Can the dead offer comfort?
"I know how persuasive and convincing communicating entities can be. Their charm, clairvoyance, and knowledge can work wonders in massaging one's frail hope ... and earthbound spirits well know how to burrow into the most soft, pliable parts of self."
- Joe Fisher
"As a note for Christians taught that it is sinful to speak to people who have crossed over to the next plane of life or that people go into a long sleep after death, those things are absolutely not true."
- Dr Craig Hogan
I still recall the harrowing cry of shock, anger, and emotional pain - a heaving, volcanic sound that erupted from the entrails of a mother upon learning of son's sudden death in a motor vehicle accident. It is a moment that haunts you forever.
Tragedies like this are played out every minute, every day, and many are left with open wounds that are seemingly incurable using conventional therapy.
What if there is another way of finding permanent closure and peace after losing a child? What if conversations with a loved one from beyond can temper your loneliness, guilt, fear, and grief? Would you embrace this unique opportunity?
These are weighty questions with ethical and spiritual implications. Scriptures differ on this matter and cannot, in sound judgement, be used to draw definitive conclusions.
Interestingly, many who have previously scoffed at the notion of communicating with the dead are turning to unorthodox methods of addressing their trauma.
It is obvious that we can never really predict how we will react to the sudden death of a loved one. Biblical injunctions are ignored if we can hear, feel, and sense the reassurance of those who have crossed over.
Recently, I reviewed Dr Matthew McKay's Seeking Jordan, an inspirational book that chronicles the author's search to reconnect to his savagely murdered son.
McKay underwent Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), an acclaimed method used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (and later used as an instrument to contact the dead).
Reconciling his scientific background with the nebulous world of New Ageism, he is convinced that his contacts with Jordan are scientifically based.
He wrote: "While it is true that my experiences of after-death communication can't be measured because they can be subjective and exist in the mind, it's also true that they comprise a single, independent observation of the phenomenon of after-death communications.
"And when combined with other reports from people who have conversations with the dead, they provide multiple independent observations ..."
Today, a growing number of grief therapists are employing new tools to help wounded souls recover from loss. Like McKay, they believe that the afterlife is real and the barrier that separates the two worlds can be rendered safely. The spiritual world is not necessarily wrought with dangers, as commonly held.
One such therapist is Dr Craig Hogan, director of Afterlife Research and Education Institute, and a pioneer in this unique approach to grief therapy.
Dr Hogan boasts of an 86 per cent success rate with clients who, upon successfully contacting their loved ones, experienced a lasting and overwhelming feeling of peace.
He describes a spiritual world that appears uniformed and inconsistent with religious and cultural teachings.
Over the years, he has devised a number of methods to unite seekers with deceased friends and loved ones. (Detailing Hogan's methods is beyond the scope of this article, but readers are invited to review his website.)
Admittedly, Hogan brings to the table provocatively enlightening concepts. He rejects the traditional view of reincarnation, although he agrees that every incarnation - every learning experience on earth - allows us to move closer to God, eventually merging with the Infinite.
He breaks ranks with tradition by injecting quantum physics into the reincarnation question. He upholds that we are the sum of multiple selves like a flower with many petals each existing independently, but still a part of the whole.
This is important. It means that although our loved one might have reincarnated, we can still be in touch with a portion of their being.
HEAVEN & HELL A MYTH
Hogan does not lend credence to Heaven and Hell. He argues that they do not exist and are a Zoroastrian creation that found its way into Christian mythology.
Neither does a punitive vengeful and angry anthropomorphic god. No, divine punishment does not await the individual who "sinned".
In fact, in the spirit world as presented by our loved ones, we judge our own actions.
There our conscience will be as severe as any adjudicator. Remorse and regret will befall us, if only for a time. We will surely reap what we sow. But there are guides, healers, and helpers that await us, helping us adjust, learn, and plan our next incarnation. The lessons on earth and other dimensions are all part of the cosmic drama that must be played out.
Hogan does not reject the existence of evil, but questions its personification in the form of a primordial devil. He acknowledges that errant, dark spirits can prey on the vulnerable, impressionable and fictive mind.
But these malicious spirits are no devils in the religious sense. They are the addictive, self-serving, evil persons that lived on earth. As spirits, they are no different. Thoughts he argues, carry energy, and negative thoughts can assume a life of their own, over time.
In other words, we are influenced consciously and unconsciously by thoughts. Echoing the teachings of Carl Jung on Archetypes, Hogan referred to a study on the positive impact of Zen meditation on creating an atmosphere of peace. It is this quiet mind that is needed when communicating with the dead.
Hogan warns against dabbling and mere curiosity in the occult. The use of the Ouija board, in particular, is strongly discouraged. We can ward off evil as we embark on communing with our loved ones by donning the armour of love.
It is the power of love, a high vibratory energy that will keep the riff-raff of the spirit world at bay. It is the purity of our love for the departed that will produce a safe, genuine, authentic connection.
Yes, Jesus spoke of the power of love, and so did many avatars. It is the building block, the very essence of the universe. Sadly, not many of us understand this concept. To live and love is truly rare. And therein emerges a potential challenge to Hogan's ambitious work.
Compassion, selflessness, and altruism will attract the good that the other side offers. But who among us bear these august traits? In other words, it is our innate being our nature that will determine who is really communicating with us from the other side.