“Journey of Souls” by Dr. Michael Newton shocks those who, like most of us, were brought up in the Catholic tradition, and more so those who tenaciously hold on to dogma. A friend of mine was so stunned by this book that he felt a dire need to immediately consult a priest about it. He went to see a Jesuit priest who is known to have guided his students (my son was one of them) through astral travel, and conducted regressions to past lives. Because the priest is now too advanced in age to entertain consultations, it was his trainee who simply advised my friend to keep an open mind.
Michael Newton, who holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a master hypnotherapist, has guided over 7,000 clients into the spirit world through hypnosis. In a hypnotic state, one can be brought back to anyone of significant past lives and is usually brought to the immediate past life in order to describe how he or she died and what happens after death. In Newton’s book we read accounts of how his clients died and of their surprise that they are actually still alive, that they had only left their body.
The between-lives state is usually described as an “amazing place of love, energy and acceptance.” We read about souls who are met by their spirit-guides who appear like light beings but who can show various parts of human form in order to be recognized. The souls realize that they are never really alone and that the love these spirits share is unconditional. Eventually they meet their group mates from their spiritual level and also meet a senior guide and their master.
Together with their guide and group mates, the souls discuss whether or not their previous life served its purpose for spiritual advancement. There are absolutely no recriminations during their assessment; only love and understanding are felt. The group mates also help each other determine what experiences in their next physical life will be necessary to advance their spiritual development, and they are willing to accept the need to have a very difficult next life, for they know the purpose.
At a certain point the souls may also meet a group of “all-knowing beings who seem huge and are luminescent.” They are the Council of Elders whose role is to bring enlightenment and to send one to incarnate.
“We forfeit our body in death but our eternal life energy unites with the force of a divine oversoul,” Newton says. He lists six levels of soul development. He says he has learned that when the soul reaches the sixth level—the level of Master—there is no longer any need to take on a physical form in order to develop. But there are some who do: They come back to help bring about spiritual enlightenment in human beings.
This being the case, then it will make sense to me if some of these Masters took the form of Jesus Christ, Buddha, Muhammad and Krishna, and others, as the other great mystics and sages. It is horribly wrong then for humankind to build institutions around a Master and then claim that theirs is the only true God. It is criminal for these institutions to wage war against one another in the name of God. In the process of wanting their own institution/religion to be the only true one, they effectively corrupt the teachings of the Masters.
Indeed, this is so shocking that most will not even want to consider its truth, as most of us do not want to be disturbed in our comfort zone. We fear that what has become our crutch will be taken away.
Most if not all institutionalized religions use fear to keep their flocks on the supposedly correct path. But fear is counterproductive; it only serves to alienate, to disown a part of our selves, and then the disowned part hides in our unconscious to later sabotage our development. Any part of ourselves that we may have disowned needs to be recognized, listened to, and then transcended. We must recognize who we truly are, that we are eternal souls, souls that, though yet distant from God, are of God.
This awareness, acceptance, and the knowledge that we are all undergoing a necessary process of purgation through trials in whatever form these may have to take, should enable us to eventually have compassion and empathy for one another. In such an atmosphere it may be more difficult for anger or any other negative energy to arise. The problem, of course, will be keeping this awareness constant because we are so easily prone to forget in the face of habits, a mental set formed not only from this life but also from numerous past lives.
Perhaps taking up a spiritual practice with which one is comfortable will be a good tool. But one needs to be very careful in choosing a spiritual practice, for it may be of the type that often deludes us into believing that we are good, or better than everybody else, just because of so many rituals that do not at all affect our interiority, our spirituality. A good spiritual practice is one that will cause us to remember who we truly are, that will peel off layers of illusion that keep our consciousness, our true nature, hidden.
Somewhere I learned that the word “persona” in Greek means “mask.” The word “persona,” therefore, is very apt, for aren’t we, in our presently unconscious state, just masks relating with other masks?
Philip Ycasiano, a retired businessman, says he loves to read, play tennis, and listen to his soulmate, Mymy, sing at piano bars.