living with ghosts

Living With Ghosts- Stephen Berkley

This is a special episode, my first with a live audience! LIVE Q&A with the filmmaker of “Best Documentary” winner Living with Ghosts, a seven-year exploration into the nature of consciousness and whether after-death communication can or should be facilitated in a clinical setting to treat chronic grief. The film is not publicly available. But, if you’d like to view it, you can join a private screening:


Brian Smith 0:24
Everybody this is Brian back with another episode of Grief 2 Growth. We’ve got a special episode today I’ve got with me a gentleman named Steven Berkeley, who has just done a movie called Living with ghosts. And we’re going to have some live q&a Here. This movie is just coming out. There’s an audience that’s seen part of it or seen the movie. And we’re going to bring them in later to ask them questions of the about the movie. But I want to I wanted to introduce you to Steven into this film, which I think is a very important film, if you’re someone who follows my podcast, and you’ve got questions about the afterlife. So it’s even though Steve has worked in multiple capacities inside the entertainment media industry for over 30 years living with ghosts is his first fully self produced feature film. The story idk idea came to Stephen after the death of his father. Shortly afterwards, his mother began reporting interactions with whom she believed to be Stephens dad.

Stephen Berkley 2:42
You know, it changed over over time. But the primary goal really is to ease suffering. You know, my mother went through through a very hard time after my father passed. And I saw that she services really were not generally available for the kind of help she needed. She was in what I found out later was called complicated grief, which ends up as kind of like prolonged grief. And she really needed intervention. And the traditional remedies for bereavement really weren’t doing anything. So that’s what really got me motivated.

Brian Smith 3:55
Yeah, the idea of complicated grief is one that I’ve run across in my work and for people that may not understand that’s like, you know, we have their have what we call kind of normal grief, I guess. But their grief can be complicated by certain things that make it really difficult to to get over on your own. And as you said, you know, could require some intervention. So I’m curious, what what started happening to your mother after your father passed, what kind of things was so much experiencing?

Stephen Berkley 4:23
Well, at first, she was just not functioning. You know, she was not in a in a place where she could really do much of anything. And we had taken her to my brothers and I we all kind of congregated in Florida where she was living. And we got her into a support group, got her a grief counselor, got her into religious services, but nothing was doing anything. And then one day, she just sounded a little bit lighter on the phone. She was and I said mom, like what’s what’s happening? And she said, you know, Stevie, I thank you for Oh, they’re still here. So miraculously, even though none of the conditional grief remedies were really working for her, the fact that she thought, and as a filmmaker, I’m going to be be very objective when I want to talk about this. Because she perceived my father was still in the house with her, that gave her a new lease in life, she did not have this huge gap that was had been there for the previous months. This is something new, she felt he was in the house. And she was talking to him as if he was in the house. And that was helping her come out of it. She made the mistake. However, I’m sharing this information with a grief counselor, who told her, you know, I read that’s really a, a short term, short term solution to a long term problem. That’s not really the way to out it’s not not the way out of bereavement. And unfortunately, when my mother heard that, she listens to healthcare professionals, you know, she doesn’t just, you know, wave her hand and say, okay, she she listened, she took it seriously. She’s old school. And she’s she went downhill very quickly, because she stopped talking to my dad, my dad,

Brian Smith 6:11
wow, wow. Yeah, their grief counselors can be helpful. And Grief counselors can be less than helpful sometimes. So I assumed this was you said, a professional grief counselor, who had probably had some some training. And that’s that’s kind of I would call the old school way of grief counseling is to tell people just get over it. Right. So what did you learn about grief counseling from that experience?

Stephen Berkley 6:34
Well, I was just really disappointed. Mostly this is before I did any research at all. Intuitively, I just felt, why would you take a woman who was in her 80s, who is suddenly feeling better? Even, let’s say let’s call it a placebo effect, let’s say arguably, my mother was experiencing a placebo effect from thinking my father was still in the house. Why disabuse her of that? Why take that away from her? It didn’t make sense to me. So intuitively, I just thought she that seems wrong. Why Why? Why isn’t? Why couldn’t that be a long term solution to a long term problem?

Brian Smith 7:15
Right, right. So what were your beliefs about afterlife or after death communications before this happened?

Stephen Berkley 7:22
Well, I’m glad you asked. That’s a good question. I would say I was mixed. I would say that I’ve always been, I consider myself an open channel. I’m open. I’m open to all kinds of information, all kinds of new age ideas. But I at least publicly, I wasn’t really willing to kind of come out and say, Okay, this is really happening. This is what is out there. I was I was I would say, evasive when people would ask me that question. And as a filmmaker, like what I was saying, as a filmmaker, I’ve tried really hard to make an objective movie, where I wasn’t, I didn’t want to make a propaganda piece. I wanted it to be something that anybody could watch. And I wanted to appeal to the mainstream. And I didn’t want anybody to know for sure where I stood. And so I’ve taken the position in these interviews, to be like to be a little bit cagey. But because I know this is a safe space, Brian, I’m going to say, Okay, I am a believer, but I really wasn’t 100% in the spiritualist camp when I started making this film, but I got there over the seven years that it took to make this

Brian Smith 8:32
film. Yeah. Well, you know, it’s interesting, a couple of things you said there that really kind of piqued my curiosity. One is the idea that an afterlife or after that communication being a new age belief, and that’s a very common belief now, and in my opinion, and I will i am out with what my beliefs are. It’s very old, it’s ancient. This is this is not a new age beliefs, but in our world. And another thing you said that things really important, a safe space, you know, we have to have a safe space to share these beliefs, because in mainstream, they don’t want to get ahead of the film, but in mainstream, and we can just talk this example with your mother and a big counselor, which we’ve already talked about. She says, I’m having this experience, this experience is helping me and this professional says no, no, no, you can’t you can’t have this experience. This is wrong.

Unknown Speaker 9:20
Right, exactly.

Brian Smith 9:23
So I’m curious as to how did you come around to how did you explore this this idea of acid after death communication, I assume you you wanted to believe your mother. So what was your first step?

Stephen Berkley 9:37
Well, I didn’t actually instigate the first step. What happened was very shortly after my father died, it may have been like the day after. I was there in Florida with my brothers and helping my mother through it. And the neighbor came over. She very sweet woman. She came over and she said You know, I read, I know you’re having a tough time with this, of course, your husband of 60 years just died. I went through the same thing. But I do something we haven’t really spoken about this much. That is my mother’s neighbor and her bridge partner, so they know each other pretty well. You said, I read I do this thing. It’s I write to my late husband every night. And that helps me. And by the way, he writes back to me. So my mother was like, what? And she really, she completely incredulous? Understandably, my mother wasn’t thinking along these lines. She also it was just too new to her. The idea was too new. And she just lost my father. She really couldn’t digest what this woman was saying, by the way, this woman is in the film, it’s Ethel the one who does automatic writing in the film. So that’s my mother’s neighbor and bridge partner. And she introduced this concept to her, but my mother really couldn’t handle it rarely. But over time, just like in the movie, I mean, the movie really is what happened because it wasn’t those weren’t recreations. That was me filming the mother going through her grief counselor. That was me filming my mother speaking to another neighbor of hers named Maxine. So these were this was all like real time, things that were happening that were happening over the seven years. So if it seems contrived that also because it’s all condensed into into 90 minutes. But this all happened over seven years. But my mother gradually started thinking, okay, maybe part of it was out of desperation, but and part of it was because there was a blinking light in her house. And she started to wonder maybe there is something to this, maybe sigh really is in the house with me. And she started coming around. And she started asking Sal for guidance, because Ethel had written a book about after death communication using automatic writing. And so Ethel was kind of mentoring her a little bit. So I was really fascinated not just with what Ethel was doing. But I was just fascinated with the fact that the whole idea of the movie kind of came from that my mother and Ethel were two friends having very different experiences in grief, Ethel was very cheerful all the time, because she was writing to her husband, he was writing back. My mother was despondent. So here are these two women very similar in every way, they even look a little bit alike. But they were having two very different grief experiences. So my initial impetus was really was that this was because it was kind of cute. They were an odd couple. So what How adorable. But as I got more into it, and as I really wanted to investigate the academic communication aspect, that’s when I started kind of talking to professor’s about what was going on and how long this has been a thing and, and different belief systems and our is our society suppressing reporting of these kinds of incidents? And it turns out, yes, our society is suppressing these kinds of incidents, maybe not. What’s the word I’m looking for? They’re not proactively suppressing. But maybe they are. I’m not sure. But academia and anthropology and the medical sciences, there seems to be kind of a collusion to kind of just push this stuff away, because it’s, it’s not part of Newtonian physics.

Brian Smith 13:37
Yeah, yeah. Well, you’ve already we’ve already touched on that, right, your mother’s first experience with the grief counselor, and I assume we’ll get into what other experiences we people find in the in the medical field. But there is there is a there is a suppression there is and some of it is active. Some of that is actually active. Some of it’s a little bit less, you know, it’s kind of like they’re they’re you’re just you know, you’re just having a grief experience. So what did you find out about after death communications when you started looking into it, and what did this what you find out? That is surprise you?

Stephen Berkley 14:12
It did. My first piece of data that I found really interesting, came from a professor named David Hufford, who’s in the film, he told me, just look up, look up, Dewey Reese, look up that name, and you’ll find his research. So I found this, this doctor, a physician in the UK, 50 years ago, it was 1971 was when his report came out. He decided to go into Wales and just ask a population of 300 widows and widowers what’s helped them the most in grief. He wasn’t looking for like ghosts. He wasn’t looking for activity. That’s communication. He just wants to he was interested to know what was helping these people the most gets through bereavement, because he was interested in in seeing years and helping them and he was shocked to find out that more about about half the population that he was serving. Half of them said the thing that helped me get through bereavement was getting a visit from my deceased loved one. And this in this case, it was all spouses. I got a visit from my husband or wife that’s what did it that was the game changer for me. So do we race made it like a thing? He really did a very intensive study on these different people in the ask them, okay, what what’s what exactly is different? How have you been helped? And in terms of incidents of sleekness sleeplessness, in terms of not being able to eat well take care of yourself well, being socially isolated, all the people who reported having after death communication with their deceased spouse, all those people were just doing better. There may be will be maybe one or two of the 300 people who had this epidemic communication didn’t like it, they were kind of touched to wigged out by it. But by and large, the vast majority were significantly helped by having these experiences. And it wasn’t voluntary. I mean, it wasn’t like what they couldn’t they couldn’t invite it themselves. But the people who were experiencing it benefited. So I thought that was a fabulous piece of information. It was something that apparently gave rise to the normal normal hallucinations of bereavement. That’s in the DSM. So this stuff is 50 years old. And now my mother’s grief counselor is saying, Well, maybe you shouldn’t be doing that. All she has to do is look at the science. I mean, it’s there, it’s in the DSM and the DSM will save for for those people who haven’t heard that DSM is the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, that doctors consult on a regular basis. So this information has been out there is 50 years old. The blurb I’m talking about the DSM has been 50 years old. But that’s what led to do we recent studies about led to the DSM, including the normal hallucinations of bereavement. And so this grief counselor, and many others, like her, will discourage people from exploring after death communication. When again, the DSM will say it’s normal. And it’s helpful. Don’t discourage it.

Brian Smith 17:30
Interesting. So I want to make sure we get that very clear. So the DSM, acknowledges that there are normal loose hallucinations, of course, of after death communications, but that they are helpful. Which is interesting, because it lets us know, first of all, it’s common, so it’s more common than people might think it is. And it’s also beneficial. So if we are going to be scientific people, if something is common and beneficial, those are two pretty good reasons to not discourage it, I would think,

Stephen Berkley 17:59
yeah. And for those people who are interested in statistics, I’m one of them. I’m not sure if anybody else would find this as exciting as me. But there has been nine studies between 1957 and 1997. And in those studies, similar to the Dewey Rees study that I just mentioned, in those nine studies, at least 47% of the widows or the I’m sorry, the survivors, at least 47% of the survivors and as much as as high as 90% of the survivors. I can remember the survivors were spouses are just survivors, but let’s call them spouses. I think there may be I’m not sure, one of the other, the survivors, or all those people are having this incident happen to them. That’s a lot of people who and you can’t just sweep it under the rug and say, Oh, these people are just imagining it. They’re really having these experiences.

Brian Smith 18:54
Yeah, well, I think I’d like to ask you that question. What is your belief? Why do you think psychiatrists, psychologists, the medical field, why do they classify these as hallucinations? Why do they say they’re not real? What? What’s the big push behind that?

Stephen Berkley 19:10
I have an opinion. It’s different from I just I just had this question asked to me. You know, I think there’s two there’s two couple of different things going on. One is we live in a world we live in a materialistic world, I don’t mean materialistic colloquially, like we like our iPads, right? We’re materialistic in terms of the physical, the physical illness of our world. Newtonian physics, that’s how we think that’s what we can see. That’s what we’re comfortable with. That’s part of it. And and having to deal with a world of the unseen is scary. And especially if you work in academia, or you work as a physician, where your livelihood depends on the physical sciences or Newtonian physics, having to cope with a world Old of the unseen. The metaphysical is daunting. So that’s that’s one one reason. The other reason is a little bit more. I don’t know, maybe it’s more abstract. But I’m thinking that people are, people believe what they’re comfortable believing part of it’s want to just protect people or sometimes people are cynical just because they want to protect their livelihood. But sometimes people are just trying to protect themselves from something strange. And I use this example recently, that look how many spouses look how many people are denying that their spouse is cheating on them. All the clues are in front of them. The extra cell phone their spouse is carrying around, or their state have a different odor about them when they come home late. They’re all the signs are there. But they can’t let themselves really look at it closely. It’s just too disruptive. They have to they have a child they have to take to a soccer game, they have work they have to attend to whatever it is, it’s very disruptive to have to confront something that’s both alien, and will completely change the way you see your world.

Brian Smith 21:20
Yeah, you know, that is 100% true. And it’s something that that I frankly, still struggle with this day, because this belief that we’re calling disruptive to our materialistic view, and it is, but it brings comfort, I mean, you you’ve seen it with your mother, that it’s it’s disruptive, I believe in a good way. But it’s, I feel like people like it’s too good to be true.

Stephen Berkley 21:45
Exactly. I mean, even the protagonist in the film, she doesn’t want to try academic communication she wrote she’s really not interested. But and she really had to be dragged kicking and screaming, screaming to Texas to give it a try. It wasn’t comfortable for here, even in that situation, even where she was having a benefit in that in her session. Even then, it was it was difficult for her to acknowledge and it was difficult for her to to really give it much credit.

Brian Smith 22:24
Yeah, well, I just speaking from my personal experience with induced after death communications, because and let’s talk about what that is a difference between IADC and spontaneous after death communication. So if you’d like to expand on that,

Stephen Berkley 22:38
sure. Spontaneous after death communication is what I was referring to in the delivery study where people just within a year after their spouse’s death, about about half the population was experiencing a spontaneous epidemic communication. And that could be any sense. It could be visual, it could be auditory, it could be olfactory, or just the, you know, just sensing something in the room with you. I mean, all those things are after death communications. And those happen fairly frequently, to about 50 60% of the population. With it within different studies say different things. Sometimes they say within three months of the death, sometimes it’s within a year, but most of the after death communication has happened within a year of the of the of the death, induced after death communication, which is a bit of a misnomer. I know that therapists I spoke to about this therapy, really like to get out there in front of it. Because induced after death communication makes it sound like the therapist is actually making them have an academic communication, really, it’s a facilitated academic communication, the therapist is helping the patient or the client be in a kind of a receptive, fertile state to allow these kinds of after death communications to happen. But and I’ll tell you a quick a quick story about this. One of the therapists said I think it may have been al BotCon himself a man who found two who founded an induced after death communication. He wanted to understand why sometimes this happened for people and sometimes it doesn’t. Now that the therapy is very successful, it’s about 70% of the time people have an epidemic communication when they’re in session. But why does it happen all the time? He wants to know any and I think he asked, I might be good. I might be butchering the story, Brian, so excuse me, but I think what he did was he asked his client to ask the loved one who was coming through why is it work? Sometimes it’s sometimes it doesn’t. And apparently, the deceased told the sitting there sitting to pay the client loved one sent me like something along these lines. Please relay this to the therapist. You think you have control of this? You don’t know We have control of this, we decide when to come through. Sometimes our loved one thinks they need to hear from us, they really don’t. So it really took a lot of the gravitas in a way out of took the wind a little bit out of the therapist sales. But in a way, it also felt good. He didn’t really want necessarily want to be responsible for it. He just wanted to create an environment where it could happen. And that’s what induced after death communication is they just, it’s just facilitating a place where it’s easier for for them to come through.

Brian Smith 25:39
Yeah, I think that’s a really great message. Really great to hear. And it’s interesting. In my line of work, I work a lot with mediums, people who speak to people, that people people on the other side, and what most of the internet will tell you is like, we are not in control. You know, we’re not in control of who comes through how they come through when they come through. And I always go back to the old line by The Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need. Right? And we think that we need that communication, but sometimes it might be better to not have it it might it might cause us to hold on to that person too tightly or something. Yep. So we have to, we have to trust the process. And that was one of my fears, frankly, with doing induced after death communications, I’ve experienced it. And I thought, well, what if it doesn’t work? You know, people get scared. If it doesn’t work, then I’m going to feel even worse.

Stephen Berkley 26:32
Yes, exactly. I’m gonna, I’m gonna get this jacket and put it over my lap because I’m freezing here in Connecticut, sir. Sure.

Brian Smith 26:44
Okay, so you mentioned earlier, back to the therapy thing, you know, this, this idea of continuing bonds or the traditional therapy, but talk about what continuing bonds. What is that theory about when it comes to grief counseling?

Stephen Berkley 26:58
You know, I love that you asked me that question, Brian, because that’s really what the movie is about. Because people see the title. And they like, oh, okay, it’s about ghosts. It’s a horror movie. Or it’s just about, it’s just about grief and getting through it. And it’s really about continuing bonds. So, so in 1917, Freud came out with this theory, and he wrote a paper called mourning and melancholia. And he didn’t say cut, cut off connection with your deceased. That’s not what he said. But for some reason, people came away from that research. That, okay, they should really say goodbye, they really should cut ties. And that stayed that really, that really stayed in the collective consciousness. Until now, most a lot of people still think the way to get through grief, is to really bury the deceased. And, okay, you’re allowed to look at pictures, but don’t try to maintain a relationship with them. That’s just wrong. That’s just not the way to do it. We’re continuing bonds basically said, and that this didn’t, this only came out in 1995, which feels like a long time ago was actually a short time ago in this kind of steam speeds game of the span of time. So in 1995, Dennis class and a few other researchers did the same thing that do we reached it in a way but it was just a population of bereaved. But they the bottom line was, it’s actually a must, you need to maintain a relationship with your deceased because we’re social creatures. We are not meant to just plant our deceased loved ones in the ground and forget about them. We really should for our own mental growth for our own mental sake or for our sanity. We need to be able to have some kind of relationship with our deceased. We don’t we don’t need to talk to them necessarily. If you don’t believe in communication with the deceased, that’s fine. But we have to take them with us in our hearts. And one of the therapists in the film, grand Maxie who was the lead lead expert and the lead therapist in the film, off camera, he talked about Toy Story two. And the reason why he likes Toy Story two is because there’s a scene you don’t understand. I’m talking about Brian, there’s a scene where the little the the the cowboy toy, I forget which was it? How it is that his name? Woody, Woody, Woody. Thank you, Woody. So he’s tossed into a into a recycling bin. The toy the child was done with the toy. And it’s the most heart rending scene in any Toy Story. Any Toy Story movie that this this particular therapist saw. And the reason why it was so heartbreaking is because you could like easily liken it to what we do with people. We throw them away we we plant them in the ground, and we say okay, that’s there over there. are now my life now goes on, where induced after death communication isn’t so much about making that making that contact. That’s just the cherry on the cake. The the real purpose of it is to reestablish a relationship with the deceased. Sometimes it cultivate culminates in an act of communication but doesn’t have to. The main point is think of your spouse as not gone. And see what happens then, if you have communication, you’re used to having a communication when you get home from work with your spouse, when you come home from work tomorrow, at seven o’clock, let’s say you tell you have a set time, you know, you’re gonna be talking to them. It could be just in your head. But that is just better for our nervous systems to operate like that. Even if you don’t really believe it, like, remember that expression? Was it fake your way to success? What is it? What is it? What is it? Brian would make it? Yes, fake it to make it exactly. He was proposing that people. Even if they don’t really think they can make sense of it. Just try having a conversation with your deceased and see how it feels. And see if you notice anything differently about how you think about yourself how you think about your world. Because whether they’re only in your hearts, even if they’re only live in your hearts, that’s fine. Just maintain that bond with them because you need it.

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Brian Smith 32:35
You know, as you were speaking, I was thinking about this idea we were talking about the the continuing bonds versus the other method of grief counseling. You know, a lot of things that we think are ancient are really not. So this like you said this idea of get over it was pretty much Freud, which is not that long ago, this is 20 of the 20th century, mankind for all of our being has believed that in continuing violence, we believe that we are spiritual beings, that we go on to bigger and greater things, we maintain those connections with our deceased, we call them our ancestors. But it was only recently was really in the 20th century that we said, Okay, now, we’re going to be big boys and girls. Now, we’re going to stop pretending and now let’s make believe stuff. And we’re going to accept the fact that we are finite beings that live and die. And how was that worked out for us?

Stephen Berkley 33:27
Exactly, exactly. David Hubbard who I mentioned earlier, he talks about some cultural suppression in the film. And I think he was saying something along the lines of the turn of the century, when psychology became kick became kind of a thing. I think it was only around 1860 or so that it kind of started. And then Freud came then everything kind of got were codified. But it seems like psychology decided they were going to be the authority on human thought. And I don’t know if everything that came after was a protective move to put kind of suppress spiritualism because spiritualism doesn’t really fit into their idea of what mental health is. Some of it, I mean, I’m not I’m not. I’m a realist. I’m not a pessimist. I will I would like to believe that. They would just thought that this was the way to do and they weren’t just protecting their industry. But either way, either way, it does seem to be unnecessary. To to suppress.

Brian Smith 34:36
Yeah, exactly. And I love the fact that you talk about being a realist versus the pessimists because sometimes people like us who do believe in this. We’re seeing as you’re just living with wishful thinking, but you you didn’t do that. You said I’m going to take seven years of my life and put it into this and then we just research it and study it. And I Um, you know, and I’m here to tell you, I love the fact that your film gives us permission to at least take a look, you know, and I believe we’ve all heard about Freud, I’ve only recently I need to do some more study of that been hearing more about Jung. And now he talks about the collective consciousness and a whole lot more about spirituality. So there are some very, very serious, you know, scientists, mental health professionals that do understand that we are I think, these these beings that your mother has experienced. And we we know that grief counseling, traditional grief counseling is frankly, not very effective. It doesn’t work for a lot of people. And we know that continuing bonds does work much better.

Stephen Berkley 35:43
Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t even seem like a fair contest. From what from the people I spoke to, like you were saying, grief counseling, traditional grief counseling, talk therapy simply doesn’t work. And the something like induced after death, communication therapy, and there is now a few different therapies that are similar to that, that this the same kind of concept is that the loved one is still around, you know, we can we can there’s, there’s a, there’s a way to kind of close that gap of any disbelief that you might have any, any skepticism, there’s a way that you can kind of, like overcome that, and, and actually have the experiential, experiential, experiential wisdom, of having that contact. And once you have that, you only need it once. Apparently, you don’t need to have, you don’t need to have continuous contact. But once you’ve actually experienced the feeling like you’re your husband, your wife, your child, your parent, is there with you in the room during this procedure? That’s that’s tattooed in your brain that’s there forever. It’s just one of those game changing moments. It’s like, you know, it’s like seeing the moon for the first time. It’s like, it’s just, it’s just, it’s mind blowing.

Brian Smith 37:07
Yeah. So I’m, what do you say to people who are just steadfast in their belief that there there is no afterlife? It’s just, it’s impossible. It can’t happen. It’s, you know, all those things that we hear?

Stephen Berkley 37:19
I, you know, it’s all a great question. I choose not to try to talk anybody out of their beliefs. It’s their, it’s their prerogative. And, again, I was saying to you in the show, I’m going to say that I’m completely objective, I’m not completely objective. But as a filmmaker trying to make an objective film, where both sides are covered, I want people to give me some pushback from my beliefs, I want people to give me the other side of the, of the argument. And also, I really like our Balkans philosophy, who is the founder again, of IADC. His philosophy is when they say to him things like this experience people are having, is it real? Or is it just like a simulation? Are people imagining it? And his answer is always the same. It said, it doesn’t matter, because the therapy is about healing. And as a psychologist, it’s not his place to push his belief system and anyone, whether you believe it’s a figment of your imagination, or whether you believe it’s something that’s really happening, a real spirit is coming through. The the client who goes through this therapy is in the same place. In fact, the people who are skeptical, end up doing better, paradoxically, now, Brian, you have to ask me why that is?

Brian Smith 38:42
Why is that?

Stephen Berkley 38:45
As the way the therapist explained it to me, I don’t want to sound like an authority on this is everything. I’m just reporting what the therapist are telling me your expectations can block results. A lot of the people who come into these sessions are so excited to make contact, that they’re not in the best place for a meditative type frame of mind, which is kind of what you need for this therapy to completely work. So the skeptics, meanwhile, have no expectations. There are a blank slate if anything, they don’t believe anything’s going to happen. And that disbelief is actually a little bit easier to work with. Apparently, it’s a paradoxical response, they call it. So here you have a therapy that’s working more often. Better for the for the non believers than for the believers. That’s pretty cool. Yeah,

Brian Smith 39:43
my experience has been when with after death communications, I’ve done a couple of different of these types of things in the course of working for the podcast. I’ve done some life between life and past life regression, and I’ve done our rgt which is a form of EMDR I’ve done some IADC stuff. And a lot of it and this is hard for people like me who’s just a very rational person, it’s letting go. It’s just said as learning to let go of those expectations so that I think it’s important, but i What i One of the things I love about your film is, is the fact that you do keep that objectivity you do show both sides of it’s not a it’s not a propaganda piece. It’s not You’re not ignoring what the quote unquote experts are saying, you’re giving people both sides and they can decide for themselves.

Stephen Berkley 40:29
Right, exactly. Thank you.

Brian Smith 40:31
And you know, and I’m really encouraged. As someone who’s in this field been in for a while to see more manged more things like this becoming more mainstream your film, hopefully, that more and more people will see it. As we were talking, I was thinking about, you talked about Toy Story about the film Coco, about you know, the afterlife and, and how people are still around as long as you remember them. And then the Disney movie that came out just last year, I think it was soul, which was really, you know, opening people up to, and I’m always just screaming. This is not a new idea. This is not a new age idea. This is not some this is this is us returning to what we believed as as a species for 10,000 years.

Stephen Berkley 41:12
Yeah, it really does speak to the power of societal suppression. And David Hufford, which I mentioned a few times during this interview, he spends a lot of time in the film talking about societal suppression, I didn’t, I wasn’t able to keep it all in the film. But with me, in my interview of him when we were shooting, he spent at least I would say, almost half of the time talking about these just forces. And it’s nobody’s fault. I mean, I mean, it’s not like it almost he used the word conspire, but he didn’t really mean it, literally. But it almost seems like there’s a conspiracy between academia and medicine and anthropology, that, that have said, Okay, we got to protect ourselves. You know, we have to we have to kind of push this stuff away. I’m sure it wasn’t it was it’s not as sinister is that it’s just people just being people, people believing what they feel comfortable believing, and to some degree is probably a protective measure, you know, if they’re if especially in their field that relies on the physical as opposed to the metaphysical?

Brian Smith 42:21
Well, there are actually a number of forces that play there. And I’m not a conspiracy theorist, either. I don’t like to ascribe bad bad values to people that if it’s simple, there’s a simple explanation. One is money, getting funding for the type of research and anything paranormal or anything. It’s really, really hard to get funding, it can crush your career, if you get associated with believing in anything with the afterlife. It’s difficult to study, we can’t we can’t study after death communications in the lab, we can’t go in a lab and summon a ghost and put probes on it and measure it, we can’t do that. So it’s, it’s not conducive to that. And the scientific, what we call the scientific method method has been very successful. It’s given us the internet and the iPads and the iPhones and all the things that we love. So there are all those those factors that make the scientists there’s no money in it. Right? That’s, that’s a big driving factor. Again, not saying they’re necessarily suppressing it purposefully. And then there’s this this, this little, little bit of superiority that people had to say, I don’t believe those fairy tales anymore. You know, you guys are over there having wishful thinking, I become a realist that I’ve seen that with people that are that are strict materialist.

Stephen Berkley 43:37
Right, right. You know, one of the things I really liked about I see Debbie has joined us. There’ll be you kind of distracting to you would you mind shutting your camera off?

Anyway, one of the things I liked about this study that is film featured in the film is that it’s the closest it seems we’ve come so far, too. Happy studying ghosts in the lab. So we’re not actually setting ghosts. But here’s the unit, a major university remains a major US research university is facilitating after death communication, that I believe might be a first I know there’s something in the University of Arizona that’s going on with the soul phone. I don’t really know enough about that, to speak to that. But when I found out about this study, and it was really organic, how it came about, you know, how I found it, how the people in the subject of the film have found it, that it was just so exciting to me that a university was taking it seriously. And it’s kind of interesting the way that they were able to get funding funding for it. It was only because it was therapy. faced. This was a professor of counseling, who said I’m going to study the therapeutic value in Ghost contact. If she if it wasn’t for that, then she would have gotten a lot of pushback, she probably did get pushed back as it was anyway. But because Jan Holden is a real scientist who did a lot of work with near death experiences, for like 30 years, she wrote the handbook of near death experiences along with Bruce Grayson. So she’s a big name. And she’s a genuine bonafide scientist. And she said, I’m wanting to I want to study the impact of academic communication on the bereaved. And that was the only way she was able to kind of get it under, under the wire there, you know, she was able to get that able to get she was able to go under the radar, and get people to be like, Okay, we’ll fund this. Yeah,

Brian Smith 45:59
there are there are a few studies out there. You mentioned University of Arizona, very familiar with Dr. Schwartz, who does work there, the laboratory for advances. I say it was called laboratory for advances in consciousness and Health at the University of Arizona. And people might be surprised he was studying mediumship, over 20 years ago, I actually one of the first books I got, I bought when I started into this field was called the afterlife experiments. And he actually brought me into the lab and study. But that is the exception. That’s not That’s not the rule. So, but it’s good that, you know, films like yours are showing us this out there. So actually, that was a question I was going to ask you, where can we find the results of that study? Is that published yet? Is it available?

Stephen Berkley 46:40
On on the website on my website, living with ghosts There’s a Resources tab, on the resources tab, you will be able to find the abstract for the article and the report. Right now. It’s not public information, the actual details because it’s not actually published. It’s in press, but it’s not published. Okay, now, it should be available in the coming months, I would think because they’ve had the report for a long time now. As soon as it’s published, everybody will be able to have access to it. But at least you could read the abstract on the website.

Brian Smith 47:15
And there was a question I keep we were having such a great conversation. I wanted to ask you this URL up front. Living with ghosts, why the title? Why ghost ghosts, but where’s gonna trigger a lot of people?

Stephen Berkley 47:27
You know, that’s, that’s my favorite question. Because it’s controversial. Brian. I like that. It’s controversial because people, I’m getting more pushback from that than anything else. Hmm. I didn’t expect that. I wasn’t I was I wanted the title to be provocative. But I didn’t want it. I didn’t want people to be offended by it. But apparently, I’ll tell you who especially was especially offended Bill Guggenheim. For those of your listeners who don’t know Bill Guggenheim, Bill Guggenheim wrote Hello from heaven, which I guess is the seminal work and after death communication, he just coined the term after death communication. Yeah, right. Yeah. So Bill Guggenheim is a is a iconic name for anybody who’s interested in this field. And so when I finished the film, he was somebody wanted to get the film right to I wanted that pat on the head. I wanted to build Guggenheim and probation, that would have felt really good, because in a way he was my, my job as a filmmaker. He was or I should say, as an artist, he was or as a writer. He was going to be like my, my, my dad figure. He was the patriarch to me. I want him to pat me on the head. He wrote me back a scathing email that said, I’m sorry, I will not watch your film. I’m sure he didn’t ever even apologize. I will not watch your film. Your film has the word ghosts in it. Ghosts is a pejorative word. it conjures up images of spookiness and Halloween and white sheets. And that’s the wrong word to use for a film about grief or whatever it’s about he didn’t even know what it’s about. He just said, I don’t want to watch your movie. I won’t read a book or watch a movie with the word ghosts in it. So that was really disappointed. disappointing for me I was really hurt. And I was also I was incredulous because here who Guggenheim seem to be one of the most open minded people in this field or in the world, right? He’s the one that wrote the book and coined the phrase after death communication, and he won’t, and he’s gonna, he’s gonna judge my book by its cover. So I was really blown away by that. At the same time. I like talking about it now, because it’s it’s kind of a fun story. The best part of the story is The film premiered at I ns, the International Association for near death studies. Okay. And I could see on my monitor who’s like logging in to watch the film, because it was kind of like this was kind of like a zoom type of thing, right. Bill Guggenheim did watch the film or at least he teased At least he registered to watch the film. Yeah. And that’s kind of a minor victory for me.

Brian Smith 50:07
You know, this brings up a really good point. I think language is really important. But on the other hand, sometimes we let his trip, let it trip us up. So the term goes could could evoke something scary, or something very comical, right? Not something serious. But, you know, if we do believe in this afterlife, and there are people that are there, and they and they do communicate with us, then why not use the term ghosts, but I’ve had a similar experience with the word dead. I don’t use the word dead very often. And there’s a number of reasons why I don’t. But I’m not offended when people do. I’ve literally seen people, authors, famous people that will be addressing a group of people, and they’ll use the word dead. And people will say, I will never read your book. I will never listen to another thing you say, because you use the word debt. Right? Right. But debt is the common term. This is the term that people outside of our little group use, right? And ghost is a common term that people use. So we need to educate people that yeah, ghosts aren’t scary.

Stephen Berkley 51:08
Yeah, I really, I didn’t really answer your question completely. The reason why I like the word ghosts also, is because it has both figurative and literal connotations. Right? So in one of the, one of the widows stories, that would be Ethel, for example, the automatic writer, she is literally feeling like she’s having interactions with her deceased husband. So for her ghost is kind of a literal meaning for Karen, her estranged daughter in law. She’s being haunted by the memory of her late husband. So it’s really the absence of her late husband that’s haunting her. And so that for that ghost, applies to her in a more of a metaphorical way. So I liked that the word has those multiple connotations. I like that it means the word applies to everybody in the story. I also think that Patrick Swayze, really I felt made it okay to use the word ghosts in a title because here’s a here’s a lovable, ghost. But it wasn’t a scary ghost. And I really thought he kind of normalized the word somewhat, but maybe that was me just being too ambitious. I was surprised that I was surprised to find out that Patrick Swayze did not have that power to normalize the word ghost.

Brian Smith 52:34
Yeah, well, you know, sometimes we have to say, you have to take language back. So I liked the fact that you made that that bold move, but I’ve had the same exposure, I wrote a t shirt or years ago, I kept my exact phrase, but like we are ghosts wearing a meat suit riding, rock hurtling through space. So fear, nothing is something to that effect. And I was selling lots and lots of these T shirts, but I had a few people that said, I’m not going to buy that because you use the word ghosts. Well, I think we’re all ghosts. We’re just we happen to be incarnated at this moment. But that’s, that’s my, my belief.

Stephen Berkley 53:06
I like that. I like that T shirt. We’re gonna get one of those.

Brian Smith 53:09
I’ll send you a link. So, Steven, I want to give some people time to ask questions. So okay, if you’re listening live, and you want to ask a question, type it into the chat. So go ahead and type the question in the chat. And we’ll we’ll take your questions as we kind of as we continue on here. But Steven, I want to tell people where they can view the film where they can find out more your, your website and all that kind of information. We’ll make sure we get that done before we start taking the questions.

Stephen Berkley 53:41
Sure. So right now, the film is still inside the film festival circuit. So I’m not allowed to just show it publicly. That’s why we’re doing the private screenings, which we just did with mamma met. Um, we’re going to be continuing doing private screenings, anybody who’s interested in having their own private screening, if they have, like, let’s say, you know, 1520 people in mind, at least, that they can do a private screening with, they would just go onto my website, which is living with ghosts And there is a tab for host just says host on it, you’ll find it. And you could sign up and register and asked me if you could host a screening. Other than that. I try to keep the screening the list of screenings posted on the website so people can find the next screening. But it won’t be it won’t be so easy to crash a private screening. So unfortunately, people are going to have to wait until either this field film festival circuit is over. Or they know or they get in touch with me they say how can I latch on to an infiltrate a private screening and I’ll give them I’ll give them the info.

Brian Smith 54:50
Okay. Okay. So right now just so that people understand who not in the film industry so I guess there’s a period of time when it’s going to film festivals and it’s not public. So book Can book private screenings, they can go to your site and book a private sprint screening or maybe contact you and maybe latch on to someone else doing one,

Stephen Berkley 55:07
they can either host their own private screening. Or they could ask, they could ask me to send them a link to where the next private screening is. And they could like join that one. So there’s going to be I don’t want to deprive anyone of seeing the film just because they want it to be in a film festival. But it’s going to be that way, probably at least until maybe the rest of this year, but maybe summer sometime, it’ll be out somewhere. Okay, I am trying to

Brian Smith 55:31
get out. Yeah. And the way that you and I connected is through a mutual friend who’s on today, who did a private screening and asked me to host the q&a for you. So we do have a first question. I’m not sure how to pronounce this person’s name less, sir. It’s Le S E. But she’s asking what is your vision of how this film can best influence people? What’s your ideal takeaway for someone doing the film?

Stephen Berkley 55:53
No, my ideal takeaway is what I said in the very initial moments of this interview, Brian, and that is that or I should read the question again, here. Make sure you get it right. Okay, so this is, let’s see. That’s how am I saying the name right? You think?

Brian Smith 56:07
I think it’s Lacey Lacey.

Stephen Berkley 56:13
No, that’s how I most want to interview influence people, LISI is to ease suffering. I don’t want people I love it, that people know that there’s other ways of grieving, besides just suffering and silence are suffering with a grief counselor, or just asking friends and neighbors to come by their house and visit them and give them food. There are things that people can do that if the if they’re if their minds are open enough, they can find real salvation in a big way that they probably didn’t even dream of before. It’s something that I didn’t dream up before I started making this film. So I’m hoping to inspire other people to open their minds in their hearts to an idea, which is that that we continue.

Brian Smith 57:05
Yeah, I could, I would just want to interject something personally, or for just a second. You know, I for me, I grew up with traditional religion, which just helps some people that say, oh, yeah, we do go on and we’ll see each other, you know, Sunday, somewhere, somehow. I ran across an organization we start talking about before we started recording, Stephen called helping parents heal, which very much uses this continuing bonds theory that our were parents who have lost children that our children are still with us. And not only did they still exist, but they are still here, we can still have a relationship with them. And I’m always, I always mentioned my daughter, Shana, because for people that are listening to not viewing it, this is my daughter behind me. And that’s a very intentional thing. That Shana is in the photo behind me because I feel like my daughter was still with me, and that my daughter passed away six and a half years ago, I never thought I would have another, quote, normal day for the rest of my life. And the only thing that’s really gotten me the point where I am now is, is the belief that she’s still here. And I’ve done enough research to know that it’s not just wishful thinking. Does anyone else have any other questions that like to ask, don’t be shy, just jump in and type your question into the chat. Because this is what you came here for us to to get a chance to talk with the the writer and the director of this film.

Stephen Berkley 58:30
So Brian, do you talk openly about the passing of your daughter in terms of the circumstances and the such sexual things you’ve had happen since that has helped you feel like she’s with you?

Brian Smith 58:42
Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. I believe it’s really important to share, I think it’s important to give people permission to believe as you said, I’m so heartbroken by your mother’s experience. And I want to say that end I want people to find, we call it their your tribe, you know, find a safe space to share these things. And my daughter communicates with me on a on a regular basis. Just yesterday, a couple days ago, there’s a game on the Internet called Wordle. Everybody’s playing this game called Wordle. Now, there’s one word a day you guessed the word, it’s five letter word and everybody plays it usually takes five or six guesses to get it. I have a friend She’s medium she can actually connect with my daughter all the time. She had never played this game before. So two days ago, she plays a game for the first time she asked my daughter what the word is. And she gets W A T. Er, I think she thought it was water. And that wasn’t the right word but the word started with wa T and it shows you which letters you get right second guess she guesses watch the word was watched so she gets it into gases she’s I was I didn’t hear Shana right the first time or something. So you might say okay, well, that’s a fluke. You know, that didn’t really happen. Whatever. Yesterday I forgot. Oh, I know what the word was yesterday. She plays a game for the second time ever. She has changed the word Word yesterday was today. She got it one guess. So that’s just what happened yesterday in her with with my daughter. So, yeah, there’s all kinds of communications and this is the thing you were talking about earlier. It’s a matter of being open to it, it’s a matter of inviting it. So. And that brings me to another question, I don’t think I got a chance to ask you. Where can people go to, to start learning about or maybe get a session for IADC?

Stephen Berkley 1:00:29
I can tell you at first, to answer your last question about where people can see it, I forgot to mention that the next private screening will be helping parents heal screening. And I believe they have a registration form on their website or on their Facebook site or somewhere on their mailing list. But that’s the next. That’s the next screening to get to get to. So if you can get that sign up, then you’re in in terms of learning about IADC. On the website, there’s the Resources tab. So living with ghosts, there’s a Resources tab. And there’s a directory there of all the ITC therapists, I think either worldwide, it’s either countrywide or worldwide. But they’re all in this directory. And they’re bought by by state or by country. So if you can look at that list, and just pick it, pick one that’s close to you, you can have your own IDC session. If they’re not near you, you could also have one use teletherapy. They have to be in your state. I mean, they’re all air all the IADC therapists are licensed by state. So the ID therapist has to be in your state where you live in order for them to administer the therapy. But you could do it, you could do teletherapy. And I was surprised to find out that this therapy works just as well. By zoom.

Brian Smith 1:01:52
Yeah, I’ve the therapy, or the work I’ve done has been by zoom I did. As I said, I did a life between lives in the past life regression. I did our rgt, which is repair reattachment, grief therapy, right? The woman that did with me, she she was in Connecticut, she’s in Vermont, and I’m in Ohio. So it’s great. Sue, as is IADC, something you can learn to do by your you can learn to do yourself. So this is

Stephen Berkley 1:02:19
not something that I think the founder would want me to talk about. But there’s one therapist who explained to me that once you know the way there, you really have the map, you can do it by yourself. And you might want to know, okay, how do I do bilateral stimulation by myself because this therapy involves bilateral stimulation. This is bilateral stimulation. So anybody who can do that couldn’t do bilateral stimulation. And but the core of the therapy and what makes this therapy different from EMDR. Because it looks very similar when you see it on the screen. What makes it different is that they’re not getting to the heart of the trauma, even though that’s a big part of it. They’re getting to the heart of the sadness. There’s one memory that people typically have. That is, I guess you call the tip of the iceberg. It’s that one memory that the bereaved person keeps on going back to. And it could be a moment of the person’s death. It could be something that happened that a situation that surrounded the person’s death, whatever it is, for Karen, the protagonist in the film, her horror was the feeling shortly after her husband died, that she was completely isolated. That when she was driving, and she saw people crossing an intersection in front of her at the light, they all look happy, and you were just going about their day. And that moment to her was that sheer horror? Why hasn’t the world stopped for them? And so it took 290 minutes sessions for her therapist, Graham, to get to the heart of that, that that was her. That was her heart. And by making asking her to focus on that event, experiencing that kind of isolation, while doing the bio while undergoing bilateral stimulation, she was able to kind of exercise that demon. Yeah. And she was able to kind of relieve herself to a great, great deal.

Brian Smith 1:04:24
Yeah, if I could just interject a little bit. There’s a couple things. There’s the trauma, which EMDR rgt I talked about can really help with the belief you’ve you’ve really got trauma, you’ve really got that that PTSD type of feeling. And then there’s the after death communication, which actually helps with that also. But there are a couple of different ways to do after after death communications, and there’s a guidance named Dr. Craig Hogan, that’s got a website that’s got guided after that communicates that you can do yourself again, that’s not gonna necessarily help with the trauma. So I’m not saying it’s a substitute for that. But there are guided meditations that you can do We’ve kind of put you into that state where you can start to have that connection with your loved one. And you might need the other stuff that’s more intense as well.

Stephen Berkley 1:05:09
Yeah. So by the way, in case your audience’s know, Craig Hogan co wrote, induced after death communication therapy along with Alan Botkin. So I know they had some kind of a philosophical parting of the ways I don’t they don’t work with each other any longer. But they’re, it’s good to see that they’re both doing well, in making their their services available to the public.

Brian Smith 1:05:35
Yeah, well, I happen to know, I know, Dr. Hogan is free, it doesn’t hurt to try to clip it on. But it’s not in this is I’m not a medical doctor, I have to always put that out there. So it’s not a substitute necessarily for for therapy, right. So that’s why EMDR has to be done by someone who’s licensed because that’s for people that are dealing with trauma, and it can bring up trauma that you need someone that’s licensed to be there with you. And the same with the RRG t that I’ve done. That’s that’s done by someone who’s a licensed professional. But if you’re just trying to connect with your loved one, you can do some of these meditations on your own. I’ve done them, they’re highly effective to get you into that state where you can have that that connection. Any other questions? If you do have any other questions, just go ahead and type in the chat. We’re coming up on an hour here. And I promised him we’d give would do this for about an hour or so. But when it gives me for you, Brian,

Stephen Berkley 1:06:27
sure. Can you tell me the first instance that you felt that your daughter was still with you? Wow. Um

Brian Smith 1:06:38
yeah, that’s a great question. So this is a little bit complicated. i It’s been studying the afterlife for quite a while because I had severe genetic phobia, severe fear of death. So I knew when my daughter passed away that she was still okay. I knew that she was still I, I was blessed. I didn’t have to worry about that. But I didn’t know about her being with me. Still, I thought she’s, you know, she’s in heaven or whatever. So I started working with helping parents heal. And the first time I guess I really, really felt I knew it. I walk every day, and I was out for a walk. And I was listening to music on my iPod and iPhone. And the music stopped just cut off for no reason. And so I started up again, few minutes later, it stopped again, I’m like, a Cazes Shana mess with me. So I was literally getting right across one of the streets coming back home. And I said, Shana, if this is you then make the music stop right now. And it stopped at that moment. And that’s when I was like, Okay, I think this is really her.

Stephen Berkley 1:07:31
That’s a good validation. That’s a strong one. Wow, that’s great. That’s great that you had that.

Brian Smith 1:07:36
So yeah, that and just there’s been so many other things, since I should write a book one day about all the signs that we’ve gotten from her. But yeah, and I encourage people, because I have so many people come to me and say, well, it’s just a sign. It’s just a communication. My lights and my bedroom are flashing. That’s one of the things she could do with ours. So we turn our ceiling fan on the bedroom. Sometimes with people, it’s the television flashing. Every every person on the inside seems to have a different thing that they’re really good at Shayna loved electronics. One day on my phone, my podcast, I was looking at my podcast, my phone, every single cover on my podcast was changed to Shane his picture. And I panicked. I’m like, how did this happen? I went to my my desktop computer. And it wasn’t that way. But it was only on my phone. And it was only that way for a little while and then they all went back to normal.

Stephen Berkley 1:08:27
That’s fantastic. I love that. Yes, that’s great.

Brian Smith 1:08:32
Donna says I just I just wanted to thank Stephen as I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the movie. And I communicate with my son who’s in spirit daily now. So she’s really appreciate your work. So Oh, that’s really nice. Thank you, Donna. She wanted to let you know that. So thank you. If no one else has any other questions. I’m going to let Stephen go. Now I want to thank you for doing this interview. Want to thank you for the private screening. Thank you for this film. I think it’s this is really important work. We need more of this out in the world to get that energy out to people to end suffering. I love that.

Stephen Berkley 1:09:07
Thank you. Can I ask you a question before we sign off? Absolutely. And we and we might have to talk about this off the air if that that makes sense. But because I made this movie, and because I’m doing a lot of these podcasts like we’re doing right now. It’s common, it’s dawned upon me that maybe at some point, I should have a podcast, because I’m getting all this traffic on my website and people want to talk to me. But I don’t know. How what what how did this how I would be distinguished. Like what this besides having a movie? What would I talk about that would be different from what anybody else is talking about?

Brian Smith 1:09:41
Oh, well, you could talk about your experience. People love to hear about your experiences. And I I understand there’s a lot of extras in the movie that didn’t actually make it into the film. You could do something like that. So yeah, we I’d be happy to talk to you about it offline about about how you can get started with that. All right, good. Thank you. Thanks. All right. Well, Stephen, thanks for being here. Everybody. Thanks for doing this experiment was doing this live to my listeners. I hope you enjoyed it and we’ll catch you later.

Stephen Berkley 1:10:09
It was a pleasure, Brian. Thank you.

Brian Smith 1:10:12
Don’t forget to like, hit that big red subscribe button and click the notify Bell. Thanks for being here.

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    1. We all have roles to play. Just because we know we will all die eventually, we still eat. We still enjoy the time we have here. We still take care of our bodies. As we go through the communication and the struggles, we grow.

      I don’t understand your question about tragedy and intervening with the living. But I never want to see another being suffer any more than necessary. I believe that even if tragedy is someone’s “karma”, it’s still my role to alleviate suffering as much as possible.