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After Effects

by on May 28, 2016

                                                                  After Effects

                                                              by Marco M. Pardi

“So irresistible is the transformative power of enlightenment that your life seems to be shifted into a new dimension, opened to new and unsuspected possibilities.” Eugen Herrigel (1885-1955) The Method of Zen.

All comments welcome. 

One of the best methods for studying a culture is identification and analysis of prevalent forms of cognitive dissonance – the holding of two conflicting and contradictory beliefs/values at once.  If America can be described as a culture (doubtful) one such example would be: Land of the Free – and – Society of Law and Order.  The overlap of the two values in the same people is so complete as to be inarguable.  But, which is it?

Another example is: This is a Christian (“Christian” having distinguished itself from others by belief in the resurrection of a dead man and self aware immortality of the soul for everyone) Nation – and – “I don’t believe in spirits, or seeing ghosts, or someone coming back from the dead to tell about it. That’s unscientific”.

The latter example is critical to the understanding of how the various phenomena such as OBE, out of body experience, SDE, sympathetic death experience, PDE, pre-death experience, NDE, near death experience, and/or ADC/E, after death communication/experience affect the lives of the people who experience them.    

Since these phenomena are often interwoven analysis can seem confusing, even daunting unless parameters are delineated clearly.  So, at the outset we can say three of the five, OBE, SDE, and ADC/E can and do occur to people who are not themselves in medical crisis. And, we can delineate by age group or any of several other variables.  However, recent decades have seen a sharp rise in publication of books and other media reporting, especially, NDEs among children.  

Starting with children, much in the media for reasons I’ll explain, we should first establish general developmental states.  As early as the Classical Greeks there was debate on whether a child entered life as a tabula rasa, clean slate, or with preset ideas, values, inclinations. Centuries later the Catholic Church was faced with the question of, When can a child be considered a sinner?  Debate settled on the age of seven, the Age of Reason, after which it was felt the child could distinguish right from wrong and be held accountable; the child had entered the realm of Critical Thinking.

An undercurrent running through the qualitative distinction of very young children from older children and adults is the unspoken feeling that these children are as yet untainted by the morass of conflicting ideas and beliefs awaiting their entry into the realm of thinking; therefore, their reports must be truthful.  This is a somewhat jaded view, although being jaded does not mean being inaccurate.  Of course, this runs contrary to the low degree of confidence placed on the testimony of a child under 7 in a court of law.

However, assuming the 7th year threshold is reasonably accurate, and taking individual variance into account we have a starting point for examining the reports of children less than seven years of age who claim to have had one or more of the phenomena listed above.  Please note that any mention of “God” is not meant to discredit or to support the claim for existence of this God; that issue is irrelevant here.

It may be said no one lives in a vacuum, especially not very young children.  Examination of the claims purportedly made by children in this category must begin with analysis of the significant others in the child’s physical and mental environment.  While we are now far more knowledgeable of the egregious implanting of false memories, either by intent or simple incompetence by self-styled “regression hypnotherapists”, we must seriously examine the nature of the interface between the mind of the young child and its social environment.  When a child is recounting an NDE and says he saw a very bright light and felt loved, does the parent or caregiver respond by saying, “You saw God”?  If so, and the child assents, does that mean the child perceived his experience as having seen God or is he merely accepting the interpretation of others? It is fair to say one should, at the very least, be quite skeptical of this and of the subsequent story line/interpretation which often follows. Yet, putting an objective analyst on site to hear the child’s first report is far less likely to happen than having to re-interview the child after he/she has already been pre-loaded with interpretations now taken by the child as facts.  Further confounding the analysis, there may be intent on the part of the parents to cash in on the child’s experience in the form of book deals and public appearances.  This has been unmasked a few times recently, with the admission that the book in question was almost entirely authored by a parent who significantly manipulated the child for the purpose of supporting the parent’s religious beliefs.    

One interesting current emerges from reports from children: Regardless of their religious or non-religious background, the experience – any of the five listed above – appears to be taken by the child as natural (“Doesn’t everybody know about this?”)  But herein lies the potential for problems, including cognitive dissonance.  If a child is listened to and asked – rather than told – what his experience means he is allowed to process the experience into the ever growing context of his daily experience.  While fostering this the caretaker may also introduce some caution, or at least warning that if and when the child discusses this with others he may encounter resistance, disbelief, and even ridicule. And these can come from religious and secular, pseudo-scientific materialists alike. Still, as with other aspects of helping a child acquire healthy social navigational tools, it can be done without developing reclusiveness in the child. The reader may rightly assume this scenario is unusual to rare.

The more likely development is the child is faced with a choice: Acquiesce to the confabulations of the caregiver and try to incorporate them into the reality of the experience; or, adopt an “I know what I saw” hiding place within the self which is reinforced and broadened with every subsequent experience, of any kind, which is seen by the child one way and interpreted by the caregiver another.  Neither adaptation is healthy. Each can lead to long-term difficulties.  

During the years I facilitated closed groups of adults for discussions of their experiences I encountered a few who claimed after effects including interference with electronic devices, even wrist watches, sleep disturbances, and/or some with “heightened ESP”.  I saw no evidence to support these claims but then the circumstances did not really allow for testing them.  But the sense of alienation was pervasive, requiring constant reminders of confidentiality.  Another constant was the refrain, “I love my minister, but Boy does he have it wrong.”

In those same years I got a first hand look at the lengths to which some religious groups will go. I’ve written elsewhere of the several pre-publication manuscripts sent to me purporting to tell of, especially, the Near Death Experience and the message for Mankind sent back with the returnee.  In some cases the medical information was so miserably incorrect it could not have made script for a television show.  In other cases the returnee clearly had a fragile grip on daily reality, yet the church publishing house insisted (against my advice) on sending the author out on church book tours even in a case where the “NDE” was by any APA standard a psychotic episode.  My challenge to the publisher that they be prepared to underwrite the likely in-patient care for their to-be lionized author, and financial support for their subsistence level family went unanswered. Sell the book, get the “good news” out, and if the author and his family crash and burn they’ll be replaced by another in the pipeline.

Speaking of television, one of the best fictional programs I’ve recently seen stars Jennifer Beals as a skeptical physician hired to investigate life after death.  Titled, PROOF, it has so far provided a firmly balanced, non-theistic approach which could have come from The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Given the direction the U.S. has been following recently, I am curious to see if it will be renewed.

In any case, I feel the likelihood of a culture wide approach in a society divided into two faith camps – the theistic religious versus the likewise religious pseudo-science materialists is quite low in my remaining lifetime.  My personal life history has been one of comfortably keeping secrets.  But I do sympathize with the many I’ve met, and the many more I haven’t, as they learn to cope with those who “just don’t understand.”      

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21 Comments
  1. When thinking of my own NDE, or was it a PDE, I can’t help knowing that the experience was influenced by hearing of the experiences of others. In turn, I have shared with others; perhaps leaving them with some anticipation of what their own death will be like. Most of us have been subjected to having our truths interpreted by people whose beliefs and agendas were different from our own. This becomes a problem when it causes us to doubt our own reality.

    My grandchildren run the intelligence gamut from challenged to gifted. If either of my girls told me of having such an experience, I’d like to think I would take their truth for what it was, and not try to add my own, or anyone else’s, judgment. Only they know what their truth may be.

  2. Thank you, Rose. Your acumen in distinguishing your experience from the interpretations of others was clear in our early conversations so many years ago. That time has allowed you to productively develop this ability, and not cave in to the interpretations of others has resulted in a life which I imagine has been, at times, lived in silent privacy. Yet, the person you are is exactly the person your grandchildren should be around. I’m convinced they will go through life, facing their own challenges, and often thinking, “What would Grandmother say?”

    • That’s just my point, I think. Children want to please the authority figures in their lives, and so they sometimes accept the interpretation of these persons as correct, even when they conflict with their own. When the almighty dollar sign raises its head in these situations, I think it likely that they are coaxed or coerced into setting their own truth aside in favor of what’s “best for everyone” (except themselves). Causing someone to doubt their own truth, or to deny what they know to be true, is quite possibly the most insidious form of mind control, and just plain wrong.

      • Exactly. But your grandchildren will have the advantage of having you to guide them in their thinking instead of you telling them what to think.

  3. Truth lies in the truth.

    All I know is my soul is an overly joyous sometimes irritatingly so thing that is not designed to fit in this body. If I took all of Jamie’s and others advice to connect fully to my soul I’d burst a joyous seam. It came from not of this Earth.

    • Yes, PM. I fully concur with the realization of the Self as being much larger than the container it loosely occupies. It is indeed a sense of bursting, if not always joyous (for me) certainly utterly peaceful in its expansiveness.

      • 5 Ways to Die and Come Back with Marco Pardi.

        When I first read the title I was thinking “hey, when we die we can all meet up and reincarnate with Marco!”

      • PM. I really don’t know how they dream up the stuff they sometimes use for titles. Maybe that’s the business model I keep hearing about. Marco

  4. Marco, I have always felt that so many of these NDE stories on the “inspirational” rack of grocery stores are bogus. I’ve seen fundamentals gobble them up first-hand, claiming these stories are “proof” of heaven and eternity with Jesus Christ.

    Yet the same people (without naming anyone here) are completely disinterested and even discredit NDE accounts which do not have a religious theme.

    • Thanks, Dana. What you say is sadly true. It is sometimes difficult to refrain from speaking out forcefully when you see people twist the experiences of others to fit their own agenda. Yet, the very fact they do it is a warning of the futility of confronting them.

  5. I just watched the video with Jamie at her center. It reminded me of something I’m not sure existed but here it is.

    So, my recurring dreams always return. (I love nightmares, I have installed gaming weapons caches in my dreams so I can blast my way through in a pinch.) This situation I had when I was really young has only happened once. Somewhere around the time I had an accident. Anyway, it was dark and then there was light, like coming around a corner of a black building into this light. There were all these people standing around and the light was so bright it looked like black and white until you got up close and then you could see the colors. I wandered around the group a bit being curious and a woman bent down and asked who I was and took me aside. She talked with me but all I got was it was about choices. Then I was back.

    I don’t know if it had any impact on how I view life since I was so young or it set me on my present path that I worked in with the universe to manifest it. So was it real? Live or memorex? Can the mind manifest something like that at such a young age? It was an awesome ‘dream’ but I’ve never had it again.

    • Thank you, PM. At first it seems like you have exceptionally lucid dreams. But I don’t think this was dreaming. Young children especially are more open to experiences which can be described as mystical, transcendent, crossing over, etc. I suspect the woman (bending down signals she was older) was you, as in YOU. YOU was providing the panorama of “choices” you will face in life. Time, lifespan, etc are illusions; we are at once ONE with ourselves.

      I suggest you look back through the archive on this site and read Zep Tepi (First Time, in classical Egyptian). It is a later chapter in a larger piece – Reflections, which is also in the archive. I presented these as fiction, but I think you will quickly see they are not.

      I suspect you are still completely open to these experiences, and would love to know more. They obviously are the context within which you are constantly arising.

      • Thanks Marco. I really never knew what to make of that ‘event’. The most I get for openness is heavy deja vu when I pay attention, or is that pay lack of attention? Otherwise I say I’m an insensitive bastard because my antenna is broken. I still feel my soul though and it’s always a joyous happy-go-lucky energy. I explain it to people as the kitten or puppy that are always into stuff, never stopping, not even when they run into things or a bigger animal puts them in their place. Just non-stop bouncy fun energy. It can get annoying at times so I have learned to tone it down.

        Most of my dreams are fairly normal (to me) dreams and I can tell they are dreams and tell my brain ‘come on, is that the best you can do? 1 to 3 seconds is not entertainment!’.

        Anyway, I’ll pop back into the archives and read the suggested material.

      • I go for long stretches during which I dread sleeping because of the dreams that come. It’s getting better.

  6. From reading your ‘fiction’ I can see why. Have you tried forcing yourself to your ‘safe place’ creek? It is possible I have learned. Sometimes I just wake myself up from heavy negative energy dreams and look around to check my cats in the room to make sure they are not in distress as I was or focus on something else and then go back to sleep thus changing my channel of dreams. 30 seconds or less does the trick.

  7. Thanks. I’ll try the creek when I next need to. I did learn some years ago I could turn over and “change channels” Maybe my ears are antennas on different frequencies. .

    • I hope it works and helps. Rolling over is good as well as you just need to disconnect from the negative energy as it tries to feed off of the emotional energy evoked. I don’t really have fear of this in my nightmares of the negative sort but more of prepare for battle and output of adrenaline which will wake me as well. I have learned in my years that no one wins in a fight so I will consciously wake myself to disconnect and then blast a positive message to surround me like the white light of protection. Then I can lay down again and sleep. I hope you are not hounded persistently in those nights of discomfort. I wouldn’t know what to do and would seek council, like Jamie.

      Some of the minor negative energies I will feed just to see what they are doing and/or going. Those type you can get rid of with a mental slap or shove out of the way without waking because better dreams are available.

      Those heavily negative entities are the only thing more annoying than my overly joyous soul.

      As in dreams and so in/on social type media, Do Not Feed The Trolls.

  8. Ok, now that my bartender ears kicked in and got us off track. Any questions you would like answered from my original post of this set? 😛

    • Can’t think of any for now, but I always look forward to your comments.

      • Me either at present. I’ve been thinking about it but the only ones I notice are the deja vu and haven’t been experiencing that lately. I’ll have to go downtown or to one of the parks and not pay attention, then it will flow. I would suppose I’m picking up on residual energy imprinted on the areas.

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