© 1997, Dennis Gersten, M.D. Excerpted with permission from ARE YOU GETTING ENLIGHTENED OR LOSING YOUR MIND? A Spiritual Program for Mental Fitness (Harmony, a Division of Crown Books, May 1997) This excerpt may not be reprinted without written permission from Harmony Books.

Samantha had not always been joyous. Her mother suffered from manic-depressive illness, and kept Samantha's younger brother locked in a room with the windows painted black so that he wouldn't know if it was day or night. Eventually, her mother murdered Samantha's father, for which she was put in a psychiatric hospital. Samantha had every reason to be as psychotic as her mother . . . but she wasn't.

Samantha traces the reason for her happiness and mental stability to something that happened one day when she was fourteen. The agony of her homelife had brought her to the edge of suicide. She could find no point in living. An inexplicable urge tugged at her to leave the house before killing herself . . . and guided her to sit on the front lawn. Suddenly Samantha felt immersed in a state of complete bliss and extraordinary peace, as if she were one with all of nature. She knew with certainty that there was a reason and a purpose to her life, a God without a name, a loving force that chose to remain anonymous, but completely and instantly pulled her out of her suicidal state of mind and gave her the joy that has been a part of her nature ever since.

Pamela, another patient of mine, was hospitalized after making a very serious suicide attempt. One evening one of the nurses in the hospital called me and said, "Pam is hallucinating. She claims to be seeing auras around us." I replied, "She probably is! Don't give her any more medication." Pamela had other experiences that fell beyond the traditional reach of psychiatry. Immediately after her mother died Pamela became terrified by a "huge, dark, menacing, terrifying force or being" that was trying to break through the windows of her bedroom. Her windows were violently shaking and Pamela feared that her mother, with whom she had been on very bad terms, had come back to menace, harm, or haunt her. The meaning Pamela gives this experience would be strange and perhaps totally unbelievable, except that that same night, Pamela's brother, who lived in another city, had the identical experience. Perhaps Pamela's mother's spirit needed to get in one more good last scare before moving on to a more peaceful afterlife...              Please Read Medical Disclaimer

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