Internet Blows It Again: Defending Your Life/Testimony Of Light

This is the third in what is apparently becoming a series. I have previously complained about the lack of information on the open internet about the night Cronkite stood up, and Patty/Kathy from the Patty Duke Show being quaternary cousins. And now, I complain that no one has pointed out the startling similarity between Testimony of Light: An Extraordinary Message of Life After Death by Helen Greaves (1969) and Defending Your Life written/directed Albert Brooks.(1991).

If you haven’t seen the film, stop here. If you have, ask yourself if the premise of the film doesn’t sound a lot like this scene from the book (condensed for space reasons):

Suddenly [there appeared] a cinema or television screen. Pictures began to emerge on it. They showed moments of stress, moments of triumph, moments of failure in the earth life of Doctor X. We saw patients; we watched him in his diagnoses; we followed him to the theater and witnessed his operations…

The pictures on the “screen” went on and on.

We were taken into the homes, lives, families of those on whom the Doctor had performed his successful operations. We saw the benefit to humanity, the healings, the resumption of happy, useful lives which were the results of this man’s skill.

To be fair, I wrote to Albert Brooks, and his assistant responded he’d never seen the book. And, I find that “life review” is a widely discussed topic, usually in the context of “my life flashed before my eyes” at the moment of death. But it is sufficiently out there that Brooks may simply have absorbed it and repeated it, something which may also have happened to Greaves.

RIP Maija Meijers

From “This is from Bruce, Maija’s loving husband. Maija, the conduit for these messages, passed away on 4/21/21. This page will no longer be updated with new daily messages. I hope that the Angel messages have brought you a measure of peace and comfort.” She served the angels by channeling their messages for the last 40 years of her life.

Maiji Ingrida Meijers was 69 years old, and lived in Western Massachusetts. I would have been glad of her for a few more years in my life, but I must not be selfish. As the angels told her to tell us, “There will be a time to Go Home.  There will be a time to lay aside the body illusion and fly free in Wisdom and Light.  But, meanwhile, be the window through which the Light shines.” She was that window her entire life.

In some sense, I am sure it is a relief to her to remove the makeup and costumes of the life illusion. On the other hand, she often said we aren’t going to heaven; we are already there. She’s just had a change of address.

I won’t be presumptuous enough to attempt an obituary, as my knowledge of this beautiful soul is fragmentary. Maija Ingrida Meijers lived in the room next to me at MIT’s co-ed co-operative Student House during the 1970-71 school year. MIT turned out not to be for her, so I last laid eyes on her almost exactly a half-century ago in the spring of 1971. At the age of 19, she was already deeply spiritual, and touched my soul in a way it has seldom been touched.

I was fortunate enough to be able to catch up with her, once the Internet had sufficient moxie to lead me to her website. She offered me telephone counseling several times, and was a regular e-mail correspondent. I was a daily reader during the 21st century. I recommend the now-static site and her books, available on Amazon. We are never gone as long as someone remembers us; Maija will still be here until I’m gone.

Book Review: Into the Magic Shop *****

(this ties in with the lead item, Compassion Changed Me)

Doty MD, James R.: Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

Once in a while, you read a book you know is life-changing―for others, if not for you. Two years ago, this book would have changed my life. After my spiritual journey of 2020, it’s just reinforcement for me, but it might be more for you.

I agree with the Dalai Lama, this is a remarkable and compelling book. It is similar (in a good way) to Dan Millman’s The Way Of The Peaceful Warrior, as it tells the story of a young man meeting an unlikely teacher and learning life-changing lessons―in this case about meditation and visualization. It should be given to every 12-year-old in the world. My grandson will get it when he’s ready to understand it, although I hope and pray he will already know about meditation and visualization by the time he is that old.

(I am shocked to find I never recommended Peaceful Warrior before: read the book or watch the movie.)

The two best quotes from the Magic Shop: “...when our heart changes, everything changes. And that change is not only in how we see the world, but in how the world sees us.”

And, “It's the same with wounds in our heart. We need to give them our attention so that they can heal. Otherwise, the wound continues to cause us pain. Sometimes for a very long time. We are all going to get hurt. That's just the way it is. But here's the trick about the things that hurt us and cause us pain―they also serve an amazing purpose... We grow through pain.”

Amen. I know every word of this paragraph is true because I discovered that you can heal a wounded heart―even after four decades―if you pay attention to the wound.

Doty also writes for the Huntington Post. I highly recommend On Grudges and Forgiveness: These studies show us the cost of not forgiving others can be physically taxing on us. I know this from personal experience as well.

And the most amazing thing  he discusses is the Heart Brain, noting the scientific fact that the  heart sends more messages to the brain than the brain does to the heart. Could the ancients have been right about this one? Check out some interesting heart intelligence science.

Heart Warmer

From my UPI chat group, this heartwarmer from Ron Cohen:

Daughter Zen got her initial COVID vaccination today in Israel. She is considered a critical health care worker.

A certified chaplain, she works a day or two a week at the hospital in Tzfat. She tours the whole hospital and sings to patients, accompanying herself with a variety of stringed instruments — guitar, ukulele, etc. Her visits are eagerly awaited by the patients — the highlight of the week for many.

Her specialty is singing to tiny newborns in the preemie ward. Even though they are separated by glass windows, the many monitors hooked onto their tiny bodies confirm they are involuntary responding. (Her singing improves their vital signs)

She always has intended her music to be palliative and comforting. As so many of my friends are well aware, I am very, very proud of her.

(Listen to a song she composed and performed for a cancer patient)

This and That

Enola Holmes
 Enola Holmes on Netflix: not great art, but funny and entertaining. If you are an anglophile, like me, or a Sherlockian, like me, it is well worth your time. Meet Sherlock’s mom!

Obeying Women
By coincidence, several films we have watched in recent weeks included scenes of strong women bluntly telling the men in their lives exactly what to do. Good things happen to the men when they willingly obey. That certainly matches my experience.

The Way It Used To Be
Fred Hutchison, an MIT classmate of mine worked for Frank Church and wrote an op-ed for the Spokane paper about long-gone congressional comity, and the greatest generation. I think it is worth reading. I agree with him: the shared experience of military service probably helped produce comity. The Congress was 70% ex-military in the 70s, down to 20% today, compared to 4% of the general population.

In this terrible time, it is a good idea to consider risk in relative terms. One of the best relative terms is the micromort, explained here. You should know whether flying on an airplane is more or less dangerous than riding a horse.
My Oddball Vocabulary
Two vocabulary notes. What can I say? I am an Anglophile. I wondered out loud what the “chattering classes” had to say about the first debate. That's what the British call commentators. Also, what can I say; I was taught to speak by two people born in the 1930s. I doubt there is anyone left alive, besides me, who would say “Harris is going to take Pence apart like a 50-cent watch."
Current Events
Enjoy Weird Al’s video op-Ed for PBS and the New York Times (who knew Autotune was a tool for piercing political commentary?) and Randy Rainbow’s parody for silly people.
I love my retired UPI reporter chat group. How else would I have discovered:
30 Of The Most Savage Tweets From God’s Twitter Account

and, by implication

God's Twitter Account (unverified)


Want to hear samples of all the broadcast and Internet audio I did over the years? I didn't think so, but if you ever change your mind, they are called 35 Years Before The Mic







Working on your Gratitude Practice

A comment left on my “taking kindness for granted” item last week has moved me to write about things we should be grateful for, but often aren’t.

The power company cut our power off for days last summer because they have maintained their high voltage lines so poorly they are fire hazards. PG&E didn’t put it that honestly, of course, but facts don’t stop being facts just because you don’t like them.

Instead of grumbling, I should have spent every day of the outage thanking god that I still had gas for cooking (provided by the same inept power company, yet miraculously uninterrupted), running water and indoor plumbing.

The United Nations says 4 billion people don’t have an improved sanitation facility -- one that hygienically separates human excreta from human contact. When my daughter was in the Peace Corps in Mali, the brief description was “a hole with some concrete around it.” The unofficial Peace Crops anthem is Poop in a Hole.

You probably have a flush toilet or two in your house: those are improved sanitation facilities.

In my daughter’s village, fresh water was a half mile away. One third of the world’s people are in that situation or worse. Pour yourself a glass of water and think about that.

It’s never too late to volunteer for the Peace Corps, or to give money to someone who is somewhere far away, pooping in a hole, hoping to bring fresh water to one village at a time.

Taken for Granted: A Lifetime of Kindness

Sometimes there are amazing aspects of life that you don’t see as amazing because they are so commonplace in your life. I think we are all better off if we can see these things, but it can be hard to come to an awareness of the extraordinary nature of your circumstances by yourself.

I had the help of an old friend this week. My wish in writing this is that you, too, may get by with a little help from your friends in this terrible time. Celebrate the great parts of your life: you may discover they are rarer gems than you realized.

I casually mentioned to my friend that my wife had literally never said a mean or hurtful thing to me in 40 years of marriage. Occasional sarcasm, yes, but she never hurt me, on purpose or by accident. The same was true for my parents, except with more sarcasm.

My friend was taken aback by the statement. “Don’t you argue?” she asked. “Yes we do, but it is never about us as people, it is always about the subject at hand. No ad hominem attacks take place,” that is, no attacks on each other as people.

She said this had not been true in her life, either as a child or in her marriage. Her surprise triggered a wave of gratitude as I realized that I have taken for granted the situation which many people would give their left arm for: a lifetime of almost uninterrupted kindness.

I had a sudden blinding moment of awareness. The kindness I had taken for granted all these years was, in fact, a rare and precious thing. I appreciated it before; now I appreciate it more.

I hope you find aspects of your life you can appreciate more in this time of difficulty.

This is exactly the sort of thing I have been writing poems about during the last six months, and it may well turn into a poem at some point. But my muse pushed me to prose this morning, apparently because prose is faster and easier and she felt it was important to get this out sooner rather than later, and to a larger audience (you!) than simply my wife, the audience for most of my poetry. It may become a poem yet.

I hope you too have experienced this blessing of awareness (or for that matter, kindness); if not I want you to know that it is possible and you deserve it. I have lived it.

Love and Medicine?

A very good, very long-time friend steered me to Love, Medicine and Miracles: Lessons Learned about Self-Healing from a Surgeon's Experience with Exceptional Patients by Bernie S. Siegel. I will give it a slightly more formal review when I am done, but as I go through it, I find it takes me breath away. It is yet another book pointing out that the mind/body dichotomy is a lot of crap. Here’s a quote that struck me: “Peace of mind sends a live message while depression, fear and unresolved conflict give it a die message.”

Sadly, I am sure Dr. Siegel had had to give up one practice he developed as part of his effort to know his patients better. He was hugging them. I suspect that is not allowed at present, but I know it will be again someday.

If someone in your life has reduced your unresolved conflict, they have helped you stay alive. Call or write and thank them this week. I know I have.