Monday

Thinking Outside the Box

"It's all about the box."

A bunch of boxes at Pere LaChaise cemetery in Paris


Some years ago, when directing my first feature film "You Can't Hurry Love," I was basing the film on my short film "Video Valentino."  And in that story, I had the character working on the beach at a skate shop not far from my apartment in the Sea Castle. I even kept the sign "Skate City" after the place was demolished - too bad it was filled with termites.



But "Skate City" had an unusual cat working there.  He lived in a box next to the shop.  I mean it was a long crate, made out of wood, the kind of crate one might ship bicycles in - about four feet high and ten feet long.  He had furnished it with books, a mattress, even had a TV in there with him.  I remember Tony showing me his box, and he said "Everyone lives in a box."  

He was slightly off kilter - and when I turned the short film "Video Valentino" into the feature length "You Can't Hurry Love" I included a Tony character in the story, played by household name and soap star Anthony Geary.  He played the role of the Greek chorus, who was advising young Eddie on how to live his life - and how to keep it "100%" while everyone else was lying.

The premise of the film - Eddie comes out from Ohio and is told by his cousin "In LA everyone makes up who they are, they pretend to be someone, and then that's their reality."  So he goes into a video dating service and lies about who he is to go on dates with women - but of course "everyone" including the women he dates - are lying about who they are as well.  The moral of the story "You don't have to be someone else in order to be liked."

Charles Grodin is in "You Can't Hurry Love"
Studio said "We'll make it if you can get celebs
to cameo. Charles did it as a favor. Thanks.

Oddly enough, a woman came up to me at a party some years later and said "You directed "You Can't Hurry Love?"  It changed my life."  I looked around to see what smartass had sent her over to talk to me.  I said "I think you're thinking of "You Can't Buy Me Love" - much more successful."  She said "No. I saw your movie six times. I really needed to hear the message that I didn't have to be someone else in order to be liked.  It was an key moment in my life where everyone was trying to get me to be somebody else. Thank you."

I laughed.  It's like I made the movie for this one person to see, and they got it!  No review, no comment, no critic came as close to telling me why I made that film.  And here at a party, I met the one person on the planet who understood it.

But back to Tony.

"Everybody lives in a box, man."

It's true.  We tend to think of our apartments, our houses, our estates, our mansions as "property" or something we "own."  Something we aspire to own. Something that we design, work hard on and inhabit.  It's still a box.  Just a big elaborate box.

A box of ashes of my friend Paul Tracey.

Cars are just moving boxes.  I mean, yes, there are Italian boxes, German boxes, Japanese and Chinese boxes (not too common, but I've been in them.)  Indian boxes too (Tatas rule!)  There are boxes from Detroit, boxes from Tokyo, boxes from "across the border."  But make no mistake - no matter how much money has been spent on the box; it's a box on wheels.

A royal box in the UK

There are two wheeled boxes - but that's another illusion as well.  Cars - if they were built out of glass - would be hilarious to see driving down the street. People sitting down, hands in front of them - eating chips, listening to tunes - driving glass boxes.

Then we have the stories of people in car accidents who at the moment of death suddenly say to the EMT; "I can't die now. I just one a million dollars. I just signed a contract. I have a new life to lead." (as Sam Kinison reportedly did just prior to death - argued with the guides who showed up to take him.)  "It's not my time!"
A big box in Rome

And then what happens?  

They go into a box.

Some call it a coffin. But it's just another box.

We enter the world coming from dark to light - from mom to world - from womb to birth... a metaphoric box perhaps, but eventually we all go back to the box.

Unless you're cremated. Or blown to pieces in a bomb blast.  Maybe not so much of a box, but you get the idea.  It's all temporary. 

We spend so much time trying to get into our giant box, our giant car, our expensive plane, our giant moving boxes - our floating box, put up a wall to protect our box, put concertina wire around the box - and then when we're "outside the box" - we go back home.

No boxes there. No boxes on the Flipside. 

Standing in front of one of the most famous boxes:
the mausoleum of the Taj Mahal

I mean, we can create one with our mind - we can imagine ourselves in some kind of construct where we exist in a home, or a place - even a car I imagine - but it's just a construct as well.  "living in a box."

So the next time someone says "Think outside the box" - imagine they're saying "Don't think about the things that you think you can acquire, own, or put yourself into - the box of the false sense of reality.  Put yourself outside that box, and see the nature of reality for what it really is."

Sad to say, I was on Santa Fe and Los Angeles streets  in downtown LA yesterday.  Rows and rows and rows of homeless people living in tents. Living in cardboard boxes.
A box at Alcatraz

And there are people on the planet living in giant homes. Gigantic fortresses.  Living in homes where they need cellphones just to find or reach their children.  Giant boxes.  They spend all day driving in their box, then going home to their box.  And they can't see the people who don't even have boxes to sleep in. Just tents.

What kind of screwed up planet is this?

Never mind.  

The box that you seek you will find. Even if it's only one to be put six feet under the ground. My two cents.

Outside the box in Muir Woods looking at ... a mysterious box.


Sunday

The Discovery and Unconditional Love

There's a film about the Flipside that has gained some attention lately - starring Robert Redford, Jason Segal and Rooney Mara.  Written and directed by Charlie McDowell, the premise is that Redford is a scientist who has proved that "there is an Afterlife."



The result of that discovery is that people decide they're going to commit suicide - for whatever reason - they aren't happy here, I guess, but there's an epidemic of people choosing to be somewhere else rather than being here.  It's so pervasive that people just can't wait to get off the planet, and depending upon whatever their feeling is at the moment, they're dropping like flies.


Which is pretty funny if you think about it.  (Actually, I laughed often watching the film, seeing the writing of it as a comedy, and the dark music and cinematography betrayed what is - in my mind - a dark comedy).  People who are so unhappy with being on the planet they can't wait to get "somewhere else."

Only in this story, without going into what happens too much (spoiler alert), we discover that things aren't what they appear to be.  That this version of reality - might actually be somewhat manufactured.  Which of course leads us to a myriad of other questions - what other details in the storyline are manufactured? Imagined?  And if all of it is a construct, then why this particular construct?  And why the idea that Jason Segal needs to fix anything? If it's a construct to begin with - what's the point of reliving the construct if you already know where the story will conclude?

Here's the good news - they're making films about the Flipside.  This allows people to examine it, talk about it, be part of that journey.  So that's a good thing.

The bad news - they're still trapped in the idea that being on the Flipside - outside your body - is a bad thing.  I'm not saying it's a good thing - I'm just saying "It is what it is."  If you chose to come here to the planet to live this life (as all the research points to that only conclusion) then there's a pretty good reason why you're here - on this stage, on this playing field, in this game.  In this construct, if you will.

And the reason to be here is to figure that puzzle out. To realize why you're here, and what you're here to learn, to teach, to explore.

Ain't no pizza on the flipside.  Ain't no cappuccinos either.  Oh, to be sure, there's plenty of fun things to do over there, and quantitatively, people report consistently that it's "better" over there - because they're this feeling of Unconditional Love.


Let's chat about that for a moment.


A majority (roughly 70%) of people who've had near death experiences say that at some point in their journey they experienced "unconditional love."  I've been filming people under deep hypnosis for the past decade, and out of the 35 cases I've filmed, a majority of them say something equivalent.

Further, as I've interviewed people (who are fully conscious) about their experience and journey, when I ask them to "examine" those moments - they can actually feel that experience again.  Feel the feeling of unconditional love.

What the heck is it?

It's not something that we commonly speak of. There are no books about "unconditional love" - no TV shows, no movies, no commercials. "Hey drink this beer and you'll feel unconditional love."  In fact I have no idea of the entomology of the concept - "unconditional love."  It's just what people say about the afterlife.

Consistently.


This guy.  Still loving from the Flipside. Makes an appearance in "Hacking the Afterlife"

That while they were there - during an NDE, during a between life hypnotherapy session - they argue that they had this feeling of "unconditional love."

When I ask them about it - they'll say "It's like nirvana. It's blissful. It's all encompassing. It's beyond words to describe."  

We know what unconditional love is here - it's that love between a parent and child (often) or a person and a pet (often.)  It's love without conditions.

As I'm fond of saying "hard to do when someone runs over your foot. Or pointing a gun in your face. Or claiming they're going to build a wall."  We tend to love "conditionally" while on the planet. If you love me, I'll love you.  Or... I love the way you love me, I wish I could love you that much. Or... I love you so much I don't know myself - but when you reject me, I can't stand the thought of you.

Conditional Love.

Then we have this unusual description of "what or who God is" in the book "It's a Wonderful Afterlife."  "God is beyond the capacity of the human brain to comprehend, it's just not physically possible. However, you can experience God by opening your heart to everyone and to all things."

That's a pretty good description of what unconditional love is.

Open your heart to everyone and all things.

Easy to say, hard to do.

But if we can conceive of it - we can understand it. And if we can experience it, then we can know it.  So you want to know what God is?  Just open your heart to everyone and all things.

Go ahead. I'll wait.

But while I'm waiting, back to the film.

Yes, the flipside is a place of unconditional love. No, you shouldn't be in a hurry to get there. Why?

Because you chose to be here. You came for a reason. You may even have come "under a contract" - meaning you agreed to come and experience things and learn things and teach things that are hard for you to experience, learn or teach while you're here - and seem impossible to do - but you promised your loved ones, your spirit guides, your soul group that you would accomplish these things. You promised you would.

If you break your promise - there's no hell waiting for you. No punishment, other than disappointment - from yourself mostly, for setting out to accomplish something and screwing it up.  But no one is going to spank you, put you through the spanking machine (as we used to have in "kick the can") - but you will be disappointed because you screwed up everyone else's play, you screwed up everyone else's game, out of selfish reasons. "I couldn't take it anymore. I know I signed up for this life, but I just couldn't hack it. It was too hard."

Okay. No one is going to punish you. But think of all the work it took to get you to that sentence - think about having to do it all over again. Just to learn the same damn lesson.  Kind of annoying to think about isn't it?

So stick around.

When science proves there is an afterlife (and I've had it proven to me dozens of times, and I write about it in my books, and I can't change anyone else's mind - because everyone has their own path and journey and if it's not in the cards for you to change your mind about life and death this time around - hey, that's allowed, it's okay) I don't think everyone is going to sign up to get off the planet.

 But for those of you who are looking to see into a deeper reality, see beyond the limitations put upon us by society, see what the science really says (and I mean science in terms of consistent results that are replicable under any circumstances) - then it's okay to go down this path with me.



But - now the question is - how do we experience "unconditional love" while we're here on the planet?  What is that?

Well, get a pet is a start.  You can experience it while you stare into your pet's eyes.  Or have a child. Hold that baby in your arms and look into its eyes and ask yourself "why have you come into my life?"  You'll hear an answer - you may dismiss it, but you'll hear it.  Then practice unconditional love when you're out in the world - someone got your order wrong, screwed up your plans - smile at them. Say "It's ok, I understand. No worries" when you're really saying "I love you unconditionally. There's nothing that you can do wrong or that would screw up my appreciation of being on the planet.  I'm here. You're here. We both get to experience this together."

As one famous film director said to me recently - from the flipside, he's been off the planet for awhile now, and he showed up while I was interviewing Jennifer Shaffer - with a message for his widow which I passed along - he said "No one comes over to this side wishing that they had "held back" more during their lifetime."

Think about that for a second.  "No one on the Flipside wishes they held back more."  How cool is that????



That applies to all of us. Don't hold back. You're having a hard time? Don't hold back. You're feeling judgmental? Let it go. Don't hold back. Someone is making it hard to love them unconditionally? Don't hold back.  Let it go.  Let it be.  Let it surround you.  If you can't love unconditionally, then live unconditionally.


My two cents for the day.

POST SCRIPT:

I mention this in my books, I usually mention it - if you're having suicide ideation, you need to seek out some experts in this field.  It turns out that a side effect of SSRI drugs is suicide ideation - and it's also why doctors prescribe SSRI drugs.  I would ask anyone who is depressed to seek professional help - as the brain can trick us into wanting to check out.  

Trick us?

I say that because the monumental study done by Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin shows that "Meditation can cure or alleviate the symptoms of depression."

CURES DEPRESSION.

How does that work? Well, I attended a lecture he gave at UCLA. He showed that the study proves that meditation can "cure or alleviate depression." Because meditation affects the amydala - which is the regulator of serotonin.  Why is this important?

Because people who have amygdalas that aren't working - have misfiring serotonin.  We find misfiring serotonin in people who are having trouble sleeping, people who are depressed, upset, or some other brain function that is awry.  And meditation helps the amygdala - in fact "one session of meditation can change the shape of the amygdala."  This isn't opinion - it's in the study. Scientific fact.

I asked Richard what form of meditation he was using in the study. He said "Tonglen, but a non specific version."  Meaning instead of the typical Tonglen session where a person imagines curing or helping another person using only their mind - they would imagine the planet Earth was in need of being cured instead of one person.

Why is this important? Tonglen is a meditation that allows the meditator to try and "cure" or "help alleviate" pain in someone else. And it turns out - the amazing fact is - that it cures or alleviates depression in the meditator.

Do the meditation, do it every day, like doing pushups, and the depression, the ideation of harming yourself will GO AWAY. Without drugs.  There's no side effects.  If you have depression, or symptoms of depression - seek out someone who can help you find the best meditation expert near you.  See your doctor - indeed - but make sure your doctor has seen the statistics that show up to 15% of the people who use SSRI drugs have ideations of suicide (this state comes from a friend who is a doctor) - and make sure your doctor has seen the evidence that shows that meditation can "cure or alleviate the symptoms of depression."

I can promise he or she is not aware of it - unless they were at the lecture that Davidson gave. And there were easily 500 people in the room, many who identified themselves as psychiatrists "trying to learn a way to wean their clients off Prozac" or to "find an alternative to prescribing SSRI drugs to their teenaged patients."

Okay?  Seek a doctor, but make sure the doctor knows about the research that you've already done into the condition.

The Dalai Lama and his pal Richard Davidson, University of Wisconsin

Friday

Speaking to the Flipside

I'm doing this unusual experiment.


I'm filming people talking to the flipside.

I mean I'm filming people who are talking to their subconscious mind about things that they could not know, are not aware of, have not experienced or seen before.

I've done this about a dozen times so far.  Sometimes it's a friend who is curious about the kind of work I'm doing, sometimes it's someone who reached out to me because they had a bad dream, or some kind of odd experience.

And I ask if they want to "explore" it.


Yesterday I spent half an hour talking directly to a friend of mine who passed away a couple of weeks ago via medium Jennifer Shaffer. He was telling me what it was like for him over there - how after awhile, he has been able to "settle down" and have a conversation. He was eager to converse - not that he has no one to talk to - he appears to be enjoying himself over there, but he told me that he visits me often when I'm asleep and we go "on trips together."

I have no conscious memory of that.  But I do have a conscious memory of my friend's sense of humor, who he was, the kinds of projects he was interested in - the kind of dad he was.  I teased him a bit, to see if things might be different for him over there - but no, he's just like he was when he was here.  

"Only faster."


I hesitate to say who this friend is, because I haven't been in touch with his family about these conversations, I will share them with them when it's the time and place.  But my friend suggested that we find a way to make a film out of these conversations and he's offered to "help me" get the appropriate people on the phone to do so.

We'll see.

It's a fun project though - I get to see my pal Jennifer Shaffer every week - she's an intuitive/medium who works with law enforcement nationwide to help in missing person cases.  I know how effective she is, and she appears quite a bit in "Hacking the Afterlife" giving me key information from the Flipside about some of the people who appear in the book.


I turn my camera on and we "talk" to whomever has decided to join us that afternoon - sometimes at my request, sometimes they just "show up."  But when they appear, I ask questions about their perspective. What's it like over there? What do we look like to you? If you were going to try to send a message to someone how would you do it? Give us a "one, two, three" process in how to communicate with our loved ones."  What they say is simple, yet fun.  Worth exploring.

Stay tuned!




Tuesday

The Flipside of Alcatraz and Drapchi Prison

Took a trip up to the Rock this weekend. Funny, lived in SF, been in the city a zillion times - just never made it over to "The Rock."

Alcatraz docks

In the 60's, it was reclaimed by Native Americans briefly.
Typical cell.
We all know about some of the famous inmates here, Machine Gun Kelly, Alfonso Capone.  Robert Stroud.


Al was 35 in this pic.














Oddly enough - Al owned a couple of homes in my hometown of Northbrook Illinois. And the land that I grew up on was reportedly one of his "ranch properties." My parents bought it in the 50's from someone who had purchased it from one of his relatives.

There had been cows up on our hill, and we often found bones while digging up the backyard.  Years later, I wondered if there might be any other bones up in Al's old ranch property (frenemies.) Alas, never got around to looking.


The Rock from SF

While visiting the rock I met this fellow. Author William Baker,  Bill Baker former Alcatraz inmate #1259.


William G Baker, Author/Inmate Alcatraz 1259
I spoke to Bill briefly about his life.  I said "What's it like for you to have been brought here so many years ago, to come back here on your own volition?"

He said "I've been asked that question 100's of times. Normally I just say "Cause I'm crazy."

"But I'm going to tell you the answer. It's because I have no remorse.  Most people don't realize that Alcatraz was a place where prisoners came here who were already in prison and had done something to get them labeled as bad prisoners.  So no one came here for their first time in prison. They'd already been in prison and they'd escaped."

According to his entertaining book, he'd tried to escape a number of times, and was sent here because of them.  "The men who were here had already been in the prison system. So they knew what to expect.  And they dealt with it.  But the reason I can come back up here is that I have no remorse. I had no remorse back then and I have no remorse now."

I asked why he thought that was, or if remorse had something to do with how we get through life.

He said "Some people are upset about their lot in life, about what's happened to them.  But I never had it. And I don't have it now."  He said "Let me put it this way, all those Wardens who used to run this place are dead.  Now I'm running this place."

I asked if he'd ever dreamt about his old pals that he knew while he was incarcerated on The Rock. He said "All the time."  I asked if they appeared sad or happy in his dreams.  He said "Always happy. Whenever I see them they're happy."  I asked him if he ever heard anything "new" from them - something that he wasn't aware they'd said or expressed before.  He said "I have to think on that awhile. Nothing comes to mind. But they're all happy."

I wanted to say "It's because they've returned "home" and of course they're going to be happy."  But did not.

During the tour of Alcatraz, there was a moment in "D Block" where the prisoners were locked into isolation. The voice tour includes an inmate saying "But if you close your eyes, eventually you see a pinpoint of light, and then you see images - and those images can take you anywhere."

Take you anywhere.  Cool.

The irony is here though - a man put in prison for being incorrigible.  At the age of 23 sent to Alcatraz where the toughest, baddest, worst of the worst were sent.  And he had no remorse about being sent there.  In fact he'd written a book about it, and had returned to dance on the graves of those who'd put him in here.

NPR interviewed Bill some years back:


And now to Tibet....

The Potala Palace Tibet

When you think of life as a play - a stage play - and people choose their costumes and props, and roles they're going to play - it makes perfect sense that the inmate would return to gloat over surviving beyond all of them.
Palden Gyatso


Years ago I met a Tibetan Monk who had been incarcerated for decades in the notorious Drapchi prison. 

This is the notorious prison in Lhasa, Tibet where the Chinese put dissidents, or just people they don't like. 

They're sent there and tortured on a daily basis. It might be because of the inmate's adherence to his religion or robes. It might be because a guard didn't like them. But Drapchi is often a one way ticket off the planet for those monks sent here.

 (Buddhism, according to scholars like Robert Thurman is a religion in name only - since it doesn't "believe" in any deity, or any creator - that all humans are equal in terms of being able to achieve enlightenment on their own, through the powers of their brain - it's mis-categorized as a religion. It's actually a philosophy.  And the fact that China, an avowed atheist/communist government has been torturing and abusing Tibetans for decades to dissuade them from following a "philosophy" is worth pondering.  (Since it's not a religion, then Mao's admonition "all religion is poison" wouldn't apply to Buddhism in the first place ... but I digress.)

Palden showing "thumb cuffs"

But I met this elderly monk in Los Angeles. Palden Gyatso.  He spoke of his incarceration, and I asked him about the "happiest day of his life." With tears in his eyes, he said it was upon his release, when he got to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama. 

What's amazing to me about his story - this is a man who was tortured for three decades. And when he was released, he snuck out some of his instruments of torture. Cattle prods. Handcuffs. He's spoken about these days of torture. And about those who tortured him.  He survived beyond the lives of two of the three of his principal torturers.

That is - the man who tortured him for a decade - who went to work each day at Drapchi and spent his day torturing this happy little man - dropped dead. So they assigned another torturer. He lasted another decade. Then he dropped dead. The third torturer let Palden Gyatso (born 1933) go.

It's great to hear that Bill Baker has survived his ordeal. But as he put it "He knew what he was in for, and it wasn't an ordeal for him."  Palden Gyatso suffered immensely for his devotion to his vows as a monk, but in his case he prayed every day for the liberation of his captors.  Prayed every day that they would not suffer for the pain that they were causing him.  His prayers, as strong as they were, didn't help the two Chinese guards who dropped dead while torturing this humble old monk.  

But I would offer that in order to live life fully, try to leave remorse out of the picture.  Just live your life. If you have to do time, then you do the time.  Pray for the liberation of all souls, the prisoners, the prison guards, the wardens.  After all - they're not gone, they're just not here.

"Now I'm running this place."


In both cases, these men are "Dancing on the graves" of those who incarcerated them.  Interesting to think about.

Below is a tape smuggled out of Drapchi Prison by these Buddhist nuns whose sentences were increased by years because of its revelation.  Worth reminding folks there are prisoners suffering around the world for nonsensical reasons - the entire prison concept needs to be rethought in light of flipside research.  Punishment isn't relevant, revenge is meaningless, giving people the opportunity to help others through teaching or compassion is the only logical way to deal with prisons or prisoners. (See Michael Moore's "Where to Invade Next" for further info). If we're here to teach, learn or help - what's the point?

Friday

Blue Skies and How Music Amplifies Speaking to the Flipside

The other day I was having lunch with my pal Jennifer Shaffer, the intuitive medium who I've been working with on Flipside research.  We have casual conversations, sometimes over lunch, sometimes in her office, with people who want to "reach out" from the flipside.

Usually they're people we've met - or because I'm in the room I guess, people I've met.  They may not be close friends, but sometimes they are. And sometimes I ask her to see if "so and so" can stop by - but for the most part, when she focuses on the Flipside, people we've talked to before appear and have something to say.

I've been testing something a bit different in the work.  Normally when you go to visit a medium, you wait for them to speak to you about your loved ones - or they offer a sense or feeling, or something that they're getting "from the other side" and they try to impart it to you.

Scientists have tried to explain these events away via "wishful thinking" "cryptomnesia" or lately a quantum scientist argued it was "synthesthesia" - the "wires of the brain" getting mixed up and telling us things that aren't there, but seem to be.  Whatever.  All I can say is that when we "speak" to someone on the flipside in real time, I do my best not to "judge" what's coming forth, and try to focus on the kinds of questions that can be asked; "What's it like for you to view us?" "Give us a description of how we appear to you?" "What's a good way to tell people to reach out to those on the other side?" "Is there any formula for success?"

Asking questions is allowed.  Scientists like to think that it's not, because it introduces bias.  Well, I can only say "so what?  If a person on the flipside tells me something new - something I could not have known, could not have looked up, could not by cryptomnesia - especially when it's an answer to a question - what's wrong with that?"  
Verification can come in strange ways

People often want to get some kind of "verification" in the form of an identifiable piece of evidence. "Oh look, a penny from 1725 just appeared out of thin air." That's never happened, nor do I think it's particularly useful.

It's important to keep perspective.  And by that I mean "their perspective."  Imagine for a moment that you're done with your epic stage play, you've left the stage, and from your position back stage, or in the theater, everything seems kind of silly or shallow, or even unimportant from your perspective. After all you're free to fly, to get around easily, to move across the universe. You can visit people anywhere at any time, you can zip in and out of different realms.  Why would it be important to stop what you're doing to prove to someone back on the planet that there is an afterlife?

One of the sacrosanct "laws of the universe" that I hear often in this work is "don't interfere."  As in "We can't interfere, even though you want us to." "We don't like to interfere even though you pray that we do."  Why is that? Because we took an oath before coming here to the planet to perform the play as it was discussed and agreed to prior to stepping on stage.  And if you start to cheat - get your uncle Pete to throw sacks of money from off stage - well that's not fair. Nor is it what  you've signed up to do or learn.  So if Uncle Pete starts proving there's a flipside by turning the light switch off and on to get your attention - well that appears to be okay.  But no phone calls in the middle of the night to tell you what the lottery numbers are.  It's just not cool to do that.

But... all that being said, I did hear something from someone off planet who offered this: "You can connect to your loved ones through music."  The point he was making was that music is a frequency, and you can use it to boost your signal.

Here's a wonderful story about connecting with a loved one on the Flipside. While filming an interview with medium Jennifer Medlyn Shaffer last week, she reported via a musician no longer on the planet, that music can be a way of amplifying the signal between here and there. I asked Todd if i could share his post, as it is powerful, touching and great to hear.  

"April 10, 2017
THE GHOSTS THAT HAUNT ME - CONTACTING DAD THROUGH MUSIC

As I jump ahead to more recent times, a lot of life changes have come my way over the past 4 years. One major life experience was losing my father in September of 2012. My father Richard, had passed away in his sleep due to complications from ongoing heart disease.

I had just recently moved 3,000 miles from the east coast to the west coast to the state of Washington.

My father had suffered for many years toward the end of his life, very severe depression, and on occasions had actually attempted suicide.  At times he would just sit and stare at the walls, as if his normal self was not present in his body.  When he was well, he was jovial, witty, liked to joke around, would talk your ear off and tell strangers on the street his entire life story if they allowed it.

Surprisingly a month before he died, he called me out of the blue for my birthday. He was back to his old self, joking with me on the phone and we had made plans for him to possibly move out west and live the remainder of his life with me in some seaside town in Washington, he was very excited as he had not seen me in years. We had joked that Washington state was known for Bigfoot (Sasquatch) and he had asked me if I seen any yet.  I said nope but that would be cool. He then said well if I come out there, I'm gonna get a Bigfoot costume and scare the shit out of you outside your window while you are sleeping.

He had not seen his grandkids since they were little, and they were now teenagers.  He wanted to start a new relationship with them. I told him I would be getting their school photos mailed out to him soon.

At the time of our conversation, my uncle who was also very close, passed away exactly one year earlier suddenly also in September.  I told my father that I had recently dreamed of Uncle Scott. Within that dream, my father was with me, and we went to see Scott at this apartment building, within a valley of grassy hills.  As we entered the building and walked up the stairs to the second floor of the building, the hallway echoed with music. To the sound of Lynyrd Skynyrd, one of my uncle's favorite bands.  The words clear as a bell coming through, and the beat of the music rushing through my body and ears.. "If I leave here tomorrow. Would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on now... because there's too many places I got to see.."

My father and I walked into the apartment, and uncle Scott was painting the walls and getting the apartment cleaned up.  This was a common scene, for as in life, he was a maintenance worker, painted homes, installed windows and so forth.  We all greeted each other as if this was normal life.  My dad and him joked around for awhile.  I asked Scott if he was upset with his girlfriend, as she is the one who gave him too many pain killers which abruptly ended his life.  He laughed and said no, I am not mad at her, but I am glad to be done with crazy bitches.  

I asked Scott who he was getting the apartment ready for.  He looked at my dad and said "Your old man here, this is his new place, he's gonna hang out with me for awhile."

After some time I left the building to return home, I looked at my dad and said "Are you coming with?" and he said "No Jump. I'm gonna be staying, but you come to see me once in awhile."

:: end of dream ::

I expressed my thoughts to my dad over the phone that I think this dream is a foreshadowing, that Scott is preparing a place for you, and that you will pass over in the near future. My dad said "Ha maybe!"

Two weeks later.. my cell phone rang.  I saw the area code was from Utah, where my dad's sister lives. I immediately knew before even answering the call, who it was, and that my aunt was calling to tell me my dad had passed away.  I took a gulp.. caught my breath and answered...  "Hi Todd.. I'm sorry hun, but your daddy passed in his sleep last night."

We talked for awhile.. then hung up.  She had arranged for everything for him.  I felt comforted knowing everything would be ok.  I looked down on my desk and there sat the envelope with the school photos of my kids that I was about to mail to him.. then I broke down crying.

Being clairvoyant, and having seen and heard spirits through out my life, I knew deep down my dad was ok and no longer in pain, but I wanted one last good bye with him, as his passing cut our plans short. 

During this time I had recently come across a facebook group hosted by Richard Martini and had been reading his book, the Flipside.  I found it interesting that he had the same first name as my dad, synchronicity.  In one of the online discussions it was mentioned that an easy way to contact loved ones who had passed was to meditate and listen to their favorite music.

That very night I created a playlist on my Ipod, some Paul Simon song and some of his favorite tunes from Beach Boys the Pet Sounds album. These songs took me back to the earliest memories I had with my dad, when I was about 3-4 years old.  He would place his favorite LP on the turntable, turn down the lights, and get down on his knees and hold my hands as he slow danced with me and introduced me to his favorite artists.  As I scrolled through the playlist, thinking of my dad, talking to him asking if he remembered him singing along with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings to Mamma Don't Let your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys... I saw something out of my peripheral vision to my right near my bedroom window. 

All the lights were off in my bedroom, aside from the street lamp coming through the blinds, the only light I had was from the Ipod screen itself.  I turned to look to my right, to see the light shining off what appeared to be the outline of a face, in blueish white translucent glow.  As my eyes adjusted to the dark, it was no ordinary face, but a hairy neanderthal looking appeared similar to what can only be described as a Sasquatch!  I said "Holy Shit!" And I threw the Ipod across the room. To which the image immediately vanished.  I thought to myself this can't be real, I must have been falling asleep, and got up and picked up the Ipod from the floor, and tried to relax and lay back down.  I closed my eyes and began to see the image of my father standing at the foot of my bed, not just smiling at me, but what looked like him laughing his ass off.  I felt love and peace and comforted.  He did not talk but I knew without a doubt it was him.. and for a good 20 minutes I had a one way conversation talking about his music as I finally drifted off to sleep.

During this time I was also suffering from severe sleep apnea.  I was yet untreated as I did not have a CPAP machine.  This began to take heavy toll on my body, to the point where I would stop breathing over 60 times an hour during sleep.  During the day would be constantly run down and tired, and had even started to randomly pass out during work, nod off driving, or even while standing up.

Within a day or so after this bedroom encounter, I was sitting taking calls from customers at my desk. It was a slow day, so I loaded up again the same music list on my computer. As I am sitting there drowning out my work day with the headphones on, I saw to the right of me, the door open to my office area and I could tell someone was coming down the stairs. Knowing I was home alone, my kids at school, I thought this was strange. Within a split second, in full 3d, there my dad was standing before me in my office, dressed in blue jeans and a white shirt, similar to how he might appear in life. I was dumbfounded. I took my headphones off. Looked at him standing there smiling at me, as he spoke outloud "Hey Jump... nice house."   I responded, "But.. but.. when, how did you get here.. you are dead!"   My mind was racing, wondering if he faked his death, had someone made a mistake, did someone lie to me to surprise me of his visit?  He responded "No son, I am very much alive."

I began crying uncontrollably and walked over to him and fell into his arms.  He said "Calm down.. It's ok. I'm ok. I feel good. I came to tell you I love you."   He began asking how everyone was doing, how the kids were and asked me to walk with him.   A light opened up beside us.. and then I knew we had to be in spirit.. a green grassy path was on the other side.  We walked for awhile. Talked for what felt like over 10 minutes although this part is fuzzy to what we talked about.. The next thing I remember is him saying he could not stay long but said "Let me help you up off the floor dummy."  To which he kneeled down. I then woke up on the floor beside my desk drooling into the carpet, my head feeling dizzy.  My dad was gone..  The entirety of it seemed as if I had lost consciousness while working and left my body, but it seemed so real, and to this day is the most vivid and real spiritual experience I have ever had in my life, thanks to the power and sound of my dad's favorite music.

He has come to me from time to time in dreams over the last 4 years, but nothing as vivid as when he had just passed away.  

Pretty amazing, isn't it?

Then I got this email from a woman in Norway today:



Hello Rich and happy Easter to you!

I read this post of yours  and felt like telling you about my experience with something quit similar. Hope you don´t mind. 

I told you earlier that my husband died a few years ago. What I had no reason to say, was that it turned out after he´d left, that he was a man of many secrets and lies, some was about having several other women, some of them to dark to mention, and I was left in shock. From the beginning of our romance I had such a strong feeling that this relationship was meant to happen, that it would transform me in ways I never thought possible. 

He had made me feel so very special, and now it turned out I was one of many, some of them prostitutes. Strangely enough I never felt angry, just filled with the obsession to gain understanding of who this human I thought I knew, really was. 


So in my despair I talked to a friend of a friend who has "contact". Amongst what he told me was "he is repeating something about song/singing, does that make any sense to you?" 

And it did. I had once told my husband that I seem to get messages through songs that suddenly popped into my head, recorded songs. The evening before your post I went to bed thinking of him, sending him a simple question from a wish of what I so much wanted to believe; "Was I special to you? Tell me I was?" 

I woke up the next morning with fucking Julio Iglesias' "To all the girls I´ve loved before" singing in my head!! And I laughed, really! a little angry, but accepting laugh to myself. 

It´s ok, it confirmed what I in many ways already come to terms with about why I had chosen that relationship. Then I read your post, laughed from the coincidence , and just felt I wanted to share.


Another recent one in the same alley :

My dear uncle passed away a few weeks ago. He lived in the south of Norway. He was 83 and his body were tired. The evening I got the phone call that he was on his last days, I had no opportunity to travel there. I lit a candle, and my kids and I had a silent moment were we sent love and light, thinking about him. After putting them to bed, I had a few things to do in the house, and went to bed around half past twelve.

I kept thinking of him, and ten minutes later, the moment I was half asleep a song came into my mind. It was an old song I had probably only heard a few times, but it came so clear to me, and I just knew it was my uncle sending this song to me, telling me not to worry - that he was doing just fine - or in fact - fantastic!  

I felt his humorous warm loving presence , and fell asleep with a smile on my face. From what I have read , you are also a musician, so I´m sure you have heard it. "Blue Skies by Irving Berlin" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUdUk0EjTEo

The next day I got the call he had died. Turns out he passed away at the exact same time I "heard" the song. 

If it could be at any use for you in any way, you are welcome to share. All the best!

Here's Bing singing that tune:


Tuesday

Om, Om on the Range

Saw a license plate yesterday - OmWard.  Or maybe it was OmLand.

I forget.

But I thought, hmm. Good idea.



If you want to meditate, a lot of people offer that you can use the word OM.

What does it mean?

ōm
noun

"a mystic syllable, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. It appears at the beginning and end of most Sanskrit recitations, prayers, and texts."

Okay, let's clear that one up, shall we?

Om can also mean "homage." (aum) As in I pay homage to the spirit within you when I put my hands together and bow to you.

When I say "Om Mani Padme Hum" (as the Tibetans say as a mantra, sometimes all day long) it literally means "Praise to the knowledge in the Lotus Sutra." (It's the same phrase that Nichirin discovered in Japan - the same exact phrase - but he said it in Japanese: "Nam Myoho Regne Kyo."

Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō (南無妙法蓮華経) (also known as Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō) (English: Devotion to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra or Glory to the Sutra of the Lotus of the Supreme Law) is the central mantra chanted within all forms of Nichiren Buddhism as well as Tendai Buddhism.

Praise to the knowledge in the Lotus Sutra.

If you look it up, or ask a person in SGI you'll hear something else. "it's a magical phrase. It doesn't mean anything, but it brings gifts."  Actually it does mean something very specific.  Praise to Buddha's teaching about non attachment.  It's pretty simple.


HHDL, his translator and Richard Davidson.

If you look up Om Mani Padme Hum:

According to 14th Dalai Lama:

It is very good to recite the mantra "Om mani padme hum", but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast. The first,"Om" symbolizes the practitioner's impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha.

The path is indicated by the next four syllables. "Mani", meaning jewel, symbolizes the factors of method: (the) altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love.

The two syllables, "padme", meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom.

Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable "hum", which indicates indivisibility.

So - "Praise to the knowledge of the Lotus Sutra teaching."  You know the Lotus Sutra don't you?  It's the teaching the Buddha gives that teaches how to "detach" or have the ability of "unattachment" to the mundane things in life, because they have "no inherent meaning."  That sounds a bit elevated - but let's just say what he's saying in that teaching is "everything is vanity." (Vanum Populatum anyone?)

That we attach meaning to things out of a desire to own them, be part of them, or because we're inured to wanting them, or we can't get away from the desire to have them.  A bit like the Dopamine Squirt - which is what happens when your cell phone dings, buzzes or rings.

Your brain squirts some dopamine in response - it's the idea of gaining a reward, like Pavlov's dogs waiting for food. We are anticipating some kind of response, and as "60 Minutes" put it the other day, that's addictive behavior, and the tech companies are trying to get you addicted to your cellphone, or your device, or your computer, or your website, because... well, it means money. (Excellent segment - check the link above)

So don't get attached, okay?  Learn to turn it off.  Just as we learn to turn off our attachment to "things" or to "fame" or to "celebrity" or to "beauty" or to any of the other things we seem obsessed with.  Turn it off dude. Just let go.




Back to the Home concept.


As some of you have heard, I've been talking about "home" lately. That's the place where we go between lives, the place where two thirds of our energy always resides - back home, up there in the ether, up there in heaven, back there offstage when we aren't here on stage.




Home.

As I talk about in this book talk: "Home on the Range."

But it occurred to me, that Om and Home are the same syllable.

So why not use one instead of the other?

Try it.  Say "Home" like you would say "Om." They say that "Om" is the primal sound of the Universe, or "Aum." Okay, so let that be the case.

 Just draw it out, let your body resonate, let your voice take hold of the word and then - here's the fun part - allow your mind and heart to open up to the concept of "home" whatever that means to you.

No one has the same idea of what home is.  We all come from different backgrounds and feelings, even twins - so there are no two versions of home on the planet.  That's a strong thing to say - because it shows that we aren't all the same, we aren't all alike, we aren't all one species - that we aren't programmed robots - otherwise when I say "think of home" you'd think of the same place as everyone else does.

BUT NO ONE DOES.




Everyone has a different feeling of what HOME is.

What better way to honor your home then to allow it to be part of your daily life and routine?

So TRY IT WITH ME.

Let it out.  Sing it.  Just use the word as one long syllable ... open your heart, your lungs and say it aloud. Say it so loud that you're afraid someone is going to ask what's wrong with you.

HOME.

HOOOOOOOOOME....


HOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMEEEE....



You get the idea.

If you were from Mars this would be "home." NASA

And now - picture yourself in a space of comfort and peace and unconditional love. Because at its heart that's what home is. People say it all the time - "I feel it's a place of being relaxed, of being loved, of being in comfort." When I ask "what kind of love is it?" They almost always answer

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

HOME IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.


Say it loud, say it proud.

Home.

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