An experiment in interconnectedness

IntegratingScienceExperimentJune15You know that I write mostly on subjects like the mind-body connection, self-love, my dog Oscar who passed away last year, as well as kindness and compassion and the science of how they affect our health. But also, from time-to-time, I write on more ‘out there’ topics, like synchronicities, the nature of consciousness, and interconnectedness, as I have covered all of these subjects in some of my 8 books.

OK, so this is one of those. It’s an experiment in interconnectedness – how we are connected through space.

Quantum Physics has shown us entanglement, where the state of one particle is correlated with the state of another, irrespective of distance (and now time, it seems). Numerous studies have also show correlations between the physiological or neurological states of two people even if they are separated in space.

In June, I unexpectedly participated in such an experiment. I was running my annual 5-day ‘Integrating Science’ event, where I show people how to integrate science into their own practices. I host the event at my favourite holistic centre, Lendrick Lodge, in the Scottish countryside. As well as mainstream topics like the placebo effect, meditation, visualisation, emotional contagion, the effects of compassion and kindness on the brain, heart, and inflammatory process, I also cover more ‘out there’ subjects.

On the third evening of the course we (the participants and I) were having a discussion about the interconnectedness of life and discussing some of the scientific evidence of it. We discussed experiments that seemed to show the connections using MRI or EEG. These experiments note correlations between the neural states of people who are separated by a distance; that is, as one person’s state changes, it seems to correlate with a change in state of the other person at precisely the same time. We discussed how these correlations tend to be strongest when two subjects (people) in an experiment share an emotional bond.

One of the participants (Ann) suggested that we try our own experiment, given that by this stage of the course, the group had emotionally bonded really well. I happened to have my heart monitor with me, a device called ‘emWave’, by Heartmath, so Ann suggested we connect one of the participants to the device and then the rest of the group would ‘send’ loving and kind intentions from another room.

Another of the participants (Rebecca) volunteered to be connected to the device. I sat with her in the teaching room while the group gathered in the dining room where they would then ‘send’ their intentions to Rebecca.

When we first decided on the experiment, we had simply discussed seeing if the group could collectively focus on Rebecca and we’d see if this correlated with a change in Rebecca’s heart rhythms (as measured by the heart monitor), so I assumed they were going to focus on Rebecca within a minute or so. Unknown to me, Ann suggested to the group that they modify things.

She later told me, “I reckoned you were too attached to the outcome of the experiment so opted to try something different from what you thought we were going to do.”

So they decided to do an ‘on-off-on’ kind of experiment, where they would ‘send’ loving-kindness to Rebecca – then stop – and then start again. Ann spent some time (9 minutes) going through the set-up with the group, explaining they that would do a loving-kindness meditation directed towards Rebecca, or whichever each individual felt most comfortable with, and they’d do it for 2 minutes. The loving-kindness meditation is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation also known as ‘metta’ that has been shown to have a whole range of positive health benefits.

Following this they would do a 1-minute disconnect, where they would withdraw their focus from Rebecca and focus on something stressful in their own lives for a period of 1 minute. Following a short 15-second calm period to refocus, they would again focus on sending loving-kindness to Rebecca for another 2 minutes. So, all in, they would do 2 minutes on – 1 minute off – followed by 2 minutes on, hence ‘on-off-on’.

Throughout the whole time, Rebecca simply closed her eyes and relaxed. I sat beside her and did the same. At the end of the time the group came back into the teaching room.

We were all stunned by the results. As you can see from the charts below, the rhythms of Rebecca’s heart correlated extremely accurately with the state of the group. At the point when they first ‘sent’ loving kindness, there was an immediate and dramatic increase in the coherence of Rebecca’s heart rhythms.

OK, first a wee bit about what the heart monitor shows. It measures Heart Rate Variability (HRV), which is the difference in your heart rate as you breathe in and out. Mostly, your heart rate should increase a little as you breathe in, as the sympathetic branch of your autonomic nervous system (ANS) kicks into gear, and then it should decrease a little as the parasympathetic (vagus) branch of your ANS kicks in, initiating the ‘rest and relax’ mode. The difference between the high (on the increase) and the low (on the decrease) is called heart rate variability. When HRV is very ordered and stable (or smooth) it is referred to as coherence.

IntegratingScienceExperimentJune15At the precise moment when the group sent loving-kindness to Rebecca (at 9 minutes), there was a huge increase in the coherence of Rebecca’s heart rhythms. If the group were indeed affecting her then their collective intentions were actually affecting Rebecca’s ANS and her heart rhythms!

The group sharply withdrew their loving and kind focus on Rebecca after 2 minutes (at 11 minutes on the chart), and as you can see from the chart, this correlated with a sharp decrease in the coherence of Rebecca’s heart rhythms.

For the next 1 minute, the group did a ‘disconnect’, where they focused on something (or someone) stressful in their lives. During this time (from 11 minutes to 12min 15 seconds), Rebecca’s heart coherence dropped significantly, as you can see in the chart.

What about that extra 15 seconds? At the end of the 1-minute disconnect, the group paused for about 15 seconds to gather their focus before beginning a second 2-minute period of loving-kindness focusing on Rebecca (at 12min 15seconds). Again, this correlated with an increase in Rebecca’s heart coherence.

I find the timing up to this point really quite astonishing. The synchronisation between the intentions of the group and the changes in Rebecca’s heart rhythms is to within a few seconds.

The final 2-minute period didn’t correlate quite as well, although Rebecca’s heart rhythms remained coherent for one and a half of the two minutes (from 12min 15 seconds through until 13min 45seconds). If we were indeed seeing a connection between Rebecca and the group, which I believe we were, then there could be any number of reasons for this. Only repeats of the experiment, perhaps with more ‘on-off-on’ periods would prove for sure what we were seeing.

So assuming we are seeing true interconnectedness, what does this tell us? It tells us that we are far more connected that most of us assume. It suggests that maybe we can have health-giving effects on our loved ones even when we’re not in their presence, simply by holding an idea of them in our hearts and minds and filling this idea with love, kindness, and compassion.

On the contrary, how often do we lose ourselves in the frustrations of life? Could we be having subtle negative effects on people we mentally focus our frustrations on? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not so sure, to be honest. We didn’t measure the negative side of things. The group didn’t send any negative intentions towards Rebecca. That would not have been right. Instead, they simply removed their positive intentions.

My gut feeling is that loving intentions are more powerful than ones based in fear. If it were the other way around, I doubt our species would have survived this long.

Connections also seem to be stronger when there is an emotional bond present, and I’d suggest that bond needs to be a warm bond, infused with empathy, compassion, love, kindness. From my reading of other experiments, I’d say empathy is key as it’s from empathy that other positive and loving intentions arise.

So I personally think people in our lives would benefit more if we tried to think of them in their best light. It can be difficult, especially when we have a lot going on and when we have issues with some people, but then almost everything can be improved with practice. Perhaps, believing that our intentions can help others could serve as motivation to practice.

And the positive emotions benefit you as well. Heartmath say that, “When you intentionally shift to a positive emotion, heart rhythms immediately change. A shift in heart rhythms, from chaotic to coherent, creates a favourable cascade of neural, hormonal, and biochemical events that benefit the entire body. The stress-reducing effects are both immediate and long-lasting.”

So here’s my advice. It’s pretty simple, really. Here it is: Try to see the best in people.

You never know what’s going on in a person’s life (or has happened in their past) that causes them to behave in the way they do. Let this simple idea guide you to at least trying to see the best in people.

 

Big thanks to:

Rebecca Ryder, Ann Hutchison, Ann Ayton, Julie Barbour, Hazel Bridgewater, Millicent Grant, Anne Hainan, Tracy Harrison, Joe Hayes, Debbie McLeod, Leslie Moultrie, Sandra Paterson, Annie Pownall, Heather Salter, Adargoma Sanabria, Carrie Sanderson, Jo Sawkins, Rosie Stevens, Sian Withers.

Thanks, also, to Lendrick Lodge, and Stephen & Victoria Mulhearn.

Is reality a simulation?

virtual reality simulationYou know I like to write on the fusion of science, self-help, and spirituality. Well I think this article pretty much spices things up a bit so try to soak it up in a light-hearted way.

The pace of development of computer technology is phenomenal. Have you heard of Moore’s Law? In 1965, Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel, predicted that “the number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.” The law has held true for the past half century. In the early 70s, the average chip had a couple of thousand transistors. Modern chips have around 5-10 billion.

There’s more power in a pocket calculator than in the guidance computer used by the first Apollo manned lunar program, for instance; more power in a smart phone than in the first Space Shuttle.

Exponential

Computers have become smaller yet their power is increasing exponentially. For the purpose if this article, it’s important I explain what exponential is. If you know then feel free to skip this wee section. If you don’t, you might find it fascinating.

Exponential growth basically means that growth appears to accelerate to infinity in the relatively near future. Think of it this way. Linear growth is where you continue to add a number to another number, like this:

If we start with 0 and keep adding 2, we get the series: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16,18…62 (after 30 additions)… 102 (after 50 additions)

But with exponential, we are doubling each time instead of adding. The result is very different. Starting with 1 we get:

1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 (10 doublings), 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384, 32786, 65536, 131072, 262144, 524288, 1048576, (i.e. about 1 million after 20 doublings)… 109 (i.e. 1 billion, after 30 doublings), 1012 (1 trillion after 40 doublings)… 1015 (after 50 doublings), which is 1,000,000,000,000,000.

Compare the number ‘102’ after 50 additions (linear growth) with ‘1,000,000,000,000,000’ after 50 doublings (exponential growth) and you can see the difference between linear and exponential growth. Computing power is growing exponentially like this and has been for the past 50 years. As you get to bigger numbers, that is, faster computing power, developments seem to accelerate. You might have noticed! Look at the pace of development of computer technology in the past decade compared to the decade before. It appears to have accelerated.

From our simple perspective of thinking of things linearly – i.e. adding one thing to another – exponential growth literally appears to ‘explode’ into infinity.

What does that actually mean for computing power and how does it relate to the question of whether reality is a simulation or not?

I don’t mean to screw with your head here so please just take what I write with a pinch of salt. Much of it is just me having some fun with ideas.

Doubling of computing power is what’s occurring every 2 years. At the moment our best technology has the computing power approximately equal to an insect brain. It sounds like we’re quite primitive! But in a few years of exponential growth, we should have surpassed the power of a rodent brain. By around 2025 we’re looking at reaching the power of a human brain. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) should surpass us in computing power. But just 25 years later, around 2050, if exponential growth keeps up, AI should have the computing power of every single human brain combined. That kind of computing power is unimaginable to us right now. It would be like downloading the entire current Internet plus everything that’s ever been written in recorded human history into a device the size of a small molecule in an infinitesimally tiny fraction of a second.

And that power will double again just two years after that, and double again two years after that… and so on into apparent infinity.

Where will we be in by end of the century? What about by the 24th century? OK, here’s where I’m going with my playful train of thought.

We currently have technology where a pilot can fly a plane with his mind, where simple thoughts are read through activation of brain regions. We have technology that can map the brain into a kind of grid where it’s easy to ‘read’ which brain regions are activated when a person thinks a particular thought. In the piloting example, the grid is integrated into the plane’s controls. A pilot simply thinks ‘left’ and this activates, say, region C7 of the grid. Since the grid is part of the navigation controls, the computer simply reads C7 as an instruction to veer the plane to the left. The same technology is being incorporated into state-of-the-art prosthetic devices. The suggestion of this, say, 20 years ago would have seemed preposterous. A glimpse of the future would have appeared supernatural.

We also have holographic technology and virtual reality simulators that appear astonishingly real. I don’t think it will be very long at all before our computing power will give us virtual reality (VR) simulators that appear like reality. It’s just a matter of computing speed, like how the ZX-81 with its block graphics in the 80s gradually evolved into streaming live HD TV on a tablet.

All it would take to make physical objects seem completely solid in a VR simulator is an electrical current applied to regions of the body as a person ‘touches’ an object, like to the finger when a person touches something solid. There’s nothing actually there at all, but to all intents and purposes, our senses would tell us there was. Then we have VR as indistinguishable from actual reality.

At our current exponential rate of development, I predict we’ll have more than surpassed this in 50 years from now. A person could then live an entire lifetime inside a VR simulator that would appear completely real to her or him.

So here’s a playful thought. Given the age of the universe (13.8 billion years) and the 300 billion or so known galaxies, each with their roughly 300 billion stars, and then multiply that by a truly astronomical number representing the estimated number of universes (if you take up-to-date cosmological theories), I think it almost inconceivable that an advanced civilization has not already reached such a place. We’re talking of VR as indistinguishable from actual reality in 50 years… the universe has existed for 13.8 billion years and other universes (again taking up-to-date cosmology theories) might have been around trillions and trillions and trillions of years.

If I were creating such technology I’d want to make it the most real it could be. I’d have us enter the simulator and experience ourselves as a single fertilized cell, so that by the time that cell has grown into a human fetus, a player’s consciousness would be fully integrated into the idea of a physical form. As it’s just been a few months, the player will remember his or her previous life outside of the simulator, but maybe they’d start to forget after living as a human for a few years with the constant stimulus around them. By the time they learn to speak as a toddler, a player would likely have completely forgotten where she or he came from; they might have completely forgotten their existence before ‘birth’ and so spend an entire lifetime living their new life.

Perhaps some players would get fragments of memories of their time before entering the simulation, where they chose where they wanted to start their ‘life’. They would have chosen lines of code to become their genetic code so they’d have certain characteristics. Maybe players would enter the simulator with some family or friends and live together in varying relationships.

And let me stretch my playful idea a little further, just for fun.

How do we even know that human form is our ‘real’ form, if we are existing in some kind of simulation where human form is simply a consequence of computer (aka, genetic) code?

Given the age of the universe, life could have evolved so that no physical body is even needed and consciousness is free to attach itself to a single atom or any particular bunch of atoms. In that sense, we would all be truly infinite. The true description of yourself would be ‘I Am’. Not ‘I am this’ or ‘I am that’; ‘this’ or ‘that’ would be temporary forms. Your ‘universal’ description would be ‘I am’… and that’s it.

Computers by this time would be quantum computers (scientists are building those today) that simply involve arranging subatomic particles into patterns. And since consciousness could attach itself to atoms and particles, consciousness would control the quantum computers and, in a sense, the computers would be part of us.

If such a thing were true, the simulation we humans currently find ourselves in is merely a projection of our own consciousness and ‘life’, in many ways for us, resembles a cinematic projection in 3D but one that is controlled by our conscious and unconscious thoughts and beliefs. In human life we have no idea of who or what we are.

If I were such a consciousness, seemingly infinite, I think it would be quite fun to forget who and what I am for a while and create a simulation of ‘primitive’ human life.

Anyway, I did say I was having a play with some ideas. Don’t take this too seriously. 🙂

It’s funny how things work out sometimes

connectedHave you ever wondered if things happen for a reason? A very unusual thing happened in my life a few years ago. I still chuckle to myself when I think about it today. 🙂

Between 2001 and the end of 2002, I had been director of a charity (Spirit Aid Foundation) that a few friends and I had set up. I had many roles within that charity, as is often the case when budgets are limited and so volunteers have to learn to turn their hands to many different tasks.

One of my roles had been to build the charity’s website. At the end of 2002, I stepped down from my work with the charity so that I could start work on writing my first book (It’s the Thought that Counts). A few days after I left, I received a call from a volunteer (Pat) who had assumed responsibility for the website. She excitedly told me that a local IT company had agreed to create a new website for free but that she would need all the original files for the site asap. Could I get them to her by tomorrow? No problem, I told her.

I got out my laptop, opened up the files, popped a CD in the drive and pressed ‘Save’. Nothing happened. I hit ‘Save’ again and again and again. Still nothing. I tried a different CD and the result was the same. I actually went through a whole pack of CDs and none of them worked either.

I decided I needed some new CDs so I jumped in the car and drove to the nearest town where I could purchase some new CDs. I entered the shop and immediately came face to face with a large display of cheap floppy discs. I made my way around them, chuckling to myself that floppy discs are ‘so yesterday’. Being tech savvy, I told myself, I would be using CDs as they are the ‘in thing’. This was 2002, around the time when floppy discs were being phased out and replaced with CDs, which could store much more data.

Everywhere I looked for CDs in the shop, I kept finding floppy discs. Eventually I had to ask a store assistant where to find them. When I took them to the counter to pay, the assistant even then attempted to sell me floppy discs on special offer. I think they had an excess of stock they wanted rid of. Affirming how tech savvy I was, I even gave the assistant a little lecture on the differences in storage capacity between a floppy disc and a CD and why it’s much better to use CDs.

Proud of my new purchase of a pack of five shiny new CDs, I made my way back home. I popped a CD in the drive and pressed, ‘Save’. Nothing! I went through all five of my new CDs and none of them worked.

Not being one to allow myself to get too stressed, I had concluded at that time in my life that if I started to feel stressed, a good exercise was to do the exact opposite from what was stressing me. So naturally, knowing that I really needed to get the files onto a CD and to the post office by around 5pm, I decided to take the rest of the day off instead.

I phoned Elizabeth and she collected me in her little Fiat Cinquecento. We decided to go for a drive to somewhere nice where we could have lunch. Once in the car, Elizabeth asked me where we were going. I hadn’t a clue. I hadn’t thought that far ahead. So I opened up the AA Road Atlas (this was 2002, long before we had a sat nav) and found the large double page that covered central Scotland, where my small village of Banknock could be found. The page spanned quite a large area of cities, towns, villages about 250 by 250 kilometres, so I randomly selected as our destination a small town neither of us had ever visited, which was about an hours’ drive away.

When we got there, we drove into a large car park that was utterly deserted so we had our choice of parking spaces. Elizabeth selected one, parked and switched the engine off. As I stepped out of the car, a little box right in the centre of the adjacent parking space caught my attention. I moved closer to examine it and was quite taken by surprise when I learned that it was a box of ten floppy discs!

I decided not to touch them, just in case somebody had dropped them and was maybe on their way back for them. So we went for a walk and stopped into a pub to get some lunch, where we stayed for the next hour or so before returning to the car. We had swiftly concluded that perhaps one of the reasons why we’d never visited that town, nor had heard of family of friends visiting it, was because there really wasn’t much to see or do.

Back at the car park, still there, sitting ‘parked’ in its very own space, was the box of floppy discs. This is when I had the thought that maybe they were meant for me, so I took them and we drove back home again.

It’s a useful strategy for managing stress and boosting your creativity, to do something completely different from what is causing you stress. Back at my laptop I decided to once again attempt to save the web files onto CDs. I figured that I probably did something in error earlier in the day. Now that I felt refreshed I had a feeling I’d spot my error. And spot it I did. My error was that I didn’t actually have a CD Writer so I couldn’t possibly save onto a CD.

I had a CD Reader. Computers nowadays (the ones that still use CDs, that is) have the ability to read a CD (i.e. open what’s on it) and write a CD (i.e. burn files onto it). In 2002, you needed to buy a CD Writer, which was a little box you plugged into the side of your computer. I didn’t have one, despite my proclaimed tech savvyness. This was the point I felt a little pang of regret at having lectured the shop assistant about all my knowledge of technology. I had needed floppy discs all along.

But it’s funny how things work out. I just happened to have a new box of floppy discs that I had found in a car park a few hours earlier. I used them instead. And I actually needed all ten of them as there were so many files.

Once it was done, I packed them up and just made it to the post office as it was closing for the day, thereby ensuring that, as promised, Pat received all of the website files the next day.

I often wonder how weird stuff happens. Being scientifically minded, I have difficulty leaving things be. I have to find an explanation. Statistically, the chances of finding a box of ten floppy discs in a car park an hours’ drive away, where I could have selected anywhere in the same radius, when I actually needed floppy discs, is round about zero, I would think. If I thought I could do it again, I think I’d have more success betting on winning the lottery two weeks in a row.

I have written in some of my blogs (see: A Cluster of Synchronicities and Do You Have a 6th Sense?) and in one of my books (Is Your Life Mapped Out?) about how we’re all connected and, in fact, how everything is connected to everything, and that if we play with the idea that consciousness is not inside the head but is spread out over the universe, then that might provide part of an explanation for why we seem to sometimes attract who and what we focus our attention on.

In this case, my larger (subconscious) awareness knew all along that I needed a box of floppy discs and, as everything is connected, was also aware of exactly where I could find such a box. At first, it drew me to a shop where I was given numerous opportunities to purchase them, but where I instead elected to let my ego have its say as I explained the merits of CDs to the shop assistant who, for the sake of good customer service, feigned some interest.

My subconscious must have had a sense of humour that day as it then seeded the idea of choosing a place nearly 100 kilometres away where I would have no choice but to accept the floppy discs that I had needed all along.

That’s my explanation anyway. I do think it’s funny how things work out sometimes.

Can we see dead people?

can you see the face of a dog?
can you see the face of a dog?

How long would the human species last if we could all see and converse with deceased loved ones?

And let’s set aside for now whether it is even a valid question, whether such a thing is at all possible, or even whether life could possibly exist after ‘death’. Allow me to have a play with a few ideas for now and see where the question takes us.

It’s a question I asked myself when I was thinking about how some people have reportedly witnessed deceased loved ones appear.

When she was unwell a number of years ago, my Mum saw her mother and father appear beside her on two separate evenings. She was bedridden after having suffered a nervous breakdown. Her Mum, my Gran, had passed away two years earlier and showed up as solid as any human person. The following night, her Dad, my Papa, appeared more as a photographic negative. He had only been deceased for around a year. Papa told my mum not to worry, that everything was going to be ok. His words gave her hope and that hope carried her into wellness again.

My Mum never told anyone for years, lest they would think she had ‘lost her marbles’. It’s not the kind of thing anyone she knew had ever discussed. She only told me when I was an adult, when she knew that I had become interested in the subject. Over a cup of tea, I remember us wondering why Granny appeared solid yet Papa was more ethereal. We wondered if Granny was solid because she’d been gone longer, maybe she’d learned more and was consequently more skilled in making herself appear.

We will likely never have a scientific proof (or disproof) of the existence of life after death but I have gathered a few of my own thoughts over the years. One of them derives from asking a version of the question I posed at the start of this blog, ‘How long would the human species have lasted if our ancient ancestors could see and converse with deceased loved ones’? The short answer is ‘Not very long!’

The fear of death is one of the reasons why we live so long. It underlies the survival instinct that is much more than just an emotional fight to survive, but something that is wired so deep into the body that most people feel its effects almost every day as the stress response.

If early humans, say a few million years ago, routinely witnessed deceased loved ones appearing to them, it would take away much of their fear of death. Many would be more cavalier about their lives, knowing that death is not the end, that we’re still very much alive and even able to come back and hang with loved ones. Some might even crave death if they learned that life goes on and might even be easier on the ‘other side’, especially if their deceased loved ones seemed wiser or even smiled a lot.

Much of our fear of death comes from the fear that it is the end, that our existence is over. That’s it. Nada. Take away that fear and they’d be less cautious, more willing to put themselves in the way of danger, and therefore more likely to have a shorter life.

Thus, their genes would gradually be lost from the gene pool, including the genes that allowed them to perceive the deceased. For now, I’m going to call this perception, ‘Spirit Vision’, for the sake of not repeating ‘deceased loved ones’. Like all genes, genes that allowed our ancestors to have Spirit Vision would come in all shapes and sizes (known as polymorphs or variants). Some people would have clearer Spirit Vision than others, just as some people are naturally more altruistic than others (see my blog, ‘Fifty Shades of Pink’).

Those with the genes that gave them the clearest vision would be the ones less fearful of death and thus more likely, as a consequence, to have shorter lives than those with less clear vision. And so genes for clear Spirit Vision would gradually be lost from the gene pool, over evolutionary timescales of millions of years, yielding humans today who are more fearful of death and more likely to do whatever it takes to save their skin.

But, of course, the genes would not be entirely lost from the gene pool. Evolution doesn’t quite work that way. There will still be some of those ancient gene variants spread throughout the human race today. Thus, there would be people today whose genetics, and thus biology and brain chemistry that arises from their genetics, allows them to see deceased people at times.

This is not an endorsement of all psychics and mediums of course. I don’t know them all. Based on my reasoning, I suspect some really do see deceased people and perhaps others don’t. I don’t have any personal experience in this area, but I do have a couple of friends who do and I have no reason to doubt their testimony.

And when I say deceased people, I am understating their reality quite a bit, if they have a reality, that is. If their consciousness (being, essence, spirit) is no longer wedded to the physical form, what form would it exist in? Without reiterating what I’ve written in the occasional blog where I’ve touched upon this subject (see, ‘The Invisible Landscape‘ and ‘my visit from the other side’), it would be quite literally infinite. And thus the form we would ‘see’ would be based on what we’d expect to see, like the Spirit Vision version of the placebo effect, I suppose. And I presume they would also want to show us a form that we would most recognise.

Before I finish this blog, I want to offer that this is by no means a real scientific investigation into the reality of life after death, evolution, or genetics. I merely wanted to offer some of my personal thoughts on the subject.

Some might say that if a person did see a vision of a deceased loved one that it would merely be an illusion created by their brain chemistry. But following my reasoning, their genes could have created a brain chemistry that allows them to perceive what is really there?

I must confess that part of my motivation to write this piece is because I have given it a lot of thought since Oscar (my dog) passed away in November last year. I want to believe that he still exists in some form and that he is happy, that maybe even he’s looking out for me. If you look again at the image above, can you see the face of a dog with a stick in his mouth?

I was taking a video of the solar eclipse that happened over the UK on Friday 20th March and what seemed like the face of a dog (Oscar?) appeared for around 10 seconds of the 23 second clip. The photo above is a screenshot of the video.

I think in some ways it brings me comfort to believe that Oscar is still here and that I can speak with him in my prayers. If there are any leaps of faith or wild assumptions in my blog then that’s probably the reason. But, for the record, I do believe that we continue to exist after we pass away.

How thinking of ‘bendy time’ might help deal with loss

time - melting clockAs you know from my previous newsletter, my beloved dog, Oscar, passed away last month. Up until now I’ve not wanted to write too much about it but I now want to share an insight his passing gave me into the nature of time.

Oscar passed peacefully with Elizabeth & I by his side, stroking his ears and kissing him on the side of the head. We lay by his side for a while afterwards.

During this time I had a moment of utmost clarity. It was a sense that we were there with him on the ‘other side’. It all had to do with bendy time. Bendy time?

For us, on Earth, time runs forwards as a series of moments. Our experience of time, in large part, has to do with the way our brains process information as a series of moments. But the reality of time may be something quite different.

Over the past few years, physicists have succeeded in seemingly changing the past. They have shown that choices made in the present seem to affect what happened in the past. If you want more understanding of this and how it relates to us, I wrote about it in my book, Is Your Life Mapped Out? Unravelling the Mystery of Destiny vs Free Will. The experiments are known as, ‘Delayed Choice’ experiments, based on the theories of the physicist, John Archibald Wheeler.

Ultimately, the experiments show that time is interconnected – the past, the present, and the future seem to be all rolled into one and that movements are being made all the time from future to past, past to future, present to future and present to past.

Think of time like a piece of paper. To get from one side to the other you have to move across the paper, which takes time. But say you pierce a hole in each of the two ends of the page and then take those two ends and bring them together so that they’re touching. You can now move instantly from one side of the page to the other simply by passing through the hole.

Space and time both work like that. Such a thing is known in cosmology as an Einstein-Rosen bridge. It’s the idea that Star Trek ‘Warp’ engines are based on.

But how does this relate to our experiences?

In my books and in some of my blogs, I have made no secret of the fact that I believe our consciousness is not constrained inside our heads as a side-effect of brain chemistry. To this end, I also believe that our consciousness survives after we pass away. And I believe the same is true for animals. In fact, I believe that consciousness animates all matter and all life.

The brain acts more like a receiver, just as a TV aerial or a radio receives signals. The movie that you watch on TV is actually smeared out over the atmosphere as electromagnetic information. Your TV simply tunes to the signal and it then appears on your screen.

What you are – your nature, your essence, your being – is smeared throughout the universe. You are infinite in time and space. It only feels like you’re ‘in’ a body because you ‘have’ a body right now. When earthly life expires for them, people who pass away are free of the constraints of the brain and are able to experience themselves as more expanded and not limited in time or space. For them, our future is their present.

When Oscar passed, I had a sense that in some ways he didn’t even notice. That on the ‘other side’ he met Elizabeth and myself. He was freed from the constraints of time. It was as if the paper bent so that the time of Oscar’s passing was the same ‘times’ as our individual passings.

Freed from the constraints of the brain and its experience of time-as-a-series-of-consecutive-moments, our loved ones when they pass are free to move from one side of the page to the other, from one time to another, from the ‘time’ of their passing to the ‘time’ of yours. To them it’s the same ‘time’.

I sensed that Oscar wasn’t missing his Mummy and Daddy because he is with his Mummy and Daddy, even though that ‘time’ for each of us hasn’t occurred yet. Maybe when our time is up on this Earth, we are met not just by deceased loved ones, but by those who are still on earth. Perhaps as families we all enter the Earthly realm at the same ‘time’ and we all leave at the same ‘time.

Maybe my thinking around all this is just my way of coping with the pain of losing Oscar. Who knows? We all try to find a way to feel peace, to be happy. That’s what many self-help strategies are all about. They’re not just about changing your life, earning lots of money, getting your dream job, meeting the ideal partner, etc, but about helping you to find ways to emotionally navigate a course through your life.

Maybe that’s what I’m doing. Believing that Oscar is safe and well and with us on the other side brings me some comfort. I also know that many others see things differently, in ways that bring them comfort. Who is to say that one way is more correct than another?

It’s a little like religion. Who is to say that one path is better than another, or more ‘right’ than another. Each of us need to find paths that put us at ease, that help us to get the most enjoyment out of life.

I think this is why we can get so heated at times about our beliefs. Once we have the experience of a way of thinking working for us, we believe it is The way, that others are missing something. Yet others find enjoyment in different ways, through different ways of looking at life. Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist. There are happy people who call themselves by any of those names.

Personally, I find comfort and happiness by taking a spiritual view of life. Mine is not particularly associated with any religion. I also find comfort in science and thus my views fuse spirituality with science.

Therefore, whether anyone agrees with my view and how I cope with Oscar’s passing doesn’t matter so much to me. I simply felt like sharing my thought process, partly because writing about things brings me greater clarity, and comfort, and a sense that Oscar is OK, and also in the hope that these insights might help some others to find a little comfort when they lose a loved one.

My Visit from the ‘Other Side’

Have you ever had one of those dreams that felt so real that it was more than a dream?

I had one a few weeks ago, shortly before I got up. It was a strange dream. I was with two men. I seemed to be in some kind of military service. We were in a room and knew that an explosion was imminent and we were about to die. I seemed to believe that I would still exist afterwards.

Seconds later, the explosion came. I felt warmth. No pain! Just a warmth on my skin. Then I was in a bright white place that was filled with soft, warm, white light. I remember noticing that I had no form (body). I was also aware that I was on the ‘other side’ and a little pleased that, even though my body was gone, I was still alive.

Then I heard a female voice whispering to me. It kept saying, over and over again, “Your thoughts create! Your thoughts create! Your thoughts create.” Then it became, “Your thoughts create your world! Your thoughts create your world.” I remember the whisper so clearly. I can hear it now as I write these words.

I learned later that day that my Dad’s aunt Lizzie had died that morning. Might my dream somehow have been a communication from her? I thought so.

I asked my good friend, Kyle Gray. He’s ‘The Angel Whisperer’, a well known, highly accurate Medium, and best selling author of ‘Angel Prayers’.

Kyle asked the angels about my experience. He then told me that, because of my sensitive perception, my soul knew Lizzie was passing and it reminded me that, no matter what we way go, we just return to an ever-present love and peace. He then told me that Lizzie was acknowledging what I’ve known all along, so that I’d have a more personal experience of heaven. He said my mind basically created a scene of going to heaven so I could see that it was all love.

Wow! … was my response. I trust Kyle very much and have been on the receiving end of his astonishing skills of other-worldly communication on more than one occasion. I believe in what he said. It feels right to me.

Some might think that a scientist has no place talking about angels. I would disagree strongly. I do not subscribe to the notion that consciousness is inside the head, nor produced by brain chemistry. Such a notion doesn’t account for the wealth of research that demonstrates correlations between the neural states of people separated by a distance. I believe that consciousness is fundamental to reality and that, in a sense then, everything is animated with consciousness.

In some ways, the brain acts like an aerial that tunes to a frequency, that extracts from reality what you know of as yourself.

My belief is that that just as different shapes, forms, textures and colours of life exist, so different shapes, forms, textures and colours of consciousness exist too, some of which we might interpret or know as angels, guides, or deceased loved ones.

Could my Dad’s aunt have visited me for real? Her consciousness? I believe so. I believe that after her brain ceased to function, her consciousness was no longer identified with her physical body. She was then able to be anywhere and, in my case, she was able to communicate with me.

Fortunately, I ‘heard’ her and appreciate the reminder!

Do you have a 6th sense?

woman meditating in sunDo you ever feel that you have a 6th sense?

I often wonder why it’s such a taboo subject. As a child growing up in the 70s, I learned that anything extraordinary was to be feared, that it was supernatural. That’s quite a normal attitude in western society.

But we all have a 6th sense, even if society at large, or even science, sometimes tells us otherwise.

For instance,

-We can and do sense some future events.

-We sometimes sense when someone we love is suffering or needs help.

-Our intentions can impact people at a distance, especially when they are compassionate and directed towards healing.

-We sometimes feel larger, like we’re at one with the whole universe.

-We also know, deep down, that love is our essence and that it really is what makes everything work.

Most people have experienced a premonition of some sort, whether it was of an accident or disaster, or even of something they felt was going to happen in their lives. Research into ‘presentiment’ has even found the human (and animals too) nervous system reacts to future events before they occur.

During a period of depression back in the late 90s, where I was really struggling in my life, my Mum could sense that something was wrong. Even though I lived 250 miles away, she would call me up very early in the morning or even late at night, saying she just had a feeling that something was wrong but that I wasn’t telling her. Many people have experienced such a connection with a loved one.

MRI and EEG studies now even seem to confirm this connection. In a typical experiment, one person is placed inside an MRI scanner while the other person is in a different room. Once that person is given an experimental shock (like a light flashed in their eye, for instance) the brain of the one in the MRI scanner reacts.

Even more, studies on ‘distant intentionality’ reveal that actual intentions of one person can impact another person at a distance. Some research even shows changes in real-time MRI scans, or even in heart rhythms, in one person while another one sends compassionate healing intentions to them.

In some ways, the gap is closing between science and what we think of as ‘out there’ ideas and phenomena. Electrons (subatomic particles) can be thought of as being simultaneously everywhere in the universe at the same time, that is, until they are ‘observed’. In a physics lab, that means to set up an experiment to study the behavior of electrons. In the absence of observation, an electron is everywhere – past, present, and future. Does the same apply to us?

I guess that depends on your definition of ‘us’ – body … or mind / spirit / consciousness as larger than, or even separate from, the body, which takes more of a spiritual view of existence.

The above kinds of research suggests that consciousness is not actually inside your head, but in reality, You (your being, essence, consciousness) is in fact larger and, perhaps, just like the electron, everywhere. But in daily life we are always ‘observing’ ourselves, so we’re always, well, in the body. But people who have experienced transcendental states, or even had near death experiences (NDEs), when they are very much not observing (focused on) the body, tell us that our being/consciousness/spirit is indeed much larger and is very much spread out over the whole universe.

Many of them also tell us that love is what life is all about. Perhaps that’s why we all search for it. We’re even biologically wired to need love. If ‘we’ really are everywhere, in spirit, and love seems to be everywhere in society, then maybe the love we see everywhere is in fact you, I, and everyone else expressed.

I look at the world this way. I find it gives extra meaning to what we do in our lives. If we conclude that we really are much more than our human bodies, with abilities, perhaps, more than we have come to believe, then surely it will benefit us all if we remember that love is what it’s all about and so channel some of our energies towards making life even a little bit better for those around us.

I try to think only kind thought about others. It’s actually not as difficult to do than you think. The motivation to do it makes it easier and helps us through situations that would otherwise test us. Thinking that you can’t is self-fulfilling. Try it out – just for today – and see how you get on.

It’s not a failure if you slip up. That’s to be expected. The fabric of life is very much lumpy, filled with ups & downs and successes & failures, but we get better with each attempt.

And the funny thing is, the more we think kindly of others, the better we feel inside … and eventually we come to realise that peace and happiness is a product of our minds. It’s in the thoughts we think.

And as we think, so we also impact everyone and everything else.

 

References:

All references cited above can be found in, David R Hamilton PhD, ‘Is Your Life Mapped Out?: Unravelling the mystery of destiny vs free will’ (Hay House, 2012) Check out the book here

A Cluster of Synchronicities

blue plant up closeYou probably know by now that I have a fascination for how stuff works, and this has come through in my books and blogs. Well, let me share with you a wee cluster of 4 amazing synchronicities that have recently occurred in my life or that of my close family or friends.

1) Connection on a flight from Canada

My friend Allyson was flying home to Scotland from Canada last week. She got talking to the man sitting beside her and learned that he lived in Bridge of Allan in central Scotland. “Oh, my friends have just moved to Bridge of Allan,” she replied. It turned out that he just moved out of the house right next door to the one we just moved into. And he was the tenant of the people who were living in the house we moved into. They’re now living in the house he vacated.

2) You look like Lulu

A lady in shop said a friend of Elizabeth’s looks a bit like the singer Lulu. Later that day, when her friend was at work, a song by Lulu came on the radio. At that moment she looked out of the window and the lady who said she looked like Lulu walked past.

3) A Hen

Elizabeth’s Dad was driving to watch his beloved Dundee football club play a league match. He car shares with a friend. The friend handed Peter a box of fresh eggs laid by his hens. He said one of his new hens wasn’t fitting in and was upsetting the others. He asked if, perhaps, Elizabeth would like a hen. At that moment a car overtook and pulled in front of them. The registration was ‘A Hen’.

4) Just can’t get enough of Lulu

Elizabeth and I were discussing these synchronicities while watching ‘You’ve Been Framed’, the comedy show where people send in funny moments caught on camera. This is when Elizabeth told me about the Lulu story. Just as she finished sharing it, the presenter of the show, Harry Hill, started talking about Lulu.

Well being me, I can’t just smile these away. I just have to understand things like this. I can’t help it. It’s a disease. Lol. 🙂

First of all, I absolutely never write these kinds of things off as random events. Everyone and everything is interconnected and seemingly strange things occasionally occur as invisible connections draw people and circumstances together in often surprising ways that might seem against the odds.

Here’s what I think: Physical matter clumps together. I guess that’s one way of thinking about the human body. 🙂 Subatomic particles cluster into atoms; atoms cluster into molecules; molecules cluster into life; people cluster into families, towns, cities, and social networks; planets cluster into solar systems; stars into galaxies; and galaxies into galactic clusters. The same pattern seems to repeat itself.

The view from a plane on a clear night shows us clusters of lights and little threads of light connecting them as we see the lights from towns and cities linked by roads. Placing this image side-by-side with an image of a galactic cluster (and even human brain networks) reveals the same kind of pattern.

Clusters of ‘stuff’ connected to other stuff is the way of things. Why should it be any different in human life? It’s certainly the same if you draw a social network; the pattern is there again. People cluster together and some bridge the clusters into other clusters, just like the connections between towns, galaxies, and brain cells.

The pattern of clusters connected to other clusters repeating on different scales is called a ‘fractal’, from the Latin ‘fractus’, meaning ‘broken’.

What if there are patterns in our own consciousness – deep in our unconscious minds – so that we draw ourselves together in seemingly strange ways, and even draw events to ourselves? And as we’re all connected (I’ve written about this in other blogs), we unconsciously make sure that we time things just right.

That’s the way I look at things. It can facilitate the strangest things. I was in New York City a few years ago. I’d been speaking at the ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ conference at the Javits Centre where, funnily enough, I’d briefly spoken about interconnections. Next day, Elizabeth and I had a conversation about Joan Rivers. About an hour or so later we literally bumped into her on the streets of New York, which is not exactly a small place with a tiny population!

Some people are clustered together so that we feel more connected to some people than others. Fractals occur in time too. So there are people whom you are strongly connected to whom you’ve not met yet, but the chances are you’ll make all the right choices, and so will they, so that you will come into each other’s lives, where you’ll remain there for a ‘reason, a season, or a lifetime’. The force of these connections can be strong, I believe, so that the effect is like a whirlpool in a river pulling your boat towards it. Chances are, wherever you paddle you’ll end up there!

So I think there’s more to life than we’d ordinarily think and there’s more going on beneath the surface of events than we’d imagine.

Pay attention to the synchronicities in your life. They might reveal something about what’s going on in your mind, or they may be pointing the way to something (or someone) that’s just around the corner. Hey, maybe I’m about to meet Lulu!

A Formula For How Destiny and Free Will Work Together

Clouds forming the shape of a heart
love in the sky

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably wondered whether things are meant to be – are you destined to be with that special person, or to have that job, or that friend, that dog, or that really difficult time in your life? Or do we create it all as we go along?

If you’re like me, I wrestled with it for years. There were things that I felt strongly were meant to be in my life: like going to the University I attended and also doing my PhD in the research group I ended up in, to even not getting the job I wanted in the pharmaceutical industry but instead getting one that exposed me to evidence of the placebo effect. This facilitated my route into writing books about the power of the mind, which I believe is my ‘destiny’.

But at the same time I am 100% certain that I shape my own life too, sometimes through taking action to make things happen and other times when seemingly coincidental things happen shortly after I’ve been thinking about them.

I wrote my book, ‘Is Your Life Mapped Out?: Unravelling the mystery of destiny vs free will’ to attempt to set my own mind at rest. This is what I came up with:

R=IEBpFeFiOX

Before you go, “whhooooaaaaa, hey what’s with the math?” it’s actually much simpler than you think. Let me explain what the letters mean.

‘R’ is the letter I use for ‘The Reality that you experience’ and it’s caused by the letters that come after it. Here’s what they mean:

‘I’ is your intention. It’s the force of you Intending for something to happen, which often results in you acting on your intentions, or subconsciously setting in motion a chain of events that move you towards your goal.

‘E’ stands for your emotions. Emotion is a powerful force. If you have an intention to achieve something but your overall emotion about it is negative then emotion usually over rules intention and you don’t go anywhere. Alternatively, when you have a goal and you feel strongly positive when you think about it, you tend to move towards it (or attract it to you).

‘B’ stands for your beliefs. Beliefs can propel you to where you want to go or they can sabotage your efforts. Say you had a desire to be financially abundant but had a belief that it’s wrong to have money because people are starving, or that people with money are selfish or unkind, or that money is the ‘root of all evil’, for instance, then chances are these beliefs will over rule your intention to have money. No matter how hard you try, something will always seem to block your efforts.

You can usually tell what kind of beliefs you have about something by looking at your life. Stuff and experiences in your life that you are happy with, that tend to come easily to you, usually represent positive beliefs. Stuff and experiences you feel frustrated you’re not having usually signal negative beliefs in those areas. It’s best if your beliefs are in line with what you want to achieve.

‘p’ stands for ‘momentum of your current experience’. Just like a large ship in the ocean can’t make a sudden 90 degree turn, but turns throughout a large arc due to it’s weight, or momentum, so most people, when they decide to make a life change, still experience elements (circumstances, types of people, etc) of their old life for a while as their life turns in an arc rather than in a sudden straight line off to the right or left. Intention works a lot with momentum because the stronger your intention, the faster you break your momentum and the shorter the turning arc in your life.

‘Fe’ stands for external forces. These are forces in your environment that have an impact on your life and the kind of choices you make. They can be the weather, ‘chronobiological’, in terms of how the Earth’s rotation, the sun, and the moon can impact biology, they can be effects of food, or anything else that represents how we interact with our natural environment. They can even represent the physical or social environment a person lives in, which can be a very strong force for some.

‘Fi’ stands for internal forces. These are what I refer to as spiritual forces. I believe that consciousness transcends time and space and thus ‘You’ existed in some form or other before you were born on Earth. Rather than your life being a random event, then, it is likely that you were born at a particular time (given the entire span of Earth’s history) in a particular place, into a particular set of social and economic conditions, even into a particular family environment, and often with a latent skill set or direction you intended to move towards. These ‘preconditions’ would set the tone of the early years of your life, which would then have a strong bearing on the kind of adult you become and the direction of your life. When I talk of ‘destiny’, this is what I refer to.

‘O’ stands for the effect of other people on you. We’re all influenced by other people – either directly, by family, friends, colleagues, or even people we meet throughout our day, or indirectly, as world events affect the financial or social environment that we live and move in, or as our choices are influenced by marketing efforts, propaganda, or just information we pick up through watching or reading the media.

‘X’ is for any other forces that I haven’t though of. 🙂 I’m sure I’ve not thought of everything.

So the reality that you experience is related to your intentions, your emotions, your beliefs, the momentum of what’s currently happening in your life, external forces, internal (spiritual) forces, and the influence of other people.

So how do these forces interact with one another? Well, I think we are born into a set of conditions and circumstances that set the landscape of our lives and its colour tones. As we travel through our landscape, we are occasionally pulled left and right and even nudged back or sucked forwards from time to time. But amid these ‘winds’, we are always choosing, always creating, always shaping our lives. It is impossible not to. Thoughts are creative. What we focus on we move towards. That, too me, is a Law. Some call it the ‘Law of Attraction’ or the ‘Secret’.

Some people believe in destiny, others don’t. What I’ve written here is just my belief, coloured, perhaps, by the influences I’ve experienced in my life and also by what I’ve always sensed. In some ways I’ve sought scientific evidence to explain what I’ve always believed.

Whether you take comfort in an overall direction you feel you’re supposed to be going in or whether you’re more motivated in taking the actions that are necessary to get to where you want to get to is up to you. We’re all different. Some are more comfortable with the former, some with the latter.

As long as you’re comfortable with whatever you personally believe, then great. Happiness and contentedness arise when we’re comfortable with our own beliefs, regardless of whether there is an ultimate truth or not.

Personally, I think destiny and free will interact constantly, just as nature and nurture interact. Genes do not act out with their environment, but in relationship with it.

So, too, do our hopes and dreams play out in relationship to our environment – both physical and spiritual.

 

Resources:

Dr David R Hamilton, ‘Is Your Life Mapped Out? Unravelling the mystery of destiny vs free will’ (Hay House, 2012). (Amazon.co.uk paperback) (Amazon.co.uk kindle) (Amazon.com paperback) (Amazon.com kindle)

Having a little faith

FEATHER FOR THE ANGEL COVER - resizedI love to imagine that we live in a magical world. Aside from the dark lord element of the Harry Potter story, I think many of us would love to live in a world where magic was happening all around us and that we could use it. I have always enjoyed science fiction and fantasy novels.

I wonder, though, if strange things do occur. I have written previous blogs and books where I’ve suggested that consciousness is not inside the head but is something fundamental to nature, that it is like a field that connects all people and all things. Thus, I have suggested that meaningful and connected events can cluster together and this can be a product of a person’s beliefs, emotions or intentions.

Just a few days ago, my dog Oscar had to go to the vet for an operation. He was bitten by another dog over a month ago but the wound just hadn’t healed properly. The vet decided that there must have been a piece of foreign material left in the wound and believed it best to cut the wounded tissue out.

I felt nervous as we were arriving at the vet for Oscar’s operation, even though I knew it was a relatively minor procedure.

As I often do, I said a little prayer. We all know that there are lots of different deities and angels that people pray to. I asked Archangel Michael to watch over Oscar.

Less than a moment later, a man, who looked so like the God character from the magical and inspiring film, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, appeared at the other side of the wall that circles the vets’ premises. He whistled for Oscar to approach him and when Oscar put his paws up on the wall, the man gave him a large kiss on the top of the head, looked at us and smiled and then casually walked away without even saying a word.

A wave of emotion overcame me and I had to take a deep breath not to cry. It wasn’t tears of sadness, but like knowing that something magical had just occurred, like a feeling of certainty that I’d received a sign. This might strange to some but perfectly normal to others.

Once we dropped Oscar off I had to make my way into the town centre to catch a train to London for a meeting with my publisher. As I was a little early for my train I dropped into Costa to grab a coffee. By this time, my faith that all would be well with Oscar was beginning to waver (it had been 20 minutes since I’d left the vet, after all. :-)) and even though I had asked Archangel Michael to help, I was now trying to visualize all being well with Oscar and his operation. I was surrounding him with light and seeing light bathe the entire vets’ practice.

As I was being served my coffee I had the thought that I needn’t visualize because I have already asked for help, that I should trust that my asking for help was enough, that by visualizing now was actually showing that I didn’t have faith that Oscar was being watched over. Right then my eye caught the name badge of the person serving me. Yes, it was ‘Michael’. I smiled quietly to myself and silently whispered, ‘message received’!

Of course, when you do feel a little nervous when it concerns loved ones, and my readers who have dogs, cats and other animals know that this extends to them too, faith does waver from time to time as nervousness kicks in.

While I was walking to my train a little nervousness arose again, so to distract myself I decided to check my e-mails on my iPhone. The first e-mail that popped in was from Neale Donald Walsch, one of his daily, ‘I believe God wants you to know…’ e-mails. It read:

On this day of your life, Dear Friend, I believe God wants you to know…that medical procedures are nothing to be afraid of…”

OK, I finally got the message. I smiled broadly and felt warm inside. All was well and all would be well. There was nothing to worry about.

And indeed there wasn’t. We collected Oscar in the afternoon. He was still a little dozy from the anaesthetic, but within a few hours he was his usual self.

I do like to imagine that things happen for a reason and that all things and all people are connected, that our thoughts, emotions, hopes, dreams and intentions shape aspects of our lives, and that consciousness does exist in many more forms than our own.

I don’t think of God as a man with a white beard who sits on a cloud, but I imagine that we are all Gods, that we are all part of the same ‘field’ of energy or consciousness, and that we are capable of much more than we think we are, as our beliefs act like lenses that focus the field, much as an optical lens can focus sunlight.

In the times when we have a little faith, I have noticed, we see more evidence of this in our lives and we feel the warmth of the field.