The Forty Rules of Love, A novel of Rumi by Elif Shafak January 18, 2013Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review.
Tags: Anovel of Rumi, Elif Shafak, Rumi, Shams of Tabriz, spiritual love, the Forty Rules of Love, Turkey
A friend recommended I read The Forty Rules of Love, A novel of Rumi. It is an uplifting novel that links the East and West and is told in the form of a story-within-a-story. I’m always interested in learning more about Rumi, one of the most popular poets in the world, and his master Shams of Tabriz, so I read the book and now want to share this rich story with others.
The main modern day character is Ella a present-day, Boston housewife who feels trapped in an unhappy marriage. She stayed at home to raise their three children, but now that her daughter is in college and the twins are in high school she has started working part time at a literary agency. She is assigned to read Sweet Blasphemy, a manuscript about Shams of Tabriz, a wandering Dervish, and Rumi.
At first Ella doesn’t think she can relate to the novel, but as she continues to read, she becomes curious about the author, Aziz Zahara. She Googles him and discovers he has a blog. On the blog she reads one of Rumi’s poems.
Choose Love, Love! Without the sweet life of
Love, living is a burden—as you have seen. page 43.
While reading the poem she feels like everything on it is written for her eyes only. Ella decides to email the author. Aziz replies and they begin to correspond. Ella shares her problems and Azis his philosophies.
Meanwhile, in the manuscript Ella is reading, Shams wants to find a companion to share the wisdom, the forty rules of love, he has spent his life learning on his travels. His guardian angel tells him to go to Baghdad to find a master to point him in the right direction. Shams goes to a dervish lodge in Baghdad and eventually hears about a man who is also looking for a spiritual companion. Shams knows this is the man he’s looking for but the master tells Shams he must wait until spring. During the long, harsh winter, Shams keeps from being discouraged by keeping one of the forty rules of love in mind.
“Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighborhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.” page 72.
Shams eventually meets Rumi and the two men go into seclusion for forty days as Shams shares the forty rules of love. Rumi becomes so absorbed in taking the next step spiritually that he neglects his students, wife, sons and duties. He and Shams build a strong spiritual bond. His bond with Shams leads to jealousy and suspicion and eventually tragedy, but out of this comes Rumi’s eternal poetry that talks about the deep love between the student and master.
After reading the book, I wanted to learn more about the author just as Ella was curious about Aziz. I discovered Elif Shafak is the most popular female author in Turkey. I was delighted to find a good author who has a spiritual message. The book is about all kinds of love including the love between a man and a woman, the love between a mother and her children and the spiritual love between a master and his student.
Here is a link to what Elif Safak has to say about the book.
Riding the Sound Current by Steve DeWitt December 26, 2012Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review.
Tags: Eckankar, Paul Twitchell, spiritual, Steve DeWitt, Warriors of the Sound Current
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Many years ago I awoke one night in the Soul body to find an olive-complexioned, Asian-looking monk in a tan robe standing in my bedroom. He asked me to come with him and then vanished into a hole in the ceiling. I looked askance at my spiritual master, whose glowing blue form hovered in a corner of the room, and he nodded that it was ok for me to do so. Leaving my physical body behind, I followed the monk and saw him flying up what looked like a fluorescent tube or tunnel. About midway up, the tunnel’s gravity seemed to reverse and we dropped down onto the starlit surface of an alien planet. When I uttered surprise at how bright the stars were, my guide explained that the planet was Mars and that the brightness was due to its very thin atmosphere.
We were standing in a desert landscape with arid plains in the foreground and dark mountain ranges in the distance. The monk pointed across the rock-strewn plain where hooded figures in brown or tan robes were being chased by soldiers in jeep-like vehicles. The robed monks appeared to be heavily outnumbered and outgunned. Many were shot and killed by their pursuers, while only a few made it to safety in the mountains. My guide informed me that the monks were freedom fighters struggling against the tyranny of the ruling Warrior class.
Outlandish as it may seem, this wasn’t my first Soul travel visit to another planet. About twenty-five years earlier, shortly after I joined the path of Eckankar, I had been guided in the Soul body to a supra-physical spaceport on earth, where I boarded a spacecraft and was taken to a planet in the Beta Centauri system. There I visited a museum dedicated to a very ancient time period when earth was a colony of this planet. What I saw there and during a subsequent series of past-life recall dreams led me to write my first book, The Golden Kingdom.
At the time of my first visit to Mars, however – an experience I later used in my second book, Warriors of the Sound Current, to introduce the protagonist, Jeff, to his mission – I had no idea I was going to write a novel set on different planets as well as other planes of reality. The Soul travel experience I was granted merely seemed to create an overwhelming curiosity within me about the Sound Current, the spiritual planes and the other planets of our solar system. I set myself the spiritual goals to visit each plane and hear its corresponding Sound, and to Soul project to each of the planets.
Soul travel is different from astral projection, which is movement in the astral body on the astral plane. In astral projection, one is tethered to the body by the silver cord. Soul travel, in contrast, is the ability to expand one’s consciousness beyond the limitations of the physical body, as well as the astral, causal and mental bodies by contacting the Sound Current. (The Sound Current is another name for Divine Spirit, which is visible as light and audible as sound.) Over time, as I gained some experience in spiritual travel, I came to realize Soul projection isn’t traveling at all because Soul, being one with the essence of God, is everywhere, in all places, at all times. Soul isn’t conscious of Its omni-presence due to Its identification with the human self, but in Its true state of being It really is everywhere. It follows that for Soul projection to work I had to inhabit my true state of being and awaken my awareness in another place where I, as Soul, already was.
This process is very natural for Soul, and most of us do it all the time. The hard part is to bring a memory back to our physical consciousness from what we have seen and experienced in this higher state. Not only do we have to train our awareness in Soul to be intense enough to manifest a physical memory of our travel, but even if we do, the censor of our mind will try to scramble it, clothe it in incomprehensible symbols, make us forget, or try to convince us it wasn’t real. All these hurdles can be overcome, but it takes patience, perseverence, creativity and an open-minded attitude.
Some of the techniques I used to find success with my spiritual goals are mentioned on my website http://www.soundcurrentrider.com. In the months and years that followed my first Mars encounter, I did eventually manage to travel to all the planets of our solar system – even Pluto, which isn’t a planet anymore – and to visit and hear the Sound Current on each of the spiritual planes as described by Paul Twitchell, the modern-day founder of Eckankar. These experiences formed the inspiration to write Warriors of the Sound Current, which is a work of fiction but features as major characters several of the people I met in their own Soul bodies during my travels. The landscapes, cities, state of technology and inhabitants of the planets are rendered as I saw them, and the spiritual experiences encountered by the protagonist, Jeff, are pretty much verbatim descriptions of my own, including insights and lectures given by various spiritual masters.
Scientists will of course dispute that societies actually exist on the other planets. Our probes on Mars have found nothing but rocky desert, Venus is too hot and poisonous, and the big outer planets are naught but gas, they say. As yet they have not fully realized that vibration is the fifth dimension, and that other realities can exist at different vibrational levels within the same space. For most it will take a fundamental shift in their view of life and the universe before they are able to accept that most planets are inhabited, our reality isn’t the only one, and the heavenly world isn’t what they think it is. Once that shift has taken place, they will hopefully learn about the frequency modulation technology that will allow anyone of us to physically travel to planets accross the galaxy just like we fly on airplanes accross the ocean today. Until then, we must practice Soul travel if we wish to go there – and prepare to not be believed when we return.
A Year with Rumi by Coleman Barks December 17, 2012Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review.
Tags: A Year with Rumi, Coleman Barks, photography, Poetry, Rumi, Shams Tabriz
What’s Not Here by Rumi
I start out on this road,
call it love or emptiness,
I only know that’s not here.
Resentment seeds, backscratching greed,
worrying about outcome, fear of people.
When a bird gets free,
it does not go for remnants
left on the bottom of the cage.
Close by, I’m rain. Far off,
a cloud of fire. I seem restless,
but I am deeply at ease.
Branches tremble. The roots are still.
I am a universe in a handful of dirt,
whole when totally demolished.
Talk about choices does not apply to me.
While intelligence considers options,
I am somewhere lost in the wind.
This month my husband and I made an unexpected trip to Milwaukee to attend my aunt’s funeral. On the way to the funeral we saw dozens of eagles at Lake Pepin. Tree after tree had groups of eagle in it so I had to stop to take photos.
The funeral was the celebration of a well-lived life and a time to gather with family and friends. While we were in Milwaukee there was a blizzard across the state of Wisconsin and Minnesota. We drove home the next day to a world transformed by snow and ice. I was enchanted by its beauty and took photos from the car window.
Rumi’s poetry and the photos of winter capture some the grace and beauty of life. Life is a gift to be cherished while we are here. A Year with Rumi is a series of Rumi’s poems for each day of the year. The translation is by Coleman Barks who is one of the best translators of Rumi’s works.
Rumi lived in the early thirteenth century in Balkh (the Persian empire). In 1244 he met Shams Tabriz, a wandering meditator. “The inner work that Shams did with Rumi and Rumi with Shams produced poetry. It springs from their friendship.” p. 1.
Here are a few of Rumi’s poems from the book.
Sometimes I do
In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that light become this art.
Let the Beauty We Love
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Water and the Moon
There is a path from me to you
That I am constantly looking for.
so I try to keep clear and still
as water does with the moon.
Love’s Confusing Joy
If you want what visible reality
can give, you are an employee.
If you want the unseen world,
You are not living with your truth.
Both wishes are foolish,
but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love’s confusing joy.
I hope you enjoyed Rumi’s poems and the photos of the beauty of winter. Have an enjoyable holiday season.
Richard Martini, FLIPSIDE December 2, 2012Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review, Past lives.
Tags: Brian Weiss, death, film, Flipside, Journey of souls, life between lives, Michael Newton, reincarnation, Richard Martini
Last year I wrote a blog on Michael Newton’s book Journey of Souls, Case Studies of Life Between Lives about his research as a hypnotherapist. In his career as a hypnotherapist Newton regressed over 7,000 patients who talked about what happened to them between their former incarnations on earth. His subjects described what it feels like to die, what the spirit world is like, and how they chose their next life with their soul group.
That blog drew a lot interest. People were fascinated to hear about where we go after we die and what happens there.
So when a friend called recently to tell me about a documentary Richard Martini made about Michael Newton’s work, I was immediately interested. Richard Martini is an author and award winner filmmaker who came across Michael Newton’s work during his own spiritual search that started after a dear friend died.
On her deathbed Martini’s friend told him she had a reoccurring vision of a spiritual classroom where everyone wore white. After she died, Martini had a spontaneous out-of-body experience where his friend guided him to that classroom. He felt he’d actually visited her. After that experience, he had many questions. Had he really found her? Could he see her again? He began studying near death experiences and past lives.
While doing his research Martini came across Michael Newton’s work and attended one of his talks. Afterwards Martini spoke with Newton about doing a documentary. Newton was interested in the project, so Martini filmed Newton and other hypnotherapists trained by him. Martini also filmed subjects being regressed to their life between lives.
When filming the documentary Martini learned that each of us has a soul group of three to twenty-five beings that come together between lives. Working together, souls in the group go over their last life and choose their next life, including who they will reincarnate with. In each life soul has something it wants to learn.
While Martini was making the documentary, one of the hypnotherapists suggested he get regressed. Martini agreed to do a session and had an amazing experience of his own. He found himself in the body of a Native American medicine man. His bare feet were cut and he was standing in water. His entire tribe had been killed by another tribe. He looked inside his tepee and when he saw his beautiful wife’s throat cut open, he felt the same terrible grief he’d felt in that life as a medicine man.
During the session, Martini also attended a class where he learned about “energy reconstruction” and met his dear friend who’d died.
In an interview Martini said that Brian Weiss did major work in the field of past lives. He hypnotized people and took them back to the life where their illness or fear started. Weiss wrote about his work in Many Lives Many Masters.
Newton went even further. He regressed people back not only to the past life where their problem originated, but to their soul group. His subjects learned that they had planned to have an illness or certain problem to help them grow spiritually, and to learn something about divine love. Subjects often came back from their sessions cured of their illness or fear.
In the interview Martini also discussed the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Her last flight was taken in July 1937 in the tense period before World War two. Martini talked to a number of witnesses who saw her plane in a hangar in Saipan. He concluded that she was forced to land and taken prisoner by the Japanese. After United States shelled Saipan, witnesses said she was executed as a spy.
As well as doing the documentary called Flipside: A Journey into the Afterlife. Martini wrote a book called Flipside: A Tourist’s Guide on How To Navigate the Afterlife.
Below is a YouTube video by Martini discussing about his book. In the video he talks about Michael Newton’s work. Newton had a suicidal client who he hypnotized and told to go back to the source of her pain. She regressed back to her soul group between lives. Newton was so astounded at hearing about this soul group that he quit his practice and for the next thirty years took patients to this place between lives.
Here is a trailer for the video Flipside.
Martini has an interview on the 100th Monkey Radio Show. You can hear it on this book website. When you get to the website scroll down the page until you get to the 100th Monkey Radio show and click the link.
A Dog Named Leaf by Allen Anderson, book review November 25, 2012Posted by heidi skarie in Uncategorized.
Tags: A Dog Named Leaf, Allen Anderson, Angel Animals, animal stories, book review, dogs, love between dogs and people
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Last week I went to hear Allen Anderson speak at a book signing on his new book A Dog Named Leaf. The book signing was at Common Good Books owned by Garrison Keillor. Keillor came into the store during the talk and Allen had his photo taken with him. The photo is on Allen’s website: Angelanimals.net.
Due to my friend’s malfunctioning GPS, I missed Garrison Keillor, but I was there to share the joy of the event. Allen and his wife Linda started a special network called Angels Animals. They have since published a series of books that are collections of people’s stories that convey uplifting messages about the relationships between people and animals. Angel Animals was their first book. They’ve published books about dogs, cats, horses, children and animals, and a book about saving animals from disasters.
This new book is different from the rest. It is Allen’s personal story about his dog Leaf and the healing he received from him.
Allen’s beloved dog had died and he wasn’t ready for a new dog, but one day he and his wife Linda were at the humane society and saw a black cocker spaniel. They were drawn to the dog and decided to adopt him. The dog turned out to have lots of problems like abandonment issues from being dropped off at the humane society. Allen worked hard to help the dog heal, including getting up with him three times at night and sleeping in a chair with the dog on his lap.
Not long after adopting Leaf, Allen received a diagnosis from his doctor that he had an unruptured brain aneurysm. Allen’s father had had a massive stroke and Allen had seen the terrible effects his father had to endure. He dreaded the thought of becoming an invalid. The story is about Allen and the dog’s healing process and how they helped each other. In the Epilogue Allen writes about his and Leaf’s relationship, “We are two souls who entered each other’s lives when we most needed the healing power of a human-animal friendship.” p. 209.
The quote from the back cover reads:
“The inspiring true story of a man and a dog coming together at just the right moment for miracles to occur.”
If you love animals like I do and consider them a part of the family, you’ll enjoy reading this heartfelt, honest book about the love between a man and his dog.
Here is a link to the book’s webpage.
PROOF OF HEAVEN by Dr. Eben Alexander November 21, 2012Posted by heidi skarie in Uncategorized.
Tags: book review, coma, Dr. Eben Alexander, life after death, near-death experience, Proof of Heaven
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This month I read a recently published book called Proof of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander about his near death experience (NDE). This book is getting a lot of media attention including being the cover story in Newsweek Oct 15, 2012 issue. Dr. Alexander’s NDE is getting attention partly because he is a respected academic neurosurgeon, teaching at Harvard Medical School and other universities. His NDE was unusual in that while he was in another dimension his cortex was completely shut down and he was under medical observation the whole time. The fact that his higher order brain functions were totally offline is significant because it meant that his NDE couldn’t be the result of his brain making up the experience.
Dr. Alexander understood the brain and how it works. He had always believed there were good scientific explanations for the strange stories people told who had under gone severe trauma. But once he’d had his own experience, he knew they were real experiences. He now intends to spend the rest of his life investigating the nature of consciousness. He knows for certain that we are more than our physical brain.
Dr. Alexander’s NDE is also unusual in that unlike most people, who remember who they are in the physical and are met by a loved one, he had no remembrance of who he was in his physical body and he never met anyone that he knew.
The book is an enjoyable read. Dr. Alexander goes back and forth between his inner spiritual journey and what his family experienced while he is in a coma. His illness started when he woke up in terrible pain. His wife called 911 after he lost consciousness and he was rushed to the hospital. The medical staff didn’t know what was wrong with him at first, but after running tests discovered he had bacterial meningitis. This is a rare and deadly disease especially in adults. Dr. Alexander describes in detail what was happening to his body and how the doctors were treating his illness. His chances of survival beyond a vegetative state were low when he was admitted to the hospital and went down the longer he was in a coma.
While in a coma Dr. Alexander went to a world where there was no sense of time as we experience it. “Then I heard a new sound: a living sound, like the richest, most complex, most beautiful piece of music you’ve ever heard. Growing in volume as a pure white light descended.” p. 39. He found himself in a beautiful new world where he flew over a lush, green countryside. He describes the world as an incredible dream. Only it wasn’t a dream. “This place I’d found myself in was completely real.” p. 39.
For much of his journey he was with a young woman. They rode together on the wing of a butterfly. Without using words the woman communicated with him. Her message was: “You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever. You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong.” Dr. Alexander said, “The message flooded me with a vast and crazy sensation of relief. It was like being handed the rules to a game I’d been playing all my life without ever fully understanding it.” p. 41. He was also told he’d be shown many things but that eventually he’d go back. He didn’t know where he was to go back to since he didn’t remember his physical life.
Later he goes to a place of clouds where some kind of advanced beings were. He writes, “I continued forward and found myself entering an immense void, completely dark, infinite in size, yet also infinitely comforting. Pitch black as it was, it was also brimming over with light.” p. 46–47. He felt this was God, the Creator, the Source who was responsible for making the universe. “Through the Orb, Om told me that there is not one universe but many–in fact, more than I could conceive–but that love lay at the center of them all. . . Evil was necessary because without it free will was impossible, and without free will there could be no growth–no forward movement, no chance for us to become what God longed for us to be.” p. 49.
On Dr. Alexander’s seventh day in the coma, as the doctors were considering discontinuing treatment, he returned to his body. When he was back home he told his son about his NDE and his son told him to write it down before he read about other people’s NDEs so they wouldn’t influence him. He did as his son suggested.
As a result of his NDE he understood that death is not the end of consciousness but a part of a positive journey. He writes, “God is present in us at all times. Omniscient, omnipotent, personal–and loving us without conditions. We are connected as One through our divine link with God.” p. 161.
I highly recommend Dr. Alexander’s book for those interested in what lies beyond this physical world.
Dr. Alexander has established a nonprofit charity to help create a better future for earth and its inhabitants and to advance research and education concerning spiritually transformative experiences. You may want to visit www.Eternea.org. It is a great source of materials on NDE, past lives, and mystical experiences.
If you’d like to hear more about Dr. Alexander’s experience here is a YouTube of an interview he did with Steve Paulson at the 2012 Bioethics Forum entitled “Research on Near Death & The Experience Of Dying”.
Here is a YouTube of Dr. Alexander’s experience.
Listen to Your Heart- Movie Review October 27, 2012Posted by heidi skarie in Movie reveiew.
Tags: Listen to Your heart, love story, movie review, music
I had a friend over one evening and we were both going through a rough stretch. A member of my extended family had just died of cancer and I thought let’s watch a cheerful, light romance. So we searched through the movies on Netfix and found Listen to Your Heart. It had a couple on the cover. They looked happy and in love. Romances have happy endings—right? Unfortunately, this one didn’t, but it was still a wonderful movie.
The movie opens with the line, “Music is a powerful thing, a song could change your mood, make a memory.” Danny says this to his best friend as they stand at the storefront looking at a recording set Danny is saving up for to make a demo. His friend doesn’t understand or support Danny’s dream. The two young men work at café that has a piano in it that Danny can use to write music on.
Arianna and her mother come into the café where Danny works and he serves their table. He’s immediately attracted to Arianna. When she leaves, he gives her a piece of paper with his phone number on it, not realizing she’s deaf.
Two weeks later Danny expresses his disappointment to his friend that Arianna never called. His friend says if a woman doesn’t call in 48 hours forget her.
Finally Arianna shows up at the café and Danny discovers she’s deaf. Arianna communicate with Danny by writing notes to him. She never speaks. They start dating and quickly become deeply involved.
Danny’s friend tries to warn him that he’s too attached to Arianna, but Danny says, “I’m not going to miss out on something great because it’s also hard.”
Danny learns sign language so he and Arianna can communicate more easily and he shares with her his love of music. They sit at the piano and she puts her hand on it and can feel the vibration. She even plays notes on the piano as he plays a piece.
Arianna’s controlling mother wants her to be an accountant, which Arianna is currently studying in college. Danny encourages her to listen to her heart and take control of her life. He tells her she can even be a musician like her father was. Her father, like his, died when she was young.
When summer comes and Arianna returns home, her mother forbids he relationship with Danny.
Every romance has to have conflict, so I’m fine with this. I figure the young couple will somehow overcome this obstacle and find happiness. I was wrong; the movie takes an unexpected sad twist. I won’t spoil the movie by telling you what it is.
I recommend this movie because of the theme of listening to your heart and following your dreams. Don’t let obstacles get in your way. Even when it appears that you can’t do something, like being a musician because you’re deaf, there might be a way you never thought of. In this movie, Arianna is transformed into a more self confident person. At the end we see her walking down the street with a happy smile. The last line of the movie parallels the opening line. “Music is a powerful thing. One song could change your life.”
I also recommend this movie because music is the sound current, it is one of the ways God speaks to us. Listen to the music around you: the birds singing, the frogs chirping, the dog howling, the wind blowing through the trees, a baby cooing. Listen to music that opens your heart and connects you to something higher. It can transport you when you’re going through the challenging times like I’m going through to a higher place where there is love, beauty and light.
Here is a trailer of the movie:
Mellen-Thomas Benedict’s NDE September 28, 2012Posted by heidi skarie in Uncategorized.
Tags: book review, Deepak Chopra, Mellen-Thomas Benedict, NDE, near death experiences, spirituality
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I was talking to my friend Doug about Anita Moorjani’s near death experience, which I wrote about in a recent blog. Anita had cancer and went into a coma. While she was in the coma, she had an amazing NDE. She returned from her experience in the inner realms cured of cancer.
Doug replied that years ago he’d heard about another man, Mellen-Thomas Benedict who also had cancer and a NDE. Like Anita he came back cured of cancer.
Mellen’s story is also featured in Deepak Chopra’s book Life After Death.
“Mellen is an encyclopedia of the afterlife.” Quote by Deepak Chopra.
Doug said that Mellen wrote wonderful poetry. He emailed me a link to that as well.
Mellen’s story is as amazing as Anita’s. Anita felt her cancer was caused by her fear. Mellen, who had a NDE in 1982, said that, “I had been an information freak in the 1970′s, and I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the ecology crisis, and so forth. So, since I did not have a spiritual basis, I began to believe that nature had made a mistake, and that we were probably a cancerous organism on the planet. I saw no way that we could get out from all the problems we had created for ourselves and the planet. I perceived all humans as cancer, and that is what I got. That is what killed me. Be careful what your world view is. It can feed back on you, especially if it is a negative world view. I had a seriously negative one. That is what led me into my death. I tried all sorts of alternative healing methods, but nothing helped.”
Mellen came to see that, “At any level, high or low, in whatever shape you are in, you are the most beautiful creation, you are.
“I was astonished to find that there was no evil in any soul.
“I said, ‘How can this be?’
“The answer was that no soul was inherently evil. The terrible things that happened to people might make them do evil things, but their souls were not evil. What all people seek, what sustains them, is love, the light told me. What distorts people is a lack of love.”
Both quotes are taken from the above-mentioned story.
It’s fascinating to ponder why we get sick and if indeed some illnesses are caused by our thoughts and emotions. If we can figure out what created our illness, then we might have some insight how to heal from our illness.
I also find it interesting to read about the experiences people have in the inner realms. People who have died and come back all share that there is life after death. Knowing that we are Soul and immortal can take the fear out of dying and ease our suffering when a loved one dies.
Do you think we can create disease with our thoughts, emotions, and attitudes?
TWILIGHT SAMURAI- Movie review September 23, 2012Posted by heidi skarie in Movie reveiew.
Tags: Japan, movie review, Samurai, theater
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My husband and I were looking for a good movie to watch on Netflix one night and TWILIGHT SAMURAI caught my attention. I like films about the Samurai and it had more stars than most of the others movies, so we downloaded it. I was drawn into this quiet, but deep movie that slowly unfolds. The movie is set in Japan a few years before the Meiji restoration about 1868—a time period when the place of the Samurai was being questioned in a changing society.
The story is about Seibei Igulchi a low level samurai. Seibei’s wife has just died and he is left to raise his two daughters and to care for his aging, senile mother. The family lives in poverty and Seibei is in debt from paying for his wife’s medicines. He works as an accountant, and his co-workers make fun of him when they go off to socialize after work and he hurries home to care for his children and work his small farm.
The strength of Seibei’s character is revealed gradually. He enjoys watching his two daughters grow up and compares it to watching blossoms open. His younger daughter asks him why she should learn Confucianism at school. She understands the value of knowing how to cook and clean, but not studying Confucianism . He tells her Confucianism will help her learn to think and she’ll always be able to work if she can think. As he interacts with his daughters we see how much he loves them.
One day, Seibei’s friend tells him that his sister Tomoe is returning home after divorcing her abusive husband. Tomoe comes to visit Seibei and enjoys playing with his two daughters. She tells the girls that she and Seibei were childhood friends.
When Tomoe’s x-husband shows up and hits her, Seibei challenges him to a duel. Duels are forbidden, so Seibei fights with a stout stick against the x-husband’s sword. Seibei wins the duel by knocking out the x-husband.
As a result of the duel, the men at work have a new respect for Seibei, and Tomoe gives him a letter to thank him. She starts coming to his home to clean and help care of his daughters. Feelings blossom between them. Tomoe’s brother asks Seibei if he would like to marry her, but Tomoe is from a higher social status and Seibei doesn’t want her to live in poverty because he saw how hard it was for his first wife.
More complications arise when Seibei is forced by his clan to try to kill a Samurai who has refused to commit seppuku. Seibei doesn’t want to fight him, because he wants to provide for his family and not risk being killed. Moreover he has become a quiet family man and no longer has the sprit of a warrior. Yet he is an honorable man and must do as the clan orders. Much depth was brought to this action sequence, which plays out in unexpected ways.
One of the things that struck me about the movie is how Seibei was able to accept his life of poverty and even find happiness in it because of his love of his daughters. He always acts with grace and integrity despite his hard life.
After watching the movie I researched it and discovered in 2003 the movie swept the Japanese Academy Awards by winning in twelve categories including best picture, best director, best actor and best actress. My own feeling that is was an exceptional film was confirmed.
I highly recommend this movie. The photography is remarkable, the story is captivating, and acting fabulous. I also liked the historical aspect of it. The costumes, buildings, and settings are authentic and the story gives the viewer a glimpse into that time period and culture.
DYING TO BE ME by Anita Moorjani book review September 15, 2012Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review, Past lives.
Tags: Antia Moorjana, cancer, disease, healing sickness, NDE, near death experiences
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DYING TO BE ME by Anita Moorjani is a remarkable book about a woman’s near death experience and what she learned from it. What makes the story so unusual is that Anita had fought cancer (Hodgkin’s Lymphoma) for four years using both alternative and traditional medicine. The disease progressed to the point that all her major organs started shutting down and the doctors and her family expected her to die at any moment. She slipped into a coma and had an incredible near-death experience (NDE). While out of her body she knew she had a choice to die or return as it was not her time. She eventually decided to return and knew she was healed on an energetic level and that her physical body would catch up quickly.
Anita states in her introduction that she understood that one of the reasons she came back to her body was so her message and experience would touch others. One message she shares is that miracles are possible and that we are loved. Soon after she recovered from the cancer, she began speaking and writing about her NDE and eventually wrote this book.
The book is divided into three parts. In the first part Anita talks about how she was born in India and raise Hindu, but grew up in Hong Kong in the midst of different languages, cultures and religions. This lead to her living a fear-based life that eventually manifested in disease. “I also understood that the cancer was not some punishment for anything I’d done wrong. . . where I was at that point in time was a culmination of every decision, every choice, and every thought of my entire life. My many fears and my great power had manifested as this disease.” (Chapter 7)
In the second part Anita tells about her NDE, what she experienced and understood while in the other worlds, her healing, and about her a new life afterwards. While Anita’s body lay in a coma, she was able to see and hear her family and the doctors. She felt calm, peaceful and healed. She understood that even if her physical life ended she would never truly die. Though she was aware of Danny, her husband; her parents; and Anoop, her brother, and their unhappiness, she felt wonderful. “I still felt enveloped in a sea of unconditional love and acceptance. . . I deserved to be loved simply because I existed, nothing more and nothing less.” (chapter 7)
She described her NDE as being love, joy, ecstasy, and awe. In this place of expanded awareness she also became aware of the presence of her father, who’d died ten years earlier and of a dear friend, who had died a few years ago. Their presence gave her comfort.
The universe now made sense and she understood she’d gotten cancer because her fears didn’t allow her magnificence to shine through. She had been harsh with herself and didn’t show the beauty of her soul. “I understood that I owed it to myself, to everyone I met, and to life itself to always be an expression of my own unique essence. Trying to be anything or anyone else didn’t make me better—it just deprived me of my true self! It kept others from experiencing me for who I am, and it deprived me of interacting authentically with them. Being inauthentic also deprives the universe of who I came here to be and what I came here to express. . . I also realized that I’m not my body, race, culture, religion or beliefs.” (Chapter 7)
Time was different in this realm and Anita was aware of simultaneous lives playing out. In one incarnation the essence of her older brother Anoop was her younger brother who she looked after.
She also knew her husband Danny’s life and purpose was inextricably linked with hers. If she died, he would follow soon after. If he did, everything would still be perfect in the bigger picture.
In the last section Anita shares what she learned about healing from her experience. She writes, “we can live as a reflection of who we really are, by allowing our magnificence to shine through.” (Introduction) In this section of the book there is also a question and answer section.
Anita wrote the book in hopes that by sharing her experience others can reduce their chances of getting ill. For people who are already sick, there might be something in this book that will help them with the healing process. Anita says, “It’s my hope that you find joy in each and every day of your journey and come to love life as much as I do these days!” (Introduction)
I highly recommend this unique book. Anita is amazingly articulate in the way she’s able to describe what her NDE was like. She shares honestly why she got sick and how she was able to heal. This book will bring comfort and insight to anyone who reads it and contemplates Antia’s message.
Have you or anyone you know had a near death experience? What are you thoughts about Antia Moorjani’s experience? Please feel free to comment on this blog.
In closing, remember your own magnificence and that you exist because God loves you unconditionally.
Here is a You Tube of Anita doing an interview on After live TV