Awakin Calls » Jeffrey Mishlove » Transcript
Jeffrey Mishlove: The Flowers and Roots of Consciousness
Guest: Jeffrey Mishlove
Host: Pavi Mehta
Moderator: Angela Montano
Pavi: We have the great pleasure of having Angela as our moderator today and I have the joy of introducing her. Angela is a former broadcast journalist, turned into national spiritual coach and prayer counsellor. She has dedicated her life to sharing the transformative power of prayer and through her work, she seems to inspire a new conversation about prayer. Teach ancient and new prayer technologies and encourage people to adopt a prayer practice.Over the past few decades, Angela has facilitated over fifty thousand one on one prayer sessions with clients of all faiths and belief systems, from around the world. She is a skilled speaker, facilitator, writer and just a beautiful heart in the world. I had the pleasure of participating in a Laddership Circle with her last year and the depth and the sincerity she brought with her was truly special. It's a joy to have her moderating this conversation today.
Over to you Angela.
Angela: Thank you so much Pavi and I am so grateful for the space we are all sharing. As I was preparing today, I just may be for the first time noticed that our Awakin.org logo on the website. The KIN in Awakin is highlighted and I just feel so grateful that we are all Kin in our inner transformation as we are doing all that we are doing in the world. So, welcome everyone. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to introduce our extraordinary guest today. We are so fortunate to have Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove with us.
He is a licensed clinical psychologist and he is a creator of a provocative program "Thinking Aloud'. This is an interview program that explores alternative points of view on topics such as humanistic psychology, living philosophically. He explores frontiers in science, personal and spiritual development, health and healing methodology, computers and cognition and much more. In fact, he has interviewed over 200 of the world's leading scholars, researchers, writers and teachers on these topics. And this 'Thinking Aloud' series has been aired on as many as a 100 public television stations in the United States and Canada for more than 18 years. Dr. Mishlove, I love thas name as it makes me think of mischief and love.. and as I learn more about him, I think he has been up to some very wonderful mischief related to Love. He is a past president of a non profit "Intuition network"
This is an organization dedicated to creating a world in which all people are encouraged to cultivate and apply their inner intuitive ability. He is also the recipient of the Pathfinder award for his contributions in the field of human consciousness. Another interesting thing here is that Dr Mishlove is the recipient of the only Doctoral Diploma in parapsychology ever awarded by an accredited University - University of California in Berkeley. And this is extraordinary and a perfect place to start our conversation Jeff.
I understand that you had a dream. Actually a series of dreams in 1972. And you describe these dreams as seeming vivid and important. And it sounds to me like these dreams changed the course of your life. Can you tell us what these dreams were? How old you were when you had them? And how they impacted you?
Jeffrey: Angela, thank you very much for that warm introduction. And let me just say that it's a pleasure to be with this group. I wasn't aware of the good work that you are doing but the more I learn, the more I realize that it is very compatible in spirit with my life's work.
In the early 1970’s, I was in my mid - twenties, 21-22. I was born in 46, so in 1972, I was 26. At a point in my life, I was trying to determine the direction of my whole life, I was a graduate student at Berkeley, in Criminology. I was doing field work in San Quentin prison with rapists and murderers. And I wanted very much to change my life, at that point. I loved studying human deviance, but I wanted to focus on the positive forms of human deviance. And at that time in my life, when I had series of dreams of a psychic nature and it really motivated me to devote the rest of my life to studying their meaning. And I thought, since today happens to be the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, although, I am a secular person I don't consider myself a religious jew. I am an ethnic jew. This is considered the most sacred day in the whole Jewish calendar and it turns out that one of the dreams that I had, that changed my whole life, is also related to this day. So may be that would be a good starting point.
Angela: Can you describe the dream?
Jeffrey: I was dreaming and my great uncle Harry, whom I hadn't spoken to in over ten years appeared in my dreams and he touched me very very deeply, talking to me about my life from his perspective. And when I woke from the dream, I was singing and crying at the same time. Which only occurred to me once in my lifetime. And the song that I was singing interestingly was an old Jewish song that is only sung during the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It's called Avenu Malkeinu and it's about forgiveness. It says, "O Lord, we are so undeserving but please forgive us.”
And I realize this day, the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar is all about asking God for forgiveness. Which is a very deep and psychological function. Which seems like it is a religious function but I see how it's evolved over time. Which is another long story which we can get into if you would like to go in that direction but that dream caused me to ride home to my parent's house and say how's uncle Harry?
I just dreamt about him. My mother called me immediately and said, How did you know? Uncle Harry has just died. And I, at that point realized as if he was reaching out to me from another realm and trying to touch my life in a deep way. A deep way that was incomprehensible except for those powerful emotions of singing and crying. But that world you could call it as a spiritual world was more real than real and in a sense of the emotional impact that that single dream had on me that has affected my life for nearly half a century since then.
Jeffrey: And that was one of a series of dreams that guided me in a way to get involved in the media to create an individual interdisciplinary doctoral program in parapsychology and so on and I can tell you this-this simple message that I think your organization can take back from my experience that I like to leave people with is that, of course, we all have to deal with our own individual destiny or own individual karma, but when you make a decision to become the best person that you can be, it's as if the heavens will reach out to help you because that seems to be what is desired from that realm of what it is called as higher consciousness.
Angela: Beautiful and I love the way you just phrased that the decision to be the best person you can be or the best version of the person you can be because I have a feeling that many of us are kind of wanting to be that and yet making that decision it does seem like it` brings it to much more kind of vivid possibility. While how extraordinary that your Uncle Harry came to you in a dream and that what interests me too about this is what about you was able to listen so deeply and take this into your being in the way that you did that allowed you to shift the course of your life because many people might have a dream about someone during their time of transition or passing and they just let that dream go. They may tell it as a story at a family function. It sounds like it was this experience of singing and crying it just it occurred to you in such a visceral way.
Jeffrey: Ya ya it was more real than real is probably the best way that I can explain it. And at that point I knew there was just something else and then I wrote back to my mother or spoke to her on the phone and asked can I please have something that belonged to Uncle Harry and something so I can remember him by. And they sent me a little book and said this was Uncle Harry's favorite book. Now by that time the truth is I was primed.` I had done my undergraduate senior honors major at the University of Wisconsin in psychology and the psychology of religious mysticism, and I started that project as a skeptic thinking I will begin to explore all the psychopathologies involved in people thinking that they see ghosts or have a mystical experience. And as I began exploring it I realized that these were among the best and brightest people in our society and that the experiences turned out to be quite positive for them and even backed up in the scientific literature. So I had by that time as an undergraduate come to that realization, so when the dream came from Uncle Harry it was sort of telling me get back on track with your life. This is this is your destiny right then and there.
Angela: I so appreciate this conversation because I have a feeling with listeners that these experiences like the one you described are probably more common than we think. They are like just listening to you. I am thinking about my grandfather. My grandfather had been an alcoholic and he drank on the weekend and he didn't miss work. He worked during the week, but this caused a great deal of strife in the marriage between my grandmother and my grandfather. My grandfather had a dream that his father who had passed was standing above him and my grandfather saw himself being taken, he was in quicksand and he was going under and he held his hand up to his father and he said, "If you lift me up I will not take another drink." His father took his hand, he was pulled out of the quicksand, he woke up in a great like sweat and he never had a drink again. It's extraordinary. What you think makes people available to these?
Jeffrey: What a wonderful story and it makes really the same point as my Uncle Harry story that sometimes you could say spiritual energy reaches out to us from beyond the veil and helps us put our life in it in a new direction.
Angela: And I wonder how we become more available to those messages. I think of myself you know and sadly I feel like in some way I don't know if it is sadly but like a lifelong self-improvement plan sometimes I feel like I'm beating my head against the wall trying to improve this or become more disciplined in that. And I wonder how anyone like myself can relate to a perpetual kind of efforting. How might we make ourselves available from that kind of gift that your Uncle Harry gave you?
Jeffrey: Well I can tell you this. Once I began to enter into my doctoral program in parapsychology I faced enormous opposition. There were elements of society that felt that major universities shouldn't give degrees in parapsychology and in fact, I'm the only person ever to get one but the key is to be willing to persevere. Once you're on the path, you're going to face obstacles. There's going to be a lot of resistance. You’re going to be discouraged from time to time and you know sometimes you have to do other things like you talked about. The television series I did, and at one time we were on a hundred and twenty stations all over North America, I went for a period of from two thousand two until two thousand fifteen about thirteen years where I wasn't doing any television interviews at all until I restarted the new thinking aloud series in twenty fifteen. So you know sometimes we deviate from the path or our unique path pulls us in another direction for a while.
Angela: I've often thought that we have to have more faith in the ebb and flow of life. We kind of learn it going forward in a way we understand but this undulation it maybe part of the journey in and of itself.
Jeffrey: And the obstacles that we face in our life are very important for us.
Angela: Tell me more about that.
Jeffrey: One of my mentors was Arthur M. Young and he was the inventor of the Bell Helicopter back in nineteen forty-seven. He was the man of the year after becoming rich and famous he began delving into esoteric thinking, spirituality, and metaphysics and at one point he asked me- what do you think is the philosopher's stone in alchemy? Now the Philosopher's Stone is the key catalyst that alchemist use in order to turn lead into gold. And he said to me," The philosopher's stone those are the obstacles that you face in life. When you deal with those obstacles you are turning the lead of your soul into gold.”
Angela: What a beautiful reframe for obstacles. That is very powerful thinking. Would you tell us what the field of paranormal psychology is and how did you even know about it to put forward this proposal to achieve a doctorate in it?
Jeffrey: Well it's a well-established field in eighteen eighty-two the society for psychical research was formed in London and similar societies in Paris and in Germany and in the United States. And some of the world's leading scientists were involved in that time, and it was at a period in human history when spiritualism was a huge fad much the way the consciousness movement is if big social movement today.
It was spiritualism at the end of the nineteenth century or early twentieth century and they began conducting case studies of great spiritualist mediums to determine whether science could validate what they were doing. And as a result of that they determined after a lot of research that well, it's very very difficult to prove life after death, but what we can be sure of, minimally speaking, is what they call thought transference or telepathy. Definitely lots of evidence for that and the single most common psychic experience that people reported is what you and I just spoke about regarding Uncle Harry's death.
It's called a crisis apparition when the death of a loved one occurs or a person you love is in a crisis, like an accident or something, that the they will appear to other people in their dreams and visions, very very common experience. Then in the 1930's, Professor J. B. Rhine at Duke University began doing experimental research with card guessing experiments to prove the existence of E.S.P. In the 1960's, the Parapsychological Association was formed. It became affiliated in 1969 formally with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In the early 70's when I created my doctoral degree in parapsychology naturally I had access to all of this information in the university libraries, is really you know, huge amounts of data hundreds and hundreds of case studies and experimental studies had already been published in the literature. It's disappointing to me the way this information is so important, so many people want to know about what can science tell us regarding consciousness and spirituality and spiritual realms, and this data largely exists within the proceedings and archives of the various parapsychology and psychical research, and investigations that have been going on for a hundred and fifty years.
Angela: Wow, and when you speak about it's disappointing to you that this information hasn't gotten out there or is recognized more, it is kind of phenomenal that you are, no one before or since you, has done doctoral work in this field.
Jeffrey: We should be precise they've done doctoral work. They haven't received a diploma that says parapsychology. There are about maybe two hundred people who have actually done doctoral level research projects on parapsychological topics.
Angela: And so as you find this information so valuable, help me understand how it is valuable in relationship to how we live our lives. I think of many people thinking of the paranoia, the paranormal as a you know interesting cocktail conversation, or a dinner conversation.
Jeffrey: When you used the word paranoia, and I think that's important...
Angela: That's interesting I use that word?
Jeffrey: You did, you said it, it was a slip of the tongue. And it's true, some people get very paranoid and we run into this all the time. People have garden variety psychic experiences and then they worry, am I going insane because there's so little education in our culture.
Angela: I feel like I can hardly say the word because I don't ever say the word, you know, paranormal psychology. The question I'm trying to get out is, how does this subject enable us to live our life in a more joyful rich and service oriented way?
Jeffrey: That's a very good question. I think the answer is going to be a little different for each person. I can tell you, for example, in my world, I run into some people who have a calling, and it might be for example, to do a clairvoyant work with police departments. And that's a very specialized area and if somebody feels called to do it, they're going to need a support system to work through. Some other people may feel that they have a natural talent as a healer. I'm sure you know many people like that or people who've become part of a program like the Centers for Spiritual Living, where I teach the parapsychology course that's a requirement for ministers in training in religion because they, in the course of their ministerial practice, are going to run into a wide variety of people experiencing paranormal phenomena who are going to need some comforting, who are going to need some counseling. And so it's important to understand the background information of parapsychology very much the way you'd want a liberal arts education, and want to be a bit familiar with English literature and poetry because this is part of being a well rounded, well educated person.
Angela: And as I listen to you it's occurring to me that it also validates the human experience, in it's wholeness without chopping off things that don't fit some box that our culture, that some of us are engaged in and there's something very space creating in having this conversation with you that I hope we can all take into our day.
Jeffrey: Well everybody is curious I think about the nature of their own consciousness how deep does it extend, how far does it go, and parapsychology has a great deal to say about that.
Angela: It sounds like there's a great deal of strength to be drawn from that. I want to go back to something you said Jeff when you were first speaking about this being the highest holy day in the Jewish faith Yom Kippur, and it being a holiday related to forgiveness. Here in Los Angeles, our mayor is actually the first elected Jewish mayor, and he spoke about this I happened to hear and he described this day as a gift of the new beginning when you, from the viewpoint of the Jewish faith, have a chance to forgive yourself and others. I was surprised when you and I spoke yesterday just for a brief chat about the focus of this interview, I was thinking about all the extraordinary interviews you've done and I viewed some of your YouTube thinking aloud videos that are extraordinary, and I highly recommend people tune into them, because what you're having conversations with people, it's truly new. When I was a television news reporter, I did one year of that and the next year, I couldn't believe there was nothing new. It was political corruption really, you know, there was just...you see different faces and names but the...it somehow didn't seem to evolve and when I see these interviews you're doing, it's evolving me as I'm listening because I'm hearing something truly new. So, I appreciate that, so when I thought about what you'd want to talk about, I'm thinking, the frontiers in science, mythology, global awareness, and when ask you, you said well I think I'd like to focus on forgiveness and I was really surprised and taken aback. How does your work in all that you do bring you to forgiveness and what have you learned...
Jeffrey: I'm trying to be mindful of the energy of the day itself. As a person of Jewish ethnic heritage, the energy of forgiveness is very powerful today. If you read the Bible, you'll see that in ancient times what the Jewish people did to forgive themselves was what we call the scapegoat, they sort of projected all their sins onto a goat and sent it out into the wilderness. And that was a way of expiating themselves from their sins and then later in the rabbinical period we developed prayers like the Avinu Malkeinu song I referred to, which is a prayer Our Father Our King, we are so unworthy but please you forgive us and then I think about my Christian friends and how as a young child, of course, I learned the Lord's Prayer like other young Christian children did at the Y.M.C.A. camp.
The prayer goes "Forgive us our sins as we forgive the sins of others." So I think with the Lord's Prayer in Christianity the concept of forgiveness became "I turn the other cheek, forgive the other person." Don't just ask God to forgive you. But now, in the present era, you referred to it earlier; we're in an era where we learn to forgive ourselves, which is a spiritual process. And I think as people come to forgive themselves they become clear, they open up; and psychic functioning becomes more available. That's the connection.
Angela: I think this is interesting. Psychic functioning becomes more available.
Jeffrey: It's said in the Yoga Sutras, for example, that when you meditate you calm your mind and it becomes like the quite surface of a lake; and it can reflect perfectly the surroundings of the lake. But when the mind is agitated then it's like a rippled surface and it doesn't reflect very well at all. So what agitates the mind often is at a deep level, those places where we have not forgiven ourselves. The ancient Egyptians had a similar idea: if you want to enter into the temple of Osiris, or the paradise of Osiris I should say, according to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, you have to answer all of these questions: "Did you sin this way? Did you lie this way? Did you steal? Did you do all of these things?" And you have to answer them from the position of "No I never did any of those things"; which of course would not be true for any human being. But if you've forgiven yourself for everything, then you enter into the Heaven of Osiris with a clear heart.
Angela: And what has your personal path of forgiveness been like? If you've studied this as a scholar and you're seeking to make it your own experience, what has been the . .
Jeffrey: Well you know it's probably not so different from yours. I'm a human being like everybody else, and although I am not, as I mentioned, I'm not a religious person, as this season came around I began to think about people who might still feel that I've done something to them that they hold a grudge against. And I've reached out to try to mend relationships with people like that. It's a normal human process and I learn every day, I think just as you, and as everyone listening does.
Angela: Well that's interesting that you've reached out. I think that some people think of forgiveness as something you do in just yourself: "I forgive them and I hope that they forgive me." But reaching out is an act of courage. It's an act of vulnerability. And through reaching out to make peace, what does that achieve for you?
Jeffrey: The Twelve Step program deals with this this very well when they talk about the necessity to make amends. Sometimes reaching out is important but sometimes that's not enough. Sometimes if you've hurt another person you need to do what you can to correct the damage you may have caused.
Angela: As you delve deeper in the field of paranormal psychology and if you had one theme to inform us of today, what would it be that would enable us to go forward and be more available to being forgiven and to forgive others. What would help us forgive. I think of Martin Luther King who said forgiveness is an attitude, not an event.
Jeffrey: You brought and highlighted earlier the word decision. We make a decision to become the best person we can be. As part of that decision we have to eventually forgive others, be forgiven by others and forgive ourselves. It's all part and parcel of that decision. It doesn't happen immediately. In my own case, for example, I'm still working on creating wholeness and forgiveness from some traumatic events that occurred half a century ago. Sometimes we need to be patient. It doesn't happen all at once. If the commitment is there things unfold in time, and in a natural way.
Angela: I'm interested in what you said when you spoke about the state being Yom Kippur and you said the energy of the day, there's an energy of forgiveness today. And you're really offering us the opportunity to tune in to that energy today, whether we were raised Jewish or not. You're suggesting to us that that's available to us, yes?
Jeffrey: Yes. My opinion is that every human being today inherits as their birthright all of the world's spiritual treasures, whether Jewish or Arabic or Buddhist or zoroastrian. And this is now, the inheritance of humanity.
Angela: And how might we attune to this energy forgiveness today? What would serve us in opening our consciousness to this?
Jeffrey: Well, you know, it's a funny thing about your question. It's as if you're asking me what's the recipe? And, in a way, forgiveness at least my experience is that, it doesn't hurt to try and follow a recipe to be honest. But what the recipe will do... it might be just to sit and read a good book or to sit and think about people who you would like to forgive or people whom you would like to be forgiven from or by.
But at the end of the day it's a process that bubbles up from within. The recipe might serve as a catalyst or a trigger but it has to come from deep within it order to be authentic. It's not something that you can make yourself do, even if you think you should do it. That's not enough
Angela: And what I'm hearing you say is forgiveness really comes from our being. It comes from a non doing aspect of us. And when we dwell there, we may do something like you did you call this person or you maybe speak a prayer of forgiveness. But it comes deep within and it's occurring to me, and perhaps for anyone on the call that is inspired or so moved, maybe what we do is- we intend to allow forgiveness, the energy of forgiveness to be a priority today.
I think for myself you know, I think for myself there may be people I need to forgive or maybe I could reach out to be forgiven. But you know I'm busy. I've got the dishes to do the laundry, got to go here go there and then. None of that is more important than forgiveness. But my mind tells me the doing is more important than the non doing. And then the most sacred activity of my consciousness goes unattended.
Jeffrey: That's a risk. But even if you have a fleeting thought like, "Gee, it would be nice if I had a conversation with so and so. I'll do it next week." That's not bad. That's a start.
Angela: Yes. That's a beautiful way to say it . That's a start. When you spoke about this shift when you wanted to study deviant, I don't know what you call it, deviant activities of humankind. In criminology you were studying those things related, I'm assuming, to some kind of violence. And when you said you wanted to study positive deviant aspects of humans, what are some of those? And do you even think that forgiveness is deviant?
We mostly hold on to grudges as human beings or are we really as a species very forgiving?
Jeffrey: Well, I think we're both. I'm reminded of the debate that takes place in the Bible. Where, I'm not a Christian but I respect the words of Jesus. And he says, you have heard an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth but I say unto you, resist not evil. If a man smites you on the cheek, turn the other cheek. That's the debate. And today the President of the USA is very public about the fact that he is very big on vengeance, not on forgiveness.
So it's an ongoing debate and in many circles, for example I happened to have a very good friend. A person who I've interviewed extensively on the new thinking aloud channel and to great acclaim. But he is being accused of being a Nazi. And some people say that it is forgivable. It doesn't matter how nice he seems, how humanistic he seems, you can never trust a Nazi.
So, can you forgive Hitler, for example? That's a tough one. I am yet to meet a person who says I forgive hitler.
Angela: Or I forgive Donald Trump. For those who are really challenged by his vengeful rhetoric.
Jeffrey: That many people say that they don't want to forgive and this should never be considered normal. There's a point to that. I don't think forgiveness ever should occur prematurely. It needs to occur at the right time, in the right place, but sooner or later it needs to occur.
Angela: I was working with a client who was just losing so much equanimity, peace through and by the election. And one of the things that came up in our work together was to imagine him as a little baby and to rock him and to soothe him and see if that would be a way into forgiveness. So that was very effective for her. She cried and cried. But she really began to have compassion for him as a human being. You know whether whomever one is trying to forgive, if it's difficult to even imagine a person's innocence, sometimes regarding one's infancy is a way to start as well.
Jeffrey: And you know it's not just people in the high office. Our country is becoming so polarized right now that the latest statistic I read is that, fifty percent of Republicans would oppose their child ever marrying a Democrat and thirty percent of Democrats feel the same way about Republicans.
Angela: That did not surprise me today.
Jeffrey: You know, it suggests that the country has some forgiving to do, some mending. I know for myself, it's been difficult. But I have resolved that I am not going to lose any friendships over politics you have right now.
Angela: And that is a profound choice in and of itself. And as people struggle to build bridges, this idea of nonviolence, this idea of forgiveness is one that really speaks to the heart of the matter. I feel like the more we recognize that more is going on than meets the eye, the more you know that we are more than we think we are, it sometimes softens those lines of division.
Jeffrey: Well you brought up the term non-violence a moment ago, in relationship to forgiveness. And this is something as a nonviolent person myself and frankly as a pacifist and a nonviolent protester, a nonviolent objector during the Vietnam period, I have strong feelings about it. And yet, one of our greatest spiritual documents, the Bhagavad-Gita takes an opposing point of view. You know Arjuna, the great warrior in this poem, doesn't want to go into battle against his own cousins, but his charioteer who turns out to be the God, Krishna tells him you know you have a duty to go into battle. And furthermore the Soul is infinite. You didn't create it and you can't destroy it. So you should do your duty. Almost seems as if it's arguing in favor of violence or at least in favor of taking a detached attitude where you realize that there is a Cosmic perspective that goes beyond matters of life and death and politics and the sorts of things that interest us from our earthly plane.
Angela: How do you rectify that for yourself as a pacifist, as you say a nonviolent person, when you think of Arjuna and he is called into battle? How do you...
Jeffrey: You know you're getting into some very deep issues, Angela. I wrestle with this one. For me again it comes to forgiveness and to tolerance. I am a nonviolent person but should I be intolerant of people who don't hold that point of view? I think I can respect a person who differs from me in this regard. There are those who argue that, the only way to stand up against in power and choose to become intolerant of those who are intolerant. But to me that's too paradoxical. It doesn't work well. I think a certain level of tolerance even towards those who are intolerant is necessary.
Angela: To draw the greater circle around all of humanity.
Jeffrey: I mean we all have our weaknesses we all have our bad moments and. And at some level maybe it's a good idea to be able to forgive for example Hitler or any of the other great violent people of history.
Angela: Well one of my favorite forgiveness prayers is Buddhist prayer forgiveness. And one of the lines is- for anyone who causes me any harm, either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusions, I forgive them.
And I just love the line about confusion. I know I'm confused. You know, perhaps our violence towards each other comes from a very deep confusion. I find it interesting that our conversation has gotten to this place and I would say it's in this place of paradox. As I read more about you in researching your extraordinary body of work for this call, I just kept getting to the point that you are drawn to the paradox. That even as you seek to provide an objective view about paranormal psychology and to truly provide something objective for those who believe as well as for those who consider themselves non-believers, at the same time, you even challenge what is sometimes called the myth of objectivity. That as human beings we are subjective. And so even as you're attempting this, you are also shining a light on, is it even possible to be objective at all?
Jeffery: Boy! You love to go deep, don't you?
Since it's Yom Kippur, let me share with you the day that I decided, in spite of the fact that I was a secular person, I would observe this holiday. And so I got all the Jewish prayer books and I sat home by myself, fasting, which Jews do today, reading the different prayers. And I found myself unmoved by almost all of them. They seem too conventional. "Dear God, slay our enemies and then forgive us."
But one prayer from the Reconstructionist Jewish prayer book really moved me. The poem goes. One day the Spirit of God came and breathed the breath of life into the bones of all of those who perished in the Holocaust.
And the Lord said, "Wake up wake up."
And the bones spoke back to God and they said. "No. We won't wake up. Why should we wake up for you now when you weren't with us when we needed you."
And That poem pierced me to the core.
I think the message sometimes is that we need to confront God or our vision of God. To me that is what authentic Judaism is about--is wrestling with God, not taking any of the maxims and memes associated with God for granted.
Angela: That is a beautiful invitation to us all. It makes me think about a phrase from the Bible, "Fight the good fight. Let love be the greatest aid." And I think the whole concept of non-violence could be used by my ego just to avoid conflict, to avoid confrontation, to avoid uncomfortability. And you are really calling on us to be awake to such a...maybe it is only in this place you are describing for us, why should we challenging God, that we really truly transform.
Jeffrey: It strikes me that in every age, there are ideas that are associated with the prevailing deities that must be challenged by people.
Angela: I don't know why I’m thinking about this, but when I was a teenager, there was a terrible crime that occurred. I think it was like seven nurses got kidnapped by this one man. And as the story goes, one of the nurses said "We have to fight back, fight back." And the others said, "No, just do what he says."
The one who wanted to fight found a way to hide. And this person murdered all the other nurses. And the only one who wanted to resist was the one who survived. And my mom was very affected by this, and she talked to my sister and I at length about this. "If you are ever in danger, fight, fight, fight."
If somebody tried to get you in a car, fight, fight, fight. I don't know why I'm thinking of this while you are talking, but it is like...And I too consider myself very interested in non-violence, as is our Service Space community and our Awakin Calls.
Jeffrey: Well, I think what you mean by fight does not necessarily imply violence. It implies to me, never giving up.
Angela: Yes, yes.
Jeffrey: But that can be done in a peaceful way too.
Angela: But to understand the difference between peaceful and playing nice. "Oh, this will never happen." Delusion, denial. It is just an interesting edge for me and many of us to inquire about ourselves. I so appreciate your sharing and I invite Pavi into our conversation.
Pavi: Jeff, I had a question that I wanted to ask. I was really struck by the work you have done around intuition. Being human, I think we all have a sense of what that word means and maybe examples from our own lives where we have tuned into it.
But I was interested in knowing how you define intuition and what role do you think it could play in deepening our transformation?
Jeffrey: Thank you for the question, Pavi. To me, intuition comes from a latin word intueri. It just means inner knowing, knowing that comes somehow from within. It includes a broad category of different experiences, but in a larger sense let me put it this way: In the psychology of Carl Jung, there are four major psychological functions--thinking, feeling, sensing, and intuition. It strikes me that our culture is one that highly emphasizes thinking and sensing with less emphasis on intuition and feeling.
So we are out of balance in that sense. And the work of the intuition network by helping people become more in touch with and feel more legitimate regarding their inner experiences to help restore some of the missing balance.
Pavi: That is so interesting. I think one of the questions that comes up for me is how does one distinguish what is a true intuition and what just might be a conditioning or a fear?
Jeffrey: That is a very delicate question. My first answer would be, "Well, this is what the science of parapsychology does." We apply the scientific method. We look for empirical evidence. If somebody has a vision that seems to be of a psychic or intuitive nature, let's say it's about the future and it is recorded in advance. Then we can compare that recording with events as they transpire in the future. And on the basis of that, we can make a judgment as to how intuitive or psychic an individual is in a particular instance. There is data that we can go on.
But in the real world, that is usually not possible. People get intuitions all the time about what is right and wrong. And we don't have time to always check to make sure that the data is exactly in the alignment with our views of things or maybe the data is simply not available. We have to make a decision. One can say that some people are very gifted at this. They seem to have a knack at making the right decision in the absence of evidence. And that would be a sign of intuition to me.
Pavi: I have more questions, but I am going to head over to a caller in the queue.
Mish: Hi, Dr. Mishlove and hi, everybody. My name is Mish and I'm calling you from Brooklyn, New York. And first I'd like to thank you for sharing yourself today. It's a very special call for me. Your call reminded me of a dream I had back in the seventies shortly after my father passed away. He came to me in a dream and he apologized to me.
We loved each other, but we had a very difficult relationship in some ways. He apologized to me and out of this dream came healing. We forgave each other. And when I woke up out of the dream, the hairs on my arms were standing up on edge.
And this call is also special for me because I'm also a secular Jew. We also happen to be around the same age. And I studied at the New York School of Spiritual Science back in the seventies. Parapsychology. I'm not sure if you are familiar with the Rev. Diane Stephanie Nagorka?
Jeffrey: No, I'm not.
Mish: Ok. So I was excited. I guess on an ego level, when I saw that your name is Mishlove, I was like, "Oh, Mish!" I'm just so excited. I feel very blessed and the fact that it is Yom Kippur and you brought back this dream of forgiveness between my father and I. Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us today.
Jeffrey: Well, thank you. That was a beautiful story. I appreciate it.
Pavi: Thank you, Mish. Jeff, I wanted to ask about this idea when people have these experiences, they can be powerful. I imagine they can also be frightening for a lot of people. We interviewed a few years ago a man named Phil Borges whose a very gifted photographers spent a lot of time with indigenous communities. He talked to a lot of medicine men in the communities and he would ask them, "where did your journey begin on this path?' He found a common thread, where for many of them, it would come with sort of a almost like a breakdown experience, what might be defined in the western world as a psychotic episode. And yet it would be at that point that an elder in the community would step forward and guide them through this process and say this is a gift, and this is a responsibility, and this is how you hold this. And I'm wondering if there, what happens to people who may not have that kind of guidance and are there resources for them.
Jeffrey: There are resources. And I can say that overall our culture is out of balance and we don't have the resources that other cultures do have as a consequence there are many people that are mistreated when they report psychic experiences and so some of their paranoia and fears about these experiences are legitimate. They may be diagnosed with mental illness, they may be given drugs or other forms of therapy that are inappropriate to them. Those are very real possibilities.
On the other hand, there are many different networks that are available to people who have these experiences. Some of them are in the context of yoga and a phenomenon that in the yoga tradition might be referred to as kundalini. Experiences that people have, that can be disturbing forms of psychic experience and they have ways of treating it in the context of their traditions that work well. There are other methods of addressing these things if you look. You know there is an, I guess you could call it, an undergoing network of esoteric culture where various remedies exist. Some of them are not good remedies either because on the other side there's the risk of superstition and exploitation as well.
Pavi: A slippery slope, I'm sure. I'm going to hit the pause on my questions and go to the next caller here.
David: Hi Jeffrey it's David Kriser. Can you hear me?
Jeffrey: I can hear you.
David: This is great. Really appreciate it, particularly your reflection about with the bones, no I won't wake up. It's still reverberating and I'd say it's a secular issue. As a jew you're sure talking like the Rabbi I wished I'd had growing up. Anyways, I have a couple lighter questions for you. You've interviewed a lot of different folks. If there was maybe one or two people that you couldn't have interviewed because they passed away before you had a chance. Who would you have liked to interview and what would you liked to have asked them?
Jeffrey: What an interesting question! Thank you for that. The first name that pops into my mind is Pitirem Sorokin who died, as a I recall, in 1968 just before I started doing interviews. He was a fascinating man and a great inspiration to me. He is the author of a book called, several books, one is called, The Crisis of Our Age. Another book is Social and Cultural Dynamics and he wrote about the nature and power of love. He looked at all of human history and began looking at the ways love affected human history. For example, he cites the case of the emperor Ashoka, who was an Indian emperor and a warrior. And he created a big empire through military conquest but then he converted to Buddhism and he became non-violent and told all the soldiers to come home and he ruled the kingdom peacefully. And it's one of the only examples in history of a warrior ever putting down his armies. So, I wish I had the opportunity to meet Sorokin and interview and talk to him about the great spiritual moments in human history because that was one of his areas of expertise.
David: Another lighter question, hopefully relative, is your thoughts on, I've observed when people seem to have enlightenment experiences that happen quickly versus gradually. In different backgrounds there seems to be a host of problems with some of the eastern ones. It seems like there's an overload of kundalini which turns into, there's been some well reported problems with that in the western world. It seems like it can lead to types of fundamentalism and so forth. It's a conundrum, in either case it's based in an enlightenment type process but leading to a little bit of unhealthy type things. Do you have any thoughts on that dynamic?
Jeffrey: You know it strikes me David that there are traps on every point along the way on a spiritual journey. Every moment of enlightenment also has a dark side, it could get flipped and turned into just the opposite with only the slightest subtle movement. Something of good intention can allow a certain negative energy inside of it. That's part of the human condition, it strikes me and it's an important reason why we need to be forgiving of ourselves because I think these things are sort of inevitable. I've had the opportunity of interviewing many people who were recognized spiritual masters and my experience for the most part is not too hard to see them having expressions of petty jealousy or anger or would appear to be some sort of egotistical activity that most people engage in.
David: That's actually a very healthy humbling type of perspective. Anyways I very much appreciate you sharing on the call today. Its um, a pleasure to listen.
Jeffrey: Thank you.
Pavi: Jeff I wanted to ask a little bit about your work with you studying, the book that you wrote, Encyclopedia: The Roots of Consciousness. And I just wanted to ask as a a little bit about when did your interest in consciousness, do you have a memory of that first, the mystery of consciousness came up for you?
Jeffrey: As a matter of fact, in the Roots of Consciousness, in the introduction of the original edition in 1975 I remembered a moment from my childhood when I was about ten years old. And I did the strangest thing. I don't know why I did it. I climbed up on the rooftop of our house, took off all my clothes and I just sat up there. I was thinking to myself, why am I me. I could look out over the city and see there were many other houses and many other people but I was in this body and this house and this city, and how did that happen. For me that's sort of where it started, I began just questioning, what's going on here?
Pavi: It feels like one of those mysteries in plain sight. This question of consciousness and I'm curious over the decades that you've been studying this what are some of the key things that you have learned?
Jeff: Well, I suppose it is just fair to say that my career in parapsychology has had certain specialties and I think in my case as I look back on it, one of the most intriguing specialties is that I seem to get involved in the most bizarre cases available where things are happening that just seem absolutely unbelievable and are mixed up with all sorts of stories about UFO’s and things appearing and disappearing in thin air, things of that sort so for me one of the most important lessons that I try to bring to my work and in part people is to develop a level of toleration of things that seem bizarre and inexplicable and and don't just try and shove it under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist because it's there and it is begging us to finally start to deal with it
Pavi: Yeah, this reminds me of “The PK Man”
Jeffrey: Yes it's all about that those kinds of unbelievably bizarre strange large scale phenomena
Pavi: What drew you to work on that?
Jeffrey: Well maybe it was naivety or maybe it's just a certain intuition and I've always kind of intuited. I think that U.F.O. phenomena are important and even as a child, like a ten year old child, I was getting books out of the public library on U.F.O.'s and writing to the authors and getting letters back even. I just always felt that if you want to understand the questions of life after death, reincarnation, ESP, telepathy, and of the nature of human consciousness you might as well begin to look at the question of extraterrestrial intelligence because look out at the universe. We are in a tiny planet around a tiny star in an average galaxy that has millions of similar stars and planets in it and there are billions of other galaxies the universe must be full of consciousness.
And for me I guess and maybe it's just unique to my personality being a Sagittarius or something, I feel a pull coming from the universe, other people feel the pull coming from the earth itself, many people are much more earthy, but I I feel drawn to what's going out there in the planets and stars and vastness of space. We are so tiny, but in a way we are so large at the same time because the universe is infinitely smaller than we are. That is you can go to infinitesimally smaller measurements and sizes even smaller than atoms and quarks or larger you can get as big as the whole universe. And may be there are multi-verse is out there, but it just seems that there's so much more going on that is available here on the planet, and of course a planet itself is incredibly complex. One can live many many many lifetimes just studying all of the languages and cultures and stories that are available here on the planet.
Pavi: It is beautiful, as you're talking and thinking about the importance in your work, keeping the mind open and to accepting all the possibilities. It relates to one of the comments/reflections that came in for you from one of our listeners and he says, “When I follow the advice to always have the beginner's mind I'm open to see and learn and respond to what's happening around me and I experience roots of consciousness and it flowers. The important thing for me to be is to be open to what is rather than to see my thinking or prejudices or preconceptions. When I am seeing what is, I'm in the present. I'm focused on this rather than trying to make or find a particular outcome and I found that to be constructive and deeply satisfying.”
Jeffrey: And I second that. It's all very well put.
Pavi: In your work and in the interviews and in the calmest people you must have met through your journey, have you ever found someone whom you felt like held these psychic and paranormal abilities with a very deep grounding in morality?
Jeffrey: With very deep grounding in morality. I think, probably not. I think that every person that I have known exhibits lots of psychic energies, tend to use them in very human ways for good and sometimes not for good and that the people I know of who I would regard as the most moral human beings tend to be people who would never deliberately flaunt or attempt to publicly use psychic functioning in any way at all or be associated with it. Now that I think about it and I have to say I don't remember anybody quite asking me that question before but I think it's basically true that the people I know who are of the highest ethical standings don't even want to be associated as being healers. I mean they might do healing but they wouldn't wanted to be associated with their person in some way because the identity of being a healer can be itself be a distraction.
Pavi: Yeah, and I wonder how tricky that process is as staying non identified with the capacities that come to you and it can be so easy I guess you think of oneself as like I am the healer I am you know and….
Jeffrey: I don't think that that's necessarily bad. I like the idea that people are willing to be responsible when these things occur. There is this notion in Para psychology is that when you attribute these abilities to some sort of other agency like my God or like it's my guardian angel or my guardian spirit or it's the spirit realm or it's something that's not made and it's a way I think that most people who get involved in psychic and spiritual work operate because that way the ego is to eliminate all the problems of claiming that you're doing it yourself and your ego attached to it.
On the other hand there is perhaps a need to be responsible and not always to pass the responsibility off oh well for example when I work with E.T’s many times negative things would happen and when they did, Ted Owens would say I didn't do that that was the E.T’s who did it. The funny thing is I guess as I've mentioned before no matter what words we try and put out it, what language how we attempt to dress up whatever we're doing in in the most exalted way we might possibly want to think about it, there's always going to be a darker side to things. Human nature is just that way. We all have a shadow side. We all have a dark side. It has a way of insinuating itself into everything we do.
Pavi: A grounding reminder to hold these things and explore these things. I am going to go on to our next caller here.
Caller: Hi Jeffrey thank you very much for conversation that's going on. You said you are a Sagittarius in some context and that kind of prompted something for me to ask you.
It could be sounding like a blank question that someone is asking or it will be something like someone is asking to give a blank check, a signed blank check. Given that you have interest in things like forecasting systems and given that you have been involved with paranormal and a whole lot of other disciplines and also an understanding as to what's going on maybe within the country or within this planet maybe even other way, what would you be intuiting or what would you be feeling as to what is coming up in the short term in the time?
Jeffrey: You would like to know my intuitions about things that we're likely to experience in our own lifetime ?
Jeffrey: My intuition is is this, we are living in an extraordinary time. Humanity is faced with a responsibility that we have never known as a species for the entire planet because we now have the capability of destroying it. And in fact we're in the process of doing exactly that, through global warming through the pollution of the planet through the mass extinction that we're in the middle of right now of species dying as largely as a result of human activity. And we're called upon to jump to another level somehow if we're going to address these problems.
Otherwise the human race is very likely and as is I'm not even thinking short term because the human race can survive for thousands of years while it declines, but my concern is that in spite of wonderful scientific advances, there's certain amount of decline going on in the human race right now that we've been through major wars and and there's no reason to think that we're immune from future wars. I think that we can expect in the future, catastrophes to be quite honest that we're seeing it right now with hurricanes that there are going to be global warming that is going to lead to more flooding. There is going to be population expansion and a limitation on available resources much of the world doesn't have enough water. All of these things are triggering political developments that are very authoritarian in nature that different governments seem to be feeling that democracies seem to be incapable of addressing the problems that people are facing and so people are looking for other democratic alternatives and frankly those alternatives at the moment don't seem to be very good so I'd say we're in for a lot of chaos to be quite honest. And the very future of humanity is in doubt and this is a very crucial time for the future of humanity. We have that we have a lot to account for.
Caller: While Ihear you, I don't even know what the solution it is but one of the reasons I feel is this so-called you vs. me or there is the you and there is the me and in this sense we have the so called seven billion and odd people and then there are these other right forms. Now is it that there are so many of these resisting or refusing the common pull that might be out there in the collective consciousness that is contributing to the foreseeable chaos.
Jeffrey: Because people are resisting the pull to come together. I think so because we're at a point where humanity really needs to unite at a planetary level in order to address the problems that we face and there are many many people who believe that this is a very dangerous thing that it means the new world order, that it means that whatever attachments we have to the old way of doing things where certain ethnic groups were on top or certain ideologies were on top that's all changing and people find that very frightening. And the truth is humanity may not be up to the challenge that we face on this planet and we may go down. We may end up destroying ourselves or making things just worse and worse and worse and people of higher consciousness may be incapable of stopping that trend. And I think we have a lesson that we can learn from great literature in this case because the the greatest literature in the English language is to my thinking the literature of tragedy. And it's it's how do people cope with things when you're in a tragic circumstance where, for all we know the greatest tragedy would be the destruction of humanity itself and maybe that's what we're witnessing for all we know. But it's still incumbent upon each of us to rise to the level that we can to address that situation so that even if all is lost and that circumstances are completely tragic we know that we are doing everything we can to be the best people that we can be to live the highest and most noble life regardless.
Pavi: Beautiful thank you for that question. We are getting close, this call has flown by and Angela, I wanted to ask if you had any final questions that you had just before we close out.
Angela: I just so appreciate the questions of the callers and your questions and I feel with that last sharing it brings me back to the subject of forgiveness and the energy of forgiveness and I wonder how forgiveness -- It makes me just want to be more forgiving and I do wonder about the energy of forgiveness in relationship to renewal and possibility and it's just been an amazing call and full circle and I just thank you Jeff from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much.
Jeffrey: It's it's been my pleasure to be with you.
Pavi: We have one final question that we do ask all of our guests and that is what can we as a service space community do to support and further your work and the spirit behind it and the world.
Jeffrey: Well I would encourage people to visit the current website NewThinkingAllowed.com
And that is the video channel that I've been operating on youtube for the last two years and there are just in the last two years hundreds of videos representing what I think are the deepest and wisest and most knowledgeable people working in the fields of parapsychology and consciousness.
Pavi: We will definitely send out that link to all our listeners. And if you look forward to kind of the path ahead what are you focused on?
Jeffrey: I am actually addressing political issues right now because it seems as this is I think as I mentioned earlier one of the guests who has been on the program and doing extremely well is being accused of being engaged in alt right and white supremacist and Neo Nazi activities. This is a person whom I regard as having very very high humanistic values and is being attacked by people who share my progressive politics because you know once you get labeled as as a neo nazi It's like you're beyond all redemption. And I think that's wrong so I've been fighting a battle about that and attempting to kind of expand the interviews that I've been doing on philosophy, psychology, health science and spirituality to add in an element of politics as as well
Pavi: Thank you for doing that at work and taking that personal and public stand that you and and for all the work really that you've done over the decades. It truly has enriched not just this call but our world.
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