Maximum Selfie and other thoughts on the S word

I received this email today, and with the author's permission, am sharing it here.

Divine Light or dust in the Vatican?

"Dear Rich,

I lost my beautiful 23 yr old daughter to suicide a year and a half ago.  There were a lot of factors that hit at once, creating a perfect storm, and she decided to go.  

As you would imagine, this caused the kind of pain to me that dropped me to my knees, hurt my chest, made me physically ill for months.  

Having had a mother who was a clairvoyant (and moments of my own that come in unexpected bursts), and having attended my local Buddhist Center for about 12 years, I began searching for something.  Peace, validation, anything.   

After reading everyone else’s books, I read all of yours and really did like them best.  

I did the best that I could, but it is hard to quell a grieving mother’s pain, and she was on my mind often.  

About three months after (her) dying, she came to me in a dream/vision/lucid thing and told me that she will be coming back, as her  brother’s child.  I have told her brother, but he has not told his wife!  

Three weeks ago, I went to the hospital with trouble breathing.  It turns out, I was in the middle of active heart failure.   I am in my 50's, and my co-workers were in shock as I appear to be the healthiest there!  

Heathy eating, exercise, etc.  When I went in, I really did not care whether I lived or died.   The cardiologist found that I needed a double bypass, and I didn’t care.   I called my son, and told him (what I wanted him to do with my belongings) and had the surgery.   
Two days after surgery, I developed blood clots in my leg and one in each side of my heart.  The doctors were stunned, as this is apparently a rare complication and very life threatening. They put me on strong blood thinners, IV.  With the lighting in Intensive Care, sleep was elusive.   

I had several “incidents” while in there.  One was a foggy, distant vision of what you would call a council meeting, except I wasn’t included.  I was the subject, though.  

It seemed one cloudy spirit was discussing me, presenting my case to the five indistinct shapes in front of me.  I asked that they please, please send help to break up the clots, because I wanted to go home.  My significant other is an introvert, and (I feel it would be hard to leave him on his own...)

I was also thinking of my son, who has no one but me left. Grandparents, his father, friends, he (like me) has more people on that side than on this, and I knew (my leaving would be difficult.)  

The spirits seemed to take this into account, but there were a couple things they wanted me to know. The first was that my grief was causing an attachment that is preventing my daughter from moving forward and coming back.  

The second came in a separate incident.  I had always suspected I had been in the Holocaust and I saw myself, in a different body (trimmer and slight) rushing at dusk to Shabbat.  

I didn’t even know what Shabbat was until I looked it up the next morning!  But I recalled the cobbled street, the rush to get inside before nightfall, and the awful horror of being caught out.  
A night or two later, I was moved to a private room, which would allow for sleep.  But, I laid awake and could feel long fingers on a very small hand reaching into my heart and “squishing up” the clots.

Friday, the cardiologists gathered, as they generally do in scary groups. They told me they would repeat the ultrasound test to determine the size of the clots.  If they were the same or bigger, they would transport me to a hospital about 30 miles east of me.  
IF they showed any sign of reducing, they would send me home on coumadin and a wearable vest with an external defibrillator.  They said that once the clots became small enough to move out of the heart, in 2-3 months, they could cause a stroke, so I’d wear the vest daily.   Those were the choices.  

Once of them started to say, "If they had dissipated..." but trailed off and told me to "never mind, as that wasn’t possible."  

I knew what was possible, and had told my significant other.  He said when they came into the waiting room, he could tell the cardiologist couldn’t believe it, but the clots were entirely GONE.   

So, I am home, recovering.  

I have always been extremely disturbed when others are hungry, although I have no problem skipping meals myself.  But, seeing hungry people kills me, and watching the movie “Into the Wild” threw me into uncontrollable hysterics.  

I think they were providing me with a reason why, and perhaps I can help heal the past by volunteering at a local food bank.  As for my daughter, I am working on the grief.  I have spent years in meditation and “training the mind”, so when the thoughts intrude, I calmly redirect them now.  She isn’t forgotten at all!  I am glad to be here, to welcome her when she comes back!

I saw a story in the last Good Housekeeping.  A mother lost her daughter, to Cerebral Palsy I believe.  And, Mom then became pregnant right through a tubal!  They are so astonished at how much the new baby reminds them of the lost child.  

Why, oh why, do people raised in Western faiths not believe that their God can do ANYTHING? They deny the very possibilities, limiting their own God.  

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." Alice in Wonderland. And so should we.

Thank you for the wonderful work that you do.  I follow your blog, receive and read your every email and look forward to your future work...."

My reply:

"Wow. Thanks for sharing this. It's very moving. I'm sorry to hear of your trauma but so encouraged to hear of your spiritual journey. 

There are a few Michael Newton trained therapists near you. A session might allow you further access as well as some answers and new observations. 
The Maestro Michael Newton
"Journey of Souls"

Also check out Carol Bowman book "Children's Past Lives" and website are worth checking out. Erik Medhus book "My life after Death" is worth reading, Galen Stoller's "My Life after Life" or "The Afterlife of Billie Fingers" all give insight into what your daughter is experiencing.

Either way thank you for sharing. Perhaps I can share some of it on my blog so others can experience your story? "

Her reply:

"Actually, I’ve read all of those and more!  

I will be looking for a hypnotist near me. No hurry in this moment.

And, of course you can share!  That’s why we’re here, right?" 

Hacking the Afterlife

And my reply:

"Thank you.

Well, I've had pals interested in the topic reach out to hypnotists near you before, and come away with a bad experience - or no experience.  So before you see one, make sure you've done your research on them - most hypnotists don't have a clue about the flipside, or about Michael Newton's work. That's why I recommend people who've trained with him or his institute... and some of them are doing skype sessions now... or you can ask. 

(I think Scott De Tamble lightbetweenlives.com might be, you can ask him.)  

JenniferShaffer.com (medium) and Scott De Tamble (hypnotherapist)
My two secret weapons when I want to address or interview the flipside.

"By the way; I think it's time we stopped using the term suicide... but I can't think of a more apt one that allows for grieving and loss - after all, even if they are somewhere else, or aren't here - it's a loss to not have them around.... and it's always tricky when they decide they want to come back right away - did they learn the lessons they were trying to learn?  

It's one of those long discussions with council and guides and soul group members....  because over there is the natural state of affairs... not here.  So when we discuss coming back here "right away" it's usually because we feel as if we didn't accomplish what we set out to do.  And there's no punishment in that - there's no "spanking machine" for failing to accomplish your goals.  (Something I remember from my days of playing "Kick the Can.")

There's regret, to be sure, perhaps the pain and sorry of making everyone else suffer through the experience - that's reported consistently.  But those are emotions we feel regret about - that we feel awful about when we've done something that has screwed up our path or the paths of those we love.

But the flipside is a place of unconditional love. It's a place of ultimate compassion. It's a place where we can see why we've done things, why we've come to the fork in the road, and how not to be swept away by it the next time around.  It's a place of ultimate reflection and learning.

So once someone goes "home" - what's the big hurry to get out of the house?  Chill awhile.  Reflect.  Everyone you've ever loved will eventually join you - and the time over there is so relatively different, it'll feel like ten minutes went by.

So "ultimate selfie" - "maximum selfie" come to mind as alternatives for "The S word." The idea that we get so wrapped up in our minds (sometimes because of ssri drugs as I've mentioned in my books, or allowing the amygdala to control our emotions, etc) - that we can't think of anything but checking ourselves out... 

But as we know, as science proves - the physical act of helping others - and in your case helping in a food bank - are physical things that we can do to "cure or alleviate depression."  

To alter the repository of depression - regulated by the amygdala - to allow for a more compassionate flow in our minds - (See "Tonglen Meditation" as a Tibetan meditation that helps regulate this, as proven scientifically by Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin) 

Davidson with a monk described as the
"Happiest person on the planet" according to former neuroscientist turned Tibetan Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard's MRI.

I attended a lecture by Davidson at UCLA and it was filled with psychiatrists eager to find an alternative to prescribing SSRI drugs to teens.  There had been a spike in suicides - and Davidson's research on Tibetan monks - a ten year study - showed that just one session of meditation could change the physical shape of the amygdala.  

Further that meditation can "cure or alleviate symptoms of depression."  It's not a religious concept - or a yoga method - but a scientific method.  Meditate on healing and helping others and you heal yourself. (I asked him specifically what Tibetan Meditation he used in the study, and he told me "Tonglen" - which means "give and take" and is designed for the meditator to heal or cure someone else in their mind.)  

In Davidson's study, monks trained in meditation were used.

What I realized is that this "mental act of helping others" - is reflected/identical to the physical act of helping others.  

In other words "Love your neighbor as yourself" and physically help them - can cure you or alleviate symptoms of depression.

Helping others actually helps us... I'm fond of saying that when someone is super depressed, get on a plane and go to India... the people over there live in such difficult circumstances, yet have the brightest smiles, the happiest dispositions - and I think it's because under extreme conditions, in a culture that believes that life is temporary, and that we all return here - they can enjoy the ride for what it is.... 

Of course there are all kinds of people in India - there are good guys, bad guys, criminals, sadhus, holy men, pandits - as in every culture - but when I'm in India I literally feel like I'm on Mars.  

So it's really hard to focus on whatever I thought was depressing when there's so many people who need my immediate help, even if it's a stick of gum or a smile.

So when depressed, go to Mars.

One of my many trips to Mars.

Anyways, thanks for writing, yes, I'm working on the next book - as we speak....

Thanks for the encouraging words - you who need encouragement to be on the planet as well - and I believe sharing your story will help someone neither one of us knows." (Who's been guided by a loved on on the flipside to this page.)

Everyone you've ever loved is keeping an eye on you.  But don't take my word for it. They're trying to tell that to you.
Post Script:

When I was writing this post, as I started to refer to the suicide mentioned in her email, I had the feeling I should include some information about SSRI drugs and Davidson's work at the University of Wisconsin. 

I refer to them in my books - it's a topic I'm familiar with, and have done research on.

SSRI drugs are the ones commonly given to treat depression and a variety of other symptoms not related to depression.  ("Prozac," "Zoloft" and others). I first encountered them in Europe when a filmmaker friend committed suicide a few weeks after finishing his film. His wife was befuddled as he was the happiest he'd ever been, but was having trouble sleeping. He was given Prozac to help him sleep.

On the other hand, I have heard a number of people say their lives were "saved" by SSRI drugs. They are offended when I talk about them, and I've even been asked to leave them out of my books.

According to a physician I interviewed for Flipside, up to 15% of the folks who take SSRI drugs can't tolerate them. (He said there's a simple test that Doctors don't give.) 

And these people have the "adverse effects" - the warnings that are buried deep in the website of the drug manufacturers. (By law, they have to publish them. They're rarely on the drug itself, but they are in the drug literature in the pharma co's site.)

As a point of fact, every mass shooting since Columbine has had an SSRI component - the shooter or shooters had taken them, sometimes in their teen years.  As I've noted, the NIMH issued a warning on their website about prescribing SSRI drugs to children under 18 AS THEY HAVE NOT BEEN TESTED for that.  They were seeing a spike in suicides and were warning doctors from prescribing adult medicine for children. (And also the reason that Davidson's talk at UCLA was standing room only.  He queried the room as to why they'd come to his talk, and they spoke of how they were looking for "alternative" therapies to prescribing SSRI drugs.)

This is not my opinion, belief or theory. These facts are easy to find in the literature about these drugs.  Yet for some reason, like the S word, we tend to ignore what we don't like to hear.  I understand that. But I post this anyway.

After I posted this today, I received this email from the mother of the daughter who killed herself: 

"I hadn’t even mentioned, but they had put her on the SSRI drugs. They were switching her prescription at the time, she was hormonal and when she failed a test (in school) that day, she (killed) herself.

 When I tried going to a suicide survivor group, I was shocked by how many of the living and the dead had prescriptions for those drugs.  

We are a drugged society.  One of our monks did a teaching on it, pointing out how many people believe physical “things” bring them happiness.  

If they did, you would think Americans would be the happiest people on earth!  But, as you know, it is the poorest who are the most generous, and giving to others brings true happiness."

Well said ma'am.  

Like I say, I'm terribly sorry for her loss, but perhaps by sharing it someone else will think twice about a prescription for their children that includes SSRI medication. 

Be vigilant. 
Do the research. 
Go to the drug manufacturer's website.
Get a second opinion.
Check into Davidson's work at the University of Wisconsin.  It's breathtaking science.

My two cents.

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