Monday, November 14, 2016

“Dying is easy. Living is hard.”

In his book Ghosts Among Us, well-known medium James Van Praagh writes, “The spirits with whom I communicate are usually thrilled that they are in the light and would want it no other way. Their biggest regrets have to do with not realizing the truth about life when they were alive on earth. They often comment that, had they known, their lives would have been very different.”

Earthly Limitations

Earth is often described as a school where we come to learn. For spirits, incarnation on the earth plane––taking on the limitations of a physical body––is a huge “demotion” and often a burden. Time (which doesn’t exist in the spirit realm) is one of the challenges we face. On earth, our thoughts and intentions must go through many channels, often over a period of time, before they can manifest, and spirits may chafe at the ordeal. (Consider, for example, the years it often takes architects or authors to bring their ideas to material fruition.)

This limitation has been placed on us so we can learn to manage our thoughts constructively, for as the Law of Attraction teaches, we attract what we think about––our thoughts (eventually) create our reality. In the spirit world, however, this occurs immediately; all you need do is think about something and it happens.

Even having a physical body presents limitations and hardships. We must feed, clothe, shelter, and otherwise care for our physical forms––and that usually means working long hours to earn the money to provide those things. We’re also subject to many ailments and physical challenges that make human existence even more difficult. Much of the fear we experience comes from knowing our bodies can be hurt. But our spirits are eternal and indestructible. If we can reconnect with that truth, our fear will lessen.

Remembering Love and Peace

Earth life may seem harsh, fraught with unkindness, suffering, anger, and violence. However, people who come back from near-death experiences almost always describe visiting a place of profound love, peace, and joy. In one of the video modules in Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti’s course Love Knows No Death, individuals who’ve had NDEs describe the bliss of the world beyond. None of them wanted to return to earth, where, as one woman put it, “People are mean.” Often, NDEers say the experience changed their lives. They no longer see the world in the same way and they no longer fear death.

Differences may arise in the Afterlife, but the spirits there resolve problems without violence. That’s because spirits don’t have egos. They understand the interconnectedness of everything––no one is separate from the rest. We need to realize this is true here on earth too. As English poet John Donne put it, “No man is an island.”

I asked my partner, Ron Conroy, who left his physical body in 2013, what’s the most important thing we come to earth to do. He told me our main purpose is to bring some of the light, love, peace, and joy that abound in our true home down to earth and to express them here. Many spiritual teachers have said the same thing, in various ways. That’s our real work. That’s the biggest challenge we face as we go through the struggles of material existence. That’s what we need to remember during good times and bad.

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” –– C.S. Lewis

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Best Time to Talk to the “Dead”

Samhain (pronounced SOW-een) is the holiest day in the Pagan year, usually observed on the night of October 31, when the sun is in the zodiac sign Scorpio. Better known as Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, this is the holiday people often associate with witches and magick. Most of the ways the general public marks this sabbat, however, stem from misconceptions—it’s a solemn and sacred day, not a time for fear or silliness.

The Holiday’s Significance

Since pre-Christian days, people who follow the Old Religion have considered this a sacred time to remember and honor loved ones who have passed over to the Other Side. That’s why Halloween is associated with the dead.

According to Pagan culture, Samhain ushers in the New Year––it’s the start of a new cycle, a time of death and rebirth. The word samhain is Irish, meaning “summer’s end.” In many parts of the Northern Hemisphere the land is barren now, the last of the crops have been plowed under for compost, and the earth rests in preparation for spring. As the old year dies, some people choose to shed old habits or attitudes, and replace them with new ones.

In Mexico and the Southwestern U.S., people celebrate the Day of the Dead, which bears some similarities to the Celts’ Samhain. People decorate altars in their homes to mark the sabbat, often displaying photos of deceased loved ones there. During the week before the Day of the Dead, they go house to house, visiting the altars of friends and relatives, saying prayers and paying respects.

Contacting Spirits on the Other Side

Because the veil that separates the seen and unseen worlds is thinnest at Samhain, it’s easier at this time to communicate with beings on the Other Side. You can take this opportunity to talk to loved ones in the Afterlife, request guidance from ancestors, angels, or guardians, or contact spirits residing in other realms of existence.

The origin of the jack o’ lantern is rooted in the belief that wandering spirits and ghosts turn up on Samhain. The lantern’s glow was meant as a beacon to light the way for the spirits of the dearly departed; the scary faces carved on the pumpkins were meant to frighten away evil spirits.

Many mediums, psychics, and Afterlife researchers say that beings in the Other World really want to contact us––and they have much to teach us. Noted medium James Van Praagh, who has been communicating with “the dead” since the age of two, writes in his best-selling book Ghosts Among Us: “Ghosts walk among us, impressing us with their love, guiding us with their wisdom, and protecting us from harm.”

On Samhain, you may wish to honor your loved ones who’ve moved into the Afterlife by displaying photos, mementos, and offerings. Reflect upon your time together; share memories. Lighting candles for them is also a favorite practice. Consider spending time in meditation, contemplation, and/or prayer––listen for their responses, which may come in the form of words, visions, impressions, sensations, scents, sounds, or something else. Pay attention to synchronicities, signs, and dreams too.

Monday, October 3, 2016

How Can You Help Those in the Spirit Realm?

If you’re like many people, you don’t think you can have any impact on your loved ones who’ve passed over into the Afterlife. We’ve been conditioned to believe that the people we once knew are either above it all now––sitting on the right hand of God, playing harps as they drift blissfully across the sky on clouds, etc.––or else they no longer exist at all. Either way, they’re oblivious to us and our actions here on earth … or so we’re told.

Our Loved Ones Still Exist, and They Still Love Us

Just because our loved ones no longer wear physical bodies doesn’t mean they’re no longer alive. Noted mediums such as James Van Praag and dedicated researchers, including Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Raymond Moody, Dr. Michael Newton, and Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti, all present convincing evidence in their books and other work that the death of a physical body doesn’t mean the end of existence.

In fact, it pains our loved ones on the Other Side that we believe they’re dead and gone, that we no longer think we can connect with them, and that we try to push aside our feelings in order to “get on with it.” Nothing could be further from the truth, and such beliefs create suffering for us as well as for them.

Spirits in the Afterlife constantly try to communicate with us. They want to let us know they’re still alive and well, to alleviate our fears of death, and to pass on valuable information from the higher planes. A great many get through to us too. Peter Novak in The Lost Secret of Death wrote, “67 percent of widows believe they’ve seen, heard, or seen ghosts of the dead.”

In his book/video program Love Knows No Death Dr. Parisetti notes, “The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Council found that nearly half of American adults, 42 percent, believe that they have been in contact with someone who has died. Of these, 78 percent said they saw, 50 percent heard, and 18 percent talked with the departed.”

What Can You Do?

Talk to your loved ones as if they’re still here––because they are. They’re protecting you, guiding you, slipping you messages all the time. Don’t shy away from mentioning their names or recounting experiences you recollect. Take joy in your memories and invite departed loved ones to share these with you. You may be surprised to rediscover happy memories you hadn’t thought about for years.

During meditation, invite loved ones to communicate with you. In a relaxed meditative state you’re more open to receiving insights and input from other planes of existence. The same holds true in the dream state. Before you go to sleep, ask your loved ones to visit you in your dreams.

Offer healing prayers to beings on the Other Side. Your loved ones still welcome the heartfelt thoughts and feelings you share and can benefit from them. If you know an energy-healing modality such as Reiki, you can send them loving energy just as you would send it to a physical person. Honor them by lighting candles, burning incense, playing music, planting flowers, or whatever seems right to you.

In the spirit world, souls continue learning and growing. We can assist them in their process, as they assist us in ours.

As The Tibetan Book of the Dead tells us,“Thine own consciousness, shining, void, and inseparable from the Great Body of Radiance, hath no birth nor death, and is the Immutable Light.”

Monday, September 12, 2016

Football in the Afterlife

Do souls in the Afterlife spend all their time in work, study, and other serious pursuits? Not according to the clients of California writer/researcher Dr. Michael Newton. In his book Destiny of Souls, Newton describes some of the games souls play. “Spiritual games are not played with the objective that somebody wins while others lose. Games are vigorous and carefree at the same time. Our guides encourage game participation as a means of practicing energy movement, dexterity and group thought transmission.”

Games Spirits Play

Some of the games resemble those we play on earth––and according to Newton, these games originated on the Other Side, then were modified and brought to earth. For example, souls play hide and seek, a type of tag, and also something similar to dodge ball called “bolt-banging.” In this game, souls line up opposite each other and create balls of energy, which they hurl at one another. Players can either dodge the energy bolts or catch them and throw them back––the object is to avoid getting hit. In another game, much like red rover, one “team” of souls rushes at another in an attempt to break through the energy barrier erected by their opponents.

One of Dr. Newton’s clients said under hypnosis, “We enjoy group games with lots of souls where everyone has an equal position and is engaged in the same way.” He also described a game called “gemball” in which many players fashion colored balls of energy about the size of tennis balls that sparkle like gemstones. The souls form a circle and use their minds to push the balls into the center of the circle. After awhile, a ball may roll into the lap of a player, which indicates a connection between the soul who fashioned the ball and the one who received it. As the client explains, “The gemball gives you the means to learn about the private aspects of a soul which could relate to you in a special way.”

Help from Above

I asked my partner, Ron Conroy, who’d been a semi-pro quarterback here on earth, if he played football in the Afterlife. He said yes and added, “It’s a little tricky without a body and more difficult than on earth.” Players move an energy football around mentally and use thought power to block their opponents. Because everyone can read everyone else’s mind, however, players must also find ways to conceal their thoughts.

Ron also told me some souls on the Other Side enjoy watching football and other sports being played on earth. Sometimes they even influence games––when we see a player make a move that seems impossible, he or she may have been aided by a spirit. A spirit guide may slip an idea to a player or even direct a ball with thought energy, “helping” it over the goal post or out of the ballpark. So if you thought you’d miss out on Monday Night Football or the World Cup or the Series after you leave Planet Earth, not to worry. You might even get a chance to play in the Super Bowl.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Death Is Nothing At All

Today I've chosen to post a wonderful poem that I find inspiring and reassuring. 

Death Is Nothing At All

By Henry Scott-Holland 
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.

Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.

All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Monday, August 22, 2016

What Do You Do When You’re “Dead”?

When I was a kid, Sunday school teachers told us that when people die they go to heaven where they spend eternity floating around on clouds, wearing haloes and playing harps. Unless they were bad, in which case they burned in hell forever. As I now see it, neither of these scenarios is true. Rather, we have jobs to perform in the Afterlife, just as we do here on earth.

What’s Your Job in the Afterlife?

In my earlier post “What’s Your Life Purpose?” I wrote about soul groups. I identified several classifications or types of souls––leaders, protectors, teachers, healers, warriors, artists, inventors, explorers, and caretakers––who incarnate again and again as people who perform these roles. When we leave earth and return to the spirit realm, we continue performing our roles there. What we do when we’re “dead” often bears similarities to what we did during our earthly lives.

My friend, Jocelyn Edelston, who left her physical body in 2002, was a talented artist and loved flowers. On the Other Side, this artist soul creates new species of flowers and other plants. My life partner, Ron Conroy, worked as an air traffic controller in his most recent incarnation. Since leaving his physical body, he’s continued guiding travelers and keeping the skies safe by communicating through flesh-and-blood air traffic controllers. Protector souls take care of us here on earth––they’re our “guardian angels, so to speak; green souls protect plants and animals (see my earlier post “What Color Is Your Soul?”)

Getting Information from the Other Side

Ever wonder where epiphanies and brainstorms come from? Those bright ideas that pop into your head or come to you in dreams? Often a spirit passes the information along to you. Writers admit they don’t know where some of their ideas originate––they feel as if someone is feeding them material, and when they read back over what they’ve written the words may not even sound like their own.

Healer souls convey information to medical practitioners on this side. Edgar Cayce, known as the Sleeping Prophet, had little formal education yet he could tap into the vast wisdom of the world beyond to find cures for thousands of ailing people. Scientists, inventors, and researchers also receive insights that discarnate entities have passed to them. You’ve probably had the experience yourself of “knowing” something you couldn’t have known––did a spirit slip that info to you?

Lately I’ve been reading about crop circles. Researchers have studied extensively these mysterious and beautiful patterns that appear in fields around the world, and determined the real ones are caused by something other than humans. I wonder if nonphysical beings are creating these designs to send messages to us earthlings. The patterns almost always contain circles––circles symbolize unity, harmony, and wholeness. Many also feature complex mathematical details––do these hold information for us too?

Creation Is Our Real Work

From what I’ve read in books by many Afterlife and past-life researchers, and from what Ron has told me, our real work is to create––both on earth and in other realms of existence. When we’re not limited by the constraints of the material world, creation is instantaneous. All we have to do is imagine something and voila, there is it. According to the Law of Attraction, we do the same thing in our earthly lives––consciously and unconsciously––it just takes longer.

As the Buddha said, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” We’re constantly creating our realities. By listening to entities who seek to communicate with us, by paying attention to dreams, “coincidences,” and ah-ha moments, we can gain valuable insights that will help us navigate the often choppy waters of earthly existence.

Monday, August 15, 2016

You Don’t Need What You Don’t Have

At first this sentence seems nonsensical, even ludicrous. What if you’re starving and you don’t have any food? What if you’re sick and can’t get the medicine that would heal you? Most of us would probably agree we don’t need a mansion, a yacht, or a sports car––even a TV or cell phone. We may want those things, but can get along without them. But we do need housing, right? Transportation? Money? Friends?

If we consider this idea from the perspective of the physical body, living in a material world, we do need food and water and rudimentary shelter to survive. We may need medicine to cure an illness. But when we consider the idea from the soul’s perspective, another possibility arises. What we think we lack may be exactly what our souls have chosen to do without in order to achieve a purpose. What the body needs for physical well-being may be secondary to what the soul needs for growth. That purpose may be to gain compassion, to help others, to develop skills, to increase our awareness, etc. And, we may not know why we’ve chosen to deprive ourselves of something until we leave our physical bodies.

Choosing Your Lifetimes––and Your Challenges

Many people believe we choose to be born on earth for certain purposes. Earth is often likened to a school where we learn lessons to enhance our souls’ growth. If you’ve undergone past-life regression, had a near-death experience, consulted a psychic, or examined this subject in other ways, you may have some idea why you came here and what you hope to accomplish during this lifetime.

If you accept that you’ve chosen this particular path this time around, then you realize you’ve elected to take on some challenges in order to achieve your objectives. For example, Helen Keller, who lacked sight and hearing, became an inspiration for millions. A man I know who lost his leg has gone on to assist other amputees. One of my soul’s goals, I believe, is to help people who’ve “lost” loved ones to understand their loved ones aren’t dead––they’re alive and well in the spirit world. To learn this, however, I had to suffer the devastating “loss” of the person I loved most so I could empathize with other bereaved people.

Your objective may be more personal. In one of his wonderful books (I can’t remember which one), Dr. Michael Newton writes about someone he regressed who described past lifetimes of indulgence and decadence. This person chose to incarnate as a destitute, homeless woman in order to regain an appreciation for the little things in life, such as having food for a day. People who’ve lived many cloistered lifetimes may choose to be reborn into a secular environment where they must make their own way in a dog-eat-dog world. Those who’ve always been surrounded by family, friends, and community may decide to try out solitary lives. What you perceive as deprivation may be exactly what you need.

Rethinking “Lack”

People often report that what seemed to be the worst thing that could happen to them turned out to be the best thing––and their souls probably planned it that way before they came to earth. Those who’ve undergone near-death experiences frequently say their NDEs transformed their thinking. Even people who’ve suffered physical damage as a result sometimes emerge with unexpected “gifts,” as happened to bestselling author Dannion Brinkley whose NDE revealed psychic powers he never knew he had before.

If you feel you are experiencing some sort of lack in your life––you don’t have something you believe you need––you may want to look at this “absence” in a different way. What have you learned (or could you learn) from being without that thing, whether it’s money, a romantic partner, good health, freedom, appreciation, or something else? If you’ve lost something you cared about, did you gain something as well? Even if you can’t ascertain any obvious benefits, you may be surprised when you transition to the Other Side and discover you really didn’t need what you didn’t have––and in fact, having “it” might actually have prevented you from accomplishing what you set out to do in this incarnation.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Animals in the Afterlife

Some religions deny the possibility of animals having souls––or even consciousness––and claim that humans have dominion over other species. Other religions believe that souls incarnate in a variety of forms, not only as humans but as animals and even insects. If you accept the theory that humans evolved from animals (and you believe humans have souls), when did said souls enter into the picture?

Early Egyptian myths include a number of human-animal hybrid deities, such as the jackal-headed Anubis, god of the afterlife. In India, the elephant-headed god Ganesh helps humans overcome obstacles. Native American teachings speak of spirit animals who guide, protect, and instruct human beings (see my book The Secret Power of Spirit Animals for more).

Will You See Your Beloved Pet Again?

For many of us, losing a pet can be as devastating as losing a human family member or friend. If you’ve lived with and loved an animal who’s passed over, you may wonder if you’ll meet your beloved companion again on the other side. If you believe animals have souls and consciousness that continue after their physical bodies die, you may wonder if they go to the same place formerly human souls go. My guess is yes, they continue to live alongside us in spirit form––for if everything is interconnected energetically, as many researchers profess, how could it be otherwise?

During one of Dr. Brian Weiss’s past-life seminars at the Omega Institute in New York, a number of participants received messages from one member’s deceased white dog. Other people’s accounts in his book Miracles Happen describe seeing animals in the world beyond. Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti’s course Love Knows No Death also includes accounts of people witnessing animals in the afterlife. Bill D. Schul, in his book Animal Immortality, discusses animal ghosts. My long-time partner, Ron Conroy, who left his physical body in 2013, told me that the world where he now lives is populated with all sorts of animal spirits––not only animals we’re familiar with, but also those who’ve long been extinct on earth, as well as many that have never lived on our planet.    

The Goodness of Animals

If you’ve spent any amount of time living with animal companions or observed wildlife, you can’t help admiring their wondrous qualities and beauty. We hear accounts of animals risking their lives to save other animals or humans; stories of animals traveling vast distances to find their families; stories of animals adopting and aiding animals of other species. We’re awed by the compassion of service dogs, the healing abilities of horses, and the intelligence of dolphins.

Again and again, animals display amazing intelligence, compassion, devotion, kindness, patience, courage, insight, unconditional love, and generosity of spirit. These are the qualities religions and spiritual traditions teach humans to develop. I think we’ve been blessed with animals as teachers, and often wonder if our furry and feathered friends may be bodhisattvas who give so much of themselves and ask so little in return. Can we but wonder if, indeed, they are the higher species and we the lesser? 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Life Review: Examining Your Life from the Spirit World

Soon after we arrive in the “world beyond” and have recuperated from our time on earth, we begin processing what we experienced the last time around as humans. From what I’ve read and been told by my life-partner, Ron Conroy, who left his earth-body in 2013, this “debriefing” period is known as Life Review. 

Meeting with Guides and Teachers

As I understand it, the soul meets with its guides and teachers to examine its most-recent incarnation, in great depth. These teachers and guides (which some sources call the “Council”) don’t judge, condemn, or punish––they serve as supportive and patient councilors, but they don’t let you avoid things you’d rather not deal with. Some books describe these meetings as taking place in a somewhat formal setting, with “elders” seated at a type of table and the newly arrived soul before them (sort of like a courtroom).

However, that’s not what I saw when Ron showed me his own Life Review group. In trance, I observed several guides seated in a circle with Ron. To me, these masters appeared as purple spirits (see my post “What Color Is Your Soul?” for more information) and they seemed to levitate––probably because without physical substance or gravity, entities sort of float in the spirit realm. In the center of the circle, Ron’s teachers/guides presented scenes from his past life, in a manner similar to a hologram.

Revisiting Your Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

During your Life Review sessions, you revisit what you did, thought, felt, said, etc. in the course of your previous lifetime on earth. Not only to you review what happened from your own vantage point, you also experience your life from the perspectives of all the other people involved. You get to see how your actions affected them. If you harmed someone in your last lifetime, you feel that person’s pain. If you gave someone joy or comfort or love, you sense what he or she felt. “It’s hard, and it takes a long time,” Ron told me, “but it’s interesting.”

Perhaps you’ve heard that when you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, instantly. This is often expressed by people who’ve had near-death experiences. Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti’s course Love Knows No Death contains a powerful video module in which a number of people who’ve had NDEs discuss this. However, these people were revived and didn’t stay on the Other Side. What they describe is not the same thing as a life review.

As Ron explained it to me, you review your previous incarnation at your own pace––and it takes as long as it takes. “You can start at the end of your life and work back or start at the beginning and move forward, so long as you cover everything. Life Review is mandatory, but doesn’t have any deadlines.” 

Restoring Balance

One of the hardest parts of Life Review is facing up to the suffering you caused others. However, now that the soul is free of ego, it can examine situations objectively, without emotion. By going through this period of discovery, you learn how you can handle things better in the future, how you can be kinder and more loving. You also find ways to make restitution to those you’ve injured. Depending on the “offense,” you may only need to acknowledge what you did or perhaps apologize. In other instances, you might choose to offer greater recompense.

This is not punishment or payback, an eye-for-an-eye and all that. The purpose, as I understand it, is to restore balance and to give love where you caused pain before. It may also be necessary––for your soul’s growth––to experience both sides of a situation. For example, in one of my previous incarnations the entity I knew as Ron in this life was responsible for my death. In this lifetime together, he gave me the power to end his life by taking him off life-support after he suffered a massive stroke.

What you learn in Life Review will influence future lifetimes. Understanding the big picture enables you to choose lives that will further your soul’s purpose, and gives you the wisdom to do a better job next time around.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Choosing Your Death

In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, Matthew 24 warns that no one knows the day or hour of his death. However, some spiritual teachers and researchers who study reincarnation tell us that we choose our lifetimes on earth as well as the conditions of our physical existences. We also choose when and how we depart from earth, to return to our true home in the spirit world.

Going Home

Although many of us fear and dread physical death, everything I’ve witnessed and read indicates that we have nothing to worry about. Brian L. Weiss, MD, in his book Many Lives, Many Masters, writes, “To be in physical state is abnormal. When you are in spiritual state, that is natural to you.” People who’ve had near-death experiences generally say life outside the human body is a whole lot better than it is here on earth. Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti’s course Love Knows No Death includes a video module of many people who’ve had NDEs; all described similar and wondrous experiences.

If you’re someone who can communicate with spirits in the nonphysical realm, you’ve likely heard them say they’re happy where they are now. In his book Journey of Souls, Michael Newton, PhD, reports that clients he has regressed through their prior deaths usually say something like: “Oh, wonderful, I’m home in this beautiful place again” or “I’m relieved to be away from Earth.” My long-time partner, Ron Conroy, who left his body in 2013, tells me often how much happier and more peaceful he is now. “What we call the ‘other world’ is the real one,” he explains, “earth is an illusion.”

Leaving Our Lives

Some might interpret this as a reason for suicide, even though some religions insist that suicide is a sin. As I understand it, however, our teachers, guides, and spirits don’t judge or punish us––they welcome everyone, including suicides, back home. But people who decide to end their physical lives early will still have to complete the lessons they skipped out on, during another earthly incarnation.

After his physical death, Ron told me that even if we go quickly (as he did, from a stroke) we’ve actually made the decision much earlier. “We leave in stages, gradually detaching from the physical world,” he explained. Nine months before he passed, he told a mutual friend of ours that he wanted to die of a stroke before his seventieth birthday––which is exactly what happened. He picked the moment and method for his departure, not through suicide, but through intention.

Why, then, would anyone choose a painful or gruesome death? When I asked Ron this question, he replied that some souls accept terminal illnesses, such as cancer, to give doctors a chance to study the disease and learn ways to help other people. In some instances, souls decide that their host bodies will die in traumatic ways in order to raise awareness of a situation or to inspire interest in a particular cause. This may be true of warrior souls who die in battle. Undoubtedly, numerous other reasons exist, perhaps as many as the individuals involved.

If it’s any comfort, Dr. Newton writes in Destiny of Souls that “souls often leave their bodies seconds before a violent death.” And if we really do reincarnate on earth many, many times, then we’ve all gone through numerous deaths––and survived.