Tag: Earth (page 49 of 180)

Ascension and the Intuitive Ability of Clairvoyance

by Trish LeSageThose who are on the path of ascension may eventually possess the ability of clairvoyance. Clairvoyance is the ability to see beyond that which is perceived with the physical eyes. Clairvoyance includes seeing with the third eye, also known as the psychic eye, the inner eye, or the mind's eye.For example, words, symbols, or other information may appear in the mind's eye of a person who possesses the ability of clairvoyance. This may happen as a form of guidance unexpectedly [...]

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What Would You Take With You to the Afterlife? – Life, Death, Out-of-Body Experiences & the Journey of Consciousness

By Matthew Butler 

People save up for retirement, but how well do we prepare for the journey after? Ancient cultures put great emphasis on the afterlife, because they knew consciousness continued after death. They were right: Out-of-body experiences reveal we really do exist beyond the body. Knowing this truth should inspire us to seek in life what really matters and remains after death – awakened consciousness.

What is the greatest mystery of life? According to a legendary Q&A in the Indian spiritual epic the Mahabharata, the greatest wonder is that countless people die every day, yet those left behind believe they will live forever.
There is a well-known saying that the only certainty in life is death, but our hyper-connected modern society is not exactly inspiring much reflection on what lies beyond the transient.
People put aside savings for retirement, and some take out life insurance to take care of the loved ones they leave behind. This looks after physical needs, but what about the needs of consciousness which continues without the body? What preparations are made for its journey after death – the ultimate journey of a lifetime?
Religious institutions offer a solution to their followers that usually depends on adopting a set of beliefs rather than personal spiritual discovery.  On the other hand, some scientists will tell you with equal conviction that nothing comes after death, so don’t worry about it. Both of these points of view depend on belief, but what if, when the final moment comes, you realise you wasted the great opportunity your life provided? An alternative option is to discover for ourselves why we are here, and what  our place in the universe is, while we are alive and have the opportunity to do something with the knowledge we gain.
Ancient spiritual cultures almost universally placed importance on the individual’s preparations and journey into the afterlife. They clearly understood our existence extended beyond our bodies, and that life and death were best seen with the bigger picture of creation in mind – as part of an ongoing journey of consciousness – with life presenting an amazing opportunity for conscious evolution that we take the fruits from after death.
This was bought home to me in an interesting way during a trip to a museum exhibition showcasing ancient Egyptian afterlife cosmology; it reminded me of the universal nature of the afterlife, and how Near-Death Experiences and Out-of-Body Experiences offer us a glimpse into the reality of existence beyond the body, revealing that awakening consciousness is what creation is really all about.
With our modern culture drifting more and more into shallow short-sighted materialism and faux metaphysics, the need to re-discover and live this deeper purpose to life, so cherished by the ancients, is more important than ever.

A Journey into the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife

A while back I was fortunate to have the opportunity to take a one-way self-guided tour through the ancient Egyptian afterlife, thanks to a special museum exhibition featuring artefacts from the British Museum collection.
The local museum was packed, and we had to wait in a queue before being allowed in. Finally we entered a dimly-lit passage thronging with people, winding past ancient Egyptian artefacts, artworks, tools, scriptures, and mummies.

Geb_Nut_Shu-300x202The exhibit started with depictions of ancient Egyptian cosmology like this. Here the sky goddess is held up above the earth.

It was arranged so that you went on an afterlife “journey” vicariously, stage by stage, in the way the ancient Egyptians understood it. It began with displays showing ancient Egyptian depictions of the world’s creation, and culminated with the judgement of the soul and its journey after death. In between you were shown artefacts demonstrating how ancient Egyptians understood and prepared for death.
There were ancient scrolls of the pyramid texts on display, and ancient art depicting the soul’s journey through the afterlife. A major theme in their art was judgement and the “weighing of the heart”, where a deceased person’s heart was weighed against a feather, and their fate was dependent on their inner qualities and the sum of their actions while alive. Toward the end of the exhibition they had a mockup display of this, with a large set of scales on which you could weigh your “heart” against a feather, while Egyptian Gods looked on from a mural.
After that, you passed into a depiction of the Egyptian paradise before stepping outside into the sunlight. I doubt the effect was intentional on the part of the exhibitors, but after passing through the exhibition’s dark passageway with its ordered depictions of the afterlife, judgment and then stepping into the light, I couldn’t help but think of accounts of near-death experiences, in which people often report passing through a dark tunnel toward the light, and experiencing a life review where they see the consequences of all their actions.

BD_Hunefer_cropped_1-300x231Depiction of the “weighing of the heart”

The exhibit really brought home to me how the ancient Egyptians understood they existed for a purpose that went beyond everyday life. Death was a doorway to the next stage of existence, and their lives were an opportunity to prepare for it. They knew we do not cease to exist when we die, and saw the quest for immortality through awakening consciousness as the real purpose to creation.
From looking at artefacts from different periods, it was apparent the ancient Egyptian understanding of death changed over time. It seemed to me that originally, the emphasis was on living spiritually and obtaining an immortality of the soul, while in later periods their understanding declined into more literal interpretations of preparing the body (rather than consciousness) for the afterlife through mummification, and a preoccupation with the arrangement of one’s burial and tomb with the right spells and amulets.
But I was vividly struck by how through that civilisation’s long and varied existence, the importance of the afterlife always reigned supreme, and being prepared for life after death was absolutely central to existence. Death, and therefore life, was taken very seriously.

I couldn’t help but notice a stark contrast between our modern culture and theirs. It was a bit like being in some kind of time warp, where two very different cultures collided. The artefacts of the Egyptians gave a sense of the sacredness of life and creation, but the bustling, noisy crowds of modern onlookers apparently saw this ancient preoccupation with the afterlife as mere novelty and amusement. How different ancient Egypt was to our modern society where the reality, and inevitability, of death is given little thought or preparation, and the understanding that consciousness continues after death is often summarily discounted and ridiculed.
I highly doubt that many people who attended the exhibition paused to reflect on whether they would continue to exist after death and, if so, how? And why are we here anyway? This was driven home when, just prior to reaching the scales of “judgement”, I noticed a whiteboard, styled with papyrus veneer, with a pertinent question written at the top.

What would you take with you to the afterlife?

Good question. A pen hung from the board, inviting people to write their response underneath. The answers ranged from the sentimental, to the mundane, to the silly.

WP_000293-EDIT1-1024x845How would you answer the question?

Some wanted to take their friends and family with them, while others wanted to take things like their iPhone, make-up, favourite band, football team, favourite rock star, chocolate, alcohol, and so forth.
A “time machine” was perhaps the only clever response. I could see the benefit of that if you realised you had wasted your life. I don’t think it’s really an option however.
This brought home how we don’t take death and the meaning of our lives anywhere near as seriously as we should today. The ancients knew a lot more about life and death than we do. We have lost their ancient wisdom, and with it the understanding of the amazing opportunity our existence in this universe presents.
This is a serious problem. Our consciousness will continue to exist without the body. But if we don’t question our existence and why we are here, we will not awaken consciousness and we will never reach our true potential.

Near-Death Experiences and the Reality of Existence Beyond the Body

Existence after death is not something the ancient Egyptians invented. Concepts of an afterlife are so common across geographically isolated cultures around the world that it cannot simply be dismissed as a coincidence. There may be cultural differences in the details, but the understanding that we continue existing without the body has been pretty much universal for thousands of years.
In fact, the burial of the dead and the realisation of an afterlife are considered some of the most important hallmarks of cultural development in Stone Age people. It was a sign of intelligence distinguishing people from animals, and paved the way for the development of more sophisticated civilisations.

Hieronymus_Bosch_013The medieval painting ‘Ascent of the Blessed’ by Hieronymus Bosch shows the light at the end of the tunnel common to NDE accounts

Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) provide compelling anecdotal evidence that the afterlife mythologies of the world share a real common source and that consciousness exists beyond the brain. In NDEs, people who are clinically dead or close to death go through experiences that follow a pattern with universal traits, which they recall after being revived.
These include an out of body experience, where they leave their body and realise they are separate from it, perhaps seeing their body lying beneath them. Then they may go on a journey, which may feature common aspects like travelling through a tunnel, and a life review, where a person is shown everything they have done, and feels the effects of their actions toward others, whether good or bad.
Although some scientists speculate that these phenomena may be caused by the brain, the reality is that these experiences have occurred when patients are clinically brain dead, and it has not been proven these experiences are produced biologically. Furthermore, there is no ultimate proof that consciousness is produced by the brain anyway, although this is a strongly-held assumption among those entrenched in materialistic beliefs.
NDEs challenge rigid materialistic beliefs about life. In light of the prevalence and commonality of NDEs, some scientists now suggest that consciousness interacts with the brain rather than being produced by it. Rather, the brain is a conduit through which consciousness can express itself, much like the way a computer is a conduit for the internet, but the internet continues to exist when the computer is switched off.
NDEs are increasingly reported in the modern world due to improvements in health care leading to more people being revived, but they are also an ancient phenomenon. Research by the scholar Gregory Shushan found there are universal afterlife experiences which underpinned both modern NDE accounts and ancient afterlife mythologies. His research involved an in-depth comparative analysis of afterlife conceptions of five ancient civilisations (Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt, Sumerian and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia, Vedic India, pre-Buddhist China, and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica) and compared them to modern NDE accounts. He demonstrated that, although there were some variations in the details based on the cultural origin, there were specific recurring similarities that reappeared too consistently to be mere coincidence, suggesting that, “afterlife conceptions are not entirely culturally-determined and… appear to be universal or quasi-universal to some degree”.

Life is an Opportunity to Awaken Consciousness

Realising that you are consciousness, and continue to exist without the body, awakens you to the bigger picture of life. It puts your whole life in perspective.
In an NDE life review, people tend to see that what really matters in life is not how much money they made or what they achieved in a given field, but how they treated other people, and whether they acted with love. These experiences tend to change people’s lives, inspiring them to be more spiritual.
Discovering you exist beyond the body can be a life-changing revelation

We do not need to have an NDE to verify that we exist without the body, or to have life-changing experiences. Through astral projection, we can have wilful out of body experiences and use these mystical experiences to learn about ourselves and make positive changes in our lives.
Realising that we exist beyond the body can open the door to awakening. You realise that what really matters in life is not what we gain physically, but developing consciousness. Then the question, “what will you take with you to the afterlife” becomes much more meaningful. You can’t take physical things with you when you die like your iPhone, but you can take consciousness. Then you see that the focus on the afterlife in ancient cultures was not a preoccupation with death, but a deep understanding of life, and how to live it in the most meaningful way to bring spiritual benefits to yourself and others, the effects of which continue after death.
States like anger, greed and hatred have their consequences in the world which are bad enough, but who wants to take these states with them to afterlife? If these states don’t bring happiness here, why drag them along after death? Expressions of consciousness like love, wisdom and inner peace are much  better qualities to carry within. By awakening and expressing consciousness in a world filled with ignorance, hatred and darkness, we not only help to make the world a better place, but continue to carry these spiritual qualities in our consciousness when our body is left behind.
Understanding this is so important today. We live in a society bombarded with elite-controlled propaganda and entertainment that not only hides the darker agendas working in the world, but blankets people in ignorance, keeping us from uncovering the deeper potential of our consciousness and empowering ourselves by striving to awaken – which enables us to break free of the grip of darkness that exerts its influence over humanity. Failing to wake up to this agenda has it implications in the world, and also for our consciousness, and it’s consciousness that really counts, both in life and beyond.
So what would you take with you to the afterlife?

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India’s Mars mission a step closer to success with engine test

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25), carrying the Mars orbiter, blasts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, about 100 km (62 miles) north of the southern Indian city of Chennai November 5, 2013. REUTERS/B...

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So is Pluto a Planet Again or Not?

Illustrated image of Pluto

ByScott Sutherland Meteorologist, theweathernetwork.com

Friday, July 18, 2014, 12:24 PM - For over 75 years, tiny Pluto enjoyed its status as the most distant planet in our solar system, but in 2006, it was demoted down to a 'dwarf planet' and its title was passed on to Neptune. Now, though, the editor of Astronomy magazine is sounding the rallying cry to re-open the debate about Pluto's nature, which could potentially redefine what it means to be a planet.

In 2006, when the International Astronomical Union (IAU) set down an official definition for what a 'planet' is, they came up with three rules:
1) The object must be in orbit around the Sun,
2) The object must be massive enough to be a sphere by its own gravitational force. More specifically, its own gravity should pull it into a shape of hydrostatic equilibrium, and
3) It must have cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.

Everything in the solar system technically orbits around the Sun, of course. Something like the Moon doesn't qualify, though, even though it's massive enough to be roughly spherical and its 'neighborhood' is as clear as Earth's is, because it only goes around the Sun as a consequence of being in orbit around Earth. Same goes for the moons of the other planets. Asteroids and comets don't qualify because they're not big enough to become spherical by their own gravity. Even Ceres (which is roughly spherical) doesn't make the cut, because it's in the asteroid belt, thus its 'neighborhood' isn't clear.
Pluto suffers the same problem as Ceres. It's definitely in orbit around the Sun (or at least the common gravitational focus it shares with Charon is in orbit around the Sun). It is massive enough to be a sphere. It just isn't considered to have cleared its neighborhood. So, not a planet, at least by the IAU rules.

However, while the first two rules are pretty clear and easy to determine, third isn't. According to Prof. Abel Méndez, of the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo, "there is no standard 'cleared' metric." It seems that due to the very existence of the Kuiper Belt, Pluto loses its status. However, exactly how cleared does the neighborhood have to be? There are millions of near-Earth asteroids flying around us, and there are even some asteroids that are locked into the same orbit as Earth ('Earth trojans'). There are even more asteroids near Mars' orbit, due to its proximity to the asteroid belt. Jupiter has an extremely large collection of asteroids in its orbit, both preceding it (the Greeks) and following behind (the Trojans).
Even discounting these cases, as it is, when you go further out into the solar system, it gets harder and harder for an object to clear its neighborhood. This is simply because it makes fewer orbits around the Sun compared to objects closer to the Sun, and thus it encounters the other objects in its orbit far less often. Consider Earth, going around the Sun once every year, with Pluto orbiting every 247 years. So, whereas Earth has made roughly 4.5 billion trips around the Sun since it formed, Pluto has only made 18 million similar trips (if it formed at roughly the same time).
As Astronomy magazine editor David Eicher said: "At the Pluto-like distance of 40 astronomical units — 40 times farther away from the Sun then we are now — Earth would not clear its orbit of asteroids, and so would Earth then not be classified as a planet?"
Also, since recent evidence has pointed to the fact that there may be two super-Earth-sized objects out beyond Pluto, both of them would be considered 'dwarf planets' as well, despite one potentially being 10 times the mass of Earth and the other being up to 100 times the mass of Earth.
So, when it comes to Pluto, what's the case for making it a planet again? Based on the facts above and Eicher's own thoughts:
1) the definition of what 'cleared the neighborhood around its orbit' is, itself, unclear
2) it seems unjustifiable that an object even larger than the Earth would not be considered a planet, simply because it orbits far out in our solar system
3) an object's intrinsic characteristics should dictate what kind of object it is, not its location.

Indeed, if you take the IAU's definition and attempt to apply it to all objects we know about, the multitude of worlds that we've discovered outside our solar system aren't technically planets, despite being large enough and even if they've cleared their orbit, because they don't orbit around the Sun.
So, perhaps it's time to revise the IAU's definition, not only to reconsider Pluto for planetary status, but also to make the definition applicable to a wider range of objects. Even if they changed the first rule to have 'a star' instead of 'the Sun' and changed the emphasis of the third rule to be that the object is large enough compared to the rest of the objects in its orbit to be capable of clearing its neighborhood (given enough time), it might be a much better set of conditions to measure everything against.
As Astronomy's editors offer up their time and efforts to host a renewed debate about Pluto, what do you think about its status? Should it be a planet again, remain as a dwarf planet, or perhaps something else? Leave your ideas in the comments below.


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Cosmic dust may have distorted cosmic inflation breakthrough

The 10-meter South Pole Telescope and the BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) Telescope at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which detected evidence of gravitational waves, is seen against the night sky with the Milky Way in this National Science Foundation picture taken in August 2008.

By Ben P. Stein, Inside Science

Harvard researchers rocked the science community last March with an apparent discovery of gravitational ripples that gave credence to cosmic inflation theory – a finding that met as much skepticism as enthusiasm. Now, further analysis raises more doubts.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This phrase, popularized by the late Carl Sagan, kept going through my head on March 17, the day that researchers involved with BICEP2, a telescope in Antarctica, made a big announcement at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The researchers reported that BICEP2 detected gravitational waves from the first moments after the big bang, a feat, which if confirmed, would open up a new field of study and would surely be recognized in a future Nobel Prize.

Gravitational waves are ripples in space and time. They're created when any object with mass accelerates. However, they're extremely weak, making them very hard to detect directly. Even for the most massive and cataclysmic events, such as the collision of two black holes, their effects, observed from Earth, are very hard to detect.

If you're looking for a detectable gravitational wave signal, what bigger event can there be than cosmic inflation? According to inflation theory, the universe multiplied its size by as much as 10 trillion trillion trillion times in the first fractions of a second after the big bang.  Inflation would have generated lots of gravitational waves. In turn, gravitational waves can subtly change the properties of light that they pass through. Specifically, they can slightly affect the polarization of light, the direction in which light's electric fields vibrate. The universe's rapid expansion during inflation would have amplified the waves' imprint on the early light in the universe.

The state-of-the-art BICEP2 experiment, which uses super-sensitive superconducting sensors, could detect tiny changes in polarization in the cosmic microwave background, the very first light released in the universe, which is still reaching us today. The BICEP2 researchers reported a very high polarization signal, known as B-mode polarization after its characteristics, in the cosmic microwave background, which they interpreted as a strong gravitational wave signal in the early universe.

Detecting this polarization signal was a striking result, announced in a series of scientific talks and a press conference shortly after a preprint of the paper was posted online. Notice these last two points: announced at a press conference, and a preprint posted online. A preprint is a written paper that has not been formally reviewed by independent peers or published in a scientific journal.

Nonetheless, scientists and reporters alike reported excitement over the results. If true, they would provide the greatest experimental support yet of cosmic inflation, and the first direct detection of gravitational waves. Previously, gravitational waves have been detected indirectly, such as in observations of pairs of stars falling towards each other: they were losing energy in the form of gravitational waves.

On the day of the BICEP2 announcement, and for many days afterward, people were largely accepting the results as correct and already jumping to the implications of the BICEP2 results for what appeared to be a new era of gravitational-wave cosmology.
In writing my story for Inside Science News Service, I was fortunate to get an early voice of skepticism from David Spergel, a theoretical cosmologist at Princeton University in New Jersey. He commented:

"Given the importance of this result, my starting point is to be skeptical. Most importantly, there are several independent experimental groups that will test this result in the next year."
Spergel explained that the new gravitational wave measurements did not appear to agree with those of previous experiments, known as WMAP and Planck, unless the simplest models of inflation were replaced by more complicated ones. On the first day and week of coverage, I became very disappointed with the many commentators who disregarded or underemphasized that the earlier measurements from instruments on WMAP and Planck, which had been reported and covered for years.

Sure enough, in the weeks that followed, other researchers pointed out that the signal that BICEP2 detected may have been attributable to the polarization of light caused by dust in our galaxy. The BICEP2 team certainly knew that dust could also polarize light in a similar way to gravitational waves, but they used a model, based on the data that was available from the Planck satellite, that, the other researchers pointed out, may have underestimated the amount of dust in the part of the sky they were studying.

The BICEP2 paper underwent peer review and was published in Physical Review Letters. As a result of the peer-review process, the researchers made revisions, including removing the model that contained the lower estimates of dust based on the earlier Planck data, and thereby reducing the certainty with which they could state that they accounted for signals from interstellar dust.

During the summer, the BICEP2 and Planck collaborations agreed to work together to analyze their data, to help determine if gravitational waves had really been detected.

This week, the Planck team issued a preprint, based on an analysis of much additional data, showing a comprehensive map of dust in the sky. According to their analysis, the signal in the part of sky that BICEP2 analyzed could be completely attributable to dust and not to gravitational waves.

But, the story is not over. For starters, keep in mind the new preprint, like all newly posted publications, still needs to undergo formal peer review.

And the latest data do not completely rule out the possibility that the BICEP2 group detected a gravitational wave signal. If the evidence holds up at all, it would likely be a weaker signal, after accounting for the dust. Or, the gravitational-wave signal may completely turn to dust.

It may be possible to detect primordial gravitational waves in a different, less dusty part of the sky, or with new measurements by BICEP2, Planck or the many other experiments that are looking for them.  Just as the first reported detections of exoplanets turned out to be false, perhaps this is a prelude to an actual detection of gravitational waves.

"You cannot ignore dust," he quotes from Planck scientist Charles Lawrence of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The biggest lesson, to me, is that no one should rush to make announcements and pronouncements, whether big or small, even in the face of intense competition and the alluring prospects of launching a new field of study and winning a Nobel Prize. 

Scientists, and the rest of the public, should follow the time-tested scientific practice of subjecting claims to sufficient levels of scrutiny, and waiting for other groups to validate results, before making bold statements. At the very least, there have been major caveats and qualifiers in announcing new data with potentially huge implications.

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What Would You Take With You to the Afterlife? – Life, Death, Out-of-Body Experiences and the Journey of Consciousness

Matthew Butler, GuestPeople save up for retirement, but how well do we prepare for the journey after? Ancient cultures put great emphasis on the afterlife, because they knew consciousness continued after death. They were right: Out-of-body experiences reveal we really do exist beyond the body. Knowing this truth should inspire us to seek in life what really matters and remains after death – awakened consciousness.What is the greatest mystery of life? According to a legendar [...]

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Glass Half Full: An Afterlife Experience ~ By Greg Giles

I originally posted this article a couple of years ago, but its one of my favorite of all the articles I have shared over the years here at Ascension Earth. I feel this very real experience is worth sharing with you all once again, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy sharing it with you. 
In a recent article, I shared the story of my Uncle Sonny who, upon leaving this realm from his hospital bed, emphatically and excitedly claimed his friends who had passed on years before him had come for him and were standing right there in the corner of the small hospital room waving him to come with them. My uncle had awoken from a coma he was under for weeks for just that moment, and upon the site of his friends smiling and waving to him he closed his eyes and left this Earth, I am sure to follow his friends into the afterlife.   

My uncle though, is not the only member of our family who has left one last gift for our family, as my mother also left this Earth just one year ago and she too had one last remarkable tale of her own to tell before she said goodbye to all of us. During a long surgical procedure that my mother survived, she was given the opportunity to leave here. After my mother awakened after her surgery in her hospital recovery room, this is what she had to share with all of us. My mother said that during her surgical procedure she suddenly materialized in a small, plainly decorated room. There in front of her was a table with a small glass filled to the top with crystal clear water. She didn't know why the glass of water sat there on the table, and before she could even think about it too long the door to the room opened and a young, handsome man walked in. She said he looked in his early 20s, which corroborates other evidence that beyond the veil of our current reality we can choose our own age and it appears that the low 20s are a very popular choice.

So this young man walked in and he greeted my mother by saying hello Anne, as if he knew her, and I'm sure he does. Without any further conversation he simply said, ‘If you are now ready to leave Earth and return home all you need to do is drink some of the water from this glass. I'm going to leave now for a few minutes to let you think about this and when I return, if you have drank any water from this glass you can come with me through this door. If I return and you have not drank any of the water from this glass, this will be your answer that you are not yet ready to leave your current life and you will be returned to your body back in the hospital.’

The young man then exited the small room and was gone, according to my mother’s account, for about three or four, maybe five minutes tops. My mother thought carefully about whether she wished to leave her life and her family here on Earth, and finally decided to leave the glass of water on the table untouched. The young man, who my mother refers to as one of her spirit guides, though she did not recognize him, returned to the room, looked at the glass of water on the table and said, ‘Okay Anne, then you will now return to your body in the hospital.’ My mother then had second thoughts and said to her guide, ‘Wait, I think I changed my mind. I want to drink some of the water.’ The young man looked at her and surprised her greatly when he said, ‘Sorry, you have already made your choice and now you must return to your life and to your body in the hospital.’

When my mother told us this story we all broke out in laughter and my mother laughed the hardest, saying, ‘Of all the spirit guides in the world I get some kid whose a stickler for the rules.’ My mother always had a great sense of humor and I thank her for that, because I believe I have inherited mine from her side of the family. I'm sure her spirit guide was strictly following procedure, and I am also sure he is a very gifted guide. One would have to be if they were charged with watching over our big family, as every one of us is certainly a handful, and that's putting it mildly.

My mother returned to her body and awoke in the recovery room where she immediately shared with us her story. There is no way I would ever believe that she was hallucinating or anything like that, and this is also quite out of character for her, as she has never felt comfortable speaking about spirituality or life after death or anything of that nature. She certainly was quite surprised to be standing in a room with her spirit guide who offered her the choice to return home. She couldn't stop thinking about what existed beyond the door of that small room, and she immediately knew that if she was ever offered a sip of that water again she would not hesitate to quench her thirst for adventure and a new beginning. She felt she had made a mistake not sipping the water, and she felt she allowed the fear of leaving here and the fear of leaving her family behind to influence greatly her choice, though, she has selflessly looked after us long enough and she certainly deserves the paradise that awaited her just beyond that door.     

My poor mom suffered as well after hesitating to take a sip of that water, as she was in much pain in the days following her surgery. It would not be long before she received a second chance however, and although she did not get the chance to share another story with us of her amazing experience in the afterlife, I’m convinced that somewhere a half filled glass of water sits on a table, and a girl, young again, smiles and laughs with all her old friends.

Greg Giles

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Can You Fathom A World Without Money And Without Disease?

Michael Forrester, Prevent DiseaseIn many ways we’ve already selected monetary systems for termination. Money itself is not the root of all evil, however humans have bound money so tightly to contracts that it can no longer be used to benefit us in its current form and with the mindset to transcend all that it represents. Humanity has realized this and it’s only a matter of time before our monetary structures evolve to something else. That something will benefit all the struggl [...]

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The Nature of Mystical Experience

James C. Wilhelm, ContributorWaking TimesThousands of books have been written about mysticism over thousands of years, and this essay is a mere 1,012 words. Do I really think I can convey the essence, power and bliss of the mystical in a thousand words?I do.That is what I set out to do after recently viewing numerous videos and reading many essays that I found on the World Wide Web. After reviewing this mass of content, I realized that after all those hours of viewing and reading cont [...]

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Fall Begins Monday: Equinox Myth Debunked

The start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere begins Sept. 22, 2014.
Excert from space.com
By Joe Rao, Space.com Skywatching Columnist 

Sick of long, hot summer days? Well, you're in luck. Astronomically speaking, autumn is about to begin in the north.
On Monday (Sept. 22), at 10:29 p.m. EDT (0229 Sept. 23 GMT) autumn begins astronomically in the Northern Hemisphere. This also marks the start of spring in the southern half of the globe.
This date is called an equinox, from the Latin for "equal night," alluding to the fact that day and night are then of equal length worldwide. But that is not necessarily correct. [Earth's Equinoxes & Solstices Explained (Infographic)] 

Not so equal

Referring to the equinox as being a time of equal day and night is a convenient oversimplification. For one thing, it treats night as simply the time the sun is beneath the horizon, and completely ignores twilight. If the sun were nothing more than a point of light in the sky, and if the Earth lacked an atmosphere, then at the time of an equinox, the sun would indeed spend one half of its path above the horizon and one half below.
But in reality, atmospheric refraction raises the sun's disc by more than its own apparent diameter while it is rising or setting. Thus, when the sun looks like a reddish-orange ball just sitting on the horizon, it's really an optical illusion. It is actually completely below the horizon.
In addition to refraction hastening sunrise and delaying sunset, there is another factor that makes daylight longer than night at an equinox: Sunrise and sunset are defined as the times when the first or last speck of the sun's upper or lower limbs — not the center of the disc — are visible above the horizon.
And this is why if you check your newspaper's almanac or weather page on Monday and look up the times of local sunrise and sunset, you'll notice that the duration of daylight, or the amount of time from sunrise to sunset, still lasts a bit more than 12 hours. 
In New York City, for instance, sunrise is at 6:43 a.m., and sunset comes at 6:54 p.m. So the amount of daylight is not 12 hours, but rather 12 hours and 11 minutes. Not until Sept. 26 are the days and nights truly equal. (On Sept. 26, sunrise is at 6:47 a.m., and sunset is 12 hours later).
At the North Pole, the sun currently is tracing out a 360-degree circle around the entire sky, appearing to skim just above the edge of the horizon. At the moment of this year's autumnal equinox, it should theoretically disappear completely from view, and yet its disc will still be hovering just above the horizon.  Not until 52 hours and 10 minutes later will the last speck of the sun's upper limb finally drop completely out of sight.      
This strong refraction effect also causes the sun's disc to appear oval when it is near the horizon. The amount of refraction increases so rapidly as the sun approaches the horizon that its lower limb is lifted more than the upper one, distorting the sun's disc noticeably.

Not as dark as it seems

Certain astronomical myths die hard. One of these is that the entire Arctic region experiences six months of daylight and six months of darkness. Often, "night" is simply defined by the moment when the sun is beneath the horizon, as if twilight didn't exist. This fallacy is repeated in innumerable geography textbooks, as well as travel articles and guides. 
But twilight illuminates the sky to some extent whenever the sun's upper rim is less than 18 degrees below the horizon. This marks the limit of astronomical twilight, when the sky is indeed totally dark from horizon to horizon.
There are two other types of twilight. Civil (bright) twilight exists when the sun is less than 6 degrees beneath the horizon. It is loosely defined as when most outdoor daytime activities can be continued. Some daily newspapers provide a time when you should turn on your car's headlights. That time usually corresponds to the end of civil twilight.
So, even at the North Pole, while the sun disappears from view for six months beginning Sept. 25, to state that "total darkness" immediately sets in is hardly the case. In fact, civil twilight does not end there until Oct. 8. 
When the sun drops down to 12 degrees below the horizon, it marks the end of nautical twilight, when a sea horizon becomes difficult to discern. In fact, at the end of nautical twilight, most people will regard night as having begun. At the North Pole, nautical twilight does not end until Oct. 25. Finally, astronomical twilight — when the sky indeed becomes completely dark — ends Nov. 13. It then remains perpetually dark until Jan. 29, when the twilight cycles begin anew. So, at the North Pole, the duration of 24-hour darkness lasts almost 11 weeks, not six months.

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War Is Destroying Syria’s Ancient Treasures, Satellite Photos Show

War Is Destroying Syria's Ancient Treasures, Satellite Photos Show
Satellite images show how much destruction has happened in Syria between December 2011 and July 2014. The Ministry of Justice building (red arrow) is damaged, as is the Khusriwiye Mosque (green arrow).

Excerpt from news.yahoo.com
By Laura Geggel, Staff Writer

Three years of heavy fighting have taken a toll on Syria's archaeological treasures. Five of the country's six World Heritage sites "exhibit significant damage," and some buildings are now "reduced to rubble," according to high-resolution satellite images examined by the nonprofit and nonpartisan American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

"Only one of Syria's six World Heritage sites — the ancient city of Damascus — appears to remain undamaged in satellite imagery since the onset of civil war in 2011," Susan Wolfinbarger, director of the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project at AAAS, said in a statement.

Damage to the other five sites is extensive, the AAAS said. These sites include the ancient city of Aleppo, the ancient city of Bosra, the ancient site of Palmyra, a site with two castles (Crac des Chevaliers and Qal'at Salah El-Din), and the ancient villages of northern Syria (Jebel Seman, Jebel Barisha, Jebel Al A'la, Jebel Wastani and Jebel Zawiye.

The analysis showed widespread damage in Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world, which dates back to the second millennium B.C.

A before-and-after analysis from 2011 to 2014 indicates new damage to historic mosques, Koranic schools called madrasas, the Great Mosque of Aleppo, the Souq al-Madina, the Grand Serail of Aleppo, the Hammam Yalbougha an-Nasry, the Khusruwiye Mosque, the Carlton Citadel Hotel, the Khan Qurt Bey caravanserai and other historic buildings south and north of the citadel. 

The Great Mosque has extensive damage. Satellite imagery showed destruction of the roof and a destroyed minaret, or tall spire, as well as two craters on the mosque's eastern wall. Researchers saw the heaviest damage south of the citadel, but the area to the north, which has buildings from the late Mamluk to Ottoman periods (13th to 19th centuries) also showed signs of destruction.
The other World Heritage sites have damage ranging from mortar impacts near an ancient Roman theater in Bosra to newly constructed military compounds on an archaeological site. New roads and mounds of earth are scattered through the Northern Roman Necropolis in Palmyra.

Palmyra sits in a desert just northeast of Damascus. Its ruins combine Greco-Roman art with Persian influences, and UNESCO said it "contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world."

The AAAS released the analysis yesterday (Sept. 18), a day before the Smithsonian Institution's meeting to honor the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property. Researchers plan to discuss the damage and intervention efforts in Syria at the meeting.

"There is hope, and it lies with our Syrian colleagues because they are the stewards and caretakers of these sites, and they see the value in preserving and protecting them for future generations," said Corine Wegener, cultural heritage preservation officer for the Smithsonian Institution. "What they need from their international colleagues is some help to do that — training, materials and other support in the international arena for the notion that it is possible to mitigate and prevent damage to cultural heritage, even in the midst of conflicts."

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Do We Plan Our Lives Before We Are Born?

Nikkie Gray, Collective-EvolutionThe theory that we plan our lives was something I had never heard of before 2011. Up until that point, I could not have even imagined such a thing. Even after hearing about it 3 years ago, it took me quite a long time to let this concept into my paradigm. How I stumbled upon it wasn’t even through my avid research of the afterlife and reincarnation. It came to me through a vision I had. Before the vision, I believed in reincarnation. The idea of it ha [...]

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