Help from the Other Side

Mystical Neuropsychology

Throughout history, humans have believed that deceased loved ones, ancestors, spirit guides, angels, and other helpful spiritual beings operate in our lives and are genuinely interested in our welfare. Notwithstanding the advent of scientific materialism, such beliefs are also alive and well today. We reach out to departed loved ones in private conversations and prayers, sense their ongoing presence around us, visit them in dreams, and celebrate them in birthdays and holidays, like All Saints’ Day and the Day of the Dead. But did you know that conversations with these spirit beings in real time are also possible using “active imagination” methods? To better understand this astonishing possibility, we need to take a brief side trip into mystical neuropsychology.

The Divided Brain and the Spirit World

During the hundred thousand years or so that humans were evolving their remarkable speech, language and conceptual abilities, a curious thing happened. The cerebral cortex created two separate – though interconnected – types of consciousness. The left side specialized in the language skills. Now we could build formal social structures, pass on our discoveries about the world, record our history, invent science and technology, write books, make long range plans, and tell stories about our lives. This process also created the ego – the “I” “me” and “my” thought complex of the left brain that quickly grabbed the reins of the personality. While all this was going on, the right side of the brain maintained its sophisticated non-language abilities, including spatial awareness, emotional perception, symbolic representation and facial recognition. That side also maintained its original mystical consciousness – the thought-free sacred awareness of Creation that gave us a sense of belonging to a divine world. Then came trouble in paradise.

As a result of these evolutionary developments, we lost touch with our sacred awareness of Creation and settled into an increasingly patriarchal world of beliefs, identity, social stratification and competition. We also forgot something else of great importance: right-brain consciousness opens into the mystical world of spirits. But here’s the good news – it turns out that our split-brain structure is perfectly wired for dialogues between the ego of the left brain and spiritual beings joining us through the mystical portal of the right-brain. It happens like this: In mystical consciousness, “I” as ego ask questions or pose problems to spirits of my choosing who then borrow left-brain’s speech functions to respond. While this process may seem a little farfetched or contrived at first, people frequently express surprise by what happens next. Here’s an example.

A Conversation with My Father

I often employ dialogue methods to talk with my “deceased” father who seems to be having a fascinating life beyond the veil. An electrical engineer and scientist at Bell Laboratories during his career, he registered many patents on early radar and communications technology. Now he seems intensely interested in the living divine energy infusing the fabric of existence. My father also acknowledges missing his life in our world but tells me that there are many like him who would love to return in some form to help us become more spiritual beings and address the crisis of global warming. As I begin today’s visit, I am surprised to find him working in a laboratory. As usual, the discussion moves spontaneously back and forth between us (M = me, D = dad).

M: Hey dad, what are you doing?

D: John boy, I am so happy you are here. I am peering into the divine substrate of existence. I am looking at the ground of being, as you mystics call it, translucent, sparkling with divinity.

M: How do you do this?

D: I am learning how to peer the cover of the ordinary world and there it is! I can’t stop watching it shimmer, spark and flow like a light current.

M: Wow. That is fascinating, dad. What is the meaning of your discovery?

D: I sense that the answers to humanity’s problems somehow exist in the intelligence of that energy. A bright and glimmering world exists underneath the mind’s projections. Full of peace, beauty, guidance, and love, it’s so simple and yet so awesome. It is the origin of the world. What we need to know is right before our eyes.

M: That sounds like the “Heaven on Earth” people witness in major mystical experiences. So, what are you discovering that can help us, especially in this time of climate crisis?

D: I think it’s this: We are each sacred experiences of this divine light filling Creation. We are the answer. Not only in the sense of what we can do, but in the fullness of our being. Healing humanity and Creation comes naturally when feel this underlying energy in ourselves and in everything. It unifies us.

M: But no one seems to notice, care about, or consciously experience that energy, so where is the help? We are so stuck in left-brain beliefs that we don’t see what you’re describing and remain addicted to our fantasies of danger, suffering, scarcity and conflict.

D: (He now steps into my room and stands behind me as I type, fascinated in my computer). It’s amazing what humans can do now with computers. There were no computers when I was doing research.

M: Yes, it’s pretty cool, but I sense your observations are even more amazing. What will help humanity wake up to the divine unity you are describing?

D: You, John, and people like you. You have to awaken them with awakened words. Everything you write affects the oneness of being. Writers elevate the world’s consciousness when they create in awakened consciousness. So, too, do lovers, artists, parents and scientists. It’s the energy flowing through them.

M: But I don’t see much tangible progress.

D: You are one of countless millions waking up to the divine world here and now. The new world is already here. Seeing it is a matter of consciousness and courage. Don’t retreat from awakening. The Earth’s climate crisis is shattering the illusions humanity has perpetuated for millennia. The false and corrupt world is coming apart, but underneath, the divine shines everywhere through the fabric of Being.

M: OK, but what is our individual role in this?

D: Just what you are doing. But go outside first. Bathe in the living divine Presence that saturates the world just beyond thought and belief. Sense it, feel it, join it, and let it love and change you, then go back to work. Most importantly, experience Creation without thought, because thinking always creates a separate reality.

M: But why isn’t this occurring to more people?

D: It will. But people cling to old forms of thought, identity and belief. Fear thinking is tremendously addicting. But more than anything else, wake up and experience the divine world all around you. It’s always here! That experience will change you.

M: Dad, I know you are right but I’ve been here before and few if any of the people around me seem to be are waking up.

D: (He puts his hands on my shoulders, squeezes gently, rubs my head, and then steps away) John, I need to get back to work. I am so excited by what I’m witnessing. But here’s a parting thought: what I experience here activates the same experience in your world, and especially in you, because of who you are and our relationship. Sensitive people will experience the change first. Don’t be impatient – this is eternity and there is no time here, just consciousness and love. Let it come through you, melt into it, be happy. Creation awakens spontaneously in happiness.

M: Dad, thanks so much. This was a totally unexpected discussion.

D: Yes, it’s why talking “across the veil” is important. We can work together to heal humanity’s split from the sacred. This is how the world actually changes. And remind people that everyone has spirits waiting to help. Just ask.

M: OK. Thanks! Get back to work, dad, and I will bathe in Creation for a piece and then get back to writing.

Your Turn: An Exercise in Mystical Dialogue

I learned the dialogue method from psychologist Ira Progoff, the creator of the Intensive Journal Workshop, who studied with the famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung. Jung described “active imagination” dialogues with figures from his inner life. Progoff taught this dialogue method as a means of understanding and resolving conflicts with the important people in our lives, both living and dead. I soon discovered that the dialogue process could just as easily be adapted to conversing with spiritual beings. The following exercise invites you to have a dialogue with a deceased loved one, ancestor, angel or spirit guide of your choosing. To do this, of course, you have to suspend your habitual skepticism and disbelief to let imagination take over. If you’re interested in finding help from the other side, here are your instructions:

1. With paper and pen handy nearby, sit peacefully, quiet your thoughts, and bring your attention to the present moment. Proceed slowly and deliberately through these instructions – no rush, no time limits, no goals other than to experience what happens.

2. Move into right-brain mystical awareness with these simple steps: stop thinking, heighten sensory awareness, and experience the world exactly as it is. Look around you as if you were seeing the world for the very first time. Then, in this intensified consciousness, sense or imagine God’s Presence with you to support and safeguard your experience. We are entering sacred space now.

3. Next, reflect on who you would like to meet and converse with. You may choose a departed loved one, ancestor, angel or spirit guide. Take your time to decide. Who do you choose?

4, Before you begin a dialogue, write a little about the other. If a close relative, describe your relationship and feelings about this person; if an ancestor, angel or spirit guide, picture them as vividly as you can in your imagination; don’t worry about being realistic or objective. Describe their clothes, posture, and facial expression and how meeting this other figure makes you feel. What feelings or thought stir inside? Don’t censure, judge or analyze the experience, just let it unfold spontaneously.

5. Now begin the conversation. Greet the other. Call them by name or ask their name if you don’t know it already. Write down the other’s response. Although these conversations sometimes start awkwardly, try to relax and let things develop naturally.

6. Explain why you desire a meeting. Ask how the other feels about it. Then bring up whatever you like. Be sure to write both sides of the conversation, using your name and theirs to keep track of who is talking and what is said. It’s like writing the script of a play. Again, try not to analyze or question what’s happening, let the conversation take off and continue for as long as it feels meaningful and spontaneous. You’ll get the hang of it.

7. When the conversation feels complete or has given you all you can handle, feel free to end the encounter. Say what it meant to you, thank the other, and say goodbye for the time being.

8. Continue to sit quietly. Review the script you wrote and reflect on the encounter. What did you learn? In reflecting on your experience, keep in mind that imagination isn’t just playful fantasy, it creates a space for other beings to enter and participate in the dialogue you create. The key is to let the fantasy process happen spontaneously so that new information comes through. And remember, if anything feels uncomfortable, stop the exercise and give yourself time to reflect on what happened.

9. Finally, when you feel complete, stop writing, return to everyday consciousness, and resume the rest of your day.


Departed loved ones, ancestors, spirit guides and angels often move through our world longing to help us grow into more loving beings. We can reach them through the right-brain’s natural gift of mystical imagination and these dialogues can guide us through difficult times, including the escalating climate crisis. This, too, is Mystical Activism. Finally, keep in mind that climate activism not only means reducing greenhouse gases, pollution, and deforestation, it’s about re-awakening the mystical consciousness of Creation as our very nature, ground of being, source of healing, and joy.

John Robinson is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry (studying with Matthew Fox), an ordained interfaith minister, the author of nine books and numerous articles on the psychology, spirituality and mysticism of the New Aging, and a frequent speaker at Conscious Aging Conferences across the country. His new book, Mystical Activism: Transforming a World in Crisis, is now available through all booksellers and includes dialogue method described here. You can learn more about his work at

CLick here to purchase John’s book: Mystical Activism:Transforming a World in Crisis.

*** Help from the Other Side:
….Mystical Neuropsychology

By John Robinson
(Published in Braided Way)

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