Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Let the Deceased Decide

Check out my article TLC's Paranormal Court is in Session on Technorati about the newest paranormal show featuring medium Robert Hansen, from Long Island.

Here is a preview from YouTube.

A number of years ago I had gone to a Borders book store where Hansen appeared in front of a group of believers hoping to get a message from beyond. A good friend of mine did get messages from her brother -- or at least answers that fit the personality of her brother. I thought some of those answers could have been from the person I was hoping to hear from -- my grandmother--but I didn't claim them and my friend did.

I subsequently went to see Hansen give audience readings (a la John Edward's gallery), which he did at the time in his karate school in Wantagh, Long Island. I did not get a reading that night, though I paid to be there. I noticed a few years ago that Hansen was doing regular Saturday night audience readings for a reasonable price on Long Island, and never had the chance to go. It just bothered me to keep paying to go, and not to get a reading.

At least the Spiritualist church in NYC where I went to a seance gave everyone a reading who paid to participate -- don't know if that is a good or a bad thing -- makes you wonder if they are really getting a message or just making sure you get your money's worth so that you'll keep coming back.

Unfortunately, I was out of town the night this aired and I was unable to DVR it. I asked a friend to tape it, which he did, and he accidentally taped over it. So I guess I wasn't meant to see the show. However, I understand that he gave readings similar to the way Lisa Williams did on her show "Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead" but that Hansen has a specific mission of solving disputes, and that when he gave the answer, everyone agreed to abide by the "ruling."

For a couple of reasons I hope Hansen's show succeeds -- one reason is the selfish fact that I am writing about paranormal television for my dissertation and the other medium shows have been cancelled, for the most part, except for Psychic Kids. The other reason is that I think Hansen is a good medium and a really nice person. I just don't know if the whole premise of the show will fly or at least be sustainable for the long haul. I think just doing a basic show about a medium's work is better than a medium with a gimmick, but this show is airing when the others are not (Cross Country with John Edward, and Lisa Williams: Life Among the Dead).

Good luck, Robert. Hope to see more of your show, and more of your peers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wayne Dyer's "The Shift" -- Nothing is Everything

Humans at every level of society, from renowned philosophers to ordinary individuals, have sought meaning in life and in death. What does it all mean? What is the meaning of my life? Is there a purpose, and if so, am I fulfilling it? How can I know?

We live in a time when meaning is primarily associated with what we do, who we are, or what we have accomplished, yet all too often a sense of meaning eludes us despite our best efforts. Is a job or career really the basis of a meaningful life? Is the kind of car we drive or the brand of clothes we wear going to ultimately make us or break us?

Wayne Dyer’s new book, The Shift (Hay House, 2010), and its related DVD, explore the concept of meaning as it relates to our place in the world as well as the universe. The thread Dyer follows throughout the book relates a sense of nothingness to where we come from – “It appears that nothing exists at the moment of the transition to something….we originated from something that has no form, no boundaries, no beginning, and no substance” – to where we belong—“[T]he most efficient way to know and experience where we came from is to make every effort to reconnect to nothing by creating the experience of no attachments, no things, and no thoughts…”—and where we are going--“That which is formless cannot be destroyed,” he writes. “[O]ur essence is eternal, and it is only the physical body that appears to come and go in a cycle of birth and death.”

As a writer and speaker who touches frequently on Taoist philosophy, Dyer often quotes Lao-tzu and the Tao Te Ching, and the philosophy that “by doing nothing, everything is done.” While we undergo an earthly experience, he says, we struggle while attempting to let ambition and achievement dominate our day-to-day lives. Letting go of everything and all our attachments rather than pursuing a sense of entitlement through ambition, brings us back to where we came from, and thus provides us with a sense of meaning and connection with the source from whence we came. Instead of continuing to strive without arriving, it is only when we let go, that we finally do arrive.

The “shift” refers to what Dyer calls a “quantum moment” in which an individual experiences a fall of some kind. It is a quantum moment in that its extraordinariness produces an epiphany and a sudden transformation. Again quoting from the Tao, he writes, “Hidden in all misfortune is good fortune.” Once we decide to make the shift, we go through a series of U-turn processes that change our focus from the external to the internal, from the world to the Spirit.

Dyer has focused on the spiritual perspective before in his books – providing us with spiritual solutions, insights into the power of intention, perspectives from the masters of philosophy. What this book offers for us today in a time when unemployment is at a peak, our sense of security is fragile, when earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and other natural disasters plague us in ways we have not seen before in recent times, is the guidance to make the shift to find our way to the inner sense of security that we arrived with. The second part of the title of The Shift is Taking Your Life from Ambition to Meaning. When you’ve been thrown overboard, going from a six-figure job to serving beverages in a coffee bar, or driving a Lexus to taking the bus, does that loss of status mean a loss of self? Dyer provides the life preserver that allows us to find our way back to the shore.

It is, in a sense, the opposite of The Secret, which focuses on manifesting worldly wealth by creating our own reality. Rather the "shift" is eschewing a reality of worldly wealth and finding contentment in a world of carefree acceptance of what is. Letting go of ambition, to go from the role of a human doing to becoming, once again, a human being. Is it possible? How often do we hear of people getting to their deathbed only to realize they missed what they come to believe is the point of life. They “gained the world and lost their soul.” The Shift implores readers to re-examine things sooner rather than later, and to find that meaning now instead of wasting a lifetime looking for peace in all the wrong places.

Note: The blogger for this post received this book for free from Hay House in order to write this review