The Devil’s in the Details

Hey folks – don’t forget!  Free readings for my blog readers this week – please see my previous post.

(that’s a tasmanian devil, in case you were wondering.)

I’ve absorbed several books so far this week:  Conversations with God, Only Love is Real (sequel to Brian Weiss’ Many Lives, Many Masters which I read last week) and Sylvia Browne’s Evolution of the Soul, which is a book on tape.

The neat thing about reading all these books in quick succession is that I’m noticing the common themes, common strings of knowledge.  I think I’m running into different people describing the exact same things, and we’re all coming up with different descriptions or ways of putting words to our experiences because, well, we’re human.  No matter whether you’re a young(ish) psychic like me, or someone like Sylvia Browne who’s been at it for 60 years, it seems like we’re all hitting the same general points.

One thing that made me chuckle today, is the commonality of the idea of a “viewing room” which we enter after we die to review our life.  The first time I heard this was from John, who told me about it in consoling me because I’d missed seeing my friends play in a really kick-ass concert.  “Don’t worry,” he said, patting my shoulder, “You can see it when you’re dead.”

He then showed me the viewing room, but cautioned me against avoiding experiences just because I could always watch them later – no, you must actively participate in your life.

Then, I heard Lisa Williams on her podcast radio show describe such a viewing room.  Then, just today, in Sylvia Browne’s audio book, I heard HER describe such a room.  The thing is, all of our descriptions of this room will vary, but the room itself will be there.

And this makes sense anyway, doesn’t it?  Why would everyone want the same architecture?  Lisa Williams says there are no chairs in the viewing room, that you must stand and fully experience these things that you accomplished, avoided or inflicted upon others while you were alive.

The viewing room I was shown is much less serious:  it’s a spacious yet cozy movie theatre.  It’s full of my friends and loved ones, my guides and advisors, the theatre floors are very clean and the seats are 50’s style, cushy, comfortable, with wooden arms and backs that rock gently.  Everyone is wearing 3-D glasses and laughing, enjoying themselves.  There is the best-tasting buttery popcorn available to all, and I feel like I’ve won an oscar and everyone is there to see My Movie.  They’ll moan and groan over my mistakes, they’ll laugh with me and cry with me, but always I’ll be surrounded by love as I review the film of my life.

Sylvia Browne describes the viewing room as somewhere between what Lisa and describe – a celebration, less serious than a courtroom-setting, more formal than a night at the movies.

Thing is, when it comes down to it, who the heck cares who is right?  Chances are, everyone’s viewing room is going to form to suit what that person needs to review their life.

I had a conversation with my parents this weekend.  Pretty much every time I talk to my mother, I end up doing some sort of reading, which I love doing.  Last time I asked her how Dad was doing with “this psychic stuff” – and doesn’t she go and get him on the phone, put him on the spot and start drilling him in front of me?  I don’t know what that was about, but I suspect my Mom was trying to be “right” about something.  I gently said that I felt Dad was being put on the spot, and it’s perfectly okay to have a healthy skepticism.  P.T. Barnum had a word for people who’d believe anything you tell them.

Through that awkward conversation though, surfaced the idea that my Dad is not so much skeptical of *my* skill, as his own grandmother was the famous psychic, thus he’s not really allowed to utterly disbelieve it.  He tends to focus on frauds, manipulators, people who try to profit from other’s misery and lonliness under the guise of a psychic.  This seems to be a common worry that people have – they’re worried they’ll be taken in.

My mother *loves* Sylvia Browne.  I admit, I used to fake sick on Wednesdays so I could stay home from school with my mother and watch Sylvia on Montel Williams.  Sylvia has proven a hundred-thousand times the legitimacy of her skill – for heaven’s sake the woman comes from 300 years of documented psychics!  She has credentials up the wazoo.

But Sylvia makes a lot of money.  She supports and employs a lot of people with this money.  She founded a church.  She puts out at least one book a year.  This, for my father, raises the red flag.

I’ll digress along a similar point here with another anecdote:  Last week I went to my neighbour Cathy’s house to buy dogfood.  She’s trying to start a pet-supply store out here in the sticks, and for now she just sells bags of pet food out of her house, where she also runs a rescue for pit bulls, bless her.  I navigate through the intense gazes of these powerful dogs, pick my bag of food and notice one of Cesar Milan’s books on the bookshelf.  As Cathy’s writing up my bill I say, “Oh hey, I have the other Milan books if you’d like to borrow them.”

Wow.  Was that the wrong thing to say.  She went into this 40 minute tirade about how much Cesar Milan bugs her.  She used examples of other people watching his show then doing something stupid with their dogs (things which were NOT on Cesar’s show, by the way.)  As she went through her laundry list, I’d try to direct her back to what Cesar actually says and does, which is his message – not what other people say he says and does.

It was really difficult to communicate with Cathy at all because she got really loud and intense.   Finally I found out that she had not read most of Cesar’s book and had only watched a couple of his shows on you tube.  Then she said “I agree with 80% of what he does…”  and I thought Well you’re harping on the 20% you don’t agree with!

So it is with Sylvia Browne.  I’d say I agree with 90% of what she has said on TV and in her books.  So why did I have this tendency to focus on the 10% that doesn’t sit right with me?  Sylvia never said she was infallible.  She’s a human being just like me, and the beauty of being human is that NO ONE is ever 100% right.  Just today in her audio book I heard her talk about how she used to go around the world telling people that angels don’t have wings.  Well didn’t a big old angel with wings show up in her foyer one day, and now she has to this detail back, after 10 years of lectures?

So it is with anyone, really.  If we just walked around the world allowing everyone around us to be 20% wrong, how much more peaceful would our lives become?

4 thoughts on “The Devil’s in the Details

  1. This post and your “Lost in Translation” post cut to the heart of the problems I’ve had trying to go down the road to build my intuitive/psychic skills over the years..When I was in my mid teens, my tendency to only think in black and white (you’re either right or wrong) fed into the early days of my clinical depression — I was reading a lot of “new age” books back then, including Sylvia Brown, and not being able to understand that everyone has their own interpretation of things they experience turned a spiritual exploration into a crisis that it has taken me years to come to grips with.

    I now tend to see very little as black and white — everything is shades of grey, subtle nuances, and personal interpretations. And I’m starting to go back and reread some of the authors whose books caused me so much grief when I was younger; I’m slowly coming to understand that I don’t have to believe or agree with everything someone says to believe or agree with a part of it, but it’s still hard. (It’s funny, in your Kurt Cobain post, you mentioned that he was disappointed when he met John Lennon because he’d expected that John was a man who had it all together and he didn’t — that’s what I’m trying to overcome, this expectation I have that authors, teachers, gurus, etc. have it all together all the time and are infallible when they’re just people like the rest of us.)

    I saw Sylvia Brown at the I Can Do It conference in Toronto a few years ago (2009?) and, while I enjoyed much of the lecture, parts of it turned me off, I think because she’s one of those people who seems to speak in absolutes, even when she’s only speaking of her own personal interpretation and so it feels like you have to reject it all to reject the parts that don’t ring true. (I have an animals in the afterlife book that she and her son wrote for children, explaining what happens to animals after they die, and I find myself having the same trouble with it…parts of it feel so wrong that I end up closing myself off from the rest of it, which is my loss, I’m sure.) I like the “angels don’t have wings” thing you mention — makes me want to maybe go back and reread/relisten to her with that in mind.


    • Yeah, in listening to her audio book, she has a style of talking that’s really rough sometimes. She says “Shut up!” a lot – to her guide, to people she believes are whining. I noticed on her later years on Montel how she’d sometimes talk down to people who were coping with some misconception. Sure, Sylvia has probably dealt with a thousand other clients with the same hang up, still, it can turn me off.

      But remember, she’s a person. She’s damn tired half the time she’s on tour as well. She’s allowed to be a bit cranky. She does talk in absolutes but admits it when she gets a correction on something, even if it’s a decade later.

      And she admits to her own insecurities too. When she asked her guide why Francine let her traipse around the country for ten years telling people angels don’t have wings and that’s just bullshit, didn’t francine reply “Well, you didn’t ask!” Which made Sylvia go around wondering what else she hasn’t asked about.

      It’s funny to think about all the effort Sylvia puts into writing books in great detail about how heaven looks, the viewing room, the libraries, the various temples. Wouldn’t it be funny if she got to heaven and found out it’s going to look different to everyone anyway?

      John says that heaven’s as wonderful a place as you allow it to be.

      Our teachers aren’t perfect, even the ones in heaven aren’t perfect (a mother’s bias still comes through in readings, incidentally) but through their flaws we can learn things about them and ourselves too.


      • Actually, I find her crankiness refreshing, because it makes her more human. (I distrust someone who is all calm and lightness all of the time.) She was really quite funny — she’d have been a great comedian, a la Joan Rivers. It was when she started talking about how we were living in the most horrible time ever now (and that this is Hell) and started going all serious Christian on us (lots of “Our Lord” and New Testament quoting) that she started losing me.

        Books describing how heaven looks always make me think of Mark Twain’s “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven”…or Rowen Atkinson’s devil skit. LOL


  2. Yeah, sylvia talks a lot about this being her last life and how this is “hell”. When I hear other people refer to incarnation as hell, and how tired they are of it all, how they wish their life would just hurry up and be done so they could get back to heaven, it doesn’t sit right with me.

    She’s also talked a lot about how people have an average of only 50 lives. So far, I haven’t encountered anyone who’s had less than 100, and one person’s guide told me she’d had thousands of lives on earth, giving me the image of an olympic swimmer that leaps out of the water and then back in, in one fluid motion. My cat has had more lives than that. It makes me wonder, when Sylvia starts counting lives, where does the counting begin? I wonder if whoever is counting starts in AC? We have thousands of years of humanity on this planet BC, where’d all those lives go? What about lives on other planets? 50 seems like a small number to me.

    It’s part of that 20% of sylvia-isms that I’ll let go, though. (There we go, focusing on the small portion) I just don’t agree or believe that this is the most horrible time ever. I don’t.

    If those people saw how stressed out my sweetie’s first guide can get, I doubt they’d be in such a hurry to get to heaven!


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