If you’re looking for a TV series focused on those who communicate with spirits of the dead, check out Afterlife, a British show first broadcast in 2005. (You can watch the series online on PBS.) The main characters are the medium and an academic who becomes involved with her through his skepticism about the paranormal. The show ran for two seasons.
This 40-minute podcast offers a tour through the state of research into consciousness, including the study of meta-cognition, or studying how people and their brains function when they reflect on their own consciousness.
The hosts of the show are guided by cognitive neuroscientist Anil Seth. They visit Professor Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, Washington, as part of their journey. Koch is pursuing integrated information theory, which posits that a system that can integrate information and cause changes in itself is conscious. This means that consciousness extends not just to mammals but to all multi-cellular life, so, for example, a bee has some modicum of experience of being a bee. This raises questions of degree – at what point does consciousness not exist? This shares some elements with pan-psychism, which argues that consciousness exists in everything.
Koch says we have to realize that science comes up with theories that seem counterintuitive but can turn out to be true. Such was the case with many major advances, such as the theory that the earth is round, which was initially rejected because it would seem that everyone would fall off a round world.
Dr. Steve Fleming at University College of London discusses how important the study of consciousness is. We don’t understand it, so understanding it would be a huge scientific success. But we also have a practical need to understand it, Flemin said, so we can address what happens with mental illness or patients who appear to be unaware but might have an interior mental life.
Many readers of The Hand on the Mirror have dealt with loss and grief just as Janis has, and this review gives a great overview of many books with dying as the focal point. They are filled with touching stories and beautiful writing.
This 4-minute song by Sinead O’Connor, called The Healing Room, offers a beautiful respite from a hectic world and reminds us that we all have healing power inside ourselves.
The world has lost the physical presence of a pioneer whose visit to our moon inspired him to expand his awareness of human possibilities and consciousness. Two articles are included here. The first is the obituary of this great American by The New York Times. The second is a tribute to his work on consciousness, with much more detail about the significance of his work. It was compiled by Eternea, a group devoted to research and exploring the power of consciousness.
And now for something totally different: this isn’t a new song, but it’s a nice reminder as the New Year begins that each of us can make a difference in the world.
If you want to think about your life in a new way, this very short story by Andy Weir is just right for you. Weir is the author of the novel The Martian on which the movie with Matt Damon was based. We won’t spoil the surprise ending, but you won’t think of consciousness the same way again.
As Janis shared with her readers around Thanksgiving, http://thehandonthemirror.org/news/let-thanksgiving-and-smiles-lift-you-up, the holidays can be a rough time when you have lost a loved one. Forever Family Foundation, which supports grieving families and afterlife science, has a great resource list for those who face this challenge. http://www.foreverfamilyfoundation.org/site/support_and_information
Here are a few articles with advice on this emotional time when an absence is felt even more deeply.
This thoughtful story by CNN religion writer John Blake examines what appears to be a trend toward less discussion of heaven and what it’s like from many Christian pulpits.
This message on Oprah’s network rang very true. Author Janis Heaphy Durham was entrenched in the very concrete world of business and journalism as a newspaper publisher until unusual occurrences after the death of her husband drew her back to her spiritual center. They led to her writing The Hand on the Mirror. Did being female make her more open to new spiritual questions? Here’s the short video that suggests women are naturally spiritual.