What I am doing is a personal search for spiritual truth. Therefore, I
should clearly define my terms, as I use them, in order to avoid semantic
confusion insofar as possible.
The subtitle of this collection is "an exploratory, experimental approach"
I define spirituality as "belief in those aspects of reality that
are not of this world or this material universe", and I contrast it with
the limiting disbelief imposed by this-worldly ideologies such as materialism
and humanism. I believe life in all its forms, even in this world, can
only be properly understood and appreciated from the larger perspective
that spirituality provides. Thus I consider it to be, first and foremost,
a point of view.
Truth is opinion that conforms to reality. Reality is that
which is so whether anyone knows it or not and whether anyone likes it
or not. Thus, truth is based in reality, but reality is independent of
opinion. The modern notion expressed as "my truth, your truth" I automatically
translate as "my opinion, your opinion," and the assertion that we each
create our own reality is an example of what I refer to as "fantasy".
Although I know this search is open-ended, because I designed it that way,
the results to date have exceeded my expectations. There are many kinds
of spirituality. Some of them are good for us and some are not, and there
is an area in which they overlap, run together, share common properties,
in what amounts to a sea of confusion. That area is communication between
human beings and disembodied spirits. It includes prayer, mediumship, and
Exploratory means that I do not know in advance what I may find,
or what paths I may follow, or what the outcome may be. But it also means
that I search, look into, investigate, and examine carefully whatever I
encounter. Exploratory procedures are always journeys into the unknown,
or unfamiliar territory, but unlike blind faith, they are open-eyed attempts
to gather more information and thus expand the scope of one's knowledge.
Experimental refers to a scientific method based on experience rather
than on authority or theory. It emphasizes the testing of opinions to see
if they are true, or how true they are. Therefore, it does not apply to
the scope or quantity of knowledge, but to the relative accuracy and thus
the reliability of what we think we know. Reality testing is another name
for this empirical method of scientific inquiry.
Approach is a type of motion--in this case, from where I am, and
not from the hinterlands of my own or other's speculations, toward a more
comprehensive and hopefully more reliable understanding of spiritual reality.
For me, this is not merely an intellectual exercise. To know is to be.
Therefore, I take the responsibility for what I am becoming, as well as
for what I am learning.
Communication with spirits is a matter of record throughout the history
of the human race. Either personal experience or open-minded research in
this area can provide answers to some of our most fundamental questions:
Are spirits real? Is there life after death? Is there anything substantive
My personal background in communication with spirits is as follows:
Do I expect anyone to believe all this? No. I was told by a spirit, "Most
people will not accept your testimony; only their own experience will convince
them." That message has proved to be true (reliably predictive). And that's
Okay with me. I am also cautious about accepting anyone else's testimony--whether
they happen to be in a physical body or not.
I am interested in prayer and have been ever since I was a boy. I tried
to pray, but I didn't know if anyone was listening, so it seemed rather
a waste of time.
Eventually it occurred to me there wasn't much I could tell God that He
didn't already know, so it would be better for me to learn how to listen
I read in the Bible about people who received messages from God, but I
did not find any clear answers to these two questions: How did they listen?
And when they received or thought they received, how did they know that
it came from God?
I asked ministers and priests and members of monastic orders, but except
for a Franciscan who said "Keep searching" and an old Yogi who said "Your
next step is to stop thinking," most of the answers were like doors slamming
shut: "That's a mystery. God speaks through the Bible. Meditation is dangerous."
Nevertheless, I tried to listen to God. I sat still and meditated until
my arms and legs were so numb I could hardly get the feeling back, but
nothing happened, so I got discouraged and was about ready to give the
whole thing up as a bad job.
In the spring of 1964, I had a different sort of opportunity to investigate
communication with spirits. I viewed it as an experiment. And because I
did not assume they came from God, I evaluated each spirit--as good or
harmless or bad--just as I would a human being. I learned some things from
this experience, including the fact that spirits are real, and proved to
myself that the standards by which I evaluate people also apply to spirits.
Since then I've continued my own private quest toward communication with
better and better spirits, using as my criteria the requirement that they
must prove to be kinder and wiser than I am. That's a moving target, because
I use those same criteria to evaluate my own spiritual growth, and because
I continue to search for spirits who prove to be kinder and wiser than
the ones I converse with now. Along the way, I encountered some spirits
who are not only kinder and wiser than I am, but also a lot more gracious,
so I added that to my list of criteria.
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