realized that I had been hit in the face by a piece of red-hot iron and that I was badly burned...
I experienced the emotional pain of a ghastly disfigured adolescent, with the agony of sexual longings that could not be satisfied and the sting of repeated rejection as a result of my repugnant scars. In despair, I made the decision to become a monk, ending up at Pechorskaya Lavra. Over the years my hands became severely disfigured... My crippled hands could not be clasped together in prayer...The last scene I remembered from this session was my own death and somehow being aware that I was placed in a coffin by the wall of the catacombs.33
In other words, the mummy with the remarkable outstretched hands that Dr. Grof had felt compelled to approach was the body of his previous incarnation. While thousands and thousands of subjects have remembered past lives, no one has ever had the startling experience of seeing their own corpse with their own eyes.
Dr. Grof asserts the following.
Over the years my observation of people who have had past life experiences while in non-ordinary states of consciousness has convinced me of the validity of this fascinating area of research. I would like to share with you some examples that both convince us that past life phenomena are extremely relevant and that our knowledge of them can help us resolve conflicts and live better lives in the present.34
As shown above, the authenticity of past life memories is supported not only by research on hypnotic regression, but also by the results of investigations of children with past life memories, as well as by the results of experiments performed using special medications.
Of course it is the right of every reader either to declare, "These cases are worth nothing as evidence," or to decide, "That wealth of evidence is more than enough for me." However, every one must acknowledge that we have left the age of no evidence, when the issue was whether or not to believe. We are now in an age when there is sufficient objective proof for everyone to make an informed decision.
Throughout this book, what I stress is "the great importance of deciding by yourself what constitutes a meaningful value system for you." The age has come when we have objective proof to use when selecting our essential attitude towards life and death.
HOW THE PROCESS OF REINCARNATION WORKS
How do we greet our deaths, and how do we come to be reborn? In this book, we will compile and integrate the startling and heartening results of various types of scientific research on the process of reincarnation.
GOING HOME TO "THE OTHER WORLD"
CONSCIOUSNESS OF SELF AS "SPIRIT"
Dr. Joel L. Whitton unexpectedly happened upon the bardo, the intermediate realm wherein dwell the spirit of entities between incarnations, when he conducted a hypnotic regression on a forty-two year old woman named Paula Considine. Paula, a woman of a stable disposition, was able to enter a deep or somnambulistic trance. Her life style, interests and behavior was extremely typical of a housewife in the northern part of the United States. In total, she had many hundreds of hours of regressive hypnotism sessions with Dr. Whitton, and gave a systematic account of her long reincarnation history.
Paula was able to retrace her many past lives back to ancient Egypt where she had lived as a slave girl. Paula had spent almost all her many lifetimes as a woman.
For example, one of her lives was spent as Telma, the daughter of a Mongol chief during the time of Genghis Khan, and she was killed in a battle at age sixteen. In another life, she was Augusta Cecelia, a nun -- age thirty-four in 1241 -- who spent most of her life working in an orphanage in Portugal, close to the Spanish border. As Margaret Campbell -- 17 years old in 1707-- she lived near Quebec City, Canada, and later married a fur trapper.
Paula also remembered spending a life as Martha Paine, born on a farm area in Maryland in 1822, who died young from a fall down the farmhouse stairs. Intending to direct her to "Go to the incarnation before you were Martha," Dr. Whitton unintentionally directed her instead to "Go to the life before you were Martha." Given by mistake the direction to return to where she was before rebirth, Paula suddenly began speaking as follows:
"I'm in the sky...I can see a farmhouse and a barn...It's early...early morning. The sun...is low and making, making...making long shadows across the burnt fields..stubby fields."
How could Paula be up in the sky? Dr. Whitton was overwhelmed with confusion, and questioned her further.
"What are you doing up in the air?" asked the puzzled hypnotist.
"I'm...waiting...to...be...born. I'm watching...watching what my mother does.
"Where is your mother?
"She's...out at the pump and she's having great difficulty...difficulty filling the bucket..."
"Why is she having great difficulty?"
"Because my body is weighing her down...I want...I want to tell her to take care. For her sake and for mine..."
"What is your name?"
Nowadays it is very common to encounter subjects holding similar memories of floating above their bodies, as has been reported by many researchers.
For example, Dr. Melvin Morse, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington confirmed the following near-death experience of a woman who had lost consciousness due to side effects of her medication.
I was able to look down at myself in my hospital bed. There were doctors and nurses moving busily around me. I could see them roll a machine into the room and put it near the foot of my bed. It had two handles sticking out of a kind of box...
...A priest came in and began to give me last rites. I moved down to the bottom of the bed and watched everything that was going on. It was like being in the audience at a play.
Behind me in the bed was a clock. It was up on the wall. I could see both myself in the bed and the clock, which read 11:11 A.M.
Then I went back into my body. I remember waking up and looking for myself at the foot of the bed.36
In addition, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the holder of eighteen different academic degrees, has confirmed the case of a subject, blind for over ten years, who, during a near-death experience, "saw" and could describe accurately the color of clothes and of jewelry, and the style and color of sweaters and neckties worn by those who had visited while the patient was close to death.37
These cases are strong proof of the existence of a consciousness, separate from the body (what this book calls "spirits.")
A VIEW OF THE WORLD AFTER DEATH
Visions of Tunnels, Rivers and Gateways
Dr. Whitton has reported that many of his subjects have memories of a "life between life," the state that separates one incarnation from another. When his subjects are induced into a hypnotic trance, he brings them back to one of their previous incarnations, has them remember the final moments of that life, and then asks them, "Where are you now?" and "What do you see?"
His subjects, grimacing or scowling, faces twisted by pain as they remember their deaths, suddenly shift their memories to "the life after death," and their expressions undergo startling changes. First they lose all expression, then their faces become calm and tranquil, before filling with wondrous surprise. The subjects do not know how to verbalize what they are experiencing to Dr. Whitton because there is no sense of time's passage nor of three dimensionality in the world that they are encountering. One subject said, "In the interlife there's no part of me that I can see. I'm an observer surrounded by images."38-A
Under hypnotic regression, a university professor described his death after a life spent as an Indian in the American Southwest several hundred years ago.
After being tortured, killed and mutilated by three other Indians I floated out of my body feeling very angry. I thought that had I been better trained and in better physical condition I might have been able to save my life."38-B
The shock of a bitter death is often a reason for the disembodied spirit to remain on this earth perhaps out of confusion, fury or self-pity. Specifically, these are the ghosts who linger in this world, unable to resign themselves to death. While their numbers are small, researchers have confirmed that these ghosts actually exist. Oddly enough, we can now say that there is a scientific explanation for the existence of what are commonly called "earthbound spirits."
People who have had near-death experiences have repeatedly described the experience in similar terms.
After they leave their bodies, they "see" their bodies lying beneath them, then have the sensation of being pulled quickly through a cylindrical passageway that seems "just like a tunnel." They then join a large group of strangers (spirits who have already left their bodies), and are greeted by the spirits of deceased relatives and friends or by the guides who have been watching over them during the last life (commonly called guardian angels).39
Subjects describe the sight that meets their eyes differently; some describe entering into a dome of light; others report seeing gorgeous colors, hearing beautiful music or being greeted by a spirit carrying a torch to light the way. Some say that Christ greets them with outstretched arms while others see a garden or a palace. Of course, the interlife cannot be a place or a material entity. This is merely a "vision" created by the symbols that the person has of the world after death. 40
The authority on near-death experiences, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who had her own near-death experience, describes the process as follows.
After we are met by those we have loved, after we are met by our own guides and guardian angels, we are passing through a symbolic transition often described as a tunnel. Some people experience it as a river, some as a gate; each one will choose what is most symbolically appropriate. In my won personal experience it was a mountain pass with wild flowers simply because my concept of heaven includes mountains and wild flowers, the source of much happiness in my childhood in Switzerland. This is culturally determined.41
In other words, what comes unbidden into the mind right after death is the most appropriate vision to tell a person that he is dead and has returned to the life after death. One sees the vision one wants to see in the intangible and immaterial life right after death.
Immediately after their deaths many people haven't had time to remember the nature of the next world. That is why the guiding spirits seem to consciously design the visions necessary for the newly dead to become aware of their deaths and to die peacefully. The newly dead are still immeshed in the culture and religious beliefs of their most recent lives, and so the visions necessary for them to die peacefully and to become aware of their deaths naturally differ, so their visions of the next world (shown them by the guiding spirits) are also different.
People who are ending a life as Christians see Christian images while those who spent their most recent lives as Buddhists see Buddhist images in their visions.
The World of Light and Undulations
Doctor S, a Japanese doctor, had a female Japanese subject remember her death in a previous life during a regressive hypnotism session, and she described the "scene after death" in "that world"
I am looking down at my dead body from above. I feel no more pain. But I soon lost sight of myself and of my family and entered a dark place. The light suddenly began approaching me. It was my father who had died before me. The light was incredibly dazzling, and I followed the light (my father.)
I came to a place where there was a bigger and more dazzling light. I felt as if I was being pulled into that light, but I was not afraid; I felt warm. I entered into the light. I could see many other radiances there already.42
According to Dr. S. when subjects are asked, "What is your name?" when they are remembering what happened right after their deaths, the subjects give the name they had before death. Interestingly, if they are asked their names after they have entered the world of light the subjects reply, "I don't know."
If requested to "Try looking at your body," subjects who are remembering the world of light will reply, "I am transparent and do not have a body," or "All I can see is light."
There are some people who never had a near-death experience nor hypnotic regression but who experienced seeing a strange sight when their spirits left their bodies during meditation. Let me tell you the story of a Japanese male who came to me.
I had my eyes closed in meditation when I saw a cylindrical structure that looked like three drum cans strung together. There were misty shapes floating around it. Several of the misty shapes passed right through my body while the cylindrical structure began turning towards me, and then seemed to pass through my body as well.
I gradually saw bright pink mountains and a gorgeous valley, then a green mountain and a brook rippling through the woods. How smoothly the brook flowed! I will always remember how beautiful the sight was. I watched the flowing brook for a while. I had never seen a place like it in my life.
I was looking down at an angle from the sky. I was puzzled about where I was located.
Then I saw a fuzzy vision, in black and white. I had never seen anything like it. It was a park or garden with a pond, and it was not in Japan. I sensed that the time was not the present. I could see several dark shapes moving around the edges of the pond, and they seemed to be human, but I could not tell for sure. I was looking down from a place about fifty meters up in the sky. I even wondered if I had turned into a bird."
So many similar out-of-body experiences have been reported that there is a specialized institute researching the phenomena. In cutting-edge psychology this is called "the trans-personal effect," referring to the consciousness departing from the small husk of the body to expand infinitely.
Among my friends is a man who describes a miserable experience that he had, "I had too much to drink, passed out and collapsed. Immediately afterwards I was looking down from the sky at my drunken body sprawled on the ground." He was so thunderstruck that he spent quite a while gazing at his body and its surroundings, but then he says he realized, "I can't die yet," and scrambled to get back into his body. Far from convincing him to cut down on his drinking, the experience made him drink even more under the excuse that he wanted to have the experience a second time. The experience had the exact opposite of the desired effect on him!
At any rate, the spiritual world that we term "that world" is not physical like this world; there is no direct sense of time. In "that world" all things appear as images and visions, and it is the visions that are real. From the perspective of that world of eternity and freedom, our time in "this world," shackled to "material things" is but an instant's illusion.
To put it another way, those living in "this world" of material things tend to make light of "that world" as a "hallucination" created by the mind. But those who have briefly returned to our real home in "that world" say that they forget about their lives in the narrow and cramped box of this world and were filled with pity for living people who are slaves to their desires and who deny the infinite existence of "that world," which encompasses "this world."
The "material things" which so grab our attention are the real empty "illusions," and the "spirit" which we disparage is our "true self." Our spirit is what we call "soul;" it is what lives on eternally and can be called our true form.
That spirit is often described as "like light." Our true form is "light." To phrase it in a rather inexact but understandable way, it seems that the degree of brightness depends upon the undulation or the height (or strength) of the wave length. According to survivors of near-death experiences, the higher the level of the spirit the brighter the light shines, and the lower the level the darker the light seems to be. Nonetheless, we are all "light" and the only difference is that the brightness level varies with the undulation.
MEETINGS WITH THOSE WHO HAVE DIED
One Happy Moment
According to Dr. Karl Baker of Kyoto University, it is quite common during a near-death experience to meet a deceased close relative. Let us read about a typical experience.
The doctor in charge gave up on me and told my parents that I was dead. My body did not react, but I heard the entire conversation. When the doctor declared me dead, I was very sharply conscious.
I next sensed myself surrounded by the dead. Among my many dead relatives and friends, the ones that particularly stood out was my grandmother who was standing directly in front of me and a girl who had been my classmate during college. I couldn't see their entire bodies, but I did see their faces very clearly. I felt very strongly that I was one with them. They were all happy for me, and I spent a brief period of great joy with them.43
According to Dr. Baker, patients who recover from a near-death experience sometimes report seeing in the next world friends and relatives whom they assumed to be alive. Other people do not believe them, but they say they were shocked to learn afterwards that those people, whom they saw while dying, had themselves died. In other words, during a near-death experience, people can learn before anyone else of the death of a person far away, which could not be known in any other way.
Dr. Baker considers phenomenon such as this one to be proof that a near-death experience is far more than a dream.
Messages From the Dead
Dr. Melvin Morse (an associate professor at University of Washington - CHECK) has investigated and reported on many cases where the spirit has left the dying body and communicated with the living. This is one of the interesting cases he has reported.
In 1989 Olga Gearhardt, a grandmother from San Diego, California had a heart transplant at the University of California Medical Center. All her relatives crowded into her room, except for her son-in-law who stayed at home. He had a phobia about hospitals and preferred to await the results of the operation at home.
Late that evening her chest was opened and the transplant was performed successfully. At two-fifteen A.M. she developed unexpected complications, and the new heart would not beat properly. As the medical personnel became alarmed, the heart suddenly stopped beating altogether. It took several hours of resuscitation before the heart finally began functioning properly. Meanwhile the family in the waiting room was told nothing about these complications, and most of them were asleep. About six in the morning the family was told that the operation was a success but that she had almost died when the new heart failed.
Olga's daughter immediately called her husband to tell him the good news. "I know she's okay," he said. "She already told me herself.
He had awakened at two-fifteen to see his mother-in-law standing at the foot of his bed. It was as though she was standing right there, he said. Thinking she had not had surgery and had somehow come to his house instead, he sat up and asked her how she was.
"I am fine, I'm going to be all right," she said. "There is nothing for you to worry about." Then she disappeared.44-A
He got right out of bed and wrote down the time she appeared to him and exactly what was said. Later he explained that was why he could explain that Olga appeared at exactly two-fifteen, which was exactly the time that her heart had stopped in the hospital.
An astonishing event took place at the hospital as well after Olga had regained consciousness. When the family went in to see her, Olga told them a strange story.
She said she had left her body and watched the doctors work on her for a few minutes. Then she went into the waiting room, where she saw her family. Frustrated by her inability to communicate with them, she decided to travel to her daughter's home, about thirty miles away, and connect with her son-in-law.44-B
The instant that she decided this she found herself thirty miles away in her daughter's house looking at her son-in-law. She sat down at the foot of her son's bed and told him "I am fine. I'm going to be all right," when he asked her how she was.
Dr. Morse investigated this story carefully, interviewing those concerned repeatedly, and could find no discrepancy in the stories of Olga and her family. Neither could he find any motives for the parties concerned to have invented this story.
Dr. Morse reports another interesting case.
A man in Washington State was killed when his car skidded off the road and hit a tree. His brother-in-law was fishing at the time of the accident in a remote area and was unaware of the accident.
Late in the afternoon the man who was fishing suddenly encountered his dead brother-in-law walking down the path toward his fishing hole. The man was glad to have company. They spoke for several minutes until the visitor said that he had to leave and walked quickly into the woods and disappeared.
The man who was fishing said the experience was so vivid that it took him several minutes to realize that his brother-in-law could not have been there. He returned home, where his sister told him of her husband's death.45
No One Dies Alone
The previous cases illustrate what Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has discovered from her research into the near-death experiences of almost 20,000 cases. As the following experience shows, no one dies all alone.
...nobody will die alone. When you leave the physical body, you are in an existence where there is no time...In the same way, one can no longer speak of space and distance in the usual sense because those are earthly phenomena. If, for example, a young American dies in Asia and thinks of his mother in Washington, he will bridge the thousands of miles through the power of thought in a split second and will be with her.46-A
Dr. Kubler-Ross says that very many people have this experience. All of a sudden someone who lives thousands of miles away appears before their very eyes. The next day there is a telephone call or telegraph giving the sad news of the death of the person who appeared.
On this level you realize as well that nobody can die alone because the deceased one is able to visit anyone he likes. Here are people awaiting you who died before you, who loved and treasured you a lot. And since time doesn't exist on this level, someone who lost a child when he was twenty years of age could, after his passing at the age of ninety-nine, still meet his child as a child.46-B
Of course when Dr. Kubler-Ross describes "a child of the same age as the one who died," we know that this is just a vision that the "spirit who was the child in his previous life" creates for his just-deceased parent, so that he will know that this spirit had been his child. The spirit is not a physical entity, so it is perfectly free to appear in whatever form will make the other person most happy.
According to Dr. Kubler-Ross, 99% of children in the last stages of illness will choose their parents when asked, "Who do you want to see the most?" or "Who do you want to be with the most?" However, when these same children subsequently had near-death experiences, none had a vision of their parents except those whose parents were already dead.
The deniers claim that near-death experiences are merely the projections of the desires of the dying. If this is true, then 99% of those children should have a vision of their parents as they die (of course, children have no knowledge of near-death experiences so these desires should not arise in the first place.) These results made Dr. Kubler-Ross make the following confident assertion.
But not one of these children, in all these years that we have collected cases, saw their mommies and daddies because their mommies and daddies were still alive. The factors determining who you see are that the person must have passed on before you, even if only by one minute, and you must have genuinely loved them.47
The Existence of "Guardian Angels"
Dr. Kubler-Ross has the following comments about the spirits who perform the role of "guardian angels."
There is proof that every human being, from his birth until his death, is guided by a spirit entity. Everyone has such a spirit guide, whether you believe it or not. Whether you are Jewish, Catholic, or a member of any other religion doesn't matter.48
Dr. Whitton, Dr. Weiss and many other researchers agree that these guardian spirits exist.
Let me tell you about the strange experience of one Japanese woman.
It happened in winter of the year Father died. I had been thinking about my father and feeling sad. With tears in my eyes, I looked out the window at the snow in the garden, when suddenly a snowball flew at my face. In the midst of my shock, I suddenly saw my father's laughing face and I heard him say, "Cheer up and be strong."
I knew with absolute certainty that my father had been playing a prank on me. There is no way on earth that the snow could suddenly come flying at me all by itself."
There are any number of actual examples of guardian spirits communicating with those on earth through a variety of methods. However, people who know nothing of research on life after death will often fail to hear or understand these communications since they fail to take them seriously and dismiss them as figments of their imagination or as delusions. I will describe these communications with the dead in detail in a later chapter.
Interestingly, it has been discovered that subjects who have been regressed through hypnotism remember how frustrated their spirit selves had felt when they tried to speak to living beings and could not make themselves understood. Let me relate a case reported by Dr. Whitton.49
This case occurred when a man named Gary Pennington recalled under hypnosis his life as Peter Hargreaves, an officer in the Allied forces during World War II. Peter Hargreaves dies an agonizing death during the War under Nazi torture, leaving behind his beloved Elena. Elena, filled with despair when she learns of her beloved's death, resolves to commit suicide.
The disembodied Hargreaves watches Elena proceed to a cliff near Salerno, determined to follow him in death. When she reaches the edge, Hargreaves' discarnate self tries desperately to communicate with her and to materialize in order to prevent her from killing herself.
Hargreaves tries desperately to tell Elena not to commit suicide, but she cannot understand him. Hargreaves is totally frustrated with his disembodied state which allows him no physical ability to prevent the suicide. He exclaims, "If only I had a body...this need never happen." All he can do is watch as Elena jumps from the cliffs to her death.
However, there is a sequel to the story.
The spirit who had lived as Elena was now reborn as Caroline McVittie, who was now involved in an adulterous relationship with Gary Pennington, the reincarnation of Peter Hargreaves.
When Caroline was hypnotized and had the opportunity to recall her past lives, she remembered a lifetime in which she had died in exactly the same way as Elena. Caroline had a final memory from her life as Elena. She remembers standing on the cliffside, filled with despair over her beloved's death, and "struggling with an invisible force" that was trying to prevent her suicide. (This was the message from Hargreaves).
Studies of both hypnotic regression and near death experiences make it clear that there are guardian spirits (or guardian angels) in the next life protecting us in this life; this understanding brings great comfort and strength to us here.
MEMORIES AND RECOLLECTIONS OF LIFE
PANORAMIC VISION OF LIFE
The statements of Dr. Whitton's subjects support the existence of a "tribunal" (of guiding spirits) in the next world. Virtually all of his subjects report that they stood before a group of elderly wisemen (spirits who appeared in this guise), whose number was reported as either three, five, or seven; and that there they received some kind of judgment.50
The guiding spirits sometimes took shape as the gods of legend, sometimes as the Lord God, as he is imagined in formal religions, and sometimes in a shape that was nebulous and unclear. There were also many cases where the Spirit did not take on physical shape but, instead, appeared in the form of "light."
The subjects often described this entity as "a being of light," just as do survivors of near-death experiences.
The guiding spirits know in a very direct and immediate way everything that there is to know about the recently-returned spirit who stands before them., and they assist that spirit in evaluating the life just completed. Subjects say they feel painfully aware of their own lack of wisdom when confronted by these spirits, and sometimes report that they are taught what to accomplish in their next incarnation.
"Hell" itself does not exist, but were there to be a "hell" for each person in the next world, it would take shape in those moments when a person critically reflects upon his just-concluded life. The guiding spirits induce us to reflect on the life just concluded while a panoramic vision of that life unfolds before our own eyes. As we watch the vision, our regrets, guilt and self-reproaches come bubbling up from deep in our hearts. 51-A
While under hypnosis, subjects reportedly break into bitter tears of intense grief and suffering as they remember this time of spirit-mediated reflection upon their past lives. This is because during past-life reflection, the pain they inflicted upon others during their past life, rebounds to smite them with the same intensity and force. One subject describes those moments as follows.
"It's like climbing right inside a movie of your life. Every moment from every year of your life is played back in complete sensory detail. Total, total recall."51-B
The spirits guide us to understand all the resonances of the vision, passing before our eyes like a video tape of our lives, and they push us to analyze ourselves rigorously. Our spirits finally understand where they choose unwisely and cast away happiness, where they wounded others and where they were saved from potentially fatal danger.
For example, when the IBM researcher, Michael Gallander, Ph.D., relived his past lives as a subject of Dr. Whitton's, he remembered Hildebrandt, a medieval knight who fought in the Crusade.52-A Hildebrandt had initially burned with idealism and had been born to fulfill high ideals,
I will attempt to build...a land without a boundary. I will be a fine king.52--B
However, Hildebrandt had degenerated into a driven and tortured person who had caused untold misery to many people through his cruel actions.
As Michael Gallander recalled his time between lives when the guiding spirits had called upon him to remember his life as Hildebrandt, he was overcome by emotion and sobbed heavily while in his hypnotic trance. "Tell me what you see," said Dr. Whitton, and Gallander told him of the many atrocities committed by Hildebrandt, such as spearing a mother and child on his lance.
As he spoke, Dr. Gallander was torn by powerful, heart-rending emotions, and he raised his voice more and more harshly. Dr. Whitton reports that his self-reproach was beyond the reach of consolation.
"What do you see?" Dr. Whitton asked in perplexity. Slowly and painfully, Michael replied.
"It is black and I will not look. There was much I could have done, but I did not. I could have done so much good, but...I did not."53-A
Based upon the research results of this and many similar cases, Dr. Whitton concludes.
To experience remorse in the life between lives is to experience a form of hell. For there is a time--quite early on, according to most subjects--when guilt comes home to roost in all its raw ugliness, stripped of the rationalizations and excuses we all employ to explain away our failings.53-B
SELF-ASSESSMENT OF ONE'S LIFE
How Much Did We Love Others?
According to those who have undergone hypnotic regression and to survivors of near-death experiences, we must explain all of our words and actions right after death, as we behold a vision of our just-ended lives.
The primary focus, it is reported, is upon our honesty and our morality.
A man who had slit his lover's throat felt as if his own throat had been cut, while a woman who had betrayed others while alive remembered, "I cannot look up at the Three for sheer shame." 54
It is vital to note that the money and social position that we earned in life is completely ignored; all that matters at the tribunal is, "How much did you love others?" and "Did you always try to follow your conscience?" The answers to these questions are the fundamental determinants of our ensuing reincarnation.
Someone who recalls betraying or harming others during his lifetime will
writhe in agony, scolded harshly by the guiding spirits. His agony will not be ameliorated one bit because he had been a famous superstar or the president of a leading corporation or a prime minister during his lifetime.
On the other hand, someone who bestowed love during his lifetime upon many people and brought joy to his close associates will be warmly lauded by the guiding spirits, and will be greatly satisfied by his spiritual growth even if his lifetime had been spent as a humble farmer, with no money or social position, or as a mediocre company employee with a dead-end career.
The guiding spirits are not terrifying figures like "dark angels of judgment." Instead, they are quick to give us comfort and new energy when they are satisfied that we have reflected sufficiently upon our previous lives. One subject recalls his feelings at that time as follows:
"Just to be there in front of the judges made me fearful. But I soon realized there was no need to be afraid. They radiated a benevolent type of caring and my fear left me."55
Far from confirming the self-loathing of the contrite soul, the board of judgment gives encouragement by pointing out where the life has been positive and progressive. It is as if they are saying, "Come on now, cheer up. Your life wasn't as bad as you think," or "Yes, you did hurt many people; however, you also made many people happy, even though you did not know it at the time."
The guiding spirits do not act in a stern and imposing manner. Instead they act just like warm and loving teachers as they encourage us to learn from the mistakes we made in life. They give us advice and point out the important episodes in the many reincarnations that we have experienced. Even if our just-ended lifetime has not been an easy one, they cheer us by pointing out that every experience helps us to grow.
Tears of Shame and Grief
Let me discuss a case, recognized by Dr. Raymond Moody as a classic near-death experience, in which the survivor describes the same situations after death as do subjects of hypnotic regression. The man had been struck by lightning and his heart had stopped. He describes the guiding spirits as "beings of light" and relates the following.
"He's gone," (the doctor) said to Sandy. "He's gone..."
...I am dead! I thought. I was not in my body and can honestly say that I didn't want to be. If I had any thought at all, it was simply that who I was had nothing to do with that body they had just covered with a sheet.
Sandy was sobbing and patting my leg. Tommy was stunned and feeling overwhelmed at the suddenness of this event. The emergency medical technician was looking only at the body and feeling like a failure.
Don't feel bad, buddy, I thought. It ain't your fault.
I looked toward the front of the ambulance to a spot over my dead body. A tunnel was forming, opening like the eye of a hurricane and coming toward me.
That looks like an interesting place to be, I thought. And away I went.
I actually didn't move at all; the tunnel came to me... Soon there was nothing to be seen...only a tunnel that engulfed me completely...
...I looked ahead into the darkness. There was a light up there, and I began to move toward it as quickly as possible... Ahead the light became brighter and brighter until it overtook the darkness and left me standing in a paradise of brilliant light...
...I looked at my hand. It was translucent and shimmering and moved with fluidity, like the water in the ocean.
I looked down at my chest. It, too, had the translucence and flow of fine silk in a light breeze...
...I began to look around. Below us were other Beings who looked like me. they appeared to be lost and shimmered at a rate that was far slower than the rate at which I shimmered. As I watched them I noticed that I slowed down as well. there was a discomfort in this reduced vibration that made me look away.
I looked above me. There were more Beings, these brighter and more radiant than I . I felt discomfort when looking at them as well because I began to vibrate faster."56-A
Then the man looked straight at the Being of Lights who were now right in front of him. He relates that they appeared to be neither male nor female. (It is the same with statues of the Buddha. Statues of the Buddha represent an easily-comprehensible embodiment of a concept, as do the "Beings of Light" and "Guiding Spirits" in this book.) The man then describes how he remembered and reflected upon his just-ended life.
The Being of Light engulfed me, and as it did I began to experience my whole life, feeling and seeing everything that had ever happened to me.
It was as though a dam had burst and every memory stored in my brain flowed out.
The life review was not pleasant. From the moment it began until it ended, I was faced with the sickening reality that I had been an unpleasant person, someone who was self-centered and mean.56-B
As his body lay with stilled-heart, the man remembered in great detail all that had happened in his life from childhood until middle-age. He reexperienced all his interactions with his parents and friends. As he objectively evaluated his own actions, he himself now felt the emotions of pain that he had inflicted, as he remembered times when he had hurt others.
The first thing I saw was my angry childhood. I saw myself torturing other children, stealing their bicycles or making them miserable at school. One of the most vivid scenes was of the time I picked on a child at grade school because he had a goiter that protruded from his neck. The other kids in the class picked on him too, but I was the worst. At the time I thought I was funny. But now, as I relived this incident, I found myself in his body, living with the pain that I was causing...
...Now, as I reviewed my life in the bosom of the Being, I relived each one of those altercations, but with one major difference: I was the receiver.
Not only did he himself feel the pain he had inflicted upon others, he also finally understood how much he had hurt and disappointed his parents.
I also felt the grief I had caused my parents. I had been uncontrollable... Although they had grounded me and yelled at me, I had let them know by my actions that none of their discipline really mattered. Many times they had pleaded with me and many times they had met frustration... Now, in my life review, I felt their psychological pain at having such a bad child." 56-C
He describes how he felt as he remembered the many times he had killed Viet Cong soldiers during his combat tour in Vietnam.
I squeezed off the round and felt the rifle kick. a moment later I saw his head explode and his body crumple before the shocked troops.
That is what I saw when the incident happened.
During my life review, I experienced this incident from the perspective of the North Vietnamese colonel. I didn't feel the pain that he must have felt. Instead, I felt his confusion at having his head blown off and sadness as he left his body and realized that he would never go home again.
Then I felt the rest of the chain reaction--the sad feelings of his family when they realized they would be without their provider.56-D
Even though he had not killed them directly, the Being of Light also made him witness the deaths of many Vietnamese killed by the weapons he sent to Vietnam, and the grief of the children when they learned their fathers were dead.
He felt very guilty after seeing his life in review.
When I finished the review, I arrived at a point of reflection in which I was able to look back on what I had just witnessed and come to a conclusion. I was ashamed. I realized I had led a very selfish life, rarely reaching out to help anyone... my life had been for me and me alone. I hadn't given a damn about my fellow humans.
I looked at the Being of Light and felt a deep sense of sorrow and shame. I expected a rebuke, some kind of cosmic shaking of my soul. I had reviewed my life and what I had seen was a truly worthless person. What did I deserve if not a rebuke? 56-E
A Message From the Beings of Light
Dr. Whitton's patients also have reported that the Guiding Spirits do not censure a repentant soul, but instead watch over that soul as it reflects thoroughly upon itself.
As I gazed at the Being of Light I felt as though he was touching me. From that contact I felt a love and joy that could only be compared to the nonjudgmental compassion that a grandfather has for a grandchild...
...Again I was allowed a period of reflection. How much love had I given people? How much love had I taken from them? From the review I had just had, I could see that for every good event in my life, there were twenty bad ones to weigh against it. 57-A
After the Guiding Spirits judged that he had spent sufficient time reflecting, their attitude changed completely and they gave him warm and encouraging messages.
I had felt the burden of this guilt being removed. I had felt the pain and anguish of reflection, but from that I had gained the knowledge that I could use to correct my life. I could hear the Being's message in my head, again as if through telepathy:
"Humans are powerful spiritual beings meant to create good on the earth. This good isn't usually accomplished in bold actions, but in singular acts of kindness between people. It's the little things that count, because they are more spontaneous and show who you truly are."
I was elated. I now knew the simple secret to improving mankind. The amount of love and good feelings you have at the end of your life is equal to the love and good feelings you put out during your life. It was just that simple.
"My life will be better now that I have the secret," I said to the Being of light.
It was then that I realized that I wouldn't be going back. I had no more life to live. I had been struck by lightning. I was dead. 57-B
After the Beings of Light had directed him to carry out all the things he had left undone in his lifetime, the man miraculously began to breath again, and returned to this life.
...I was floating above a hallway. Below me was a gurney with a body on it, covered with a sheet and lying still. The person underneath the sheet was dead.
Around the corner and down the hall I heard an elevator open. I saw two orderlies in white outfits emerge from the elevator and walk toward the dead man... one of them was smoking, blowing clouds of smoke toward the ceiling where I was hovering. I sensed that they were there to take the body to the morgue.
Before they reached the dead man, my buddy Tommy came through the door and stationed himself next to the gurney. It was then that I realized that the man underneath the sheet was me. I was dead. It was me--or what was left of me--who was about to be rolled off to the morgue!
He watched from the ceiling until his family and the doctor returned. Feeling warmly embraced by the fervent prayers of his family for his recovery, he returned again to his body, which was in torment.
This return to my human body put me in possession of its pain. I was on fire again, aching with the agony of being burned from the inside out, as though acid was in all of my cells...
...I couldn't move, which is a bad state to be in when orderlies are coming to take you to the morgue. I tried to move, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't twitch a muscle. Finally, I did the only thing I could. I blew on the sheet.
"He's alive, he's alive! shouted Tommy.58
Other researchers have frequently described the same "Beings of Light" (the guiding spirits) described by this victim of a near-death experience.
KARMA IN HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
Dr. Melvin Morse, a professor at Washington University (check) has researched the case of a twenty-three year old woman who had a near-death experience. The woman recalled the experience as follows.
This being of Light surrounded me and showed me my life. Everything you do is there for you to evaluate. As unpleasant as some parts of it are for you to see, it feels so good to get it all out. I remember one particular incident in this review when, as a child, I yanked my little sister's Easter basket away from her, because there was a toy in it that I wanted. Yet in the review, I felt her feelings of disappointment and loss and rejection.
I was the very people I hurt and I was the very people that I helped to feel good.59
Another woman was taught an important lesson about "the ripple effect of human relations" and "sowing what one reaps."
I saw how I had often wronged people and how they had often turned to others and committed a similar wrong. This chain continued from victim to victim, like a circle of dominoes, until it came back to the start--to me, the offender. The ripples went out, and they came back. I had offended far more people than I knew, and my pain multiplied and became unbearable.60
Among those with a near-death experience is a doctor who has publicly related his experience. He is Dr. Goren Grip, who teaches at a large university hospital in Sweden.
When he was five-years-old, Dr. Grip experienced respiratory failure during an operation. Lying on the operating table, he saw a road spread out before his eyes, with "Beings of Light" on it. He felt a strong love emanating from those Beings, and reexperienced all that had happened in his brief five years of life. Dr. Grip has related his experiences as follows.
I re-experienced everything that had happened in my life and watched it as a spectator with the being," says Gripp. "Most of what I saw was about me and my brother, of whom I was very jealous. My attention was focused on our exchanges of emotions, my jealousy, my feelings of triumph when I hit him, his surprise when I hit him for no reason, his anger and resentment, and later his triumph when he got back at me.
When I did something loving to him, I experienced my love, my brother's surprise, as well as his love and happiness. I experienced his feelings as clearly as my own, making this a fantastic lesson on the consequences of my own actions. It was the love from the being of light that gave me the strength to see my life exactly as it was, without making it better or worse.61-A
How amazing to realize that even a five-year old child is asked to reflect upon everything that happened to him as his brief life comes to a close.
The young Grip decided to become a doctor because of the knowledge that the Being of Light bestowed upon him about the importance of love and compassion. Dr. Grip makes the following comment about his near-death experience.
What does matter is that I received knowledge about the meaning of life in this experience.61-B
It is remarkable how much similarity there is in the experiences of patients who glimpsed the "next world" during near-death experiences and subjects who remembered the bardo (the next world) during a hypnotic regression.
This proves that the bardo seen by the hypnotic regression subjects and the "next world" are one and the same, and increases the credibility of the statements of each group.
ONE'S OWN PLAN FOR LIFE
THE NEVER-ENDING QUEST FOR GROWTH
A most interesting finding from Dr. Whitton and Dr. Weiss' research on hypnotic regression is that the disembodied spirit after death uses the time between lifetimes to plan out its next incarnation.
The subjects remembered planning out their next lifetime, with careful consideration paid to the advice given by the guiding spirits during the instant replay of their lives.
Research also showed that disembodied spirits planned their next reincarnation after thorough discussion and coordination with their soul-mates, those other spirits with whom they had forged strong ties because of numerous shared past lives. (The concept of soul-mate will be explained in a later section.) They had to carefully choose the birth dates and birthplaces of all concerned to ensure their reunion in the corporeal world.
The subjects assert that this sort of "group reincarnation" is very common, so that the reincarnated entity can deal once again with personalities who had been part of his past life, regardless if their mutual relationship had been good or poor. Dr. Whitton relates the following about one of his subjects.
"There are people I didn't treat too well in my last life, and I have to go back to the Earth plane again and work off that debt. This time, if they hurt me in return, I'm going to forgive them..."62
When the guiding spirits told another subject that his personal evolution would best be served by being reborn to a woman he had murdered in a previous life, he moaned in distress and repeated under hypnosis, "Oh no--not her again."
There are a number of people who are advised by the guiding spirits to choose a difficult environment because it is perfect for handling their unresolved issues. One subject reports as follows:
"The judges told me that I should undergo the experience of being raised without a father in this life and I was aware that my parents would soon be divorced. I also knew that my choice of parents would put me in the ideal geographical location for meeting the man I was destined to marry."63
Her explanation is striking because it shows "the ties that bind," or, in other words, the ways in which soul-mates coordinate their reincarnations to ensure that they will be reunited, as this woman apparently did before her rebirth with the spirit that was intended to be her husband. Is it not a romantic and hopeful concept? Other people report similar incidents, so we can be certain that these "ties that bind" soul-mates together are real. I will discuss this in more detail later.
However, the ideal scenario planned before rebirth does not always work out as intended. The plans made in the interlife are like a rough sketch. After we are reborn, we can be overwhelmed by the various limitations of the physical world and by the many trials and tests that we have set for ourselves, and find it impossible to finish drawing our picture in the ideal way that we had sketched it. We make one wrong choice after other and fail the tests that we have set for ourselves. There is always the possibility that our lives will turn in unforeseen and undesired directions, failing the tests that we have set for ourselves.
HOW WE PLAN OUR LIVES
In the section below, I will attempt to explain simply and in my own words about the life-planning process, basing my account upon the results reported by researchers. Naturally, the amount of detail in the life plan varies with each person and with each reincarnation.
A Flow Chart of Choices
We build a "self-starting function" into our lives so that the issues that we have chosen to try to resolve (our life issues) will occur at the most appropriate time in our lives. When these issues arise, two basic ways of handling them are built into the system; we can choose to deal with them in an "honorable, loving and positive way" or we can choose to deal with them in a "dishonorable, unloving and negative way." The choices that we make on these various issues function as the junctions or forks of a flowchart, for we move forward on our life journey by making decisions in a fashion similar to flowcharts.
When we face one of our life issues and choose to deal with it in an "honorable, loving and positive way," we have then resolved it superbly and are able to move one step up in our evolution. However, should we choose to handle it in a "dishonorable, unloving and negative way," the issue remains unresolved and the system is set up to make us face an even harder test.
Consequently, if we resolve to deal with life issues as they arise always in an "honorable, loving and positive way," then our lives will move increasingly in directions that make us happy. Warm-hearted people eager to help us will appear in our lives with surprising frequency, as our lives become more and more fulfilled. However, if we constantly deal with our life issues in a "dishonorable, unloving and negative way," then our lives will turn in directions that are full of stress, conflict, mistrust and hostility. Events causing us failure and hardships will appear in our lives with surprising frequency, and, one by one, those who would have protected us instead leave us, making our lives bitter and lonely.
We attribute such events to "good fortune" or "bad fortune." However, "fortune" is no more than the accumulation of the our choices when faced with the "trials" and "rewards" that we have set for ourselves.
We plan all of these things before we are born. Those warm-hearted people who enter our lives when our attitude is "honorable, loving and positive" and those people who treat us coldly when we face life "dishonorably, unloving and negatively" are all our soul-mates.
Before we are born, we tell our soul-mates, "If I behave like this, please appear in my life," or "If I behave like that, deal with it like this."
When the time comes, our soul-mates say, "I don't know why I'm supposed to do this, but I'll do it," and try their best to help us out in our life plan.
As I will explain later, these people are crucial soul-mates, both those who help us and those who oppose us. Frequently, those who oppose us have taken on the responsibility in this lifetime of warning us when we have made a mistaken choice. Of course, the people in our lives each have their own life plans, and the relationship will evolve depending upon which of several life issue resolution strategies are taken, whether it be working together for an honorable resolution, or having only one side work toward an honorable resolution or even having both parties act in a dishonorable way.
Motive is the Key
One man made the following comments regarding his memories of the moments when his just-ended live flashed before his eyes.
I also discovered that it is not so much what you do that counts, but why you do it. For example, having a fistfight with someone for no real reason hurt me far more in the life review than having one with someone who had picked a fight with me.
To relive hurting someone just for fun is the greatest pain of all. To relive hurting someone for a cause you believe in is not as painful.64
As we can see from the above recollections, when we are confronted with the expected problem which we must resolve, it is the quality of our motive that determines whether our choice is right or wrong. Of all the actions we could take, the most mistaken is to choose to deliberately hurt someone else. It is also wrong to hurt someone for fun. When we bear a person no malice but cannot avoid hurting him, then our actions are not the "right" ones, because our actions are not "moral, loving and positive," but neither can they be clearly termed "wrong" either.
The Defeated Can Always Try Again
Life does not operate under a playoff system that "eliminates the losers;" instead, it resembles the saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." It is not a system where once you lose (make the wrong decision), you're out of the game for good. Even people who have spent their whole lives to date choosing undesirable paths, are allowed to reflect upon their actions and change their lives (their choice of resolution methods.)
When they do so, they are able to change completely and move towards the good life that had been planned.
Once a person realizes the folly of his ways and changes his directions, he will find the path ready and waiting for him, even if he had previously not been able to resolve even one life issue but had instead continuously taken the wrong path. It is not too late to change even if a person does not realize his mistakes until his sixties or eighties. The system is set up so that one can always make a fresh start. The key issue is whether or not one has recognized before death that many life issues remain unresolved in this life time and whether one has tried to remedy one's mistakes in order to make some progress, even if slight, towards the goal.
The above explanation is merely a brief, over-simplified explanation of the process. In the cosmic testing ground which is life, less-evolved personalities need and are born with a detailed blueprint which tells them exactly when to face which life issue and exactly which resolution method to choose to solve it. However, more evolved spirits are born with just a general outline, putting themselves in a more challenging situation, so that they can lead a more creative life.
For example, in a previous life, one male subject planned only the basic personality and the sex of his next incarnation, stating that he wanted to be "an amorous female," thereby setting himself up for a life full of trouble and strife. As he planned his next incarnation, he visualized cleverly adjusting and setting the switch on "a sort of clockwork instrument," which would begin to operate after a certain period.65
SELF-CHOSEN TESTS AND TRIALS
Facing Things Head On
"Those who fail repeatedly to overcome major challenges in their lives find they are urged by the judgment board to place themselves in similar situations until these challenges are met successfully."66 Sometimes, people plan their spiritual growth in a long-term plan that stretches across numerous lifetimes.
For example, Jenny Saunders, a woman who had been tormented by fear and anger through many past lives, implored the guiding spirits for mercy because she was afraid to be reborn again. The judges replied, "You must face the fear and the anger head on."67
In other words, if a person evades the pain which is necessary for the growth of the spirit and plans only easy and comfortable reincarnations, then that person's spirit will make no progress, no matter how many lifetimes it experiences.
Naturally, one is free to disregard the advice of the guiding spirits; however, ignoring their advice means being reborn in a totally unplanned way, and one could be overwhelmed by meaningless suffering in such a life.
Dr. Whitton reports that his subjects who had not carefully planned out their lives before being reborn invariably appeared to be anxious and nervous, while those who had drawn up a detailed plan before rebirth always looked serene while they described their plan under hypnosis, even if their planned lives were full of troubles and pain.68
How Karmic Justice Works
I would like to quote here the cases of several subjects whose reports to Dr. Whitton while under hypnosis illustrate typical patterns of karmic justice permeating several life times. The fact that most of the subjects were Christian lends a great amount of credibility to their narratives, since most Westerners are uninformed about the concept of "Karmic justice," unlike Japanese subjects who have had the opportunity to learn about Buddhist concepts.69
Ben Garonzi grew to hate his father so intensely that, at the age of eighteen, he came very close to killing him. One evening, when his father had become insensate from alcohol, Ben went to a kitchen drawer and pulled out a carving knife with every intention of slitting the man's throat. Then, listening to the promptings of an inner voice, he changed his mind and replaced the knife in the drawer. This decision to desist became a major turning point in Ben's life. From that moment on, his characteristic aimlessness was replaced with ambition, he grew more outgoing, and he went on to pursue a successful career that brought administrative responsibilities.
In the interlife (remembered while undergoing hypnotic regression), Ben learned that he was embroiled in karmic circumstances that were designed to teach him to withstand extreme provocation without recourse to violence... In the bardo, Ben was aware of a voice which said, "If you do it right this time, things will work out all right. If not, you will require a learning environment of even greater intensity."
A mother of three children whose husband was killed in an airplane crash in 1971 is paying directly for her actions of a thousand years ago. Under hypnosis, she saw herself as a religious leader in the Mayan civilization of Central America who delighted in sentencing to a sacrificial death anyone who disagreed with her. Today she is having to cope with the trials of bereavement she once foisted upon others. Metaconsciousness revealed that she had planned to develop compassion in this life.
The spirit who had been reborn as her husband cut his present life short in order to cooperate with her plan. Today her departed husband is surely acting as her guardian spirit and helping her as she continues to cultivate herself spiritually in her present life.
A Jewish surgeon, Dr. Ezra vividly remembered under hypnosis that he had spent a life as a Roman soldier. In that lifetime, he had broken the bodies of Jews half-buried in sand by charging over them on his horse.
His karmic role in this life has been to mend bodies as well as to experience the rigors of persecution. Early in his career, soon after his first divorce, he was ostracized from practicing in Toronto's major teaching hospitals because of his Jewish blood.
An egocentric housewife remembered under hypnosis that she had spent lives as anarcissistic Southern belle in Georgia, an arrogant French priest, and a Scotsman who, caring only for himself, ignored the needs of his family. Enlightened by what she saw, Hilary realized that to continue in this manner would be counter-productive. Accordingly she has revised her attitude of self-absorption and her once-doomed marriage has dramatically revived.
Becky Roberts, married to an aloof alcoholic husband, had struggled to raise three children by herself. Her burden has been considerably lightened by a man named Clive Edensor, who has been helped her in all her domestic problems.
When Becky was regressed to a lifetime in Alexandria in the third century A.D., she saw herself as a Temple Virgin in the Cult of Osiris. She also recognized Clive as a neophyte priest. Strongly attracted to one another, they fell in love and--although they were both sworn to celibacy--a passionate relationship ensued. One day their lovemaking was detected by the temple elders. The young priest claimed he had been seduced, and the elders, accepting this, allowed him to go free while condemning her to death. Because karma will not be denied, Clive is now making amends for his betrayal all those years ago.
As these examples show, many of Dr. Whitton's subjects have traced their links with soul mates who have been born as their wives, husbands, lovers and family to a succession of previous lives. They have perceived the karmic nature of these relationships. By so doing, they have become aware of the life issues that they must resolve in this lifetime and are able to make positive changes in their lives.
THE HUGE DRAMA OF KARMIC JUSTICE
With the permission of their doctors, I would like to present some examples of Japanese subjects who experienced hypnotic regression, since these cases support the concept of Karmic retribution in rebirths.
BIG EVENT ON BOARD SHIP
When Dr. S., a Japanese neurosurgeon, hypnotically regressed a male Japanese corporate middle manager in his forties, he discovered a surprising overall plan and purpose. 70
The patient had contracted a disease which caused his kidneys to atrophy, and had a transplant several years previously, using a kidney donated by his mother. However, the match between his body and the kidney transplanted from his mother was not a good one, draining him emotionally, and he had come to Dr. S. for hypnotic regression.
In the actual hypnosis sessions, the doctor and his patient had conversation after conversation, made repeated visits under hypnosis to the same scene, and gradually learned more and more of the details. However, to make it easier to understand the whole pattern of Karmic relationships between past lives and this life, I have summarized the results of numerous hypnosis sessions into one single narrative.
After hypnotizing the patient, the doctor directed the patient to remember the cause of his neurosis in his present lifetime. Dr. S. reports that the man's face underwent a startling transformation, into "a face that looked like a pirate's," with a wild and fierce expression.
Subject: The time is the nineteenth century. I am in a Spanish port. I am
the owner and captain of a fishing boat. I have a crew of less than ten, and we fish along the coast. I am violent-nature and am always yelling at the sailors.
The man added that he shouted at his subordinates in the company where he worked in his present life in just the same tone that he had shouted at his crew in his previous life. In other words, his leadership skills had failed to develop and grow from that life to this.
Subject: I often yell things like, "If you can't do the job, then get out of this
company," to the people who work for me at the company. I sound just like the captain of a fishing boat!
Finally the sailors grew furious at the rough way the captain treated them and revolted, staging a mutiny. They could no longer put up with being worked to death for such a miserable salary. The storm was approaching and they demanded that the ship return to port. The sailors cornered the captain, with weapons in their hands.
Subject: I shouted, "If you don't like the way I treat you, then get off the
ship," but the sailors did not waver. Seven sailors, including the cook, got me cornered. Then the sailor standing furthest to the right loudly berated me.
I yelled for him to shut up..then I pulled out my gun, pointed it at the sailor on the right and pulled the trigger.
The bullet from the gun pierced the sailor's body right at the kidney. The captain then turned his pistol on the other sailors and massacred them one by one.
The captain, now all alone, soon confronted the typhoon, as the sailors had warned. Expecting the storm to blow over soon, the captain was still obsessed with the fear of losing his ship and his cargo, and lashed his body to the ship with a line, planning to wait for the storm to pass.
Subject: The storm grew more and more violent, and finally the ship sank!
At that moment, the hypnotized patient let out a scream of pain and his face twisted. He was reexperiencing his agony as the rope dug into his side while the ship sank beneath the raging waves during the storm.
THE MAN HE KILLED BECAME HIS MOTHER
Later, this Japanese male in his forties confessed as follows.
Whenever my mother would nag me, I would yell, "Shut up!" My feelings when I shouted, "Shut up!" at the sailor just before I shot him were exactly the same as when I shouted those words at mother in my previous life .
And now I am somehow positive that the sailor that I murdered in a past life with a pistol, has been reborn as my mother in this life"
How amazing that this male patient had been reborn in his present life bearing the heavy burden of a kidney disease, just so that he could reflect upon his misdeeds and grow by experiencing the same kidney pain that he had inflicted by shooting that sailor in the kidney during his previous life in a nineteenth century Spanish port!
Moreover, the loving mother who had donated a healthy kidney to replace his atrophied kidney was the reborn personality of the sailor he had been shot in that previous life. In other words, one important life issue for him in his current lifetime was to learn the great importance of gratitude "to the spirit of his current mother who had forgiven even someone who had killed her previous incarnation."
If we shift our focus to the mother, we see an even more complicated mechanism. The spirit who had been born as his mother in this life was the same spirit who had been murdered by him in a previous life.
When a serious illness had caused her son to lose the use of his kidneys, she was faced with making a big decision as to whether or not to donate one of her own kidneys to her son. When the mother happily and willingly gave her kidney to her son, she unconsciously showed that she was able to forgive even her own murderer, thus demonstrating the highest form of "love." She was truly a wonderful mother.
THE DETAILED WORKINGS OF HYPNOTIC REGRESSION
In the above section, I rewrote the dialogue between doctor and subject in an easily readable and narrative fashion. Here, I would like to show you how the actual conversation progressed between doctor and patient during a hypnotic regression session. The following is an excerpt from the notebook kept by the subject.
This is an excerpt from an actual hypnotic regression session which took place on July 5th, 1994.71
Doctor: Return now to the place that has caused your present illness.
Subject: (No reply)
Doctor: Where are you now?
Subject: The ocean.
Doctor: Are you on the beach?
Subject: I'm rocking back and forth, so it seems I'm on a boat.
Doctor: What are you doing on the boat?
Subject: I'm looking at the ocean. The ocean is rough because of a storm.
I may be done for.
Doctor: Who else is on the ship?
Subject: Only me.
Doctor: Where's everybody else?
Subject: (No reply)
Doctor: Then we return to the time of departure from the port.
Subject: (I went shooting through a blurry place again. Suddenly I feltmyself on a ship moored in a harbor.)
Doctor: Where are you?
Subject: The harbor.
Doctor: What are you doing?
Subject: I'm watching them load cargo on the ship.
Doctor: Who is loading it?
Subject: The sailors.
Doctor: What name do they call you?
Doctor: What is your name?
Subject: (No reply)
(Just then I sensed a woman running towards me from a tavern at the outskirts of town. The woman was shouting my name. "Dorain! Dorain!" )
Doctor: Dorain, return to your childhood.
Subject: (No reply.)
Doctor: What do you see?
Subject: A white apron.
Doctor: Who is it?
Subject: Probably my mother.
Doctor: Grow a little older.
Subject: (No reply.)
Doctor: What are you doing?
Subject: I'm playing with the kids in the neighborhood?
Doctor: What about school?
Subject: I hate it.
Doctor: Where are you?
Subject: A small town on a steep road. I can see the ocean over the mountains.
Doctor: Grow a little older.
Subject: (No reply.)
Doctor: Where are you?
Subject: I'm in a harbor. I begin work as a sailor today.
Doctor: Dorain, how old are you?
Doctor: What year is it?
The male subject reported that they were unable to discover the cause of his illness that day. On July 12, one week later, he had another hypnosis session. He commented, "I had gotten more and more comfortable with being hypnotized. Today I went back to the shipboard scene.”
Doctor: Where are you?
Subject: On board ship.
Doctor: What are you doing.
Subject: I'm looking at the ocean.
Doctor: Who is there?
Subject: Only me.
Doctor: Have you been on this ship all along?
Doctor: What happened to everyone?
Subject: (No reply.)
Doctor: Well then, return to the time that the ship left port.
Subject: (No reply.)
Doctor: Where are you?
Subject: On the wharf in the harbor.
Doctor: What are you doing?
Subject: I'm watching the sailors load cargo on the ship.
Doctor: Have they finished loading the ship?
Doctor: Where are the sailors?
Subject: They got on the ship.
Doctor: Where is the ship going from here?
Subject: West Africa.
Doctor: Has the ship left port?
Doctor: Do you have any friends aboard ship?
Subject: I couldn't get the usual crew. These are hired sailors.
Doctor: How are they?
Subject: They're lazy. And they complain all the time about low pay and poor conditions.
Doctor: Tell me if anything unusual happens.
Subject: Hey! Someone is trying to get away.
Doctor: What do you do?
Subject: I'll shoot him dead!
Doctor: Did you kill him?
Subject: It's a dark night and I can't see very well, but I think I got him.
Doctor: What happened?
Subject: There's a storm coming and the sailors are in an uproar because they want to go home.
Doctor: What do you do?
Subject: They're a bunch of trouble-makers.
Doctor: What happened then?
Subject: They're trying to force me to take them back to port.
Doctor: What happened?
Subject: (No reply.)
Doctor: What are you doing?
Subject: I'm looking at the ocean?
Doctor: What about the others?
Subject: I think I'm all alone.
Doctor: What happened?
Subject: The ship is about to sink.
Doctor: Return to when they were pressuring you.
Subject: (No reply.)
Doctor: What happened?
Subject: They are milling around me holding weapons.
Doctor: What do you do?
Subject: Shut up! Hey, I got you!
Doctor: What happened?
Subject: I shot them.
Subject: I shot them in the bellies.
Doctor: Are they all dead?
Subject: Most likely.
Doctor: What do you mean?
Subject: Someone may have hidden and gotten away. Can't do a thing about it.
Doctor: What are you doing?
Subject: Looking at the ocean.
Doctor: Is the ship O.K.?
Subject: The storm is fierce. The waves are like mountains. The deck is swamped by waves.
Doctor: What will you do?
Subject: The mast has snapped. Unless I lash myself to it with a line, I'll be swept away by the waves.
Doctor: Are you O.K.?
Subject: I may be done for.
Doctor: Dorain, what happened?
Subject: (No reply.)
The ship went down like a flash, with me aboard, and sank to the ocean floor.
In that instant, I felt as if something was painfully squeezing my stomach, even though I was hypnotized, and then everything went black.
Doctor: Make yourself relax.
Subject: (No reply.)
Doctor: What can you see?
Subject: I can vaguely see what's around me.
Doctor: Where are you?
Subject: I went into the see and sank to the ocean floor where it was pitch black, but it's not dark now.
Doctor: What happened to you, Dorain?
Subject: (No reply.)
Doctor: How are you now?
Subject: (No reply.)
CONVERSATION WITH HIS OWN KIDNEY
On July 17, the doctor helped him practice techniques of meditation in order to attempt to "converse with his own kidney." That experience is recorded below.
I asked my kidney, "Who are you?" At that moment, the scene of Dorain murdering the sailor flashed before me. Shortly afterwards, I saw the sailor on the far right being shot in the left side of the stomach, and watched the sailor's internal organs splatter out behind him. "Could that possibly have been you?" I asked my kidney, but the only reply was a faint snigger.
The scene remained fresh in my mind even after I had finished meditating. I was so agitated that I was unable to think straight. However, when I was able to carefully think it over, I realized that the scene had flashed before my mind as a sort of reply when I had asked the identity of the transplanted kidney functioning inside my body. I realized that the murdered sailor was my mother, since the kidney had been transplanted from my mother.
I sensed an extraordinary, grand drama. My mother had been fully aware of the past circumstances before her rebirth into this family, and had nevertheless chosen to give me birth despite our past Karmic relationship. It had all been preordained by some great divine will, what we term that presence which is "God." I gradually came to realize that we mortals act in accordance with an immense plan.
The spirit of a murdered person is reborn and gives birth to a child, and then goes on to donate an organ to that child. I would expect that the two spirits would never want to see each other again; however, to my absolute astonishment, instead they forged such a deep relationship.72
After this man had understood the surprising workings of Karma, he was deeply moved and said to Doctor S, "This experience is impossible to understand through logic. However, everything begins to make sense to me emotionally when I realize what went behind my rebirth. I will remain a worthless person if I just repeat in this lifetime what I did in my previous lives."
THERE IS A TIME FOR EVERYTHING
DELIBERATELY CHOOSING A TOUGH ENVIRONMENT
It is not always true that people whose lives are more difficult than others are making recompense for misdeeds in a past life. Rather, there are numerous cases where the spirit sets up a sort of test for itself by deliberately choosing difficult life circumstances for its next rebirth, in order to give itself a chance for maximum growth and development. It has also become clear through a series of hypnotic regressions that inborn prodigious abilities must be cultivated in previous lifetimes.73
According to Dr. Whitton, we ourselves make the choice, either carefully or haphazardly, of our own environments in this world. Subjects learn that the type of lives they lead and their life circumstances are not due to chance nor are they without random. Objectively viewed from the perspective of the interlife, the life experiences of each and every person are no more than one module in a course taken in this great classroom of the universe. The harder we learn in the class-room called "Life," a classroom where we attend when we have a physical form, the faster our spirits grow.
Dr. Weiss has reported a dramatic experience when many guiding spirits spoke directly to him through the mouth of a subject during a hypnotic regression. These guiding spirits conveyed a profound message to him in a tone of voice and phraseology which quite different from that of the subject whose mouth they borrowed.
When Dr. Weiss inquired, "What should we do in order to live better?" One of the guiding spirits (the "Master") replied as follows.
"Everybody's path is basically the same. We all must learn certain attitudes while we're in physical state. Some of us are quicker to accept them than others. Charity, hope, faith, love...we must all know these things and know them well. It's not just one hope and one faith and one love--so many things feed into each one of these. There are so many ways to demonstrate them. And yet we've only tapped into a little bit of each one..."74
The subject had never even contemplated such a message, and the tone of voice and phraseology were not the subject's. In addition, the subject realized midway that her mouth was speaking all by itself, with no effort on her part.
According to Dr. Weiss, he was able to do "detailed regressions to multiple past lives in a dozen more patients. None of these patients was psychotic, hallucinating, or experiencing multiple personalities."75
This proves that the phenomena are not just the fabrication or hallucination of one particular hypnosis subject.
WHY PEOPLE DIE YOUNG
Upon another occasion, the guiding spirit who spoke through the mouth of the hypnosis subject conveyed the following message.
Patience and timing...everything comes when it must come. A life cannot be rushed, cannot be worked on a schedule as so many people want it to be.. We must accept what comes to us at a given time, and not ask for more. But life is endless, so we never die; we were never really born. We just pass through different phases.76
However, we may very well ask, "If this life is a place of discipline and training, why then are there people who die young?" Some of the people who caught a glimpse of the interlife during a near-death experience learned the answer to this question.
"I saw many spirits who would only come to the earth for a short time...They were as excited as the others, knowing that they had a purpose to fulfill...
These spirits did not need the development that would result from longer lives in mortality, and their deaths would provide challenges that would help their parents grow."77
As we can see, people who die young have either already fulfilled their purpose in this world or else their youthful deaths hold a special and important meaning for themselves and their families.
Needless to say, spirits who die young never regret or lament their deaths when they reflect upon their lives immediately after their demise. Instead, they are completely satisfied because they their deaths have accelerated the spiritual growth of their parents and family, and they are cheering their families on from the next world. For parents, there is no greater a test for spiritual growth than the death of a child.
And the parting is certainly not forever, for they will be reunited again after death. An abundance of well-grounded scientific evidence demonstrates the workings of life and death, and can liberate from pain those who are suffering from the endless anguish of the "pain of separation through death."
REUNION WITH SOUL MATES
Soul mates are spirits who have especially close ties, with each other, even compared to other groups who chose to reincarnate together. Most people who undergo hypnotic regression are able to trace their relationships with wives, husbands and lovers back to a series of past lives.
THE "TIES THAT BLIND"
Those people who have experienced a good relationship in past lives make plans to have cooperative relationships again in their future lives. Whether or not the relationship will be reestablished in their present lives depends upon the life plan that each made during the interlife.78
For example, Andrew was reunited with the spirit of Maureen, his lover during his lifetime in nineteenth century England. However, by the time they met, Andrew was already married. Their deep passionate relationship in a past life created a strong mutual attraction in this life, which they were unable to control, and this led them to an adulterous relationship.
Sometime after, Andrew became one of Dr. Whitton's hypnosis patients and remembered himself as a spirit during the interlife, weary of self-cultivation and self-discipline. He shrank from taking on bodily form again, but Maureen urged on him a plan for their reunion on the earthly plane. Because of the lack of joint planning, they have had to settle for a secret amorous relationship rather than enjoying conjugal bliss.
Of course, this case is the exception rather than the rule. Usually husbands and wives are reborn again and again as husbands and wives, switching genders and roles. It is vastly more efficient to work at spiritual growth in a planned fashion with the same partner from lifetime to lifetime than to switch partners again and again. Spirits in their incorporeal state are sexless; however, when incarnated they must choose to be either a male or a female. This is why they prefer to pair up. It is extremely common to find that spirits who have had intense relationships many times in past lives reunite in this life as couples who are in love or who are married or who are having illicit relationships.
After her spirit left her body during a near-death experience, one woman saw spirits having a hard time trying to get future parents to marry.
"I saw one male spirit trying to get a mortal man and woman together on earth--his future parents. He was playing Cupid and was having a very difficult time. The man and woman seemed to want to go in opposite directions and were unwittingly very uncooperative. This male spirit was coaching them, speaking to them, trying to persuade them to get together. Other spirits became concerned as they saw his difficulty, and they took up the cause, several of them trying to "corral" these two young people."79
What we commonly call "the Cupid of love" is not just a superstition; Cupid actually exists, in the form of a spirit trying to bring a mortal man and woman together to fulfill their destiny as his parents!
One housewife was shocked to read in my research work a story just like one her own daughter had told her. According to Mrs. M., who lives in Sendai City, her currently school-age daughter initiated a very surprising conversation when she was four-years old. One day, mother and child were in the bathroom together working on potty-training when the daughter suddenly began speaking as if she reminiscing.
"Mommy, I watched you and daddy get married from high up in the sky."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"I knew that you and Daddy would get married and I knew that I would be
"Before I was born, I looked all around for just the right mother, and then I decided that you and Daddy would be my parents."
"How... how did you pick out your parents?"
"I asked advice from a person who was just like God and he told me that you should be my mother this time."
"Oh... Uh... Well, thank you. Thank you very much."
The conversation was so strange that Mrs. M. remembers it clearly even now. However, it was only after she read my research paper that she understood what the conversation meant. I have collected very many similar stories here in Japan, such as the story about Hiro which appears at the beginning of this book.
Dr. Garrett Oppenheim, who practices regressive hypnotism in New York has pointed out the following about the soul mates who appear during past life regressions.
One serendipitous benefit of group, I have found, begins to blossom whenever two or three group members learn that they were friends in a previous lifetime. With this happy discovery, usually, comes the opportunity to develop their relationship from the point where it left off--perhaps a hundred or a thousand years ago.80
MYSTERIOUS FAMILY TIES
The term "soul mate" refers to more than just the relationship between husband and wife. Frequently, we are able to accomplish the grand mission of one of our lifetimes through family relationships, such as the linkages between parents and children and between brothers and sisters.
Hatred of a Son
I will describe a very interesting phenomena discovered by Dr. Garrett Oppenheim, Ph.D. when he was conducting a hypnotic regression on a woman named Jeannine. For no apparent reason, Jeannine absolutely hated her own son, a boy whom one would expect her to dote upon.
When Dr. Oppenheim asked her where she was, Jeannine sobbed, and replied in a child's voice that she could not see. In that past lifetime she had been almost completely blind, and she had spent her every moment of her whole life on a dirty bed in a room that stank.
In that past lifetime, she had been called Mary. She had been age four years old at the time of her first memory. The shadows danced, the door opened and closed, and she could just make out the fuzzy shape of a woman standing nearby, looking at her. Her vision had been too poor for her to see any more.
In response to Dr. Oppenheim's question, she said someone brought food for her sometimes.
Her only toy--and her only friend--was a stuffed teddy bear, which she would hug and caress and whisper to. She said she simply couldn't stand her mother, who would sometimes come in and just stand at the doorway, staring.
Her brief existence ended when she was seventeen. After leaving her dead body behind, she recovered her sight, and realized that she was looking down upon the young girl that she had been. She still loved her cast-off body, even though it had been blind. Her mother, who was there at the deathbed with other people, was a thin woman with a stern expression. Her father was nowhere in sight, and she did not even have any memories of him.
At that point, she realized what she had been missing that just-ended lifetime.
The worse thing in her life, Mary said, was the unending rejection. worse than her blindness and feebleness was the total lack of touching and caring.
"I couldn't talk to them--they never understood. There was nothing I could have done differently. Then, with a sudden outburst of feeling, Mary shouted, "I still hate them--every one of them!"
Dr. Oppenheim tried to calm her. He asked her if there were any connections between that past life and her current one. After a long silence, Jeannine replied,
"They're still here," she said. "Still here in this life." Her brother in the past life is now her mother, she explained, while her mother in the regression is now her son. "and I still hate them," she added. "I still want to get even with them.."
...While she was still in hypnosis I tried to convince Jeannine that the past was over and done with, and that perhaps it was time to forgive her mother and her son for their lack of understanding in a previous incarnation.
"To go through life hating those close to you is to go through life hating yourself," I pointed out.81
Relationship With A Husband
Dr. Brian L. Weiss has reported several cases of family members in conflict in this life whose lives had been interwoven in previous incarnations and who had selected "forgiving my old opponent" as their life issue in their current lives.
Martine, a thirty-year old mother of two, was unhappy because she could not get along with her husband Hal. Hal was the sort of man who was always criticizing, who made nothing but demands on Martine and who found fault with every single thing Martine did. From Martine's point of view, Hal was like a weight around her neck. Under the circumstances, it seemed odd that they had married (showing all the more how they had planned their fate beforehand). They had separated and made up numerous times before.
While she was in a hypnotic state, Dr. Weiss directed her to return to that past life that she had lived with her present family, that past life that was now causing all her problems with her present family. Martine's face quickly crumbled, and she began to sob like a child.
"I'm so afraid. It's black, pitch black. I can't see anything. I'm just afraid. Something terrible is happening." Her voice was still childlike. I thought Martine was in some void, somewhere between lifetimes. But why was she afraid? I was confused.
"I'm going to tap you on the forehead and count backwards from three to one. When I say one, you'll see where you are."
"I'm a young girl, sitting at a large wooden table in a big room. There isn't much furniture in the room, just the table really. I'm eating food from a bowl. It's like oatmeal. I have a big spoon."
"What's your name?"
"Rebecca," she answered. She did not know what year it was. But when Martine later died in this remembered lifetime, she stated that the year was 1859.
"Are you alone? Where are your parents?"
"I can't...I don't..." She began to cry again. "My father is there, but my mother is not. She's dead. I killed her!" Rebecca's mother, Martine went on to explain, had died during Rebecca's birth. Rebecca's father blamed his daughter for the death of his wife."
"He's awful to me. He beats me and locks me up all alone in the closet. I'm so scared!" she cried.
Rebecca's father, a woodcutter who worked with an axe, treated her like a slave. He gave her long lists of chores, constantly criticizing her, finding fault, beating her, and locking her in the dreaded closet. Martine tearfully recognized the man as Hal, her husband in her current life.
Rebecca never left her father. Despite his constant cruel and unloving behavior, she stayed with him until the end of his life...
...After her father's death, Rebecca married Tom, a man who treated her wonderfully. She recognized Tom as her current life son. Although Tom had wanted children, Rebecca did not, fearing that she would die in childbirth as her mother had. Nevertheless, they were very happy. Tom died first, then Rebecca. I progressed her in time to the last day of her life.
"I'm in bed. I'm an old lady with gray hair. I'm not frightened. I'm going to be with Tom. She died and floated over her body.
"What did you learn in that life? I inquired.
"That I have to be assertive," she quickly responded. "I have to do what is right for me...when I am right...and not continue to suffer needlessly I have to be assertive.
Martine returned home and told her husband Hal about her memories of the past. Hal realized that he had hardly grown at all in humanity from the past life when he had lived as Rebecca's father.
After her hypnotic regression, Martine became strong and bold, and asserted herself when she was right. Hal also began showing a great consideration to Martine.
Afterwards their marriage underwent a dramatic improvement. 82
SOULMATES FORTIFY AND HELP EACH OTHER
A Joint Life Plan
Dr. Ian Stevenson, M.D. a professor at the University of Virginia, has pointed out that soulmates are spirits who, joined by love and friendship in previous lives, are drawn together in particular families when they are reborn.83
When such a spirit is reborn, it must come back as the child of its destined parents, and therefore it must enter the body of whatever fetus its future parents are expecting. Consequently, it works to attract sperm to the egg that will produce the desired sex and to repel sperm that would produce the undesired sex. It appears to wait for a fertilized egg of the right sex, hoping to be reborn as whichever sex is in its plan. It is possible this is what causes unexplained miscarriages.
Dr. Stevenson has investigated several cases where parents have fervently wished that a deceased child would come back to them. In these cases, Dr. Stevenson believes, the spirit waiting for rebirth insists on getting the same sex and will wait for as long as it takes to get a body of the desired sex.
Subjects of Dr. Brian L. Weiss have explained to him that soulmates are generally reborn as husband and wife (although the two spirits may swap sexes). The aim is to share joy and sorrow, success and failure, love and forgiveness, anger and gentleness through numerous lifetimes with a soulmate, in order to join forces to achieve endless growth. Consequently, it is very common for soulmates to feel an immediate closeness, as if they had met before, from the very first moment they meet in their current lifetimes.84
Dr. Weiss writes as follows about the joint planning done by soulmates.
From the experiences that some of my patients have in the "between life" state, I have come to believe that we actually pick our families for each lifetime before birth. We choose to live out the patterns that will afford us the most growth with the souls that will most effectively manifest these situations in our lives. very often, these are souls we have met and interacted with in many ways in other lifetimes.85
Dr. Weiss also relates that the guiding spirits have spoken to him through the mouths of his subjects.
"We have debts that must be paid. If we have not paid out these debts, then we must take them into another life...in order that they may be worked through. You progress by paying your debts. Some souls progress faster than others. When you're in physical form and you are working through, you're working through a life...If something interrupts your ability...to pay that debt, you must return to the plane of recollection, and there you must wait until the soul you owe the debt to has come to see you. and when you both can be returned to physical form at the same time, then you are allowed to return. But you determine when you are going back. You determine what must be done to pay that debt."86
Dr. Weiss along with other researchers relates that groups of spirits often repeatedly reincarnate together as a group. As they repeatedly reincarnate, the group gradually expands, but the soulmates at the core remain the same small group that started the process.
Whenever we meet a spirit who has influenced us sometime in the past, we unconsciously sense our past connection and fall into the same behavior patterns as in the past. Sometimes these behavior patterns establish a positive relationship and sometimes they recreate a bad relationship. And so, for example, superiors and subordinates, neighbors, teachers and students, and sometimes national or corporate leaders will either take up opposing stances or else join in a mutually supportive relationships.
Dr. Weiss has summarized the discoveries of many hypnotic regression researchers as follows.
As we grow by interacting with our soulmates, we ascend the ladder of lifetimes. We transcend old patterns, come to fully experience love and joy, and lose every last vestige of anger and fear....Of course, they may not meet within the same relationships or circumstances that prevailed in the current lifetime. for example, a father and daughter might meet again as friends or siblings or grandfather and grandchild. Nevertheless, souls do continue to meet again and again.87
Grateful to Soulmates
I would like to share a letter from a Japanese woman who read my article, "The Dawn of "Meaning.'"
I operate a small shop.
Many different people visit my shop, including people who have been injured by life and people who suffer from sickness or incurable diseases. My own husband died of cancer. I married my husband even though I knew that he had been born with diabetes, and that he was not very strong.
Through the life and death of my husband, we learned the meaning of life. I also believe that it was my destiny to teach what we had learnt to the wounded people who visit my shop.
As her words indicate, this woman is aware of her role in life. Although her husband no longer exists in the flesh, we can be sure that he is always close to her.
There are many people around the world who somehow know that they are the reincarnation of a close relative who died before their births. Let me have a Japanese housewife tell you her story in her own words.
My father died .
I was born a week later, the day Buddhists honor as the first week anniversary of a person's death. As a child, I had extremely detailed dreams, dreams in which I always seemed to be an adult. As I dreamed, I would think to myself, "Ah, that's the house I visited yesterday. That's what I discussed with that person. This is what I got on the way home. That house had flowers in the back."
How strange, I would think when I awoke. I was still a child and I had never seen the house that I'd visited in my dream or met in real life the people that I met in my dreams. I had the same detailed dreams over and over again, to the point that I became terrified of night time and could not sleep alone.
I now realize that the dreams were memories of my previous life as my own father. From my earliest years I was certain that I was the reincarnation of my father.
When I was an adult, I learned for the first time that my father had collapsed of a heart attack and had died at the bottom of a one-yard wide ditch at the side of the road. As a child I was terrified of water, and even drinking a glass of water brought tormenting fears of drowning.
Numerous cases of hypnotic regression have confirmed that spirits who die full of regrets (even if they had planned these deaths before being reincarnated) are in a great rush to be reborn into the same families. In the previous case, the wife of the deceased young husband was pregnant and his spirit was perhaps able to slip right into the body of his unborn child. This is by no means an isolated occurrence.
Performing numerous hypnotic regressions led Dr. Weiss to an extremely interesting discovery about adoptive parents and children.
Past life regression sometimes gives great joy to adopted families by showing them that, although they are not biologically related and although blood may be thicker than water, spirit is thicker than blood. I have done regressions that indicate that the bonds between adopted children and their adoptive parents may be stronger than the bonds between these children and their biological parents. When various members of these adoptive families are regressed they often recognize each other in prior lifetimes.
Experience has shown me that if a parent-child relationship is destined to take place, and the physical outlet is blocked, another way is found for it to occur. Parent-child relationships are never random.88
If the spirit planning rebirth as the child of a specific couple discovers that the intended parents are physically unable to bear children, then that spirit will borrow the uterus of another woman in order to be born, and will move steadily closer to his desired parents. Those of you who are grieving because you are unable to have children should go to visit a nearby orphanage. You could meet a child there whom you somehow know instantly is meant for you.
Dr. Weiss' research also reveals that some spirits reach such a high level of development that they no longer need to be reborn. These highly-developed spirits choose whether they wish to be reborn in order to help other people or whether they wish to remain in spirit form and help people on earth that way.89
THE MYSTERY OF SYNCHRONISM
Dr. Stanislas Grof, who pioneered the use of medications to induce regressions, has also focused on the great importance of soulmates.
Dr. Grof tried regressive hypnotism on a subject who had a strongly hostile relationship with another, and described what happened as follows.
During a past life experience he saw this adversary as his murderer in a lifetime they had shared long before. After going into the past and forgiving that crime, the client instantly changed his present life feeling toward this person. Old animosities and fears instantly faded and he saw the person in a new light. As this was occurring, his one-time enemy was simultaneously but independently undergoing a similar personal experience halfway around the world that transformed him in the same direction. Within approximately the same time period, both people had experiences that changed their basic perspectives, healing their relationship, which had been so filled with animosity.
This particular example, though extraordinary, is not unusual in my work. Again and again I have seem karmic partners experience dramatic changes that released them from the past and allowed them to heal old wounds, which had existed for many, many years. These changes of attitude occurred within minutes of each other, even though the people involved were often separated by thousands of miles and had no direct communication between them."90
If you think it over, you will recall any number of occasions when two or more people think or do the same thing at the same time. You start thinking about your friend, and your friend starts thinking of you, so you both try to call each other at the same time. We call this phenomenon "synchronicity."
THE ART OF LOVING
The above examples of reincarnation research make it clear how important it is for soulmates to help each other develop spiritually and to teach each other to forgive.
Whenever I see examples of the intertwined destinies of soulmates, I recall the words of the world-renowned psychologist Dr. Erich Fromm in his book The Art of Loving.
To love somebody is not just a strong feeling--it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go.91-A
In a later section of his book, Dr. Fromm writes the following.
One other frequent error must be mentioned here. The illusion, namely, that love means necessarily the absence of conflict...Real conflicts between two people, those...which are experienced on the deep level of inner reality to which they belong, are not destructive. They lead to clarification, they produce a catharsis from which both persons emerge with more knowledge and more strength
...Love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together.91-B
Soulmates, particularly those who have been reincarnated repeatedly as husband and wife, are the whetstones for sharpening one's spiritual edge. Consequently, the partners are born sometimes with a major interpersonal life issue to resolve between them.
When this happens and their relationship is fraught with tensions, they must not run away from their marriage, thinking that their relationship is too troubled and too plagued by interpersonal problems. Instead, they must realize that they chose to share a troubled marriage in this reincarnation just so that they could join forces with their closest soulmate in order to overcome the very same interpersonal life issue that is now damaging their marriage. Dr. Fromm wrote, "To love somebody is not just a strong feeling--it is a decision." If they are able to work together at resolving this life issue, strengthened by Dr. Fromm's words, then they will be able to fulfill the grand purpose of their present lives.
Dr. Fromm's psychological theory becomes all the more moving and persuasive once one learns about the research findings on reincarnation.
REVISITING THE WORLD
After the guiding spirits (the Beings of Light) have given us their advice, we wait for our future parents to marry and for our mother-to-be to get pregnant, and then we enter the body of the fetus.
OUR SOJOURNE IN THE NEXT WORLD
According to Dr. Joel L. Whitton,
"Birth is the first day of a tough new project.
And while there are those who look forward with eagerness and anticipation to the challenges of earthly existence, most view with reluctance the thought of surrendering the timeless, spaceless bardo for material inhibition." 92
Dr. Whitton goes on to give a concrete example of this phenomena.
"Some, of course, show more reluctance than others. A man who had once used and abused young boys in ancient Greece was revulsed at having to return as a persecuted homosexual. 'Oh, fuck! Oh no, not this. Anything but this!' he screamed in trance. 'There's no way I could go into that body,' he said later. 'But I had made my choice--unwillingly--on the advice of the judgment board and I just had to go through with it. I felt pushed."93-A
Judged by the measurements of this world, the amount of time spent between lives varies greatly depending upon the person and upon the life. Dr. Whitton comments that among his subjects, "ten months is the shortest interval observed between lives while the longest extends for more than eight hundred years."93-B Dr. Whitton further notes that the average between-life stay is approximately forty years.93-C
The amount of time between lives has shortened from several hundred years, meaning that there is a shorter period of rest between reincarnations. This phenomena corresponds to the global population explosion. During hypnotic regression, several subjects related that they had died during World War II, and had been immediately reincarnated as part of the baby boom.
Dr. Satwant Pasricha collected cases of forty-five children who had memories of past lives and verified the authenticity of the statements of thirty-eight of these children. Dr. Pasricha reports that "the median intermission between death and presumed rebirth was 14.5 months. It varied from one day to 224 months."94
These figures are lower than Dr. Whitton's statistics; however, Dr. Whitton based his averages upon strings of reincarnations going back thousands of years, while Dr. Pasricha took an average of only the most recent reincarnation. Another possible cause for the discrepancy is that most of Dr. Pasricha's cases involved people who had died tragically in their previous reincarnations. Spirits appear to strongly desire an immediate reincarnation in cases of tragic death, even if the death was part of their life plans.
Of course, Dr. Whitton based his averages on far more cases than Dr. Pasricha, making Dr. Whitton's numbers statistically more accurate; however, this is not meant to imply that Dr. Pasricha's methodology gave unreliable results.
The most accurate way to explain is to say that spirits can reincarnate at any time between one day after death to several hundred years after death. As world population increases, the average time between reincarnations has shortened, and many spirits leave a period of only ten-to-twenty years between reincarnations.
MEMORIES HINDERING SELF-DEVELOPMENT ARE SUPRESSED
According to Dr. Whitton, when spirits are reborn in this world,
"knowledge of any plan the soul may have made for the forthcoming life is necessarily subjugated. Just as it is pointless for a student to be furnished with answers before sitting down to write an examination, so the test of life requires that certain information is temporarily withheld from the conscious mind. 95-A
Dr. Whitton goes on to say that many hypnotic subjects who have glimpsed future events in their lives have asked Dr. Whitton to erase the memory from their consciousness, because on some level they know that the information must be withheld. Some subjects even bolted wide awake from their hypnotic trance as they viewed their futures, and were unable to remember anything of what they had been saying. Several subjects even pleaded with Dr. Whitton, "Please do not let me remember this when I wake... I might be tempted to tamper with my karma."95-B
Dr. Whitton has also had many subjects who have learned of their life plans through hypnosis and who have told Dr. Whitton their predictions. Naturally, Dr. Whitton never divulged to them what they had said under hypnosis. Dr. Whitton writes that
"whenever these predictions were sufficiently short-term to allow for verification, they proved to be accurate."96
BIRTH INTO THIS WORLD
Spirits seeking to be reborn are able to enter the body of the fetus at any time they choose during the period from several months after conception until several moments after actual birth. Once we are able to pinpoint the moment that the spirit enters the body and again when the spirit leaves the body, then we will know when a mere lump of flesh becomes human and when it again becomes a mere lump of flesh. This will have a huge impact on the controversial issues of abortion and of whether brain death is an adequate measure of total physical death.
One subject speaks of the moment that his spirit entered the body of the fetus that would be his current incarnation.
I was in the delivery room watching my mother and the doctors standing around her. White light surrounded everything that was going on and I was one with this light. Then I heard the doctors say, "It's coming!" and I knew that I had to merge with my new body."97
According to Dr. S, a Japanese doctor who conducts hypnotic regressions, when spirits return to this world from the world after death, they are drawn to a certain family in a certain town. The spirit goes to the pregnant woman in that house who is to be his mother in his next incarnation, and takes a look at the fetus before the spirit enters the body of the fetus. 98
The spirit may enter the fetus at around three months after conception, when the pregnancy is stable and the likelihood of a safe birth is higher.
Dr. S. relates that one of his subjects remembers standing undecided in front of a stomach containing a seven-month fetus, and of being very unsure whether or not to enter the fetus. The subject did not enter that fetus. When Dr. S. asked him why, he replied, "I didn't enter the fetus because I knew that the baby would be born dead."
There is a very interesting case of a young Japanese woman who competed and won in a triathlon.
When Dr. S. induced hypnotic regression, she remembered a life in the United States in the early nineteenth century. In that lifetime, she had been sickly and unable to get any exercise. She spent her life in the shade of a tree reading, and died in her early twenties. She died whispering that she wanted a robust, healthy body.
Afterwards, when it came time for her rebirth, she decided to search for a fetus with a healthy body. When she found a fetus that seemed likely to live a healthy, energetic life, she entered and nestled in its mother's stomach. Twenty or so years later, she competed and won in a triathlon, an athletic event often called the most demanding.
In this way, we seek to enjoy in our next lives those pleasures which were denied to us in our previous lives. We are the ones who design our lives, and we are completely free to choose what we want. (Of course the guiding spirits give us a lot of advice which we don't always want to hear.)
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING
The memories that the subjects had during hypnotic regression of the "life between life" were identical emphatic on one basic point. They all said, "We are the ones responsible for the kind of person we are and for the circumstances in which we live. We are the ones who made the choices. Dr. Whitton has the following to say about this mysterious process.
The most important conclusion to be drawn from the idea of karma is that chance has played no part in arranging the circumstances in which we find ourselves. On Earth, we are the personification of choices that have been made in the bardo. Our discarnate decision making has assigned us to our situation in life and, through subconscious inclination, continues to bring forth the bouquets and brickbats of destiny. To be convinced of the truth of the law of karma is to endorse the state of affairs in which one has placed oneself, no matter how difficult it might be. The individual seeks out challenges and ordeals, knowing that they contain the greatest opportunities for learning and growth. 99
Interestingly, Dr. Weiss received the same message as Dr. Whitton through the guiding spirits who borrowed the mouths of his subjects during hypnotic regressions.
You must learn to overcome greed. If you do not, when you return you will have to carry that trait, as well as another one, into your next life. The burdens will become greater. With each life that you go through and you did not fulfill these debts, the next one will be harder. If you fulfill them, you will be given an easy life. So you choose what life you will have.100
When, through hypnotic regressions, subjects glimpse this process of choosing the next life, they become aware of the heavy responsibility that they bear. Rather than feeling fear at their heavy responsibility when they learn of this wonderful process of spiritual development, subjects feel a deep sense of gratitude for the immutable laws of the Universe which transcend human knowledge.
One subject of Dr. Whitton's remembered a lifetime 800 years ago, and expressed his gratitude after his hypnotic regression was completed.
I have been allowed, he said, speaking of his visits to the interlife, "the barest glimpse of levels of creation that are far above anything I can even begin to put into words. I was made to feel that everything that we do has meaning at the highest level. Our sufferings are not random; they are merely part of an eternal plan more complex and awe-inspiring than we are capable of imagining."101
COMMUNICATION WITH THE DEAD
Since I know that all of you want to have more proof of the existence of ghostly spirits, in this chapter, I am going to relate some stories that will amaze and astonish you while filling you with an overwhelming happiness.
A guardian spirit once spoke to Dr. Brian L. Weiss, through the mouth of his subject, and told him what conditions enable these spirits to appear on earth.
It is on this plane that some souls are allowed to manifest themselves to the people who are still in physical form. They are allowed to come back......only if they have left some agreement unfulfilled...There are many ways to do this. Some are allowed the power of sight and can show themselves to the people still in physical form. Others have the power of movement and are allowed to telepathically move objects...If you have left an agreement that has not been fulfilled, you may choose to go here and communicate in some way. 102
Were the words of the Guiding Spirit true?
Of course, a Guardian Spirit would not lie. I am not talking about ghost stories here, when I discuss communication between the living people and the dead. Is it possible for us to put this data in a form that anyone can analyze objectively?
Here I would like to present two types of information that will address those questions.
REUNION WITH THE DEAD
In 1994 Dr. Raymond Moody, a leading researcher of near-death experiences, published the results of five years of research. Dr. Moody proved scientifically in the laboratory that it was possible for the living and the dead to communicate using a certain method, which will be described below. Dr. Moody writes:
"By using the techniques described here, a considerable number of you will actually be able to experience visionary reunions with loved ones who are lost to death... (The procedure) enables subjects to have their own first-hand encounters with apparitions and to make their own assessments of the reality of the experience."103
Dr. Moody used over three-hundred people in his experiments, people who were stable and reliable, including doctors such as counselors and psychologists and graduate students. In the first round, over half of his subjects succeeded in meeting the spirits of their departed loved ones, in reunions which lasted anywhere from several minutes to a half hour or more. By the time he conducted his fourth round, almost all of his subjects had been able to verify with their own eyes and ears that the dead can appear to us. 104
His subjects were all psychologically normal, were able and intelligent enough to evaluate their experience objectively and had no reason to tell a lie about meeting their deceased loved ones.
Dr. Moody's method has no relationship to "seances or spirit mediums," people with the special ability to speak with the dead, who, like the medium Itako of Osorezan, allow others to borrow their powers. It is possible for the most ordinary people to use Dr. Moody's method, and special powers are not at all necessary. There is absolutely no need for religious rites or paraphernalia, nor for dances or candles or mysterious music. Dr. Moody's method is very simple and practical.
Dr. Moody apparently first heard of this method of "communicating with the dead" from a subject who had a near-death experience and was taught the method by the "Guiding Spirits" or "Beings of Light" who appeared to this subject during the near-death experience, but he felt no desire to try it out. However, Dr. Moody was reading a book from ancient Greece and came upon a description of the "oracle's place" and realized that it was identical to what his NDE subject had described. This motivated Dr. Moody to experiment with the method. He recreated the method used in ancient Greece, just modernizing the facility that he used for his testing.
That method is termed the apparition booth method.
EXPERIMENTS USING THE APPARITION BOOTH
First one must prepare a small room, in a place with a quiet environment. Outside light must not be able to enter the room, in order that the room can be made perfectly dark.
"At one end of the room a mirror four feet tall and three and a half feet wide was mounted on the wall. The bottom edge of the mirror was three feet above the floor.
"A comfortable easy chair was prepared by removing its legs so that the top of the headrest was about three feet above the floor. The chair was placed about three feet from the mirror and inclined slightly backward. This was done for comfort but also to keep the reflection of the gazer from being seen in the mirror. In effect the angle of the chair created a clear depth view of the mirror, which would reflect only the darkness behind the person who was gazing...
"...directly behind the chair was placed a small stained-glass lamp with a fifteen-watt bulb.
"This simple room, with its dim light, darkened surroundings, and the clear depth of the mirror provided the ideal mirror-gazing environment."105
This is how the simple experiment room is created.
Dr. Moody had his subjects go into this room alone, sit in the easy chair and stare deeply into the blackness of the mirror. After sitting quietly for anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour or more, some subjects would suddenly see the
figure of the departed loved one in the mirror; some would see the figure of the deceased jump out from the mirror, and some would see the deceased appear to them outside the mirror.
Sometimes the spirits of the dead imparted information that the subjects had not known or which the subject could not possibly have known, and the accuracy of the information could be verified afterwards. It was also discovered that the spirit of the deceased person who appeared was not necessarily the person that the subject had hoped to see; instead, sometimes, it was the spirit of the departed who most wanted to visit the subject.
Naturally the subjects were never visited by those who were still alive or by those who had died and were living now in a new reincarnation, even if the subjects strongly wished for such a visit. Instead, a substitute spirit would appear and explain that the desired visitor was unable to come. These things proved that the subject's meeting with the dead was not caused by mental illusion or delusion, nor was it a just a projection of the subject's strong desire to meet a loved one again.
The subjects all said basically the same things. "It was my mother just as she looked when she was alive." "He was very clear and there was only about two feet between us." "The spirit had a strong physical presence and was not at all transparent; the spirit moved around and was solid." "It was not a dream. I was completely wide-awake, and it lasted for quite a while." "I would not have believed it if I hadn't experienced it. I am convinced that it was real. My dead aunts were right there in front of me."
What the guiding spirit told Dr. Weiss through the mouth of his subject is true: spirits without a physical form can appear to the living in the form they had before death, and can hold conversations.
CONVERSATIONS WITH DEAD RELATIVES
Dad Asked What She Wanted
Let me now give several examples of typical encounters with the dead.
A woman in her late forties related the following story. She said that going into the apparition booth made her a little bit scared initially.
"(My father) just came up suddenly and I was looking right into his face. He talked to me, and he was funny like he always was. He asked me, 'Why in the world are you trying to talk to me, girl?...
"...He looked to be about three feet away , but then he got closer. I wasn't seeing him in the mirror; I was seeing him right up on me.
"We had some very personal conversations in there, about my mother mainly, but other family matters as well...
"...I just saw his head and chest and upper abdomen area. It was not his whole form, but this was just as clear as looking at you...
"...He seemed a little bit amused, like he thought I was being impatient by wanting to talk to him now rather than waiting until I died and passed over...
"...I talked to him a long time, maybe thirty minutes. But it went so fast.
"The last thing he said to me was, 'Now you go on and enjoy your life.'"106
Dr. Moody's Experience
Dr. Moody himself went into the apparition booth and became a subject. Dr. Moody's account of that surprising experience is below.
As he sat in the chair, Dr. Moody was strongly hoping to meet his grandmother on his mother's side. He relates that his experience is impossible to explain in writing, and that it is also impossible to explain it in words.
"I was sitting in a room alone when a woman simply walked in. As soon as I saw her, I had a certain sense that she was familiar, but the event happened so quickly that it took me a few moments to gather myself together and greet her politely. Within what must have been less than a minute, I realized this person was my paternal grandmother, who had died some years before. (Note: remember, it had been his maternal grandmother whom Dr. Weiss longed to see.)
"I remember throwing my hands up toward my face and exclaiming, 'Grandma!' In a very kind and loving way, she acknowledged who she was and addressed me with the nickname that only she had used for me when I was a child...
"...The reason I had not recognized her at first was that she appeared much younger than she was when she died...
"...I want to emphasize how completely natural this meeting was. As with the other subjects who had experienced an apparitional facilitation, my meeting was in no way eerie or bizarre. In fact this was the most normal and satisfying interaction I have ever had with her...
"...We discussed old times, specific incidents from my childhood. Throughout she reminded me of several events that I had forgotten. Also she revealed something very personal about my family situation...
"...I say "heard" in an almost literal sense. I did hear her voice clearly...Others who'd had this experience before me described it a telepathic or "mind to mind" communication...
"...In no way did she appear "ghostly" or transparent during our reunion. she seemed completely solid in every respect. She appeared no different from any other person except that she was surrounded by what appeared to be a light or an indentation in space, as if she were somehow set off or recessed from the rest of her physical surroundings.
"For some reason, though, she would not let me touch her. Two or three times I reached to give her a hug, and each time she put her hands up and motioned me back. She was so insistent about not being touched that I didn't pursue it.
"I have no idea how long this meeting lasted in clock time... In terms of thoughts and feelings that passed between us, it seemed like a couple of hours, but I have a feeling that it was probably less than that in what we consider to be "real" time.
We acknowledged that we would be seeing each other again, and I simply walked out of the room." 107
This is Dr. Moody's own account. Even though Dr. Moody strongly wished to meet his grandmother on his mother's side, the departed soul that he actually met was his grandmother on his father's side. That was because his grandmother had information that she strongly wanted to divulge to Dr. Moody.
There are many cases when a departed soul other than the one desired appears to the subject or when the spirit wants to share information with the subject. This goes to show that the spirit who appears is really the spirit of a dead person and is not just a projection of "what the subject wants to see." In other words, this is not just a trick that the mind plays.
Encouragement From A Deceased Husband's Spirit
You do not always meet the spirits you wish to see. But please feel easy, for in most cases you do get your wishes.
A woman whose husband had died of a heart attack relates her experience as follows.
"Instantly I felt (my husband's) presence. I didn't see him, but I knew he was standing right next to me. Then I heard him speak. He told me, 'Go ahead, you are living the right way and you are raising the kids the right way.
"Then we began to see things in the crystal from our life together. We reexperienced them. For instance, I could see us in the delivery room when he was there with me for the birth of one of our children. I had been so glad to have him there when that happened, and it was as though we were living it over again. I saw many other things we had done together, and I was as happy looking at them now as I had been with him...
"...He felt sorry for me that my life was so hard. But he said it was what I had to do now and that I shouldn't really take life so hard.
"I was so glad. I wanted to hold him, but I knew that was impossible. Still it was wonderful to know that he is with us when we need him."108
A Very Good Marriage Partner
Let us hear the testimony of a surgeon, who expresses a cool, intelligent, objective view of this apparition booth experience. This surgeon participated in the experience because he wanted to meet his mother who had died over twenty years before.
"I went into the booth a little bit apprehensive, not particularly sure that this was going to work for me. I sat there for a long time, trying to disengage my mind and get into the appropriate state. Finally I got so relaxed that I think I started to doze off.
"At this point, as I gazed into the mirror, a sort of filmy, smoky substance came across the glass. Then out of this mist there was a figure forming and sitting on a sofa of some sort.
"At first I just saw the outline of the form and didn't see any details. Then, further on, maybe a minute later, the form started to show some features... I said, "that's my mother."
"'How are you?" I asked.
"Her lips didn't move, but I got a mental communication from her in which she said, 'I'm fine and I love you.'
"I asked her another question: "Was there any pain when you died?"
"'None at all,' I could hear her say. 'The transition to death was easy..."
"...I asked her more questions, just by thinking them. 'What do you think of the woman I plan to marry?' I asked.
"'It will be a very good choice," she answered. "You should continue to work hard at the relationship and not be your old self. Try to be more understanding.'
"This lasted for maybe ten questions, and then she faded away and I couldn't talk to her anymore. I tried hard to bring her back, but there was so much emotion there that I couldn't do it. By the time it was over, I was extremely moved."109
After over three hundred subjects insisted that their experiences were real and not imagined, Dr. Moody named his experiment room "the theater of the mind."
It is very interesting to note that this method, which is the same as the one used in ancient Greece, uses a mirror. Of course, there is no magic power in a mirror. Gazing into a mirror facilitates a state of altered consciousness and self-hypnosis. In Japanese shrines, for example, the objects of worship can be mirrors, and many shrines have mirrors in their innermost areas. Since ancient times, mirrors have been treated as holy and important objects, somehow related to the gods.
Is this similarity merely a coincidence? It may very well be that people in ancient
days discovered through experience that when they meditated in front of a mirror they could communicate with invisible entities. We could conjecture that this is the reason that mirrors are revered as holy objects.
Thinking along the lines may make us change our traditional interpretation of old fairy tales and folk tales where mirrors are used to communicate with invisible entities or entities in another dimension, as, for example, the bad witch in Snow White who gazes into a mirror, saying "Mirror, mirror on the wall," and expects it to answer her questions.
MESSAGES FROM THE DEAD
THE MIRACLE OF READINGS
George Anderson is one of the few people recognized by scientists as having unusual talents at communicating with the spirits.
He himself hates to be called a "medium," and instead prefers to be called a "counselor for the bereaved." He hates to be called a medium because he himself is unable to explain how he can talk to the dead, and because he sees no value in the talent itself.
He sees value only in the ability that the talent gives him to help assuage the grief of the bereaved.110
George was born in the U.S. in 1952. He developed the ability to sense the existence of "spirits" and "souls" after contracting a serious case of chicken pox and encephalomyelitis at age six. Thereafter, people often treated him as if he were crazy, and he was almost put in a mental hospital. However, a professor of physics proved George's abilities by testing him during a live broadcast. After that, George could proudly and openly create a following as "a counselor for the bereaved."111
Dr. John Gschwendtner, a professor of physics at Columbia University, received a "reading" from George at a radio studio. A "reading" means a psychic reading, not just a seance with a spirit, but a reading or understanding of the memories in the other person's mind. The person doing a reading senses the existence of some Presence beyond the senses of the normal person, and is able to convey messages from that Presence to the person receiving the reading.
During the live broadcast, George was able to make correct, concrete conjectures about Dr. Gschwendtner's deceased parents and to describe the fluctuations of Dr. Gschwendtner's eventful life. This information was not the type that George could have researched beforehand; Dr. Gschwendtner attested that he had spoken to no one about these matters since he had immigrated to the U.S.
George would not permit his clients, those receiving his readings, to offer him any information. George conducted his readings by having the subjects answer either 'yes' or 'no' to the messages that the spirits conveyed to him. This format proves that the reading was "truly a conversation with the spirit of the deceased," since George was able to speak of information known only by the dead person and the subject, under the condition that the subject did not give information from the spirits to George.112
George was able to conduct his readings while carrying on entirely ordinary conversations with the subjects. He used absolutely none of the props that have been long associated with our image of "mediums," props such as candlelight, crystals, dimmed lights, occult music and garments. The subjects did not enter a trance state where they lost consciousness or danced around, and they did not even need to sleep or to close their eyes. If someone has a strong power to talk to the spirits, those props and altered states are unnecessary.
CONVERSATION WITH A DEAD SON
I would now like to introduce some excerpts from actual readings that George performed while he was in Japan with Japanese subjects, which have been reported by Mr. Hiroshi Itokawa, who was the interpreter at that time. Mr. Itokawa, who was both interpreter and recorder, reported as a bystander in a dispassionate and objective fashion. He makes no attempts to prove George's authenticity or to make the reader believe.
The following is an excerpt from a reading with a man in his forties.
"Your son died. He was just a little boy, wasn't he."
"Was he younger than ten?"
"Was he younger than seven?"
The boy had died just before entering elementary school.
"Was he a cheerful child?"
"Yes, he was. He was very cheerful."
"He still is cheerful. Please stop saying, 'He was cheerful,' and say, 'He is cheerful." He's a happy boy. He's jumping up and down and is so happy."
"That's definitely my boy."
The man then turned to the interpreter, Mr. Itokawa and explained in Japanese.
"Whenever anything happened that made my son happy, he had a habit of jumping up and down."
George was silent for a while, and then spoke.
"Did you have dreams of your son?"
"Your son can see that you are grieving from the world beyond. He says that he appeared in your dreams to let you know that he is always with you, even though he no longer has a physical body. "
"So that's why!"
"Did he die tragically?"
"Did he fall from a high place."
"How strange...please wait a minute. Did his chest hurt? Was there no air his lungs?"
"Falling down softly..the air empties from his lungs...in the water... Did he drown?"
"Yes he did!"
"He says that he did not drown in the ocean or in a river. He says that he ssurrounded by a man-made enclosure holding water."
"Did he drown in a pool?"
"No, he drowned in the bathtub!"
"Oh, he drowned in the bathtub. That's a man-made enclosure holding water."
"Considering the nature of his death, you must imagine that he suffered, but he says that he didn't suffer.
"Please tell my son that Daddy loves him."
"He already knows that. You don't need to tell him."
"Was your wife home when he had the accident?"
"Your son says that it was no one's fault, that it happened so fast that even someone right there couldn't have saved him. He says that it was very sad, but it was his time to die."
"...Well, I don't agree. It was absolutely due to human error."
"Your son says, "Please don't blame Mommy." Could it be that you are blaming your wife for what happened?"
"Of course. My wife was at home when it happened, and she knew that he was in the bath. She certainly should have noticed that he was late coming out of the bath."
"That must be what your son is talking about. He is saying, "You mustn't blame Mommy. It wasn't Mommy's fault at all."
"Well, that's not the way I see it."
"Your son says, "Why are you blaming Mommy? My mother is suffering a lot because I died, and when you blame her, it makes her feel even worse. Stop blaming her. Get rid of your anger."
"He's saying something that sounds like "yami" or "momi." Is it someone's name?"
"It's my daughter's name."
"Is her name 'Tomomi'?"
"Yes! It is!"
"Did your son call your daughter 'Momi'?"
"What! Yes, that's right. My son used to address her as 'Momi." Yes."
"Your son is calling to her, saying 'Momi.' He says he wants you to be nicer to Tomomi."
"A daughter cannot take my son's place.."
"Your son says, 'Daddy, what are you saying? Tomomi is not to blame for anything. It's not Tomomi's fault that she's not me. It's very wrong for you to ignore Tomomi because I died."
"Your son is every bit as stubborn as you are! He is not backing down at all on his demands."
"He says, 'Promise me that you'll make up with Mommy and my sister. Promise me!' Well, please answer him."
After a long silence, the man choked out the words, "All right, I will do my best."
"Who is 'Naoki'?"
"Naoki is my son's playmate and rival!"
"Oh, it's his friend. Your son is calling him.
"You haven't been getting enough sleep, have you?"
"Your son says, "Daddy, please be at peace. You'll meet me again when you come here."
Suddenly, the man began speaking loudly.
"When? When can I go there? I want to go right now! When can I see you? When?"
"No. No. No. Your son says, "You must not think that way." You have a duty to fulfill in this world. Until you finish it, you have to live positively. Have you lost the will to live?"
"Yes. Nothing has any meaning, neither work nor life."
"Your son says, 'Daddy, you'd do anything for me, wouldn't you?"
"Of course I would."
"He says, 'Then there are some things that I want you to do for me. First, I want you to forgive mother. I've told you again and again that it wasn't her fault, didn't I? Second, I want you to be nice to Tomomi. Third, I want you to live as fully as you can. You know now that you'll meet me again, so set your mind at ease and do your job on earth. Daddy, there is a special purpose in life for you to accomplish, and there are special lessons in this life for you to learn. O.K? Do you promise?"
"He says, "Yes, you do. It will be very hard, but once you do, your heart will be at peace. If you don't overcome your feelings, then you will always be stuck in the same place, and will be unable to escape."
"I understand. I'll do my best.."
"Your son is surrounding you with love. He also asks you to think seriously about what he said before. Rid yourself of your stubbornness and your anger, forgive your wife and treat your daughter kindly. He says, 'You have to tell Daddy something a hundred times before he gets it, but I love Daddy anyway.' Good-bye until we meet again."113
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM THE SPIRIT OF AN ABORTED FETUS
Sometimes the spirits of miscarried, aborted or stillborn children appear during George's readings. It can be definitely stated that not even one hates his or her parents, and that they all have a compassionate understanding.114
"Did your son die?"
"Did you have a miscarriage?"
"Yes, I had a miscarriage."
"Had the child been born, it would have been a boy."
"Did you lose a daughter?"
"Hmm... I feel the presence of a girl and of two boys."
There is no reply.
"One was miscarried; one was stillborn, and the girl was aborted."
"... Yes. I didn't know the sexes, but that may be true."
The woman's face twisted. Her abortion had left emotional scars."
"The spirit who was to have been your daughter understands completely. She says, "Mommy really had no choice at that time. The timing was just too bad. I know why she couldn't give birth to me. I also know that she didn't hurt me on purpose. I'm safe, and I'm watching over daddy here, so don't worry."
Tears of relief ran down her cheeks.
George makes the following statements about abortion.
"It's nonsense to speak of 'the revengeful spirits of unborn babies."I've conducted thousands and thousands of readings and have never sensed the spirit of a revengeful aborted child. The bigger problem is the feelings of guilt that the mother has for having an abortion."
I'll MARRY YOU EVERY SINGLE TIME I AM REINCARNATED
One spirit appeared during a reading and spoke about reincarnation.115
"You still think that if you had done something differently that your husband wouldn't have died, don't you?"
"Your husband says, 'Hey, that's history. What point is there in thinking like that. The dead are dead."
"Well, it is true that he lived a long life even though he was sick."
"You were very special to your husband. Your husband says, "I'll marry you again every time I am reincarnated.' It seems this wasn't the first time that you and he were married. You were married in any number of past lives."
George speaks as follows regarding the "messages from the spirits" that he has received in his thousands of readings.
I am sure that reincarnation exists. However, bad people are not reincarnated as bugs or cows. Humans are reborn as humans over and over. Each time they are reincarnated, their sex, race, religion and culture seems to change.
The spirit advances spiritually through accumulating various experiences on earth in the course of many reincarnations. It's like school. The world is a place to confirm that one has advanced and to prove it. In the next world, there is no pain and no strife. However, the trade off for ease is that advancement is slow. It's possible to advance and grow much larger, much faster and much more effectively in this world by being exposed to negativism and wickedness, by suffering, through tests and by experiencing the dangers of human relationships.116
A DEAD WIFE APOLOGIZES
Let me tell you about another reading that brings a valuable message for those of us living on this earth. This is an excerpt from the case of a man whose wife had just died of cancer.
"She was a very energetic woman, wasn't she?"
"She was frustrated and irritable because her illness forced her to be inactive. She acted very patient, overcoming her short-tempered nature through force of will. However, fighting the illness took so much out of her that she was unable to suppress her temper. She is apologizing to you, 'At the end, I was very unreasonable. I was furious that I had to die from cancer, just when I was so happily married."'
Hearing these words, the man who had been fighting to hide his tears and act cheerful, began to cry. Later he related that he had been remembering one of his wife's last days during her hospitalization. He had bought her a cassette deck with a CD player, as she had requested, and she berated him, shouting that it wasn't the one she had wanted.
Never having seen her like this before, he was forced to the sad realization of just how far the illness had progressed and of how much she must be suffering.
"Here is what your wife says, 'I had a hard life until I met you. I was so happy after we met, that I could not bear being parted by death. I was furious just after I died. I knew that there was a life after death, but I was miserable at being physically parted from you and from our daughter. But I have overcome those feelings now. I am watching over you and our daughter from the next world."'
"You are not the only one who's unhappy. I am always with you. You are not alone. Don't feel sorry for yourself and wonder why it happened to you."
'"I'm sure that you will never stop grieving over my death, but you have your own life to live. Use this reading as the point from which you begin a new life. I know that you don't want to live anymore, but please rise above those emotions. I will always treasure the precious time that I spent with you,' she says."
"Is your wedding anniversary coming up?"
"She is holding out pink roses to you. She says, 'I will be with you even more closely on that day.'"
"Compared with your wife, you were the more devout? "
"Yes. That's right."
"Her family did not value spirituality nor spirits. Her father was very strict with her. Her father was loath to make the effort to try to understand her.
There was a lack of communication between father and daughter. But now, she is with her father in the next world, and they understand each other very well."
"Really? Is that so?"
"Did you inscribe her name at the Shinto Shrine?"
"I see a votive picture. Did you write a prayer for her to rest in peace?"
"Your good wishes have definitely reached her. She is wrapping you in light."
"Did you go to her grave to speak to her?"
"Yes. I told her about things our daughter said and about other things."
"She says, 'I am always with you, so I know what is happening even if you don't tell me. But thank you anyway. I am not in the grave, but I know when you come there.
I am always there next to you when you come.'"117
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
As we can see from these cases, George was convinced that everyone has a spirit in the next world watching over them.118
According to George, even wicked people and criminals have guardian spirits, although they are unaware of their guardian spirits.
When George performed a reading in the U.S. for the parents of a policeman gunned down by a youth on the job, a spirit conveyed an apology to the parents. The spirit said that he was both the guardian spirit and the grandfather of the murderer. However, there are limitations to what a guardian spirit can do. Ultimately it is up to the person living in this world to choose his own actions, regardless of the advice given by the guardian spirits.
George says that during his readings the spirits virtually always thanked the subjects for praying for their souls.119
He also believes that thinking of a deceased person has the same effect as praying, even if the thinker has no formal religion. It may be somewhat difficult to focus one's emotions, because one cannot see the deceased person; however, the prayer gets through. George confirmed this during the course of thousands of readings. It is enough to think with love of the object of the prayer, and to send that love to the next world. The spirit receiving the prayer will be very happy.
The above readings cover only a small number of the actual cases handled by George Anderson. I'm sure you can see that there are numerous valuable messages for us all in the above examples.
Even if you yourself cannot receive a reading, you can somewhat assuage your grief over losing a loved one by seeing what readings are like for others. It should be clear form the examples that readings are not simple "guess work." Anyone can see that the readings abound in heart-warming information which will help many people.
In this chapter, I have used two perspectives to demonstrate that communication is possible between the dead and the living. Every reader is free to choose for himself how to interpret this information.
However, what I wish to stress in this chapter is that the value is not in the information itself but in the many lessons that we can learn from this information. The information becomes very valuable only after we put this information into practice in our daily lives.
THINKING SCIENTIFICALLY ABOUT "LIFE AFTER DEATH"
How can we evaluate scientifically and academically the research on "life after death" and "reincarnation" that has been discussed previously in this book? How attractive are these topics for research topics? This chapter will discuss these two questions.
THE PERSUASIVENESS OF THE "LIFE AFTER DEATH" HYPOTHESIS
BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION
How can we scientifically and academically evaluate research on "life after death" and "reincarnation?"
Professor Ikuro Anzai, a staff member of "Japan Skeptics," which objectively studies paranormal phenomena, states the following.
The majesty of death does not change whether or not a dying person believes in "life after death."
Science has no place in the personal value-based choice that individuals make regarding whether to believe in a world after death or not. However, science must make its position clear when "theories of life after death" are presented in a "scientific format." How wonderful it would be if rigorous research revealed that these theories are true, thus turning modern present science on its head! This would be a chance for science to leap forward. We would discard the entire system of modern science, and reweave the fabric of knowledge to incorporate skillful explanations about these newly discovered truths. Science has always advanced in this fashion, so there would be no need to change the approach.120
Professor Anzai takes a firm position as a "skeptic," an admirable position for a scientist, and does not "deny for the sake of denying" these theories which defy the laws of physics that he presently believes.
After exhaustive efforts to explain near-death experiences using present theories, Professor Akekazu Takada , a world-famous physiologist at Hamamatsu Medical University, made the following conjectures about the present and future relationship of science and religion.121
"It can be said that science, until now, has assumed the role of investigating and explaining the non-scientific aspects of religion. Science has demythologized religion and snatched away its persuasiveness.
In the future, near-death experiences will reverse this trend and lend support to religious truths."
Now, I would like to look at how researchers into "life after death" and "reincarnation" evaluate the results of their research.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
Professor Robert Kastenbaum of Arizona State University, writing from the perspective of a clinical psychologist, has stated that even one memory is enough; one hundred or one thousand is unnecessary.122
Suppose, for example, that we direct fifty people to "float in the air," forty-nine fail, and only one succeeds in floating, about one yard above the ground. Does the fact that forty-nine failed and only one succeeded lead us to conclude that people cannot fly? Or do we argue that floating only one yard off the ground does not constitute sufficient proof, and therefore state people cannot float? This is the logic used by the negativists.
The scientific method leads us to a different interpretation; we would conclude that people can fly because one of our fifty subjects could fly, even if it was only at a height of one yard. Our focus of interest should shift to studying why some people can fly and others cannot, and trying to discover the necessary conditions for flight.
Professor Robert Kastenbaum has pointed out some deniers just do not want to believe, and that is the reason they claim that firm evidence is not enough. This is far different from being uncertain whether or not to accept the proof. Arguing from an advocates point of view, Professor Kastenbaum indicated that there is nothing among the evidence that would deny the existence of life after death. Nonetheless, some people claim that there are defects in the proof and refuse to accept life after death. If we used the same reasoning regarding all science, our textbooks on science would be very thin, he writes.123-A
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, has written the following sarcastic comments about the deniers who refuse to recognize scientific evidence.123-B
"Do you understand what I'm trying to say? If someone doesn't like a certain truth, he will come up with a thousand arguments against it. However, again, this is his problem. One shouldn't try to convince other people. When they die, they will know it anyway." (page 14.)
In addition, Dr. Brian L. Weiss points out an example of the history of scientific progress.
"Throughout history, humankind has been resistant to change and to the acceptance of new ideas. Historical lore is replete with examples. When Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter, the astronomers of that time refused to accept or even to look at these satellites because the existence of these moons conflicted with their accepted beliefs. So it is now with psychiatrists and other therapists, who refuse to examine and evaluate the considerable evidence being gathered about survival after bodily death and about past-life memories. Their eyes stay tightly shut."124
THE HUMILITY OF A SCIENTIST
The psychiatrists and therapists that Dr. Weiss mentions are not the only researchers whose minds are so closed that they refuse even to evaluate the volume of proof; many physicists are similarly closed-minded. Given the nature of their academic discipline, it may be inevitable that physicists refute paranormal phenomena by claiming that these phenomena do not conform to any of the natural laws now known, or that their minds are predetermined to deny whatever they read, so that they call any proof "insufficient," no matter what it is.
However, Professor Kunitomo Sakurai of Kanagawa University, a world-respected authority on high energy physics who once worked as NASA's chief scientist, wrote in his book, "Space Has its Own Volition," that "we only live once." Nevertheless, he also made the following statement:
The Natural laws and theories are no more that a sort of interpretation of the phenomena that we experience. Current space theory is an artificial attempt to explain in a logical fashion what has been measured and observed to date. We cannot call it the one and only eternal truth. There is probably not even one scientist who would categorically state that the "Big Bang" space theory is the only true explanation, one that is changeless for eternity.125
Furthermore, the results of research on "life after death" and on "reincarnation," our topics in this book, do not contradict the laws of evolution or the universal natural laws of physics, both considered the most rational theories at present. In fact, if scientists in the fields of physics and biology would just abandon their preconceived notions and study the issue objectively, they would find the explanation for certain phenomena that are impossible to explain with current laws of physics, biology and genetics, they would be able to gain a new perspective and new slant on these laws.
The same goes for other academic disciplines outside the realm of science. Dr. Robert Almeter, a professor at Georgia State University, for example, drew the following conclusions after conducting a wide-ranging analysis of recent actual case histories.
In the past few decades, however, the scientific method has been applied to testimony regarding reincarnation, apparitions of the dead, spirit possession, out-of-body experiences, and communications from the dead. The results of this examination are philosophically striking and constitute, I believe, strong evidence for belief in some form of personal survival after death...My conclusion is that the belief survives the onslaught of the strongest skeptical arguments. It is more reasonable to believe in some form of life after death than it is to believe in nothing after death.126
In Japan, Professor Masahiko Nakamura, a psychologist of the College of Liberal Arts at Ehime University, takes an impartial view in the following statement in his frank writings on near-death experiences.
People are free to follow their own beliefs and philosophies in deciding whether or not to believe in reincarnation. However, my interest lies in discovering whether or not reincarnation really occurs in the world of science. To do so, it is necessary to accumulate massive amounts of data. I refuse to deny the possibility of reincarnation until enough data is collected to come to a conclusion.127-A
After analyzing all the research done to date on this topic, Professor Nakamura concludes that reincarnation is possible, and boldly makes the following confession.
Initially I began my readings of the literature, expecting to discover and expose the legerdemain and trickery. However, the more I read, the more impressed I became with the thoroughness of the research. I also was astonished at how very difficult it is to prove the existence of something so big that it transcends the limitations of time and space. Ultimately, I, the biter, got bit.127-B
Many other scientists who research "reincarnation" or "life after death" also describe how their initial skepticism turned to belief, making them feel very humble as scientists. It has definitely not been a smart strategy for a scientist to accept "reincarnation" and "life after death," since the possibility is high that fellow scientists would look askance and laugh if he reported his results at academic conventions (Japan is still at this stage.) To tell the truth, I myself have gained the reputation among some scientists of being a "scholar of the occult."
However, with the exception of some scientists who take an unscientific approach and deny for the sake of denying, most open-minded and fair skeptics who abandon their preconceived notions and objectively examine the results of the research will feel conflicting emotions. This is because these scientists subjectively do not want to believe, but objectively have to acknowledge the truth of the phenomena.
However, this book is not written to convert the deniers. This book reveals the statements of serious scientists from around the world who, indifferent to their own self-interest, confess that they have no choice but to accept these phenomena, sometimes in words that are very moving for their bravery and sense of mission.
THE SUPERIORITY OF "THEORIES ABOUT LIFE AFTER DEATH"
Apart from the discussion of whether or not these theories are right or wrong, on a different level, research on "life after death" and "reincarnation" is inherently superior to theories denying them, . Ordinarily, we do not pay much attention to this point; however, it is absolutely vital to do so when we want to assert how a book of this nature "results in the broadening of knowledge and enables the full play of one's abilities."
In my discipline of management science, it is vital to pursue "a strategy of absolute superiority" in order to defeat a rival company. "A strategy of absolute superiority" is a scenario which leaves your company victorious in the end, no matter how circumstances unfold.
Research on "life after death" and on "reincarnation" is absolutely superior to its deniers, from at least two perspectives.
(1) IT CAN NEVER BE PROVEN THAT "THERE IS NO LIFE AFTER DEATH"
In terms of methodology, we can take the topic, "there is life after death," and offer a scientific proof of it based upon data collection and supervised research. On the other hand, when we address the topic, "there is no life after death," we find that it is, of course, impossible to research and confirm the essence of something that does not exist.
Consequently, deniers must examine each and every piece of proof offered by supporters, and objectively and fairly show that "none of it can be accepted as proof." The only method that deniers can use is scientific inference, disproving all the evidence, and then eventually stating, "There is no proof at present of the existence of life after death; thus we presume that there is no life after death."
However, their inference must always be hedged with the words "at present," even after all the evidence of life after death has been disproved, since there is sufficient probability that definitive proof will be forthcoming in the future. Therefore, conceptually, there are only two ways to consider the topic of "life after death." The first is to state, "While there is no definitive proof to convince me; I have no way to disprove it" and the second way is to state, "I have enough proof to convince me to accept it."
In other words, a supporter is able to hope that the future will be bright if he just holds on now, no matter how bad the conditions, while a denier does not have that bright future to hope for, and can only think, "Nothing will change no matter how hard I fight, and I may just lose in the end. (Of course, it is not really a question of winning or losing...)
(2) A DENIER WILL REALIZE HIS ERROR IF THERE IS CONSCIOUSNESS
AFTER DEATH, BUT AN AFFIRMER WILL NEVER REALIZE HIS
MISTAKE IF THERE IS NO CONSCIOUSNESS AFTER DEATH
The answer to whether there is "life after death" boils down to the question of whether or not there is consciousness after death. Those who affirm that there is some form of consciousness after death are logically in a position of absolute superiority.
Let us consider this issue in a concrete manner.
If there is consciousness after death, then those who expected it can exclaim in great satisfaction, "I was right after all!" In the unlikely event that there is no consciousness after death, they will feel absolutely no disappointment, since they are conscious of nothing. However, even if nothing awaits after death, the individual would have died, full of dreams and great hopes, believing that there would be life after death.
On the other hand, the deniers are in a bad situation, no matter how events unfold. Should the truth of their convictions is proved, they are unable to savor their victory and say, "I was right. There is no consciousness after death," because they have no consciousness.
However, if there is consciousness after death, they will be shocked at the mistake that they have made, and they will have to reflect bitterly upon the life of materialism that they lived. The spirits of advocates who had previously died may criticize him severely, "You got it wrong. See, there is consciousness after death." (Once we return to spirit form we become very magnanimous, so the denier would not really be criticized.)
However, the denier dies thinking that we are no more than mere ashes and dust after death. If his life had not been very fulfilling, he dies full of regrets, lonely and despairing, because a denier thinks that death is the end of everything and that there is nothing ahead but "oblivion."
Thinking along these lines, we see that the believer will be happy no matter how the situation turns out, while the denier cannot win, no matter what happens.
Upon reflection, the above argument should make it very clear who is strategically in the position of absolute superiority in each scenario. It is much more logical to believe in "life after death" and "reincarnation" even if there is room for doubt, than to deny these phenomena because there is room for doubt.
Every one is free to choose whether or not to believe. However, I personally cannot understand why people would everything recklessly.
Sometimes people say, "I am a rational person and that's why I don't believe in life after death." It is much more realistic to say, "I am a rational person and that's why I do believe in life after death, and apply those beliefs to my life." Why not boldly state the following:
"I am truly a rational person. That's why I believe in life after death and want to reflect those beliefs in my life, so as to lead a fulfilling life. I know which viewpoint holds meaningful values for me because I am truly a rational person."
Leaving aside whether or not one can accept these phenomena based on logic, there are many psychological advantages to incorporating these into one's personal set of values.
In the next section, I would like to consider the significance of a wide dissemination of the information about research results on "life after death" and "reincarnation."
THE THEORY OF THE MEANING OF LIFE, BASED ON REINCARNATION
Separate from the debate as to whether or not "life after death" and "reincarnation" are scientifically valid, the very fact that research results exist regarding these topics performs a big social role.
In this section, I would like to examine from various perspectives the multiple influences that this social role has upon all human beings.
THE VALUE OF BELIEF
THE RATIONALITY OF CHOOSING THE "NON-SCIENTIFIC"
Professor Ikuro Anzai, a critical researcher of paranormal phenomena, suggested that the hypothesis, "God Exists" is a scientific proposition which should be studied in terms of the light it casts upon reality. He wrote that a statement such as "Believing in God is wonderful," is a value proposition, and, therefore, it is everyone's right to believe this proposition or not as they choose. It is not a matter to be criticized by science, he stated, and then went on to give the following example.
It is very irritating and irrelevant to hear someone say "That was an unscientific way to die, when they see a person die peacefully in the belief that "A beautiful world is waiting for those who die," as Tetsuro Tanba wrote in his book Ooreikai (The World of the Great Spirits). It is the right of each person to choose his own set of values, including the choice to live a full and abundant life without worrying about whether or not the "world after death" really exists.128
Quite aside from any scientific debate, Professor Anzai recognized how effectively belief in life after death enables our lives to be enriched. In similar fashion, the philosopher Dr. Gary Doore writes as follows.
"The principle that we should never believe anything without sufficient evidence for its truth (which I will refer to as the Rationalistic Principle) is extremely widespread among contemporary scientists and philosophers--a hallmark of the "tough-minded" attitude toward matters of belief on which scientific thinkers pride themselves. And no doubt it is a virtue for a scientist or scholar to refrain from being excessively credulous. But does the Rationalistic Principle apply to all kinds of beliefs? Should we always wait for sufficient evidence before we believe anything? It seems not."129-A
As an example of when the Rationalistic Principle is not effective, Dr. Doore asks his readers to:
consider the belief that your spouse (lover) is being faithful to you. It appears clear that if you habitually refuse to hold this belief without "sufficient evidence" for its truth, your relationship is not going to last very long. In this case...to demand "sufficient evidence"--proof :"beyond reasonable doubt"--would lead to unnecessary tension, ill feelings an broken relationships; hence, it is better to settle for less evidence than would prove the issue by scientific standards.129-B
As this example shows, when people choose whether or not they ought to believe in something, it is not always necessary to think about the evidence. There are times when it is more appropriate to consider the effect that believing something will have on oneself. Dr. Doore comes to the following conclusion:
...even if the evidence for survival is inconclusive by scientific standards, we are still acting rationally if we choose to believe in an afterlife for the purpose of "testing" that belief in our lives, and are also being reasonable to adhere to it with considerable determination, even in the face of negative evidence or personal doubts, just as a scientist is being reasonable when adhering to a favored theory while testing it in the laboratory."129-C
Both Professor Anzai, who is skeptical about paranormal phenomena, and Dr. Doore who views the "world after death" as a scientific truth rather than a paranormal phenomena are in agreement on point. They agree that, regardless of whether "life after death" and "reincarnation" really exist, belief in these things has desirable psychological effects upon the believers. Needless to say, that influence acts upon the believer's view of life and upon his sense of the meaning of life.
WHAT WE MEAN BY "A FEELING THAT LIFE IS MEANINGFUL"
How do experts define "a feeling that life is meaningful"? Professor Tsukasa Kobayashi (a medical doctor) of Sophia University interprets "a feeling that life is meaningful" as follows.
People feel that life is meaningful when they feel value and meaning in their lives and when they feel needed. People feel needed when they become aware of a sense of responsibility in their lives and know they have a role in life that they and only they can carry out. The feeling that life is meaningful is a feeling of fulfillment in living. It is the feeling of enriching their lives through happiness, bravery and hopes, and advancing themselves in life through changing emotions, events and experiences.130
Professor Yoshikazu Ueda (Ph.D. in Education defines the five conditions necessary for a sense that life has purpose as follows.
"Being aware of one's role in life"
"Being supported by a clear sense of values."
"Not losing a sense of identity"
"Having a strong nature able to overcome adversity"131
These two experts stress that it is vital to know clearly who you are, why you are living, and what you want to do in life, and also stress that the answers to these questions should be self-generated, to the extent possible. Looking at it from the opposite point of view, people feels no meaning in life if they are uninterested in themselves, if they feel no need to live and if they live each day blankly like animals with no sense of purpose.
SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE AS "A SOURCE OF MEANING"
Is it true that knowledge of "life after death" and "reincarnation" can give meaning to our lives and make us rethink the meaning of living? Even if we can understand such ideas rationally, is it possible to actually test them through evidence? I would like to introduce several examples which address those questions.
Professor Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist at the Medical Department of Connecticut University, tested the proposition that attempted suicides who have a near-death experience never attempt suicide again.132
If there is a "world after death," then it might make sense for people despairing of life in this world to be eager to hurry into that happy next world. This point is the one that must be most carefully considered as knowledge about the research findings about "life after death" and "reincarnation" becomes widely disseminated. As this book generates interest and questions from the world, what has perplexed me the most as a researcher has been this very issue.
The reason is because this research would have exactly the opposite result from what is desired if there is an increase in casual suicides or if people start thinking, "I'll be reincarnated many times anyway, so I don't need to take care of this body because it doesn't matter if I die young." There would be absolutely no value to this research if it clearly affects people negatively, and I would then pull back completely from this topic.
However, the survey results are very positive, and indicate that a person who attempts suicide and has a near-death experience never tries suicide again. Professor Greyson points out that once people discover that death is not the end of everything, then they believe that they were sent back to this world for some specific purpose; they become more forgiving of themselves, and realize that suicide is no escape from their problems.
Professor Greyson also has pointed out another meaning of research into near-death experiences. He states that carrying out such research gives us fresh insights into how we can develop into people with higher levels of consciousness. Professor Greyson states that research into near-death experiences is important because of its relationship with life, not because of its relationship with death.132
Dr. Michael B. Sabom of the Cardiology Department of Emory University concludes that survivors of near-death experiences share the following psychological effects.
"When new attitudes regarding death and the "hereafter" were integrated into the lives of individuals such as the man above, a new fervor for day-to-day living was often apparent. For the terminally ill or dying, the effect was usually to focus attention on living for the "here and now" and away from a preoccupation with death and fear of the unknown. The NDE did not, however cause these individuals to deny the reality of approaching physical death or wish for its hastened arrival. To the contrary, an intuitive acceptance of both life and death appeared to emerge. This resulted in a renewed "will to live" instead of an accelerated "will to die."133
In this regard, Paloutzian and Ellison carried out a psychological survey comparing those who believed in something and those who believed in nothing in terms of their feelings of isolation. They measured responses along a spectrum of happiness at existence that ranged from those without feelings of isolation, those who felt that their lives had a sense of purpose, to those who did not know who they were, where they came from or where they were going. In other words, if we think that our lives have some kind of purpose, then we can live without feeling a sense of isolation. 134
In addition, Comstock and Partridge did a survey that showed that believers were not only happy but also enjoyed beneficial effects on their health. Believers had a distinctly lower occurrence of cardiopulmonary disease, of cirrhosis of the liver and of cancer. Believers limited alcohol and cigarettes and did not engage in sexual excesses; believers had peace of mind and thus were able to enjoy lower blood pressure.135
Naturally, to be a believer does not mean to believe in "life after death" and "reincarnation." To be a believer generally means to believe in a specific religious god, a religious leader or a religious doctrine, and there is no necessity for it to be substantiated by scientific knowledge.
However, one gets the same effect from "believing in" life after death and reincarnation, as one does from accepting these hypothesis from a scientific perspective. By believing or accepting these, one gets a clear answer to the questions of who you are, why you are living and what you are supposed to do in life. One can find the answers to those questions for oneself.
However, it is untrue to say that one has to believe in life after death and reincarnation or else it is impossible to answer to these questions and find the meaning of life. I want to stress this point because, in order to understand this book's stance, it is very important that this be clearly understood. Very strong people can act upon the belief that we only live once, and therefore we should make our lives meaningful by loving others. Such people do not need this book and cannot understand why some people should be so concerned about life after death.
However, knowledge about "life after death" and about "reincarnation" can be a source of great strength for those who do not think the answer is so clear cut, for those who need some kind of motivation, and for those who have lost their reason to live. Dr. Whitton has the following to say about the impact these beliefs have in increasing people's sense that life is meaningful.
Most importantly, knowledge of the interlife intensifies personal responsibility. If we accept that the Earth plane is where between-life intentions are put to the test, daily life becomes charged with new meaning and purpose.
And no matter how difficult earthly circumstances may be, a loving source awaits to engulf every human being in beauty and grandeur at the close of each brief existence. The bardo is where we belong, planet Earth being no more than a very necessary testing ground conducive to spiritual evolution...The study of metaconsciousness...compels us to understand why we are here and what we must do.136
His words straightforwardly express the real meaning of research on the workings of reincarnation and life after death. Everything in life has a reason. Each person's life is full of the issues that the person has set for himself. The people around us, whether they be our loved ones or our enemies are all there for a reason, and exist to help us grow. When we understand these things, our view of life changes completely.
These truths cannot be discovered through any kind of superficial counseling. When we discover them, the very foundation of our values is shaken and changed completely.
FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES IN OUR SET OF VALUES
I have received hundreds of letters from people who have read my article, "The Dawn of 'Meaning" and say that the very foundation of their beliefs was changed.
For example, I received the following letter from a corporate executive director.
I read "The Dawn of 'Meaning."' It shook my entire view of life. At my company I always thought that motivating my employees was a matter of technique, but (your article) has made me ask fundamental questions about that approach.
As this executive director's letter indicates, our beliefs about God and about life and death lie at the very root of our set of values. Human value systems are in many layers, ranging outward from the core beliefs to the superficial issues. Therefore, if the core values are shaken, then all the layers of values lying above the core are shaken as well.
Rather than wasting money on superficial techniques aimed at making the employees enthusiastic about their work, it is far more effective to make them ask key questions such as, "What am I living for? Why am I part of this company? Why am I doing this work?" This is because most employees have lost the feeling that their work is meaningful. If the batteries are dead, flipping the switch won't do any good.
Dr. Melvin Morse has come to the following conclusions about the effect of changes in core values, based upon his extensive research into near-death experiences.
"These experiences teach us that what we do is important and that all of life is interconnected...The one inescapable conclusion of near-death research is that there is a divine "something" which serves as a glue for the universe. A nuclear physicist might try to describe that glue as an electro-magnetic equation; a religious philosopher might call it God."137
Dr. Michael B. Sabon quotes the words of Einstein as he tells how he feels as a researcher.
My personal reaction to these events is not so much a 'scientifically weighted' response as it is a keenly felt identification with the tears of joy and sorrow that have accompanied the unfolding of many of these stories. In short, my involvement in the lives and deaths of the people in this book has made me humble to the ways of the universe, much like Albert Einstein, who once wrote:
'Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a Spirit is manifest in the Laws of the Universe--a Spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we, with our modest powers, must feel humble.'"138
What is the connection between the "God" of whom Einstein was convinced, the "Divine something" that Dr. Morse felt, the "Spirits" that Dr. Whitton and Dr. Weiss identify as "the Guiding Spirits," and the "Beings of Light" that many survivors of near-death experiences report? And what are the connections with what are called in various religions "gods," "angels," buddhas," "bodhisattvas and so on? I expect that those who have read this book up to here will be able to venture a guess.
At any rate, there is no doubt that "something" exists which far surpasses human imagination, and to whom we must be profoundly grateful.
A MESSAGE FROM "THEORIES OF MEANING"
How can we incorporate into our daily lives and into our long lifetimes the scientific knowledge about "life after death" and "reincarnation" that we have studied in this book?
In this section, I would like to examine from various perspectives the "impact of increasing our sense that there is a reason for living."
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST A CLOSE RELATIVE
Love From Wife and Children
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who has helped many people recover from their grief through her research in near-death experiences, reports the following case. A man living in Santa Barbara was eagerly waiting for his family to pick him up. However, his entire family was killed in an auto accident on the way to get him. The man fell into a state of total shock and numbness. He was overcome with grief to realize that he had been married with children, and now was suddenly alone. He lost all interest in living, and became "a total bum," drinking day and night. He tried to commit suicide repeatedly, but was unsuccessful.
After living this way for over two years, one night he was lying in the road near the edge of a forest, when he was hit by a passing truck.
It was at this moment that he watched himself in the street, critically injured, while he observed the whole scene of the accident from a few feet
above. It was at this moment that his family appeared in front of him, in a glow of light with an incredible sense of love. They had happy smiles on their faces..He was so awed by his family's health, their beauty, their radiance, and their total acceptance of this present situation, by their unconditional love. He made a vow not to touch them, not to join them, but to re-enter his physical body so that he could share with the world what he had experienced. It would be a form of redemption for his two years of trying to throw his physical life away. It was after this vow that he watched the truck driver carry his totally injured body into the car. He saw the ambulance speeding to the scene of the accident, he was taken to the hospital's emergency room and he finally re-entered his physical body. 139
The man had been full of such despair and grief over the deaths of his wife and children that he lost all will to live. What restored his sense that life has meaning was gaining the knowledge through his near-death experience that his wife and children were waiting in the next world and knowing that he himself would one day join them.
Anyone who truly accepts and believes the scientific knowledge of "life after death" and "reincarnation" can experience a joy close to what this man felt. Parents who have lost children and children who have lost parents will finally understand that their child or parent has finished up his work in this life and has returned home; they will know that they will meet again in the next world; and, that their loved one is always watching over them in this world. If they feel they have to meet their loved one right now, then they can visit Dr. Raymond Moody's "Theater of the Spirits" and converse with their loved ones. Even if a person does not go to America, he or she only needs to think, "I cannot bear it so I will go to the 'Theater of the Spirits' and that thought alone will be a great support and comfort.
The Courage to Accept the Death of A Friend
I would like to share with you a letter from a young woman who lost many relatives in the great Kansai Earthquake in Japan.
Thank you very much for your article which has been invaluable to me. I had planned to write to you immediately, but I could not find a way to express my feelings, and so my reply is delayed.
A rain of ill fortune has been falling since January 17th last year, the unhappiest and most bitter day of my life. (The day) was so terrible that I began to doubt the existence of god...
Over 60,000 people died in the Great Kansai Earthquake on January 17th. Among them were my friend and her children. My friend was very mindful of her mother and was a very good mother herself.
When I think of her mother, a widow who has been predeceased by her daughter and grandchildren and who lives all alone in a temporary dwelling, I wonder, "Why? What was the purpose of her life? What an unrewarding life!"
Why do such things happen to people who are living with all their strength and energy? Does this spiritual test have any meaning?
While I was in this state, your article arrived, and I read it. At first I resisted it (forgive me!), and I even felt a little antagonistic. Although I tried to accept the deaths of all those around me, I couldn't bring myself to do so.
The second time that I read it, I found myself quietly beginning to accept it more and more. Sometimes tears would well up in my eyes.
To tell the truth, it will still take me some time to control my emotions. I will probably be doing a lot of thinking about it. For now, I am just deeply grateful that I was able to read your article at a time when I was psychologically and physically very low.
I feel somehow that you are very close, so I have taken the liberty of writing you this letter. Thank you very much.
As this woman points out, other people can never understand our feelings of grief at the death of a close relative. No matter what words of comfort and encouragement we may hear, we just think disparagingly, "It's easy for them to say that because it didn't happen to them." It is impossible for other people's strength to take away the grief we feel when a close relative dies.
And for that reason alone, we must fill the empty cavities of our hearts with the "strength to live," or else we will never recover from our grief. Our strength to live and our source of meaning for our lives comes from the knowledge of "the life after death" and of "reincarnation."
The woman who wrote this letter confesses honestly that she first read my article with a feeling of resistance and antagonism; however, upon her second reading, she felt the empty places in her heart filling with energy. Our grief at the death of a close relative can never be taken away using "another's strength," but instead must be overcome by our own strength. Sometimes, though, the person misses the chance or the way to overcome grief.
Of course, we cannot overcome all of our sadness and loneliness. The empty spaces in our hearts will never be filled up completely. However, our hearts will be much warmer if some of the cavities are filled with this knowledge rather than if our hearts are completely empty.
The Strength to Overcome A Mother’s Death
I received the following letter from a housewife whose mother had just died.
My mother died just one week after I received a copy of "The Dawn of 'Meaning'" from you. As I made the round trip to my childhood home (for the funeral) on the Bullet Train, I was totally absorbed in reading ""The Dawn of 'Meaning'" from cover to cover. I was able to picture my mother where she is now. My mother is in the next world, laughing happily with my father and with her brothers and sisters. She looked beautiful in death. Strangely, I feel no sadness at all.
Although this woman's mother has died, she is strengthened by the research findings on "life after death" and "reincarnation" and is able to overcome her grief. She writes, "I feel no sadness at all." However, her mother's death must have been hard for her. Although she was saddened that her mother no longer lives in this world, she pictures her mother in the next world. Instead of feeling grief, she feels gratitude to her mother for all she did on earth, and wants her mother to enjoy being with her loved ones in the next world.
How sad and lonely she would feel if she believed that "nothing" is left after her
mother was cremated and turned to ashes. Even if she were able to overcome that grief, she would not have the peaceful thought to comfort her of her mother in the next world, laughing happily with her husband and siblings.
It is because she has the knowledge of "the world after death" and of "reincarnation" that she is able to accept the death of a close relative with happy feelings.
A soldier who was repatriated after a near-death experience in Vietnam when he stepped on a mine and lost both legs and an arm, has the following to say:
"[Following the NDE] Somebody tells me somebody died and I say we should be happy. Why don't we have parties at death?...it's something we should be partying about. They left for a better life, a good feeling...
...I firmly believe everything happens for a purpose...I live, play and work as intense as I do because I realize the very next instant I could be gone and I might not come back into the body that time...There is something after life. It is a good feeling.140
Although this man has lost both legs and an arm, he says "I live, play and work as
intense as I do because I realize the very next instant I could be gone and I might not come back into the body that time..."
This man is able to speak with conviction because of his near-death experience, and he is confident that he will be able to have a perfect body again in his next incarnation. He knows that he may not be blessed with a handicapped body again, so he wants to live his present life fully so that he can grow as much as possible, and this resolve gives him strength. Because he realizes that this life is but one in a series of numerous reincarnations, he probably wants to take advantage of his unusual handicap in this lifetime to have an unparalleled opportunity to grow.
Some people may read these cases and become angry at the "horrible" daughter who does not mourn her mother at all or at the man who rejoices at the deaths of others. However, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has written the following about how we must respect the feelings of those who are grieving.
Never judge or criticize anyone who tries to cope with the loss of a parent in his own way. There are coping mechanisms which may work for them that are inconceivable for you.141
Just as people have the right to mourn the death of their close relatives, they also have the right to celebrate the passage of their loved one from this world to their home in the next world. Every person grieves at the passing of a close relative. And every person has the right to find their own way of overcoming their grief.
It is no one else's business.
A person will certainly have a richer and more creative life if knowledge of "life after death" and "reincarnation" enables him to go on positively after the death of a close relative, rather than spending endless days sunk in misery, mourning the death of a close relative. If that relative were still alive (as, of course, he is in the next world), then he would certainly urge you to live a rich and creative live. And at this very moment that is what your relative is trying to convey to you here.
Advice From A Son's Spirit
The following letter hints at a profoundly mysterious system. Are you able to guess what was behind this letter?
A friend urged me to read your article because I had lost my -- year-old son to leukemia several years ago. Many people say, "Whatever happens to us is inevitable and is for the best," and I can agree with those words most of the time; however, I was unable to accept that advice when it came to my son's death. Therefore, I read your article with great interest.
I thought how much I would have enjoyed reading it with my son and exchanging opinions. My son was very interested in religion and philosophy and had gone on religious pilgrimages.
This mother's heart had been all closed off towards anything regarding her son's death, but once she learned of the scientific knowledge about "life after death" and "reincarnation," her heart slowly began to reopen. She even said, "I thought how much I would have enjoyed reading (your article) with my son and exchanging opinions."
Those who have read this far in my book understand now that a system exists. It is certain that the spirit of her dead son thought, "Don't close your heart forever, Mom. Please read this article," and used his mother's friend to pass her the gift of this article.
The spirit of her son must have been standing right next to her, watching over her, as she read. Perhaps her very feelings were those of her son. The mother felt her son's feelings strongly at that moment. I am sure of the above, based upon the scientific evidence.
TO THOSE WHO HAVE LOST A SWEETHEART
Those who have found their true love only to lose him or her to an accident or sickness... How bitter it must be, especially if you were engaged or if you just assumed you would marry in the future. There are many people in the world who
have met with that unforeseen fate.
Many young men and women who wrote me had just that experience. As a present to those who have lost a sweetheart, I would like to relate in my own words the following case which was reported by Dr. Ian Stevenson, a professor at University of Virginia.
Catherine Wright and Walter Miller were sweethearts who had known each other for three years. They considered themselves engaged, although it wasn't official. Walter was a very promising amateur painter.
One night Walter went to a dance and drank too much. On the way home, he lost control and his car spun off the road, killing him. This was in 1967 and Walter was seventeen-years old. Walter died instantly.
Catherine was devastated by Walter death, but eventually she recovered. A year later in 1968 she married her old friend Frederick Wright who had comforted her and helped her overcome her grief at losing Walter.
Catherine and Frederick's first child was a girl, and then Catherine became pregnant with her second child. One night Catherine saw Walter in her dreams, and he told her, "I'm not dead. I plan to be reborn again. After I am, I'll draw you another picture."
It was a clear dream. Even if Walter were to be reborn, Catherine never thought that Walter would be reborn as her own child.
Catherine gave birth to a boy, whom they named Michael. He was normal at birth and developed through his early childhood on schedule.
It happened when Michael was three years old. Strangely, Michael seemed to know people and events in Catherine's life that he had no way of knowing. One day he suddenly started to speak in detail about the accident that had killed Walter Miller.
Michael's story was very detailed.
"I died after the car flew off the road and started turning over. The door opened and I was thrown out to my death."
Michael accurately and correctly related the name of the town where the dance was held the night of the accident, how the glass in the car broke, how Walter's dead body was carried over a bridge after the accident. Michael also knew where Walter's home was located and other details which he could only have known if he was Walter's reincarnation.
There was no way that little Michael who was only three years old could have known these things. There was also no reason why Michael would fabricate a story about being Walter in a past life. A three-year old would never even dream of reincarnation. And, of course, his family had been Christian up until then, and never spoke about reincarnation.
Walter had returned to Catherine by being reborn as her son.142
The one message that I have for those whose sweethearts have died is this: your loved one will not resent or begrudge your falling in love and marrying with another person. Instead, the spirit of your loved one would tell you not to hang on to the past and to go forward with your life positively and creatively.
There is nothing more distressing for the spirits than to see the friends they left behind on this earth enervated with grief and refusing to love another.
Your dead sweetheart would surely tell you that he thanks you for grieving, but that he has gotten the message that you loved him and that he now wants you to go on with your life, with an eye to the future, and find a new partner. He may be waiting for the day that he can be reborn into this world as your child.
You are not betraying your dead sweetheart if you find a new partner. The new sweetheart whom you find will be brought to you by the spirit of your lost sweetheart.
FOR THOSE STRICKEN WITH SERIOUS ILLNESS OR HANDICAP
Physical Pain Is A Sign of Spiritual Progress
Research into "life after death" and "reincarnation" has shown us that being born with a handicap or an illness, or acquiring them later in life, is not anyone's fault. Instead, it is a spiritual discipline that you yourself have chosen as a test for yourself. Research has shown that there is a deep meaning in any illness or handicap that makes you suffer, and that you will be able to achieve tremendous growth if you win out over your hardship. Research also shows that you may choose to have a perfect body in your next reincarnation.
Until a person learns these scientific facts, he cannot view his personal misfortune as anything other than a tragedy, and expects that a dark and dismal lifetime awaits him. However, a precious meaning is born from tragedy, and misfortune becomes an opportunity for growth once one understands the workings of "life after death" and "reincarnation." It gives a person tremendous courage to realize that many "spirits" are giving him their support.
You will know that the spirits who protect you are sending you a message if you start thinking, "It doesn't hurt to spend a lifetime like this once in a while. I'm going to enjoy this lifetime thoroughly, and use it as an opportunity to really grow.,"
Dr. Brian L. Weiss, drew the following conclusion, based upon his many cases of hypnotic regression:
In my opinion, it is often the very strongest souls who have chosen to shoulder these burdens because they provide great opportunities for growth. If a lifetime can be likened to a year in school, then lifetimes such as these can be likened to a year in graduate school. this is probably why difficult lifetimes are more frequently recalled during regressions. The easier lifetimes, the "rest" periods are usually not as significant.143
It's true. Those of you who live with illness and handicaps are very strong spirits, who are struggling with a wonderfully high-level spiritual test. You have great courage to attempt this test. You are the one who chose to grapple with this challenge in your present life, so it is no one's fault.
In the depths of your heart you know just the right actions and words to use to meet this challenge. Venting your anger on those around you or spending your days in dark despair are not the rights way to deal with this problem.
I am sure that some of you think angrily, "It's all very well for him to say that. He is fortunate enough to have a healthy body, and cannot possibly understand my feelings." You are absolutely right. And if it helps you to lay into me, then go right ahead. However, is getting angry really what you desire in your heart of hearts? Isn't what you really want is to gain "a feeling that life has meaning?"
Messages From Colleagues
I would like to share with you a letter that a certain man sent to me.
Since I was a child, I have often been the target of taunts because of a certain physical characteristic. (I will not say what it is, but it is immediately apparent to everyone.) Even now, I am plagued by feelings of inferiority, to the extent that I fear that everyone is looking at me when I ride a train. However, after reading, "The Dawn Of 'Meaning,'" I have finally realized that I chose this miserable body in order to accomplish a specific purpose, and see clearly how badly I was lacking in vision in the days when I wished only for death.
"Bullying" in schools has been drawing considerable attention recently as a growing problem in our society. I believe it will continue its increase because parents do not know why they were born nor what their real purpose is in life, and are therefore unable to teach their children the meaning of life. I think we must draw upon our own experiences to teach both bullies and bullied that they were not put on earth in order to bully or to be bullied.
As this man indicates, once children are skillfully and accurately taught the knowledge in this book, then they will be unable to bully other children, especially those children with handicaps. For that to happen parents first must learn the purpose of living. To tell the truth I received many letters conveying the same message from teachers at elementary, middle and high schools, as well as from teachers at cram schools.
Here is another letter from a person with a handicap.
I recently received my copy of "The Dawn Of 'Meaning.'" Thank you for sending it so promptly. I was deeply moved by reading through it the first time.
My left leg is crippled, and I have had to struggle and suffer my way along until now. I feel so odd to realize that this is exactly the life I chose to live.
Normal people would not understand the discrimination that I have faced in my life up until now. I am no superman, and this pain and suffering has been almost impossible to bear. By reading your article, I learned that this world is a testing ground for the spirit and that worldly wealth and fame hold very little meaning. I am no longer very afraid of death, now that I know that our purpose in life is to love others.
I want to study more and more as I live my life.
This man is now probably walking proud, his chest swelling with pride, despite his crippled leg.
Here is a letter from a housewife who has had one serious illness after another.
I recently lost my mother. I married into a merchant's family, into an environment far different from my childhood environment. Afterwards, it was only my mother's encouraging voice over the telephone that gave me the strength to live cheerfully, as I suffered from one illness after another, including cerebral hemorrhage in both eyes, Meniere's syndrome, and rheumatism. It was a huge shock to me when she died, and I lost the strength and confidence to live. After reading your article, I realized that I will meet my parents in the next world, and that they may even be reincarnated as my grandchildren. My grief lessened, and I am full of hope for the future.
I want to live cheerfully with a smile on my face, knowing that the rheumatic pains that wrack my body and my fading eyesight are problems designed to make me grow.
This housewife came all the way to visit me. One would never know when first meeting her that she suffers from such serious illness because she is such a delightful woman, wreathed constantly in smiles. As we happily smiled at each other and chatted, my heart overflowed with emotion as I marveled to see how raw human strength of will and a strong sense of values could strengthen a person to such a remarkable extent.
Watching her, I thought "You are not a victim, nor are you cursed by misfortune. You took on the challenge of dealing with life issues and life tests of such a high level that most people could not deal with them. You are a brave and gallant fighter. Please hold your head high with pride, and fight to resolve those life issues.
When the scientific knowledge contained in this book becomes widely accepted, then people's opinions of this wonderful woman will change to admiration and respect, as they realize, "Here we have a person dealing with very high level life issues. What a magnificent person! Is there anything I can do to help her resolve her life issues and life tests? Doing so would be a big help to me in growing spiritually. If a little of her virtue rubs off on me, then I would really grow too."
I received the following letter from a person who manages a rehabilitation center for the mentally incompetent.
I read your article, all at one sitting. I myself had a near-death experience as an infant, and my wife had an out of body experience as well. Therefore I agreed with all my heart with what you wrote. I felt my body shiver with awe at the solemn mysteries of life and death. I realized that our lives are far more than just a brief moment of existence: we determine in our past lives our lives today, and the way we live our present lives determines who we will be in our next lives.
I plan to read your article over and over again, and then explain its principles simply, in my own way, to the elderly residents of this facility who are frightened of what awaits them after death and to the employees here who avoid all thought about death.
Fully knowing the difficulty of his task, this wonderful man still plans to do everything he can to make his mentally incompetent patients understand the workings of "life after death" and "reincarnation." It will take overwhelming effort to bring such understanding to the mentally incompetent.
The family of the handicapped gain immeasurable value when they understand the role they must play in having in their family member a spirit with the wonderful courage to give themselves the spiritual task of being handicapped. The instant they reach that understanding, the handicapped person changes from "a pitiable existence" to a "wonderful existence, for which they are very grateful."
The Significance of Volunteer Work
Often people say critically, "How many volunteers really act unselfishly and think only of the welfare of the people they care for? Everyone acts in their own self interest, and it's not true volunteer work." I understand what they mean: the scientific knowledge introduced in this book teaches us that volunteer activities are as much for our own self-development as they are for the welfare of the other person.
Some people say, "I feel good when I do volunteer activities. Because I feel good, I want to do more."
Based upon the knowledge in this book, it is completely off the mark to say, "Your volunteer work is phoney because you are doing it to make yourself feel better." Volunteer activity is neither "the real thing" nor is it "phoney." Sometimes I run into people who are so intent upon finding "high-level, genuine" volunteer activity, that they condemn other people's volunteer activities, thus taking away all desire to help from people who had been interested in volunteer activities.
However, just as it is difficult to "act purely, thinking only of the other's welfare," so too-- is it difficult to "act purely, thinking only of oneself." At any rate, volunteer activities are both for the sake of the other, while at the same time being for one's own self-development. Shouldn't we urge people to perform volunteer activities for their own sakes as well? If we do so, then the number of volunteers would surely increase, even here in Japan, where we have so little religion in our environment.
Volunteer activity makes us feel good because we feel in our hearts the actual sensation of developing spiritually. The most important thing is that we are able to develop spiritually whenever we see our actions make another happy,
FOR THOSE WHO ARE SOON TO DIE
There are limits to human flesh. Consequently, the eternal spirits must change bodies at fixed intervals. That is what "death" means. In other words,
"death" is the process of changing the "vessel," or body, and replacing it. Death is merely the time when one confirms what spiritual issues have been resolved to date and what remains, and draws up a new set of spiritual exercises to enable completion of our task.
How very peaceful you will feel if you face death, knowing about "life after death" and "reincarnation." Death is no more than casting off the garment of the flesh and changing to a new one. What a peaceful death a person has when he knows that he will be able to choose what "garment" he wants to wear next; when he knows he will be awaiting reunion with his loved ones who died first; and, when he knows that he will eventually welcome to the next world the family that he is leaving behind. "Death" means we have finished our work in this world, and are returning home. One should die full of dreams about creating a brand-new future, "Let's see, what sort of plan shall I draw up for my next life."
Dr. Michael B. Sabon has reported the following statements from subjects who had near-death experiences.
"I know where I'm headed to, so that I doesn't have to worry about dying anymore....I've been through death and it don't bother me. I'm not scared of it. Death is nothing to go through anymore. It's not that hard to die....I know where I'm headed to and I've got my life to live. I enjoy it a lot more.144
One year after a woman had a near-death experience during a serious illness, her husband suddenly died. Because of her own near-death experience, she was able to understand her husband's death in terms of her knowledge of what lay beyond.
"Usually I would have been hysterical, but I was calm because I knew that his pain and everything was over and that he was happy. That's the advice I give to anyone dying--not to cry or scream."145
I have received letters showing just how overwhelming the experience of death is. A woman suffering from advanced cancer mustered all her strength to write me this letter from her sick bed. Her struggling handwriting clearly remains in my memory.
Thank you for your article. You did not accept the money that I enclosed in my envelop, so I asked my husband to use it to buy stamps for my campaign and to contribute it to charity. I know I should have enclosed stamps, but I cannot go outside anymore, and so I took the lazy way out and enclosed return postage.
I am sorry to complain about myself, but my last examination showed that the cancer in my sacrum has spread and is putting pressure on my sciatic nerve, which causes the pain. My ideas about "death" have changed and I am no longer afraid, thanks to your article. However, the pain makes me want to give up, and I feel somewhat lonely as "death" approachs.
I am very grateful to those around me who worry about me and take care of me, and I want to make each day I have left count. Thank you very much.
Even though knowledge of "life after death" and "reincarnation" takes away our fear of death, we are unable to escape feelings of loneliness as we imagine being physically separated from our families.
However, this woman has found meaning in her life because her husband and her other soulmates love her and are caring for her unselfishly, and so she wants to make her remaining days rich.
The more lonely we feel at the idea of being physically separated from our loved ones, the more grateful we are for this moment when we are together.
Because she has gotten over the fear of death, which is like a great wall, she is able to look to the opposite side of loneliness and be grateful for her soulmates.
Cheerful Intimacy With "Death"
Although "death" is something that should be far off in the future for young people, there are many who are so terrified of "death" that they are unable to live positively. I am publishing the following letter for these people.
I have been terrified of "death" since I was in elementary school. It all started when I heard some dialogue on a TV. show about how "ashes are all that is left after people die." Those words burned themselves into my heart, and I could not forget them. Whenever I thought about how I would be completely extinguished after death, I would get so scared that I felt I was losing my mind. For me, nothing was more frightening than death.
However, I feel at peace now after hearing your talk. Even my worries about finding a job have faded into insignificance. My fear of death has entirely vanished. I now understand quite logically what will happen after death.
Even if what you said was a complete lie, I am determined to believe it from now on. Believing in life after death and reincarnation will allow me to lead my life meaningfully and vibrantly.
If I believe what you said, I will be able to face any misfortune without flinching. If I believe that the spirits are always protecting me, then I can live in peace of mind, no longer thinking that I am all alone in this world or that there is no one else who understands me.
I can say no more. Let us end this topic here. When death is near, just say, "So long for now," and "go home" to the next world. We'll meet again for sure.
FOR THOSE TROUBLED BY HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
Why We Were Born in This World.
Once Dr. Brian L. Weiss asked the Guiding Spirit if there was a reason why the spirits came back to be reborn in this world rather than staying in the next world.
The Guiding Spirit borrowed the voice of the subject whom Dr. Weiss had hypnotized and replied:
"...we choose what we need to learn. If we need to come back to work through a relationship, we come back. If we are finished with that, we go on."146
In other words, the reason we are born on this earth is to work through problems in our "human relationships" so that we can grow.
According to the statements of those who have had hypnotic regressions or near-death experiences, when we return to the spirit form, everything we think and feel is instantaneously conveyed to the other spirits around us. It is impossible to make ourselves look better than we are or to lie to them. Everyone is mentally stripped naked. We are unable to conceal anything, but, on the other hand, we no longer have to guess what others are thinking. Consequently, there are no difficulties arising from "human relationships" (spirit relationships?) while we are in that other world.
However, once we take on human flesh and are born in this world, we cannot communicate our feelings and wishes to each other unless we talk aloud, or write down words or use gestures and body language.
Even if we mutually voice our wishes to another, we still worry that our real meaning did not get through, or else we are concerned that the other person
might not have told us what he really thinks. We can get ourselves all worked up over nothing if we worry about things like this and put our own wrong interpretation upon them.
At times like that, we should ask ourselves what our "level of love" is. Can we trust the other person? If we trust him and it doesn't work out, or if we are betrayed, can we forgive the other without blaming him? Persons who are unable to trust another, who are unable to forgive the unintentional mistake of another, or who are always suspicious of others will suffer from poor relationships, will be avoided by other people, and will wind up alone and isolated. On the other hand, a person who can forgive another who has injured him intentionally is a person who has unlimited love, and such a person will be surrounded by many people.
Therefore, it is vital that we be reborn into this world in order to undergo the vitally important spiritual disciplines concerned with "human relationships, to test our "level of love," and to raise it higher. That is the reason that we are reborn over and over again, so that we can "train ourselves in relationships," or to put it more directly, "train ourselves in love."
Those of you who are troubled by human relationships can now approach your relationships from a new perspective now that you know about "life after death" and "reincarnation." There is a deep, hidden meaning in relationships between parent and child, husband and wife, best friends and old enemies. These people are your "comrades at arms," people who have been joined with you in deep relationships as you trained together in previous existences.
You and that old enemy of yours promised each other before you were reincarnated
to "try to forgive each other this time."
Many times when people "hate each other to an irrational extent," it indicates that both have been reincarnated to work on this big issue.
Hypnotic regressive has made increasingly clear the reason why some people always oppose each other, fight, try to trip each other up and hurt each other. The subject always says that forgiving the person whom they hate so much is the big issue they must resolve in this lifetime.
Love And Forgiveness
Researchers stress how important it is to have a heart big enough to love all the people that we meet in this world and to forgive them for anything, and how vital it is to improve our natures.
One of Dr. Joel L. Whitton's male subjects remembered during a hypnotic regression what the Guiding Spirits had taught him at the end of one of his lifetimes.
The Three... told him that the pride he held in his knowledge and intellectual ability must give way to humility; he must become not weak, but meek.147
As he listened to his many subjects trace their memories backwards, Dr. Whitton grew to understand how our characters develop from the time we are self-centered infants through our period of adolescence and finally into our mature characters. Dr. Whitton states that how much and how fast the character develops depends upon whether or not the spirit has a strong desire to develop and improve himself.148
I would now like to share several letters with you concerning human relations. The first one is from a housewife.
Without knowing why, I became so happy as I read your article. I fervently hope that many other people will feel the same joy after reading your article.
I was and still am the recipient of much love from my parents, my brother, my husband and all the people around me. Am I even returning a little of it to those around me. I must do something.
I want to become gentle, serious, honest, magnanimous, and tranquil and with firm principles.
I have received many letters such as this one from people who have experienced joy when they understood about soulmates and human relationships.
For example, one woman who works at a major department store concluded that this knowledge will "brighten my workplace."
Thank you for sending me a copy of "The Dawn of 'Meaning'" so quickly. I am making copies and circulating it to my friends at the department store.
I am sure (this knowledge) will brighten my workplace.
A middle-aged man felt that he truly understood the importance of human relations after he learned about "life after death" and "reincarnation." He expresses his feelings by using the words "karmic relationships."
Even this letter of thanks that I am writing was "mandated by destiny." That realization makes me resolve to approach everything in my life positively.
I know now that karmic relationships determine all the people whom I will meet and whether or not they will play a major role in my life, and I resolve to throw myself into those karmic relationships positively.
The next letter is from a thirty-year old male company employee. It was a wondrous discovery for him to learn about "soulmates."
When people meet with misfortunes or disappointments or when their work goes poorly, they often put the blame on others or upon the environment or upon their companies. However, when people learn that "each of us has planned his own life" and "life is a place for spiritual testing," as you wrote, then they know the truth which is that they are responsible for everything that happens. At times like this, I remember with regret that I had sometimes blamed others.
When we realize that our mistakes can elevate our spiritual level, then our mistakes stop being mistakes; we begin to think of our mistakes as "nurturing soil" for the spirit. At that point, each person discovers his own "reason for living."
The concept of "soulmate" really made an impression on me. I began to see a way to forgive those who hate me and work cooperatively with them. We Japanese have a proverb which says, "Even brushing sleeves with another is a karmic consequence from another lifetime." Life really is like that, isn't it? I feel strongly that I need to be thankful to those around me.
The concept of "soulmate" has an extraordinary power to appeal to people of every generation, from young to old.
Gratitude to Soulmates
In my college lectures, I always boldly introduce the scientific research on "life after death" and "reincarnation" whenever I teach about "human values." I don't ask my students to believe, but instead seek them the following question, "How have your values been influenced now that you know about this type of research?"
Almost all the students write in their reports that the research has had a profound influence on them, and that it has made them want to live positively and with optimism. These young people seem to be especially moved by the concept of "soulmate."
I will now share with you several of the reports touching upon human relationships that were written by students during class.
Until now, I was never interested in the existence of "spirits" nor in "reincarnation." Far from being interested, I had made up my mind that such talk was unscientific and stupid.
Just like Professor Iida said, I led a typical life, untouched by religion.
For those reasons, I was very negative as I heard the beginning parts (of Professor Iida's lecture.) However, my denial gradually turned to affirmation as I listened. I had to accept what was said. I realized how a little new information can change one's way of thinking.
When I learned that "Our spouses and parents and other significant people in our lives are soulmates with whom we have had innumerable close relationships in past lives," I realized that the knowledge would enable me to forge good relationships even with those I disliked, those people whose personalities didn't agree with mine. When I realized that I had planned beforehand all the problems in this life, I realized that I did not have to suffer so over these problems.
Here is another report.
After hearing today's lecture, I realized that I had been taking life too lightly. I had thought only of myself, and had never cared about inconveniencing others. I blithely did things that others wanted me not to do. Almost nothing that I did helped others, and I felt ashamed of myself. When the professor asked if we were satisfied with our lives, I could only answer no. I felt that there were things I ought to do more, or rather, things that I had to do.
It would not be an understatement to say that today's lecture changed me. It was all decided before my birth that I should be here today to be influenced by the professor's lecture. This has been a key experience for me in forming my values. A sense of values is a mysterious thing.
Here is another one.
I was shocked and thought deeply about various aspects of my life after hearing today's lecture. We bring unresolved life issues from past lives into this life and try to resolve them. What issues did I bring into this life when I was born? Are people that I hate now also my enemies in past lives?
I have put all the emphasis upon my own feelings until now. Even when I tried to think of others, I feel that I never really understood them because I was interested only in my own satisfaction. I am glad that I had the opportunity at this point in my life to reflect upon my past. I think my way of living and way of thinking will be different from now on.
Another student wrote as follows.
Until now, I have always worried endlessly about such trivial things. My viewpoint and way of thinking changed greatly when I learned in today's lecture that we are born on this earth to give love to other people, in other words, to learn about "human relationships."
Lately I have been depressed numerous times. I have been in a black place, with no answers as I wondered what I was living for and why I was the only one suffering so much from this misfortune. It was like being in a tunnel with no exit, where everything was devoid of joy and nothing I did turned out right.
I feel that the lecture has opened my eyes. All my suffering and grief was no more that perversity because I couldn't get my way. What I thought were misfortunes -- that I broke up with my boy friend, that my search for a job wasn't going well -- were not really misfortunes but really tests that I had set for myself. When I understood that, my feelings brightened incredibly. I felt that I could willingly accept all the things in my life that I had once thought were bad.
I realized that I had been born to study and improve those things that I regretted in my past lives, and not to be obsessed with my own desires. Realizing this, I am looking forward to the rest of my life. I am looking forward to meeting, in a new form, and talking to the soulmates who helped me in previous lives.
There is absolutely no difference between the feelings shared by seventy or eight-year old people in their letters and the feelings that these young people, barely twenty, write about in their reports. That is because the scientific knowledge described in my book turns ordinary, burdensome "human relationships" into a shining diamond in people's hearts.
I would like to share a letter from a woman who writes, "Strangely enough, I didn't get angry even when I was betrayed." At that time, a message from her spirit must have been reverberating through her heart, saying, "Do not feel rancor because this is a life issue that you must deal with."
I supported my friends' business undertaking in the past by becoming a guarantor, and lost almost 20,000,000 yen. At the time, I felt no bitterness towards the people involved. Instead I had the vague feeling that it happened because of karmic effects from previous lives.
When I read your article, I realized that I had been right.
Because this woman is pure-hearted, as you can see from her letter, she was easily able to hear the message from the Guiding Spirit who protects her. She definitely moved one level up in development when she was able to forgive and feel grateful to the people who had given her this spiritual test by borrowing her money.
Why We Choose Our Parents
There is something that I must convey to those who do not get along with their parents. Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has written about the importance of gratitude to "parents."
Death is but a transition from this life to another existence where there is no more pain and anguish. All the bitterness and disagreements will vanish, and the only thing that lives forever is LOVE. So love each other NOW, for we never know how long we will be blessed with the presence of those who gave us LIFE -- no matter how imperfect many a parent has been.149
As Dr. Kubler-Ross indicates, even if everyone agrees that your parents are "immature" or "dislikable," they are the only parents whom you will have in this world, and are special because they are your "parents." No matter what problems you have with them, are you not responsible to take care of them until the end?
That is because you chose these parents for your own. If you feel that they "are beyond control or hateful," well, that must be precisely the reason that you chose them to be yours. If there are big problems between you and your parents, then that is precisely the life issue that you have given yourself to solve and that you must work at resolving.
Of course, it takes two sides to create problems in human relationships. It is not fair for only one side to grin and bear it.
However, the relationship between your parents and you is different from other relationships, and this affects any troubles between you and your parents, since you chose your parents with your own free will, but your parents did not choose you. Consequently, you must be grateful to your parents who gave you life, you must forgive them, acknowledge them and protect them.
Until the moment that your parents draw their last breathes on this earth, you must show your gratitude with all your heart in everything you say and do. You will know why after you die.
Let me share a letter with you from a woman who had hated her father, but learned to love him after she learned about "life after death" and "reincarnation."
I am so very grateful that I read ""The Dawn of 'Meaning'" I lost my husband X years ago to cancer, and had to take over and operate his company, which I continue to do now. I took over the job without much thought, but once I started working, I understood that the top person can make a tremendous difference in influencing a company. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed by the pressure.
My late husband had a good eye for people and was trusted. I was sure that my strength was inadequate to lead those people who had followed my wonderful husband. I was so reluctant to move forward that I drove many of my key people to quit the company. I began to hate myself, and sunk into mistrust and suspicion of others.
I should have known that the responsibility was now mine and mine alone to shoulder, but instead I was always whining, looking at my husband's picture and saying, "Why did you have to die first and leave me to do all these difficult things?"
When I read your article, "The Dawn of 'Meaning.'" I understood that all my trials were designed to help me develop spiritually. In the future, I will not hang back any more, even if I get depressed. Instead I will change my ways and move forward positively to deal with problems.
I could not stop crying as I read the sections of your article describing how "love" is the most important thing for human beings, how we must forgive everything and how we must be grateful to our parents.
My father terrorized my mother and family. He caused grief to my mother all her life. He would rage at us children and physically abuse us. For a long time, I believed that his treatment of me as a child had cursed my life. I had never felt any love for my father.
However, having such a father made me what I am. Once I realized that my father had caused me to become very independent and to be able to put up with a lot patiently, I began to feel that I could forgive my father. This year I will be able to pray for him at the Buddhist altar on the anniversary of his death.
Please think carefully about the following questions. Why did you choose these parents? What sort of spiritual development did you seek in choosing them? There must be very important reasons for your choice.
Those of you who haven't spoken to your parents for a long time, please telephone them as soon as possible. After your current lifetime is finished, you will poignantly remember the moment that you telephoned them as a turning point in your life. Those of you who haven't seen your parents for a long time, why not go home and visit them during your next long holiday, and please don't get caught up in materialistic worries about how much the travel will cost you.
We never know how much longer we can share this lifetime with the parents who gave you life. Please do everything you can to make your parents happy while they are alive so that you and your parents can have many happy memories to talk about when you meet again in the next world. Your children are watching how you treat your parents and learning from you.
Let me tell you once again what Dr. Raymond Moody says about the emotional changes shared by all who have a near-death experience.
"Have you learned to love?" is a question faced in the course of the episode by almost all NDEers. Upon their return, almost all of them say that love is the most important thing in life. Many say it is why we are here. Most find it the hallmark of happiness and fulfillment, with other values paling beside it.
As you might guess, this revelation radically changes the value structure of most NDEers. Where they may have been bigoted, they now see each individual as a loved person. Where material wealth was the pinnacle of achievement, brotherly love now reigns.150
As you understand that there is a deep meaning in all human relations, and the world around you becomes more profound and meaningful as you learn to look for the real meaning of what others say and do rather than just looking on the surface.
Let's try to live with great joy, eagerly anticipating everything that "karmic causes" will bring to us, and respecting the mysterious and profound links that we have with various people through karma.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST CONFIDENCE IN THEMSELVES
Why Your Work Is Wonderful
Many people sent me letters to say how knowledge of scientific research on "life after death" and "reincarnation" gave them back a lost sense of self-worth and restored their lost confidence.
I was struck how people began to find pride and joy in their present jobs, and understood that this scientific knowledge had the important effect of increasing people's sense that work is meaningful.
It is very true that every occupation (excluding criminal activities!) can spread "love" throughout the world through the worker's actions. No work or occupation is worthless once we realize that it is not our bosses or other people who assign work to us. Instead, we ourselves have planned our work and our position.
Let me share with you a unique and heart-warming letter from a woman who sells cosmetics.
Thank you for sending me a copy of "The Dawn of 'Meaning.'" I forgot all about getting a good night's sleep and read and read. Just to think that I'm the one who's job is to tell customers every day that four hours of deep sleep is vital for beautiful skin!
Reading your article organized my thoughts and made me realize that I have to think over my approach to life. How lucky I am!
I sell cosmetics at a Beauty Training Salon. I meet many people in my job, including women who are suicidal because of skin trouble and young women who have lost all reason to live because of their skin problems. I help them until they become beautiful. Over 80% of our customers hear about us through word of mouth.
At first I thought that my business was to make my customers beautiful, but lately, I have started to feel a strange connection to those tormented customers.
After reading "The Dawn of 'Meaning,'" I now feel happy as I realize that my work gives me an opportunity to join with others in hoping and praying for their happiness.
It may just be because I am getting old, but I am really looking forward to my next reincarnation.
One thing that greatly surprised me is that many letters have come from managers and directors at the very top of their companies. We have an image of company presidents and directors as successful people who have achieved material success in this world. Top executives are at the apex of their organizations, supported by the many employees. For that very reason, they have many worries and concerns that only other people at the top share.
Let me share with you a letter from a middle-aged woman who lost her husband and was forced to take over the management of his company.
My husband, the former president, died of cancer X years ago. I became president, even though I know nothing about the business. I resolve to lead my employees through this depressing time to happiness.
I am making a management guide in order to give myself the ability to "decide" and in order not to lose direction. When I read "The Dawn of 'Meaning,'" I realized that living means finding oneself and that the causes are in ourselves. I learned how important it is for us all to work together to nurture and cultivate each other, to enable each other to find happiness in life and to help each other attain our dreams.
I am not qualified for my post as president, but I want to become a person who helps other people. I plan to read your article over and over again so that I do not lose that resolve, and strive to increase my ability.
Thank you very much.
This woman manager had felt pressured by her position as a manager, and had spent her days unable to find confidence or pride in her position because she felt unqualified for her position.
However, after understanding "the meaning of life" described in my article she was able to get beyond feeling only pressure and began to see that her position as a manager enabled her to influence her employees greatly. She began to understand that she should be grateful for her position, because she was able to have a wonderful influence upon her employees as their manager.
A man in the prime of life who is running a company sent me the following letter.
My younger brother gave me a copy of your article. I am a passive man by nature, and, to make it worse, I am also lazy. That is why I felt so grateful as I realized how my life has been shaped by the many people bound to me by karmic relationships. I could reaffirm to myself how predestined and inevitable are my deep ties with my children and my wife.
I want to spend my few remaining years (I celebrated my 61st birthday last year) putting all my energy into business, with my heart full of hope and courage, and feeling no regrets.
I am now able to accept all things that happen in this lifetime because I now know that these are mere fodder for our future. I now have the courage to fight my way through, and to live cheerfully and with hope. I want some of the suffering people among my friends and acquaintances to read your article, so I have copied it without first getting your permission.
Gaining the knowledge in my article made this man want to "put all (his) energies into business." Once he discovered there is a reason for everything, he realized that there were karmic reasons why he held a certain position in a particular industry and business.
He then began to question himself: "Why am I doing my present work? What role am I supposed to play in the world through this work? What should I learn from this work?" His conclusion was that putting all his energies into business and casting aside all diversions were the ways to achieve spiritual growth and help the world.
Thinking along the same lines, we realize all work has meaning in this world. If you are ordered to spend all day "preparing tea," it may seem meaningless, but the truth of the matter is that there is no more important job. When a person is exhausted by work, hot tea prepared with love can refresh, restore and remove stress. No work is more wonderful than pouring tea because one's actions can directly help people and make them happy.
If you are ordered to spend all day making copies, it may seem meaningless, but the truth of the matter is that there is no more important job. Yes, you may get physically tired, and the higher the quality of the copies you try to make, the more stress you feel. Most people find it hard to follow advice telling them not to think about being tired or stressed. However, the workplace could not function unless someone makes copies.
Now you do understand how many people are helped by the work that you do? And you do understand that taking on work that others avoid can directly contribute to the happiness of others? You should be full of joy to realize how much helping others contributes to your spiritual development. There is nothing wrong with feeling honest joy at helping people and growing spiritually in the process.
You now may find yourself looking at the same old work and thinking very creatively about ways to prepare tea that would make others even happier or
ways to make better copies more efficiently.
The "Breakthrough" Created by Changing Our Set of Values
I use a special term to describe what happens when people bring this new knowledge and information into their daily lives, add their own creativity, and try to live positively. I call it "the 'breakthrough' created by changing our set of values." By "breakthrough," I mean "breaking out of your present circumstances." No matter how impossible your circumstances seem, you can
learn to make your life joyous and interesting by changing your way of thinking about your circumstances. This is what I mean by "the 'breakthrough' created by changing our set of values." While we are doing this, sometimes our environment seems to change mysteriously on its own. However, even if our environments remain unchanged, our hearts still begin to fill with life and happiness.
I am confident that one effective way to initiate this 'breakthrough' by changing our set of values is to acquire the scientific knowledge of "life after death" and "reincarnation."
Of course, there are various other ways to achieve a breakthrough by changing one's set of values, and I am not going to push my method on you by insisting that mine is the only way, or that it is the best way. However, we must not ignore the fact that many people have declared that knowledge of "life after death" and "reincarnation" has enabled them to achieve desired psychological changes and has energized them and liberated them from their worries. For those people, this knowledge has performed the role as "a source of meaning." No matter how miserable their circumstances, people have found this knowledge to be an bottomless well of meaning, constantly replenishing our reasons for living, reasons for taking action and reasons for working.
I would like to share with you some of the typical reports submitted by my students after I had introduced this knowledge to them through a lecture. These students are barely twenty-years old; however, the valuable messages contained in their words show that one needn't be old or full of life experience in order to directly understand that this knowledge can give one a reason for living.
The information that I gained from today's lecture made me understand that what I had considered as "problems" in my life are really not problems at all.
Until now, I had been very worried about my future. I now know that what matters is how well you live and how good your spirit becomes rather than honor and fame in the world.
This knowledge has freed me from my worries. I want to go forth and learn all about the world.
Here is another student report.
Until now, I never believed in "reincarnation." I thought that when we died our bodies and spirits died too, and that nothing was left. However, I could feel my ideas changing as I listened to the lecture. At first I just denied it, but by the end of the lecture, I was thinking, "People are reborn in order to resolve life issues that they have set for themselves. It's like that for me too." I felt so strange. Could this be how a person feels when his set of values changes?
As I listened to the lecture, I wondered what life issues I needed to resolve. I also reflected upon my life up to now. My own actions have caused the same unpleasant things to occur again and again, in junior high, high school and now in college.
I wondered if this is the life issue that I must resolve.
If I don't learn to control my nature, then the same kind of things will keep occurring, and I will carry them along to my next lifetime as life issues to be resolved. I resolved to win this battle, by facing my problems head on and dealing with them positively.
Here is another report.
My philosophy of life had been, "We only live once, so we should put all our strength into doing things now, so that we have no regrets about our lives."
However, my eyes were opened when I heard today's lecture. I realized that I was thinking only of now and what will happen in my own future. Were I to die and see my life passing before my eyes like a movie, what exactly would the screen show me?
There are many things I ought to regret in my twenty-one years of life. Perhaps I hurt others and caused suffering to them without being aware of it. Today the lecture gave me a good chance to reflect upon my past, and plan again how I can incorporate these reflections into the rest of my life
I am very interested in knowing what kind of person I was in past lives, and what life issues I am trying to resolve in this life. It makes me see life differently to realize that destiny will ensure I meet the people that I am intended to meet.
I want to think thoroughly about myself and about life once more. I am so happy that I had this opportunity today. I want to live fully so that the "movie" I see at the end of my life is better and that my life issues are resolved.
I was deeply influenced by today's lecture. I never expected to hear about life and death in a college lecture on business management.
I am the sort of person who hates to be influenced by others. Today's lecture must have really shaken the value systems of the other students; however, my set of values has not changed one bit. Parts of the lecture made me think, and moved me. However, I don't want to believe anything until I actually experience death.
When I see myself writing things like this in this report, I realize that being given the chance to think about today's theme may have changed my set of values. That I'm writing like this may indicate that my set of values has changed.
What's going on? I wrote that my set of values hasn't changed at all. Yet I'm still really influenced by the lecture.
I want to live life with all my energy and passion, so that I will not waste it.
Here is a report from another student.
Just like Professor Iida, I visit Shinto shrines, I visit Buddhist temples, I celebrate Christmas and I believe that God exists. However, these are my own personal beliefs, and I don't care what others believe. I don't need them to have the same beliefs. I don't know exactly what "God" is, but I do think that the idea of God gives us help and strength when we try to understand how to live and why we are living.
If believing that "there is life after death and that people are reincarnated in order to deal with life issues" gives a person strength to live, then it is a wonderful belief."
Here is one more report.
Until I heard today's lecture, I was a really foolish person. I was worried only about outward appearances. I was concerned only with insignificant matters, such as how people viewed me.
Could it be because I never had any confidence in myself until now? My lack of confidence may have given me a worthless set of values.
As I listened to today's lecture, I was thinking desperately, "What ought to be my goals? What am I able to do now? As a result, I came to the realization that I had forgotten a very important thing.
Until now, I have always taken the easier and simpler way. Because I was so conscious that "we only live once," I was overly afraid of failure.
From now on, I will deal with whatever comes without running away, even if my way is blocked by a forbidding wall.
Another student wrote the following:
I feel as if the set of values that I had created for myself has been revolutionized. During today's lecture I was exposed to a variety of knowledge, information, and values, and I experienced a variety of emotions.
I want very much to live a full life, so that I will be satisfied with it afterward when I reflect upon it. I feel so confused that I don't know what to write. At any rate, I am not the person I was. I feel as if I have been reborn.
Here is one more.
Until I heard today's lecture, I never believed in "life after death," "reincarnation," and "spirits." Rather, I should say that I didn't want to believe. Not that I led a perfect life. I may have resisted believing because I was trying to give myself an out just so that I could remain as wrapped up in myself as I was.
However, I have resolved to spend my whole life putting into practice what I learned in today's lecture. If I think about what I learned today whenever I have some problem, I may notice that my worries and problems are really very small. I feel a strong sense of responsibility: I must accomplish all that I am expected to do in the life in which I am now placed.
I am in the process of taking the civil service exam, and I had been depressed because I couldn't write answers that satisfied me. During today's lecture, I decided that the wall I am trying to knock down is a wall I have built myself, and it is a wall for myself.
The only worry I had listening to today's lecture was whether or not the girl I'm dating is the one destined for me.
Here is what one young woman wrote.
I failed to get into university two years in a row. Now I am faced with the difficulties all women have trying to get hired in a depressed economy. When I meet my friends, all I do is complain, "Why did I have such a hard time getting into college? And why now do I have to struggle so hard to get a job?" Until I heard today's lecture, I felt bitter about my destiny. However, after hearing today's lecture, I realized that there is a reason for everything, even for hating myself.
"The next world" and the "spirits" may really exist (I believe that I exist). What was important in today's lecture was understanding that nothing happens in human life without a reason. How should we live our lives? Should we bemoan our fates, and put the blame on others and outside causes? Should we live in a positive manner, treating any problem that confronts us as a spiritual test?
I am going to turn my difficulty in finding employment into a plus for myself. Whenever I get discouraged about my job search, I will remember today's lecture.
There are wonderful messages in the student's essays, ignoring the students' writing skills (sorry about that!). These reports are like treasure chests.
In my work as a teacher, I learn many important things from what the students tell me.
Value Is Born When "Knowledge" Is Put Into Practice
Please learn the very message I have for you from the following reports, which each writer discovered through his own interpretation and description.
I am very interested in the issue of human life and death. I have read various works, trying to learn about life and death in all its aspects, including reincarnation, near-death experiences and transpersonal psychology, and have taken self-tests designed to find one's soulmates. However, I could not find myself in any of those written works, and I always asked myself, "Why am I alive?"
Given that background, I was truly shocked to hear today's lecture, and felt as if my eyes had suddenly been opened. During Professor Iida's lecture, I discovered the answer to my question, and realized that, "I am living for myself." All of our joy and all of our grief are born from the life issues that we have given ourselves to resolve. In death, we find the true meaning of life. The answer to "life" is oneself.
Until now, I have been so wrapped up in the details of life that I could not think broadly. When Professor Iida told us that all things are interconnected, I painfully realized how weak and egotistical I am. Being so wrapped up in myself, I did not emphasize with others. I am ashamed of myself because all I have done is to seek pleasure and run away from pain. I plan to change my set of values, starting today.
I had decided to live just for pleasure, since I'm going to die at forty and it doesn't really matter what I do (the doctor actually told me that I would die around forty.) However, I was wrong to think that way. If I am only going to live to age forty, I have to do my very best as long as I am alive.
I want to put my heart and all my energy into life.
The student who wrote this report is aware that she will die at age forty (I can't imagine why a doctor would tell a young person something like that, but there must have been good reasons.) Since she will die young, the student wanted to find out what her goals should be in life, and so she read many books that could answer that question for her, including works on "life after death" and "reincarnation."
However, she was unable to find the answer in those books, despite her efforts. Probably these books merely discussed whether or not "life after death" and "reincarnation" occurs, and probably they just explained methods of finding out about your soulmates and your past lives. Most likely, they did not touch upon the most fundamental question, "Why is it meaningful to learn about this knowledge?" While such books may answer our questions about what happens after death, they do nothing to give us a reason for living.
During classes, I speak to my students as follows.
"The reason I teach you about scientific research findings regarding life after death and reincarnation in terms of a theory of values and as a theory of meaning is because then you will be able to make this knowledge a plus in your lives, enabling you to make a breakthrough in your set of values, and thus finding the meaning of life. This knowledge will be a real source of meaning for you. The meaning is not found in the knowledge itself, but in how you use it and in what values are born from it. Each person will find her own values; this is not something that I need to teach you."
She correctly understood what I really meant: let this knowledge be your source of meaning. At the moment she understood, she felt as if her eyes had suddenly been opened. She correctly wrote down, "I discovered the answer to my question, and realized that, "I am living for myself." All of our joy and all of our grief are born from the life issues that we have given ourselves to resolve. In death, we find the true meaning of life. The answer to "life" is oneself."
By learning about "life after death" and "reincarnation," and putting this knowledge into practice in our lives, we can attain the same "breakthrough in our set of values" that people experience through near-death experiences and hypnotic regression. One student wrote as follows.
Today's lecture was very interesting. I feel as if my own life view has really changed, although probably not as much as someone who has experienced hypnotic regression or a near-death experience. I am afraid of near-death experiences and would hate to have one, but I wanted an opportunity to change my perceptions of the value of life.
As the old proverb says, "Good deeds always come home." I really feel now that my good deeds will come back to reward me while my bad deeds will bring me retribution.
This student writes what many other people have told me, "I am afraid of near-death experiences and would hate to have one, but I wanted an opportunity to change my perceptions of the value of life." It is true that we must nearly die in order to have a near-death experience. It is also true that you may not have the opportunity to experience hypnotic regression or a reading, even when you might wish to. That is why the knowledge introduced in this book is so important.
"Positive Thinking" Is A Source of Energy
In our confused society, many people are searching for something that will spur them to change their way of living.
Many people find that "spur" in the knowledge introduced in this book.
One student wrote about its efficacy as follows.
Everything in life has a reason.
When Professor Iida told us this, I had various thoughts. It struck me that everything that has happened to me until now and all the things that are happening now have real meaning. I realized that I had been just doing things without really thinking until now.
The reason I am now able to think positively is because my set of values changed due to today's lecture. I am really glad that my set of values has changed. I feel as if my eyes have been opened.
Why do we find meaning when we realize that, "Everything in life has a reason," and how does our consciousness of "life after death" and "reincarnation" connect us to that "meaning of life?
One student wrote the following reply to the above question which I asked in class.
I am not religious, and do not believe in spirits, or life after death, or reincarnation. Consequently, whenever I thought about "the self," I would always hit the wall of "death," and I could not get my thoughts organized.
To be truthful, I still only half believe what I heard in class today. However, my thoughts about "death" have changed. Thinking that there is a "life after death" makes me better able to see myself clearly and make objective decisions.
Until now, whenever I thought of my life ending in the "darkness of death," I would think, "I'm going to die anyway, and there will be nothing left," or "What's the point in trying hard." These thoughts prevented me from living a full life. However, the realization that the destination of our lives is not the "darkness of death" but is instead an eternity to the next step of our spiritual development makes it possible for me to think seriously to myself, "How then should I live my present life?" and "How should I relate to others?" I am now able to live my life properly and frankly.
Although this student is still unable to believe in "life after death" or "reincarnation, he explains quite honestly that, "Thinking that there is a 'life after death' makes (him) better able to see (himself) clearly and make objective decisions. He even writes that living his life with an awareness of research findings on "life after death" and "reincarnation" will make it possible for him to "live (his) life properly and frankly."
This student eloquently expresses a truth that I appeal to you all to accept. It is this. "Every one is free to believe what he wishes. It is perfectly fine if you choose
to disbelieve one-hundred percent in 'life after death' and 'reincarnation.' However, please at least be aware of the research findings and try to apply these findings logically to your lives as a source of positive energy."
I received a similar letter from a man in middle-management.
Until now, I was not just indifferent to the concepts of "life after death" and "reincarnation." Instead, I strongly denied these ideas. However, after reading your article, I realize that accepting these concepts in our lives enables us to change ourselves and find meaning in our lives. I am going to start thinking about what my family's purpose is in life, and try to live a life full of positive ideas.
P.S. I made copies and urged our company president and my subordinates to read your article. I am going to tell the companies we do business with about it too.
This man appears to have no interest in scientific discussions about whether or not "life after death" and "reincarnation" exist. He is more interested in the powerful results made possible by hypothesizing that they exist.
In other words, if applying the knowledge assembled in this book has the "result" of making his life more meaningful, then the "truth" of whether or not there is "life after death" is not important to him. At the beginning of this book, I stated my premise: "my interests lie not in "truth," but rather in "phenomena" (that heighten the feeling that life is worthwhile.) My meaning is the same as his.
I would like to quote Dr. Melvin Morse once more.
I have never interviewed anyone who had a near-death experience who told me that they came back to make more money or to spend more time at their jobs away from their families. Rarely do they tell me that they learned they were not selfish enough or greedy enough. Instead they become convinced that they need to be more loving and kind. They react to their experience by live life to its fullest. They believe their lives have a purpose, even if that purpose is obscure to them. Invariably it involves concepts such as love of family or service to others. they seem to know that the love they create while living will be reflected and radiated back to them when they die.151
Even if we have not actually had a near-death experience nor hypnotic regression, when we listen to the experiences those who have, we will learn about the "breakthrough" they experienced which changed their set of values; we will be able to share in the "overflow" of the changes they experienced.
If you are able to feel that this is a "rational choice" rather than a "non-scientific choice," you will know that you have received a message, sent with all his strength by the Guardian Spirit who protects you.
There are some people who report that understanding "reincarnation" healed not only their mind but also cured their bodies.
I did something that I very much regret when I was young, and have carried the guilt with me for fifty years until today. I made the people around me feel unhappy as well. After reading your article and understanding "reincarnation," I no longer feel so badly about what I did. As a result, the high blood pressure that has bothered me for years went down so far that my family was amazed. I smiled when I heard my wife telling the children on the telephone that she felt weird because I had become such a different man.
I want to spend the years I have left full of gratitude and living each day to the hilt in my own way. I want to do all I can to help other people.
Many physical ailments, such as blood pressure and internal diseases (not injuries), have unconscious psychological worries as their cause. I have received many letters like this one from many people, telling me that learning about "life after death" and "reincarnation" put their minds at rest and alleviated their physical ailments.
The knowledge that is organized and synthesized in this book can be more powerful and effective than any medicine, if the person is adequately prepared to apply this knowledge in his life.
THE GOD OF "MEANINGFUL LIFE"
FREE TO BELIEVE; FREE NOT TO BELIEVE
Once we learn about "life after death" and "reincarnation" and apply it to our lives, we reexamine our own lives and our goals in life. We are able to accept that there is a huge meaning in our lives, no matter what our lives are like. This awareness gives us the strongest possible "source of life's meaning." It drives us to be an inexhaustible "source of boundless love" for all the things, people and living creatures who surround us.
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross tells us as follows about the importance of love.
Most important of all, we must learn to love and be loved unconditionally. Most of us have been raised as prostitutes. I will love you "if." And this word "if" has ruined and destroyed more lives than anything else on this planet earth.152
When people reexamine the meaning of love and life, based upon the information introduced in this book, most find that their value systems are fundamentally shaken by the process. That the same experience happens to non-believers and atheists as well, just goes to show that scientific research on "life after death" and "reincarnation" has great meaning when it is widely disseminated.
Naturally, if you dislike thinking about these scientific findings, it is your free choice and your natural right to choose to "believe" in materialism which tells us that "man is no more than ashes after he dies."
For example, one man who was a materialist sent me the following opinion about my book.
I myself do not believe in the existence of spirits or of a world after death; however, I do think that such a world may exist, and I think it could be possible it does exist. I may even look forward to hearing more about that world in the future.
What I am going to say about myself may seem irrelevant and irresponsible. At present, I am interested in such matters, but feel no need to verify whether or not they are true. There may be times in a life when people strongly receive this hypothesis (for that is what it is) about reincarnation.
There must be a few people who weep at this report or who feel that their eyes have been opened. For those people, your report has a big meaning. Nowadays when everyone is worrying about how devastated the human world has become, a article like yours could provide a way to "correct the world." I don't really know.
I would like to give my slightly sarcastic viewpoint. Professor Iida is a true researcher, and was aware of several topics where the article could draw criticism, so he tried to deflect the criticism.
1. He says that these ideas do not try to force people to believe.
2. He says flatly that the ideas have nothing to do with religion, but are pure science.
3. There are very dangerous elements in these concepts. Won't this turn into a new religion, one from a scientist's perspective? I sense danger when a concept causes people to change their way of living because of some directive. Won't these concepts lead people to make light of this world?
Professor Iida brings up these points in his article only to refute them. I feel his cool objectivity (although this may the impression he tries to create), but isn't it equally important that the reader understand what he says with the same cool objectivity?
I still do not believe; however, I cannot organize my thoughts and I have a strange feeling.
Well, that's enough. "At any rate, we all will know when we die."
At first I thought that this letter was scathing criticism of me, and I grimaced as I read it. However, the more I read it the more I felt that the writer evaluated my article highly, and this made me very happy.
It seems that this man is a bit shaken in his belief that "consciousness dies when we die, and nothing is left but ashes." He absolutely refuses to accept "life after death," but he honestly admits that he has "a strange feeling." I am certain that, in contrast to his slightly sarcastic tone, he has a pure and honest heart. And when he wrote, "At any rate, we all will know when we die," I could detect in his words the
hidden suggestion that we may have consciousness after we die. We can "understand" nothing after we die unless we have consciousness. Since the writer seems to be a very rational person, he would understand the implication of writing, "At any rate, we all will know when we die," and, yet, he still bravely wrote those words, giving his honest thoughts.
Of all the hundreds and hundreds of letters that I have received, the letter from that materialistic man, is one of those that made me happiest.
I am sure that there are many people who read about the scientific knowledge and are able to understand it, but who find it "hard to start believing it right away." Our world is healthy because people think like that. It would be unnatural if rational people accepted new paradigms easily. It is a sign of a healthy society when many value theories exist.
If all the Japanese easily started believing in "life after death," then I would sound a warning and tell them to slow down. When young people invite me to parties and other events, I am always reticent about speaking about the above subject. If I am asked a question, I often will say, "I am a scientist, not a religious leader, and I cannot answer questions like that." Instead, I tell people in their teens and
twenties that there is a lot of information, but that they should not believe anything too easily. They hate it when I lecture to them like that.
Those of you who want to live only for yourselves will not want to know or accept the knowledge in this book because it is too frightening, and I'm sure you wish you had never read this troubling book.
However, there are many people in this world who have not read this book and who believe that after death comes nothingness. There are many people who manage to live their lives with strength, with energy, with honesty and with love, making others happy, even thought they believe that there is nothingness after death. This book is useless for such strong people. If this world contained only strong people, I would never have bothered to write down a book as foolish as this one.
GRATITUDE FOR "A GOD IN ONE'S OWN IMAGE"
Yet, I am confident that a certain percentage of people will believe what I have written in this book. In my experience, there are numerous people who secretly need the knowledge collected in this book. Many people, who absolutely refuse to believe in any religious concepts, are deeply impressed by the objective findings of scientific researchers, whose reports are detached from any religious concept; many times, I have seen such people open their hearts, and decide that they will incorporate the scientific aspects of this knowledge into their lives because it is useful.
That such people exist shows modern people like me the very great importance of having "a God in one's own image." I myself do not deny the significance of religions, and I am sure that a "religious mind" is very important for human beings. Moreover, I believe that an individual can possess a "religious mind" even without belonging to any particular religion. A person with such a "religious mind" can be said to be predisposed to the "universal laws verified by scientific knowledge."
There may be people who give the same standing to the universal laws of "life after death" and "reincarnation" that religious people accord to their "gods." There are probably other people who use the term "God or Gods" for the "Guiding Spirit"(Beings of Light) or for the "most important Spirit," that this universal law shows to exist.
Most likely, those people who are aware of this real "God" do not commit any sins or wrongdoing, even when no one else is present. They feel confident that God is always present, observing their behavior, even if no other person is there. If we have more people like them in the world, there would surely be a sharp drop in crimes and useless battles between those whose eyes are blinded by their materialistic desires.
To tell you the truth, many people have written who share the same viewpoint as mine. For example, I received the following letter from a company president.
I am in the XX business in XX City. I am XX years-old this year. Despite my age, I am very interested in the issue of human death, perhaps because I lost my father young to cancer.
At a time like that, my friend shared your article with me, and I read it two or three times, thinking that I have found the answer.
I expect that as knowledge of your article spreads throughout the world that we will become enlightened about all the issues that affect the fate of mankind, both the large issues such as the pressing global environmental problem, global strife, racial prejudice, problems with medical care, religious warfare and economic problems as well as the more minor problems, such as domestic problems, issues of bullying and so on.
It will take tremendous energy and time to spread these ideas to many people, and especially to those satisfied people who lead our times. Even though I am still groping my way, I am trying to spread your ideas to others.
There are also many people who fully believe and live by the knowledge in this book, but who have not been able to confide in others.
The following letter is from a person in his/her early thirties.
Over a period of six months X years ago, I lost my uncle, father, sister and another great uncle. I began then to search for the meaning of "life." I read voraciously books on religion and philosophy, on zazen and tried out many things. In the course of so doing, I discovered that I had easily accepted the idea of reincarnation.
I was overjoyed when I discovered your article. Until now I have held back from telling others that I lived my life aware that "life is a place for spiritual disciplines and testing so that we can develop" because I thought they would be shocked at such an extreme idea.
I hope that many people read your article, and want to do my small part to help create a "network for meaningful life." First of all, I want to share your article with my family, my friends and my colleagues.
All of you who have felt embarrassed, from now on throw your shoulders back proudly and tell the whole world, "In order to live this life as meaningfully and as fully as possible, I believe in a life after death, and I am studying about reincarnation," just as myself and other researchers from every nation in the world have already taken the first step.
Research on "life after death" and "reincarnation" is important because of the connection with "life," not because of the connection with "death."
IT'S NOT "PAINFUL HARD WORK," BUT "JOYOUS SELF-CULTIVATION”
Finding Out Who You Are
I would like to share with you a powerful message from the "Guiding Spirit (Being of Light," conveyed through a person who had a near-death experience.
The spirit said that human beings must realize what kind of creatures they are. Human beings are strong, powerful beings, bold creatures who participate in the great adventure called being human, as they lead their lives on the earth.153
There is a crucial purpose embedded in these words that I resolved to proclaim to the world through this book.
We took on bodily form and were born into the physical world so that we could achieve our end goal, which is to resolve the life issues that we have planned for ourselves. However, this is not intended to be "painful hard work." This point is so important that I will to rephrase it in more concrete terms. We are meant to do
"joyous self-cultivation" during our time on this earth, not "painful hard work."
Generally speaking, the concepts of "karmic retribution" and "transmigration of souls" convey a dark and forbidding image, implying that "life as a place for painful hard work, done with the grinding of teeth, as we cast aside all pleasure and desires." However, scientific findings on "reincarnation" reveal that we must live creatively and happily in our daily lives and in our lives as a whole, although we should cast aside "greed."
If we view life as "painful hard work," we may become stagnant and uncreative, and we might spend all our days in meditation, stoically enduring everything and cutting off communication with others in order to live in a world of our own. However, if we view life as "joyous self-cultivation," then we can meet many people, love greatly, join our strength, and move forward to resolve the life issues which we have set for ourselves, with the ability to enjoy our own hobbies and pleasures, as long as we don't inconvenience others or kill living creatures to no purpose.
To put it in other words, life is a process for growing through the creation of value, and a place for finding one's identity. "To live as you are" is the basic practice task given to us humans. We are not supposed to renounce the hobbies and the pleasures that suit us. Instead it is fine for us to enjoy these with all our heart, as long as they lead to creative activity. The vital thing is our degree of "enjoyment," but we must not get off track or cause harm to other people, or to living creatures or to the earth.
Our job is to be grateful for being alive and to live creatively enjoying each day to the fullest, while never causing trouble to others. The Spirits from the next world naturally want us to "control greed" and "resolve our life issues," but that is the extent of their demands; they have also sent many messages, telling us, "Live cheerfully and positively," "Live life to the fullest," "Live in your own way," and have told us that, "Laughter helps the heart grow."
According to the Spirits, one of our "life goals" is to find a good balance between "subduing excess desires" and "enjoying life." If we are able to balance these two demands skillfully, then we will be able to evaluate ourselves at the end of our lives as "having lived a full and creative life."
It Is Still Not Too Late To Change
As I explained previously, life is not a "play-off system." Instead, in life, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." When a person realizes how small-minded he has been, he can start that very moment to change himself, and start behaving in "an upright, loving manner." Even a person who has never spared a thought for others can start changing himself a little bit at a time. A person can train himself to say, "It is no one's fault; it's because I'm so weak," when he is confronted with hardship or failure.
If a person has acted in ways that hurt others very much until now, well he can start trying by hurting them a bit less. If he tries to stop cold turkey all at once, that would be too difficult. As he strives to "hurt others a little less," then before he knows it, it will become second nature, and he can try for the next level, "to hurt people even less." Sooner or later, his negative behavior will be all but gone.
Some people may say, "It's in my nature to hurt others, no matter how hard I try not to," (I myself fit into this type, I fear.) People like this should change their approach a bit, and try to compensate by creating more joy for others than they cause harm. If they hurt people ten times, then they should aim at making people happy eleven times. Then people will switch from saying, "He's a nasty guy," to saying, "He can be nasty sometimes, but he's very nice too." Doesn't it sound a lot warmer and more pleasant to hear people say, "He often does unpleasant things, but he's a good guy," rather than to hear people say, "He's not exactly a jerk, but he's not very nice either?"
Despite how I may sound, I am not a fine person, one who can arrogantly tell others what to do. When I reflect upon my life up until now, I am overcome with shame to think how I have bullied others and hurt them, caused great troubles to others and behaved outrageously. I was really a pitiful, immature person, lacking in compassion. After my present life is finished, I am sure I will writhe and weep tears of bitter remorse when the Guiding Spirit shows me the panoramic vision of my life.
I am the one who should have read this book first!
However, I am lucky because my life still lies before me. I am just another poor human being, suffering as much as the next person. I am sure I will do many things that I regret, and say "Oh, no. I shouldn't have done that," or "I didn't mean for that to happen. To tell the truth, I say those phrases many times every day.
Nevertheless, I have great hopes for my future. It is because I know I can improve little by little. Even if I cannot eliminate regret over my negative behavior all at once, I know that I can gradually lesson it bit by bit, and improve myself. I have resolved to make up little by little for the mistakes I have made up until now.
We Are All Brave Travelers
Naturally, it is important to reflect upon our pasts; however, if we constantly dwell upon our mistakes, then we fall into a gloomy existence, and our lives turn into nothing more than "hard work." At that point we might as well turn our backs on this vulgar world and become hermits on the mountains.
Now that we all know that one big reason that we were born on this earth was "to study human relationships," you know that we must not distance ourselves from the world, but must instead meet all our old soulmates once again.. It is clear that meeting with our soulmates again is the way that "we enjoy our self-cultivation." If we hold back because we think human relationships are a lot of trouble, then we will make little progress as spirits, and there is no point in our having come here to the earth for self-cultivation.
As the Guiding Spirit tells us encouragingly, "You are a great, strong and powerful existence," and "You are a brave spirit to participate in the great adventure of living as a human being and trying to make your life develop." We are not here "to painfully force ourselves to do bitter hard work." We are here "to take the initiative and enjoy ourselves as we cultivate ourselves and learn." That is why subjects of hypnotic regression have said, "we are immortal. We are beyond life and death, beyond space and beyond time." (Many Lives, Many Masters, p. 173 or 186)
This star called the "earth" can be considered as "self education center with a playground" that we, who are members of the innumerable Spirits of space, have chosen to attend in order to experience the "joy and self-cultivation which can only be realized when we have a physical form." Here we work at trying to resolve issues which we have chosen for ourselves, but we are allowed to have a wonderful time playing in our free moments. Doing nothing but playing will not help our spiritual growth; however, doing nothing but studying will not lead to a rich and creative life.
We are souls filled with curiosity, aspiration and courage; we have taken the initiative and asked to participate in "a world tour in order to experience a human lifetime where we will try hard to achieve love and creativity."
Shouldn't we be thrilled and excited to participate in this "self-cultivation, filled with joy?"
This book aims at showing us a powerful "reason for living," by compiling and synthesizing scientific research results regarding "the world after death" and "rebirth."
I have written voluminously in this book already; however, the scientific data discussed in this book is only a small portion of the tremendous volume of research on "the world after death" and "rebirth" that exists. I fervently hope that interested readers will look at the original documents and make their own evaluations. If you throw away all your preconceived ideas and read with an open mind, you will be deeply moved and strongly impressed by the profound meaning in the research results.
Much of what the scientists write make us question the real meaning of life.
For us, "death" is not at all frightening, but instead is a peaceful moment which marks the conclusion of our spiritual discipline in this world and our return home to the next world. When a loved one dies, it is not at all an eternal parting, but is instead a brief period when we cannot converse before we are reunited in the next world.
Moreover, the spirits of our family members and friends who have died before us surround us in this world as we continue our spiritual disciplines. They are always warmly speaking to us to protect us, and they always hear us when we speak to them. Have you never felt as if someone is watching you even when there was no one about? Have you never remembered suddenly and for no particular reason someone who is dead? It is at just such moments that the spirits are actually sending us their messages. Open your hearts and ask, "Who are you?" "What are you trying to tell me?" You will most probably see the face of a departed loved one or hear his words. We are never alone even when we are all alone in the middle of the wilderness.
We also learn how important are gratitude, forgiveness and love as we return lifetime after lifetime to this world to perform spiritual disciplines. Life is like a test book that we ourselves compiled before we were born. Finding out whether or not our answers to the problems are right has to wait until we have finished the test book.
When we have finished the test book called life, then and only then are we able to measure by ourselves how much we have grown by comparing the answer sheet that we had prepared to what we did in our life. At that point, we draw up for ourselves a more difficult test book so that we can resolve the problems we missed the first time. Then we are ready to take our test book along as we make another visit to this world, our place of spiritual testing.
The words of the scientists bring a long-awaited dawn to the hearts of modern man who had lost the "meaning of life" and were sunk in darkness.
Authoring this book is not an accomplishment that well help my career as a scholar of management. What lies ahead for me is malicious criticism and slander, as well as kindly advice from well-wishers. However, what matters to me now is not my ranking as a scholar of management or calculations of costs and benefits for myself. I am confident my own personal reputation is far less important than sharing with many people the scientific knowledge compiled and synthesized in this book.
Because I have attempted to give this book a "content that will give people hope" and have tried to make the book "easy to understand," I have laid the book wide open to sharp criticism of tiny details. Probably some group will appear that tries to tear down the value of this book by making personal attacks upon me. Please, my readers, make your own judgments about how important this book is to me.
Please give this book as a present with a grateful heart to those who are important to you and to those you love. Please expand around yourself the "network of life's meaning." After a while, the "networks of life's meaning" started here and there by various individuals will join together and strange phenomena will begin to occur.
However, please do not make any strenuous efforts to convince people who tell you, "I do not need this." There is "time" for everything. When the time comes and their hearts are ready, they will automatically open their hearts, without needing your convincing. When that happens, stretch out your hands and place this book near them. Leave it all to the "spirits" protecting that person.
I pray with all my heart that this book will give even a small measure of hope and strength to even one of the many people who are suffering.
EPILOGUE - The World Will Be as One
You have now finished reading the content of this book. However, there is just one more thing that I wish to convey to my readers. It is the connections between the various concepts in this work, including religion, that one must realize in order to understand this book.
The results of scientific research discussed in this book do not nullify the beliefs of any particular religion, nor do they support the beliefs of one particular religion. Rather, what the researchers write is a crystallization and mix of Buddhist beliefs about karmic retribution, Christian concepts of "love," as well as the beliefs of many other religions. One can say that the central cores of the scientific research findings compiled in this book are "identical to that of all religions."
In other words, the more that scientific research progresses, the clearer it will become that "all religions can be combined into one" and that "the world is one." All good-hearted believers hope in their hearts that the arguments and useless fights that take place among some of the religious bodies will cease and that they will work together happily, acknowledging their differences.
As a scientific researcher, I would like to express my hope that the time has come when both people who believe in a religion and those who do not will respect each others' values and make their shared aim "peace and happiness" as they move forward together in harmony and peace.
The more that scientific research progresses, the clearer it will be that "the world is one." The time is coming when all the people living on the earth will respect each others' values, strive together to attain the goals of "peace and happiness, and begin living together in harmony. I would like to end this book by pointing out that the spirits ordered me to convey the urgent message in this book to people and so I rashly published this book. (It has been a life-and-death gamble for me to publish this book, and it brings me no benefits in terms of how the world measures benefits.)
Finally, I would like the beloved spirit of John Lennon in the next world to sing for us some words which perfectly convey my own emotions.
You may say I'm a dreamer,
but I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us,
and the world will be as one.
John Lennon, "Imagine"
Won't You Join the "Network of Life's Meaning?"
The "network of life's meaning" refers to the shared feelings held by those who have read this book, to their "emotional links." It is not an organization nor a society. There is no office and there is no leader; there are no membership applications nor membership dues. There is no address where you must send something. You can "join up" immediately at any time.
All you need to join the "network of life's meaning" is to agree with the ideas advanced in this book and to decide to join the network. Once you decide to join, the spirits who protect you will link you firmly with an invisible cord to the other members.
The "network of life's meaning" is like the internet on your PC. At that moment, you are linked heart to heart with all the readers in the world who agree with this book. No matter where you go, you will never be alone. Many of your comrades are cheering you on from around the world. And you must always encourage your many comrades around the world.
However, if you join the "network of life's meaning," there are five conditions which you must strive to meet.
1. Try to live in your own way.
2. Take good care of your parents and your family and love all people, animals and nature.
3. Have the courage to face hardship and turn your failures into valuable experiences.
4. Forgive and be magnanimous and never get angry no matter how much other people misunderstand and
slander you because you agree with this book.
5. Do not let force your values on other people. If they say, "I'm not interested," stop talking about this book,
and wait for the day when that person opens this book on his own.
If you are prepared to do the above, then link yourself quickly to all your friends around the world in the heart-to-heart "network of life's meaning." As time passes, your heart will fill with the warm wishes sent to you by your comrades.
Look around you soon to see if any of your comrades are nearby. If you find a comrade, then your code phrase is "Linked!" Let's try to verify where the network is.
You have now become one of the very important group holding up the future of the world.
Even at that moment, your comrades are steadily increasing in number.
And now, you should be able to hear in your heart the words of the spirits protecting you, "Well done. You've resolved to climb to a high level in your spiritual advancement!"
1. Shogaku Ronshu, vol. 64. No. 1, a publication by the Keizai Gakkai (Literally: Economic Study Team) of Fukushima University.
2. Please refer to the following Japanese-language publications for a detailed view of Professor Fumihiko Iida's views.
"Kigyo Bunkaron no Shiteki Kenkyu-1," (Literally: "Historical Research on Theories of Organization Culture -- 1") by Fumihiko Iida. In Shogaku Ronshu, vol. 60. No. 1, a publication by the Keizai Gakkai (Literally: Economic Study Team) of Fukushima University, Fukushima, 1991.
"Kigyo Bunkaron no Shiteki Kenkyu-2," (Literally: "Historical Research on Theories of Organization Culture -- 2") by Fumihiko Iida. In Shogaku Ronshu, vol. 61. No. 4, a publication by the Keizai Gakkai (Literally: Economic Study Team) of Fukushima University, Fukushima, 1993.
Kodawari no Jinzai Saiyo Senryaku -- Ryo Kara Shitsu e no Risutorakucharingu (Literally, "Strategies for Successful Hiring -- Restructuring For Quality, Not Quantity.") by Fumihiko Iida, Tokyo: Chuo Keizai Sha (Publishers), 1994.
Kigyo Bunka o Byosha Suru Kokonotsu no Gainen (Literally, "Nine Concepts for Describing Organization Culture") and Kigyo Bunkaron o Manabu Hito no Tame Ni (Literally, "For Those Learning About Organization Culture"), by Fumihiko Iida, Edited by Tadashi Umezawa. Tokyo: Sekai Shiso Sha (Publishers), 1995.
Jimoto Kigyo no Firansoropi Senryaku ni Yoru Chiiki Sozo-Kyosei to Renkei no Chiiki Sozo (Literally,"Restructuring the Local Region Through Philanthropic Strategies by Local Industries"), by Fumihiko Iida, Edited by Isao Shimohirao, Tokyo: Hassaku-sha (Publisher). 1995.
Nihon Kigyo no Firansoropi Senryaku--Senryaku-teki Shakai Koken no Kihon Genri to Shomondai (Literally, "Philanthropic Strategies By Japanese Companies -- Basic Principles and Challenges of Strategic Social Welfare") by Fumihiko Iida. In Shogaku Ronshu, vol. 60. No. 1. Fukushima University, Fukushima, 1991.
3. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page xi.)
4. Beyond Death, Robert Almeder, Ph.D., Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas - Publisher, 1982. (4-a is on pages vii and 4-b is on page 82.)
5. Personally I highly evaluate the courageous activities of Swedenburg, Conan-Doyle, Edgar Casey and Shutiner, and do not consider their exemplary actions to be influenced by religious impulses or vulgar curiosity. However, I did not quote their old works because the recent scientific research leads to the same conclusion as theirs, thus permitting me to stress their greatness, as I wished to do. Just the mention of their names is enough to make many people show strong denials and rejection.
6. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Pages 61-64.)
7. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 24.)
8. Babies Remember Birth, D. Chamberland, Jeremy P. Tarcher Inc., 1988.
9. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 25.)
10. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 27.)
11. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 64.)
12. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 66. This is a quotation from Dr. Alexander Cannon's 1950 book, The Power Within.)
13. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Quoted on page 67 of Life Between Life, probably from Dr. Edith Fiore's book, You Have Been Here Before, New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1978.)
14. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Pages 27-29.)
15. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 56.)
16. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 28.)
17. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 23.)
18. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Dr. Jarmon's case is quoted on pages 71-72.)
19. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 29.)
20. Mr. Katsumi Hirano describes this case precisely in his work, "Tanjo no Shimpi o Saguru 16" (Literally, "Searching for the Secrets of Birth -- 16"), in the monthly journal Hai Genki, Tokyo: Sawayaka Shuppansha (Publishers) v. 63, 1995.
21. Refer to Saimin Ryoho Jittaiken (Literally: "Actual Examples of Hypnotherapy,") by Mayumi Yamamoto, in the journal Power Space v. 23, Tokyo: Sawayaka Shuppan (Publishers), 1995.
22. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 168.)
23. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Note 23-A refers to a discussion of Dr. Helen Wambach's study on pages 67-68 of Dr. Whitton's book. Dr. Wambach's study was initially published in Life Before Life, (Helen Wambach, New York: Bantam Books, 1979.) Note 23-B refers to page 68 of Dr. Whitton's book, where Dr. Wambach's work Life Before Life is again discussed.
24. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Pages 81-82.)
25. "Are Holocaust Victims Returning?" by Rabbi Yonassan Gershom, in Venture Inward, November/December 1987. (Both 25-A and 25-B are on page 18.)
26. New Studies of Xenoglossy, Ian Stevenson, Virginia: The University Press of Virginia, 1984.
27. Children Who Remember Previous Lives, Ian Stevenson, Virginia: The University Press of Virginia, 1987.
28. Children Who Remember Previous Lives, Ian Stevenson, Virginia: The University Press of Virginia, 1987.
29. Children Who Remember Previous Lives, Ian Stevenson, Virginia: The University Press of Virginia, 1987. (Page 233.)
30. Claims of Reincarnation, Satwant Pasricha, Ph.D., Harmon Publishing House, New Delhi, 1990. (Page 233.)
31. Claims of Reincarnation, Satwant Pasricha, Ph.D., Harmon Publishing House, New Delhi, 1990. (Page 233.)
32. The Holotropic Mind, S. Grof, John Brockman Associates, 1992. (Page 133.)
33. The Holotropic Mind, S. Grof, John Brockman Associates, 1992. (Page 130.)
34. The Holotropic Mind, S. Grof, John Brockman Associates, 1992. (Page 127.)
35. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Pages 20-21.)
36. Transformed by the Light, Melvin Morse, M.D., with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1992. (Pages x-xi.)
37. On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (Page 13-14.)
38. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (38-A is on page 28 and 38-B is on page 30.)
39. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 30-31.)
40. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 33.)
41. On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (Page 60.)
42. Refer to "Tanjo no Shimpi o Saguru 16" (Literally, "Searching for the Secrets of Birth -- 16"), in the monthly journal Hai Genki, Sawayaka Shuppansha (Publishers) v. 63, 1995.
43. Shi no Taiken (Literally, "Experiences of Death") by Karl Baker, Tokyo: Hozokan, 1992, pages 30-32.
44. Parting Visions, Melvin Morse, M.D., with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994. (44-A is on pages 23-24 and 44-B is on page 24.)
45. Parting Visions, Melvin Morse, M.D., with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994. (Page 190.)
46. On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (46-A is on page 14 and 46-B is on page 15.)
47. On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (Page 33.)
48. On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (Page 15.)
49. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (This case is on pages 126-140.)
50. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Pages 38-41.)
51. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (51-A is on page 107; 51-B is on page 41.)
52. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (52-A is from pages 90-98; 52B is on page 98.)
53. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (53-A and 53-B are both on page 98.)
54. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 40.)
55. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 41.)
56. Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994. (Note 56-A is taken from pages 7-10; note 56-B is from page 10; note 56-C is from page 11; note 56-D is from page 17; and note 56-E is from pages 19-20.)
57. Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994. (Note 57-A is from page 20; note 57-B is from pages 20-21.)
58. Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994. (Page 51-52.)
59. Transformed by the Light, Melvin Morse, M.D., with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1992. (Page xii.)
60. Embraced by the Light, Betty J. Eadie, New York: Bantum Books, 1994. (Page 113.)
61. Parting Visions, Melvin Morse, M.D., with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994. (Note 61-A is from pages 103-104; note 61-B is from page 104.)
62. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 44.)
63. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 45.)
64. Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994. (Page 15.)
65. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 46.)
66. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 46.)
67. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 190-191.)
68. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 51.)
69. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (All of quotations from the book in this section are taken from pages 75 through 79.)
70. Mr. Katsumi Hirano describes this case precisely in his work, "Tanjo no Shimpi o Saguru 16" (Literally, "Searching for the Secrets of Birth -- 16"), in the monthly journal Hai Genki, Sawayaka Shuppansha (Publishers) v. 63, 1995. In his book, however, Mr. Iida is adding his own view, referring to the report on patients.
71. Refer to Raluhu to Dorain -- Aru Jinzo Ishokusha no Taiko Saimin ni Yoru Kakosei, (Literally, "Raruha and Dorain -- Past Lives of a Kidney Transplant Patient, Revealed During Hypnotherapy"), Tokyo:1996. This is an unpublished work which is being distributed by the writer himself.
72. Refer to Raluhu to Dorain -- Aru Jinzo Ishokusha no Taiko Saimin ni Yoru Kakosei (Literally, "Raruha and Dorain -- Past Lives of a Kidney Transplant Patient, Revealed During Hypnotherapy"), Tokyo:1996. This is an unpublished work which is being distributed by the writer himself.
73. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Pages 80-81.)
74. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 85.)
75. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 217.)
76. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 112.)
77. Embraced by the Light, Betty J. Eadie, New York: Bantum Books, 1994. (Pages 95-96.)
78. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 79.)
79. Embraced by the Light, Betty J. Eadie, New York: Bantum Books, 1994. (Page 92.)
80. Who Were You Before You Were You? Garrett Oppenheim, Ph.D., New York: Carlton Press, Inc., 1990. (Page 128.)
81. Who Were You Before You Were You? Garrett Oppenheim, Ph.D., New York: Carlton Press, Inc., 1990. (The quotes in this section from Who Were You Before You Were You? are from pages 129-130.)
82. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Pages 84-86.)
83. Children Who Remember Previous Lives, Ian Stevenson, Virginia: The University Press of Virginia, 1987.
84. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 91.)
85. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 86.)
86. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 172.)
87. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (First sentence is on page 91; second sentence is on page 142.)
88. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 165.)
89. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 91.)
90. The Holotropic Mind, S. Grof, John Brockman Associates, 1992. (Page 131.)
91. The Art of Loving, E. Fromm, New York: Haprer & Brothers, 1956. (91-A is from page 56, under C. erotic love, the chapter titled "The Theory of Love; 91-B is from pages 102-103 in the chapter titled "Love--Disintergration in Western Society.")
92. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 51.)
93. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Note 93-A is from pages 51 and 52; notes 93-B and 93-3 are from page 52.)
94. Claims of Reincarnation, Satwant Pasricha, Ph.D., Harmon Publishing House, New Delhi, 1990. (Page 233.)
95. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Note 95-A is from pages 53; note 95-b is from page 56.)
96. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 56.)
97. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 54.)
98. "Tanjo no Shimpi o Saguru 16" (Literally, "Searching for the Secrets of Birth -- 16"), by Katsumi Hiranoin, in the monthly journal Hai Genki, Sawayaka Shuppansha (Publishers) v. 63, 1995.
99. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Pages 84 and 85.)
100. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 172.)
101. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 106.)
102. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 172.)
103. Reunions, Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D. with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1993. (Page xix-xx.)
104. Reunions, Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D. with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1993. (Pages 84 and 111.)
105. Reunions, Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D. with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1993. (Pages 82-83..)
106. Reunions, Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D. with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1993. (Page 192.)
107. Reunions, Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D. with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1993. (Pages 25-28..)
108. Reunions, Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D. with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1993. (Pages 96-97.)
109. Reunions, Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D. with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1993. (Pages 99-100.)
110. We Don't Die, Joel Martin and Patricia Romanowski, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1988.
111. Shisha wa Kataru (Literally, "The Dead Speak"), by Hiroshi Itokawa. Tokyo: Kodansha (Publishers), 1992. (Pages 24-25).
112. Shisha wa Kataru (Literally, "The Dead Speak"), by Hiroshi Itokawa. Tokyo: Kodansha (Publishers), 1992. (Pages 39-40).
113. Shisha wa Kataru (Literally, "The Dead Speak"), by Hiroshi Itokawa. Tokyo: Kodansha (Publishers), 1992. (Pages 74-85).
114. Shisha wa Kataru (Literally, "The Dead Speak"), by Hiroshi Itokawa. Tokyo: Kodansha (Publishers), 1992. (Pages 92-94).
115. Shisha wa Kataru (Literally, "The Dead Speak"), by Hiroshi Itokawa. Tokyo: Kodansha (Publishers), 1992. (Pages 130-131).
116. Shisha wa Kataru (Literally, "The Dead Speak"), by Hiroshi Itokawa. Tokyo: Kodansha (Publishers), 1992. (Pages 200-210).
117. Shisha wa Kataru (Literally, "The Dead Speak"), by Hiroshi Itokawa. Tokyo: Kodansha (Publishers), 1992. (Pages 138-144).
118. Shisha wa Kataru (Literally, "The Dead Speak"), by Hiroshi Itokawa. Tokyo: Kodansha (Publishers), 1992. (Page 212).
119. Shisha wa Kataru (Literally, "The Dead Speak"), by Hiroshi Itokawa. Tokyo: Kodansha (Publishers), 1992. (Page 212).
120. Kagaku to Hikagaku no Aida ("Literally, "Between Science and Non-Science"), by Ikuro Anzai, Kyoto: Kamogawa Shuppan (Publishers), 1995. (Pages 62-63 and page 20.)
121. Shinu Toki Ni Miru Kokei (Literally, "The Vision We See At Death"), by Akikazu Takada. Tokyo PHP Kenkyujo (PHP Research Institute), 1995.
122. Is There Life After Death?, Professor Robert Kastenbaum, London: Prion, 1995.
123. Footnote 123A is refers to Is There Life After Death? by Professor Robert Kastenbaum (London: Prion, 1995.) In this book, Professor Kastenbaum alternatively argues the advocate's view and the skeptic's view of paranormal phenomena. footnote 123-B refers to On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (Page 14.)
124. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 11.)
125. Uchu Ni Wa Ishi Ga Aru, by Kunitomo Sakurai, Japan: Crest Sensho, 1995. (Page 200)
126. Beyond Death, Robert Almeder, Ph.D., Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas - Publisher, 1982. (Page vii.)
127. Rinshi Taiken no Sekai (Literally, "The World of Near-Death Experiences"), by Masahiko Nakamura, Tokyo: Futami Shobo (Publisher), 1991. (Note 127-A is from page 235; note 127-B is from page 309.)
128. Kagaku to Hikagaku no Aida (Literally, "Between Science and Non-Science"), by Ikuro Anzai, Kyoto: Kamogawa Shuppan (Publishers), 1995. (Page 10.)
129. Footnote 129-A and 129-B are on page 274 of What Survives? Edited by Gary Doore, Ph.D., New York: G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS, 1990. Footnote 129-C is on page 278 of the same work.
130. Ikigai to wa Nani Ka (Literally, "What is the Meaning of Life?)," by Tsukasa Kobayashi, Tokyo: NHK Books, 1989. (Pages 27-28.)
131. Jiko Jitsugen no Shinri, (Literally, "Truths in Self-Realization"), by Yoshikazu Ueda, Tokyo: Seishin Shobo (Publishers), 1976. (Pages 63-64.
132. Full Circle, B. Harris and L.C. Bascom, The Adele Leonie Agency, 1990.
133. Recollections of Death, Michael B. Sabom, M.D., F.A.C.C., New York: Harper and Row, 1982. (Page 126.)
134. Results of this survey are quoted on page 123 of The Psychology of Happiness, Michael Argyle, New York: Routledge, 1987.
135. Results of this survey are quoted on page 197 of The Psychology of Happiness, Michael Argyle, New York: Routledge, 1987.
136. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 207.)
137. Parting Visions, Melvin Morse, M.D., with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994. (Pages 165-166.)
138. Recollections of Death, Michael B. Sabom, M.D., F.A.C.C., New York: Harper and Row, 1982. (Einstein is quoted on page 186 of Recollections of Death. The quotation is from The Human Side, Albert Einstein, Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffmann, eds. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979, page 33.)
139. On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (Pages 56-58.)
140. Recollections of Death, Michael B. Sabom, M.D., F.A.C.C., New York: Harper and Row, 1982. (Page 186.)
141. On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (Page 79.)
142. Children Who Remember Previous Lives, Ian Stevenson, Virginia: The University Press of Virginia, 1987. (Pages 85-88.)
143. Through Time Into Healing, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. (Page 152.)
144. Recollections of Death, Michael B. Sabom, M.D., F.A.C.C., New York: Harper and Row, 1982. (Page 126.)
145. Recollections of Death, Michael B. Sabom, M.D., F.A.C.C., New York: Harper and Row, 1982. (Page 129.)
146. Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian L. Weiss, M.D., New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988. (Page 140.)
147. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988. (Page 138.)
148. Life Between Life, Joel L. Whitton, M.D., Ph.D. and Joe Fisher, New York: Warner Books, 1988.
149. On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (Page 82.)
150. The Light Beyond, Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D., New York: Bantum, 1989. (Page 41.)
151. Parting Visions, Melvin Morse, M.D., with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994. (Page 172.)
151. Refer to Raluhu to Dorain -- Aru Jinzo Ishokusha no Taiko Saimin ni Yoru Kakosei, (Literally, "Raruha and Dorain -- Past Lives of a Kidney Transplant Patient, Revealed During Hypnotherapy"), Tokyo:1996. This is an unpublished work which is being distributed by the writer himself. Page 234.
152. On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1991. (Page 63-64.)
153. Saved by the Light, Dannion Brinkley with Paul Perry, New York: Villard Books, 1994.