Soul-Centered Healing is an extremely important book. It shows the way, as never before, to a working understanding of the spiritual mechanics of mind. It does this clearly and directly, and it tells in detail, how advice from a channelled spirit guide, repeatedly tested in the consulting room, was used to resolve complex psychological problems. With this publication, Thomas Zinser takes a giant stride, towards the new paradigm for which so many are longing. I believe Soul-Centered Healing is worthy to rank with De Motu Cordis and The Principia as a beacon in the history of profound (and useful!) ideas.
Thomas Zinser had no thoughts of soul when, in 1983, he resigned from his post as staff psychologist at a private mental hospital to set up in psychotherapeutic practice. In this enthralling, beautifully written book, Zinser describes his Odessey. It begins with his early experiences working with multiple personality disorder and concludes, 25 years later, with the final homecoming, as a confident, many-faceted therapist, with a conviction in the primacy of spirit in the human physical experience. To his homecoming Zinser brings a carefully-woven tapestry, with a picture of coherence and power, such as no psychologist has previously provided. It is a soul tapestry and it carries great implications, not only for psychotherapy and the understanding of personality, but for the spiritual dynamics of the cosmos.
How did it happen? I almost put, “By Divine intervention.” Surely it was not by chance. There could have been no book without Gerod, the genie of the story.
Soul-Centered Healing has three parts:
1. To the Boundary of Spirit.
2. Healing the Inner World.
3. Soul Dimensions.
In Part 1, “The Boundary of Spirit,” Zinser starts, as do many contemporary therapists, seeking to find the historical causes of his clients’ problems and to rescue them from the persisting effects. But a case of multiple personality soon has him in difficulty. With therapy for only two hours a week, progress is slow. However, there is plenty of time for study. From the burgeoning shelves of metaphysical publications in the public library he gathers books on near-death experiences, astral travel, mediumship, precognition, psychokinesis, past lives, spirit attachment and more. Reading so many impressively documented accounts of paranormal experiences, Zinser had to acknowledge the overwhelming case for the manifestation of spiritual phenomena. His eyes had been opened to the spiritual dimension. This was an important step on his journey.
Zinser reads voraciously and immerses himself in the subject of multiple personality. At a conference in 1985 he learns, from John and Helen Watkins, about ego states, the sub-personalities that, it seems, we all have, though to a less marked degree than do cases of multiple personality. Here is the example, par excellence, to confirm William James’ dictum that the study of extreme manifestations can illuminate the mechanism of less striking conditions. Zinser enhances his treatment technique by the use of hypnosis, and he learns the value of ideomotor signalling, which enables two-way communication with ego states. Ego state therapy becomes the mainspring of his therapeutic approach. He is constantly learning new things, coming across unexplained phenomena, as when, working with another multiple personality client, Diane, who had suffered satanic ritual abuse, he finds himself speaking to the Daughter of Darkness. This alter starts to talk about robed figures in the cult when, suddenly, she is displaced by another being. A deep, menacing voice, says they can go no further. That is all. The session ends.
Despite the growth in his therapeutic skills, Zinser was often frustrated by blocks which obstructed progress. It was then that an unexpected door opened. A secretary in his office asked if he would like to speak to a spirit being whom she channelled through automatic writing. They met on August 1, 1987. Zinser posed a number of questions about clinical problems, such as why he had reached an impasse with a client named Jim. Gerod replied, “Jim is possessed by a low-level spirit trying to adhere to the earth. You can instruct Jim on ways to strengthen his soul and tell Jim he must ask this spirit to leave him. He is a good person growing well but he is not fully aware of his potential life with spirit guides, hence his confusion.” He added, “Discarnate personalities are usually inhabitants of the spirit levels. Your work with your patients has opened up an area I believe has not been too well explored, as you may know. People with souls attract to themselves discarnates. Gerod is a discarnate but there are many of us, and many of us are not able to successfully function as guides. Unfortunately, these spirits become excess baggage for some earth-existing people.” Of himself Gerod added, “I have not been an earth dweller but have great interest and love for the loving natures of earth-experience persons and so have elected to be a teaching guide to you there. I am not good at fortune telling, table rapping or the Michigan lottery.”
Zinser found that Jim did indeed have an attached spirit and was benefitted by its removal. In further meetings he learned that Gerod had access to his clients’ inner worlds and could clarify the cause of difficulties and how best to resolve them. This proved to be an immense source of help and new learning. Over the course of 14 years, Zinser and Gerod were to meet 650 times. Soon they were communicating in speech, which led to a much faster and freer interchange. Zinser consulted Gerod on most of his clients and constantly checked his predictions, which he found to be reliable. Gerod gave much information on ego states and on attaching spirits.
Zinser comments, at this stage: “When I first made contact with an earthbound spirit in my work with Jim D., I was not aware of the consequences this would have for me personally or professionally. I viewed these spirits at first in a very limited way – as intruders, as someone or something to be exorcised from my client and sent back across the line. I assumed I could deal with spirits without having to cross that line myself. I had thought of it as these spirits stepping into our world. I did not realize that making contact with spirits would mean that I was stepping into their world as well.
“Reading The Unquiet Dead, starting a verbal dialogue with Gerod, and recognising that there were many realms of spirits, triggered an explosion of information and clinical activity. Everything began to speed up. There were more talks. More questions. More clients. More issues. Somewhere in that quickening time I said yes to this larger reality. This was not an intellectual yes. That had already happened before I met Gerod. This was a deeper realization, a knowing - a certainty – that these spirit dimensions were real, and that each of us is an incarnate soul.
“This did not mean that I understood it all or grasped the big picture. Quite the opposite, these dimensions were just opening up to me. What I knew for certain at this point, however, was that there was a big picture. I began to view my clients now as souls, and with each one I began to consider whether psychic and spirit level issues were involved in their presenting problems or difficulties.”
In Part 2, “Healing the Inner World”, focuses on the individual and the inner world of ego states and the beneficial forces available for working with them.
Zinser writes: “Gerod’s information about these clients and the different sources of blocking revealed within each client a dynamic and complex inner world. Ego states were still a primary focus of healing, but Gerod’s view of these parts of the self was a radically different understanding than my own. I also learned from Gerod about the protective part of the mind and the higher self, one a significant source of blocking and the other a direct connection to the Divine. Each came to play a significant role in the healing process of ego states. It took thousands of client sessions and hundreds of talks with Gerod to identify these parts of the self, establish a common language and understanding about them and learn how to incorporate them into the healing process.”
Gerod indicated that the higher self was the perceiving part of the soul with which Zinser could communicate through finger signalling and sometimes in speech. The higher self had great influence on the many unconscious processes and entities with which Zinser found himself working. This was a major break-through, for it facilitated many procedures essential to effective therapy. Ego states were not in fact psychological states, as had been generally supposed, but functioned as real beings, no less real than other parts of the soul. They live in worlds which are as real to them as our physical world is to us. Relating to them in this way makes contact far more meaningful and effective.
In Part 3, “Soul Dimensions,” we enter the realms and phenomena beyond the ego and its sense perception. These include past lives, attachment or intrusion by spirits and the primal forces of Darkness and Light. Zinser had learned to work with ego states and attached spirit entities, but had held back from past life work. However, Gerod frequently mentioned past lives as a source of problems with particular clients. For instance, “Celia needs to know that this life is not her pain; her past life is her pain, and she must heal herself now or go on forever so long unfulfilled in not knowing love or peace…”
Gerod talked about past life memories as though they were personalities or beings, just as he talked about ego states. Zinser confirmed the value of this approach in his work with clients and he cites telling examples. He also found that past life ego states were often part of a group which included ego states from the present life.
Discussion with Gerod led into consideration of karma. In reply to why ego state problems were not resolved at physical death, when they entered the Light, Gerod replied that unresolved ego states moved into a karmic layer, which was shielded from the Light.
Of this, Gerod said: “The karmic layer becomes the soul’s resource for choosing experience. It’s like looking into that level, isolating particular trails of energy and choosing to follow it to resolve it.” As the soul re-enters the physical reality, it will trigger the opening of this layer.
The subject of evil was much discussed by Zinser and Gerod. Gerod’s view, from the soul perspective, was that evil manifests when one soul intentionally violates the free will of another soul, whether that is occurring between souls at a physical level, a spiritual level or across dimensions. Evil had clinical importance for Zinser because evil spirits were not uncommon in his clients. Unlike earthbound spirits, they wanted nothing to do with the Light or receiving help from spirit guides. When identified, they would refuse to cooperate, and they consistently refused to leave the client or cease their harassment.
In regard to one client, Gerod said of her: “These spirits are evil but they are not that powerful. They are working their way, so to speak, to the higher, (or lower perhaps I should say) levels of capability. Command that those spirits leave by the will of the Creator, Who created all, Who is the Light and Who created them… They will be conniving and protesting but they will go, for ultimately the will does have the choice and the choice for God’s love and freedom to prevail.”
While following Gerod’s advice in this respect was sometimes successful, there were many failures. For a better understanding of the situation, Zinser asked three questions: (1) What do evil spirits need? (2) How do they gain access to incarnate human souls? (3) How can they be forced to leave? Lengthy discussion with Gerod and clinical experience provided answers.
Dark souls, despite their alienation from the Light, still need energy, Zinser learned. To obtain this they must steal Light energy from incarnate humans, by subtle means. This is done by agreement, usually at an unconscious level, through an ego state. The dark soul offers some perceived advantage, such as power over another soul or situation or freedom from fear. Since only one part of the invaded soul is involved in the agreement, it is invalid. However, the ego state is unaware of this escape route and must be told. Help from the higher self is often needed at this stage, since it has the ability to identify the involved ego state and help it to negate the agreement. The dark soul realises that the game is up and withdraws.
The distinction that Gerod made between darkness and evil, was for Zinser one of his most significant teachings. According to Gerod, Darkness is a primal energy and force, operating, like Light, at every level of reality. Evil spirits dwell in darkness, but spirits are not the darkness itself, which, in essence is neither good nor evil, but an unformed source of opportunity and change. Darkness, equivalent to Jung’s ‘shadow’ often had a direct influence in the human soul. Gerod spoke of darkness or the ‘dark spot’, a dark place which clients might experience in cycles.
“They will attract the spirits of darkness because in the dark place there is despair, there is sadness, there is depression and there is weakening of the will to move into the Light, and that is where the forces of evil can move into that darkness. But it is most definitely a purposeful place because it is that impetus for growth.”
Gerod suggested a way for Zinser to address these clinical questions directly. He said that a person’s higher self could locate the dark spot and see into it. Zinser, for several years, carried out an investigation into this phenomenon and confirmed that it does exist and that a person does cycle through it periodically. He found that ego states may live there and can usefully be reached and helped to receive the Light.
Gerod also spoke about the Darkness and the Light as a cosmic contest, in mythic terms. But the human soul is the centre piece of this book. Its multiplicity through repeated incarnations, within the ordered turmoil of the universe, observed by its watchful parent, the higher self, is the drama in which we all participate, so tremendously.
Skeptics of course will dismiss this book and its findings. But skeptics will remain for as long as current scientific and religious paradigms stand. What are the implications of Soul-Centered Healing for the treatment of emotional disorder and the vast field of mental illness? That is one of the many questions that crowd around us clamouring for answers. What is needed now is for those of us who work in the field to test it out.
What more can be said? Quite simply, “Read it.” Read it for the well told story. Read it for the joy of being present as two souls, one on each side of the Great Divide, discuss the wonders of the soul, as it breathes the Darkness and Light of the universe. Read it for the excitement of holding an unfolding piece of history in your hands.
Alan Sanderson 30.9.11