Time is an illusion. It is how we perceive reality. Everything IS.
Chapter 7 of The Big Book of the Soul discusses a number of channeled sources that act as precursors to the modern interlife regression research presented in chapters 5 and 6. These include the Seth material. Seth was a 'nonphysical entity' who channeled his thoughts and teachings through medium Jane Roberts from 1963 up to her death in 1984. Although a number of books resulted from this partnership, Seth Speaks was apparently channeled directly by him in complete book form, and so ostensibly represents his 'master work'. First published in 1972, this is an eloquent and erudite philosophical and spiritual treatise presented in a reasonably easy and fluent style, despite the fact that sometimes it deals with issues of extreme complexity.
Having said that, Seth does have a tendency to swap backwards and forwards between topics, which leads to a degree of repetition that can be somewhat annoying. Moreover, however much any given channeled material might resonate with us, we must remember that not everything therein will necessarily be 'true'. So we must retain our critical faculties, and this seems to be particularly true of the Seth material because, although he lends significant support to the pioneering interlife research, there are a number of other major strands to his worldview:
Because 'physical' reality is nothing more than a projection of our consciousness – which is effectively his word for 'soul' – we create it in its entirety, and can therefore manipulate it at will by using our thoughts and dreams.
Our consciousness simultaneously exists in multiple 'realities', and there are multiple worlds all existing in parallel.
Our past, current and future lives are occurring simultaneously.
There were a number of advanced civilizations on this planet before our own.
We have good reason to question all of these assertions, and we will deal with each in turn. But first let us examine Seth's support for the nature of the interlife experience.
The Interlife Experience
[Except for the final paragraph, this section is taken directly from The Big Book of the Soul, chapter 7, pp. 220-3]
If we commence with the transition he confirms that the soul can choose to leave the physical body before death occurs; that welcoming parties come to meet it; that some disoriented souls may have a rest period, or require a degree of rehabilitation in what they may perceive to be ‘hospitals and rest homes’; that souls create their own reality in the light realms, including hellish experiences; that more experienced souls will require less initial orientation; and that after transition there can be no hypocrisy or hiding from underlying truths. As for the past-life review, he agrees that it allows the soul to ‘relive’ past events, to role-play different scenarios and to see how it has affected others:
You examine the fabric of the existence you have left, and you learn to understand how your experiences were the result of your own thoughts and emotions and how these affected others… The earth years will be experienced again, but not necessarily in continuity. The events may be used in any way the individual chooses; altered, played back the way they happened for contrast… The other actors, however, are thought-forms.
In terms of soul groups, we find corroboration that souls reincarnate together repeatedly, and that the various aspects of the light realms are demarcated by ‘psychological barriers’ based on the soul’s level of experience. If we now turn to next-life planning, Seth confirms that we deliberately undergo a ‘time of choosing’ in which we decide on the major characteristics of our next life, including our parents and environment; that we may see ‘flashes of the future existence’; that ‘all counsel’ is available at this time from ‘guides and teachers’; that we plan our incarnations with other souls who will be involved; and that some souls are impatient to return and do not avail themselves of the advice on hand. He also confirms the idea of seeing both sides of any emotional coin, and of adverse circumstances sometimes being chosen to speed up growth:
If in one life, for example, you hated women, you may very well be a woman in the next life. Only in this way, you see, would you be able to relate to the experience of womanhood, and then as a woman face those attitudes that you yourself had against women in the past. If you had no sympathy for the sick, you may then be born with a serious disease, again now self-chosen, and find yourself encountering those attitudes that once were your own. Such an existence would usually also include other issues, however. No existence is chosen for one reason only, but would also serve many other psychological experiences. A chronically ill existence, for example, might also be a measure of discipline, enabling you to use deeper abilities that you ignored in a life of good health. The perfectly happy life, for example, on the surface may appear splendid, but it may also be basically shallow and do little to develop the personality. The truly happy existence, however, is a deeply satisfying one that would include spontaneous wisdom and spiritual joy. I am not saying, in other words, that suffering necessarily leads to spiritual fulfillment, nor that all illness is accepted or chosen for such a purpose, for this is not the case. Illness is often the result of ignorance and lazy mental habits. Such a discipline may be adopted however by certain personalities who must take strong measures with themselves because of other characteristics.
Perhaps most impressively Seth backs up our earlier suggestion that traditional, deterministic notions of karma are extremely unhelpful because of their conflict with the over-riding concept of free will:
I have also discussed reincarnation in terms of environment because many schools of thought over-emphasize the effects of reincarnational existences, so that often they explain present-life circumstances as a result of rigid and uncompromising patterns determined in a ‘past’ life. You will feel relatively incompetent to handle present physical reality, to alter your environment, to affect and change your world, if you feel that you are at the mercy of conditions over which you have no control. The reasons given for such subjugations matter little in the long run, for the reasons change with the times and with your culture. You are not under a sentence placed upon you for original sin, by any childhood events, or by past-life experience. You wrote the script. Like a true absent-minded professor the conscious self forgets all this, however, so when tragedy appears in the script, difficulty or challenges, the conscious self looks for someone or something to blame.
As for the return, Seth agrees that we bring strong unresolved emotions with us to carry on working with them: ‘You may have brought negative influences into your life for a given reason, but the reason always has to do with understanding, and understanding removes those influences.’ He also confirms that the soul can enter the fetus at any time between conception and birth; that this is a gradual merging process; that the soul can vacate the body for some years even after birth; and that identification with the light realms remains strong in these early years, but gradually dwindles.
As an aside, Seth asserts that some souls train as 'creators of forms', which bears some resemblance to Michael Newton's ideas about 'designer souls' giving the evolutionary process a nudge. He also corroborates the idea of souls having the option to take brief sabbaticals in other non-reincarnational, nonphysical realms, in order to broaden their experience.