Below is a video in which Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD –author, clinical psychologist, and host of the TV series Thinking Allowed which is now a Youtube channel — relates the dramatic experience he had when he was a young college student, which dramatically veered his path life towards the study of consciousness and its potential survival after bodily death.
The experience in question was a vivid dream he had of his “Great Uncle Harry” which shook Jeff so profoundly he woke up with tears in his eyes and, for no apparent reason, compelled him to sing the song Avinu Malkeinu, one of the most sacred chants in the Hebrew religion.
Impacted by what seemed more than just an ordinary dream, Mishlove immediately wrote to his family enquiring about Uncle Harry’s well being. Two days later his mother phoned him to tell him the news: Uncle Harry had died the very moment he had dreamed of him.
In the video Jeff further expands on the particulars of the story, and how he eventually learned this defunct relative of his had actually been a student of the mystical teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov –not a common thing to do among American Jewish in the 1950s, who leaned toward secularism after the horrors of the Holocaust.
“There is only one reasonable way to account for this event, the most earthshaking and unforgettable of my young life. Uncle Harry actually visited me in a dream when he died. Extrasensory perception alone doesn’t account for the overwhelmingly potent emotions associated with his presence. Uncle Harry’s visitation convinced me, beyond all doubt, the soul exists and survives the physical body’s death.”
Mishlove used this powerful personal anecdote as an introductory note, in the essay he wrote for the contest arranged by the recently created Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies (BICS), which awarded him the first prize (our own Greg Taylor also entered the contest and was given an honourable mention for his essay). In the introduction Jeff further explains how the dream caused him to ‘switch gears’ and move away from the career in Criminology he was pursuing at the time. He took advantage of the flexible graduate division rules at Berkeley –something Terence McKenna also enjoyed when he was a student there– and created his own individualized doctoral major which allowed him to receive the only officially recognized degree in “parapsychology” ever awarded by an accredited university.
It is difficult to guess what the Bigelow Institute are planning to do with all the fine papers submitted in their contest. So far BICS has failed to generate a lot of publicity about it in mainstream media –otherwise the usual debunkers would have wasted no time in criticizing both the contest and the participants’ arguments in favor of an afterlife. Perhaps Bigelow is planning to do something more than just acquiring a level of peace of mind and consolation over the loss of his loved ones, like fund a parapsychology program in some major university in the near future.
But even if that’s not the case, and BICS is unable to sway modern culture’s current obsession with equating our brain with a computer and pooh-poohing any affirmations that consciousness exists independent of the wet tissue encased in our bony skulls, one thing we can say with any certainty is that people all around the world will keep on having the same type of experiences as Jeffrey Mishlove and countless others; no level of material reasoning will ever convince those people that survival beyond death is impossible, and that when their time comes –like in the verses of Avinu Malkeinu– someone somewhere will inscribe their names in the Book of Life.