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Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms – Book Review

Author: David Kessler
Publisher: Hay House, Inc.
Copyright: 2010, ISBN 1401925437
Cover: Nick C. Welch
Reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, June 5, 2017



Summary: Anecdotal stories of people revolving around the death of loved ones. Territory covered before but very well organized with a thoughtful Afterword.

Coming into a state of spiritual awareness can happen as a result of an instantaneous revelation or the slow accumulation of experience. Most arrive at a belief in something higher than themselves through life experiences. Experiences like those described in VISIONS, TRIPS, AND CROWDED ROOMS are part of life experiences that many people undergo.

Only those with little experience and committed to the philosophy of science can conceive of a world without unknowns. In VISIONS, TRIPS, AND CROWDED ROOMS, David Kessler (along with co-authors) presents a few death bed experiences for which there is no scientific explanation. There is nothing particularly new in these episodes. The cumulative effect however is enlightening.

The book is divided into seven chapters devoted to seven distinct dying or death experiences. The general scenario is of a wife and husband, both terminally ill and convalescing in separate care facilities. One or the other dies. There is not way for the remaining partner to know the other has died. Yet, they do. How do you explain that?

To its credit, VISIONS does not try to explain the events discussed. It merely reports them. People who read books in this genre usually have preconceived ideas about human consciousness. Some are ideas embracing exploration. Some rooted in some religious or spiritual doctrine embracing the unknowable. VISIONS is a good place for both groups to land. In an Afterthought of the book, Kessler makes the observation that deaths and births are like snowflakes, “each one is unique and very similar.”

For those of a scientific bent, there is simply nothing here. Psychological phenomena of personality or physiological phenomena of the brain. Kessler briefly touches on both suppositions. The basics here however are that personal experiences are subjective. It is the essence of personal experience. Everyone experiences birth, everyone experiences death. Each really is unique but also similar. Similar does not mean scientifically duplicatable.

There is one thread that runs through all the post-death communication between deceased and living, or the awareness of a death by the living. That thread is the existence of an emotional connection. Putting science aside, most believe it conceivable that the death of a love one can result in an awareness of a severed connection. That you must put science aside to accept this belief should really put into the question both the belief and science itself. The accepted attitude of course is simply to question the belief. If you are an ideologue having an irrational adherence to the state of present day science, non-physical communication except at the most elementary level is impossible.

On the other hand, those who accept spiritual communication vary widely in the why of its existence. From the purely religious to the cutting-edge science of quantum physics, the stories presented in VISIONS can fit neatly into either extreme. In some quarters of science there has been a marginal acceptance of the quantum physics angle. Combining the emotional link argument and the supposition that there may be a quantum basis for what we now consider extra-communication or psychic activity raises the question of whether emotions have more than just an effect over our physical reality. We know that stress and depression have an adverse effect on the cells of our bodies. Can we extrapolate from this knowledge that love and wonderment can link us to realities beyond ourselves?

In my book, A SHORT HISTORY OF MEMORY, I approach the conclusion that emotions are the foundation of now only what we think, but the physical reality we perceive as well. There is a level of reality common to each of us as humans. There is another level that we may perceive if we simply guide ourselves into a parallel emotional state of acceptance of everything there is as part of ourselves. It is a tall order. “I” is not only a spiritual belief system, it is also the underlying definition of science. Reading books like VISIONS and exploring the possibilities of life’s unknowns is one way that we guide ourselves beyond ourselves.


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