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Befriending your soul: starting a dialogue

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Aug 252021
 

There was a time around age 40 when I felt that the interest of life was thinning out: friends from early adulthood were drifting away, my kids were turning into grumpy teenagers, work challenges became samey. However, now I’m in my early seventies, I’ve seen my life getting progressively more interesting for many years. One big reason is the richness of my non-human conversations: with Nature, with spiritual guides, and especially with my soul.

The aim of this blog is to share some tips on how to start a conversation with your soul. It’s not as easy as phoning someone up! It needs patience, and probably some new skills. I suggest the best groundwork is to start exploring the idea of soul, gathering your sense of what it might mean to you, and the questions you’d like to explore or clarify.

Ways to start could include meditating on this, talking to friends and learning about their beliefs, exploring books, videos, websites. My Resource Guide offers some starting points. Building up desire for contact with my soul was an important early stage for me.

When you’d like to start a dialogue with your soul, find a quiet and inspiring space: maybe a favourite place in Nature, or a meditation corner at home. Bring yourself into a receptive state, and in words or thought, invite your soul to speak to you. This is where patience is crucial! I’ve found it can take a long time for the soul to respond: remember this is a new contact for it too, and maybe it wants to test out how serious you are.

For me, having a physical sense of my soul’s presence has helped establish the connection. For some years, I pictured my soul’s physical location at the thymus gland, between the heart and the throat. More recently, one of my spiritual teachers suggested that I picture the soul as larger than the body, like an aura of light surrounding it. I’ve found this very helpful, and it reinforces a useful sense that I’m a body within a soul, not the other way round.

Another approach I value is calling in spirit guides, who can help me in my dialogue with the soul, and in supporting me and my soul when we meet a major challenge. In his excellent book, Journey of Souls (see more here), Michael Newton explains how souls have a mentor who guides them through many lifetimes, and he has seen many people connect with their mentor while in a human incarnation.

This too may need patience. It took me a few sessions of putting out a request for a connection with my soul mentor before I felt I got a response. If you can make this link, I suggest you maintain it by using it regularly, but sparingly: don’t clutter things by asking for guidance on minor issues!

Another interesting line of exploration is seeking to connect with your soul group, another idea well explained in Michael Newton’s book. You could seek a link with the collective wisdom of the group, or with individual souls within it. I’ve found both helpful, and it has given me a sense that three of my friends are part of the same soul group, which adds depth to our connection.

I hope this helps you with your soul’s journey: keeping a sense of adventure and open-mindedness is important!

 Posted by at 5:25 pm

Exploring the Soul’s Journey: Resource List

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Aug 262021
 

A         MAIN SOURCE BOOKS

Journey of Souls by Michael Newton. A detailed description, built from hypnotherapy sessions with over 300 clients reporting broadly the same experience. Describes stages in soul development, soul groups and mentors, how a soul chooses a human incarnation, and how it is reviewed after death. Fascinating and inspiring!

Testimony of Light by Helen Greaves.  Is there an afterlife beyond this human one? What is it like? If we knew more about the afterlife, could that guide our human life here and now? This book offers some of the most convincing answers to these questions that I have found.

There are two voices in this book: the writer is Helen Greaves, but she is transcribing the voice of her dead friend, Frances Banks. Both were Anglican nuns, colleagues and friends: the book is written in the mid-1960s. Soon after Frances’ death, Helen started to receive a series of messages from her, describing her experiences in the afterlife.  For a two page blog on this book see: https://www.living-organically.com/book-blog-testimony-of-light-by-helen-greaves/

B         OTHER RELEVANT BOOKS:

Desert Wisdom by Neil Douglas Klotz.  This book is a treasure house of key texts from the Middle Eastern spiritual traditions, restored to their full depth by Neil’s beautiful retranslations from the original languages.  The book also provides commentaries, body prayers and meditations.  It includes a number of texts relevant to this topic, for example, some of Jesus’ teachings, and parts of Genesis. 

The Soul’s Journey by Hazrat Inayat Khan.  This is a fascinating and lucid exploration of the topic, by one of the leading Sufi teachers of the early 20th Century.  He believes that each soul has a life which extends far before and after a human incarnation, and he offers many valuable pointers on how a soul in a body can make the most of this experience.  He also believes that all forms of life have a soul of some kind. If you want a perspective on the topic from a gifted spiritual teacher, this could suit you.

Modern Man in Search of a Soul by Carl Jung. An inspiring, expansive book, Jung at his best. It should widen your horizons!

The Soul’s Code: In search of character and calling by James Hillman. He explores the idea that we’re born with a calling, and our early years provide clues that we may need to return to. This book is available as a free download if you websearch for it.

The Art of Dying by Peter Fenwick and Elizabeth Fenwick.  This book was recommended to me by a hospice nurse.  It is a guide to the dying process, with a focus on what happens to our consciousness during and beyond death, drawing on both structured research and personal accounts of both dying and near death experiences.  They conclude “all the experiences we have been told of point to death being part of a structured and supportive process.” Peter is a leading neurophysiologist, and his wife has written several books on health and family issues.

Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.  Written by one of the most warm and engaging Tibetan Buddhist teachers, this is a relatively approachable way into the deep and complex Tibetan teachings about conscious dying, the life beyond, and how this can enrich life now. But be warned: it’s a long and demanding book!

C         USEFUL WEBSITES

Newton Institute: run by Michael Newton, offers resources, therapists, book info and more. See www.newtoninstitute.org/

Dying Into Love: This website offers some powerful wisdom from teachers with a lots of experience in this area, such as Rumi, Ram Dass and Joan Halifax.  See www.dyingintolove.com

Stephen Levine: useful material on his website, www.orphanwisdom.com and some excellent videos of talks by Stephen and Ondrea Levine are on www.levinetalks.com.

Neil Douglas Klotz: his website offers a lot of resources, such as teachings, music, and details of his books and events. See abwoon.org/

D         PEOPLE

Alan Heeks: Alan writes regular blogs, leads groups, and publishes a regular newsletter on aspects of resilience and wellbeing.  See more at www.living-organically.com

 Posted by at 8:52 am
Aug 232021
 

Ever wonder about a life beyond this one?

Perhaps Covid-19 has made many of us reflect about our mortality, and wonder if this increasingly strange world is a preparation for something else.  I have long believed that our soul exists before and after a human lifetime, and this book offers evidence I find persuasive. 

Michael Newton is an American hypnotherapist, who started out sceptical about lives beyond this one.  However, he discovered a talent for helping his clients use regression to travel back through their soul’s journey before this lifetime.  Several hundred clients, independently, over a thirty-year period, described similar experiences, which he sums up in this book.

For me, this is as close to objective validation of something unearthly as you’ll find.  And much of what he reports makes intuitive sense, has echoes in my exploration of my own soul’s journey, and tallies with accounts of near-death experiences. 

Newton reports that most souls’ journey through human incarnations spans hundreds of years, and the gap between each lifetime can be tens of years or more.  Much of his book describes what happens in the Life between Lives (LBL) periods, when souls return to the ‘soul cluster groups’ which are their real home and core support and learning group. 

A cluster group typically has about 15 souls, and is like a study group, with a shared focus, and souls at a similar developmental stage.  These groups share a senior or master guide, who has this role right through a soul’s journey.  Individual souls usually have a junior or trainee guide also. Newton’s clients describe their joy at returning to this cluster, which is the soul’s true home community.

Some guides are in a human body themselves, and often a few souls in a cluster will choose related incarnations. So if you feel a deep rapport with a few people among your friends and family, it may be an ongoing soul connection.

The book describes in detail the stages a soul goes through from the end of one human life to the start of the next. These include a review of the recent life with a Council of Elders, supported by one’s guide.  There is also healing and support for souls who have suffered or feel they failed in their life’s mission. Especially interesting is the process of choosing a new incarnation: key scenes are shown on a video screen, and an intention discussed with the guide. 

Newton quotes case studies which help us understand how a soul might choose a life involving injury, disability, or premature death: “to overcome a body impediment does accelerate advancement.”  Part of the choice process can be negotiating with other souls in your cluster to play key roles for each other, such as sibling. 

His clients report that being born is a greater shock than dying. The soul does not join the body at conception, but during pregnancy, and has to align with the baby’s brain.  While most of us may feel little connection to our souls, I have found that it can be cultivated, and this book suggests that we can get help from our guides and our cluster group during our human journeys. He emphasises that a soul doesn’t control the life it enters: the brain, body and personality all have a big influence.

Newton describes souls as Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced, and says “souls end their incarnations on Earth when they reach full maturity.”  Newton’s analysis suggests that the vast majority of souls on Earth are Beginner souls: these only join a learning cluster around their fifth human lifetime. Intermediate souls are given trial assignments of helping guide a younger soul.

He says the mark of an Advanced soul is “one who has patience with society and shows extraordinary coping skills… [plus] exceptional insight. They may choose to keep returning to Earth, much like bodhisattvas.”

The book offers interesting perspectives on why souls choose a human life on Earth: it describes how souls may incarnate on other planets, and this one is seen as a severe challenge. An Advanced soul said: “there is so much fear to overcome here. It is a world in conflict… [but] for all Earth’s quarrelling and cruelty, there is passion and bravery here.”

If this sounds of interest, I strongly recommend you to read the book, which gives a much fuller account than I can here, with case studies and quotes from some of the souls involved. Newton has trained other therapists in his methods, and has written follow-up books: you can see more at www.newtoninstitute.org.

I value his affirming that our souls are on a growth journey, and that the challenges of human life have been chosen to enable this. This book has enriched my understanding of the soul’s journey, and has expanded my exploration of it.

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 Posted by at 10:34 am

Testimony of Light by Helen Greaves

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Aug 262021
 

Is there an afterlife beyond this human one? What is it like? If we knew more about the afterlife, could that guide our human life here and now? This book offers some of the most convincing answers to these questions that I have found.

There are two voices in this book: the writer is Helen Greaves, but she is transcribing the voice of her dead friend, Frances Banks. Both were Anglican nuns, colleagues and friends: the book is written in the mid-1960s. Soon after Frances’ death, Helen started to receive a series of messages from her, describing her experiences in the afterlife.

Reading this book made me realise that my dominant images of the afterlife are quire flimsy and simplistic: a Heaven and Hell, loosely derived from the Old Testament and a lot of medieval art. Plus a bit of karma dogma from the East. Whereas Frances Banks describes a more subtle, encouraging afterlife, much closer to the original teachings of Jesus as explored in the work of Neil Douglas Klotz.

After death, Frances joins the team in a sort of Rest Home:

“Souls are brought here from earth and from other places… when they are ready…”

“Many who arrive here are either completely overwhelmed by the fact of a further existence, or disillusioned because … they have envisaged a heaven … (where) henceforth no efforts would be required from them.”

An example of this further work is “to right the wrongs they have done in their earth lives by concentrated thoughts of forgiveness and compassion.”

What we might call Heaven is not a static condition, but a long, exciting process of expansion:

“Our ‘inner eyes’ are opened gradually or swiftly to the errors of our old patterns of thinking and acting. We are allowed to progress into such experiences as will help us to put right these errors.”

“There are no tenets, no hard and fast rules… All is individual, yet all is for the good of the whole.”

“Each soul and each group moves onward towards greater expansion… Yet all the same time… directs ‘backward’ to the plane below,… the fruits of its knowledge.”

Her experience supports the idea of the soul’s life before and after human form, and of reincarnation. She believes there is “a Pattern and a Plan”, and that “the soul needs to ‘project’ some part of itself back into the denser environment of earth in repeated attempts to master the trials and stresses of those vibrations.”

And she believes a soul chooses the key events of its forthcoming life, to give it the experiences it needs.

She reports a conversation with Pierre Curie who says: “Mankind… learns slowly and such slow progress with many mistakes brings pain. But if you regard life from the angle of an eternal process you get a different feeling about it. The Life Force is not expanded on only one terrestrial globe.” (p54)

Frances finds that Soul Groups are an important part of the journey: “We are members not of one group but of many…” these include our Family Group, and Groups of Interest, such as the arts, education, social service. Typically these groups will include souls in a human life, and souls in the afterlife. These groups will include people we know in earthly life, possibly those we find repellent, as well as those who we feel strongly drawn to.

The form of “hell” she describes is far more encouraging than the archetypal pit of flames. She writes about the Shadow Lands, but explains that people can move beyond them when they choose to turn to the “Light of Love”, and many helpers visit to help souls make this change.

So what can we learn from all this to guide our life in a body? Firstly, the idea that we are part of Soul Groups who want to share their wisdom with us, and learn from our experience. Secondly, that “the great purpose of life in matter is to illumine matter with Spirit”, and “the great secret of finding that Spirit was the ‘letting go’ of self.” Thirdly, that “the inner life of the soul within the body-mind on earth decides the first future ‘home’ on this level.” Fourthly, as one of her mentors says, “Prayers and good thoughts for those who have left the earth life, by their fellows still in incarnation are a great aid to our work here.”

Her experiences give a great sense of continuity and scope for progression. For example, there are the chances to understand much more deeply what happened during ones earthly life looking back at it, and actually to rectify mistakes one made. She also comments “That much of what we thought praiseworthy on earth is mediocre to us in the Light of wider knowledge, and conversely much for which we blamed ourselves and were blamed by others, is viewed here from a wider angle and even becomes merit!”

These are only brief fragments of a really fascinating narrative: worth reading from cover to cover.

Testimony of Light by Helen Greaves is published in the UK by Rider: ISBN1-8441-3135-1

 Posted by at 9:05 am