This continues my series on matters of spirit and the afterlife conference I attended last week.
I draw my friends from all parts of life and they hold a variety of beliefs. Some believe as I do and others don’t. Here are a few of the response I got to posts that mentioned I was at the Afterlife Awareness Conference in Portland last week:
I have trouble with this, Carol.
Do you really believe in angels?
Show me the scientific proof.
You don’t have to agree with me to be my friend.
And I might or might not be willing to discuss spirituality with you.
But here, on real estate I own and manage, I’m willing to relate bits and pieces of my story and the process by which I arrived at my beliefs. Because it WAS a process.
We buried my mother on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1999. When I looked at her dead body in the hospital and at the funeral home, my first thought was, “She’s not in there.” Of course.
My second thought was, “Where IS she?”
Because I knew she had to be somewhere. How did I know this? In a way, I deduced it.
I’ve always looked at the world around us, the universe — the complexity with which it was structured — and known there had to be a master designer. Had to be. It was only logical. There had to be a start of all things and quite frankly, there was not a way that religion explained it to my satisfaction. Nor did science. Because there had to be a beginning and it had to come from something. Some Thing.
I am a logical person. I looked for evidence. Proof. But I knew that science does not explain everything right now. Can not. I wish it could. But here’s what I concluded:
For all our advanced technology, I knew at a core level that we are still very primitive with a long way to go. In ancient times the sun was thought to revolve around the earth. The earth was thought to be flat. Many things were thought back then that have been
Our today will be someone’s “back in the day.”
Our Google Glass and smartphones and all of our modern conveniences will seem as primitive as the original typewriter one day.
THAT is a fact.
So I had to believe that one day we would know more abut how the world began, but probably not in my lifetime.
And then there was that problem: Where did Mom go after she died?
If I thought that Some Thing started the world, it was hard to believe that the world and its inhabitants weren’t here for a purpose. It wasn’t just “fade to black,” I thought. Couldn’t be.
None of the religions had an answer I accepted, not even the Catholicism in which I was raised. I didn’t believe people burned in hell. I didn’t believe in Satan. I didn’t believe we floated around on clouds.
But I did know that little spark that was ourselves–our selves– went…somewhere.
I’d read Raymond Moody’s first work on near-death experiences in the mid-70s, but I was so young back then and death was a concept that wouldn’t touch me for a few years. It was nice to know what this doctor had found, the narrative stories of dying and coming back, but it had nothing to do with ME. Or my dead mother.
Flipping channels one day I found a show called Crossing Over. A medium I’d never heard of called John Edward “read” people and their dead relatives came through. My brow furrowed. Could this be real? Was he a fake? I think I watched every single one of his shows over time, staring at the screen, trying to suss out what was going on.
After several years of narrowed eyes and late nights (his show was scheduled past my bedtime), I concluded he was real.
So I started looking into him. I found that he’d been tested along with two other mediums in a triple blind study conducted by Dr. Gary Schwartz at the University of Arizona. The study’s conclusion was that chance did not explain how these mediums got the info they were transmitting and yes, there is scientific evidence of an afterlife. (At the time, I never dreamed I’d be standing in a hotel lobby in my nightclothes discussing his research with him. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)
I’m not sure I really bought it, even after looking at the research. So I started seeing John Edward. I saw him in a group of 2000 and nothing happened for me. In a group of 300, I got read. In a group of 50 I got read. In a group of 11 the information given to someone I was with related to me. It was mostly uncannily accurate; I concluded that he WAS the real deal.
“How do you know he didn’t look you up?” you ask.
Well, first of all, he’d have to look pretty deep in to find evidence that my grandfather played the organ in church in Sicily in the early 1900s. I doubt there’s any easily found evidence of that. Among other things he told me.
But also, it’s just impractical. He is, after all, not Theresa Caputo. He’s been tested in a triple blind study by an academic researcher.
I read about cold readings and hot readings and scams. The naysayers’ explanations did not explain my experiences. They also didn’t explain why we are here, which is, after all, the core question. It is the CORE QUESTION.
I saw a few other well-regarded mediums, as well and my confidence in my conclusion grew.
More tomorrow on my journey to my beliefs. And a reading list is coming, for those of you interested in exploring this idea further.