Category: General

The truth about mediums, the afterlife and everything

By , February 20, 2013 4:54 pm



The first piece of armour of God we have to put on is the belt of truth. If we can find out anything about matters beyond the physical, it’s important to do it as honestly and earnestly as we can.


To have faith and to step out in that faith and see how it holds up seems a good start. For me it’s been a faith in Jesus Christ. Contrary to many Christians though, I think it’s important not to bolster one’s faith in dishonest ways. Don’t turn a blind eye to things that don’t appear to make sense. Confront it, ask the questions, seek the answers.


One big question is: What can we depend on God for? Some would say, ‘Everything. He’ll answer any prayer, move any mountain, heal any disease, protect from all bad things.’ I haven’t found that to be true. I can only say for sure that God can bring about amazing transformations in minds, attitudes and consequent actions. He works in the human heart and evidence of that can be seen consistently.  As for the rest, it’s a bit random.


There’s a great deal of focus on spiritual mediums these days. I’ve seen one or two things that give pause for thought and I can’t ignore that. It’s important to see how it fits in. Much is made of the idea of cold reading where a medium has a guess at an appropriate ‘message from beyond’. But there are a few mediums/psychics who seem too accurate for that to be the case – especially Gordon Smith and Lisa Williams. The only doubt I have is how much of it is to do with reading a subject’s thoughts rather than being in contact with another person from beyond the grave; though mind reading is pretty amazing in itself.


It puzzles me that Lisa Williams thinks John Edward is so good. Often he appears to be cold reading in a really obvious way. He has a woman apologizing for not thinking of her ex mother-in-law when he has said that there is a mother figure in the spirit (to 3 women of a similar age – old enough to expect that one of them might have lost her mother). When they all shake their heads (all the mothers are still alive) he remains insistent but extends the scope to aunties, people who were like mothers to them, mothers-in-law, finally ex mothers-in-law. That’s when one of them says ‘Oh, I have an ex mother-in-law who died about seven years ago.’ She’s the one! he declares, as if nothing could be more obvious. ‘Sorry’ she says being one of around 30 believers gathered to hear his words and help him out with suggestions when he appears to be getting nowhere.


Another example: ‘Do you have a child in school?’ he asks of a couple who look about the right age. They shake their heads (an awful lot of head shaking goes on in his readings). Nearly in school? More head shaking. ‘You have a child right?’ They nod, but then he already knew that. How old is he? Two. How will he get out of that? By suggesting that he’s a very bright toddler who could do with some schooling to keep him stimulated.


So – you can see cold reading. Other times you really can’t. You can hear accounts of near death experiences. These have very little in common except the sense of moving outside the body. Some seem like dreams while others have convincing snippets of information that don’t appear to be naturally available to the subject.


What IS the truth? It’s something to continue to examine. The answers to all but the faith question might need face-to-face meetings because people lie, or exaggerate or imagine things. TV programmes present the bits that tell whatever story they choose. But it’s worth a good look.





Hold On – the battle between the higher and lower self

By , January 26, 2013 5:17 pm

Getting control of an appetite is very hard. One problem is simply that it’s Hold On boring and only an attractive option when viewed from a distance (usually tomorrow).

“I’ll start tomorrow” is repeated day after day with some conviction and hope (how else could one keep doing it?). One shies away from the decision to start NOW. It’s too painful and pointless-seeming. But one needs to accept that pain, even welcome it.

James Frey’s novel ‘A Million Tiny Pieces’ tells a story that gave me a push towards the pain of getting oneself under control. It looks like hyperbole calling denying oneself cream cakes or cream sherry ‘pain’, but it can be REALLY HARD.

James Frey is writing about more than food and drink. He’s talking about every drug he can lay his hands on, but the extremes of his story translate so well to the ordinary disciplines ordinary people want to impose on themselves. In fact their very ordinariness makes them harder to maintain – after all, no one will die because I’m a bit overweight, so why shouldn’t I choose to be miserable because I have no self-control, rather than be miserable because I’m not eating and drinking everything I want when I want it? (because I am exercising self-control).

James Frey got in trouble on Oprah Winfrey’s show when he first had his huge publishing success with ‘A Million Tiny Pieces’. It purported (and I see still does) to be a personal memoir – but it isn’t. Some probing questions from Oprah left him having to own up to the lie he had allowed in order to get his book published.

He is rejecting (largely) the AA twelve steps program (implicitly, through the story). Though I see the benefits of the AA approach in relation to most addictions, you can’t help but be bucked up by his ‘I can do it. I will grit my teeth, take the pain and DO IT!’ attitude.

There is an incident in the story when he is about to give up and he’s told to ‘hold on’. This is repeated once or twice – and, in truth, there really is no choice but to hold on through those difficult moments of temptation when you’ve lost what the point of it is, any feeling of nobility or dignity in discipline, or any idea that there is ANYTHING that could be more worthwhile than eating that food, drinking that drink.

Holding on is so dull. It hurts. But … if you view that rogue impulse as a kind of enemy (or little devil if you’re me and a Christian) there’s some sense that there is a battle going on, and welcoming that teeth-gritting, agonizing holding on thing is a bit exciting and very satisfying afterwards. I’d say it’s good additionally to call upon some strength from outside yourself (God if you’re me), but that’s in addition to, not instead of, your own resources. I found that idea inspiring and energizing. Give it a go!