I am continuing to read Dr. Gary Schwartz's "Sacred Promise" and will probably have to go back over it to see if his evidence rises to the level of proof... But I'm enjoying the book because I largely already agree with what he is saying.
Despite being a lifelong student of the paranormal, with a degree from a locally well-known Church Of Christ university, plus a stint in my teens as a youthful "preacher," I really haven't believed in a spirit world until fairly recently; I believed in it theoretically; but not as a reality. For most of us, "spirit" is too intangible and remote from our daily physical grind to be of much use.
I remember a discussion I had years ago with a dear friend when we were both starving grad students. I think I was talking about how I always managed to have enough money to pay rent ($75 a month) and buy some food, plus have some left over to get beer at the local market. He startled me by saying, "See? God is taking care of you." My thoughts at the time were, "Why would God bother to take care of me when there are four billion other people who need taking care of also?"
(More about this friend later.)
Three decades later, I finally understand what he really meant... mostly because I've taken the time to pay attention to things that escaped my notice when I was younger.
My awakening began six years ago when I was in the middle of yet another job-and-life crisis; powerful people were out for my skin, and were determined to destroy me. Out of the blue, I felt compelled to request a transfer to another office, for a position that had just opened up. To my surprise, my director agreed. Later, I was told that he approved the transfer because he expected me to fail in the new job, which involved setting up a call center in a large urban office on a very accelerated schedule. A lot of overtime and physical labor was involved. The director thought I was too old and stupid to survive.
Instead, after months of overtime and back-breaking labor, and despite all his attempts to trip me up, I succeeded in both setting up the office on time and winning the support and protection of some powerful and politically-connected people.
When it was over, I realized that "something" had prompted me to uncharacteristically request that specific transfer. Because the idea didn't come from me. It was clearly external. In words that we all use over and over without thinking, "'Something' told me to make this decision." And this "something" had saved my skin.
After this experience, I realized that this "something" had intervened at other critical intersections in my life, steering me down specific paths. I began to see the outline of a presence and a consciousness that was not mine, exerting a slight but decisive touch at critical moments.
I should emphasize at this point that I do not believe that this "something" was God, or even an angel (I'm still agnostic on the subject of angels), but it was evidently a personality or consciousness that was not me, was external to me, but one that had always been there, in one form or another.
I believe that this presence manifests with everyone, but most people ignore it; and when they do, misfortune usually results, and continues to result so long as the individual persists in making poor choices.
After that awakening six years ago, I made a conscious decision to attempt to engage this "something" on a regular basis. I decided to act as if this "something" was truly there, and to see and analyze what followed.