I scheduled this interview with Robert J. Grant because his most recent book, Universe of Worlds, includes capsule summaries of classic books about contact with and exploration of the Other Side of Life, things like Our Unseen Guest, The Betty Book, The Boy Who Saw True, and many other classic volumes, now out of print.
Major book publishers, apparently operating more and more these days on the belief that old titles are not lucrative titles, are dropping these wonderful old books from their publishing plans and Robert has "resurrected" them, by providing a place for them in abbreviated form within this new book of his. He then brilliantly combines these thumbnail classics with the information he has gleaned from experiences speaking with people all over the country on the subject of life after death (what the Spiritualists call "continuity of life"), and creates a wonderful resource-the best one I know-to answer almost any question that anyone, anywhere, might have about spirit communication, continuation of life, life as lived on the Other Side, how to deal with grief when a loved one dies, etc.
I routinely recommend this book now to those who come to me for readings or advice who may, for example, think that not being present at the moment a loved one passes is unforgivable, or who want to know what to do about the effects of excessive grief on the deceased and how they can help them progress. Robert J. Grant managed to address all the topics I asked him about and, in the order in which they appear, they include :
Physical healing and the Cayce Readings.
"God has need of you right where you are."
Every time you sit down to meditate, you lift 10,000 souls.
Trying in life really counts!
A lifetime lived in a matter of months, or even minutes.
Life in the realms where suicides go.
Advice about hospice work.
When a loved one is dying.
The Masters and the White Brotherhood, according to Cayce.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT GRANT, 4/19/03
RG (Robert Grant): Can you give me just 10 second for a moment of silence?
PC (Pat Chalfant): Of course.
(After the silence…)
RG: All right.
PC: I did that myself just before I picked up the telephone to call you…Well, I have a million questions!
RG: And I love that. I do seminars all around the country and have for many years. You know how many speakers will make time for questions and answers at the end of the program? Well, I make it a point, after 45 minutes of talking, to have questions and answers, and by the end of the day, the group turns into a family.
PC: Mmmm…that's very nice.
RG: It is really wonderful since the main subjects I'm dealing with are death and dying and afterlife and bereavement issues. So out of a roomful of a hundred people, there may be 90 different reasons that brought them there, so it becomes a really great exchange of questions and answers. What's amazing is that I have found that if I don't have the answer, someone else in the audience will and that will create a bond between them, so it's an amazing interactive process.
PC: That's really, really nice. I knew that you were lecturing-and you've been doing this for a lot of years?!
RG: Oh, yes. I first started speaking on the Cayce material. First of all, though, I spent five years with the team that computerized the entirety of the Edgar Cayce readings, so that all 14,305 readings of Edgar Cayce are now on one CD disc.
PC: Oh, and what a good thing you did! I know because I have that CD.
RG: I literally moved from Indiana to Virginia Beach…
PC: …to do that!…
RG: …And I didn't have a job. I saw this thing in "Venture Inward," (the ARE's magazine) saying "project to begin" and I was scheduled to go to college and major in broadcasting, which I had done in the Navy. I saw that and it was like: Pack the car! Of course, my parents thought I had lost my mind. I went there and was the fifth person to be hired.
So from 1986 to 1991, I had the opportunity to spend eight hours a day, 40 hours a week for five years, typing, proofreading, and indexing the entire group of Cayce readings. It was the greatest education I could ever hope for.
PC: Yes, I can believe it was. I can appreciate that.
RG: That's my background. I was interested in the Cayce material for many years, and that led me to become a writer. I was a writer in the Navy-a journalist-that's where it all began.
PC: So you started reading the Cayce material before you went. into the military?
RG: I was 15, and on the front cover of one of my mom's magazines, it said, "Finally, Evidence of What Happens When We Die." It was an excerpt of Raymond Moody's book, "Life After Life." I read the account of the near-death-experience and took it into the kitchen and read a portion to my mother and literally, as she did dishes at the sink, she turned white as a sheet . I said, "Mom, are you okay?"
She said, "I've only told your father this. I had that when I was giving birth to your brother," and, as Dr. Raymond Moody will say, many people never talk about it because they believe people will think they are crazy...
PC: Doctors at that time, generally, really would have thought you were crazy. They just didn't believe such things.
RG: …This was in 1957. My mother said she experienced the tunnel, saw herself up above the room, saw the lights, and all the other major elements of the Near Death Experience, with the exception of the life review. So I'm at the kitchen table reading this and naturally she was just floored because she had always wondered what that was...because it was different from a dream…
RG: I had had a morbid fear of death from the time I was very, very small, so when I saw the cover on the magazine saying: "Finally, Evidence of What Happens When We Die," I thought, Oh, here we go!
Actually, years after she told me about her experience, I learned from Raymond (Dr. Moody) that "ether," which they gave to people for surgery or to women giving birth, will induce the out of body experience, which is exactly like the near death experience. It is interesting that the word "ether" applies to the spiritual, as well..
PC: Yes, of course, it does, yes!
RG: So I immediately went to the bookstore and found "Life After Life" and Ruth Montgomery, and the Seth Material, and eventually found the Edgar Cayce material. So, by the time I was 19, in about 1980, I was in an Edgar Cayce study group.
PC: …Wonderful! I want to know everything because, although my purpose here is in part, of course, to sell books, it is primarily to try to help people understand about life after death. That's what I'm involved with regularly and what I've done for a lot of years now. I've been working for years in a Spiritualist Church where you are regularly getting information from the other side…
RG: That's always fascinated me and I've never been, but I'm going in two weeks to the Spiritualist Church in Norfolk.
PC: Do you know someone who works there?
RG: No, no. I've never been there but I believe that this Spiritualist Church in Norfolk began with several members of Edgar Cayce's Study Group.
PC: Oh, I did not know that!
RG: And I can't say who or exactly when, but as this group of people got a series of readings from Edgar Cayce and worked with meditation, many of them became, naturally, psychic. As Edgar Cayce said, psychic abilities are a natural outgrowth of spiritual attunement. So, some of them became healers and some became able to attune to the other side to give helpful messages, and I believe (I'm not sure about this), that one of them started this Spiritualist Church in the 30's. I believe that the one I'm going to is the one that was actually formed then.
Of course, Cayce could see and speak with the dead as easily as you and I speak together now. He didn't talk about it a lot, because he got enough fanfare about it; actually "infamy" is more the word, because back in the 30's the word "psychic" was viewed as akin to witchcraft. Really! So people did not publicly come out about this, whereas, today, we have a Sylvia Brown, or a John Edwards on TV!
Physical Healing and the Edgar Cayce Readings
RG: You have to realize that 70 percent of his readings are on physical illness. For the people who found their way to him, he was their last stop. They had been given up on by doctors, like the Mayo Clinic, or Sloan-Kettering. So somewhere along the line, they heard about Cayce's ability to diagnose illness while in a trance state. So it wasn't like, "Oh, let's go get a reading. It will be fun." It was like, "My wife is dying!"--you know?
There was a play on Edgar Cayce, called "The Freak." It actually was debuted on Broadway; it closed almost immediately. It was the Virginia premier of it. It had never been staged in Virginia.
While I worked at ARE, I found a copy of the script and I produced that play. It was about the time in his life when he was very, very unsure. It was about the early years.
PC: I had heard about the play but didn't know what time period it covered.
RG: Gertrude Cayce (later, his wife) was dying of tuberculosis. Cayce was so unsure (of his readings) that they (first) tried every conventional means to heal her; he was so afraid that someone would be hurt by his readings. They sent Gertrude home to die and she took him by the hand and she said (I'm paraphrasing), "Honey, others have been helped." She said, "We have nothing to lose, Edgar." So, in the presence of a doctor and someone to take notes, he did the reading, with Gertrude in the last stages of tuberculosis. She was vomiting blood…
PC: I had tuberculosis as a teenager, so I watched people in a TB hospital who were in that condition, and know how scary it is.
RG: Over the course of eight months she completely recovered and never had a lung problem after that. Then there was his son, Hugh Lynn Cayce, who, at age five had damage to his eyes that they feared would blind him…
PC: Yes, I know that story about the damage to his eyes…
RG: This was after Gertrude recovered and Cayce was still unsure. Years later, when I knew Hugh Lynn, I never saw him wear glasses and (after the accident) the doctors were going to remove Hugh Lynn's eyes when Hugh Lynn, who was age five, said, "Daddy, give me a reading." So if there was ever an experience that said, Edgar, you've gotta do this work, that was it. His son recovered completely.
So, during the Depression, you know, everybody was broke…
PC: Yes, putting it mildly!
RG: And he never turned anybody away because they couldn't afford a reading. And yet the people who supported him paid and, as the readings said, "Everyone who can pay, should, and dearly." And for every reading he got paid for, that allowed him to put food on the table and give 20 more readings for people who couldn't afford it. Bless his heart, there were times when they literally didn't know where the next meal was coming from. I learned this because in addition to computerizing the readings, we transcribed the correspondence.
PC: Oh, I love the correspondence on the CD. I love it!
RG: And that tells the story…Gladys Davis (Cayce's secretary) said, "You know, he gave 14,000 readings for over six thousand people, but, you know, he never heard one."
He would wake up and say, "Well, did we get anything at all?" He needed constant reassurance. Put yourself in his place. He has no memory of what he said, and here he is, prescribing drugs. People don't realize that he prescribed all kinds of medicine--for his wife Gertrude's tuberculosis, he prescribed heroin.
PC: Yes, I remember reading something about that.
RG: It was in small doses, to clarify the lung. So, with the so-called naturalists who are purists, and think all drugs are bad, I remind them of what Edgar Cayce said to this woman who said, "Can't I just pray and have this malady taken from me?" Edgar Cayce said, "God exists just as much in the physical as in the spiritual. Use what you have at hand." It is strange because I have met people who had infections who died, literally because they would not take an antibiotic. Again, I'm not laughing, but that kind of thinking, you know…Use what you have in hand, Cayce would say, whether it is by the knife, laying on of hands or castor oil packs--all healing comes from the one source.
PC: I like his comment, "If you have a "castor oil consciousness," use castor oil.
RG: Right. And if you need digitalis for your heart, use it. He said, What did Jesus do? For some, he made mud packs and put them over their eyes, for others he just touched them and they were healed. For others he said Go show yourself to a priest. It's all God. It all enables the healing forces to work. And medical science, with all their technology, sees that the body heals but cannot pinpoint what makes it heal-and to me, that's the God Force. That's why Cayce recommended all forms of known medicine and other things we never heard of.
He recommended, let me tell you, some strange things. In one reading he said go to this homeopath and get a certain substance and he said don't tell them what is in it. It said later in the reading that this substance was the crushed juice of bedbugs; and every person who used it, got better.
PC: Good grief! Oh, my!
RG: It's available, in the Heritage store right around the corner here. It was recommended only seven times. A lot of people have edema, of course and it is a homeopathic remedy so it is not harmful. I recommended it to a friend of mine with edema. He used it and in three weeks, he was well. He said that the swelling, water retention, in his feet and ankles got well after he took it. That was ten years ago and he's still well. Any time he gets it, he just takes it again.
PC: Good grief, that's just wonderful. It sounds yucky, but if it helps--
God Has Need of You Right Where You Are
PC: Now, I opened your book "Universe of Worlds, just before I called you, and, as I took another look, I was reminded that one of the things that impressed me is the many important quotes you've included from all the classic books on communication with spirit entities.
For example, here's a quote from the Betty Book, "The Invisibles (spirit guides) emphasized that whatever station or place we occupy in life, the most important thing is to fill that place consciously with all the love, light and patience possible." Including quotes like this is a really important service to the reader.
RG: Oh, thank you. Actually, what brought that to mind is that I remember reading that Edgar Cayce would say to people who felt lost or if they didn't know what to do: God has need of you right where you are.
PC: I think it's really important and I wanted to get that in, because as I'm reading for people and teaching classes, one of the commonest things that people seem to experience is feeling lost and that they don't know what to do and they think there must be some better place for them.
RG: Well, it's like John Lennon said, "Life is something that happens to us when we're busy making other plans." It's like we all want to be somewhere else, doing something else. What I learned from Dr. George Ritchie…
PC: Oh, yes, I love his book "Return From Tomorrow!"
RG: He wrote the forward to my book, The Place We Call Home, and he said that in his life review, in his near death experience, he didn't see all of his great deeds or misdeeds, he saw thousands of little things that he had forgotten about, maybe when he opened the door for somebody, (and he said) you will see that it's like throwing a rock into a pond and seeing the ripples going out. He said you will see that that smile that you gave to encourage someone along the way not only affected them, but it goes on into infinity. He said, as I quote in my book, The Place We Call Home, "I saw all my intentions clearer than my deeds."
He said, "Let's say you reach out to help someone and you do it selflessly and it backfires or blows up in your face, causes more problems; what you will see is not that you failed, but that you were moved from the heart to try. And although from outward appearances that good intention did not manifest right then, it goes on into infinity into a reservoir that will be drawn from at a future time; and somebody in a similar circumstance will be helped then simply because you desired to help someone. Isn't that powerful?
PC: It is.
RG: In this world, everything is end-result oriented. It's all "Did you succeed?" "Did You fail?" Many people will do good things for the recognition of others, that's not to say that's bad, but that is its own reward.
Some clairvoyant, I remember, said there were people who had done all the right things and they didn't find themselves in heaven, so to speak. They weren't in hell, but they were among a crowd of people like themselves who did everything they did for appearance's sake. They said, "I gave this much money to charity. I organized all these things." The bottom line, though, went back to what motivated them to do those things. I understood what Jesus meant when he said that all who stand in public and make long prayers and fast and make sure everyone sees them, have their own reward. He said, that is the treasure that carries over…
PC: Like laying up treasure in heaven...
RG: Right. When people go to Afghanistan or Bosnia to help people because they want to be on TV, if it helps people, that's wonderful.
PC: There was a Cayce statement I ran into a while ago: You can do things for the wrong reasons….
RG: …and it brings out good, but if it is for public recognition, that's its own reward...
PC: But if you had done it for the right reasons…
RG: …It would have built more into your soul. What we're talking about here is selfishness, versus selflessness. The thing is, even someone who does some good deeds because they want recognition for their efforts, may be ego-driven, but if it helps others, that's good, too.
Every Time You Sit Down to Meditate, You Lift 10,000 Souls
RG: One woman asked me, "Okay, you're talking about levels and realms of the after life. How can I make sure that I go to the highest realm possible in the afterlife?" I said, "Move from the heart, mean well for others, and know that the act of meditation (as Hugh Lynn Cayce, Edgar's son, taught me), is the seeking to attune to God that builds the light body we move into after death. So, meditation not only quickens us here but it also helps us move toward the light faster on the other side. I think that it was in the book, The Secret of the Golden Flower by Tung Pin Lu, that it was said that every time we sit down to meditate, we lift 10,000 souls. The vibration of our seeking attunement to God sends out ripples…
PC: That reminds me of the TM experimentation that has been done in troubled places all over the world where Transcendental Meditators, merely by moving into a community and meditating, have, in a short time, changed negative local vital statistics to positive ones.
RG: Edgar Cayce said, "Indeed a handful of people sincerely praying and meditating for peace have saved nations…"
PC: …And he said even one person, alone, can.
RG: Even one person!…As a former military journalist, I know you can turn on TV and see that many thrive on bad news. My understanding is that a handful of people have more power than 10,000 souls intent on darkness.
PC: I can't tell you how glad I am that we are talking about this. This is the kind of material I wanted to have available on my site.
RG: And if we fall into despair--and I'm not talking about someone who is clinically depressed, I'm talking about people who consciously are saying we're going to hell in a hand basket--they are adding to the darkness.
RG: What I've found is that the ones who are reduced to total despair will have that reflected back into their individual lives and it will add to the reservoir of dark forces. What people don't know is that despairing about things is like a renouncement of faith. If you're watching the news, and you're disturbed by it, then by saying, "God, I don't understand and I am distressed by this. Let your Divine will be done for all concerned and let the light penetrate the darkness"--that has so much power…
Trying in Life Really Counts!
PC: I have been trying consciously, really, really, really seriously trying in the past year or so to stop each time I find myself saying or thinking something negative and to change it into a positive in some way. It's constant work, I can tell you that. (Laughing)
RG: And about what you just said, Edgar Cayce said it's the "try" that counts.
PC: Exactly. That's something I wanted to really include in this because just the attempt people make is so important.
RG: We're so busy going, "I've been trying so hard to do this and I am not doing well." The very fact that you are trying to be a light--again, that gets back to the intention. You are already doing, you've already accomplished, what you have been setting out to do, by saying, "I am trying to think positively and to be less this way." That attempt is so positive and it radiates outward.
PC: I remember there was a story about a young woman Cayce had done a reading for who was having some difficulty having children and he advised her to make an effort toward doing positive things in that direction, such as volunteering to help children. He said move your life in this direction, help take care of other people's children and so forth…
RG: He said to several women, "The entity should not have children, but should always be around children." I knew one of these women, Anna Gray Holbein, and he advised her in a reading not to get married, not to have children, "because in this particular period, it will be a hardship for her soul." It was not that she would be doing something wrong. She got married and had two children that were virtually vegetables, one died very young. Her husband was, I believe, a police officer who was killed and the death of her children and her husband all occurred within a few-year period.
PC: No wonder he said that! So then you got the proof of that.
RG: She said, "Okay, I didn't take Mr. Cayce's advice, and it was a hardship, but the growth! Even if it seems you make the "wrong" decision-I don't think there are any "wrong" choices. I have grown so much through the experience. I am happy for the years I did have my husband and my children and the pain I went through made me more conscious at the soul level and gave me more compassion for others and for that, it was worth it all." I talk about this in Universe of Worlds in the question and answers chapter--that there is no harder experience than a parent having to bury a child..
A Lifetime Lived in a Matter of Months, or Even Minutes!
I remember that Cayce said in a reading that so often the worth of a life is measured in terms of years, when a soul is actually fully-grown in a breath. He said the experience of a soul that comes into life for maybe a few days or only a month or two and then goes back to the other side cannot be understood at the conscious mind level, but that experience of that soul coming in for that brief period has a profound effect upon it!
The example he used was Saul, when, on the Road to Damascus, the master appeared to him and Saul, who was this monster, finally became, through that encounter, the Apostle Paul. Cayce said, "And how long was that experience of Paul's?" In literal terms, it was a matter of only seconds to an hour but it made such an impact on his soul that he went on to become a great light to many people!
He said that, by the same token, the soul that comes in for a few days only, obtains in that space of time, a lifetime, an eternity of love, and then chooses to return home to its maker.
I never saw, except in one Cayce reading, where someone was blamed when a child died young as, for instance, from something like SIDS. There was one reading given for a child who was brain-damaged, because, when the doctor tried to pull the child out with forceps, the forceps went through the infant's head and at the end of the reading Cayce said, "Someone must pay for this."
In the question and answer chapter of Universe of Worlds, I refer to that and refer to a wonderful woman named Flower Newhouse.
PC: Yes, I know you mentioned her in the book but I don't know her work.
RG: I include her answer about the death of children and she talked of the realm that children pass to, and it is called, something like the happy region. It is not Paradise, but-- the Summerland!
PC: Now you are talking Spiritualism because it was a Spiritualist who named it Summerland.
RG: Well, I'm sure you're familiar with it. It's the place where when souls have passed over from a long-term illness, as they awaken, the first thing they see is a vista of flowers through the window of the room that they are in. Frances Banks described it perfectly.
PC: Yes. That's the book I recommend to everybody about the afterlife.
RG: Testimony of Light by Helen Greaves…
PC: Yes, I can't tell you how many times I've recommended it to people, even in just the last few weeks.
RG: That and What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson!
PC: You know, I only saw the movie.
RG: Read the book!
PC: I found the movie kind of confusing. The colors were lovely because they were very intense, like colors seen when we visit the other side…
RG: I did a synopsis of the story in my book, "Universe of Worlds," because I thought the book was out of print. The book describes the Summerland and I wanted to describe a condition of suicide that it is depicting.
PC: Oh, let me tell you that a girl in my office-though I don't know what caused us to talk about suicide--said, "You know, Pat, you've got to put something on your site about suicide because most people don't know what happens afterward." So, let's put something on this site about suicide right here and now.
Life in The Realms Where Suicides Go
RG: Dr. George Ritchie, during his near death experience described in his book Return from Tomorrow how he was shown that there are many different realms where suicides go, and he was shown a realm where the vengeful suicides go. Meaning that people who…
PC: ...Want to get even go there?…
RG: Right, if I can't get even with you, then I'm going to go kill myself and make you miserable for the rest of your life.
RG: And they literally didn't go anywhere because they were chained to the very person they were trying to hurt.
PC: I had forgotten that part of his book.
RG: And basically they wandered everywhere that the person went that they sought to hurt. Then, although they were in time and space, they could not be seen; they could not be heard, and their rage went nowhere, which made their situation worse, and when they tried to get away from that person, they couldn't. For anyone reading this who might be freaked out because there is someone they knew who hated them and committed suicide, suicides can have literally no effect on the hated soul and that makes them all the more furious.
Let me tell you here about another one of the realms George Ritchie saw in his book Return From Tomorrow. He said, "If I had any prejudices, which I don't, but if I did, I saw the realm of the prejudiced and I would not want to ever see anything that was so hellish. All of the people who had cultivated a lifetime of hatred of people because of skin color or religion were trying to kill each other and bludgeon each other and because they had no physical form, they couldn't cause each other any damage."
"But in the Bible Dr. Ritchie said there is a part where you read that there shall be a weeping and a gnashing of teeth, and he said, "I saw that place and the hatred was all-consuming." In the movie "Monster's Ball," Billie Bob Thornton's father is typical of those who cultivate a hatred of a race. George Ritchie said, "We need to be very careful of what we are teaching our children. Children will play together regardless of skin color. You have to be taught to hate someone of a different color. And let me tell you there are huge consequences for this.
There is a very special corner of hell that is reserved for people who actively hate other people. But they are freed from that eventually. They are not left there forever.
There was a case in the Cayce readings that I included in my book, The Place We Call Home, where a man killed a woman who refused to marry him-he was psychotic-and what happened was that he tried to kill her, then turned the gun on himself and killed himself. She lived and she got a reading from Edgar Cayce.
Right before the reading, Cayce was standing there when he saw the apparition of this enraged man with a knife standing behind her trying to kill her, in other words, the state of mind that he left this world in, rage, hatred, feeling rejected, he created for himself as a hell, and the rage he had was multiplied and he was in a realm of souls who felt just like he did.
In other words, when someone has cultivated a life of hatred or severe prejudice, when they die they will move into a realm of people who think and feel just as they do and they will be surrounded by the very people they were prejudiced against. That's really kind of frightening, but it makes sense. It's not that they are sent there. Like Cayce said, we are building the realm we will move into after death now, today!
Now, to continue, with "What Dreams May Come," this man's wife committed suicide and her husband, who was on the Other Side, received the news that she had committed suicide. She was his soul mate.
PC: And he had to go and find her.
RG: And her husband Chris said, "I've got to go to her." What his guide told him was, "You have to realize that when she committed suicide, all she did was discard the denser part of her body. Her etheric form is earthbound and she would remain in this earthbound state for the amount of years she would have lived on earth. If say, she was 30 and was going to live to be 70, that would mean for 40 years. Where she found herself was just like where she had lived on earth, but the house was completely dilapidated and it was really hellish.
Her husband Chris said to his guide that she shouldn't be in an earthbound state, because it was from being so sorrowful and miserable, that she took her life. His spirit guide said, "No, that was the ultimate act of selfishness because she left behind two children." In other words, she didn't get out of anything.
Raymond Moody said the same thing, that people think that by committing suicide, they escape their problems. Nothing could be further from the truth and, if anything, your problems are waiting for you over there and, tragically, when you get over there, you are surrounded by all the problems you tried to get away from and you can't do anything about it.
One lady who tried to commit suicide and had a near death experience told me that she had to stand there and feel the emotions of every person who had heard about her death. She had to feel such things as some friend's sense of guilt, "Oh, my God, maybe I should have called her more, and maybe she wouldn't have done this."
When someone asked Cayce, since we choose when we come into life, can't we choose when we will go? He said, "No man is an island, we do not live to ourselves or die to ourselves." But you know, like we were talking about before, it's the service to other people that's important. When you have wrecked so many people's lives by your suicide, the real sin is not that you killed yourself but that you really didn't care about anyone else.
PC: I know two women whose brothers committed suicide so I have had really close up and personal evidence of what happens to the remaining members of the family.
RG: Oh, my! But here is what we can do, though, it's prayer. Prayer for those who have passed on…
PC: Yes! I love the fact that you include that in your book.--prayer for the dead!
RG: There is the quotation, "Even though I make my bed in hell, behold! Thou art there.." As terrible a realm as people put themselves into, they are not beyond salvation. Even in the realm that George Ritchie saw, the vengeful suicides, their guardian angels were always above them, but first …
PC: They had to reach up?…
RG: They had to reach out, had to take responsibility…and they were able to move on…
PC: Because we always have free will…
RG: Yes, and in "What Dreams May Come," what his spirit guide said to Chris, the man whose wife committed suicide was, "Chris, she had free will and she made a choice, It was not her time to go, so she can't go anywhere. She is earthbound because her development can't carry her any further."
It wasn't forever. And this is where I part ways with the Christian Fundamentalists who say we go to these places…
PC: In essence, it seems almost as if you lose your soul by doing this, to their way of thinking…
RG: C.W. Leadbeater, the Theosophist…says on suicide, that it may take you 300 lifetimes to make that up. Now Dr. George Ritchie (Return from Tomorrow) whom I keep referring to, the psychiatrist, makes a distinction between the vengeful suicide and a suicide committed by someone who is mentally ill or is schizophrenic and having terrible visions. He says that is a whole different realm that those souls move into because, as he puts it, with the disease of schizophrenia, you are talking about people for whom everyone they see appears as a monster, and they see the faces and hear the voices night and day and they just finally say, "I don't want to be here any more."
PC: Of the two women I know whose brothers committed suicide, one actually had a brother who was having such problems, so this should comfort her, as well as others like her.
RG: As Edgar Cayce said, "No soul enters that unseen realm alone." So for those who are having frightening visions and hallucinations, picture a small child who falls down, is hurt, and gets lost. There are beings who reach down and pick those souls up and help them on their way. With those who are vengeful suicides, it is as if they put a block up for a good long period of time. Meaning, if they don't reach out for help here on earth, then they have to learn how to reach out for help on the Other Side. Until they do, they will remain in that realm. But there is always redemption.
Suicide is so devastating, and again, it is because of the people who are affected here. I picture it as--let's say you're doing a play. Suppose you are the lead character in the play. And you have an audience and the audience is intimately connected to you and the supporting characters are connected to you. And in the middle of the play, you walk off the stage. That is an analogy for suicide. Now you've created complete chaos out of the play; you have left your supporting characters on stage and they cannot go on now…
PC: Now they are going to have to ad lib.
RG: Not only will they have to ad lib, but the growth and development they were getting from you they can no longer have, and also for the audience, for the hundreds or thousands of those people, it is like, suddenly, the play has stopped. So, in terms of suicide, departing the stage early is to me the analogy for what happens-that throws chaos into it.
I think I've gone on too long about this subject, but I just want to reiterate that there are different branches…
PC: I really think it is good that you've gone on about it…
RG: Can I tell you just one more thing about it?
PC: Yes, please go on…
RG: There is a videotape called "Life After Life," it's Raymond Moody's tape, but I don't know if it Is still available. It is five or six of the most dramatic of his near death experiences. One of them was a nurse who attempted suicide. Her neighbor heard the gun shot, called an ambulance, and the suicide said she left her body and followed the ambulance all the way to the hospital.
She then encountered a being of light of such total love, who knew and felt all the pain that had led up to her suicide. She said, "I was given a choice: I could stay in that realm, or I could come back. If I chose to stay there, then in some future time, I would have to come back to earth and relive all that I had gone through that led up to my suicide and begin from there. She tells this story beautifully in "Life After Life." You see, we don't get out of anything that way.
PC: Where might people be able to find the "Life After Life" videotape?
RG: Raymond Moody has a web site. Go to Life After Life.com. I believe that is the name of the web site. I hope it's still in print. It was originally done by the learning Channel. It has Dr. George Ritchie in it, Dannion Brinkley, and the woman who attempted suicide.
PC: Oh, very good.
Advice about Hospice Work
PC: All right. About your hospice work-are you still doing that?
RG: My first book, which is now out of print, "Love and Roses from David," was the chronicle of my work with the first AIDS assistance organization in Indianapolis in 1985. I was assigned to a 25-year-old man who was in the final stages.
PC: A man who was my accompanist when I was singing, died of AIDS and I went through that last process of his illness with him. How do you get to the point where you can handle that well?
RG: For anyone who is interested, I would recommend that you go take a class on hospice work. It would be very helpful for anybody to take an introductory course on death and dying. Then the absolute bible is Elizabeth Kubler Ross's "On Death and Dying."
PC: I have that so I know about how good that is.
RG: Scott Sparrow wrote the intro to my "Angels" book. He was my counselor and my spiritual mentor, as well. I was going through counseling with him. (I think anybody in the care giving business should be going through counseling it's extremely helpful, especially if you deal with lots and lots of people.) For me it was psychotherapy, so he was my therapist for many years, then became a close friend. I said to him, "Scott, I feel somewhat distant to the patient. I can be with the family. I can be there for them and with them, but there is a part of me that isn't upset with the whole process." He said, "Rob that means that you are meant to be a hospice worker. If you are falling apart with the family falling apart, you can't be of much help to them."
PC: That's a very wise thing to say.
RG: Yes, I have full sympathy with everyone concerned but since I have to be a caregiver, I have to have a part of me that is off to the side. When I told my mom, she just said, "Oh, I could never do that!" I said, "Mom, this work is not for everybody." In hospice you deal with a lot of issues, you are dealing with people who, many of them, are in the last stages of life and don't look like themselves. I think I put in "Universe of Worlds" that when the soul is in the comatose state, when it is…
PC: Coming and going?…
RG: Yes, it's coming and going, in and out of the body. So, by the time the final transition takes place, as Edgar Cayce put it in many of his readings for the terminally ill, "We have the entity, not the body. The entity just waits by here." When we use the term, "Well, she's in and out." That's very appropriate because whenever anyone dying is incoherent or comatose or just not making sense, that is just the body consciousness, the soul is still connected, but it's not present, that's not them. That's why so many people who notice a dramatic change in their loved ones look at them and think, "That's not my husband," or, "That's not my wife." They feel that, because the soul is elsewhere.
The transition very often takes place months or years before a comatose person makes the transition. I wrote about that in the prologue of Universe of Worlds, where my grandmother who died in a nursing home came back through a Spiritualist medium. She was in a nursing home for ten years before she died and there was nothing recognizable about her. She gave the message through my friend the medium, "Tell Robbie not to feel bad about not visiting me in the nursing home, I didn't spend a day there."
PC: (Chuckling) Yes…that's a wonderful story…
RG: When you look into the eyes of someone who is terminally ill and you inexplicably get the feeling they are not there, they really aren't there. They are off preparing, getting ready, going through a birth. And it is very important that we be careful of our thoughts and what we say at the bedside of that person. I would highly recommend The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
PC: Yes, I saw that you included that.
RG: Yes, I didn't say much in this latest book about it. I talked about it more in my book, The Place We Call Home. It's wonderful because it is helpful to us with our own issues of dying, but it is helpful for those who have just lost a loved one, and it is helpful for those who need to learn to meditate and pray for those souls who have just passed on. The West is completely ignorant about such things and he wrote this book to help everybody concerned deal with that.
When a Loved One Is Dying
PC: I like what you included about what people can do if they are uncomfortable with orally telling the dying person to go to the light, that you can simply think that and pray with him about it and that will help.
RG: Right. So many people can be in the hospital room and they will be thinking "don't leave me," but it is very important to be conscious of your thought processes while you are in the room. Many times, the dying person simply needs permission to go, They love us and they are acutely aware of our grief, which is why prolonged bereavement can be a real problem for those who have passed on.
PC: Listen, twice just in the last few weeks, I have been able to pass on the part in your book where you talked about this to grieving survivors--the part about the people in the hospital room tending to not want their loved one to go-- but then they are not there when they die. The son of my best friend just recently had his father die when he left his father to get some sleep and his father assured him that he was fine and was going to watch some television and he must have died shortly after that…
RG: And he died? Yes it happens all the time.
PC: Yes. And I had a woman come to me for a reading on Sunday and she came specifically, though she didn't tell me that at first, hoping to speak to her mother to find out if she was all right and if it was all right that she had left her mother's hospital room just before her mother died.
RG: Oh, my.
PC: The same thing. So I read this part of your book to her and I e-mailed it to Chris, and it was enormously helpful to both of them. I want you to know that.
RG: Oh, my, yes. I'm so glad to hear that. Thank you so much.
PC: Oh, I feel as if I'm in some sort of flow having to do with death and dying right now.
RG: Well, you absolutely are, and as I say in my book (and it sounds so simplistic), If you are meant to be there at the moment of their passing, you will be. If you are not, you were not needed. We've been taught about the deathbed vigil, the 24-hour watch…
PC: And that's what this woman and her father had been doing and they each walked away for just ten minutes…
RG: Ten minutes, yes…
PC: And that's all that it took.
RG: I use the example that you are at a family reunion and you have places to go and everybody is saying, "Oh, please stay. Don't go away…have another piece of cake…and what happens is most people are not saying to the dying that it's okay to let go, they are thinking they don't want him to go.
I want to emphasize this very strongly, because it is such a common thing that happens. I don't want anyone to think they have caused that soul harm, because, again, at that stage when the soul is unconscious, it is not in the body and when it is someone's time to go, they will go. But many will linger on simply because some family member wants them to.
What Flower Newhouse said, is true, and there's no sugar-coated way to say it: it's complete selfishness. And I love what Raymond Moody said, "Even if we live to be 90, our life here is a moment, one shining moment, and when we are reunited on the other side, it's like talking with a best friend you haven't seen in many years and you just pick up where you left off. And that's how it is because the bond of love is not a tangible, physical thing and it certainly can't be destroyed just because the body's cast aside, and that bond of love is eternal, and we're not saying "goodbye," but, we're saying, "I'll see you later."
I remember in one of Edgar Cayce's readings a family member came through and talked about what all the family were doing on the other side and he said, "We're looking so forward to when you get here," and he was saying that when Edgar and Gertrude got there, it was going to be a wonderful family reunion. That is the case, just like we celebrate a birth here, and even more so--I think that's why I called my other book, The Place We Call Home-as Edgar Cayce said, "It's a lot easier to leave this world than it is to come into it." Because we're going back to spirit.
Hugh Lynn Cayce humorously said, "We don't seem to be happy in either place. We come hollering into it and then we go hollering out of it." This is why he said meditation is a really important part of living, as well as of dying. He said that if you can find the light in meditation here, you can be sure you will be comfortable and aware of it when you make your transition. The light is always there, but the process of meditation, again, is one of building the body, the awareness…
PC: Building the body that we are going to use on the other side.
RG: --That we're going to use. So he was so funny, he said, "If we want to be sure we can find the light, we better find it here first."
PC: (Laughing) That's really amusing-and wise advice.
Cayce on The Masters and The Great White Brotherhood
There is something else I wanted to touch on, because I was fascinated that you put this in, too. You were talking about the Masters and the Great White Brotherhood. And you said that we were in the process of becoming Masters How did you start going in that direction in that part of this book?
RG: I found it in one of Cayce's readings when someone asked, "Where do we go when we are perfected?" The reading replied, "Ye may go and be a savior in other worlds, even as He." When I read that and really thought about it, that tells you the vastness that it all really is.
I believe the way I paraphrased it is that I believe the earth is the training ground for future messiahs. So, regardless of whether you are Christian or Jewish, or whatever else you may be, when he said, "All these things that I do, you will do, too," what Jesus was trying to emphasize was, "I am a picture of your future, a picture of what you will become, and when you become so in harmony with the Infinite, the Infinite becomes a part of you and then, not even death can hinder you."
So we're all in the process, in essence, of becoming Masters. It may take a hundred or even a thousand lifetimes, but however long it takes, there is a spiritual evolution going on and Edgar Cayce said, "Each soul is as a corpuscle in the body of God." And in his readings on Jesus he was saying that we are equal to him, meaning Jesus. We are not less than the Masters, they are just more spiritually advanced and their work is to help us and whether it is through some coincidental event, meeting the right person at the right time, or whether it is an intuitive feeling that causes someone not to get on a plane and, then, as it turns out, it was a great intuition because it kept them from being in an accident… we are always in touch with those beings and they are in touch with us.
In "Universe of Worlds," I talked about how we can put ourselves more in alignment with them. And it simply has to do with getting back to nature, taking a half hour each day to go out into the country, to the woods, or if you're in the city, to go to the park and quietly watch the sunrise or sunset. Most importantly at those times ask that you be more and more in alignment with the Divine and that the Divine assist you. Nobody can help you if you don't ask for help. It's not that help isn't there, it's that we don't ask for it.
For many of us the prompting comes very quietly. It's called the voice of intuition. But I think the most beautiful part of it is that we are not traveling through life alone and as soon as we call on God, or Allah, or Yahweh, the quicker the messengers or the Masters can come. I don't want to confuse people by saying pray to the Masters, instead of God. It's like: pray to the Source and the Source will send the messengers that are needed. We are all in the process of becoming Masters, even as He. We are evolving to that. And that, I got from Edgar Cayce's readings.
We will accelerate much more quickly if we get back to basics, which is why, in my opinion, we all are experiencing the acceleration of time. What's happening is that we are being forced, since time is moving so rapidly right now, to reconsider all the petty things that we have been concerned about because we haven't enough time to dwell on them any more. We're being forced to choose what we are going to do and what we will deal with.
I know a man who was a Manhattan policeman for 20 years and he retired and he is now a gifted massage therapist, healer, and teacher. No one would ever have thought that. That's how the Masters work with us. There are so many of us who are dropping our old ways of life (and I'm just using the professions as an example): a person who is a clerical worker and is in a dead-end job of some sort, who wants to become a social worker; and the person who goes back to college at age 52, and perhaps he wants to become a physician, or whatever. People are being prompted to move into new directions now and the people closest to them may look at them like they're crazy.
In my own family, when I told dad I wasn't going to college, that I was going to move to Virginia Beach to computerize the readings and make $5.25 an hour, after I'd been a broadcast journalist, needless to say, he thought I had lost my mind. Well, now, of course, it's "my son, the author," so…
PC: Yes, of course! It just occurred to me that you started in the military and I don't know how you got into military journalism, but that's in your bio.
RG: I just fell into it.
PC: You just fell into it?.
RG: I joined the Navy, specifically hoping I could be stationed here at Virginia Beach so I could study at ARE.
PC: Now I begin to see.
RG: Then, when I was stationed aboard the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Eisenhower, I was a yeoman, which is like an administrative assistant and the carrier had 6,200 people on it and there was a closed-circuit TV system. I mean, it's like a floating city. We had news, weather and sports at 6 o'clock and the newscaster got transferred and they didn't have anybody to do it, so I felt prompted to go "audition" to do the news.
I started doing broadcast news and then the editor of the daily paper-and yes, out at sea the aircraft carrier has a daily newspaper-was delayed getting on board and I found myself suddenly in the position of being a broadcast journalist and the editor of a newspaper and the only experience I had had before that in writing was that I had kept journals since 1979.
I covered the 40th anniversary of D-Day at the Normandy Beaches. Ronald Reagan was there and other heads of state and it was my job to go with a video crew and do those things and so that's how I was pushed in that direction. Then after I got out of the Navy, I worked very briefly with a newspaper and news crew and I was so discouraged with the business of it! I had planned to go back to school and major in journalism, but when I saw the "Venture Inward" article that said, "Readings Project About to Begin," it was the answer to a prayer. I wasn't in love with myself on television. And I wanted to be a writer but I didn't want to do the daily grind of being a journalist.
PC: Yes, I understand what you're saying.
RG: So I just sort of cast all that aside and I thought well, whatever came out of the readings project we would just see what it was! So, everything I've done thus far as far as writing the books, none of it was planned.
PC: That's wonderful. How lucky you are.
RG: So, I completed the readings, and wrote a couple of articles for "Venture Inward" and the then editor became the publisher of ARE Press and he kept telling me that one of the articles would make a great book. I said that I had only written articles. He said that a book was a series of articles.
His name was Joe Dunne and he recently passed on, bless his heart, on September 11th. He didn't die in New York, but he died the same day as 9/11, of cancer. He was responsible for my writing my first book.
PC: Well, Robert, I need to let you go now because I've taken so much of your time, but tell me some of your book titles--I have Love and Roses from David.
RG: Now that is not in print.
PC: And you've mentioned The Place We Call Home, and on the second page of my copy of Universe of Worlds,"I see Are We Listening to the Angels?
RG: About my new book, Barnes and Noble.com did such a wonderful job. They have everything on it. And there is a number where you can order the book: 1-800-723-1112. I want to say I've really enjoyed this interview.
PC: I have had a wonderful time. Wouldn't have missed it! Thanks, Robert.