by Karen Larre, Carla Garcia and Mary Anne Weaver
James Van Praagh is a pioneer in the field of mediumship and one of the most celebrated and respected spiritual teachers working today. He has brought a mind-full awareness to the subject of “communication with the dead” into the public psyche for the past thirty years. Mr. Van Praagh is known as a “survival evidence medium,” meaning that he provides evidential proof of life after death via detailed messages from the spiritual realms.
His work has brought spiritual insights to millions with his numerous guest appearances on such shows as Oprah, Dr. Phil, Larry King Live, 20/20, The View, The Today Show, Chelsea Lately, Beyond Belief, Biography, Coast to Coast, 48 Hours, and a multitude of others.
James Van Praagh is also the number one New York Times best-selling author of Talking To Heaven, Reaching To Heaven, Healing Grief, Heaven and Earth, Looking Beyond, Meditations, Ghosts Among Us, Unfinished Business, How to Heal a Grieving Heart, Adventures of the Soul, The Power of Love, and his latest release, Wisdom from Your Spirit Guides.
Truly Alive: In the book, you talk about the “pre-birth process”. Can you explain this for our readers?
James Van Praagh: The circumstances of your birth are never an accident. Before our souls arrive here for their time on Earth, they put together a plan, actually more like a contract, with help from their guides and angels. This plan is the blueprint that they will follow through life, including their parents and the place they are born, the destiny points that they will encounter, and the lessons they will learn.
TA: What is our “biggest illusion”?
JVP: I’d say there are two. One is the idea that we are separate, when in fact we are all souls and are all connected at the deepest level. The other illusion is death. There is no death. Life and death are simply different points in the journey of the soul.
TA: What is the difference between the Spirit Mind and the Earth Mind?
JVP: The Earth Mind is consumed with worrying about many things including how we appear to other people. Judgement, ego, and fear are all products of the Earth mind, but when the soul transitions, “poof” all those Earthly worries disappear. All that is left is the Soul Mind, which contains the enduring memory of the experiences of many lifetimes.
TA: What happens when we try to gain love by pleasing someone else?
JVP: It’s hard to live your own, authentic life when you’re consumed with the opinions and approval of other people. Worrying about what other people think mutes your intuition – your soul’s voice. You can waste a lot of time going off in all kinds of different directions when you ignore your inner wisdom. This might sound a little harsh, but I always tell my students “What other people think of you is none of your business.”
TA: What is the art of discernment?
JVP: Discernment is the ability to judge with wisdom – but I take it a step further. I consider it to be “thinking from your soul.” When you have mastered discernment, you will be able to see clearly, and your thoughts, words and actions will become aligned with your soul.
TA: What happens when we experience life through fear?
JVP: Well, once you truly accept the fact that death is an illusion, that takes away a lot of the day to day fears, doesn’t it? Once you break the habit of fear-based thinking, you can live from your soul, which operates on the frequency of unconditional love.
TA: How is it that “each of us is the creator of the world we are experiencing”?
JVP: Everything we think, say, and do creates our reality. Like attracts like, so if you send out love, you get love back. If you send out judgment and negativity, guess what? That’s what you attract.
TA: How can we learn to trust our souls?
JVP: Just do it. First, stop worrying about what other people think of you. Then, spend some time each day in quiet activities, walking in nature, meditating, journaling, gardening (my personal favorite). Those simple, contemplative pursuits will allow your soul to make its presence known.
TA: What can we do to demonstrate love and make it grow?
JVP: Do the simple things. See the best in people – not just people close to you, but everyone you come into contact with. I was recently in an Uber and the driver was grumbling and really negative. I told him that I loved his smile, and that he was a gift to the world. I wasn’t lying to him – I was looking past the negative place he was in at that moment and recognizing the very best part of him. I can tell you, that immediately shifted the energy in that car, and I believe that the next person to get in his Uber had a much more positive experience. I like to believe that he paid my positivity forward!
TA: Why is forgiveness the cornerstone of love?
JVP: Holding a grudge, or refusing to forgive, blocks the flow of energy in the body. Besides making us depressed, sluggish, and eventually ill, lack of forgiveness gets in the way of our natural frequency as soul-beings. That natural frequency is LOVE. When we forgive and let go, it allows positive energy to flow again. Forgiveness isn’t excusing someone’s bad behavior – it’s releasing yourself from all that negative stuff, and letting love and compassion take its place.
TA: Why are our families our greatest teachers?
JVP: That goes back to the pre-birth contract. You didn’t get that alcoholic father or cold, unloving mother by accident. Your soul signed up for those experiences in order to evolve and grow.
TA: How can we release “expectations”?
JVP: Expectations are like judgment – they hold us back from living in the moment and experiencing what is. I tell people at my readings, just to open up to the souls and messages that are meant to come through. Basically, the answer to that question is to trust Spirit. When you have expectations and push too hard, it tends to have the opposite effect that you want.
TA: How are our thoughts creating our lives and how can we change negative thoughts?
JVP: Thoughts are things; your thoughts effect the energy field, or aura, that surrounds you. If your own energy field is strong and unbroken, it will shield you from the negative energy that’s out in the world. So, make sure your energy is clear by keeping your thoughts positive, and being compassionate and loving to yourself and others. Oh, and don’t spend too much time watching the news! It’s normal to have negative thoughts sometimes, but it’s important to let them go by. Observe the negative thoughts with detachment, but don’t react to them. Don’t make them yours.
TA: What happens when we are “in between lives? And what are “destiny points”?
JVP: Our souls spend time here on Earth over multiple lifetimes, and in between they are hard at work planning their next adventure – working with their guides to advance their karmic evolution and evolve. Destiny points are part of that plan. They are experiences, places, and people that the soul will encounter during their time on Earth. How the soul chooses to react is up to them. Free will comes into play here. But what is certain is that they will have the opportunity to grow and evolve at each destiny point.
TA: How does gratitude work in our lives?
JVP: Gratitude is so powerful! Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” I think that sums it up! There is something to be thankful for in everything that happens, good and bad. When we trust that Spirit has a plan, we can find something to be thankful for in every encounter, every event.
TA: There is a lot of information these days about mindfulness. How would you describe it?
JVP: Mindfulness is so simple, but it can be elusive when you’re coming from a place of ego – in other words, when you’re in your Earth Mind. To be mindful is to be present, in the moment – letting go of the past, and not worrying about what the future holds. Just trusting that the universe has a plan for you, and that everything is exactly as it should be in this moment.
TA: How can the soul help us with creativity?
JVP: When you are living and working in harmony with your soul, the vast power of the universe – that infinite, powerful love energy – is flowing through you. That love energy is the source of unlimited creativity and inspiration.
TA: Why is the statement “only love is real” true?
JVP: One thing that I have learned as a medium, and that I have demonstrated to the world, is that death is an illusion. The soul, and the power of love never dies.
TA: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about?
JVP: The James Van Praagh School of Mystical Arts is an online school which offers a variety of learning experiences, from professional certifications to audio and video courses, with live calls and online forums. For more information, go to www.jvpschoolofmysticalarts.com.
Fans can also tune in to James Van Praagh’s popular Hay House Radio show, Talking to Spirit, every Tuesday at 11am Pacific time and enjoy his online television series, Spirit Talk on Gaia.com. He also shares insights and messages from the Spirit realm through his website and blog at www.vanpraagh.com and on social media.