Tears in Heaven and The OA

"How's life with the dead?"  I ran into my friend again today, and we went off on another tangent that I wanted to share.

Photo by Russ Titelman
I told her about this unusual experience that happened to me. I had an unusual dream some years ago, which wasn't like a dream, it felt real, or more like a vision.  And in this vision, I ran into a woman who was distraught.  She was in tears and sobbing. She was in her 70's perhaps, kind of hunched over and really wailing.  I was conscious of the fact that I stopped and took her shoulders and said "What's the matter? Why are you crying?"

She said "I'm lost. And I can't find my husband."  I said to her "Well, can you show me a picture of him?"  And in her mind's eye she thought of her husband and projected it to me.  I "opened up my consciousness" to include all parts of the universe and did a "search" for him.  I was using the energetic grid or pattern or fingerprint that is unique to this fellow.

And I found him. In his pod, or his tree, or some kind of light apartment complex where he was with his friends, or soul group.  I snagged him, or yanked him out of whatever it was he was doing and pulled him back here to where this woman was wandering a dark street.  I said to her "Is this him?"  She cried out with joy at the sight of her husband and embraced him.

When I woke up, I wondered - "Why wasn't he there to greet her when she passed away?"  I realized even though that's the case with the vast majority of us, it's not the case with everyone.  Because they may very well pass away in a state of distress, either because of events occurring to them at that moment, or by a tragic sense of sadness or loss they've been holding onto.  So they can't "tune in" to their relatives or loved ones because they're just too upset.  

Then I wondered why I was involved in finding him. You'd think that her guides or guide would do that kind of work for her.  All I know is what I experienced. I asked her for an image of him, and from that I was able to see what the energetic grid was for him (1s and 0s I guess) and was able to - like a google search engine - find him where he was located in the universe.

My friend said, "that's so strange."  She had just been listening to the song "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton - you know the song - "Will you know my name? If I see you in heaven?"

I told her that I begin a chapter in Flipside with the song. She said it she had been weeping over the song, and then was thinking about our conversations about the flipside, and how likely it would be that they could recognize us "over there." Then I told her my own flipside moment with that tune.  

Some years ago, my friend Russ Titelman (who took the photo in my favorite coffee shop that I use in my books and to open this post) invited me over to the Village recording studio where he was mixing a song with one of his artists. Russ is a Grammy award winning producer, has worked with Shaka Khan, won Grammy's with Paul Simon, (friends of the blog may remember that Luana Anders, the genesis for "Flipside" dated Paul) and on this day Russ was producing Eric's song "Tears in Heaven."  

Luana with actor Michael Gough
I went into the Village studios off Santa Monica Blvd in West LA and waited outside the offices for him, and saw Eric leave with a few friends.  I'm told he's a private guy, so I didn't try to say hello... just nodded and smiled as he headed out.  I went into the studio and Russ played me this amazing track he had just laid down.

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?
I'll find my way through night and day
'Cause I know I just can't stay here in heaven

Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please

Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure
And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
'Cause I know I don't belong here in heaven

(Written by Eric Patrick Clapton, Will Jennings • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group)

I was one of the few humans who got to hear that song before it came out of the studio.  

The lyrics, written in hand, were still on the music stand where he'd played it. I read the lyrics as he sang the song...oh what a song, like reaching into your heart and squeezing it.  Easily one of the saddest and most powerful songs ever written. (For those not familiar with the circumstances around the song, it was based on the loss of four year old son Conor.) Eric's red guitar pick was still sitting in the chair, the pick he'd used to play the song. (Later Russ gave me one of his picks, it has Eric's name engraved on it.)

So will Eric's son Conor know his name in heaven?  Most assuredly.

What people say consistently is that they travel with us whenever we think of them or mention their names.  Of course it's not the same as holding their hand, hearing their laughter, or hanging out with them... but you can do that in your dreams until it's time to hang out with them for real.

Which brings me to Steve Job's last words.  I was filming Jennifer Shaffer recently and we had a short but sweet conversation with someone who appeared to be Steve Jobs. So I asked him - "What was the meaning of your final words, as reported by your sister; "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow."  

I thought perhaps he was seeing the flipside, or some wondrous example of it.  Jennifer said simply; "He saw his father, and in that moment understood his journey."

Steve's father had not passed by the time that he passed - but as I've mentioned before, two thirds of our energy is always "back home" so it's possible to greet or be greeted by our loved ones, even though they may still be on the planet.  Their "higher selves" are capable of showing up to embrace us.  And in that moment of seeing his father over there, understood why he chose to be himself over here.... Wow.

And on another note...

Someone wrote me about "the OA" post I did where I mentioned the show was about "angels." (So far, over 160K folks have found the post, which is a testament to how good the show was. I was merely commenting on the loss of one of their writers on the show.  

This one fellow wrote to say he objected to the idea of doing a show about angels, and said that once he realized the show was about angels, he turned it off.

Here is my reply: 

Just a note to say that I have forwarded on your comments, both here and at the condolences site to Allison Wilke's family. I got a note from one of them who mentioned this post. 

I've also gotten comments from people upset about the idea of a show that's associated with "angels." First I'd like to note that the show never mentions angels, nor anything about death or guardians. They seem to be careful to avoid using that kind of nomenclature. 

I've found that by mentioning any number of religious artifacts "angels" "jesus" "divine grace" or even the word "god" there's a kind of brain freeze that takes over people. They have already made up their minds about how those concepts relate to their lives, and it's like walking in cement. 

All I can say about my flipside research, is that I try not to judge any part of it. If someone says "it felt like this person was an angel" - it's because there is no other word we can use to describe that. After all the word comes from somewhere - not thin air. 

The words "ghost" and "afterlife" have the same effect. Obviously we need a new syntax to describe these things. The show "The OA" is about a woman who has had a number of near death experiences. 

Accounts of near death experiences are written about in scientific literature, peer reviewed journals discuss them - I recommend searching for Bruce Greyson's (A Dr. at UVA) talk "Is Consciousness Produced by the Brain?" and Dr. Parnia's "Aware" project. 

Near Death experiences are not confined to the brain, and have been proven to be so. If you're curious about near death experiences, I refer you to David Bennett's "Voyage of Purpose" to Dr. Alexander's "Proof of Heaven" or a number of accounts that have been presented at meetings, including Dr. Anita Moorjani's journey. NDE's exist - and what they have to say about the flipside is consistent with my research, which is examined in my books "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" volumes one and two. 

So when talking about this show - which is scripted and comes from someone's imagination - it is based on fact. Near death experiences happen, and in a high percentage, people meet "spirit guides" or what others might call "guardian angels" - they do experience going through some kind of "light" and they do experience "unconditional love." 

Brit Marling of "The OA"
I would offer that they also come back and struggle with being able to process their experience, the way Prairie's character does. 

Looking forward to another season (I hope!)

My last note: I've had some pretty unusual emails as of late from folks around the globe who've read my books and wanted to share a flipside moment with me. I'll be writing about those in my next post. Stay tuned.


Flipside and "The Discovery" at Sundance

"How's life with the dead?"

That was a greeting I got this morning.

"Oh, life with the dead is fine, if you mean my daily routine of chasing my tail."

Sundance has a film starring Robert Redford, directed by Charlie McDowell (co-written by Charlie and Justin Lader) that deals with the Flipside.

I haven't seen the film, "The Discovery" and I look forward to seeing it.  From the trailer and online reports, it appears this is a story about a scientist who discovers there is an afterlife.  Mayhem ensues.

From "The Discovery" (Netflix original movie) is set one year after science proves that there is indeed an afterlife. As a result, millions of people around the world commit suicide in order to cross over. The movie follows the scientist who confirmed the afterlife (Redford), his son Will (Jason Segel) and Isla (Rooney Mara), the woman Will falls in love with who has a tragic past."

Charlie's mom is Mary Steenburgen and his dad is Malcolm McDowell.  Mary starred in a film "Going South" with my pal Luana Anders (who as fans of the Flipside books know, is the genesis of my journey into the afterlife - she came back to visit me a number of times after her passing, and since then I've found a way to visit her on the Flipside.  (I'm not kidding. Just read "Flipside")

I met Charlie's father Malcolm McDowell some years ago. My wife and I were invited to dinner with Julian Cerruti and his mom Chantal and Malcolm.  Malcolm was a longtime friend of Julian's dad Nino (the clothing designer, one of the few people I've met on the planet where I felt like I'd known him forever and appears briefly in my film "Cannes Man").  

 For me the dinner was a delight because I've been a fan of Malcolm's work since "If" and "O Lucky Man."  (If you haven't seen the latter, I highly recommend it.)

Younger days. Charlie's pop.
Of course I loved him in "Clockwork Orange" but I wanted to know about "O Lucky Man" - a film I saw in college and wrote a paper about, having interviewed the composer Alan Price backstage in Boston.  The film (edited badly for the US release) was an epic journey in a Voltaire's "Candide" like fashion, where Malcolm plays a man who goes through hell and back to find himself. The extended version is brilliant the music even more so.

Malcolm told me some great stories about the film - for example, I wanted to know why Lindsay Anderson decided to use the same actors for different parts.  It was such a clever choice, almost like seeing reincarnated friends again - and the subtle way in which Malcolm's character in the film did a double take when seeing the same actor (who perhaps died in the previous reel, but was now playing a man servant) again in the story. He said it was just one more example of Anderson's genius (and cost cutting!)

I get a lot of great stories just by asking.
He told me that when he was acting in A Clockwork Orange, he was having a hard time because Kubrick, notorious for multiple takes, wasn't giving him any direction at all.  So Malcolm called Anderson, director of his previous film "If" for advice.  And as he put it "Lindsay directed my performance in Clockwork over the telephone." Funny.

So his son Charlie has co-written and directed this Redford film - where he plays a doctor who is experimenting with "time travel" in the sense that we don't die, we continue on.  But once "the afterlife" is proven to exist, it appears everyone is in a big hurry to get there.

Which brings me back to the "how's life with the dead?" comment.

The flipside isn't this foggy.
Just a word or two about suicide.

First of all, I'm a reporter here, not a doctor. So if someone asks "where'd you hear that?" it's from some rube (me) who claims that he "talks to people who talk to the dead" all the time.  Someone who claims that he's seen people who are supposed to be dead and they tell him "new information." (which I report in my books). Someone who claims that the afterlife is just this place that we call "home" and that when we get off stage we return there.

I had an NYPD detective pull me aside on the set of "Salt" to ask me about a ghost in his house and his daughter talking about reincarnation. I said to him "Look, first of all, you're talking to some guy on a movie set. Let's begin there." 

But then, after asking some questions, we discovered the ghost was his old partner who died 10 years ago, showing up to his 8 year old daughter "younger and thinner" and that she was remembering a lifetime in Australia.  I suggested his partner was not haunting him, but keeping a watchful eye on someone he loved, and that he take out a map of Oz and ask his daughter "So, where did you live before?" He did, and she showed him, told him the epic story of her previous life and death... and finding him.

But I digress.

These details are not my "belief," a philosophy or a point of view. Or a religious concept.  

I'm just a frickin' reporter, man.

But the topic of checking yourself off the bus comes up a lot.  I've met parents whose children have departed early, I've spoken to people who consciously remember checking themselves off the planet in a previous lifetime, I've filmed people who remember a lifetime they left early during a previous lifetime. 

I spoke to a woman (recounted in "Flipside") who told me that she was on her way to do herself in, was literally standing in line at the hardware store with the chemicals she needed - when she overheard some boys from Uganda talking about their journey. Once she spoke to them she realized she was here on the planet to help them.  She now runs an orphanage for "lost boys" in Uganda.

She waited before she checked out.

Not all of us do that. Not all of us can.  It would be extremely irresponsible of me to claim that I know some magic formula for keeping people on the planet.  I don't.  But I do know what people say consistently.

This is the playground. This is the ballpark. This is the game that we all want to participate in. We sign up for roles that are difficult - in advance - because we know they're difficult. We sign up for them to learn a lesson. It might be a lesson in love, in forgiveness, it might be a lesson to teach others - it might even be because "we're in a hurry to get back to the other side because we have work to do over there that requires our full attention."  (I know what that sounds like.) But we sign up to come here for a reason.

What people report about the afterlife (I've filmed 35 deep hypnosis sessions, some with Scott De Tamble ( and some with others, I've examined Michael Newton's research (7000 cases over 30 years) and Dr. Helen Wambach's cases (2000) and people consistently say the same things (relatively): we choose to come here. We choose to learn or teach some lesson here. We eventually all get off stage and go "home." And there's no judgment negatively of how we get off stage. We are the only people who give ourselves a hard time for "quitting early" or for "screwing up everyone else's plans."

No punishment. No suffering. Just compassion. Some people don't want to hear that, don't like to hear that... but it's consistently reported. Now - would that fact make everyone jump into Niagara Falls? Or off the Golden Gate?

It's a bit like stopping in the middle of a play and shouting "I don't like this play!" and jumping off stage.  Not going to get much applause for that move. And when you get backstage, the rest of your cast is going to come and say to you "We're all going to have to do this again for you.  Thanks a lot."

(Here's the audible version of "Hacking the Afterlife")

But this film  "The Discovery" should engender a discussion about suicide and the afterlife. And I'm raising my hand to say a few things to Charlie, to Robert, to whomever wants to know... that there is a body of evidence out there about this topic.  If I may:

A. The afterlife has already been proven to exist. Look up "post materialist science" and you'll find the scientists on the cutting edge of this research.  We don't die.  We can't die. Suicide doesn't get us anywhere but off this stage.

B. That's no solace for parents who've lost a child, for a lover who's lost a friend. For anyone anywhere who has lost someone to suicide;  it's like a giant tsunami of sorrow that washes away everything in its path. It's not something we can take lightly.  But it is something we need to talk about. Openly.

C. This research into the afterlife shows us why we came here in the first place. We've had many many lifetimes. They all have a theme. If you examine the previous ones you may get to understand the theme, and understand why you've chosen this path and journey.

D. It takes courage to come here in the first place. According to the research, we can say "no" when our guides suggest a lifetime that is difficult.  We can say "No, I don't want to be a child born into poverty in africa, born HIV positive who lives with flies and dies in 6 months."  But there are those who say "I volunteer. Yes. I can teach a lesson in love. I can teach the doctors and nurses and those who fall in love with me a lesson in love. I can do this." Give them credit for having the courage to do so.

 I talk about this stuff in my books, or I go on at length about it in my book talks on youtube (I do mean at length - there's about 25 - 1 hour to 2 hour talks here): 

Which backs me all the way up to the woman who asked me "What's new in the world of the dead?"  She said "What's the point of all this past life research? I don't care who I was in the past, I just want to live my life as it is."  ("Don't turn on the stage lights please!")

I said "That's great.  But the reason it matters is because when you examine all the different lifetimes you've had, you'll see a theme - a healer, a doctor, a soldier, etc.. and you can choose to continue doing that, or realize that you might want to take on some other classes." Karma doesn't dictate who we are going to be - if we get to choose (or not choose) a lifetime it's because we think we're going to master whatever the lessons are from that life.

Past life/reincarnation research is important because once we realize that we've all chosen to come to the planet, doesn't it make sense to leave behind a clean campground, not only for our children, but for our own possible return? Leave behind fresh air, water and earth that we might enjoy it again?

She argued "But what about Hell? What about evil on the planet?"

I offered "If no one dies, then no one can be harmed, can they?  If they step off stage, they're backstage - there's no harm that can come to them over there.  Evil is a construct of the planet - because of it's polarized system, positive/negative. It only exists onstage. Once you're outside of time, or outside of this realm, it's doesn't exist, or it does so in relatively minute amounts. That's what's reported."

She said "What about those who have a near death experience and see evil?"  I said "In sessions I've filmed, when asked "Why did you choose to experience this?" these folks report that it disappears once they realize that they've chosen to go to wherever place they're experiencing. How could it dissolve unless it was a mental construct in the first place?"  

Plus no two accounts of heaven (or hell) are the same. If no two descriptions are the same, can it exist? It can only be an energetic construct based on the person conjuring it up. And in all the cases I've examined, I've never encountered a "dark side" - only descriptions of "being back home" that include the concept of "Unconditional love."

She gave me this 20 mile gaze, looking at me as if I was losing my marbles.

22 mile gaze.
I told her about the interview I did in "It's a Wonderful Afterlife" (vol 2) where I spoke to an attorney who claimed all of her clients who had committed 2nd degree murder had a visitation, "vision" or some other kind of visit from their victims where they heard a version of "I'm okay. And I can help you."  

It's not something anyone could ever talk about obviously - ("Hey judge, you'll never guess who visited me...") but it's related to the fact that everyone, once they're off the planet, no matter in what fashion - is okay. 

They're not gone. They're just not here.

I think it's sad to not be able to hold their hand, share a slice of pizza or have cappuccinos with them, but they're okay. 

If you ask them, they will tell you.

I had a woman approach me at a book talk once. Her daughter had been murdered. She put her finger in my face and said "How dare you say that my daughter's death somehow might have been part of her life's plan!"  I looked at the finger, then at her.  I sat her down.

"Can I speak frankly to you?" She said "I wish you would."  I asked "Since her death has she ever been to visit you, or have you felt her presence?" She said "All the time."  I asked "Was she a happy person?" She said "Yes." I said "Then pretend it is her. Imagine for a second that she's come back to see you and wants to give you a message. Imagine how hard it is for her to connect with you because you're so angry about her passing. Would she want you live your life in such anger?"

A sunset is a sunrise somewhere else.
She said "No."  I said "Well try to honor that then. Try to honor who she was by thinking of her in a positive light, remembering her laughter and what a light she was in your life.  Then allow her to communicate with you the best way that she knows how - it might not be a direct message, but it might be an indirect one. Might come from someone else, might come from a dream, a photograph you run across, a piece of music you both loved. Allow her into your life in the way that she would be able to reach out to you." 

A month later, I was giving a book talk in Santa Monica and spotted her in the back row.  Afterwards I went and sat with her. "How are you?" She said "I just wanted to come here, look you in the eye and say "Thank you for saving my life."

Tears came to my eyes. I said to her "Look, it's not me. It's the research. I'm just reporting what these people have said consistently. But thank you for saying that, it means a lot to me."

A couple of months later, I heard from this woman that she had progressed so far as to begin taking a stand-up comedy class. She'd found a way out of her anger and into something that could heal her and others. I hope she's doing well as I write this. 

No parent should have to lose a child. Therapy, suicide prevention, showing them a different way, talking openly and frankly about bullying, drugs, or any other process they might get in over their heads can help. Seek advice from a therapist. (avoid the SSRI pills if you can, but if the Doctor insists, then visit Richard Davidson's work at the University of Wisconsin where he proves scientifically that meditation can cure symptoms of depression (and circumvent SSRI drug use)).

But we can't always discern or understand why a loved one has left the stage... in whatever fashion. Try not to judge them for doing so, just keep your heart open to them.

Many judged Robin Williams harshly because he chose to check himself off the bus. But he's okay. He's just not here. People chose to judge Prince harshly for taking pain killers. But he's okay. He's just not here. People tend to focus on the method people get off stage - but if you realize that they're just back stage and you will see them again - why not focus on the light they brought into our lives?

All we can do is ask them. Through meditation, through hypnosis, perhaps through just opening our minds up to the question "Why?"  Hard to comprehend or accept the answers, but if we stay open to them, we often can hear the reason.

After this mother's comments, it made me reflect on my own path and journey - writing and directing films, trying to find the right path for myself. I realized no matter how many films I might make, I would never get a review like "Thank you for saving my life."  

Finally, I would offer kudos for this film "The Discovery" because the more we're talking about the flipside, about going there or coming back, the more it will help the planet.  Congratulations Netflix, (makers of another consciousness lifting show "The OA" which deals with near death experiences), Robert Redford, and Charlie McDowell (and co-writer Justin Lader)!

Break a leg. But not mine.

My two cents. Or in this case my two rupees.

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