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Beyond Knowing by Janis Amatuzio February 19, 2012

Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review.
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I recently went to a dinner party. After we ate, one of the men I’ll call Joe asked me if I believed in reincarnation. I replied that I did and Joe said that he did as well. This led into a sharing of stories. His wife said after her mother died she had a dream with her that was a “visitation.” Joe said he’d once been stopped at an intersection and was about to pull out when an inner voice told him to wait. He waited and a car came barreling by. Joe knew he would have been hit if he hadn’t listened to the inner voice.

Another woman in the room said that she believed that after you died you were dead. She had a dream of her mother who died as well, but for her this was just a dream created by the mind. Her husband didn’t know what to make of the stories. I asked him if he’d had dreams of his beloved dog Homer who had died recently. He had but he didn’t think that they were real.

The differences in how people related to their esoteric experiences led me to thinking about something Dr. Amatuzio said in her book Beyond Knowing. Dr. Amatuzio is a Minnesota pathologist and in her work the loved ones of the deceased occasionally told her extraordinary dreams, visions or synchronies. Gradually she had a shift in awareness from wondering if these extraordinary stories were true to a knowing they were. She said that something awakened inside her and she even had an awareness that she already knew these things. She thought these experiences are a trigger to wake up spiritually.

Dr. Amatuzio saw that the people who had these amazing experiences were profoundly changed. These experiences brought them joy, relief, reassurance, comfort, and sometimes healing. She began asking them. “How has this changed your life?” p. xvi

The answers were elegant in their simplicity and beauty. “It’s all about love. All is well. Be kind. Trust yourself. Don’t worry. Live each day to the fullest. Life is a phenomenal gift. There is nothing to fear. Everything is really all right.” p. xvi

“Perhaps these experiences are immortal gifts, ago-old portals through which we can reach into the realm of the masters and mystics, approach the threshold of the divine, and glean the wisdom of the ages. Could the magic and power in these familiar stories transform us as they have others?” p. xvi

Dr. Amatuzio tells about her own wake up process that started when she was a child. Once day she lay down for a nap and fell asleep. Her guardian, a being of light, appeared at her bedside. Together they left the room and rode horses above the earth. He told her without words that he would accompany her throughout her life and sent light streaming toward her. She had a feeling of love, joy and ecstasy.

The book is filled with amazing stories that were told to Dr. Amatuzio. One that stuck out for me took place in 1888 here in Minnesota. Harry and Walter Swenson were brothers who worked a dairy farm. One February day Walter drove to town with a team of horse and got caught in a blizzard on the way home. When he didn’t return home Harry became worried and searched for him. The storm lasted three days during which time there was no sign of Walter.

When the storm let up Harry went to the barn to milk the cows. Walter walked in. “Harry was overjoyed and surprised and said, ‘Walter, what took you so long? It’s about time you showed up!’ Walter looked at him and said, ‘Harry, I thought you had been looking long enough. Me and the team, we passed in the storm.’ Harry blinked, and his brother was gone.” P. 132. Walter and his horse were found down in a creek bed frozen solid a week later.

Another woman named Theresa told Dr. Amatuzio she had the gift of seeing. One night she dreamed of her friend Marge who wore a maroon dress and locket on a gold chain. They danced around each other in joy. Theresa awoke from the dream and noticed the time was midnight. The next day a friend came over and told her that Marge had died of a heart attack at midnight. When Therese went to the mortuary there was Marge’s body in the maroon dress with the locket around her neck.

Dr, Amaturio’s father, Don, shared a story from a time when he was critically ill in the hospital. Don had a sense of leaving his hospital room and flying across a vast space. He arrived a magnificent place with vivid colors and beautiful music. The light there glowed and felt familiar. Then Don came to a river. On the other side were all his family and friend who had died. They waved and beckoned to him; he was overjoyed and began to wade the river. They stopped waving the turned around. Don knew he wasn’t to cross over. When he awakened it was early evening and he felt peaceful. When the doctor came to visit, he found that Don was finally showing signs of recovery and would live. The doctor said, “You’re going to be okay!” p. 169.

Denise told of a dream of her dog Kizzie who had died six months earlier. In the dream Kizzie was running around like she did as a puppy “in the most beautiful place imaginable. “ p. 173. The dog looked her in the eyes and let her know that she was happy and in a good place. When Denise woke up she knew the dog was fine and her heart healed. Later Denise was watching What Dreams May Come and in a scene in the movie there was the same meadow she’d seen Kizzie in. “And then the peace and joy she had experienced reawakened in her heart, and her surprise faded to the calm, still place of deep knowing.” p. 173.

Dr. Amaturio asked Denise what had changed in her life since then. She said, “This experience has been so profound for me. Now I am certain: I know there is much more waiting for all of us after our brief visit here on earth. I have no fear.” P. 174.

Dr. Amaturio says that, “These beautiful experiences allow us to truly find ourselves again, to remember who we are, truly, and what we already know.” P.201. The wisdom of these stories is the truth that: “You are deeply loved and never alone. You will see your loved ones again and again; and just the power of your thought will draw them to you.” p. 201.

When I reflect back on the dinner party, I think that the people attending represent a typical cross section of people. Some don’t believe in an afterlife, others are wondering if these extraordinary events could be true, while yet others know they are true like Dr. Amatuzio who said she awakened to the truth.

Dr. Amatuzio says, “But please don’t take my experience as recorded in this book as “the truth.” Read the words on these pages and the stories that real people have shared with me. Then trust your own feelings, make your own decisions, and arrive at your own truth, about one of the greatest concerns of sentient humanity: Life and Death.” P. xi.

If you have an amazing story, I’d love to hear it. Please leave a comment.

Here is a YouTube of Dr. Amatuzio: This is an excellent lecture that Janis Amatuzio gave at the University of Minnesota. It’s long, but well worth listening to. Janis is funny and very personable. You’ll enjoy the talk.



1. Laura - February 19, 2012

Thank you for the wonderful stories of the continuation of life. Our bodies die and our spirits keep coming and going… life after life. That truly is God’s gift of love!

heidi skarie - February 19, 2012

Thank you for your comment, Laura. It’s amazing to me how all these stories are coming out now. People are starting to talk about their experiences more openly. Yes, we are soul and are loved by God.

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