A Bot with a Heart

Book Review by Dana Taylor

SET MY HEART TO FIVE is a book that pretty much defies description. It isn’t like any other book you’ve ever read. Author Simon Stephenson creates a bright futuristic tale starring a “bot” named Jared. In the year 2054, after the great Internet crash, when too many people could not remember the name of their first pet passwords, the world changed irrevocably. Jared is a bot dentist, living in Michigan. He is made from human DNA, but he is not human. He is a bot, akin to a glorified toaster or microwave. A feelingless machine to cheerfully do the work that humans don’t like to do, like root canals.

Bots are designed to perform functions with a smile on their soulless faces. The fact that modern entertainment has created an industry devoted to portraying “killer bots” has turned them into a perceived necessary evil. People are suspicious of bots. A malfunctioning bot is reported and immediately “wiped” or even incinerated.

Of course, our hero bot, Jared, isn’t your run-of-the-mill AI. Through watching pre-crash films, he has developed FEELINGS. Bots are logical machines, they don’t have feelings. But Jared evolves beyond his programing into the specter of emotions. His logical mind struggles to analyze and understand the human experience of feelings and emotions.

While the AI-becoming-human isn’t a fresh story line, the satirical observations on human behavior is what sets this book apart from the rest. Seen through the eyes Jared, humans are the most illogical and bizarre of creatures. Jared embarks on a journey from Michigan to LA with the dream of writing a screenplay that will change the minds of humans about bots. Story line tension is provided by an inept inspector from the Bureau of Robotics is in pursuit of the wayward bot. Through Jared’s Everyman adventures, we see ourselves and the society we have created. Through the laugh out loud excellent narration of Christopher Ragland in the audio version, the absurdity of human behavior is revealed again and again, usually punctuated with Jared’s exclamation, “I cannot!”

By the end, Jared has experienced all the highs and lows of human experience– fear, joy, love , loss and compassion. In fact, he may be an improvement on the human race. Author Simon Stephenson has penned an insightful satirical gem.

I picked up the audio version at Chirpbooks.com for $4.99, which will be at that price through June 2021.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Delight in the Divine with Chelan Harkin

Book Review by Dana Taylor

Poetry rarely has spoken to my soul, thrilled me with insights, or caused me to sigh. While Rumi and Hafiz have inspired generations of mystics, I’ve sadly been excluded from the club. The last book of poetry I purchased was by Rod McKuen, circa 1970. So it was highly unusual for a poem on my Facebook timeline to grab my attention enough to make me order the book. And I’m so glad I did.

The book is entitled SUSCEPTIBLE TO LIGHT and the poet is CHELAN HARKIN. A sparkling delight in the Divine chimes through the pages, filled with awareness of how much we are missing. Here’s an example:

YOUR OWN DAMN JOY

The price of admission

into heaven

is your own damn joy.

Please stop denying yourself this

and please stop telling yourself

you’ll only (maybe) get there when you die—-

go there now!

What kind of damn fool

puts off heaven?

Child, it lives in the center of your heart

that endless meadow of happiness and praise.

This world needs you to go there now

to do your part in turning it

into a paradise.   

Harkin celebrates the natural world designed by a loving Mother/Father Creator who is shouting at us to look around and revel in the marvelous Universe. She wiggles heavenly hips, serves up buttery potatoes, opens petals to the light. She sees the tragedy of an obtuse humanity and reveals the simple solution.

THE WORST THING

The worst thing we ever did

 was put God in the sky

 out of reach,

pulling the divinity

 from the leaf,

sifting out the holy from our bones,

insisting God isn’t bursting dazzlement through everything

 we’ve made

a hard commitment to see as ordinary,

stripping the sacred from everywhere

to put in a cloud man elsewhere,

prying closeness from your heart.

The worst thing we ever did

was take the dance and the song

out of prayer

made it sit up straight

and cross its legs

removed it of rejoicing

wiped clean its hip sway,

its questions,

its ecstatic yowl,

its tears.

The worst thing we ever did is pretend God isn’t the easiest thing

in this universe

available to every soul

in every breath

Who is this Chelan Harkin? An Internet search pops up her Inner Spirit Hypnotherapy website, where she offers her healing services as a hypnotherapist. Her Facebook pages place her in Washington state and show precious photos of her year old daughter. Her popularity as a poet is obviously on the rise, I suspect largely through WOM (word-of-mouth), which is the very best kind of publicity. She’s maxed out her personal page at 5,000 friends and has migrated to her Chelan Harkin Poetry page.

SUSCEPTIBLE TO LIGHT appears to be self-published, with a second book coming out soon. I expect Ms. Harkin will soon have mainstream media knocking at her door. At a time when the world is coming out of darkness and gloom, Harkin offers an exuberant clarion call to celebrate life, love, and all creation.

Purchase Susceptible to Light at Amazon

art by Sokal Selmani, Image shared from The Cosmic Dancer

The Healing Light Meditation

by Dana Taylor

Middle of the night stillness made me feel alone in the universe that night of 1982. I sat in my Oklahoma City living room rocking my fretful five-month-old baby, Cary, through another night of ear infection restlessness. We were caught in a cycle, rounds of antibiotic pink medicine. Seemingly better, then flared up infection again. Cary and I were both very weary of her illness.

I’d recently joined a healing prayer group at my church, a whole new concept to someone pretty much attending church to make friends rather than following religious fervor. Agnes Sanford’s classic book, The Healing Light, had been on the recommended reading list. Dealing with a chronically sick baby is incentive for reading about healing and anything to solve the problem. So, I dove into The Healing Light.

Agnes Sanford was a major figure of the Christian Charismatic movement of the middle 20th century. Raised in China by missionary parents, she picked up Eastern ideas of spiritual forces. Later, as the wife of an Episcopal minister, she witnessed the power of healing prayer. Her blended ideas, observations, and experiences became the basis of The Healing Light.

Sanford contended that healing energy is available to everyone. People simply have to learn how to turn it on. She likened it to a light bulb. If the bulb is in its socket, a power source needs to be flipped on to make it shine. Begging and wishing doesn’t turn it on. You can plead, “Please, bulb, please turn on.” Nothing will happen. But, connected to its energy source, the light beams.

She described the Healing Light and how to “turn it on.” It was on that dark night, long ago, I first connected with the Healing Light. As I rocked Cary in the dim living room, I imagined a shaft of divine energy opening up over my head. I prayed for help. I prayed for connection. My hands cupped over her ears and I imagined light rippling from the heavens, into my head and down my arms. The chair rocked and rocked and rocked. My head warmed and buzzed. Energy traveled through my body. That night only my right hand warmed and pulsed. Waves of energy rose in a crescendo and slowly faded. The baby fell limp in my arms and finally surrendered to sleep. I continued rocking a while, knowing something profound had just happened.

Indeed, the next visit to the pediatrician revealed her right ear was completely healed, the left improved. The cycle of infections was over.

That was the beginning of life-long supernal adventures in healing energy. Many modalities have followed, including Reiki and The Reconnection. But, it was Agnes Sanford and The Healing Light that formed the foundation of my life in healing.

The Healing Light Meditation is my latest offering on YouTube to put others in touch with healing energy for themselves. Turn on the light and shine!

Bright Blessings,

Dana

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Ever-Flowing Streams: Christ, Reiki, Reincarnation & Me

Meditate with The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is a cross-cultural ancient symbol. From the Mayans to the Celts, Buddhism to Christianity, sacred trees have symbolized life itself. Old trees are so respected in Japan, authorities will go to great expense and effort to transplant them away them from encroaching highways.

WHAT DOES THE TREE OF LIFE SYMBOLIZE?

Fertility and Family–forests are made up of generations of trees. Saplings grow beneath the protection and provision of their surrounding family. Science is learning more and more about the communication between trees through their root systems. Stands of trees are communities. Every tree provides food or shelter for a multitude of animals and insects.

Beauty, Protection, Clean Air–Trees offer protection from the scorching sun, give us oxygen for each breath. Their beauty inspires us and lifts our spirits.

Ancient Wisdom–Each ring of a tree represents a global orbit around the sun, another year on planet earth. Some trees are known to be 5,000 years old. Oh, if those trees could talk–or if we could understand them. What have they seen and learned?

Visit my YouTube channel to Meditate on the ancient symbol of the Tree of Life. Lean back on the cool ground under the gentle branches and take a few minutes to renew your soul.

Bright blessings

Dana Taylor

Lessons from Atlantis

Book Review by Dana Taylor

It’s been a few thousand years since the Greek philosopher and historian, Plato, mentioned the lost civilization of Atlantis. Was it an actual place or merely fiction? It seems today, more than ever, Atlantis piques curiosity and fascination. Coupled with that is the emergence of interest in the lost continent of Lemuria. This month GAIA talk show host, Regina Meredith (OPEN MINDS), featured A Hynotist’s Journey to Atlantis: Eye Witness Accounts of Our Ancient History by Sarah Breskman Cosme as the Book Club choice at ReginaMeredith.com.

Sarah Beskman Cosme is a past life regressionist, having studied with Dr. Brian Weiss and Delores Cannon. Working to earn her certification in the Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique, (QHHT), she asked a casual friend, Jen Sullivan, to be her hypnosis subject. Jen, a journalist by profession, had never been interested in metaphysics or spirituality, but a sudden health challenge gave her the desire to explore QHHT. Jen’s initial session amazed them both when she revealed a long life begun in Lemuria and ending in the destruction of Atlantis. Sarah and Jen began a series of sessions, primarily focused on Jen’s life as a Lemurian ruler, taken prisoner by Atlanteans after they destroy her homeland.

The dialog format between therapist and client, reveals the cultures and histories of the ancient societies. Material for the book evolved over several years. As Sarah grew her regression practice, she discovered many clients revealed lifetimes in Atlantis or Lemuria. She weaves memories of others to broaden the insights offered by Jen’s recollections.

As Regina Meredith notes at the beginning of the Book Club video, past life memories are limited to the experiences of the clients in their lifetimes. They don’t suddenly become “all-knowing” once they have passed from the earth plane. So, getting a consensus of facts or timelines on Atlantis would require a compilation of hundreds, or perhaps, thousands of people’s past-life regressions.

Jen’s story could be turned into a novel. Her early life in the gentle matriarchal society of Lemuria, with her mother and grandmother in the royal residence; the short-lived romance; her daughter’s birth. Then come the deceitful Atlanteans, hoping to find a cure for the virus that is decimating their society. Her natural immunity and Lemurian telepathic gifts make her a target for the cold-hearted Atlanteans. Her long years as a prisoner in Atlantis gives us insights into a society focused on technology and achievement, with little compassion. Their destruction is a cautionary tale, to be sure.

In fact, Jen Sullivan has written an account of her story in her own book, which is on my TBR list. Indeed, after reading the Cosme book, I’m sure many will want to read expanded version in Child of the Universe.

The comparisons between ancient Atlantis and modern society are plentiful. Especially chilling is the experimental vaccine to override the virus that seems so successful at first, but leads to generational genetic deformities and anomalies. Perhaps another cautionary tale.

It’s a fascinating read, especially for those who feel the pull to Atlantis and Lemuria. Meredith has often featured guests who propose thousands of people now on the planet experienced past lives in those ancient cultures, often suffering from past-life trauma. This may be the era of healing. Or it may be another cycle of destruction. Humanity always has the choice.

A Hypnotist’s Journey to Atlantis and A Child of the Universe are available at Amazon. Here is an interview between Regina Meredith and Sarah Breskman Cosme on YouTube for more information.

Guardian Whale Meditation at Makapu’u Beach

by Dana Taylor

A few weeks ago I awakened around 5am. I’m a get-up-with-the-sun sort of gal and the sun wasn’t expected to rise on the horizon for another 90 minutes. I look forward to such early waking mornings because I can find an engaging meditation on YouTube and float in a mental Neverland before facing mundane daily tasks. On that particular morning, I chose a hypnosis session from Peter McLaughlin of BlueSky Hypnosis. Getting in Touch with Your Higher Self sounded intriguing, so I clicked the arrow and followed the mental instructions as they unfolded. Peter guided me down a staircase into my subconscious. Fingers snapped and his soothing, well…hypnotic, voice led me into a forest, giving me the out of saying “fully awake” any ole time.

At some point Peter’s voice faded and the blurry forest morphed into a bright, vivid beach setting. I recognized it–Makapu’u Beach on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. I’d slipped into a lucid dream state, very much aware I was still in bed, but the images and sensations of the beach seemed utterly real.

Makapu’u Beach Heiau

My first trip to Makapu’u beach, circa 2016, was via a Meetup tour offered by a Kahu (Spiritual Guide) who’d taken on a Hawaiian name, but had been born perhaps some 65 years earlier in Minnesota. Though wheelchair bound, she was pushed through the uneven grassy area by a sturdy twenty-something long-hair surfer dude. She repeatedly referred to the area as “Mermaid Beach.” Being new to Oahu, I assumed “Makapu’u” means “mermaid.” It does not. Nor have I ever heard anyone else call it “Mermaid Beach.”

Makapu’u is a volcanic cove and home to several circular sacred sites called heiaus, filled with carefully arranged lava stones. The stones represent ancient gods and goddesses of the Hawaiian culture. The small group was allowed to walk inside the perimeter of the heiaus and leave gifts of leis or fresh water. The Kahu explained the relationships between the stones. I don’t recall the details of the stories. What I do remember is the energy emanating from the stones. Variations of frequencies pulsed from them, as if they indeed had “personalities.” Perhaps I’ll share all the details of that experience in another post. I mainly want to set the scene for the dream/meditation here.

Beyond the heiaus is a path down to the narrow sandy beach. Volcanic shelves and fingers of stone pounded by the crashing waves give way to the expanse of turquoise ocean. My dream took me right the water’s edge and then into the warm sea. In real life I would have been in serious trouble floundering around, but in dream life, I took to the water like a fish, literally. I transformed into a mermaid. Not a Disney Ariel glamour girl, but more like Flipper. The power of my whale tail propelled me into the open ocean. A dolphin-like skin covered my body. My arms turned more fin-like, but something like hands remained. Water seemed my natural habitat. Gills pulled in sea water, which powered me on. My eyes felt rounder and larger, able to see in the fluid expanse.

I swam towards a looming figure, a huge female blue whale and celebrated a watery reunion with my dear old Mother Guardian Whale. I embraced her, a guppy compared to her enormity. Gripping her fin, she took me on a rollicking ride through the depths. Emotions of joy and love roiled through me.

After the exhilarating frolic, we propelled at a sedate pace. I placed one hand on her head. Our minds joined telepathically. She shared pictures and messages outside of human language, yet highly intelligent. The cascade of information embedded somewhere in my subconscious, only vaguely accessible in my waking state. Planetary history and cosmic connection swirled in my mind.

At a certain point my sleeping self wanted to end the session. But breaking the connection and rising to consciousness proved difficult. Part of me was diving into the deep blue sea while the other was repeating “fully awake, fully awake!”

Groggy and bleary eyed, I finally came to full consciousness thinking, “Wow, that was interesting!”

Inspired by the dream, I’ve created a new guided meditation on my YouTube channel. Before pressing the record button, I center and open myself to creative energy. The sessions are unscripted and take on a life of their own. So, enjoy this trip to Makapu’u Beach and swimming with the Mother Guardian Blue Whale.

Bright Blessings,

Dana Taylor