Awakening from Spirit Possession Part II – Woody Carter

This is the concluding part of this mini-series on how Woody Carter’s possession experience inspired his novel, Narada’s Children: A Visionary Tale of Two Cities. For the first part, click here.

I sat in Nana’s chair overwhelmed by what I had experienced and being released from spirit possession, until I had an epiphany: What’s to stop this thing from re-entering my body like returning to wear, again, a comfortable pair of leather gloves? And why was I not aware of this thing inside me? How did I become its victim? It then occurred to me that I had to strengthen my inner life to ward-off any possible recurrence of spirit possession. I had to learn how to meditate. Little did I know at the time that embracing such a practice would also transform my life.

Narada's Children coverMy work as a writer continues to be informed by this life-altering experience. This event was certainly seminal in writing my first novel, Narada’s Children: A Visionary Tale of Two Cities. Perhaps, I could have approached the development of the work as a memoir, but who would have taken such a biographical narrative, seriously? Narada’s Children seemed to write itself. And as the writing progressed, I was often reminded of a fleeting yet recurring revelation that my bout with spirit possession was my Guru’s (a spiritual master whom I’ve never met, and who passed away when I was only eight years old) doing. This traumatic occurrence was my teacher’s way of returning me to a spiritual path that I had embraced long ago in a past life . . . in … Continue reading

Awakening from Spirit Possession Part I – Woody Carter

Child meditatingMindfulness meditation is all the rage, now. It’s promoted in public schools nationwide, and in colleges and universities. In a Huffington Post blog, Candy Gunter Brown, PhD, argues that public education has gotten around the U.S. Supreme Court ruling prohibiting religion in public institutions by replacing the terms “meditation” and “Buddhism” with words like “neuroscience” and “scientific research.” In fact, she continues “western culture has secularized this centuries-old religions practice.”

It should be said however that Buddhism, while it may be viewed as a religion – defined as a community of core convictions or beliefs, it is not a God-centered one. Buddha’s teachings did not address the question of whether there is a deity or not, since he viewed the question as unanswerable. God, from his point of view, is unknowable. So there is no evidence that Buddha answered this question as to the existence of God. Buddhism, therefore, is more accurately described as an ancient human development system passed down from the Buddha who lived and taught between the sixth and fourth centuries BC, over some 2,500 years ago.

The problem, however, of whether there is a God or not gets quickly turned on its head and needs to be revisited when one experiences possession by a malevolent spirit. How can one describe it? It’s like suddenly waking up to learn that you’ve been in a bad car accident, or discovering to your horror and dismay, that one of your legs has been amputated without your knowledge and without your consent. Your sense of self and reality is abruptly altered forever, even before physical pain sets in. And … Continue reading

Harold Ramis: A Comedic Visionary Crosses Over

By Eleni Papanou

March 3, 2014

Ghostbusters-3-project-to-continue-without-Harold-Ramis

“When I was twelve, I read the line, ‘An unexamined life is not worth living.’ I took it seriously to heart. And literally. Like it was a requirement in life, akin to the Buddha’s suggestion that we maintain ‘sufficiently inquiring minds.’” Harold Ramis interview in Shambhala Sun

When Harold Ramis passed away February 24, 2014, the world lost a visionary actor, director, and writer. “Was honored to have gotten to work with Harold Ramis, the Buddha of Comedy, Brilliant, humble, radiant. We’ve lost an icon,” actor Rainn Wilson tweeted.

As a child, I laughed when I watched him in Ghostbusters, never thinking that he was more than a funny guy playing a nerd. But now I view him as much more. Although he wasn’t a Buddhist, Ramis’s movie, Groundhog Day, of which he directed and co-wrote, became an “underground Buddhist classic” (Shambhala Sun, 2009). The plot is simple: Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connor, cycles through the same day until he sees the errors of his ways and evolves.

Harold Ramis intended for the movie to be non-denominational and was taken aback by the reaction given to the film. “It always seemed ironic to me that it [Groundhog Day] didn’t lead people to recognize the commonality of all their points of view, but rather, ‘This must be about us and only us.’” He said in response to observing various religious sects’ views toward the movie.

I think Ramis was being a little too critical. As Visionary fiction authors, we seek commonality by writing dogma-free … Continue reading