Buyer Beware: "My Son and the Afterlife"

Discussion in 'Extended Consciousness & Spirituality' started by Ian Gordon, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    OK, so I was browsing on Amazon and impulsively purchased a relatively new book (2013) called "My Son and the Afterlife: Conversations from the Other Side" by Elisa Medhus MD. It wasn't completely impulsive, because the reason I bought it was the recommendations by Eben Alexander, Thomas Campbell and Craig Hogan, among others. (And I've been reading very old books recently and wanted a nice, easy contemporary read.)

    Medhus lost her son to suicide in 2009 or so, she was an atheist and a skeptic, raised by atheist parents, but that loss (and her family getting a lot of after-death communications) made her research psi and decide to open her mind up to possibilities, then she decided to go to channelling mediums, and they related information that convinced her it was her son Erik coming through, and she went about creating a blog that's become very popular, channelingerik.com, and now the book.

    I didn't check out the blog. I thought "What the hell, I'll read this, I know it's channeled material, but I'll see what it's about". I just started the book (30 pages), but then shared this with Trancestate, who checked out the site and told me about it. Man, this is BS. The same mediums, from the same "Erik" sessions, are channeling Jesus, Hitler, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Billie Holliday. Any celebrity you want, Erik just has to call them up, and they show up. And it's just... bad.

    It doesn't automatically mean her son Erik isn't communicating or hasn't communicated, but the channeling overlay is something else.

    http://www.channelingerik.com/best-of-erik-channeling-adolph-hitler/
    http://www.channelingerik.com/channeling-john-lennon-part-one/
    http://www.channelingerik.com/channeling-billie-holiday/
    http://www.channelingerik.com/channeling-john-f-kennedy-part-one/
    http://www.channelingerik.com/channeling-jesus-part-one/
    etc.

    So... I'm not going to read this book. What got me, over and above the fact that there' s hundreds of 4 and 5 star reviews completely crowding out the bad reviews, is the recommendations by these people that I wouldn't have expected. They must surely not have visited the website.

    I should have read this Amazon review:
    I also resonate with this one:
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  2. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    I'm trying to understand what specifically is the issue here. I'm actually neutral on this subject, but I do have curiosity about the reactions this subject raises when it is encountered.
     
  3. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Hi Typoz,

    I'm not sure what you're referring to. I'm obviously not completely biased against channeling because I wouldn't have purchased the book. I expect all forms of mediumship to have a high probability of influence from the medium (though less the Direct Voice). I'm even open to potentially channeling famous people, although my personal balance starts to weigh very strongly towards the skeptical side when that happens. My problem is: 1) Erik is able to get any celebrity or dead person to show up. Do you know of any serious medium able to do that? 2) (even more so) The transcripts. Can someone read those and honestly think these are the people coming through? I exchanged details on some of them with Trancestate, and didn't feel like doing this here, because I wouldn't know where to start. What they say, the way they speak. Incredible.

    Hey, if people want to believe what they believe, in anything, I have NO problem with that. But I thought I'd mention something I've come across that's presented as gold, by people I respect (who surely must have read only an advance copy of the book, which doesn't contain those celebrity interviews), and that to me, IMO, truth-wise, is dung.

    And now I must go to bed - it's well, well past my bedtime. See you in 12 hours.

    EDIT:

    Fact-wise, I analyzed the Buddy Holly and John Lennon stories, especially the latter, because I know them very well. John Lennon was not raised Catholic, he was Anglican.

    Jamie: He’s showing me playing, uh, his family life—apparently he didn’t grow up with his parents, or …(pause) He lived with his aunt and uncle, he says.

    When read this, I thought, now, anyone vaguely familiar with Lennon would know he wasn't raised by his parents. This felt disingenous.

    Then "John" says: "My aunt taught me to play..." No, it wasn't his aunt. It was his mother Julia who visited him who taught how to play a musical instrument.

    "John" also says his auntie and uncle accepted him and let "him be who I was".

    This is what the real John said in 1970:
    http://imaginepeace.com/archives/4385

    It's not just those facts, it's the tone of the conversations, the way the individuals speak. It's completely ludicrous.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  4. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Erroneous facts in Walt Disney's "story":
    http://www.channelingerik.com/channeling-walt-disney/

    He talks about growing up in Ireland. He didn't. His great grandfather was from Ireland, but Walt was born and raised in Chicago, and in his teens moved to Kansas City.
    They talk about him, and he talks about himself, like he was a dwarf. I didn't see anything about that at all anywhere. He grew to be 5 foot 10.
     
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  5. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I would say that when buying a book connected with ψ, it is always worth looking at a review or two, and preferably examining the book with GOOGLE Books before buying!

    Although there are many valuable books out there, there is also a load of c**p!

    David
     
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  6. Thanks for this Ian. I didn't want to "like" your opening post, as it might seem as it I was celebrating you getting a clunker.

    I'm becoming rather interested in reading about mediumship and thus it's good to know works to avoid as well as works to read.
     
  7. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Thanks Sciborg. I wouldn't have interpreted it that way. ;) 10 bucks or so is not a big deal for me. And luckily I shared something with Trancestate in the book very early on that made him go and take a look at the site. Initially I thought I'd still read it, but then when I went and took a look myself, I thought, even if there's some genuine communication and "afterlife info" in there, how can I sort it out from the bunk that's necessarily there. I'm now used to to reading mediumship books with a certain laidback attitude where I expect a mix of possibly genuine psi info and human layering, but this one, especially based on the website, risks balancing the scale toward the latter a little too much for me!
    You're right, David. But if you go to the Amazon page, it's almost all 5 star reviews. You have to dig to find bad ones. And what puzzles me is the praise the following people I respect give it. I wonder what they would think if they looked at the celebrity-channeled information on the website.

    "Dr. Elisa Medhus offers a heartfelt, deeply moving story that invites readers to question their own beliefs of love, loss, and the afterlife." (Eben Alexander, MD author of the NY Times bestseller Proof of Heaven)

    “Elisa’s journey has been amazing and she is well-qualified to share her knowledge with both the medical community and the grief community. She has the credentials to bridge the gap that often exists between these two groups, and by doing so, she is breaking new ground and leading the way for many of us working in the field of bereavement, hospice care, and consciousness.” (Terri Daniel, author, educator, end-of-life advisor, interfaith chaplaincy, and founder/director of the Afterlife Education Foundation and the Annual Afterlife Awareness Conference)

    My Son and the Afterlife contains the clearest, most informative answers to questions about what happens after a person passes into the afterlife that I have read in one book. The topics explored a range from very human, personal issues such as who greets the person after their passing to insightful descriptions of the nature of consciousness and reality.” (R. Craig Hogan, PhD, author of Your Eternal Self)

    My Son and the Afterlife by Elisa Medhus, MD is a book that will tug at your heart strings, make you laugh, cry, and more importantly, consider possibilities that you had probably never thought about before. This book, a record of the author’s conversations with her recently deceased son, Erik, is as real, authentic, and straightforward as it gets. Dr. Medhus and her son Erik, are both in a state of flux struggling to make sense of new perspectives that were thrust upon them as a result of Erik’s suicide. Both are determined to fully explore and share their newfound awareness as they provide much needed healing for each other, find new meaning and significance in the love that binds them, and invite you to come along on their poignant journey to the other side of death.” (Thomas Campbell, physicist and author of My Big TOE (Theory of Everything))

    “Raised by atheist parents, Elisa Medhus, MD. believed only in a material reality—until her mind was jarred open by the excruciating loss of her son, Erik. Following his death she began to receive anomalous communications matching with Erik’s distinctive personality. Always direct and sometimes crude, the insightful messages forever changed Elisa’s worldview. I was touched by the continuing dialog between mother and son, finding it both comforting and enlightening. Don’t be surprised if Elisa’s story alters your ideas about the nature of reality too.” (Mark Ireland, author of Soul Shift)

    “The hide-bound reductionist materialism of 19th and early 20th century science is crumbling under new discoveries and their relevance to what sensitive people through the ages have known all along. Dr. Medhus meticulously guides us through her own epiphany as she, a medical doctor, an exploring mind, and suddenly a re-focused mother finds the intensely personal strength to understand her son's suicide and its larger meaning in the nature of which we are all part, and the courageous professional strength to bring her realizations to us. While this book is obviously an invaluable resource for theologians and physicists, and ethicists and counselors, it is truly a touchstone for all of us who feel and who seek to understand the transcendental nature of the human condition.” (Marco M. Pardi, MA, DPS, anthropologist and thanatologist)

    “Dr. Elisa Medhus has approached her conversations with her son Erik in a courageous and systematic way, using all the analytical skills of a trained scientist. She asks Erik the hard questions that any parent who has lost a child would want answers to, and more. Erik answers all these questions with his own characteristic laid-back directness in a no-nonsense way that brings our understanding of the afterlife into the twenty-first century. This is a remarkable book written by remarkable people, which will bring hope and comfort to the bereaved and change many lives for the better.” (Dr. Victor Zammit, author of A Lawyer Presents the Evidence for the Afterlife)
     
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  8. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Trancestate said to me that he thinks (please correct me if I get it wrong, Doug!) getting in touch with spirits is only possible when there's an actual emotional bond between the sitter and the discarnate. (Although there are also "drop-in" communicators.) You can't just bring to the telephone, so to speak, any ol' person in the history of mankind at your beck and call. I tend to favor that view as well. But it was looking at the actual conversations on that website that made go "What??"

    Plus, it's not serious mediumship, as done by those taught in the Findlay College for example. Where the medium, without getting into any of the needs or questions of the sitter, and without doing any kind of fishing (the sitter doesn't talk), first establishes the reality of the contact by bringing forth evidential material (e.g. things only the sitter knows). How can that be done with a celebrity? And though Medhus prides herself on her skepticism and "scientific approach", on those website conversations you don't get any sense that she's trying to do that with the famous dead people that show up.

    I think it's riskier with channeling. Robert Schwartz' Your Soul's Plan is a book I adore, using 4 mediums (there's some channeling by at least one of the mediums, but they all use different approaches, i.e. clairvoyance, etc.). And though you can't "know", in the sense of being fairly certain, if everything there is "the real thing", it's largely based on the connections between the sitter and the close deceased ones, and the stuff that comes out is, to my mind, brilliant and fits with "data" I find in other paranormal sources of information. But I know the sequel, Your Soul's Gift, which I haven't read, adds other mediums (?) and has a chapter where Jesus is channeled. I'll be careful when I get to that part. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
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  9. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    By contrast, re: a more prudent but healthy (not dogmatically or ideologically skeptical) attitude towards mediumship, is offered by psychical researcher Sir Oliver Lodge in Raymond, or Life and Death (1916), which I read a few months back. Lodge was already convinced of the fact of survival, principally with work through the medium Leonora Piper in the late 1800s, but in this book presents all kinds of evidence (of all sorts: cross-correspondences, etc.) that his youngest son Raymond, who'd enlisted for the war in 1914 and died a year later, started to communicate with the family soon after his death. He's not only careful to not jump to conclusions and evaluates every possible piece of evidence carefully, but when it comes to "Raymond" giving information about the afterlife, he repeatedly warns the reader not to give importance to this. (I'm not saying this is my attitude when I'm reading such material, but I'm offering it as a contrast.)

    One of the mediums he uses most is trance medium Gladys Leonard, whose spirit control is called "Feda". At the beginning of this chapter where he introduces another sitting that took place, he writes: "A few other portions... are included in the record of this sitting, some of a very non-evidential and perhaps ridiculous kind, but I do not feel inclined to suppress them. Some of them are rather amusing. Unverifiable statements have hitherto been generally suppressed, in reporting Piper and other sittings; but here, in deference partly to the opinion of Professor [Henri] Bergson - who when he was in England urged that statements about life on the other side, properly studied, like travellers' tales, might ultimately furnish proof more logically cogent than was possible from mere access to earth memories - they are for the most part reproduced. I should think, myself, that they are of very varying degrees of value, and peculiarly liable to unintentional sophistication by the medium. They cannot be really satisfactory, as we have no means of bringing them to book. The difficulty is that Feda encounters many sitters, and though the majority are just inquirers, taking what comes and saying very little, one or two may be themselves full of theories, and may either intentionally or unconsciously convey them to the 'control'; who may thereafter retail them as actual information, without perhaps being sure whence they were derived. Some books, moreover, have been published of late, purporting to give information about ill-understood things in a positive and assured manner, and it is possible that the medium has read these and may be influenced by them. It will be regrettable if these books are taken as authoritative by people unable to judge of the scientific errors which are conspicuous in their more normal portions; and the books themselves seem likely to retard the development of the subject in the minds of critical persons." (Sir Oliver Lodge, Raymond, or Life and Death: With Examples of the Evidence for Survival of Memory and Affection after Death. London: Methuen & Co., p 192.)
     
  10. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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  11. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    The question for me is 'where is the evidence?'. People can make whatever claims they like but if it isn't supported with evidence of identity and that the process is genuine then I don't really see the point.
     
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  12. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    I understand, Obiwan. In the early pages of the book, the author (mother) brings forth many incidents (after-death communications) where "Erik" seems to be attempting to communicate, some involving PK and other psi phenomena. And they have a distinct character with them that's in line with Erik's identity, including the fact that he was a prankster. Then when she visited a medium and Erik appeared, apparently she was told things about him (like the exact manner of his death) that she couldn't have known, and the channeling revealed Erik's manner and way of talking. She still doubted, so went to see another medium to get confirmation, which she did.

    But then there's a jump to make from there to the fact that it's actually Erik giving all this information (and even if it was, it would be limited by his own biases and wherever he's at in the spirit world). But then there's an even wider jump with the celebrities, and the erroneous facts recounted and the glib nature of some of the conversation takes the plausibility away.

    (Although maybe if Erik is a prankster, he's pulling a huge one on his mother and his audience. ;) )

    Some of the alleged PK & ADC's have involved people responding and getting emotionally involved with the blog, and asking Erik to show up. Maybe you can try it and see. :)
     
  13. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    Hi Ian

    One might accept that her son Erik was attempting contact (which is reasonable if one assumes that survival is at least possible) through the first medium. That leaves a couple of questions in my mind - which is the jump I think you may be referring to:

    1. How do we know the medium currently used is communicating with Erik? Is it the same medium?
    2. If it is in fact Erik, how would we know that the people purportedly communicating through him are what is claimed for them?
    If someone I didn't know was passing on a message from someone I did know, there are a few things I could do to validate the communication to some extent. If the messages were from someone I didn't know personally I would only know information in the public domain, which of course by its nature, everyone else knows too :) (or could find out). I suppose one way, which is the way you allude to, is to consider the quality and nature of the communication: does it seem to fit with what was known about them (again that is public knowledge too unless we knew them)? If the information appears immature, general or puerile then that's a warning flag too as you say.

    I can't see a way to move this forward. I'm not saying people shouldn't accept it at face value but it doesn't hold any evidential value for me. Having said that there are a lot of books out there with little evidential value and they are sometimes a comfort to others so I wouldn't go so far as to say they are of no value to others.
     
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  14. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    I agree with everything you say regarding the second point. Regarding the first point, the book says the two mediums contacted initially (the author calls them "spirit translators") were Kim O'Neill and Jamie Butler. That's who Medhus stuck with, and if you look at the site all the "translations" took place with Jamie (mostly) and Kim. Google them and you'll find them easily online. (You can also google and find negative reviews about them, but I won't link those here, because dissatisfaction with readings can be due to many factors, but let's just say it didn't look good to me.) (Neither of them are on Olson's psychicdirectory and approved medium websites-lists either.)

    Back to your second point, regarding the public personalities, it's clear the info presented is available easily. I checked Buddy Holly's story with what I knew and what was on Wikipedia (like the fact that his pregnant wife when he died miscarried shortly after). When, additionally, glaring mistakes are made (Walt Disney's height and where he grew up, for example), that's a big red flag to me. Does anybody know of a reputable medium that can claim to contact any deceased personality unrelated to the sitter? I doubt that sort of thing flies with mediums who are well-trained and serious about their craft and abilities.
     
  15. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Here are some sites that discuss the question of trying to contact dead celebrities:
    http://www.alanbridges.com/article-20060220-pb.htm
    http://www.ghostvillage.com/ghostcommunity/index.php?showtopic=28569

    Obiwan, the first link goes to your point about needing substantiation.

    What's really suspicious about the Erik site is that 1) the celebrity spirits are not popping in by their own decision, they're called for and arrive, and 2) they all are immediately there at the beck and call.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  16. Trancestate

    Trancestate Member

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    Ian, perhaps I should have said that I feel the best chance for making a connection with discarnate entities is when there exists a strong emotional bond between a deceased person and a living loved one. This sounds logical to me, since so many crisis apparitions involve two people who share strong emotional bonds. Also, if I recall correctly, pairs of people with such bonds seem to have performed well above chance expectation in telepathy experiments.

    In addition, it may be that a strong emotional need helps to facilitate connections. This could explain why drop-in communicators drop in from time to time. They simply have a need to connect with the living.

    Doug
     
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  17. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    I guess one issue here is the question of what evidential value the material has. An alternative way of evaluating the material is whether it may be comforting. From my point of view, there are lots of other ways of evaluating the worth of something. Personally, I'm not looking for either evidence or comfort.

    Take an idea from an unrelated field: say someone comes up with a new scientific theory. There may be no evidence for it and ultimately it may turn out to be wrong. But does that mean it is not worth considering? For example, even if it is without merit, some of the ideas and thought processes evoked may lead to fresh insights. Or another unrelated idea, say someone writes a science-fiction novel. We accept that it is fiction, and the science may be shaky, but even so, such works have often been remarkably prophetic and closely foreshadow future events.

    To be honest, in this field, I doubt that there will ever be solid verifiable evidence. We need to use other ways to evaluate the worth of something. I accept that there will not be unanimity on this - each person is free to reach their own conclusions, and these differing views must be allowed to coexist without judging one view as having greater or lesser worth than another. This is the case in many fields, we don't expect to find a single consensus with no dissenting voices. That is right and proper.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
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  18. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    I know very little about mediumship, it's not something I've really got round to investigating in any great detail and I'm rather skeptical of many of the claims made, as some look to me like misinterpretation, others deliberate fraud. However, recently I've become a little more interested in this subject....

    ...the cousin of a work colleague's wife died tragically fairly recently, this cousin looked after their youngest (3 y/o) daughter a couple of times a week, and both cousin and their daughter were close.

    Just a couple of days after the cousins death, their daughter - whilst she was being fed - quite spontaneously mentioned that she could see the deceased cousin standing at the kitchen door. This has been followed with other apparent sightings, and interesting behaviour by their daughter, whilst she has been around other members of the deceased's immediate family.

    I think these experiences have recently prompted one member of the deceased's family to visit a medium.

    I was somewhat surprised to hear from a trusted source, that the medium apparently revealed a lot of accurate information, and in particular, two spontaneous bits of apparently highly specific information that could not have been known to anyone outside of the family. If what I have been told is accurate, I consider these two bits of information to be quite convincing.

    The other interesting part for me, is that the medium revealed no additional information to this family member, beyond what they already knew.

    This reminds me very much of the Ouija board study at UBC Canada. Where one way of possibly interpreting their interesting results is as being due to some unconscious interaction between the researchers and the subject, but only when the subject genuinely believes they are not influencing the movement of the puck.

    If a medium is able to voluntarily invoke a similar state to that of the subject in the UBC study, then I can see some potential avenues for further exploration... I wonder how you might learn to put yourself in such a state...? It's almost like hypnosis and meditation rolled up into one
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  19. Ian Gordon

    Ian Gordon Ninshub Member

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    Hi Typoz,

    I'm sympathetic to what you write. I don't know if there's anything to being a Libra :), but, as usual, I'm of two minds (at least) about all of this.

    I guess there's different "kinds" of worth. I have no problem with people getting something out of "Erik". And "spiritual worth" (however we define that) may not (probably, maybe most certainly, does not equal "evidential worth"). Sometimes for comfort (since I'm not an experiencer like a lot of folks on this forum), most times for wanting to "know" and "develop" (but also out of sheer curiosity), I read books like the Erik one where there isn't any possibility to evaluate the evidential basis and I don't judge it on that basis. I use an intelligence linked to what my heart tells me, and also compare it with other "data" like what I get in NDEs and the like. But in the case of the Erik book, if someone - like Doug did - points me to something that seems to spell out "pure baloney", I'm going to have a hard time getting into it. And, contrary to you, I think there is the possibility of weighing, in terms of degrees or possibility, of "truth" (however relative, and let's face it everything we get has to be dumbed down incredibly for us mere non-etherians) the evidential worth of some things.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  20. Hjortron

    Hjortron New

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    I have no real comment on the book per se, but I don't agree with the criticism against some of the ideas espoused by it. For instance, it stands very much to reason that we can do and have anything we want in Heaven. Thus, any car, TV and luxurious item would be a non-issue. As would it be to contact those that were celebrities on Earth, because they are no more celebrities in Heaven than anyone else. This is obviously the case as the degree of fame we'll experience in this short visit on this planet here is just another parameter we chose before arrival. John Lennon might have been famous in this incarnation, but he might have been a rock, a mosquito or a dirt poor peasant in the life before that or in a life yet to come.

    We tend to think of the afterlife as this very limited place where nothing happens, but I take the completely opposite view. There, we have everything we can do here (including gay horse sex and all other things which prude people might think of as "unholy") and an infinity of more things to do. Yes, we will actually do stuff there, and not just float around on a cloud of ecstasy all day long. And I strongly suspect that most inhabitants are going crazy and doing all kinds of things while they're there. I mean, who wouldn't?

    There's TV and radio and internet and more things of that nature than we can even relate to there, and infinite amount of channels and stuff as well. As a person on a deep Ayahuasca journey related,

    "When I plugged into gods head I saw technology indescribable, yes god is a geek at the highest level. Of the hour of god connection about 0.01 percent of it related to earth or this style reality. I kept thinking please stop all this information as it has no bearing on this life or reality and no one will ever believe or comprehend this in any way. I will tell you that after this experience I truly feel like Einstein at the zoo, but on the animal side, yet sadly everyone believes the zoo is cool and we are free. Our sadistic brother has us locked into his version of reality, with media, endless wars, work, money, useless trinkets yes useless. Whatever tech you think is badass here is a fucking joke compared to the other side. An iphone lol we can telepathically speak yet we hold cancer emitters to our face."

    I don't know, it's just self-evident to me that in an infinite afterlife, we can do absolutely everything, and given eternity, we will want to do nearly everything as well. And this is even why we're here in this random world right now - we're just playing a role, exploring a certain character in a certain society to see what it's like for the shits and giggles. As deep NDErs say, in that sense we are always home, and we're partly exploring the idea of not knowing that we're home right now. We can never really leave home, because we can never leave god's/the creator's/the source's mind. So being in Heaven means being able to do all kinds of things - including temporarily leaving it from your perception in order to experience all kinds of environments as all kinds of beings.
     

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