The Art of Preserving the Sacred
Navigating the Terrain of Spiritual Sharing
I’m now closing in on twenty-seven years since I began investigating the afterlife and sharing what I’ve learned about life and the afterlife from my investigation. I’m immensely grateful that I wrote about all my experiences within days of having them. These articles preserved the precious details of those experiences that might have been lost because memories fade with time.
My first reading with a medium resulted from my commitment to investigate the afterlife. I sought evidence, and since mediums claimed to communicate with people in spirit, I had to turn that rock over to see what was underneath. I never expected this stranger would be able to do what she claimed. Yet, once she gave me pages of accurate information from my deceased loved ones that she could not possibly have known without having made contact with them, I found myself in a very different position.
If you read my article about that reading, you might recall how excited I was to share my discovery that people can communicate with the deceased. In my mind, since this medium had spoken with my dead father and grandmother, that meant there was an afterlife. That was news worth sharing, so I set out to tell the world. I began by calling my closest friend, David, and my mother—two people who loved and trusted me.
Almost ironically, I was met with the skepticism that I had once held so dear before my reading. David told me he wanted to believe me but couldn’t make the leap. He decided he would have to have a reading himself, but he never actually got one. My mother’s response was a bit harsher than David’s. Her response was, “I believe that you believe it.” In the ‘70s, we would have called that a “mom burn.”
Their responses made me curious. I now wanted to understand the mindset of people who get readings from mediums. How do these people deal with skepticism? I referred to it as “the stigma of being a believer.” After all, I’d never been on the receiving end of it until now. So, I set out to interview multiple clients of the medium who gave me my reading.
One of the last interviews in this series became one of the most significant of my twenty-seven-year journey. I interviewed a woman named M. E. Oriol, an author specializing in life coaching, pastoral counseling, and psychotherapy. I’ll never forget what she taught me about skepticism. When I asked her if she was skeptical the first time she heard of the medium’s gift, she replied, “No, not at all, because I am neutral in it. If somebody shares that [mediums can communicate with spirits] with me, I have no judgment on it. Later, if I witness it, it becomes, and that is fun. I didn’t think she was a fraud right off the start because I am neutral. Why would I doubt it? I haven’t lost anything if she can’t do what she says she can do. There is freedom in being neutral.”
Given my experience telling David and my mother about my reading, I asked Ms. Oriol how she shares her readings with others. She explained that she considers her spiritual way of life a private matter. For years, she told me, she rarely talked about it. “It was just too sacred,” she admitted. “I do not know how to put my experience with it into words. I’ll mention it, and if it touches someone’s heart and they ask me more, I’ll talk to them about it. But I don’t want to betray my experience by not portraying it accurately,” she said.
After my interview with M. E. Oriol, I made note of this idea of personal experiences like readings being sacred experiences. Later in my investigation, this proved true for people’s past-life regressions, dream visitations, after-death communications, and even near-death experiences and out-of-body experiences.
As I focused on this more, I realized that Ms. Oriol’s statement about sharing her experiences was more common than I had realized. “I’ll mention it, and if it touches someone’s heart and they ask me more, I’ll talk to them about it. But I don’t want to betray my experience by not portraying it accurately.” I learned that her use of “betray” was not an exaggeration. She did not “want to betray” her experience because she didn’t have the words to explain it adequately. That’s the crux of it. No words can express the sacredness we feel about our spiritual experiences.
Ms. Oriol used the word “betray” when referring to her inability to put her experiences into words. I soon realized that this is a betrayal because sharing our experiences with words opens the door for others to “diminish” the sacredness of our experience. Let me share with you what I told over one hundred psychics and mediums in a workshop I gave them in 2010. (This is a transcript of my talk.)