Archive for September, 2009

The continuum of belief

Saturday night I watched one of the most delightfully quirky, funny and moving films I have ever seen: Dean Spanley. Sam Neill plays a priest who, under the influence of rare and expensive Imperial Tokay, recounts his former reincarnation as a dog. In the process, he unlocks the heart of a crusty old curmudgeon played brilliantly by Peter O’ Toole. At one point in the story, O’Toole’s son played by Jeremy Northam asks O’Neill if he believes in reincarnation, to which he replies; “Only the closed mind is certain.”

I could not thing of a better creed for someone who seriously investigates reality and paranormalities. Since I began asking pointy questions about what is, it seems par for the course is to actually embrace uncertainty. Mundane facts, like what color my coffee is, elicit comforting certainties, but larger and deeper questions rarely do.

My posterior is planted firmly on the fence for a lot of subjects, and my feet can dangle either way, depending on the evidence and argument. I am reading B Allan Wallace’s “Mind in the Balance,” and his argument about the independence of consciousness on brain function and its significance for reincarnation has my feet swinging towards the positive side.

I have always felt that Ian Stephenson’s amazing research on the subject was convincing evidence, despite the attempts of the hardcore skeptics to shred it.

It’s okay not to be certain; it’s also okay to change what you believe from time to time.

Discovering just exactly what you can be certain about is an exciting journey in itself.


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Polishing the lens

Short post this week, as the weekend is taken up by a visit from the teacher of my Dewachen Buddhist centre, the Venerable Tenzin Namdag.

Above all, the teachings so far have been a reminder that we must be sure that we are looking at things through the right lens. We have to have a filter-less view of reality in order to be sure of what we are seeing.

I do my best, whenever I can, to clear away the muck and grime from my lens, and try to see things as they are.

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The Middle Way

I’ve always been a closet Buddhist, until last year when I came out and joined a local Tibetan Dewachen group here in town. It felt like coming home, and I have become an keen meditator. ‘Nothing to extreme,’ and ‘moderation in all things,’ seemed to have been the constant watchwords throughout my life. And, so too when it comes to paranormality.

There seems to be no unequivocal evidence of the existence of UFOs, ghosts, NDEs, telepathy or astrology, although there are staunch supporters of the last three who consider that there is, and debate the finer points of experimental protocols as to the validity of their proof.

The pursuit of finer states of consciousness is one of my passions; the other is the intersection of physics and metaphysics. What happens when belief in higher realities meets the world of facts. Hence the blog. And my book.

Despite the lack of proof positive of paranormalities, I feel there are still nooks and crannies of paranormality to be investigated, but they have to be examined from the middle of the road. My book ‘Planetary Types: the Science of Celestial Influence’ is one attempt to re-examine the basic tenets of astrology from a cautious, objective viewpoint. I believe there is a strong possibility of achieving positive experimental results from testing the physical characteristics of the seven types against natal chart subjects.

But, to be true to my Buddhist quest for clarity and objectivity, if, after several rounds of testing, the results aren’t forthcoming, I will humbly acquiesce. I am no paranormal evangelist, just a curious chap who thinks there just might be a cosmic umbilical that connects us to a higher world. To completely understate the obvious, I think that would be an interesting discovery.

However, the backbone of the Science of Celestial Influence is the scheme of types, whose reality I am convinced of. They are a unique, accurate and utterly ‘organic’ model of human types. If it turns out that the current explanation of their connection to the planets via the endocrine glands does not fit, then the next exciting chapter will be finding out their true biological causes. But in the meantime the there are experimental roads to try out.

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