The Soul-Synthesis Hypothesis Paranormal Reflections on Soul-Making and Cosmic Spirituality by Byron Belitsos
One hot and humid summer day in 1962 in suburban Cincinnati, I was engaged in aimless play at our neighborhood pool like any other nine-year-old boy. At one point, I jumped into the kids’ end of the pool—or so I thought. Instead of gently hitting the bottom, I was suddenly lost in ten feet of water. I was so startled by the depth that I began to panic, for I had not yet learned to swim. I struggled and churned, frantic to get my bearings. In a flash, time slowed down as I entered a place of sheer terror. And then I crossed over into a timeless paranormal state. But before I could inhale a gulp of water, I was pulled free by a vigilant lifeguard.
In those few moments before the rescue, I had a near-death experience (NDE), including what we now call a “life review.” In my mind’s eye, I saw my short life pass before me in a complete review: scenes of parents, siblings, school chums, teachers, our cat, my bedroom, me riding my bike—an explosion of distinct images of encounters with each important person or thing in my young world. And each scene that paraded through me had an aura of truth and light around it. The feeling associated with this instantaneous experience was rapturous, even though my body was paralyzed with fear. Looking back, I now believe I was given a rare childhood glimpse of the actual contents of my soul.
I later discovered that the phenomenon of “NDE life reviews” is well-known in scientific and popular literature; indeed, my own mini-life-review is just
one small example among hundreds of spectacular NDE life-review accounts documented in numerous popular books, websites, and even academic studies.
Reading these accounts today, plus my own experience as a child, leads me to surmise that these events offer paranormal proof of the existence of the
My initiatory childhood experience helped lead me, just a decade after it happened, to discover The Urantia Book (or UB)—which of course offers systematic revelatory teachings about the human soul. Four decades later I have been moved to author a book, Your Evolving Soul, that offers my reflections on the nature of the human self and soul. It this work, I explicate the Urantia Revelation through the prism of the teachings about self and soul found in the world’s wisdom traditions, with special emphasis on Buddhism and Christian mysticism. I also show its relationship to Ken Wilber’s contemporary theories of integral psychology and spirituality as well as other theories held by transpersonal psychologists and philosophers.
I’ve refined the insights that I have carried with me ever since that day in 1962. I now believe, following the UB, that we all hold within us
our life-story-as-a-whole—and further, that our soul contains our essential personal experiences that are cumulatively stored up within us. These
“soul memories” are not mere denizens of the brain; they will survive the brain and the body. On a daily basis our transcendent soul-story
evolves and expands through a process I like to call soul-making—a phrase that also appears in the UB and appears to have been
borrowed from the poet John Keats—clearly a human source.
Each person’s growing corpus of soul-creating experiences can suddenly disclose itself when we face mortality or are on the verge of a “supreme decision,” for example. I believe the wondrous and numinous quality of these memories, when they are revealed, is evidence of an immortal pedigree. And that very same notion is also the conclusion of almost every NDE-life-review experiencer whose testimonies we have.
My further research, inspired by the Urantia Revelation, builds on this foundation. According to what I call the soul-synthesis hypothesis, the
human soul consists of the sum total of the energetic record of all of our worthwhile life experiences. In addition, these poignant moments of spiritual
significance are our most precious asset by far, as well as being a unique and invaluable contribution to cosmic evolution. We know also that our future
identity is build around the surviving soul in the afterlife.
As I see it, the human soul is a living, growing, shimmering entity of light. But its luminosity differs from the extremely rarified light of the Indwelling Spirit that—according to the UB as well as poets and Gnostics and mystics—also lives within us. We should never conflate these two very different entities, the soul and the Thought Adjuster; but contemporary New Age thought and transpersonal psychology do just that far too often.
Instead, we can teach our contemporaries that the evolving soul should be seen as a psychic product of an alchemical blend of widely divergent elements that, in certain moments of daily experience, get “blended” behind the scenes in our deepest interior. This process of soul-synthesis occurs when worthy impulses, intentions, or mental states—especially when these are linked with reflective moral decisions—rise above the instinctive or reactive level of mind to what (according to the midwayers, we are told) should be called the mid-mind. In this psychic domain they engage with the downreach of the indwelling God-self. During this momentary encounter, the Higher-Self-within functions in such a way as to memorialize our most poignant moral decisions. Its intrinsic nature is to always seek out an energetic resonance with our more meaningful thoughts and feelings. And then these two factors—a resonant mental content and its recognition by our inner divinity—meet, merge, and dissolve, so to speak, into one another. And the result is a mixed substance of the subtle realm—our evolving human soul—whose luster is unique.
In addition, we are told that our God-self has another key function in the inner life: it works to catalyze these more worthy mental events in
the first place, thereby guiding our soul to evolve even further—that is, if we are game for the adventure.
In essence, then, our Thought Adjust works to inspire, and then select and highlight those mind-moments it deems worthy of immortality.
It then deposits these in and as our soul, as potentially eternal memories that survive the death of the body. Finally, I believe the TA performs
these same services even if the immediate experience involved is painful or disturbing or even seemingly ordinary. Our afflictions and predicaments
and our sincere efforts to adjust to and overcome such difficulties—as well as our aspirations and our efforts to attain worthy goals through
steadfast decisions—are especiallysoul-making.
Even a child—after having received their Mystery Monitor at around age 6—accumulates a psychic repository of such soul-making memories that
are constitutive of its young soul, as I discovered experientially. But to gain any direct awareness of the soul’s subtle content is no small matter.
The evolving soul seems to divulge its secrets only when we are in deep and sustained reflection and meditation—or else suddenly in dreams, epiphanies,
or calamitous events. But it is especially revealed in NDE life reviews, as I explain in Your Evolving Soul.
The most potent soul-synthesizingsituations, we are taught, are those in which we wrestle with challenging dilemmas with an attitude of faith and hopefulness. We especially grow and stretch the soul when we are tested by demanding situations that summon creative choices among competing values, and especially when we follow through on such decisions. And if such choices and the resulting actions are infused with our highest consciousness of truth, beauty, and goodness, then our soul growth is all the more accelerated. As I see it, our true purpose in life is to make such soul-making choices, which prepare us for the eternal life ahead and contribute something unique to the evolution of the Supreme in the Grand universe.
Byron Belitsos (Evolving-Souls.org) is an author, book publisher, and editor, and is most recently the author of Your Evolving Soul: The Cosmic Spirituality of the Urantia Revelation(Origin Press, 2017), from which this essay is adapted.
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