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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Book Review — “Heaven is for Real”

While walking through the grocery store this past weekend, I ran across a fairly new book entitled Heaven is for Real for Kids: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back. It was published in 2010 and became #1 on the NY Times best seller list in March 2011, with more than 1.5 million copies sold to date. What caught my attention was that the book is about a boy named Colton who had a near death experience when he was not quite four years old. Over the next year or so, Colton periodically and spontaneously related intriguing bits of information about his experience in “Heaven”, including meeting his great grandfather (who died before Colton was born), his miscarried sister (who no one had told him about), angels, Gabriel, Jesus, Mary and even God.

I am an avid fan of books which discuss near death experiences, life-between-lives, and the struggle to be born into a physical life. I especially appreciate when such events are related by small children, as I consider that such children typically apply very little filtering (personal bias) in terms of the information received — aside from being a child observer with limited understanding and a limited vocabulary. Very young children still have memories of their spiritual existence before physical life began, and many continue to communicate with “spirit friends” until age five or even later.

Such is the case with Colton Burpo. I see this young boy as an honest conveyor of what he experienced, observed and was told while visiting the Soul Side. This is a very important perspective, for any such information which is considered to be credible must be balanced against my own spiritual beliefs. In some cases, this can lead to a transcending spiritual experience that can shake, and perhaps subsequently strengthen, the foundation of personal faith, just as it shook the bedrock of faith for Colton’s father and mother.

The events which unfold in the book are related by Colton’s father, Todd Burpo, who is the pastor at Crossroads Wesleyan Church in the small farming town of Imperial, Nebraska, USA. The town of Imperial and parishioners from other small regional towns play an important role in Colton’s experience and somewhat miraculous recovery. Their generosity and prayer remind us that there is no such thing as spiritual coincidence; everything happens for a reason, and so most blessings happen in response to personal and community requests through prayer. Read More…

Q&A — Body and Soul Relationships, 09/21/2011

[From time to time I receive questions through email or blog comments about spiritual and soul therapy issues. I know in my heart that these delightful inquiries from a few kind people actually respond to similar questions by many participants in The Soul Channel. So I have decided to share portions of the questions and responses without identifying the source of the inquiry.]

Question:

If the soul is eternal and the physical body is finite, then it seems that the soul joins a body and goes along for the ride during a physical life. In this respect, the soul could be seen as a parasite on, or within, the physical body. If this is remotely correct, then it leads to a troubling question: Can a physical body exist without a soul and, if so, how would it behave or live differently than a body with a soul?

Edited Response:

There are two components to this inquiry, which was received as a comment from a participant to The Soul Channel. The first is the concept of a ‘parasitic relationship’ between the soul and the physical body; or do they have a synergistic symbiotic relationship? The second component is the integrated question of the ability of the body to exist without a soul. Read More…

Q&A — Atonement and Karma, 09/19/2011

[From time to time I receive questions through email or blog comments about spiritual and soul therapy issues. I know in my heart that these delightful inquiries from a few kind people actually respond to similar questions by many participants in The Soul Channel. So I have decided to share portions of the questions and responses without identifying the source of the inquiry.]

Question:

How does the process of experiential learning as part of multiple lives fit in with God and the Christian concept of atonement?

Edited Response:

The concept of atonement (making amends for misdeeds and wrong-doing) is a cornerstone of many religions, especially Christianity. For Hinduism and Buddhism, the concept is “bad karma”, recognizing that there are both bad and good deeds in physical life (bad and good karma); one is rewarded or punished in one life for the deeds in a previous life. How you believe atonement occurs is one of the important tenets of your personal faith; thus any discussion on the matter creates the possibility of shaking one’s faith; I applaud your courage, and I will do my best not to crack that foundation.

We come into this world to experience that which we cannot experience in the total love environment of the soul side, and we make this journey with the blessing and the unconditional love of God, who has given us free will. In this world with billions of people, some are perceived as truly evil, while others are perceived as true humanitarians and philanthropists; most fall somewhere in the middle of these extremes; the diversity of the extremes of human nature offers an infinite number of combinations of possible interactions, both positive and negative. In planning our lives, we obtain assistance from experienced souls who will not be in physical form at the same time we are; and we make agreements and commitments with other souls for various relationships and interactions, again including actions which might be perceived as good or bad from different individual perspectives. These concepts lead to the following considerations: Read More…

Q&A — Our Relationship with God Across Multiple Lives, 09/19/2011

[From time to time I receive questions through email or blog comments about spiritual and soul therapy issues. I know in my heart that these delightful inquiries from a few kind people actually respond to similar questions by many participants in The Soul Channel. So I have decided to share portions of the questions and responses without identifying the source of the inquiry.]

Question:

Assuming there is a possibility that a soul can have multiple physical life incarnations, how can a soul live many different lives and still maintain a relationship with God? If one has salvation in this life, but not in the next or previous lives, who wins?

Edited Response:

You and your soul are never separate from God; you are essentially one and the same, eternally connected. It is a difficult concept to understand, given the transcendent nature of the Creator of all existence.

Consider the following example: the cells in your right index finger are separate from the cells of your left little toe; yet they are part of, and contribute to, the whole of your physical body. Similarly, the red blood cells rushing through your heart are separate from the air molecules in your lungs, yet they must learn to co-exist within the blood stream for your body to survive, for your brain to think, for your vocal chords to sing. The energy which enters and moves through your body is separate from the air in your home or office, yet both the transient energy flowing through your cells and the transient air which moves into your lungs and provides oxygen to the bloodstream are critical to your physical existence, your physical health, and your soul’s ability to experience physical life. All of this is part of what we call Earth, and that is part of God’s universe, which is an integral part of God and which continues to exist by the sustaining energy provided by God.

So when one speaks of salvation, what are they being saved from? You have always been and will always be a part of God, and the very worst that could ever possibly happen to you is that your physical body may die early, such that your soul returns to your spiritual home sooner than planned. When one speaks of this life, the past life, and the next life, it is important to recognize that all physical lives are a part of the continuing life of the soul, and the soul always returns home between physical lives. Read More…

Q&A — Improving Soul Side Connections, 09/18/2011

[From time to time I receive questions through email or blog comments about spiritual and soul therapy issues. I know in my heart that these delightful inquiries from a few kind people actually respond to similar questions by many participants in The Soul Channel. So I have decided to share portions of the questions and responses without identifying the source of the inquiry.]

Question:

Are there things we can do consciously to support or establish a better connection with our Soul Side Support System or to make their jobs easier?

Edited Response:

There is a delightful book by Michael Todd, M.D., entitled The Evolution Angel: An Emergency Physician’s Lessons with Death and the Divine. Chapter 4 is a discussion with a “messenger” from the Soul Side who discusses this very question. Here is a specific excerpt from the book:

“We see all of you as children, and we love all of you no matter what you do. But we really wish you would call on us more when you are having a good time. You need to work on this. Don’t just call us when you get in trouble—during the bad times. Don’t act this way with any messenger. It is somewhat rude and inconsiderate.

“Remember that we love joy and fun. Granted, we don’t really need your help to have fun. It’s just That it is polite and considerate to include us in the good times as well as the bad.”

Michael Todd responds, “How should we do this exactly?”

“It’s all done in consciousness. When things are going great, all you have to do is remember us. This simple act of awareness is greatly appreciated by your guardians, who will consider it a sign of spiritual maturity. Like good teacher everywhere, we like to see signs that our students are making progress. That is a major part of our reward for working with you.”

Q&A — Instinct versus Soul Side Communication, 09/17/2011

[From time to time I receive questions through email or blog comments about spiritual and soul therapy issues. I know in my heart that these delightful inquiries from a few kind people actually respond to similar questions by many participants in The Soul Channel. So I have decided to share portions of the questions and responses without identifying the source of the inquiry.]

Question:

Where do hunches and gut instincts come from? Do voices and visions really exist; if yes, then do they come from our Soul Side Support System? Why do people seem to experience voices and visions more commonly when the life of a family member is in jeopardy?

Edited Response:

Hunches and instinct come mostly from experience, both from this life and from past lives. If you are an expert in automobile mechanics and someone describes the symptoms of a problem with their car, the experience of the expert will suggest a probable (hunch) cause. The same applies to experienced medical doctors who instinctively know the most probable illness based on patient symptoms. Experienced military personnel in combat seem to be reading the hostile environment all the time so as to develop a ‘second sense’ as to what the dangers might be around the next corner. And the more enduring the duration of related experience — decades or lifetimes — the more intuitive the expert and the higher the degree of accuracy.

Of course, some hunches and apparent instinct come from the Soul Side. Most notably this includes warnings from protective guardians, bits of awareness and knowledge passed along by spirit guides, insights offered by spirit teachers, perhaps even a prayer answered directly by God. What we can be certain about is that we are NEVER alone; stated another way, we are NEVER, never alone; and advice and guidance come both in response to requests from our conscious minds and as a matter of maintaining and assisting the life plan of the soul.

You asked further about voices and visions; yes, those come from the Soul Side Support System. There are three mechanisms for obtaining such premonitions or advance information:

  • Clairvoyant — an individual who is able to receive visions of events to come;
  • Clairaudient — an individual who is able to hear information (voices) about events to come; and
  • Clairsentient — literally, “clear feeling” or “knowing what cannot be known;” receives thoughts, vibrations or disturbances in the energy field, or experiences pain or emotions of another person, any of which translate into precognition (often associated with “hunches); also can receive information about events to come through dreams, including daydreams or meditation. Read More…

Q&A — Soul Groups, 9/13/2011

[From time to time I receive questions through email or blog comments about spiritual and soul therapy issues. I know in my heart that these delightful inquiries from a few kind people actually respond to similar questions by many participants in The Soul Channel. So I have decided to share portions of the responses without identifying the source of the inquiry.]

Question:

I read in one of your posts that souls tend to come to the Earth in groups to solve specific tasks. I started asking myself what are the tasks for my parent-family relationships.

Edited Response:

The simplest concept of a soul group is a group that is seeking to understand familial relationships. For example, assume that we are looking at your relationship with your mother: in this life, you are the daughter; in a previous life, you were her father or mother; in the next you may negotiate to be her brother or a cousin. Given the infinite possibilities of the soul, examining any question from multiple family-member perspectives provides substantially greater insights on the relationships and the various parent-adult-child relationships. Both soul groups and individual souls seek the broadest experiential perspective when the opportunities arise. Read More…

Q&A — Spontaneous Meditation, 9/13/2011

[From time to time I receive questions through email or blog comments about spiritual and soul therapy issues. I know in my heart that these delightful inquiries from a few kind people actually respond to similar questions by many participants in The Soul Channel. So I have decided to share portions of the responses without identifying the source of the inquiry.]

Question:

I wanted to ask for your guidance in meditation. As far as I understood, all studies and therapies lead to meditation anyway as it is a universal way to obtain knowledge of yourself and heal yourself psychologically and physically. For some people it is quite natural to go into this state of consciousness, but for me it is not like that. I believe I experienced something called ‘spontaneous meditation’, which occurs a couple of minutes before falling asleep and in the pre-awakening state. Sometimes it amounts to vibrations; sometimes I have a strange feeling that I can see my body from aside laying in the bed or sitting. But it is not meditation.

Edited Response:

Although the inquiry is about meditation, the discussion focuses more toward near-dream states and out-of-body experiences. From a clinical perspective, the normal, alert state of mind is the ‘beta’ level of consciousness. As brain activities slow (fewer cycles per second of vibration), we move into the ‘alpha’ level of consciousness; as this progresses, the control by the conscious mind becomes shared with the unconscious mind, which is the ‘gateway to the soul.’ This transition from beta to alpha consciousness is the near-dream state (perhaps a fantasy state) and applies whether in bed preparing for sleep or simply sitting somewhere and day-dreaming or even fantasizing. It is also a brief moment in time when interesting things happen to your senses, which seem momentarily trapped between two worlds — literally between two states of consciousness and two competing states of control. Read More…

Animal Guide Therapy

Historical Perspective

Most people think of “animal guides” as reaching back several centuries to the native American Indians. Actually, it stretches back for thousands of years. The concept emerged from the ancient worship of animals and the belief that the spirit of the animal left the dead carcass, rose into the sky, then reincarnated as another animal.

When we consider smoke rising from a fire, it is not unusual to imagine the spirit of the animal leaving its body and rising into the sky as the animal is cooked over an open fire. Taking this a step further, early man observed that the earth seemed to replenish itself of plant life after observing those same plants die the previous winter. In the same manner, man observed the great herds of animals being reborn and returning each year to the hunting grounds. Many disappeared in the dead of winter, no longer visible to man. Even the birds seemed to disappear as the earth died each winter. Read More…

“Thank you for participating in The Soul Channel!” — John