Over the years, I have read several books purporting to be words of wisdom channelled[i] from “the other side”, a rather general euphemism for that curious place/space where non-incarnate beings apparently reside, work, play, educate, learn, or do whatever it is they do there. In spite of this being a somewhat flippant beginning to this post, the amazing wisdom that seems to come from these beings and the various writers and authors who have shared their words with readers has often left me amazed. In this post, I’d like to comment on some of the books of this ilk that I have found most interesting, insightful, profound, sometimes moving, and often life-changing.
The Afterlife of Billy Fingers by Annie Kagen is hot off the presses this year and has quickly gained popularity and fans. I picked it up at my local library—the title was so cheesy I never would have bought it—and I was quickly caught up by both the story and its implications. According to the author, after Annie’s “bad boy” brother Billy died, his spirit came back to communicate with her, and together they wrote this book about his experiences in the afterlife. Whether you believe that the premise is true or not, the book will leave you thinking about the implications for days. It’s an easy book to read and the story is compellingly told, as each encounter Annie has with her dead brother’s spirit, in spite of her initial scepticism, increases her belief while building a picture of what might happen after death. I found the book surprisingly moving and insightful, and I think Annie is sharing an experience and information she believes is true.
I have long been a fan of Neale Donald Walsch’s wonderful Conversations with God series. A modern-day Job[ii], Walsch had lost his wife, a fire destroyed his belongings, and a car accident left him with a broken neck. In total despair, he pleaded with God, “Why me?” and got an answer, which he turned into the first of the Conversations with God books and which became an international best-seller in 1995. There are now three main Conversations with God books, and another six books on a similar theme, plus a movie and several inspirational organisations. The books are written in the format of Walsch asking questions and God answering, and they have become enormously popular. Walsch’s God reminds us that we are co-creators with God, gratitude trumps supplication, nothing is unforgivable, love is really all there is, and we are all one. (Find more principles of the series here.) If there was just one spiritual book I could recommend to most folks, it would probably be the first book in this series.
A Course in Miracles became very popular some years ago. Helen Schucman and William Thetford, both professors of medical psychology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and not of a religious/spiritual background, felt compelled to share with a wider audience the curious material Helen received from what she called “the Voice” (heard inside her head, but seemingly coming from elsewhere). Over seven years in the writing, this weighty tome is Biblical/Christian in flavour, and consists of a main text, a workbook for students, and a manual for teachers. I gave up shortly after starting the main text—it’s a plough!—but I did persevere through about half of the workbook for students, a series of short daily exercises that enable you to recognize the nature of reality and your relationship to it. (Example, Lesson 2: “I have given everything in this room [on this street, from this window, in this place] all the meaning that it has for me.”)
The biggest inspiration for writing this post is my recent discovery of the Seth material, channelled through Jane Roberts and transcribed by her husband Robert F Butts in the 1970s. Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul is the first one I read, and I am now part way through The Nature of Personal Reality. There are several more Seth books, some dictated as specific books and others documenting none-book sessions with Seth. (Seth is the non-corporal entity that channelled through Jane.) Along with Seth’s dictation, the books include Jane’s and Robert’s thoughts and observations about what they are doing, what happens during the sessions, what they think about who Seth is, how channelling works, and the significance of Seth’s messages to them personally, to others, and to the wider world. These books are considered seminal material for much of modern New Age thought.
Although I’d heard of the “the Seth material” before, I am astonished it has taken me so long to actually sit down and read it, and I am blown away by the information available here—who we are, why we are here, what happens to us when we are not here (before birth/after death), how reincarnation works, karma, the whole gamut. There are things I am not totally comfortable with: Jane and Robert lived in America, which in many areas was/is fundamentalist Christian, and there is a persistent Christian lean in some of Seth’s examples—it’s almost as if Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and other religions weren’t even on the planet. Also, while I can maybe buy references to Atlantis (after all, even Plato talked about Atlantis), I’m more sceptical of Lumaria. Still, these are amazing, fascinating, insightful, thoughtful, and worthy books for anyone interested in understanding what it means to be human. I’m sold.
Lastly, although it’s not a book, I’d like to do a little plug for Abraham-Hicks. Abraham is purportedly a group of non-corporal entities who channel through Esther Hicks. Branded under “Law of Attraction”, there is a whole series of books, videos, CDs, workshops and events smartly packaged around Abraham’s wisdom for life. While it may seem a bit slick, there is a lot of wisdom in the Abraham material. I subscribe to the free daily Law of Attraction quote, and almost always click my daily email message to see some wise words to start the day. You can find a number of you-tube clips with the channelled voice of Abraham on a variety of topics, like this one. This is Abraham's voice channelled through Esther, and obviously in front of an audience, on the topic of creating your own reality.
[i] Usually “channelled” refers to an actual voice that comes through a medium, thus an incarnate spirit apparently “borrows” the body and speaking mechanism of a living person who often is in a trance state and unaware of what is being said. In other cases, the medium “hears” the voice and passes on the message either verbally or in written form and is fully aware of the message at the time of delivery.
[ii] See the book of Job in the Bible. Job was inflicted with all manner of trial and tribulation but never lost his faith in God, who eventually restored all to him and more.