Archive for March 29, 2010


The “Face-Off” is a recurring series where opposing sides debate hot topics. In the sixth installment of the series, Deepak Chopra, a physician and best-selling author of “How to Know God,” and prominent scholar, philosopher and writer Jean Houston, will face-off against Michael Shermer, founding publisher of “Skeptic” magazine, and Sam Harris, author of “The End of Faith” on the tension between God and science.

In 2007, the first “Face-Off” tackled the existence of God and pitted actor and evangelical Kirk Cameron and his partner at “The Way of the Master” evangelism ministry against two self-proclaimed atheists. Other past topics include America’s addiction to porn, adultery, Satan, and whether it’s OK to be fat.

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Consciousness and brain function are discussed in layman’s terms. Hameroff has worked with mathematician Roger Penrose to map neurological brain function to the world of quantum mechanics.

The Intuition Network, A Thinking Allowed Television Underwriter, presents the following transcript from the series Thinking Allowed, Conversations On the Leading Edge of Knowledge and Discovery, with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove.

JEFFREY MISHLOVE, Ph.D.: Hello and welcome. I’m Jeffrey Mishlove. Today we’re going to explore unfurling the potential of being. With me is Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, initiate of an Indian Sufi order. Pir Vilayat is the author of numerous books including Toward the One, The Message in Our Time, The Call of the Dervish, and Introducing Spirituality into Counseling and Therapy. Welcome.

PIR VILAYAT INAYAT KHAN: Thank you.

MISHLOVE: It’s really a pleasure to be with you. You know, in your writings you often describe the struggle, the conflict that we humans engage in as we’re caught in between our dual nature. We’re locked into a finite body, each with our own life story and melodrama, and yet simultaneously we’re like God; we partake of the entire cosmos.

KHAN: Yes. I call that reconciliation of irreconcilables. It’s very difficult for our minds to accept this dual nature of identity, and I think we’re cutting right into the main problem of psychology. I think most people have a bad self-image, or overcompensate, or don’t know how to assess their value in any way. Because it’s very difficult to accept what my father calls “the aristocracy of the soul, together with the democracy of the ego”; or he calls it “the greatest pride in one’s divine inheritance, and humility about one’s inadequacy in bringing it through, and yet still accepting the divinity of one’s being” — I think as Christ said, “Be perfect as your Father.”

MISHLOVE: Somehow, listening to you talk about this peculiar dilemma that we humans are in is making me feel that the whole thing is very humorous.

KHAN: Yes, I think there’s some point about laughing about things we don’t understand.

MISHLOVE: But it’s almost ironic somehow, and maybe quite ridiculous, that as cosmic beings we’re always finding ourselves in such dilemmas.

KHAN: Yes. Well, the Sufis say, “Oh, man, if you only knew that you’re free. It’s your ignorance of your freedom that is your captivity.” And I would add, if only you knew what the potentials in your being are, you would realize that it’s your ignorance of those potentials that limit you to the inadequate sense of your self-image, or your inadequate self-esteem — denigrating yourself.

MISHLOVE: As I look through your writings, I get a sense that there’s just vast almost infinitudes, when we talk about human potential and the levels of being. In a sense what you seem to do is look at the spiritual writings of every religion and tradition, and somehow assemble them all together so that it’s as if we have choirs of angels and layers and layers of spiritual vibrations interpenetrating us, and that’s who we are, rather than these tiny people living out their lives.

KHAN: Well, you’re interpreting my teaching better than I could do. You’re saying it very beautifully indeed, and that is how I feel. I also include not just the religions but the teachings of, for example, C.J. Jung.

MISHLOVE: Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychiatrist.

KHAN: Yes. Because what we are doing is really to individuate the unconscious, the collective unconscious. That’s what we really are talking about — getting in touch with what I call cosmic and transcendental dimensions of our being of which we are not aware; and we only identify ourselves with, let’s say, the apex of the cone that’s upside down, whereas we belong to the whole cone, or our being extends to the whole cone. And so it’s just a matter of gaining awareness of other dimensions of one’s being beyond the commonplace ones.

MISHLOVE: It’s almost as if anything wonderful about ourselves that we can imagine, that we are.

KHAN: Yes. Well, there’s a great power in creative imagination. Now of course there’s a difference between creative imagination and fantasy, and I try to get as clear as possible about the difference. I think creative imagination is somehow monitoring the programming of the universe, and fantasizing is getting alienated from the overall order. And when I talk about an order, I don’t mean a static one; I’m talking about the dynamic order.

MISHLOVE: It’s almost as if perhaps fantasy is only the first stage of creative imagination at best.

KHAN: I think that it probably does play a part in the active imagination, because, as you probably know, Dr. Prigogine, who is one of the leading scientists of our time, in Brussels, calls creativity a fluctuation from sclerosed equilibrium. So the order of the universe could be looked upon as it could be static, if were not continually being fluctuated away from its equilibrium. And that is what we’re doing in our creativity. I call it exploring “What if?” How would it look if we looked at this problem in a different way than we’ve been looking at it so far? That’s creative imagination.

MISHLOVE: Isn’t there a sense, in the work of the Sufis, that it’s a question of filling those mental images with a level of being? I’m reminded of a line from a song by the Sufi Choir, I think a line that is attributed to you in fact, which is, “Sing a song of glory, and you will be the glory.”

KHAN:
Oh yes. Well, that’s absolutely right on. That’s exactly how — you see, I feel mentation is an act of glorification. But one can only glorify if one is willing to accept the wonder of the divine inheritance in one’s being, and we’re always seeking outside ourselves that which is already in us. I think it was Plotinus, the neo-Platonic philosopher of the third century, who said, “That which we fail to discover in contemplation we try to experience in our relationship with the outer world.” And of course actually, as a matter of fact, many years ago when I was on the guru hunt in the Himalayas, I came across a rishi sitting in a cave in the snow, and the first thing he said to me was, “Why have you come so far to see what you should be?”

MISHLOVE: Why have you come so far to see —

KHAN: What you should be. And actually, of course, the answer is, to become what one is, one needs to see oneself in another oneself who’s better able to manifest what one is than oneself.

MISHLOVE: You referred earlier to the scientific work of Prigogine, and if I can come around back to that, there’s always the movement from equilibrium to a new equilibrium. There’s this sense that I get from the Sufis and the dancing, the turning, the movement, it’s everything is always happening; we always have to go inside and outside and to the next level and to unfold and unfurl level after level of being.

KHAN:
Yes, yes. I’m always seeking new horizons, and I don’t like to simply convey dogmatic kind of teaching. I’m more or less trying to explore new ways of helping the human being to unfurl. The methods that I’m using now are typical to be found amongst the visionary experiences of some of the Sufi mystics in a state of reverie.

So I think we’re coming very close to what you were saying about the relationship between the collective unconscious and personal conscious. So in a state of reverie, the door is open. One is suspended at the threshold between day consciousness and sleep with dreams.

So the mind is projecting forms surreptitiously; there’s no way of controlling it when it is really in a state of reverie. We’re not using our will. On the other hand, I find that one can monitor that experience — not with one’s will but with one’s emotion; but with one’s attunement rather than one’s will.

MISHLOVE: A very delicate state, isn’t it?

KHAN:
A very delicate state. And the reason why I say that is because one could easily slip into the dark unconscious and get swallowed up by it. So of course I’m trying to monitor it myself in group meditations, to keep people attuned to their highest aspirations, so that they don’t have bad, traumatic experiences, which might be very disturbing.

MISHLOVE: But this level of being awake inside of the dream must be a very important level in uniting the individual consciousness with the divine consciousness.

KHAN:
Yes, yes. That’s several levels, of course, because, you see, divine consciousness — and this is the basic motto of Sufism — it’s all one. I mean, we don’t think of God as other than ourselves, but as the totality of which we are not a fraction, but rather according to the holistic paradigm, every so-called fraction includes the whole, potentially the whole.

So it’s a whole new way of thinking of God, instead of thinking of God as other than oneself and up there somewhere and kind of projecting a personality upon God that’s anthropomorphic. Actually, one of the Sufi dervishes said, “Why do you look for God up there? He is here.”

MISHLOVE: There is a sense in your teachings in which you encourage people to sort of step out of themselves, and simultaneously see themselves as a larger and larger being, bit by bit, until they can hold it all in the mind.

KHAN: Yes.

MISHLOVE: It must take some discipline to be able to maintain these states for longer and longer periods.

KHAN: Yes. Well, of course there are techniques that are helpful — for example, breathing techniques, associated with a change in the focus of one’s consciousness. There are four different dimensions, as a matter of fact. For example, one can expand one’s consciousness, have this wonderful, oceanic feeling of being part of all things; it’s called participation mystique. And I find that the best way of doing it is instead of identifying with one’s physical body, to identify with one’s electromagnetic field, and eventually with one’s aura, neither of which have a boundary. So it’s very much in line with what Ken Wilber says — no boundary, you know.

MISHLOVE: Ken Wilber is the author of a book called No Boundary. Let me take you back a minute, because you used a term I’d like you to define — aura.

KHAN
: Aura, yes. Well, yes, of course I wish I had a lot of time to do so. Let’s say the physical counterpart of the aura would be simply the radiance of photons, what one calls in science bioluminescence, where plants radiate a certain amount of photons, and so does the human body, and of course electrons that are being photographed in Kirlian photography.

The curious thing is that one can increase the amount of photons that one radiates purely by an act of visual representation. If you imagine that you are surrounded with light, and you enjoy looking in light, as we’re doing now, then somehow the cells of your body start dividing more rapidly, their energy is enhanced, and as a consequence one’s whole body radiates more light. Now, that is something that can be observed in the laboratory.

MISHLOVE: I’ve never heard of any research to that effect.

KHAN:
Oh yes, oh yes. Dr. Motoyama, for example, in Tokyo. But there was a team of Hungarian-Romanian physicists who were measuring the photons radiated by the body.

MISHLOVE: I’d want to look at that kind of research carefully. But I think what you’re suggesting is something on a more metaphorical level.

KHAN:
Well, as I said, that’s only the physical counterpart of what we understand about the aura. In fact I came to grief once when I was giving a talk in Oxford, and there were some scientists there who said, Pir Vilayat, you’re using a word which for us has a very specific meaning — light. And you’re using it in a metaphorical sense.

So I said, “Well, I don’t think physicists have a monopoly on the word light; it’s been used before in a sense that you wouldn’t use yourself.” But since that time, of course, I came across Dr. David Bohm, who said that what we know of physical reality is only a ripple on the ocean of reality, and therefore what we know of light in physics is only one very small dimension of the phenomenon of light in general.

MISHLOVE: And the Sufis use a term that I find quite interesting. I’ve come across it in your writings — the uncreated light.

KHAN:
Yes. But that is a word that’s also used by the early Christian fathers. Actually, the Sufis make a difference between the light that sees and the light that is seen. And so if you ask me now to define the aura, well, I suppose that is the light that could be seen, and in certain circumstances one can even actually see.

For example, St. Elmo’s light — you know, that’s seen around ships; and then the photograph around the lunar module when it landed on the moon. There was some thought it could be explained by dust, but I don’t know. That’s very controversial.

MISHLOVE: Well, perhaps we shouldn’t get too much into these details. As we talk about unfurling the potentials of being, what you’re suggesting is that there are these realms that we hear of in folklore and on what are sometimes the fringes of science, and these are very real to you in your experience, and important for us to acknowledge, I gather, in our understanding of our being.

KHAN:
Yes. Well, what we do is taking specific qualities, and working with those qualities, rather like a composer would work with a musical theme and make variations on it and try to explore all the potentialities within that theme. So basically we do have these qualities; that’s what we call the divine inheritance. But how do we actuate them in our personality? That is a creative process, which is, as I say, very similar to that of composing or writing or painting.

MISHLOVE: You know, since you’ve referred to music, I’m reminded of a story that you wrote about, of a time when you were very depressed and cured yourself of this depression by listening to Bach.

KHAN:
Yes. Well, I had an accident, and my fiance was killed, and I was really very broken and I couldn’t understand how such a thing could happen. And it is true, I didn’t want to live. I mean, I went through a very bad crisis. I was an officer in the British Navy at the time.

I asked if I could be posted somewhere far away, and I was posted in India. Fortunately I was on an easy assignment, just care and maintenance of a flotilla. So every night I played the whole B Minor Mass of Bach, every night for about three months. And that is what cured me, because this tremendous glorification of heaven seems to me to be the only thing that will help one overcome one’s personal pain. I remember words of Buddha, who said, “One misses the glory by being caught up in one’s personal emotions.”

MISHLOVE: There’s a sense also in which Bach’s Mass in B Minor has very, very sad moments, and perhaps to reach the glory one has to go right into the pain.

KHAN:
Yes. But then Bach has that wonderful ability to make the quantum leap from pain to extreme joy, from one moment to the other — for example, from the Contritio right into the Sanctus, the Hosannah. Or from the Crucifixus to the Resurrexit. The transit is fantastic, of course.

And I suppose that’s what it is. I think that one needs to get in touch with one’s anger and one’s pain, instead of being heroic about it or not acknowledging it, and then use these impulses, harness these impulses in a positive way. In fact that is basically the Sufi teaching about mastery. Instead of repressing desire, we consider that our positive desires — to be creative in some way, build a beautiful house or compose a symphony or whatever our objective is — expressions of the divine nostalgia.

MISHLOVE: The divine nostalgia.

KHAN: The divine nostalgia. That’s a word that we use all the time, the divine nostalgia. So it’s not the way of desirelessness of Buddhism, or detachment, or living in a cave. No, it’s that joie de vivre, the joy of life, that we’re really experiencing the divine joy and the creativity of the universe, the way that the divine intention manifests in a concrete way. And also the extraordinary feat of generosity whereby the divine will multiplies itself by the gift of free will.

MISHLOVE: It’s almost as if you’re suggesting that these very human melodramas that we all go through, that we described in the beginning of this program as somehow being irreconcilable with the divine nature, that these things are the very food that brings us to the divine as we work through the emotions of our life.

KHAN: Well, we don’t like to make too much of a distinction between divine emotion and human emotion. We would say that we tried to monitor the divine emotion into our personal emotions, so that there’s no cleavage between the two. In other words, we need to experience divine joy in our humanness, which is very different from the whole idea of beatitude. It’s bringing joy into our daily lives, instead of opening one drawer and then closing another, being in a beatific state and then being back in life again — making it one, you see.

MISHLOVE: So the path that you teach is not one of simply withdrawing from the world and contemplating and entering into a very high state. That would be incomplete.

KHAN: Yes. I still feel that it’s good to be able to do that from time to time, for a short while, or just even for a split second, because I find that most people react to the challenge of situations rather than act. And if you react, you’re not using all the potentialities of being. It’s like a short circuit, like a reflex action, for example. Therefore I think there is some value in facing the battle between the challenge in oneself and being able to learn how to turn within.

Psychology is trying to do this, get in touch with your feelings and your emotions. But what I’m talking about is much deeper. It’s getting in touch with your thinking rather than your thoughts, or your feeling rather than your emotions. A deeper reality.

MISHLOVE: I recall that in one of your writings you suggest that we could think of ourselves as the eyes through which God sees, or we could think of ourselves as the divine glance.

KHAN:
Yes, that’s right. You got that. Well, yes, that’s absolutely crucial. I think that makes all the difference. I’m trying to practice it, of course, because I like to practice what I preach.

For example, walking the streets you realize that even the focus of your glance gets conditioned by what you see, and what we’re trying to do, then, is to offset your glance so that you grasp that which transpires behind that which appears. Now, that sounds very metaphysical, doesn’t it?

But a very good example of that which transpires behind that which appears is, for example, what happens in photographing flowers in ultraviolet light. They look very different; they’re much more beautiful, translucent.

MISHLOVE: Iridescent, yes.

KHAN:
Iridescent.

MISHLOVE: And there’s that sense, I suppose, behind the mundane reality, the dullness of our lives from time to time, that there’s really a brilliance, a radiance, if we could only awaken to it.

KHAN
: Well, then, actually you get to a point when you start seeing what I call the inner face emerging through the outer face — or let us say the countenance emerging through the face.

MISHLOVE: The countenance emerging through the face. Yes.

KHAN: So it doesn’t have an outline, it doesn’t have a borderline. It’s just like those flowers that are photographed in ultraviolet light.

MISHLOVE: That’s quite — it’s giving me cause to pause just a moment, and just take that insight in. Being with you has been such a rich experience —

KHAN: Thank you very much.

MISHLOVE: — that we could listen to each thought and pause on it for a long time. But we’re out of time now, so Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, thank you very much for being with me.

KHAN: Thank you for inviting me.

END


From the scientific underground of psychic research comes a stunning report on the evidence for life after death. But all the proof in the world is nothing when compared to actual experience with the place beyond.

This book takes the reader to the next level — and offers a more personal kind of journey. If there is a “next world,” it must be nearby, and the path leads through the gateways of our own minds. Philosopher Michael Grosso shows us how to open these passages — or at least peek through a keyhole — and glimpse what may lie beyond. This is the guidebook for an adventure that nobody can refuse.

Posted by Greg

Michael Grosso is a teacher, author, and painter, whose interests span psychical research, metaphysical art, the parapsychology of religion, and, primarily, philosophy. [Michael Grosso] He received his Ph.D. in philosophy, and studied classical Greek, at Columbia University, and has taught at City University of New York, Marymount Manhattan College, and City University of New Jersey. He is currently affiliated with the Division of Personality Studies of the University of Virginia.

Michael has published books on topics ranging from life after death to the mythologies of endtime – some titles include The Millennium Myth, Soulmaking, and Frontiers of the Soul. His most recent book, Experiencing the Next World Now (Amazon US and UK), presents the best current evidence for life after death, but also offers the reader practical methods for ‘peeking through the keyhole’ at what may lie beyond.

GT: Hi Michael, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Could you begin by introducing yourself to readers with a short history of how and why you began your research into the idea of ‘the afterlife’?

MG: Probably what first got me going was realizing one day I was going to die. ‘So what does this mean?’, I thought. But there was something else. I kept having experiences that contradicted the mainline materialism dished up in the schools–especially graduate school in which belief in spirits was sheer heresy.

What I experienced and what the standard view of reality was, were at odds. That got me to study psychical research: what was really going on?

GT: Could you describe in more detail these experiences which led you to re-evaluate the standard view of reality?

MG: I actually had a variety of paranormal experiences. One of the most striking was a series of three dreams in which I saw Ronald Reagan being shot. [Soulmaking] From the images I could see he was shot in the shoulder (he was), and the last dream was symbolic, in which I saw the President naked from the waist up and beaming with health. I inferred he would survive any attack (correct).

I reported these dreams to my students who were duly astonished when the man was actually shot. I’ve seen apparitions of dead people that conveyed veridical information, for example, a dead great aunt I had never met but whom I later identified in a photo I’d never seen. I also projected my tangible double across the Atlantic ocean to my girlfriend. For details, see my book Soulmaking (1997) Hampton Roads Publishing (available from Amazon US and UK).

GT: Your latest book, Experiencing the Next World Now contains a broad review of the evidence for the survival of consciousness after death, to this point. Could you share with readers which cases you would consider the ‘best of the best’? And, to provide some balance, what do you see as the main arguments against the survival hypothesis?

MG: The whole pattern of survival-related stories–not individual startling cases–is what persuades me that some people continue to be conscious after they shed their bodies. There are types of case, certain features of cases, that suggest survival.

For example, if there is verified intelligence from a deceased person, like when a lost will is found through a deceased agent. Or suppose a stranger intrudes on a mediumistic performance, and correctly identifies himself.

There are records of known deceased researchers communicating through several mediums at a time. Numerous, detailed reports of reincarnation memories, behaviors, and related birth marks and birth deffects, strengthen the survival hypothesis. The near-death experience is suggestive. Parts of the brain go out of commission during cardiac arrest and general anaesthesia.

Without these parts, conscious experience is believed to be impossible. But under these conditiuons, in the famous near-death experience, people not only have conscious experiences, they have enhanced experiences. And then there are those excursions out of the body, verified objectively, which point to the separability of consciousness from the body. It’s really the detailed pattern that convinces me something very interesting is going on.

GT: The book goes beyond the idea of simply serving up evidence from others on ‘survival’ though, and encourages readers toward personal experience through methods of altering consciousness.

Now we all know that the ‘New Age’/’Metaphysical’ section at the local bookstore is filled with titles by self-appointed experts on such ideas – how do we sort the wheat from the chaff and find the genuine methods which might provide something worthwhile?

To my mind, perhaps the best idea is to trust those with a history – for example, shamanic methods of altering consciousness and other ancient rites. Would you agree with this, or do you believe we need to formulate new methods for our modern lifestyle?

MG: I think there is a wealth of traditiional materials we can draw upon to guide us to “experience the next world now.” We could model ourselves after native vision questers, Tibetan dreamers, Sufi color enthusiasts, or Chinese foetal breathers.

I try to understand the psychology at work in a given system, and to adapt that understanding to my practical life. The idea is to reconstitute myself in such a way that I become more transparent, more porous to trans- or sub-liminal impressions, images, energies. The Kingdom of Heaven is within us; it’s another state of consciousness.

GT: Having said that, do you think it is necessary that people have guidance in this sort of exploration? Despite the ‘gnostic dream’ of doing it all yourself – away from the rigidity of organised religion – many of the ancient systems employed ‘superiors’ to help the neophyte understand and integrate their experiences.

MG: Of course it’s always wise to allow oneself to be guided by those more knowledgeable in any field of endeavor. Trouble is, there are few clear and unequivocal experts in this realm of experience, which depends on luck, context, and inspiration–a little like art or any creative venture. There is bound to be an element of risk in stepping beyond the enchanted boundary and fools and the foolhardy should beware. But how can we legislate against self-exploration?

GT: In your essay “The Flatliner Paradigm”, you explain your own feelings about the possibility of survival of consciousness: [The Millennium Myth] “When I look closely within myself, what I feel constraining me toward belief in probable extinction is the sense that I do not inhabit the kind of universe where the leap into a new mode of existence after biological death is possible or, at any rate, probable.”

Do you think this is based on valid reasoning, or is your concern perhaps a result of inculcation in the materialist paradigm? I’d appreciate hearing more of your ‘inner dialogue’ on this subject.

MG: Thanks for that question. There is no doubt about the hypnotic spell of the materialist paradigm. In spite of direct experiences of my own, my views on survival remain in skeptical suspense.

On the other hand, there’s nothing we know about the universe that forbids the idea of conscious survival. After all, against the miracle of there being a universe in the first place, and of dumb matter evolving into an Einstein or Nicole Kidman, and then consciousness appearing on the scene, it seems like just another evolutionary lift-off into novelty for consciousness to slip away from its neural substrate..

GT: Do you think that quantum physics might play a role in allowing humanity to accept better some of these models? Some of the concepts in modern physics surely throw our whole concept of reality into doubt?

MG: I think concepts of modern physics could play a role in two ways. First, they show that our naive mechanistic and materialistic views of the world are a misleading facade for what ultimate reality may really consist of.

Next to quantum realities, nonlocality, etc., what’s the big deal about the paranormal? Second, on some interpretations of quantum physics mind proves to be an integral feature of our description of reality.

GT: Nevertheless, the scientific paradigm is still very much grounded in Newtonian physics. In fact, you have written that “thanks to scientific materialism, the dominant metaphysical conceit of the age, anything supporting the reality of minds as substances…tends to be ignored, if not repressed, by the watchdogs of mainstream culture.”

Could you say who you regard as the ‘watchdogs’, and can you cite examples of the repression of evidence?

MG: The watchdogs are embedded in all layers of the culture, the press, the scientific establishment, the university, the religious establishment, etc. The repression takes the form of negative hallucinations; the evidence is not noticed, discussed, regarded. Here’s an amusing example. I gave a copy of Alan Gauld’s Mediumship and Survival to a fellow philosopher; he refused to look at it. “It’s just a book,” he said.

GT: So, with the materialist paradigm as entrenched as it is, one would think that it would require some ‘shock’ to move towards contemplation of the survival hypothesis rather than simple accumulation of experimental data. While veridical out-of-body experiences (OBEs) are not in themselves proof of survival, do you think solid evidence on this front could be used an ‘assault’ on the current paradigm?

MG: Why just veridical OBEs? I believe there’s a huge amount of data, normal, abnormal, and supernormal, from hypnotic reversals of congenital disease (icthyosis) and placebos that invert physiological responses to Joseph of Copertino’s levitations that assaults the paradigm. Then there’s strictly normal stuff like subjective consciousness, its unity, memory, dreams, free voluntary acts, etc. that can’t be digested by physicalism. Very few are willing to look at all this with a cool comprehensive eye.

GT: Well, I was thinking more in terms of what it would take to win over your CSICOPs out there – and I think it would have to be something very straightforward to remove room for doubting.

I would say positive results in viewing hidden symbols or numbers through out-of-body experience would constitute extremely strong evidence. Having said that, scientists such as Dean Radin might argue that we’re already at that point with the mass of positive results over the past decade in related fields (remote viewing, precognition etc).

MG: I agree with Dean and believe there is ample data out there already, experimental and spontaneous cases, that suffice to prove to any rational and open-minded person that psi is a fact of nature and that a decent case can be made for postmortem survival. I often tell diehard disbelievers to read the first ten or fifteen volumes of the English Proceedings for Psychical Research and then come back for a chat.

GT: Lastly, I’d like to cover the question of whether we are seeing a core mechanism at work behind many seemingly different experiences. Ken Ring has written about the integration of near-death experience (NDE) study with other areas such as shamanism and abductions. [Experiencing the Next World Now] Jacques Vallee and John Keel have long espoused a psychical aspect to the UFO question.

John Mack has now brought a similar question to bear in abduction research, and of late research into entheogens (for example, Rick Strassman with DMT and Karl Jansen with Ketamine) has contemplated the same areas. Your book covers these topics as well. Are we seeing some great awakening to the unity of these experiences, and perhaps a validation of Henri Corbin’s ideas of the imaginal realms (versus the imaginary or utopian)?

MG: I could add to that list of names. It would be nice if someone made an anthology of theoretical papers on the unity you allude to. We could use a good general theory of psi-mediated anomalies; I think it would shed light on certain points in religious studies.

As for the imaginal world, surcharged and undergirded by the psychokinetic and extrasensorial properties of psi, it’s a potent theoretical construct. We could use it to corral all manner of mind-monster and metaphysical wild bunch.

GT: Sounds like a good project for the weekend at the very least, Michael! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us here at the Daily Grail, and best wishes for the success of your book.

Table of Contents
Introduction

PART ONE: Experiences
Chapter 1: Ecstatic Journeys
Chapter 2: Of Ghosts & Spirits
Chapter 3: The Medium and the Message
Chapter 4: One Self, Many Bodies

PART TWO: Challenges
Chapter 5: Explanations
Chapter 6: Imagining the Next World

PART THREE: Connections
Chapter 7: Evolution
Chapter 8: Mental Bridges
Chapter 9: The Otherworld Nearby

PART FOUR: Practice
Chapter 10: Flatliner Models
Chapter 11: Changing Our Way of Life

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