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Different reports about non-physical realms

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  • Different reports about non-physical realms

    How do you assess disparate claims about non-physical realms?

    We have reports of individuals’ experience of realms of existence related to non-physical existence - realms or dimensions where conscious exists/persists prior to birth, after death and possibly in timeless state.

    Some reports are direct of individual experiences during NDE, OBE, sleep, or other altered states of consciousness. Other reports are indirect where one individual reports on the experience of another individual received via channelling, mediumship, communication in altered state (e.g. individual A reports on experience of individual B where B told A during dream of A).

    How do you weigh these different reports and determine what is credible?

    I would ask that skeptics who do not accept the existence of these realms not to comment in this thread. There are many other threads where evidence of survival, validity of mediumship, etc. may be debated. This thread is for discussion for those who accept the possibility of these realms to discuss how they assess various claims.

    One example of an attempt to document various descriptions can be found at:
    New Maps of Heaven: The Conditions of Life on the Spirit Planes

  • #2
    an approach

    When assessing claims I look at:
    • Who is providing the report
    • How did they experience it
    • What effect did it have on them
    • What correlations are there with other reports
    • Is there a consistent model built up from more than one report
    • Is the experience in line with spiritual values of compassion, honesty, humility, service
    • Based on other hierarchical models, what level would this report come from
    • Is there a cost to them to make this claim
    • Do I share any of this experience
    • How does their claim resonate for me

    For example, Carlos Castenada has some credible understanding of lucid dreaming (Dreaming) and energy bodies (luminous eggs), however much of his cosmology does not seem to correlate to other models, much of his experience is about power, some of his books seem to be written for money, there are a number of areas where his honesty is questionable.

    Robert Monroe has written three books about experiences via OBE. His initial experiences were troubling for him. He books did not add significantly to his financial situation and seemed to cost him socially. He started an institute to promote awareness that we are more than our physical bodies and to try to provide others with OBEs rather than merely transmitting new dogma. Some aspects of his models correspond to a degree with Theosophical models. In his writings, Monroe does not have direct experience of God or Cosmic Consciousness.

    In many spiritual traditions, the idea is not to focus on the model, but rather to attain the state of consciousness to experience/verify oneself.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think the most reliable sources are the NDErs and evidential mediums (mediums that routinely bring through veridical information).

      If a medium or channeler doesn't routinely bring through veridical information I don't consider them reliable.

      Personally, I don't consider anything else reliable, neither theosophy nor Tibetan traditions, nor anything like that if they don't agree with sources I consider reliable.

      However sometimes even unreliable people write things that are are useful if they express something I believe to be true in a way that is either memorable, or eloquent, then I might quote them.

      For information about the afterlife I recommend near-death.com. It has a lot of information gleaned from NDEs. It's easy to access on line, there is a list of subjects you click on, or you can do a site search with google.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by North View Post
        When assessing claims I look at:
        • Who is providing the report
        • How did they experience it
        • What effect did it have on them[/B]
        • What correlations are there with other reports
        • Is there a consistent model built up from more than one report
        • Is the experience in line with spiritual values of compassion, honesty, humility, service
        • Based on other hierarchical models, what level would this report come from
        • Is there a cost to them to make this claim
        • Do I share any of this experience
        • How does their claim resonate for me
        Great criteria, North. I also consider those, especially those I bolded.

        Originally posted by anonymous View Post
        I think the most reliable sources are the NDErs and evidential mediums (mediums that routinely bring through veridical information). (...)

        Personally, I don't consider anything else reliable, neither theosophy nor Tibetan traditions, nor anything like that if they don't agree with sources I consider reliable.
        Very personally, I am in complete agreement with this. I favour NDEs and mediumship, and automatically reject spiritual-religious traditions (Buddhism, etc.), no matter how complex and richly-based, that aren't based on those evidential/experiential sources and/or provide conclusions different from those.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ninshub View Post
          Great criteria, North. I also consider those, especially those I bolded.



          Very personally, I am in complete agreement with this. I favour NDEs and mediumship, and automatically reject spiritual-religious traditions (Buddhism, etc.), no matter how complex and richly-based, that aren't based on those evidential/experiential sources and/or provide conclusions different from those.
          With Buddhism, there is a practical part where if they say certain practices produce certain results I believe that because it is from direct experience. There are also philosophical aspects to those experiences such as oneness. But for beliefs about the afterlife and reincarnation I look for answers elsewhere ... and I'm a Buddhist - I've taken the five precepts at a Buddhist temple.

          Comment


          • #6
            Why not look for commonalities instead of differences? You might find a lot.

            E.g. I see a lot of commonalities in the transcripts of life-between-lives regressions and that of out-of-body explorers such as Monroe and others.

            Also ask yourself: is it really that different form the world we live in now to discover differences everywhere? There are many cultures, countries etc. which might be 'alien' to you. So why expect the afterlife to be just 'uniform'?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Lucidventurer View Post

              Also ask yourself: is it really that different form the world we live in now to discover differences everywhere? There are many cultures, countries etc. which might be 'alien' to you. So why expect the afterlife to be just 'uniform'?
              This is my impression too - I don't think of 'out there' as simple anymore. It is at least as complicated and varied as the earth, because reports vary so much.

              David

              Comment


              • #8
                One might for years see a kettle as a device for boiling water to make a cup of tea or coffee. Then one day one might see its use as a weapon against an intruder into one's kitchen. Heaven only knows how many uses a kettle might have.

                How we interpret things depends on circumstances, which include culture, conditioning and expectations. When we're not talking about kettles but more obscure things, there's all sorts of possible interpretations and uses we might try to put them to. I agree that trying to see commonalities can help one come up with more plausible explanations, but as to what certain phenomena actually are, what they mean, that I suspect few if any of us actually know. Best not to become too attached to our interpretations, but keep fluid and open.

                I think that fluidity and openness is the key to personal evolution. I think we should become familiar with knowing we don't know, so familiar that it informs our every perception and action. I realise that can be uncomfortable, maybe even a bit scary for some. But IMO, it creates the ability to exercise free will rather than automatism.

                Comment


                • #9
                  What I think is important about the reports from people who have near-death experiences is that they present the spiritual point of view.

                  A lot of people are interested in psi and parapsychology and survival and dualism or idealism and they lose sight of the spiritual aspect. But the near-death experiencers are the true explorers and when they come back and tell us what is important and talk about God and love, you can't ignore the spiritual facts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by North View Post
                    When assessing claims I look at:
                    • Who is providing the report
                    • How did they experience it
                    • What effect did it have on them
                    • What correlations are there with other reports
                    • Is there a consistent model built up from more than one report
                    • Is the experience in line with spiritual values of compassion, honesty, humility, service
                    • Based on other hierarchical models, what level would this report come from
                    • Is there a cost to them to make this claim
                    • Do I share any of this experience
                    • How does their claim resonate for me
                    I would add:
                    • Are there other claims from the same source that are clearly incorrect or fantasy


                    I am a psi/afterlife proponent, but have to recognize that all of a source's statements (including those describing the nature of the afterlife) seem to become questionable if certain parts of the source's output are definitely questionable. The example I was thinking of is Geraldine Cummins and her statements about group soul evolution in conjunction with her statements about incarnations on the Sun and the planets, incorrect astronomical and physics statements, etc.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nbtruthman View Post
                      I would add:
                      • Are there other claims from the same source that are clearly incorrect or fantasy


                      I am a psi/afterlife proponent, but have to recognize that all of a source's statements (including those describing the nature of the afterlife) seem to become questionable if certain parts of the source's output are definitely questionable. The example I was thinking of is Geraldine Cummins and her statements about group soul evolution in conjunction with her statements about incarnations on the Sun and the planets, incorrect astronomical and physics statements, etc.
                      I have recently read Geraldine Cummins the Road Towards Immortality and beyond human personality. I think you are talking about where Myers is talking about Solar men and incarnations on planets etc, based on my recollections he is describing the so called "5th dimension", the plane of flame. I think it is important to realize that if Myers was really talking about another dimension, that laws and other things that may be present here in material reality may not apply to a different dimension... When I was reading.... the Myers personality talks about people scoffing at the idea of solar men, different atoms etc but notes that he is talking about an entirely different plane of existence that is supposedly beyond the reach of the senses...Now this doesn't mean that I accept at face value all that is written, for example he talks about Ether.. but you have to realize that during the time that Myers was living Ether was commonly accepted in the scientific community.. its not now but if that was Myers spirit communicating through Cummins then I think it is reasonable to assume he would make comments about Ether... just like someone would make comments about the Earth being in the center of the universe if they had died before Copernicus..... I think you just have to seperate the wheat from the chaff...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by anonymous View Post
                        I think the most reliable sources are the NDErs and evidential mediums (mediums that routinely bring through veridical information).

                        If a medium or channeler doesn't routinely bring through veridical information I don't consider them reliable.

                        Personally, I don't consider anything else reliable, neither theosophy nor Tibetan traditions, nor anything like that if they don't agree with sources I consider reliable.
                        Could you explain why you find NDErs reliable?
                        Tibetan Buddhism uses mediums (oracles). For example, the Dalia Lama consulted a trance channeler before fleeing Tibet.
                        A number of Tibetan Buddhist practices have been "scientifically verified". For example Lucid Dreaming/Dream Yoga. Another practice, Tummo has had some scientific studies completed:
                        Harvard Gazette: Meditation changes temperatures
                        Mind over matter? Core body temperature controlled by the brain
                        In the Kalama Sutta, the Buddha advises a healthy skepticism and reliance on self-testing.
                        I am not saying one should accept whole-sale Tibetan Buddhism, but why is it not worth investigating?

                        For Theosopy, Besant and Leadbetter were mediums and clairvoyants. Their work, Occult Chemistry, is a fantastic example of micro-psi and contains unique veridical information. Certainly there areas of caution with Theosopy, but why dismiss it wholesale?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lucidventurer View Post
                          Why not look for commonalities instead of differences? You might find a lot.

                          E.g. I see a lot of commonalities in the transcripts of life-between-lives regressions and that of out-of-body explorers such as Monroe and others.

                          Also ask yourself: is it really that different form the world we live in now to discover differences everywhere? There are many cultures, countries etc. which might be 'alien' to you. So why expect the afterlife to be just 'uniform'?
                          Originally posted by David Bailey View Post
                          This is my impression too - I don't think of 'out there' as simple anymore. It is at least as complicated and varied as the earth, because reports vary so much.

                          David
                          I don't expect it to be uniform. I am asking how do you assess credibility?


                          Originally posted by Michael Larkin View Post
                          One might for years see a kettle as a device for boiling water to make a cup of tea or coffee. Then one day one might see its use as a weapon against an intruder into one's kitchen. Heaven only knows how many uses a kettle might have.

                          How we interpret things depends on circumstances, which include culture, conditioning and expectations. When we're not talking about kettles but more obscure things, there's all sorts of possible interpretations and uses we might try to put them to. I agree that trying to see commonalities can help one come up with more plausible explanations, but as to what certain phenomena actually are, what they mean, that I suspect few if any of us actually know. Best not to become too attached to our interpretations, but keep fluid and open.

                          I think that fluidity and openness is the key to personal evolution. I think we should become familiar with knowing we don't know, so familiar that it informs our every perception and action. I realise that can be uncomfortable, maybe even a bit scary for some. But IMO, it creates the ability to exercise free will rather than automatism.
                          I agree with the counsel of flexibility and openess. I think we read and explore these subjects because we recognize we don't have the final answer.

                          However, its possible that some accounts are more accurate and that they may give useful advice for this life and the next. We want to try to select these.

                          For example, in both Tibetan Buddhism and Sufism (see ibn Arabi), the practice of becoming conscious in a dream and learning to master this state, is seen as useful preparation for the next state.
                          Last edited by North; April 30th, 2013, 02:39 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by North View Post
                            Could you explain why you find NDErs reliable?
                            Because they are not trying to do anything they are just reporting what happens. No one is asking them to give a "reading". They just tell us their experiences. Many are ignorant or skeptical of spiritual phenomena before their experience. They mostly come from the same culture and use the same language that I do so there are no cultural / translation problems.
                            Tibetan Buddhism uses mediums (oracles). For example, the Dalia Lama consulted a trance channeler before fleeing Tibet.
                            Was that channeler someone who could consistently give veridical information the way Mrs. Piper did?
                            A number of Tibetan Buddhist practices have been "scientifically verified". For example Lucid Dreaming/Dream Yoga. Another practice, Tummo has had some scientific studies completed:
                            Harvard Gazette: Meditation changes temperatures
                            Mind over matter? Core body temperature controlled by the brain
                            In the Kalama Sutta, the Buddha advises a healthy skepticism and reliance on self-testing.
                            When someone says "if you do x then y will happen, I know I from my own experience" I tend to believe them. I was not criticizing the practices and the consequences.
                            I am not saying one should accept whole-sale Tibetan Buddhism, but why is it not worth investigating?
                            I think there could be a lot of very useful meditation practices some not so useful. Meditation on loving kindness, a Tibetan practice is something that I think is good. The Guru method is also part of the Tibetan practice which I do not think is good. However, in my previous post I was mainly criticizing the Tibetan view of the afterlife. This thread is about different reports of non-physical realms.
                            For Theosopy, Besant and Leadbetter were mediums and clairvoyants. Their work, Occult Chemistry, is a fantastic example of micro-psi and contains unique veridical information. Certainly there areas of caution with Theosopy, but why dismiss it wholesale?
                            When I say I don't consider it reliable I mean I don't know it is right. I'm not saying I know it is wrong.

                            I wasn't referring to Besant or Leadbetter. When I said I don't believe theosophy is reliable I mean I don't trust Blavatsky. Was she a veridical medium? Hodgson who endorsed Mrs. Piper thought Blavatsky was a fraud.

                            Blavatsky said some things about the afterlife that I think are incorrect: that you float in bardo state and then reincarnate. This is the Tibetan view. There is too much evidence from too many sources to disregard the belief that what happens is you go to the afterlife and study your previous life and then plan your next life before you reincarnate. Maybe I don't understand Bardo, but based on what I think I understand I don't believe in the Tibetan version of the afterlife and reincarnation.
                            Last edited by anonymous; April 30th, 2013, 11:48 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by North View Post
                              I don't expect it to be uniform. I am asking how do you assess credibility?
                              I think that is extraordinarily hard. Once you recognise that the conventional scientific view of reality is somehow seriously wrong, it is far from clear what to dismiss. For example, just because our incarnations involve carbon chemistry, does it necessarily follow that this is the only possibility - perhaps plasma physics offers another possible environment for life?

                              NDE evidence seems to be purer than most, because these people don't usually have a stake in the 'ψ business'. Likewise for many of the stories from hospice workers and other nurses.

                              Death bed visions - General Nursing Discussion

                              David

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