All rights reserved
© Copyright 2012 by Preeti Gupta
Printed in the United States of America
To my Mom
Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction
- The ROI of Spirituality
Part 2: The Driving Force of Energy
- Soul Energy
- Why are we here? Creationists vs. Evolutionists
- Waiting Rooms and Reincarnation
- Heaven, Hell, and our Happy Graph
- The Happy Graph
- The 7 External Factors of Attachment
- Science and the Mind
- Heaven and Hell
- The Ego
- The Mirror in the Stranger
- Karma—Can it be Proven?
- Karma—How does it Work?
- Vegetarianism and Squashing Bugs
- Channeling and Tracking Energy
- Palm Reading
- Colors, Numbers, Stones, & Sugar
- Chanting, Mantras, Prayers, & Meditation
Part 3: Putting It All Together
- Religion—our Personal Trainer
- Intermittent Meditation Flashes (IMF)
- Putting 3 Chips on God—Conclusion
- Choosing a Spiritual Path
- Monkhood or Money?
- I Like Life
- More Action, not Knowledge
- Big Bang or Big Kahuna? Agnosticism
- Incorporating Detachment
- Maslow's Hierarchy & my Attachment Bucket
- The 10-80-10 Rule & my Attachment Bucket
- Expected Problems & my Detachment Bucket
- Incorporating Karma
- Budgeting for Bad Karma
- Following the Golden Rule
- Small Acts of Kindness
- Turning Negative Karma into Positive
- Reaching Happiness & Enlightenment
- Surrounding myself with Positive Energy
- Surrounding myself with Smart Energy
- Confrontation, not Consolation
- Keep Exercising
- We can find Happiness
In any Battle,
Knowledge is the first half,
and Action is the other half.
The ROI of Spirituality
I was never one of those philosophical college students who pondered and debated the secrets of the Universe with fellow students late at night. If I was at any of these gatherings, I was probably the one in the corner too lazy to voice an opinion and more fascinated by the pizza.
Where do we come from? What are we doing here? What is the meaning of life?
Is this the last slice of pepperoni?
In all other respects, I was a nice, thoughtful person. Got good grades. Didn't get into trouble. Was making progress on the approved path of a solid education, prestigious job, timely marriage, suburban house, 2.5 kids, and the requisite yearly vacation to some exotic destination. I had yet to accomplish all of these goals, but I was well on my way.
Then midlife hit. And like any adult at that stage, I had gone through a variety of experiences by then. I had achieved many of the milestones that society expected of me. I wasn't completely satisfied with everything but I had stability and cable TV on my comfortable, predictable path. As my ever-practical parents would say, what more could one want?
Well . . . something . . . anything . . . I don't know . . . I mean, was this as good as it gets? Where do I head to next?
Like many people from the newer generations, I had always thought of myself as spiritual but not deeply religious. If anyone ever asked me, I would say—feel free to chime in—“I don't follow any one Religion, but I am spiritual and I believe in being a good person.”
Now what does this mean, exactly? What is Spirituality vs. Religion? Do any of us know? Given that one out of every three adults calls themselves spiritual, you would think there would be a standard definition by now.
I've heard people say that it means you are free to live as you please as long as you don't harm others. Some go further by adding that it means helping people out and doing good deeds and contributing to society. Others say that they believe there is a God, and perhaps a Heaven and Hell, but they are not sure that any particular Religion is the correct one to follow.
“Spirituality is feeling happy every day, no matter what you have. Enjoying the small things in life, enjoying the journey.”
“Spirituality is experienced in your own being. Being spiritual means standing on a cliff feeling the rushing wind . . . and understanding the beauty of nature.”
“Spirituality means freedom from life while living life.”
“Little children are spiritual. They are innocent, they are free from society's expectations and brainwashing. I am trying to be more like I was when I was five, free and uninhibited, that would mean achieving true Spirituality.”
Um . . . What? Eh? Huh?
I was still confused.
I didn't know the answer either. My own definition of Spirituality is something I began to wonder about.
I headed to the bookstore and started reading books by brilliant authors who I could see had a commanding and confident understanding of what Spirituality means. Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle . . . .
All of their teachings seemed to ring so true. It is hard to disagree with “enjoy every moment, be in the moment” or “love everyone, everyone is you” or “hear yourself breathe and know that you are alive”.
But while I felt inspired and ready to glide through life anew, the gliding seemed to sputter once I walked out the doors and made my way home. Wait, I forgot, what was I supposed to do? I wished there was a spiritual person who was, say . . . a cross between the Dalai Lama and Donald Trump . . . or Deepak Chopra and Britney Spears. Or just an everyday person, stuck in the rat race, feeling the pressure, but not wanting to get out because the goal of a nice house, car, or vacation prevents any crazy detours off the proven path. Yet that person still managing to enjoy every moment of their 80 hour workweek, feel intense love for their annoying coworker, or magically bring about a promotion and inner peace even while having to get up every morning at 5 AM to achieve it.
Was it really, truly possible to enjoy every moment of every day, no matter what, and still live normally and pursue the usual goals? Or did it ultimately mean letting go of material wealth—or at least scaling down—and taking a lot of time out to meditate, or go to church, or pos-sibly even staying single with no attachments so one could wake up every day with the ability to engage in the real world only when in the mood?
And before getting to all of that, how can one be sure of what is genuinely the “truth” and whether these teachings are correct? Was there any way to be more sure of what spiritual path to follow before taking precious time out of a busy, productive schedule?
For those of you familiar with the work of consultants, one of their main tasks is to help clients measure the ROI, or return on investment, of their resources to the benefits they receive. For example, how much time will workers save if the company invests in this new machine? On a more personal level, how much more can I sell my house for if I put in a new kitchen? 20 percent return—not worth it. 95 percent return— now we're talking!
And how guaranteed is the 95 percent return? What if all that time or money is invested and there is also a possibility that there will be a 0 percent return?
Well, my feeling is that many of us spiritual, but busy professionals, subconsciously assign a low ROI to being spiritual. All of us intend to think about it eventually, when we are not so busy and have more time . . . when it's later in life and we are old and wrinkled anyway with not much else to do. But for now, it's not high on our priority list.
Being more spiritual is not going to get me the career advancement I am pursuing. It's not going to get me more money for my retirement. It's not going to get me more time to spend with my family.
Time and money—these are tangible, immediate, valuable resources and goals. Giving more thought to one's Spirituality might not take money, but it would require some time. It's better saved as a worry for old age, when we are closer to dying and have more time and wisdom to question the purpose of it all. When we want to secure our ticket to Heaven, if there is one. Or maybe, even then, we will feel no need to ponder any of it, since we'll be comfortably ensconced in our paid-up, upgraded homes with solid nest eggs and exciting travel plans and plenty of distracting hobbies. Regardless of whether we will or won't think about it later in life, Spirituality certainly doesn't have much to do with our current life, the here and now.
If we knew for sure that there was a God or a Heaven, if there was a guarantee, would we invest the time to reach them? Of course! Most of us are not selfish. We are decent people. We want to help others and know that there is a point to all of this. We want to secure our place in Heaven. It is scary to think that there is no one up there, or no other meaning to life, that we are completely on our own. If we could just be shown a sign, some proof of God's existence or which Religion to follow—a real, indisputable miracle that didn't happen centuries ago but instead would take place right before our very own eyes—then we would be eager to spend time on the subject and think about it more deeply. Personally, I don't need something grand. If I were able to choose a miracle to witness, it would involve me being able to eat tubloads of chocolate and getting thinner the more I eat it. But I suppose any old miracle would do, just something to show me—us—that God or Heaven really exists.
However, since we don't know what path to follow and whether Spirituality is going to bring any benefit, it is easy to dust it off into a corner and plan to address it “later”.
That is how most of us think from what I have observed. I am no different.
I'll admit, I've thought the same way. What if there actually isn't anything beyond this life? What if this life is just a freak of nature, like the Big Bang? What if the atheists are right, there is no God, and our bodies are just physical matter or particles that will transmogrify into some other type of matter or particle after we're gone? What if the “afterlife” consists of being an ion instead of a neutron? I mean, imagine spending all this time writing and reading and thinking about God, and changing our behavior to be nice to other people, and we find out later, once we're dead, that the joke is on us? It was just the one life we had to live, and that was it, BABY! Ha ha!?
Well it's possible, of course. There seems to be no guarantee. That's the biggest reason we are able to shove the issue to the back of our Minds. Yet . . . like the annoying relative who keeps sending emails and demanding that we stay in touch, the idea of there being a higher purpose pops up regularly enough that it can't be swatted entirely away.
First of all, how does one explain the discrepancies in this world? Rich, young celebrities that seem to have everything they want, and poor, struggling slum dwellers whose luxury aspirations include clean water. An innocent young kid getting cancer, and an eighty-year-old chain smoker still going strong. Countries with plenty of freedom and opportunities, and countries where going out to buy bread could mean death. I could go into a string of examples, but I'm sure you already know what I am talking about.
What about unsolved mysteries like ESP and ghosts and twins living continents apart yet still wearing the exact same color of shoelace, and all that jazz? Where did all that come from?
And the biggest reason for hoping, wanting, to believe in something—surely there is more to life than just the here and now? Surely there is more out there for me than my gnarly old boss and twitchy bitchy customers and nice but boring routine? The increasing breakdown of my body parts as I get older and have to add a new patch-up every month— dye the hair, get facials, buy wrinkle cream, bathe myself in sunscreen, consume my calcium, eat my vitamins. I'm fighting nightly visions of morphing into the decrepit Goldie Hawn from Death Becomes Her.
Please, please, let there be more! And better!
Mostly life is good, good enough, or even really good, and I conveniently ignore the desire to want more because I'll have to work for more. Rumor has it that it takes a lot of effort and it is not easy pickings. From what I know you have to EARN your way into Heaven or Nirvana.
Yawn . . . I'll just hit the snooze button on my Spirituality Clock for a little while longer . . . just five more minutes, years, decades, whatever . . . and I promise I'll wake up and jump out of bed and get on with it, just let me sleep for five more minutes. Please?
What's this? Someone just dumped a bucket of cold water on my bed? A job loss? A disease? A tragedy? A tsunami? Hey, that's no fun! It's uncomfortable in here now! Fine, I'm getting up already, sheeeesh . . . .
Hi God. How are you. Sorry I'm late, I overslept a bit. Hey, something awful just happened to me, so I have a favor to ask you . . . .
Maybe there is nothing out there and the atheists are right.
Or maybe there IS something out there . . . .
And maybe not.
The big question is, how many chips do you want to put on the MAYBE square and how many chips do you want to put on the MAYBE NOT square? Do you want to put all your chips on one or the other? Or would you prefer splitting them up, say 3 chips go on Maybe, and 7 on Maybe Not? Do you want to completely ignore the issue of Religion or Spirituality or a higher power for the rest of your life? Or do you want to invest at least a little time in it? How confident are you, that you will win your bet when the dice are rolled?
And how many of you are rolling your eyes at my cheesy gambling analogy?
I don't know about you, but just in case . . . just in case there is an eensy-weensy tiny-winy mininscularian chance of Heaven, Hell, or getting to be reborn again in a rocking celebrity body . . . I'm going to spend at least some time thinking about it. Now. Today. Not a lot of time, I've got a busy life to lead. But I don't want all my chips stacked on only one square. I'd like to diversify my portfolio. Hedge my bets. Put 3 chips on God. Just in case the dice get rolled earlier than I thought, and it's my time to go. Or in case something happens in this life itself and I need God and good Karma on my side.
With that, let's set up a few ground rules here for explaining how to get through the rest of this book without losing your Mind or feeling that you are on a drug-induced hallucination trip.
Thou shalt not take things literally.
Let me explain that I am just like you. I am not some wise, all-knowing, enlightened guru who has studied various scriptures for the past 29 years and . . . um . . . 120 months of my life. I'm a rather lazy person with a short attention span. I could have spent hours or even years researching my material in order to bring you a tightly written, solidly factual, intellectual book. But I conveniently and truly decided that defeated the purpose. I'm trying to write for people like you—me—us. Someone in India once spent a patient afternoon explaining to me the meanings of different prayers, which ones to apply where, the types of devotion, and various meditation positions, and I sincerely enjoyed hearing his teachings and inhaled his every word and then promptly forgot it all by breakfast the next morning.
Some may argue that I should know all the different types of prayers or rituals or beliefs if I am going to be writing a book like this, but I think not. To me what is important is whether the general concept of Karma or Heaven makes sense, and what I need to do in my everyday life to apply it. Details and Religion, to me, are man-made attempts to understand the overall truth. I think what is more important is feeling your way around a common teaching or belief and seeing if it becomes a natural part of your Soul as you go through the experiences of life. I think I first learned about Karma and the three types (or was it five?) as a child, when I was dragged to some religious lecture against my will. I didn't give it much thought right afterwards, but the concept of Karma stewed and simmered in my Mind, over the years, without my realizing, until slowly and unexpectedly I began to feel there might be some truth to it. Not truth to there being three types of Karma, necessarily, but truth to the idea in general.
So I might make references to existing concepts—the Soul, Karma, Dharma, Reincarnation, Chakras, Meditation, and Detachment. I might be influenced by the fact that I was born into a Hindu family and these were the types of words used to describe these concepts. But remember, I don't consider myself from any one Religion in particular, I consider myself spiritual. If I use the word Karma, you might substitute the word “sin” or “blessing”. As in, “She sinned”, instead of “Her actions resulted in bad Karma”. Or “She was blessed”, instead of “Her good Karma kicked in”. Don't go by the literal word I use, and don't get annoyed when I butcher details and facts and names of various scriptures and doctrines (and I will, I promise you, despite my best efforts not to). Just go with the flow of the concept, or simply humor me and suspend your own thoughts for a time as you open your Mind to mine.
Thou shalt not hold me to my current beliefs.
First of all, I don't really have “beliefs”. I know OF beliefs and teachings and have squeezed and poked and pulled at them in my attempt to see if they make sense. If I feel that one particular teaching or idea does seem to explain life and the world, I do find myself following it and imbibing it as part of my daily practices. But I am a female, and I am from generation X, and I'm entitled to change my Mind at any time. If the stranger across the street offers me a more tantalizing ice-cream cone, I'll drop the one I'm having and promptly switch. I like logic, and I like concepts that are applicable to the whole world and all of life's mysteries. I'm never going to be one of those people who devoutly follow one path because of faith. Instead I'm like the kid who keeps asking “but why?” every time you answer his question.
In fact, as I chat with you in the following chapters, I am also going to be like one of those entertainers who plays a dual role while acting or singing a song. You know, the ones that put on a fake mustache and a hat when they are singing the male's part of the song, then run over to the other side of the stage and hold a frilly parasol while they skip around to the female's voice. I am going to constantly switch sides and dissect issues from both points of view. That's what we skeptical agnostics do. Agnostics are those who neither believe nor disbelieve in the existence of God—they are open to either possibility being true.
I am an agnostic, and I am not partial to any one side. What I talk about in this book is where I am at the moment, in terms of which concepts or theories I feel make the most sense. If tomorrow someone were to show me a better way, or an indisputable, miracle-backed proof that their way is the correct way and I will go to Hell if I don't squat on one foot chanting 3.5 times a week, I will happily abandon my favorite chocolate cone for strawberry. In addition, I welcome your criticisms and disagreements. If you can back what you say with clear, sound reasoning, I will be open to it and respect you all the more for it.
Thou shalt not make too much fun of my analogies.
In order to try and explain the Alice-in-Wonderland mess going on in my head from the years of observations and experiences I've had, I'm going to use a lot of hokey and far- fetched analogies, metaphors, and examples. It's much more convenient for me to describe my thoughts in terms of televisions, socket plugs, and teacups, than to try and read up on physics and electromagnetic fields. I am sure there will be times when you are reading and pause to say to yourself “What the ?!##!!” But I'm relying on the morbid fascination we all have for slowing down and gawking at accidents, to compel you to finish the rest of this book.
With those rules in place, on we go to the next chapter. Where I will now invoke visions of Vacuums, Sailboats, Cavemen, Bombs, Cocktails, War, Science, Mathematics, Singing, and Dancing.
Yes, really. Read on and see for yourself . . . .
You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.
OK, now, in order for you to keep up with me on our psychedelic journey into Spirituality, it is important that you pay attention! in this chapter. Because the premise of this chapter and the entire book is based on our mutual agreement and understanding of energy.
Soul Energy, Karmic Energy, Heat Energy, Positive Energy, Negative Energy, Chemical Energy, Feeling Energy, Living Energy, Evil Energy, Evolving Energy, Wind Energy, Magnetic Energy, Discovering Energy.
So you see, if you don't see the possibilities of all that energy being . . . possible . . . then the rest of the book will make no sense.
What is energy? According to the dictionary, energy is defined as:
A fundamental force of nature that is transferred between parts of a system resulting in some physical change to the system and usually regarded as the capacity for doing work. Energy can take a wide variety of forms. The units of energy are joules or ergs.
Erg? What's an erg?
I was not a great student in science, so I promise not to make all this too technical or complicated. Not only for your benefit, I also don't have the ability to get into a lot of detail without my eyes glazing over.
Let's look at some simple examples of energy using easy words:
These examples of energy seem pretty straightforward, don't they? They clearly show some type of system, doing some type of task, using some type of energy. Now, let's take a look at the Human Body, another type of physical system. The Human Body runs on energy, as well. Not just because we happen to use that term, as in “I don't have a lot of energy today” or “This energy bar will give you lots of energy”, but because there is scientifically proven energy in our bodies. We do absorb energy from sources like light and heat, but mainly we use chemical energy, which is generated from the food, water, and oxygen we ingest. These three substances combine with others in our body to form certain chemicals or reactions that cause our blood to flow, our cells to metabolize glucose, and other fun biological occurrences which we all should have learned in the fifth grade. Not that we remember any of it.
Accordingly, the equation for the Human Body might be written as follows:
Now some people would add another type of energy that they think is fueling or powering the Human Body. They call it our Life Force or Vitalism or the Soul. While it's mostly people with religious or spiritual inclinations that would say this type of energy exists, there are scientists who have also put forth the idea that there is some indescribable component of living beings that is separate from the mechanical interplay of the atoms and inorganic substances that comprise them. However they use more secular terms to describe that component, or spark, and many think that it will eventually be discovered and understood by science.
Let's examine that concept—the idea of another type of energy that flows through our body. For agreement's sake, if you don't mind, I'd like to refer to it as Soul Energy. Just me, just for this book. After reading this book, please feel free to call it whatever you like. So I will say Soul Energy. An Atheist might say Vitalism. A Chinese person might say Qi. A Hindu person might say Atman. A Science person might say Life Force. A Weird person might say Erg.
I don't think it matters what we call it. But if we were to go with the idea that there may be an undiscovered type of energy also driving the Human Body, we would rewrite the equation as follows:
Some would not agree with this. I will call them The People Who Do Not Agree. The People Who Do Not Agree would say that we have no proof of anything but chemical energy, or other known energies, being present in the body. Soul Energy has not been proven, therefore they would say that it does not exist.
But what is interesting to note is that there have been times in history, as recently as a few decades ago, when we did not know about many common forms of energy, such as kinetic or sound or wind. All types of energy already exist in the world, because according to science, “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.” But we first have to discover a new form of energy before we know it exists. Ben Franklin has to get a light bulb idea over his head created by Thomas Edison that makes him go totter outside in a thunderstorm with a kite, and then we go from not knowing about electrical energy to knowing about it the next day, ta-daa!
It surprised me to learn that we didn't know about certain types of energy until very recently. Nuclear energy was one of the latest forms of energy to be discovered, in 1938. Solar energy was discovered in 1838. Electrical energy was discovered sometime in the 1700s.
Even the most basic type of energy—heat energy—had to first be discovered. It happened eons ago when . . . uh . . . a caveman needed something else to warm him besides his fur toga and accidentally tripped while holding his wooden club, which struck another piece of wood on the ground, and voila! Fire was born!
Or something like that. I might have a few of the details wrong here, but overall we know that there was a point in history where they discovered fire and heat energy—one day they didn't know about it and the next day they did. Heat energy always EXISTED of course, it's not like the caveman created it himself. He just had to realize that it existed. And heat energy was not exclusively present in one form—fire—it also came from the sun. So heat energy was there, and it was even available from different sources, but until the caveman found out about it in a way that made sense to him and enabled him to use it to improve his life, it was not yet a reality.
Therefore . . . what if there IS such a thing as Soul Energy? But we haven't discovered it yet? Just because we don't know about it now, doesn't mean we won't be able to prove it exists in the future—perhaps even a few decades from now. It's possible, we are discovering new forms of energy all the time.
How do we discover a new form of energy? How do we prove that a certain type of energy exists? There are two criteria that must be met in order to establish the existence of energy:
- Show a force that does work to cause change in a physical system.
- Show that the force can be converted to and from other forms of energy.
The first criterion is the one we've already started exploring, i.e. energy must be shown capable of changing certain properties of a physical system, or doing work, such as creating heat or movement. In other words, if Soul Energy exists, it must be shown to cause our Human Bodies to do work, such as hop, skip, or jump.
The second criterion is that if energy exists, it can be shown to convert to and from other types of energy. In other words, if there is such a thing as Soul Energy, it came from some type of energy and can later convert to another type.
Let's continue our look at the first criterion. How do we know that all of the functions of the Human Body are being directed or run entirely by chemical energy, derived from food, water, and oxygen? It may be easy to show that chemical energy is a driving force behind getting the heart to pump blood, having the arms and legs move, and enabling a person to breathe. But how do we know if chemical energy is behind intangible, complex functions such as thinking or feeling? Are we sure that chemical energy is responsible for the way our Mind functions? Chemical energy is responsible for the fact that the brain is alive. The brain is an organ and it obviously needs oxygen to survive, otherwise it can be damaged or dead within as little as three minutes. It needs glucose to survive, which is why we can experience dizziness when standing up too quickly and the blood flow to our brain stops. The brain cannot keep going without the processes fueled by chemical energy.
However, just because chemical energy is responsible for certain functions in the body— keeping us physically alive—it doesn't mean that it is responsible for ALL of our internal processes. Just because it is the only energy we know that enters our bodies, it doesn't mean that it is the only energy that continues to circulate within. There are many examples of systems where one type of energy is input but several types of energy can be output.
For example, a vacuum converts the electricity running through it into kinetic energy in order to move over floors.
Even though electricity is put into the system (the vacuum), it converts to another type of energy in order to perform its task.
Similarly, a microwave needs electricity first, and then it can carry out its function of converting that electricity to heat energy, and performing work such as boiling water. The electricity is also used to light up a display, which has a clock and cooking times.
In this case, there are two types of output, with different functions. The engineers that coded the circuit board and chips in the microwave designed them in such a way as to convert incoming electricity to other types of energy.
In the same way, perhaps our DNA (our microchip) is coded to convert incoming energy—chemical energy—into other types of energy to perform various tasks. Sometimes our DNA may take chemical energy and convert it to kinetic, sound, or wind energy, which allows the body to perform work such as moving, talking, or breathing. Other times the DNA may instruct the body to convert chemical energy to Soul Energy, which allows the Mind to perform work such as thinking and feeling. Just as there are several types of energy involved in appliances we Humans have designed, perhaps there are several types of energy involved in Humans themselves. We know about a few of them, but that doesn't mean others don't exist.
What if we were to rewrite the equation for the Human Body as follows:
As mentioned, The People Who Do Not Agree would dispute this because we haven't proven it yet. I am not saying that Soul Energy exists either, all I am saying is how do we know that it doesn't? Unlike The People Who Do Not Agree, I am open to the idea. That is why I am an agnostic, not an atheist. Because how do we know what we don't know? You know?
Let's step back and think about the microchip for the Human Body—DNA. Who designed it? Did Humans design it? No, we did not. Did we design other living beings, such as Animals and Plants? No, we did not. We can reproduce Humans by having babies, because we have the mechanics given to us by the body itself. Or we can clone Animals and Plants using DNA and other genetic material that already exist, which we can harvest. And of course, we are the inventors of vacuums and microwaves and televisions and other such systems that use energy sources known to us.
But we did not design living beings from scratch. DNA appears to contain the blueprint that controls how a living being, even a cloned one, is created. Thus far, we have not successfully synthesized artificial DNA that has resulted in living creatures of the complexity and depth of the Humans, Animals, and Plants already in existence. DNA came to us, already created, from someone or somewhere. Perhaps the blueprint embedded in our DNA was designed to use different types of energy, and it has the secret for which parts of our system do what types of work, using these different types of energy. Until we can completely replicate DNA and understand it, how do we really know what is coded in it?
Since we have had no hand in creating Humans or other living beings, how do we know, for sure, 100 percent, without a doubt, that there is no other type of energy powering the Human Body? If microwaves and vacuums can convert incoming energy into other types, isn't it possible that we take our incoming chemical energy and convert it to various types as well? Or that we might have two types of incoming energy, one derived from food, water, and oxygen, and one infused within us at the moment of conception in the womb?
How do we know that there isn't some type of Soul Energy which is responsible for functions such as thinking or feeling or other intangible processes in the body?
Why are we associating the Soul, or Soul Energy, with thinking and feeling, rather than breathing or walking? Because there are some unexplained phenomena that seem to stem from something other than people's biological processes and chemical makeup, that hint most strongly at some type of undiscovered Soul Energy.
Take the example of child prodigies. If we look at the chemical processes within their bodies and compare them to that of regular children, it is hard to find differences. At times, science has been able to pinpoint a difference in genes, or sizes in brains, or the number of neuron connections to explain the superior talent of one child vs. another. But none of these theories provide a consistent explanation. In other words, science is not able to perform an MRI or X-ray or DNA test and correctly identify which children are considered prodigies and which are not, simply based on chemistry and biology.
How can one child—like a young Mozart— use only chemical and kinetic energy to write and perform music, while another child can barely tie his own shoes? Wouldn't we see an immediate difference in the biology of such a standout prodigy?
Child prodigies have unusual, unexplainable talents in music, art, math, science, writing, and other fields which do not seem to have been acquired the traditional way. Some child prodigies have publicly debuted their skills at ages as young as two. Perhaps mathematical prodigies can be explained away as having a superior or unusual configuration of cells and neurons in their brains, enabling them to better perform complex mechanical calculations. But how does one explain the mystifying abilities of Mozart, who was already skilled on the violin and keyboard, and was composing and performing before royalty at the age of five? There are some talents such as music and art and poetry which can only be marginally attributed to mechanics and brain configurations. Some of these skills also build on life experiences which child prodigies have not had at that young age.
The People Who Do Not Agree would attempt to explain artistic child prodigies as having been exposed to these areas at an early stage by family members. Many point to the fact that Mozart's father was a composer himself, and simply began teaching his young son all that he knew as soon as he could. They would attribute the gifts of child prodigies to their environment.
They would also attribute the evidence of different personalities in babies to the same explanations—influences in the mother's womb and a unique, random configuration of inorganic substances that comprise their DNA and brains. This same explanation would be further extended to different interests and aptitudes of adults, such as a talent for languages or painting.
I, on the other hand, think that personality and aptitude differences may also be due to the existence of a Soul, which has carried with it the knowledge or imprint from a previous birth to the current one. And I believe in the possibility of there being various degrees or forms of Soul Energy which might be powering our Minds, with some of us operating on a different wave or frequency level.
Demon possession and exorcism might be another hint at the existence of Soul Energy, and its influence on how we think or feel. In fact, it's a hint at the existence of evil Soul Energy, one that joins or replaces another Soul Energy in a living Human Body. From what I understand of demon possession, the dilemma is that the original Soul Energy may be trapped with the new, evil Energy in one body. And like two siblings fighting for space in the back seat, they scream and shout and shove until the Exorcist parent tells them to STOP FIGHTING, RIGHT NOW, DON'T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE! Whatever the explanation, it seems a force (evil Soul Energy) is making the physical system (Human Body) do work (hiss at people, rotate head 360 degrees). That force is energy— Soul Energy.
The People Who Do Not Agree might say that demon possession is simply the vivid imagination of an insane person. Or the imagination of a horror fiction writer, like Steven King, who comes up with the strangest of scenarios which make you wonder what goes on in his head. Insane people and insane fiction writers are also aided by hysterical, gullible people who see a bird in the sky or lint floating in the air and then swear that they saw UFOs and ghosts. All preposterous stories due to Human error and imagination. Those sillies!
But what about the testimony of doctors? Doctors are some of the most science-based people in the world. Yet quite a few have affirmed their belief in the possibility of Soul Energy or some kind of force present in the body besides matter and chemical energy. There is a book called The Scalpel and The Soul, by Dr. Allan Hamilton, based on his thirty years of practice as a Harvard-educated brain surgeon. It is a fascinating read on his observations of supernatural phenomena within the operating room. In it, he relates many stories of near-death and out-of-body experiences and other occurrences which he can't explain within the realms of medicine and science. There has been wider acceptance in the medical world of such possibilities, with documented testimony by patients who can recite word- for-word, what a surgeon was saying during an operation, despite the anesthesia machines showing them to be unconscious, or the monitor having flatlined for some time. A dead or unconscious brain should not be registering the dialogue of others. Certain chemical energy processes have been suppressed or are no longer in evidence. Yet how is it that the ability to hear and see can still be there? Perhaps there is more than just chemical energy flowing through our bodies.
The People Who Do Not Agree would not agree. They would not attribute out-of-body and near-death experiences to a mysterious “Soul Energy”. The might say that even if a brain or heart flatlines on a monitor, it does not mean the person is dead and can no longer think, feel, or hear. Perhaps our bodies would still be functioning in a way that simply cannot be detected by our current technology. Perhaps these types of experiences are not evidence of a Soul Energy, but rather evidence that our brains and hearts can be complex and operate on levels that might not be trackable by our current methods of science. We THINK that we are unconscious due to anesthetics. We THINK that we have died due to brain or heart failure. But our machines may not be designed to capture another level of activity that is still going on and attributable to our chemical energy. That is what The People Who Do Not Agree might say to explain the existence of these supposed phenomena.
I can understand the argument on both sides. A part of me—the skeptic side of me— could toss the frilly parasol, tack on a mustache, and agree with The People Who Do Not Agree. I think they have valid counterpoints, and I don't discount them completely. However, I mostly lean the other way. I suspect that what we are seeing here is a case for Soul Energy that is getting stronger over time due to a growing amount of circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is defined as indirect evidence which individually may not prove a fact. But collectively, when there are enough clues pointing in one direction, the odds increase to where the indirect evidence supports a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt. Court sentences can be decided by an overwhelming number of corroborating stories, clues, and witnesses even without irrefutable proof of a crime. However, many times it is hard to convict someone on this type of evidence, despite there being bucketloads of it. OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony were not convicted despite an overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence. These are good examples of cases where people could be on both sides of the fence, with each feeling they have valid arguments for their stand.
In the same way, we might not have the smoking gun showing irrefutable proof of Soul Energy, but we sure have a heck of a lot of circumstantial evidence that has been adding up over the centuries, around the world, by crazies and fiction writers and gullible people and doctors and scientists and skeptics alike. Even if many of those stories and people are fake, they can't ALL be wrong, can they?
Before we add up all the evidence and pronounce a verdict, let's see if Soul Energy meets the second criterion for proving the existence of energy. The first criterion was that energy must be shown to do work within a physical system, i.e. Soul Energy causes a person to be a genius at age two, rotate its head 360 degrees if it is evil, or continue to keep the body thinking and sensing even when machines show the body to be comatose or dead. Soul Energy is likely responsible for the cognitive and emotional functions in our body.
For the second criterion to be met, we need to show that Soul Energy can be converted to and from another type of energy. Perhaps it converts from Soul Energy in one person to Soul Energy in another, or to and from other types of energy such as chemical, kinetic, wind, or heat.
Let's start with the conversion of Soul Energy while we are alive and kicking. How might we see indirect evidence of Soul Energy becoming another type of energy? Perhaps Soul Energy was responsible for the psychokinetic talents of someone like Uri Gellar. Psychokinesis refers to the ability to move or distort an object with one's Mind. Uri Gellar was famous for supposedly bending spoons while he was many feet, or miles away. Part of his Soul Energy may have converted to kinetic energy and bent the spoons, even though his body was nowhere near the object in question.
Perhaps there really is such a thing as levitation, even though most of us scoff at the idea and attribute it to hocus-pocus performed by magicians. But if there are stories from people who claim to have witnessed true levitation, perhaps the rare individual does have the ability to convert Soul Energy to kinetic energy and lift a body into the air.
Perhaps Soul Energy can convert to brainwaves—similar to radio-waves—that travel through the air from one person to the other. Brainwaves are thought to be a possible explanation for ESP.
Soul Energy conversions may also be responsible for other pheno-mena such as curses, miracles, and absent healing (hallelujah!), which all involve the Mind, or possibly Soul Energy, doing things outside of the body to other people or objects. Perhaps chemical energy is confined wholly to internal processes, while Soul Energy can be credited for internal and external occurrences.
These phenomena all relate to Soul Energy conversion when we are alive. There is even more circumstantial evidence that Soul Energy converts to another type of energy after we die.
Our body's chemical energy is known to be released into the air when we die and our bodies decompose. Once our chemical energy mixes into the atmosphere, it will eventually convert to wind energy, kinetic energy, heat energy, or whatever else air converts to.
In the case of Soul Energy, it may not simply melt into the atmosphere upon our death. Instead, it may convert to other types of Soul Energy, like "Ghost Soul Energy". Perhaps Soul Energy is the explanation for phenomena such as poltergeists, haunted houses, séances, ouija boards, déjà vu, memories of past lives, and other situations which involve the presence of some type of Soul Energy outside the Human Body.
These paranormal concepts have not been proven scientifically, yet they do not seem to be entirely delusional. The idea of haunted houses and ghosts freaks me out because there are way too many stories surrounding them. It seems plausible that there are forces or Souls that are interacting with our world, yet not of our world. At times they seem to have Human characteristics, like the ability to whisper words or appear as apparitions in Human form. Perhaps Human Soul Energy can turn into Ghost Soul Energy after death, and then be converted to sound energy (words) and light energy (apparitions) in order for ghosts to connect with living beings. It is no surprise that we use EMF devices to detect the presence of ghosts. EMF devices are also used to detect energy emissions from microwaves and high tension wires. If there is such a thing as ghosts, it appears they are made of some type of energy, most likely Soul Energy.
Poltergeists, a specific type of ghost, cause inanimate objects like pens and chairs to move on their “own”. While a Uri Gellar might bend spoons while he is alive, poltergeists may bend spoons after death.
Séances involve contact from the dead, as do ouija boards, more circumstantial evidence that there may be Soul Energy around us once the body passes on.
Déjà vu involves a brief flash of familiarity and recognition, which may involve memories from a previous incarnation. Perhaps this is evidence of Soul Energy carrying an imprint of its experiences and converting from one body's Soul Energy to another.
There have been stories of people who remember their past lives entirely, and have supposedly proven it by reciting incidents or pointing out landmarks that they knew from their prior life. Shirley MacLaine was the poster child for this phenomenon for many years, though many (including myself) dismissed her as being a new-age kook. She made far-fetched claims, such as being the lover of the Emperor Charlemagne many centuries ago. She had also claimed that extraterrestrials had landed on the front porch of her beach home in Malibu. She still seems like a crazy person to me, but others who have been more sober and sincere about their experiences have also insisted that there is something to the concept of past lives and of Soul Energy being transferred from one body to another.
In most of these paranormal cases, a type of energy seems to be involved. However The People Who Do Not Agree would come up with other explanations for all this post-death foolishness. They might attribute flying objects to a gust of wind rather than to Poltergeist Soul Energy. Or they might dismiss these stories altogether because they haven't been captured, measured, documented, repeated, and proven under laboratory conditions. In fact, James Randi, considered a leader in the skeptic community, has offered a one million dollar prize to anyone who can prove a paranormal claim scientifically. To this day, nobody has won the money. James Randi is a magician himself and has been debunking supernatural claims for most of his life by exposing the frauds that make up the paranormal and psychic communities. He has even made multiple appearances on shows with David Letterman and Jay Leno and challenged famous psychics on television.
Part of me does feel that people like James Randi have presented compelling reasons to conclude that these stories are all untrue, and that the people who tell them are simply fraudsters looking for fame and wealth. On the other hand, maybe the explanation for the fact that no one has claimed his prize is that supernatural experiences and connections with the spiritual world cannot always be summoned at will. Perhaps psychics do have some ability to connect with Soul Energy. But they go one step forward and claim to be able to do it at will, in order to make a living from it. This is the part that might be fake. Maybe Uri Gellar, who many thought to be a fraud, actually could bend spoons at times. But then he got greedy and tried to make a living off of it and do it consistently, and this is where he had to fake things and eventually got caught. Or maybe Uri Gellar and Shirley MacLaine are completely lying, but there are other, less attention-seeking people in the world, who actually do have these types of gifts and are simply uninterested in having to prove it to anyone. Perhaps it is their very real abilities that has given others the idea to capitalize on all the mystery and unfortunately invite doubts on the entire subject altogether.
Just as a dog can hear high-pitched sounds that we can't, perhaps there are a few genuine people who can connect with energies that exist at higher, unknown frequencies. Maybe some psychics are not so crazy and I should stop rolling my eyes every time one of them hands me a card. They may have antennas attuned to energy types that we don't.
In the end, I think it comes down to whether you believe there is enough circumstantial evidence to prove the existence of Soul Energy or not. Individually, each piece of evidence does not seem to stand on its own and can have counterpoints given against it. And not all of the paranormal stories or concepts may be true. I have no idea which ones are or aren't, but tales of zombies, vampires, alchemy, and the occult seem more farfetched than the idea of Ghost Energy.
But collectively, with so many stories told by so many people over so many centuries— even with some of them possibly being fake— there is a broad spectrum of evidence that points in the same direction. Circumstantial evidence seems to show that Soul Energy exists.
Like the recent discovery of nuclear energy in the 1930s, or solar energy in the 1830s, we may one day “discover” what has been in front of our noses all along. We may finally crack the entire code on our microchip—our DNA—and discover the secret to Soul Energy. Or maybe we never will, because it's not meant for us Humans to discover.
Until then, while I have my doubts, I lean more towards the possibility that Soul Energy exists. So, let's say, after all that back and forth, we take a leap of faith and go with the assumption that it does. Now what? What is the purpose of Soul Energy and what do we do with it? Good question! One that I will try to answer in the next chapter.
Why are we here?Creationists vs. Evolutionists
If we take a leap of faith, and are open to the existence of Soul Energy, does that imply that we are not on this planet as random freaks of nature? Can we conclude that we are planned freaks, by some intelligent architect who designed us?
If so, then who is that designer? Where is he or she or it? Why did they put us here on this Earth? What is our ultimate purpose?
Well . . . hmmm . . . . . hem . . . . . . haw . . . . . .
This is the classic debate between those who we call Creationists and Evolutionists. Creationists insist that there is a purpose. That our Soul Energy, our lives, and this Universe did not come about by some coincidental Big Bang. Creationists feel that we were created by someone. Evolutionists madly disagree. They can get impatient with faith and its followers. They promise to come up with an alternate, verifiable explanation as to how we got here. I know this because I saw them both debate the topic on TV the other day.
Moderator: Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our show. We have an exciting time planned for you tonight! On my right, we have our most famous and profound artist, Creationism. And here on my left is Evolutionism, distinguished and handsome as always!
Creationism and Evolutionism: Thank you Moderator. It's nice to be here.
Moderator: Well it's nice to have you here. I'd like to start the debate with a question we all seem to have had for . . . oh . . . a few centuries now . . . . Where do you think we come from? If there is such a thing as Soul Energy, what is its source or purpose?
Creationism (excitedly): Well, Mr. Moderator, I think the Source of Soul Energy is not on this Earth. It comes from somewhere, up there, and all you have to have is faith that it exists. And our purpose is to reach that somewhere. Up there. We have these wonderful books for you to read if you'd like to know more about it! They teach you how to pray to it, and how to make sure you become buddies with it, so that once you leave here, you get invited to its house. I heard it knows how to throw CRAZY parties, with bright lights and singing and harps and wings and thrones and white gates and everything. There is already a huge guest list, although I think there is also a waiting line at the white gates, and some bouncer named Peter. But once you're in, you get to hang with these very pretty, very nice girls—seventy-two of them I've heard—and eat lots of grapes and dates and meet Peace and Love and oh . . . it's so glorious! Just trust me!
Evolutionism (irritated): I disagree. The Source of Soul Energy or any type of energy is NOT just “up there”. And what's all this smickity-smackety about disco lights and such?! Do you have a picture of it? Can you prove it? We think . . . we're not completely sure yet . . . that the Source of all energy is here, on this Earth, and in the Milky Way galaxy, or possibly in the cocoa beyond. That remains to be seen. But you don't have to accept it through faith, we're going to prove it to you. We're very close to conquering that Source and planting our flag on it and capturing it so that we can build some nice, useful something with it. Did you hear about our last big victory, with the Atom Bomb? We finally managed to grab on to nuclear energy and pin it down and prove it out and stuff it into a Bomb and . . . well . . . Bomb a country that needed to be Bombed. It was . . . awesome! The bomb, really!
Moderator (confused): I see. Let me try to recap this for our audience. Creationism, are you saying that you don't exactly, completely, and most assuredly know where the Source of Soul Energy is and its purpose in putting us here?
Creationism: slowly nods
Moderator: And Evolutionism, are you saying that you think you'll have an exact, complete, assured, indisputable, provable, measurable, capturable, manipulatable, monetizable, photographicable, Nobel Prize winnable answer to where we come from and why? But you don't have it now?
Evolutionism: reluctantly nods
Moderator: Neither of you has an answer?
Moderator (still confused): I see. Well thank you very much for your time. It's been a pleasure having you.
After the show, Creationism and Evolutionism were hanging out at a small cocktail party the nice TV station had organized for its honored guests. As usual, they were at opposite sides of the room, trying to pretend that the other didn't exist.
The Moderator, now that he was off the air, was in a mood to try and have them be friends. So he pulled reluctant Evolutionism to Creationism's corner of the room and said:
“You both should be friends.
Do you not understand?
You are one and the same.
Like twins with two names.
Where one Science Song ends—
the Devotion Dance begins.
The same birth, of the earth,
sketched in two different ways.
One dances a while longer,
to the end of the play.
And one will only sing lyrics
that it knows of today.”
The two looked at each other,
both feeling VERY confused.
What the ?@#&! was the Moderator trying to say?
Creationism, being the sensitive one, decided to take the first step at reconciliation—“Look, I know I seem a little . . . well . . . zippity-zappity to you at times. It's just that I'm uncomfortable not knowing things that your science hasn't explained. Who created your science anyway? Isn't there a Force or a Source behind that science? That's all we're trying to do, give that Source a name. Or at least appreciate that Source by offering it milk and gold and squatting on one leg and chanting 3.5 times a week.
If you do get to a point one day where you can prove everything in the Universe, maybe we'll stop with our zip-zap. Until then, we need some explanation for what we don't know. I've always admired your work, Evolutionism. You've done a great job of progressing this far. It's helped us greatly during our time on Earth. Why can't we both agree that there is some unknown, and that unknown is cradling our world and our science in its hands. You continue to explain what's in the hands, and we'll continue to explain whose hands are the hands. We cool?”
Evolutionism started to feel better. He appreciated the fact that Creationism valued his science. He agreed that the science might have a Source. And the Source might have a Source. And that Source might have a Source. And on and on through many Milky cocoa Ways. In the end, Evolutionism had a respected place on Earth, where its Science Song could soothe a lot of people, healing them, heating them, feeding them, bombing them. And what science can't explain, religion tries to try. As long as both ways inspire people to be good, kind, and selfless, they could both be friends.
They were starting to smile at each other, and reached for a hug. But Creationism tripped on his shoelace and bent down to tie it. Evolutionism bent down to help him, and noticed with a shock and a gasp—“GASP! SHOCK! We have the same color shoelace! Even when living continents apart!?! We really ARE twins!”
And they both hugged and kissed and cried and then continued to sip their cocktails.
There are two major schools of thought that we can fall under—Creationism and Evolutionism. Creationism talks about there being an intelligent design behind the Universe. It implies a Soul or a facet of ourselves that may exist after our Human Bodies die. It implies the ability to use one's endeavors in this lifetime to reach a better (or sometimes worse) place—Heaven or Hell.
Evolutionists are part of the group of The People Who Do Not Agree. They say that the Universe, our life, and this world are all random occurrences. Possibly starting with the Big Bang, some strings, and a Hags Bosom. There is no intelligent architect. Our efforts don't have any consequences beyond this lifetime. Their motto is go steal from your neighbor if you can get away with it, it doesn't matter in the long run!
Just kidding. They don't actually say that. Evolutionists can be as moral, if not more so, than the Creationists. Especially since they are not wedded to a particular faith and may be more open-minded than those who are. But their philosophy implies that this life may be it, and one should enjoy it as much as possible.
Their thought is that once we die, we simply decompose and become part of the Earth and its atmosphere. Even if there is another type of energy within us, whether it's called Soul Energy or Vitalism or our Life Force, it will dissipate into the air once we die, just like any chemical energy which is also released from our bodies. Just like the heat that dissipates into the air from a rapidly cooling cup of tea. We would have no influence or say in where any of our energy would go next, it would be random and part of nature's normal processes. Just like the teacup couldn't be a good teacup and say its prayers in order to be accepted to Chinaware Heaven. Or a Nuclear Bomb wouldn't go to Bombs-hell once it releases its poisonous gasses.
Evolutionists would not agree that we can influence our Souls to go to an alternate place like Heaven or Hell. They would not agree that we can pray, or meditate, or fast, or baptize ourselves, or confess our sins, or click together our ruby slippers and influence our Souls to go to where we want them to go. There is no bad Air or good Air destination to which we should aspire, like the stinky air near a pack of skunks or the fragrant air wafting above a flowery garden.
Creationists shake their heads sadly at Evolutionists, who are obviously not going to be invited to the happening party in the sky. But though they believe in God, we know that the Creationists are not a peaceful people. They tend to have a lot of wars amongst themselves in terms of how to describe the source and destination of the Soul. Some call it Jesus. Some call it Allah. Some call it Yahweh. Some call it Brahma.
Allah! Vishnu! Jesus! Buddha!
Elohim! Zeus! Jehova! Erg!
Kapow! Bang! Boom! Zap!
Whammm! Thunk! Cr-a-a-ack! Splat!
Ugh! Oof! Erg! Oww!
Sock! Smack! Whack! Dishum-dishum!
So . . . we see that the Creationist tribes are not very nice to each other at times. Even though they disagree with the Evolutionists, they can't seem to agree on much amongst themselves either. These disagreements have been the source for much of the world's atrocities. Wars. Terrorist attacks. Witch hunts. Stake burnings. Excommunications and ostracism. Forbidden marriages.
But Creationists all have one thing in common—they try to explain the unknown. That which science can't explain. That's what we are trying to do as well, isn't it? By exploring Spirituality and what it means to us? The big question we all have is—what is the meaning of life? Why are we here? What is our purpose?
Ummm . . . you might want to sit down for this . . . I have some unfortunate news I am afraid. Just as the Creationists and Evolutionists don't seem to have a solid answer to that, I don't either. Despite everything I write in this book.
My brain tries to process the neverending formula of cocoa ways within cocoa ways within black holes within galaxies within milky black cocoa galaxy ways and . . . . . .
— Your session has timed out.Please retry again later. —
I'm sorry to disappoint you. Especially after that tiring trip we just took involving shoelaces, twins, and cocktails.
I wanted to let you know this early on, in case you are standing in the bookstore reading this book, and can still put it back and leave without having to buy it.
I don't have any idea of what, where, or who the Source of all Sources is. Or as to why we were put on this planet. I don't have the answer to the question we posed at the beginning of this chapter—why does Soul Energy exist? I do think there is a test we are being given, and our purpose is to pass that test and reach a better place. But as to why we have that test in the first place, why there is even a need for all the suffering we experience and why we couldn't already just BE where we are supposed to be . . . that I don't know. Why did God give Adam and Eve the choice of eating apples from a tree? Why didn't he just not give them free will, and then they wouldn't have fallen? Why do we need free will if we are already in Heaven or with God? Why did he kick us out of the nest? Why was Soul Energy even created in the first place?
I don't know. I don't have the answers to that in this book. But once we accept the fact that we are here, for whatever reason, I do have a few thoughts as to how we might get to a better place, both in this life and after we pass on. I do fall into the Creationism camp, because while I have my doubts, I lean more towards the idea that there is a reason we are here, and that we can influence our Soul Energy as to where it goes next. Where are those places and what do they look like? I explain my thoughts on that in the next chapter.