Wayne Dyer

Heaven Talks Back
An Interview with James Van Praagh

by Randy Peyser


     When eight-year-old James Van Praagh asked for evidence that God existed, he was little prepared for the response he received. “I actually saw a hand materialize through the ceiling of my bedroom,” says James. The bestselling author of  Talking to Heaven, a book which details his communications with those who have died, James has recently been featured on TV shows such as Oprah, the Larry King Show, the Roseanne Barr Show, the Howie Mandel Show and Hard Copy. In his latest book, Reaching To Heaven: A Spiritual Journey Through Life and Death, James describes a soul's journey through heaven, and eventually, its re-entry into a new life on earth. In less than it’s first month of release, Reaching to Heaven has also become a best seller.

Randy Peyser: How did you become a medium? 

James Van Praagh: A medium named Brian Hurst predicted I’d be a medium. I didn’t know anything about mediumship. I was a skeptic. But two years later, I was talking with a girl on the phone and I got a very strong sensation. “There’s a lady here. She’s like a grandmother. She’s from Idaho.” That’s where her grandmother had lived.  Other details came through. The grandmother talked about a rose petal footstool, which the girl confirmed her grandmother had made. That was the first communication, the first example of evidential proof. I was twenty-four. 

At a certain point in my development I realized I had to sit in meditation, which I did once a week for several years. In that time, spirit people developed my sensitivity. I would get impressions. I received these sensations, these feelings of a motherly or fatherly feeling, or a grandmother or grandfather.  

RP: How do spirit people communicate with you?

JVP: It’s all done mentally. When they come in, they have to slow down their mental thought to the earth vibration, the earth mindset if you will. Many of them send feelings, which come through easily, as well as little tidbits of information. For example, they’ll come through with names, or what the person was doing—simple things so the person knows it’s them. They can only send simple thoughts because it’s so hard for them to send complex thoughts. 

The spirit world is much more complex than our physical world. They are on another dimension, and the laws that guide that dimension are very different than ours. In the physical world with our physical limitations, we can’t comprehend certain things from the spiritual dimensions, so spirit will only come through with bits and pieces of thoughts that we can relate to. I can hear them all the time, but it’s not like we hear each other on the earth. It’s more like blips and bleeps and fragments of thoughts and words. 

I asked them to please give me some kind of system so I would be able to correctly reveal who was communicating with me. It’s not 100%. For example, I can’t say whether it’s a mother or a motherly feeling. It could be a mother or a sister. 

RP: How do you feel when you are transmitting information from a spirit person to their loved one? 

JVP: It depends on the spirit who is communicating. I pick up a lot of their personality traits as well as their emotional state. Generally speaking, I feel a sense of quickness in my body like I’ve had several cups of coffee. It has to be this way. Being a medium and going in between the spirit and physical world, I’m trying to pick up a faster vibration. 

After a reading, many times I will feel tired because they use my energy to come through. Sometimes I can feel drained afterwards, depending on how capable the spirit is at communication. If they’re having a hard time at communication, in other words, they’re not aware of how to communicate, they will pull more energy from me. If it’s someone who’s aware of how to do it and they’re not too draining or pulling from me, then I feel better afterwards.

RP: Have you ever communicated with someone who was dying and then continued to communicate with them after they crossed over?

JVP: Yes. A lady came to me and said her mother had cancer. She wanted her mother to have a reading with me to help alleviate her anxiety about passing over. She was a wonderful woman with a great sense of humor. In the reading, three of her five former husbands came through. (Four had passed over). 

In particular, her second husband Bob, came through very strongly. He was a firm non-believer in this sort of thing when he was alive, yet he assured her that he was going to come and welcome her when it was her time. He also said he was tickling the bottom of her feet, and she said, “Yes, I feel that.” He mentioned his cufflinks which had the initial “B” on them. She still had them. After that reading, she was quite changed. The reading alleviated a lot of her anxiety.

About seven months later, I had a call from her daughter. The mother had passed over two months after the reading. Now the daughter wanted a reading. So we arranged that. Her mother came through and she was extremely happy. 

It was exciting to feel the difference in the mother’s energy since she’d made her transition. This is how I would describe it: when this lady was on the physical earth, she was like a 25 watt lightbulb. But when she came through in spirit, she was more like 150 watts. She was much more alive. And not just because she was ill before. Her personality was so much stronger.

She said, “It was better than you even told me. It was easy. It wasn’t hard. There’s nothing to be afraid of.” 

She saw old friends. She made jokes about how all of her husbands were fighting over her. Being able to experience that was one of the nicest times I’ve had in my career as a medium.

RP: Do we retain all of our memories when we’re in spirit form or just some of them?
JVP: Remember your sophomore year in high school? What memories do you have about that? When they describe their earth memories, the people who’ve passed over the most recently are able to do it very well, because the memory is still close to them and the ties to the earth are still strong. People who have passed over, for example, between two and five years come through with incredible details. I find that the more emotionally they’re tied to a person on the earth, the stronger the memories come through. 

When they come through, they’ll say things that happened a long time ago, little bits and pieces of memories that happened here and there. It’s different with each spirit who communicates of course. As we on the earth communicate differently, so do they in spirit. Their personalities are all different. You also have to remember, they’re not in the time set of the earth. It’s hard to ask someone on the earth what they did two days ago, let alone a spirit when they were alive on the earth. It’s difficult because they’re outside of time. It doesn’t pertain to them. 

When you pass over, there seems to be an expansion of consciousness. The earth mind is a very small part of that consciousness. It’s kind of like [the analogy that] before you were the tree, and now you’re the whole valley. Then you’re trying to go back to the tree to describe it. The laws of the physical world are not relative to where they are now in the spiritual dimension. 

RP: Can you describe heaven?

JVP: There are different levels of heaven. But heaven is made up of all of the desires we’ve ever wanted. Anything we’ve created in our minds, we will see. When we pass on, we also have a life review and we feel all the good and bad we’ve done. We relive our thoughts and actions. We see how we’ve treated someone and feel how they felt. That can be hell for one and heaven for another.

There’s the story about a very wealthy man who dies and goes to heaven. The man had millions of dollars, but he always spent it on himself and the possessions of the physical world. Saint Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates and brings him to a neighborhood full of shacks. 

The man says, “Well, where’s my house?” 

Peter points to a little hovel. 

“Wait a minute!” shouts the man. That’s not where I belong. I was a millionaire.” 

Peter replies, “Well, this was made with the products you sent us.” 

In other words, “The seeds that you sow, so shall you reap.” If you’ve lived a good, decent life, you’ll have a pretty nice environment around you. Physically, it’s beautiful, green fields or gardens, flowers, beautiful houses...

Like the Beatles said, “the love you make is the love you take.” We create that environment, that wonderful world, or that horrific world. It’s all based on how we treat one another, and the thoughts we have.

RP: How long do we have between lives?

JVP: They tell me that the average time is two hundred years. But again, that’s from an earth mind. If a soul needs to have an experience and the best opportunity for them is before two hundred years, then they will.

Also I’ve found that people who’s lives are cut short tend to come back much earlier. There are also those who wait way beyond two hundred years, and might come back eight hundred years later. It’s all different depending on the evolution of that soul and the experiences that soul needs.

RP: What is that process like when we want to return to earth?

JVP: When it’s time to come back to earth, we meet with our etheric council. We go over the patterns of our soul, things we have to learn and what the process is like to come back through the physical world. We learn how to create a physical body. As spirit, we hang around the mother for many months before our birth, influencing her to eat right or to take care of herself. 

RP: What’s the most important message you want to get out to people? 

JVP: There are two. First, we have to start remembering who we are. We are God; we are the Divine. We have the divine light within ourselves. We need to start getting in touch with that side of ourselves. We can accomplish anything in life we’ve always wanted to. Anything we want, we can do, because we are God. We are part of God, and God says, “Yes.” But we — the ego — say, “No.” We limit ourselves. I would like people to start tuning into that divine self. 

Once you realize there is no such thing as death, your whole life will open up. Fear is alleviated, the chains are taken off.  You can start living your life to its fullest, knowing that you have to be responsible for your thoughts, your words and your actions. If you start living your life that way, you’ll have a very fulfilled life.

The spirit people really want the people on this side to know that they’re loved. When people pass over, one of the first things that comes with their expansion of consciousness is an awareness and strength of the love inside of themselves. They realize, “Gee, if I had only known how much love was inside myself while I was on earth, my life would have been so much more fulfilled. 

Love is so powerful. We deny ourselves love. We so often play victims on this earth. We let other people manipulate us because we want them to love us. We’ll do whatever we can to get their love. If we can take it from the position that we are love, we won’t come from a deficit. 

RP: How can others develop their ability to communicate with deceased love ones?

JVP: I help people to recognize their own ability. Most people do not think they’re psychic. They think they don’t have intuition. But every single person is born with intuition, it’s just a matter of degree. Some people have a stronger sense of intuition then others. But we all can develop it to the best we can. I teach people how they can take the responsibility to start developing their own sensitivity. I find it’s very important, not necessarily to become a medium, but to get in touch with our inner selves, our inner world. At the beginning of my classes I always say, “We’re going to learn how to tune out the outside world and tune into the inner world, to go inside.” It’s a matter of opening up, starting to trust and to listen to that inner world. 

If you want a message, before you go to sleep, ask Spirit to come through in your dream and give you a sign. Many times you’ll have a vision and know it’s not a dream; it’s more than a dream.

You know, a lot of people think metaphysics is so “woo-woo.” I’m not “woo-woo.” I’m very grounded, very down-to-earth. And the way I present this material is in a very simple way so every single person can relate to it, from the guy in a factory, to someone on a dairy farm, to a mother sitting in Idaho. It doesn’t matter whether a person has or doesn’t have a religious, spiritual or non-spiritual backround. I say things that every single person can relate to because the Truth is simple. And it always should be. It’s not “woo-woo.” It’s not “out there.” It’s inside. And the Truth is Love. Love is it. And that’s what it comes down to.

You can visit James Van Praagh’s web site at: www.vanpraagh.com.

As an added service, this author's books and tapes are available to you at a significant discount.


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