I thought I'd write down the progression of my beliefs and how I got to where I am today in case anyone wanted to check out any of the sources as well. This will be long.
I was born and raised in a Catholic family. I was baptized and confirmed into the church at a young age and went to a Catholic middle school and started at a Catholic high school before moving.
I went to college where I studied Cognitive Science (the study of cognition aka thinking) and on campus, was recruited into a Christian group, which was also a part of a larger religious organization whose mission was to try to restore Christianity to a more "committed" accountability. It was here that I studied the bible for the first time and learned much about the differences between Catholicism and mainstream Christianity.
After 10 years of being in the church, I left because I saw hypocrisy and faithlessness the same as in any other person of Christian belief. In other words, there was a man-made sense of faith which did not come from the individual themselves, but rather from other's pushing you to have faith. There was not the sense of individual relationship with God so much as a relationship with the church.
Another 10 years would pass in which I was a "Christian" by teaching, but did not view church or religion as a necessary means for worship. I believed in God, Jesus, prayer, bible, etc., but not necessarily practicing.
About this time, I was turning 40 and my body caused a scare. I knew 40 was a turning point in a person, but I didn't expect to be put into a situation where I was scared for my life. I literally thought I was going to die from the affliction I was going through. The doctor's didn't know what was wrong and attributed it all to stress. I had many panic attacks and had difficulty sleeping. A constant headache/head pressure ensued and I was unsure what was wrong or what would happen. It was because of this that I had a thought: "What happens when one dies?" I remembered the saying "go into the light" and "long tunnel" so I decided to Google "near death experience". It was to be the beginning of my new found belief.
I started by reading the first link I found: http://www.near-death.com/
I read all the "Notable NDEs" links and was pretty amazed at the accounts of different people from different times and different backgrounds describing their death visions. The common theme across them all were that they all continued to exist after their death, they felt love (if they were "in heaven") or complete darkness, separation, demonic presence (if they were "in hell"), they met angels, guides, loved ones, and others, and they were told they must return to their life to complete their mission. It was also at this site that I started to learn and read the accounts of Edgar Casey.
There were variations among all the near-death accounts; different visions, different situations, and different messages, and I did wonder a little why they all experienced different things, but it wasn't until I read the accounts at: http://www.nderf.org/ (in the Current NDEs and NDE Archives tabs) that I really questioned why some people had deep experiences, while others had very shallow ones.
I started to read various NDE books like "Journey Through The World of Spirit: God, Gaia, and Guardian Angels" by David Oakford, "The Message" by Lance Richardson, "The Place We Call Home: Exploring the Soul's Existence after Death" by Robert Grant and George Ritchie, and "Backwards: Returning to Our Source for Answers" by Nanci Danison. Of these books, I would say the experience of Nanci Danison is closer to my current understanding of life after death than the other books. The other books describe an afterlife that seems to be more personal belief oriented, where their beliefs created their experience in the afterlife.
The concept that your beliefs create your afterlife experience didn't make much sense to me at that time until I read the book "Seth Speaks" by Jane Roberts. Before I started reading "Seth Speaks", I read a book called "Journey of the Soul" by Michael Newton. "Journey of the Soul" was an interesting book to read because the accounts in that book were based on people being induced into a deep hypnotic trance and was lead through their most previous life's death into the afterlife. He calls this period of a person's spirit life as "Life Before Life" (LBL). From the questions and answers he received by his many clients, the picture painted a more highly organized and purposeful "world" where we are learning constantly about various aspects of our being. For example, the whole NDE experience I've read about up until this point didn't have much structure or consistency. After reading "Journey of the Soul", it described why that is and what ultimately occurs if someone who has died remained in the spirit world rather than returning back to their bodies. It was a real eye opener for me because if all the accounts were truly separate and independent accounts and not an author's interpretation, then there was very strong consistency in the accounts and their descriptions of the spirit world to be "made-up" or imaginary. This made it harder to discount the experiences. Not only that, the consistency of the descriptions of activity, organizations, personal interactions, etc. made it seem real.
After finishing "Journey of the Soul", I started to read "Seth Speaks". I've never heard of this book before, until a conversation I've had with a local LBL hypnotist who I found through Michael Newton's website on doing an LBL session. I was interested in asking some questions about life and such when he recommended I read "Seth Speaks". I got the book and read it. This really opened my mind to the ideas and beliefs I hold now. The whole notion of me being a spirit made much more sense through the reading of "Seth Speaks" than it did when I was reading the bible. In fact, after studying through what Seth was saying about our reality and our being, I now understand what Jesus was trying to say. I also understood what the bible as a whole is trying to say and it no longer was contradictory to me. The whole message was very simple and yet if you did not read what Seth was saying, it wouldn't be obvious. I forgot to mention that I also read some of the Gnostic writings of scripture such as the Book of John, the Book of Magdelena, and the Book of Peter. These books also describe the message of Jesus more in line with how Seth describes things, from a spiritual perspective rather than the traditional Christian perspective, which was from the physical. Of course, the Roman Christians at the First Council of Nicaea viewed the Christian Gnostic writings as heretical and most of the manuscripts were destroyed except some that were found in the desert of Egypt.
After reading "Seth Speaks", I read many other books by Jane Roberts. I also started to learn more about Buddhism by reading the book "Joyful Wisdom" by Yongey Mingyur. This book was recommended to me by my acupuncturist. I went to see her because I was still dealing with my head pressure and she was recommended to me by a coworker. I told her my symptoms and she said that it was because I have too much energy going to my head, and I was too "knowledgable", whatever that meant, and she needed to bring my energy back down to the "earth" (haha!). This wasn't the first time I've been told that my "spiritual eye" or the 3rd eye, was wide open. I went to a free class to learn about clarvoyancy and was told my 3rd eye was wide open. Being a commercial school, I brushed it off thinking they just want me to sign up. The acupuncturist also said the same thing and recommended I read "Joyful Wisdom" to learn about Buddhism and to ignore anything else. I brushed off the comment about ignoring other teachings, as I do not agree that limiting your information is good. But I did go and get the book and read through it. I learned that what Buddhists believe is the very basic principles of what Seth was talking about, but in a limited scope (I wrote about this previously). The other person to comment on my "3rd eye" being wide open was during a course I took (I actually paid for it) which was to help people sense energy. Since I already paid for it, I don't think there was any incentive to compliment me, but the person asked if I've done energy work before because I was so open. The instructor did not say the same to any of the other students, which also made me feel like it was not a sales job. I signed up for the course because I've seen and viewed what he teaches and trusted his abilities.
I am currently rereading many of the Seth books because it is enlightening for me, but after reading the above books, I've had many of my own insights, perspectives and thoughts that I've written to others and elsewhere. I'm also learning about Qi (Chi) Gong, as I have been a Tai Qi Quan practicioner for the past year. The principles of Qi Gong, which spans a few thousand years, speaks of the body's energy (qi) system in a similar way to those who can see the body's aura (the electromagnetic signature that the body's electrical system produces). Qi is the bioelectric signals, while the Aura is the effect of the current moving. It was because of my learning about the Auric body that I realized that the body itself is only energy. That energy is what I call my spirit. The energy bonds that hold my atoms of the body together can be thought of as the portion of "me". As I mentioned earlier, we use a portion of our energy to create our physical form.
So each piece of information can sound very far fetched and for most, unbelievable. But having read these different perspectives of the same subject, I am beginning to see the big picture. All of the information together makes sense and creates a vivid picture of reality as we see it today, as well as explain that which we cannot see. It is this fact that allows me to feel confident in my knowledge, unlike my time as a Christian. At that time, I only knew Christianity. All other beliefs besides *my* Christianity, through my prejudiced views of my faith, were wrong to me because I didn't know what they taught, I didn't even know what certain aspects of Christianity meant, and I just assumed I was right because I didn't know anything else. In other words, I was ignorant, just as many people are still today by being judgmental and prejudiced. This is the biggest reason for me writing my blogs. It's to try to let people know that there is so much information out there besides just Official religious texts that make sense together. Separately, it may not, but there are books like "Seth Speaks" that provide a different perspective of the world and reality.
Another book that I highly recommend reading is called Ultimate Journey by Robert Monroe. Robert Monroe has been experiencing and documenting Out Of Body (OOB) experiences for the past 35 years before he returned to his natural form (he passed away). The experiences and information he wrote in his books confirmed and explained much of what I now know from reading other materials and from my own perceptions. It has helped validate my beliefs and am now trying to experience OOB for myself. I attempted an OOB when I was about 16, but once I got into the initial stages, I became quite frightened of the experience. I used to get the "vibrational" feelings since then for many years and each time, I'd fight it. Now that I want to experience it, I no longer get the feeling, which is quite discouraging. But I know I will experience this soon. There are many other authors of OOB whose adventures I found very enlightening and helpful to read. Authors such as Bruce Moen, Kurt Leland, and William Buhlman. I also enjoy the guided meditations of Orin and DaBen, who are also channeled guides like Seth.
Everything I write in my blog may seem like it's just rehashing what I've read, but it is not. Much of what I write is based on my own thinking that is validated by what I read. In other words, I already knew some of the information before I read about it. That proves to me that my thoughts are at least validated by others having the same notions. Someday, I hope everyone will see a bigger picture than just the "I" centric view. Then there would be no more judgment, no more confusion, no more conformity. Everyone can be themselves and truly own their identity without fear or doubt.