Extract from the Introduction to The Wisdom of the Soul

© Ian Lawton 2007

In the Preface we looked at the background to our proposal that interlife research could be developed in a more universal direction to tackle broader questions of spiritual, historical and philosophical importance. But had this really not been attempted before? Newton, Modi and Cannon had all obtained some more universal information, but it would appear that they had gleaned this from their subjects as a by-product of the personal interlife approach. By contrast, we intended to break new ground by deliberately utilizing the way in which subjects can apparently enter into interactive, real-time discussions with their elders. As a result it would be the latter who would act as the prime source of information if the technique worked, rather than the subjects themselves. This would be a significantly different approach, with the potential for gleaning high-quality, consistent and more reliable information. Moreover, all three of the aforementioned pioneers had provided only scant data about their protocols – especially concerning the precise number of subjects involved, and the methods used to compare, analyze and present their data – which appeared to leave significant scope for improvement.

The other issue we discussed was whether this type of research might not be rather like the trance ‘channeling’ of entities from other realms performed regularly by mediums and other psychics – which we accept as having some validity, although simultaneously recognizing that it often produces information that appears rather less than reliable. Given our anticipation that our questions would be answered not so much by the subject’s own higher soul-self but by their elders or similar, on the face of it we would be moving much more in this direction. But at the same time our research would be very different, for a number of reasons. First, we would be making the approach and setting the agenda – rather than our subjects merely acting as passive receptacles for whatever knowledge a supposedly higher source wanted to transmit. Second, our subjects would be chosen by Andy, and would not claim to have any special gifts or access to special channels of higher wisdom – they would be ordinary people with no pretensions, who happened to be best suited to enter the deeper states of trance required for this kind of work. Third, we would be obtaining information from multiple subjects and comparing them for consistency, not relying on one particular source of channeled material which could, even if broadly genuine, be highly subjectively influenced. And fourth, our interlife-based approach would involve subjects making contact with highly evolved souls that by definition must reside in the light realms – and everything we have learnt from interlife research suggests that such souls do not deliberately mislead or play tricks. So arguably it would be reasonable to assume that any information coming from them would be rather more reliable than that coming from traditional channeling entities, with their sometimes dubious claims as to who they are and in what plane they reside.

The only research that might be regarded as coming close to this approach is that of the Frenchman Léon Rivail, who went under the pseudonym of Allan Kardec. As far back as the middle of the nineteenth century he assembled a multitude of fascinating material from a variety of channeled sources, publishing it in The Spirits’ Book in 1857. However again his real sources, protocols and so on remain entirely unclear.

So it was that we came to the conclusion that we would be breaking substantially new ground if we undertook a properly planned and documented research program along these lines, which might provide us with reasonably reliable information of profound importance. So Andy began to identify suitable subjects, usually on the basis that he had worked with them successfully before. We refer to them using assumed first names only, to protect their anonymity, but their age, sex and country of residence are profiled in Appendix I. Meanwhile I produced a draft set of questions, concentrating on the following four areas that form the main chapter headings:

• unusual soul behavior

• soul development

• humanity’s past and future

• reality and time

We spent a short time honing these to our mutual satisfaction, resulting in a final list of 21 primary and 50 secondary – or follow-up – questions, as shown in full in Appendix II, and then the research sessions began.