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I had the pleasure of sitting down with James Van Praagh last month to talk with him about life, death, mediumship and the state of our world today. James has brought a mind-full awareness to the subject of “communication with the dead” into the public psyche for the past thirty years. James is known as a “survival evidence medium,” meaning that he provides evidential proof of life after death via detailed messages from the spiritual realms. I’ve also been lucky enough to attend one of his live events and it was absolutely amazing to see him in action.

He’ll be at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield Connecticut on May 17th for an Evening of Spirit Messages that you won’t want to miss!

DH: I think there is a lot of confusion between the terms medium and psychic – can you help clarify that for me?

JVP: That is one of the most common questions I am asked! The term “psychic” is often used as a catchall phrase for anyone who works in the paranormal. We know what our five senses are – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. But we have another sense that is equally as real as the other five. Often referred to as our sixth sense, psychic ability, or our intuition, is the gut feeling or hunch you have that you cannot logically explain. Everyone is psychic to some degree or another, but not everyone is a medium.

A medium is a psychic who has fine-tuned his or her extrasensory perception and can interface with the spirits in other dimensions. They are able to feel and/or hear thoughts, voices or mental impressions from the spirit world. A medium is able to become completely receptive to the higher frequency or energies on which spirit people vibrate.

Mediumship is much more involved than psychicism because a medium is opening him/herself to a discarnate energy. Mediumship itself can be broken down into two distinct categories. The first and most common type is mental mediumship, which is how I work with my abilities. I communicate with spirits while fully conscious. As the word mental denotes, this form of mediumship utilizes the mind – the intuitive mind, not the rational or logical part. This type of mental mediumship falls into several distinct types which are described as:

Clairsentience – (clear feeling) Perceive information by way of strong, emphatic feelings and emotions from spirit.

Clairvoyant – (clear vision) See with the mind’s eye objects, colors, symbols, people, spirits or scenes. These pictures are not visible to the naked eye and usually flash into the medium’s mind.

Clairaudient – (clear hearing) Perceive sounds or words from sources broadcasting from a spiritual realm.

Clairempathy – (clear emotion) Sense or “feel” within one’s self the attitude or emotions of another person.

Clairtangency – (clear touching) This ability is commonly known as Psychometry. By holding an object or touching an area you perceive information about the article or its owner or history through the palms of your hands.

In my work I most often utilize the abilities of clairsentience and clairvoyance. In order to attune to the thoughts and feelings of spirit, I raise my vibrations higher through meditation and, in turn, spirit has to lower its vibrations somewhat.

The second type of mediumship is physical mediumship and it differs from mental mediumship. In physical mediumship the actually physical body is used to get information from spirit. In mental mediumship only the mind of the medium is utilized. Channeling is a well-known form of physical mediumship.

DH: I think that’s a great explanation and helps to differentiate between the two terms. I think people are always surprised to learn that everyone has the ability to be psychic and even develop mediumship talents. When did you first experience this for yourself?

JVP: Yes, everyone has these abilities, but many people have closed themselves off to developing them. I try to educate people how to open themselves through meditation and raising their consciousness so the spirit world can communicate with them. Many people are fearful and operating from a very low vibration which makes it impossible for spirit to make a connection.

At my live events, my main goal is to make the experience as comfortable and open as possible because the energy of the audience affects the conditions. I add humor and try to make it fun for attendees so they will relax and just allow events to unfold. As a spiritual teacher, my ultimate goal is to have each individual leave my event as a changed person who now looks at the world and relationships from a place of love and not fear.

A man started appearing to me in the corner of my bedroom when I was 3-years-old. I later found out that this was my grandfather who died before I was born. At 6-years-old I had a vision, while in my first grade class, that my teacher’s son was hit by a car. I ran up to her and told her and she smiled and told me to return to my seat. Within 5 minutes, the teacher was called out of the class by the principal who told her that her son was involved in a car accident but that he was going to be ok. I became very upset because I initially thought that I had caused the accident by seeing this vision, but my teacher (who was obviously very conscious and open) said, “No James, you did not cause the accident. You have a gift and you will help many people.”

As I got older, in my early twenties, I went to a medium in Manhattan Beach who told me that I would become a medium as well and that the spirit world was going to be reaching out to me and using me in a few years. Sure enough I started seeing and communicating with the deceased two years to the day after I saw that medium.

DH: What an amazing story! I’ve always wondered if our soul chooses when we will be born, when we will die and what we come here to accomplish – and who we choose to have relationships with?

JVP: Definitely! However, there is such a thing as free will. This means that even though you have a “soul blueprint” – which is the choices the soul makes before it incarnates – you can make different decisions and choices once you’re here on Earth. I believe that the soul makes choices to continue its learning and evolvement – you come here to have all kinds of experiences. For example, in one lifetime you may choose to be a mother, in the next you may choose not to have children. In another lifetime you may choose to die young and in the next, live a very long life. You want to experience the opposite of the last lifetime so that you continue to grow and evolve.

But the ultimate learning is to learn to live a life based on love and not fear. There is so much fear in the world today – fear instilled from our parents, from society, from cultures and people that we don’t understand – fear of the unknown. We will never solve our world’s problems coming from a place of fear and hate. The two biggest illusions are that we are all separate from one another and that we die. The truth is that we are all the same – we are all one. The soul never dies, it just takes on a different form of consciousness. And ultimately, the one thing we are here to do is to love.

Submitted by Dr. Diane Hayden.

Internationally renowned #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen spiritual classics and his latest release, Wisdom From Your Spirit Guides; James Van Praagh is hailed throughout the world as a pioneer of the mediumship movement, and recognized as one of the most accurate spiritual mediums working today. His messages have brought solace, peace and spiritual insights, changing millions view of both life and death. James has appeared on virtually every national radio and television show including OPRAH, LARRY KING LIVE, DR. PHIL, THE VIEW, COAST TO COAST and many more. James recently launched The James Van Praagh School of Mystical Arts, an online school offering multimedia courses on subjects ranging from meditation to mediumship. For information about The James Van Praagh School of Mystical Arts go to: www.jvpschoolofmysticalarts.com. He also shares insights and messages from the Spirit realm through his website and blog at: http://www.vanpraagh.com and via social media.