Debra Diamond Brings Wall Street Smarts to NDEs, and Mediumship |424|

#1
Debra Diamond Brings Wall Street Smarts to NDEs, and Mediumship |424|
by Alex Tsakiris | Aug 28 | Consciousness Science, Near-Death Experience, Spirituality
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Debra Diamond was an elite Wall Street analyst before discovering her abiblty to talk with the dead and dying.
photo by: Skeptiko
Alex Tsakiris: [00:00:00] Welcome to Skeptiko where we explore controversial science and spirituality with leading researchers, thinkers and their critics. I’m your host Alex Tsakiris and now we all know that psychic mediums seem to offer a unique view into these extended consciousness realms that I’m always talking so much about and although the best science seems to suggest that there’s a reality to what mediums do, science is backing that up like our friend Dr. Julie Beischel has done so well.
We’re also left with a lot of questions about the apparent contradictions, unanswered questions [mediumship presents]… and then we get into NDE science and it gets even more confusing. There are questions about, what is the near-death experience really all about? How does it relate to the after-death communication that mediums are bringing back? And then if we add to the mix, things like terminal lucidity, and shared NDEs, the whole field can get even more complicated.
Fortunately, we have today’s guest Debra Diamond who has used her extraordinary gifts as a psychic medium along with her really amazingly keen analytical abilities, although as you’ll find out, it’s not so surprising. Her former career, where she was a very accomplished Wall Street money manager and professor at Johns Hopkins University where she taught students some of the tricks of the trade, in terms of investments and investment analysts, but she had that kind of background, and then she’s brought that with these intuitive psychic abilities that she’s honed, to bring us just a very unique and emotionally powerful perspective on the entire dying process.
So, this is really, I think, going to be a terrific talk. Debra has gone way beyond afterlife communication and readings to actually doing research. I think, as I hope we talk about, some groundbreaking research in NDE science, stuff that hasn’t been done but is being approached in a scientific way. And now with this latest book that we’re going to talk about today, Diary of a Death Doula, she’s actually shared what she’s learned, going into the hospice environment and bringing everything that she knows about NDEs and about-death communication into working with people who are approaching death.
This is really some amazing work. Debra your books are just great, I couldn’t stop reading I was absorbing and making notes and running out of time and that was my only limitation, but I’m really really, really glad that I’ve met you and that you’re joining me here today on Skeptiko. So thanks so much for being here.
 
#2
This is one of my interests, so I have a hypothetical. I've spent my life deeply involved in politics, no spiritual experiences. Im an Obama fan with very progressive leanings, or a big Trump supporter, no matter. I pass on and on the other side. What is my experience? Does lifting the veil and the earthly bond release my political beliefs or are they too deeply entrenched? I believe the answer would resolve the different interpretations of reality or structured system on the other side i.e reincarnation, life review, spiritual guides and hierarchy. My personal opinion is if I was a dedicated life long Republican in this life I would still have my political sympathies once disarticulated and departed.
 
#3
This is one of my interests, so I have a hypothetical. I've spent my life deeply involved in politics, no spiritual experiences. Im an Obama fan with very progressive leanings, or a big Trump supporter, no matter. I pass on and on the other side. What is my experience? Does lifting the veil and the earthly bond release my political beliefs or are they too deeply entrenched? I believe the answer would resolve the different interpretations of reality or structured system on the other side i.e reincarnation, life review, spiritual guides and hierarchy. My personal opinion is if I was a dedicated life long Republican in this life I would still have my political sympathies once disarticulated and departed.
You might be interested in the work of sociologist Jonathan Haidt. His research shows that people across all cultures hold the same set of political values but the difference between conservatives and liberals is which values they think are more important. The differences between conservatives and liberals are really very minor. The polarization we see in the US is due to journalists and politicians spreading fear and hate for their personal gain. Unfortunately once the discord is started and people buy into it, it becomes self fulfilling because each side thinks the other is wrong or evil etc and they start fighting based on a misunderstanding and misinformation rather than real differences.

The differences between liberals and conservatives are legitimate differences of opinion. Neither is right or wrong or more or less spiritual.

What you believe in the afterlife would depend on your motives. If you had sincere benevolent motives, your political views would not change in the afterlife unless you studied the matters from the spiritual realm and the spiritual perspective and learned new information that changed your mind. If your motives for supporting a political party were selfish you might regret it in the afterlife like you might regret any selfish act. But there are some people who do not regret their selfish acts even in the afterlife. So what you believe in the afterlife would depend on a lot of different factors that would vary according to the individual.
 
#4
Alex,

If you want to understand inconsistencies you need to be very specific about who said what when. You need to look carefully at the two statements you believe contradict each other. What are the specific details they are claiming, why does each person believe what he does (sometimes people make assumptions without realizing it and if you press them they will realize it), how they got their information etc. And you also have to consider the wider context of who the information is for. Ideally you would need access to both parties so you can ask them questions.

Reincarnation is often confusing because the concept of identity and time is not the same in the spirit realm as it is in the physical realm. The number of incarnations can vary depending on how you define "individual". Also just because someone is in the spirit realm doesn't mean they know everything there is to know. Initially people go to realms where they will be with like minded people to ease adjustment to the spirit realm. Sometimes you will get information from a spirit that is what they believed while they were living on the earth and they are not telling you something they have learned in the spirit realm.

With some remote viewers and OBErs you have to make sure they can say definitely which universe they are getting their information from because some of them say they can't control which universe or dimension they are getting information from. Personally, I don't understand how they can claim to be reliable about anything that cannot be independently verified if they believe they are getting information from unknown universes.

You also have situations where a spirit communicator has to be careful about what they say because if they say the wrong thing, their whole message could be disregarded as demonic etc.
 
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#5
I liked this interview and the topic. Good questions from Alex. Debra was very cautious in her answers, which is a double edged sword. I appreciate her humility and cautiousness, but found myself wishing at a few points that she'd go out on a speculative limb once in a while. Definitely a guest I hope that returns for more.

Re; the inconsistencies - IMO, too many people want the spirit world to be mechanistic and to behave like material physics, but mind doesn't work that way. Mind creates realities. It is largely free from mechanistic determinism.

So, IMO, in the spirit world there are "cultures"; i.e. groups of spirits that have banded together and that create separate realities and systems. Some of these cultures reincarnate for various reasons. In other cultures, reincarnation isn't an option. They handle things differently.

Reports from the afterlife will vary based on what spirit culture the communicator is a part of.

If someone from a different world telepathically communicated with an Eskimo, he would come away with a picture of earth as a cold snowy place. He would be made to understand that humans have to eat and they do so by going out in boats and killing whales and then munching on blubber for half the year. If another being from that other world then communicated with an American living in Miami, he would be puzzled by communications describing a warm sunny place where food is obtained at grocery stores and restaurants. He would report that his peer was wrong. Humans never eat blubber. The reports of automobiles would contrast with reports of dog sleds.

Now you may say that my examples are banal whereas reincarnation, yes or no, is a more serious matter, but I disagree. Just as the Eskimo would have radically different beliefs concerning the origin of life, its purpose and how it works compared to the Miami person, spirits in different cultures are also operating under different beliefs. The underlying assumption that everyone who passes over is suddenly knowing of everything perfectly seems a little foolish to me. + mind is creating reality. So some spirits in some cultures really do reincarnate while other spirits in other cultures really don't. It's a door that's just not open to them because they are not focused on that potential due to the consensus of their group.

In the work that has come out of the University of Virginia we can see that most of the cases suggestive of reincarnation, there was a traumatic and/or untimely death. Perhaps those souls tend to band together in a group that has explored the ability to return to earth in a new body, whereas people lived out their life's natural span tend to band together in groups/cultures that are focused on other avenues of growth/adventure/issue resolution.
 
#6
I like what Jim said above. We get contradictory information from people regarding events HERE ON EARTH. I’d expect even more regarding information that comes realms/dimensions which are very difficult to glean information from. I think some people confuse messages, some people are probably lied to by “other spirits”, some people form beliefs or have beliefs which really had nothing to do with their experience. But since they had an experience, they obfuscate belief information with information gleaned during their experience. Also, if one person says “reincarnation happens three times”, maybe that’s true for particular individuals. If another says, “people reincarnate nonstop”, maybe that IS true for some people. There might also be some of the “you create your own reality” philosophy at work here.
 
#7
I have never had an NDE, but I have experienced some of the negative responses if you try to describe this phenomenon to others. A few years ago, the wife of a friend was slowly losing her battle against cancer. I tried to describe to him (on his own) the NDE phenomenon, and he was very negative - so much so, that in the end I sent him an email and said I would never discuss this matter further unless he raised it first. He hasn't mentioned it since, and I haven't discussed it with him - even after she died!

I think perhaps us listeners to Skeptiko, and Alex himself, are unusually exposed to the fact that there isn't a standard message from NDE's or other spiritual experiences. I think either Debra hasn't read about the reincarnation data, or is shutting it out - perhaps this is a common phenomenon.

Perhaps people see this as somehow devaluing the evidence, but I think perhaps we have grown beyond that.I do think this is a really important question, and I think at least some of it may be the result of the sheer difference between being a pure consciousness being, and being a physical being.

I do hope Debra will join the forum.

David
 
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#8
I liked this interview and the topic. Good questions from Alex. Debra was very cautious in her answers, which is a double edged sword. I appreciate her humility and cautiousness, but found myself wishing at a few points that she'd go out on a speculative limb once in a while. Definitely a guest I hope that returns for more.

Re; the inconsistencies - IMO, too many people want the spirit world to be mechanistic and to behave like material physics, but mind doesn't work that way. Mind creates realities. It is largely free from mechanistic determinism.

So, IMO, in the spirit world there are "cultures"; i.e. groups of spirits that have banded together and that create separate realities and systems. Some of these cultures reincarnate for various reasons. In other cultures, reincarnation isn't an option. They handle things differently.

Reports from the afterlife will vary based on what spirit culture the communicator is a part of.

If someone from a different world telepathically communicated with an Eskimo, he would come away with a picture of earth as a cold snowy place. He would be made to understand that humans have to eat and they do so by going out in boats and killing whales and then munching on blubber for half the year. If another being from that other world then communicated with an American living in Miami, he would be puzzled by communications describing a warm sunny place where food is obtained at grocery stores and restaurants. He would report that his peer was wrong. Humans never eat blubber. The reports of automobiles would contrast with reports of dog sleds.

Now you may say that my examples are banal whereas reincarnation, yes or no, is a more serious matter, but I disagree. Just as the Eskimo would have radically different beliefs concerning the origin of life, its purpose and how it works compared to the Miami person, spirits in different cultures are also operating under different beliefs. The underlying assumption that everyone who passes over is suddenly knowing of everything perfectly seems a little foolish to me. + mind is creating reality. So some spirits in some cultures really do reincarnate while other spirits in other cultures really don't. It's a door that's just not open to them because they are not focused on that potential due to the consensus of their group.

In the work that has come out of the University of Virginia we can see that most of the cases suggestive of reincarnation, there was a traumatic and/or untimely death. Perhaps those souls tend to band together in a group that has explored the ability to return to earth in a new body, whereas people lived out their life's natural span tend to band together in groups/cultures that are focused on other avenues of growth/adventure/issue resolution.
I like your analogy Eskimo/Miami. It may work out that way. I also agree with Jim's take on it ( different spirit cultures/dimensions). However, there is a sub-structure or over riding system of control, a hierarchy of intelligence or expanded consciousness dimensions are accessed with finer or gross frequencies, It seems as a government so to speak. Everything that happens appears almost deterministic, except for the nuances of cultural differences. It appears that formless captured consciousness gets imbued with this hallucination of form ( subject/object). Without a physical body of a grosser frequency. It appears that one becomes what one thinks in a sense. Im I making sense?
 
#9
Alex,

If you want to understand inconsistencies you need to be very specific about who said what when. You need to look carefully at the two statements you believe contradict each other. What are the specific details they are claiming, why does each person believe what he does (sometimes people make assumptions without realizing it and if you press them they will realize it), how they got their information etc. And you also have to consider the wider context of who the information is for. Ideally you would need access to both parties so you can ask them questions.

Reincarnation is often confusing because the concept of identity and time is not the same in the spirit realm as it is in the physical realm. The number of incarnations can vary depending on how you define "individual". Also just because someone is in the spirit realm doesn't mean they know everything there is to know. Initially people go to realms where they will be with like minded people to ease adjustment to the spirit realm. Sometimes you will get information from a spirit that is what they believed while they were living on the earth and they are not telling you something they have learned in the spirit realm.

With some remote viewers and OBErs you have to make sure they can say definitely which universe they are getting their information from because some of them say they can't control which universe or dimension they are getting information from. Personally, I don't understand how they can claim to be reliable about anything that cannot be independently verified if they believe they are getting information from unknown universes.

You also have situations where a spirit communicator has to be careful about what they say because if they say the wrong thing, their whole message could be disregarded as demonic etc.
thx. this is a topic I'm going to be returning to because I've already asked a couple of guests since this interview. the responses are interesting... it appears that the spiritualist / medium, belief system / dogma has traditionally steered away from reincarnation. this seems to me to be a blind spot. I mean, the data we have from stevenson and tucker certainly are highly suggestive of the reality of reincarnation. it's strange to think that mediums could be could fall prey to this kind of dogmatic thinking. and why don't the spirits set them straight?
 
#10
I liked this interview and the topic. Good questions from Alex. Debra was very cautious in her answers, which is a double edged sword. I appreciate her humility and cautiousness, but found myself wishing at a few points that she'd go out on a speculative limb once in a while. Definitely a guest I hope that returns for more.

Re; the inconsistencies - IMO, too many people want the spirit world to be mechanistic and to behave like material physics, but mind doesn't work that way. Mind creates realities. It is largely free from mechanistic determinism.

So, IMO, in the spirit world there are "cultures"; i.e. groups of spirits that have banded together and that create separate realities and systems. Some of these cultures reincarnate for various reasons. In other cultures, reincarnation isn't an option. They handle things differently.

Reports from the afterlife will vary based on what spirit culture the communicator is a part of.

If someone from a different world telepathically communicated with an Eskimo, he would come away with a picture of earth as a cold snowy place. He would be made to understand that humans have to eat and they do so by going out in boats and killing whales and then munching on blubber for half the year. If another being from that other world then communicated with an American living in Miami, he would be puzzled by communications describing a warm sunny place where food is obtained at grocery stores and restaurants. He would report that his peer was wrong. Humans never eat blubber. The reports of automobiles would contrast with reports of dog sleds.

Now you may say that my examples are banal whereas reincarnation, yes or no, is a more serious matter, but I disagree. Just as the Eskimo would have radically different beliefs concerning the origin of life, its purpose and how it works compared to the Miami person, spirits in different cultures are also operating under different beliefs. The underlying assumption that everyone who passes over is suddenly knowing of everything perfectly seems a little foolish to me. + mind is creating reality. So some spirits in some cultures really do reincarnate while other spirits in other cultures really don't. It's a door that's just not open to them because they are not focused on that potential due to the consensus of their group.

In the work that has come out of the University of Virginia we can see that most of the cases suggestive of reincarnation, there was a traumatic and/or untimely death. Perhaps those souls tend to band together in a group that has explored the ability to return to earth in a new body, whereas people lived out their life's natural span tend to band together in groups/cultures that are focused on other avenues of growth/adventure/issue resolution.
interesting... but see my comment above.
 
#11
I like what Jim said above. We get contradictory information from people regarding events HERE ON EARTH. I’d expect even more regarding information that comes realms/dimensions which are very difficult to glean information from. I think some people confuse messages, some people are probably lied to by “other spirits”, some people form beliefs or have beliefs which really had nothing to do with their experience. But since they had an experience, they obfuscate belief information with information gleaned during their experience. Also, if one person says “reincarnation happens three times”, maybe that’s true for particular individuals. If another says, “people reincarnate nonstop”, maybe that IS true for some people. There might also be some of the “you create your own reality” philosophy at work here.
I agree... I think there's a lot of info to consider.
 
#12
thx. this is a topic I'm going to be returning to because I've already asked a couple of guests since this interview. the responses are interesting... it appears that the spiritualist / medium, belief system / dogma has traditionally steered away from reincarnation. this seems to me to be a blind spot. I mean, the data we have from stevenson and tucker certainly are highly suggestive of the reality of reincarnation. it's strange to think that mediums could be could fall prey to this kind of dogmatic thinking. and why don't the spirits set them straight?
Why don't the spirits set all of humanity straight about the afterlife by staging miracles in public places every day until the materialists wake up? Maybe it has something to do with the earth being a place where people can have a variety of experiences that cannot be had in the afterlife.

FYI, When I used to go to Spiritualist churches they said they have no official position on reincarnation because the data (from spirits not scientists) was conflicting, but individual Spiritualists may have their own beliefs. So mediums who come from a Spiritualist background might avoid the subject - especially if they are still active in the church. If there are independent mediums who also avoid the subject it would be interesting to ask them why.

Some spirits have tried to set us straight. If you want to understand the issue you need to look at what various people have said, where they claim their information came from, and who the information was intended for etc.

I am not claiming everything will make sense if you study the data carefully, I'm just saying you do have to look at the actual data in detail and use it to support whatever specific assertions you are going to make. And by data I don't mean what a certain person says, I mean the data that person uses to justify what they say.
 
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#13
and why don't the spirits set them straight?
Alex,

I have a saying I like to use in these situations: "The spirits are willing to give us all the help they want."

Meaning the spirits do what they want for their own purposes - not what we want. If we could see things from their perspective what they do and don't do might make sense, but we are stuck in physical reality and our perspective is limited ... by design. If the earth plane was identical to the spirit planes we wouldn't need an earth plane. It is different, our knowledge is different, by design.
 
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#14
thx. this is a topic I'm going to be returning to because I've already asked a couple of guests since this interview. the responses are interesting... it appears that the spiritualist / medium, belief system / dogma has traditionally steered away from reincarnation. this seems to me to be a blind spot. I mean, the data we have from stevenson and tucker certainly are highly suggestive of the reality of reincarnation. it's strange to think that mediums could be could fall prey to this kind of dogmatic thinking. and why don't the spirits set them straight?
When you talk to guests who are willing to make statements about reincarnation - please ask them about the raw data. Why do they believe what they believe? What data is their belief based on?

Sometimes you get a person who has an arbitrary belief, and it seems to be confirmed by one shaky data point, or a quote from someone or other, but because he is respected in his field people take his word as gospel without ever examining whether the person has good data to back up his belief. You get two people like that saying different things and it creates a lot of confusion and doubt. So if you can look into this and clear away some of the weak arguments, it could be very helpful.
 
#15
I liked this interview and the topic. Good questions from Alex. Debra was very cautious in her answers, which is a double edged sword. I appreciate her humility and cautiousness, but found myself wishing at a few points that she'd go out on a speculative limb once in a while. Definitely a guest I hope that returns for more.

Re; the inconsistencies - IMO, too many people want the spirit world to be mechanistic and to behave like material physics, but mind doesn't work that way. Mind creates realities. It is largely free from mechanistic determinism.

So, IMO, in the spirit world there are "cultures"; i.e. groups of spirits that have banded together and that create separate realities and systems. Some of these cultures reincarnate for various reasons. In other cultures, reincarnation isn't an option. They handle things differently.

Reports from the afterlife will vary based on what spirit culture the communicator is a part of.

If someone from a different world telepathically communicated with an Eskimo, he would come away with a picture of earth as a cold snowy place. He would be made to understand that humans have to eat and they do so by going out in boats and killing whales and then munching on blubber for half the year. If another being from that other world then communicated with an American living in Miami, he would be puzzled by communications describing a warm sunny place where food is obtained at grocery stores and restaurants. He would report that his peer was wrong. Humans never eat blubber. The reports of automobiles would contrast with reports of dog sleds.

Now you may say that my examples are banal whereas reincarnation, yes or no, is a more serious matter, but I disagree. Just as the Eskimo would have radically different beliefs concerning the origin of life, its purpose and how it works compared to the Miami person, spirits in different cultures are also operating under different beliefs. The underlying assumption that everyone who passes over is suddenly knowing of everything perfectly seems a little foolish to me. + mind is creating reality. So some spirits in some cultures really do reincarnate while other spirits in other cultures really don't. It's a door that's just not open to them because they are not focused on that potential due to the consensus of their group.

In the work that has come out of the University of Virginia we can see that most of the cases suggestive of reincarnation, there was a traumatic and/or untimely death. Perhaps those souls tend to band together in a group that has explored the ability to return to earth in a new body, whereas people lived out their life's natural span tend to band together in groups/cultures that are focused on other avenues of growth/adventure/issue resolution.
I like your metaphor about the people in the North Pole and the people in Miami. Reminds me of this idea: It may be useful to consider that there is No Ultimate Truth.

I don't know if there is Ultimate Truth or not. I'm saying that it seems useful in certain contexts to consider that there may not be.

Sort of like how it's useful to consider that the celestial bodies revolve around the earth if you're trying to navigate by the stars. The context and purpose of my mental work seems important to consider when deciding which ideas might help me achieve said purpose.

Also reminds me of an interesting metaphor comparing concepts of Darwinian evolution to concepts of spirit or spirit realms. (Note, I'm not arguing that this metaphor IS THE WAY IT IS, but I do think it can be useful, even if it's not "right" in any absolute sense.) For example, in Darwinian evolution, it is thought that there's no ideal form that an organism is "evolving toward." Evolution is just thought to be based on accidental mutations that are selected for in terms of how any given mutation helps an organism survive and replicate. It seems like it may be useful to consider that perhaps human knowledge and culture evolves that way. Additionally, perhaps it is useful to consider that spirits or spirit realms evolve the same way. That would mean that there's no BIG ULTIMATE HIERARCHY of spirits or spirit realms, just like there's not ultimate hierarchy controlling the evolution of biological organism in the theory of evolution.

Again, I'm not arguing in favor or Darwinian evolution and I'm not trying to say that anything I'm writing is THE WAY IT IS in an absolute sense--I'm just wanting to explore this metaphor because it feels like a useful pursuit to me. History is full of "not right" ideas that have been extremely useful.
 
#16
When I used to go to Spiritualist churches they said they have no official position on reincarnation because the data (from spirits not scientists) was conflicting, but individual Spiritualists may have their own beliefs.
It's covered pretty comprehensibly in Alan Kardec's book of the spirits, with upwards of 50 uses of the word reincarnate alone. I'm surprised that the modern movement would deviate at all on this subject.
 
#17
It's covered pretty comprehensibly in Alan Kardec's book of the spirits, with upwards of 50 uses of the word reincarnate alone. I'm surprised that the modern movement would deviate at all on this subject.
Most spiritualists are ex-Catholics. Then next largest group is ex-Jews. Neither of those religion recognizes reincarnation.
 
#18
it's strange to think that mediums could be could fall prey to this kind of dogmatic thinking.
Alex,

You are setting a higher standard for mediums than the rest of the population.

When did that work for any other group of people?

Never.

Mediums are people. Just people. They are not nicer, more ethical, or more moral. They are just ordinary people with a talent or skill. And when it comes to consciousness they are way ahead of mainstream science. Give them a break.
 
#20
Surely if they’re really ‘EX’ Catholic or Jew then it shouldn’t mean that much?
I'm sorry if what I wrote was confusing. I said that Spiritualism has no official position on the question. Spiritualism does not require anyone to have a specific belief about reincarnation. Individual Spiritualists can believe what they want, many believe in reincarnation, but in general they do not feel the need to force a set of beliefs on everyone.

They are trying to keep dogma down to the bare minimum.

They also don't discuss what it is like in the afterlife.
 
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