[Excerpt from To Dance with Angels, by Don and Linda Pendleton]
Paul S. Weisberg was an eminent and widely respected psychiatrist with a highly successful private practice in Washington, D.C. He was a president of the American Society of Adolescent Psychiatry and one of the pioneers in group therapy. He was also a remarkably fearless and outspoken thinker in matters of mental health, as you shall see.
We [Don and Linda Pendleton] telephoned Dr. Weisberg at his Washington office on June 5 for a very surprising interview, armed only with the knowledge that Dr. Weisberg had been in touch with Thomas Jacobson at some time in the past. We did not know at the outset whether his interest was personal or professional, and hoped only that he would be willing to discuss the matter with us off the record.
He was naturally cautious at first, but he was also friendly and courteous and seemed interested in what I [Don Pendleton] had to say. I went to considerable lengths in explaining the reason for the call--and I talked a bit about dissociated personalities, how I had initially considered that as a possible explanation of the phenomenal Thomas Jacobson, and asked his opinion about that.
Dr. Weisberg replied that he would comment by telling me a story. He also gave me permission to activate my telephone recorder and to quote him in the book--which instantly produced fears in my mind that he was about to blow this whole thing apart with his professional opinion. Remember, I still knew nothing at this point about the nature of the psychiatrist's interest in Thomas Jacobson.
My fears were groundless. Dr. Weisberg had virtually the same story (in essence) that I had heard already from so many others. What makes his story so compelling--beyond the obvious charm and exquisite imagery--is the context from which it is produced. Keep in mind that this is coming from a noted medical practitioner, man of letters, a past president of a national psychiatric association.
Here is Dr. Weisberg's statement:
DR. WEISBERG: My first introduction to Dr. Peebles was via my cousin, who is some years my elder, and who is a lady in her early sixties, who's just taken a Ph.D. in some branch of psychology out there in California. We've been close life-long, although we don't see each other much. She came out to Washington on another errand in December--and she called me up and we had dinner.
[During dinner] she told me, "You know, I've had therapy and counseling and various experiences in my life, but I've never had anything like this happen to me, and I find Thomas Jacobson and Dr. Peebles, who he channels, to be really so useful to me."
As I looked at her I was astonished, because she looked ten years younger, although the last time I saw her was ten years ago.
She said, "I want to give you a present. I want you to write down some questions about yourself. I want you to go into a lot of depth. Much of the stuff you will ask, I don't know about. I'll serve as your conduit, and I'll ask your questions to Thomas when I have my next interview with him."
Well, she did that, and she sent me the tape. It was astounding. I mean, it's very clean, you see, because he didn't know who I am, nothing about me, and she very carefully kept me anonymous--but when Peebles started, he started with material that had come out of my very early childhood that I remembered clearly, and remembered kind of hiding or distancing from people around me--even from my parents, who I felt would find me rather odd if I told them. I had a birth injury, and he described it in great detail, and ....
DON: Phenomenal, isn't it?
DR. WEISBERG: Well, it certainly rivets the attention. At that time I was feeling in kind of a slump, and the voice over the tape was aware of that, and said in all kinds of ways that I should kind of get off my duff and go into the world and take the leadership role that was waiting for me, that people were waiting for my leadership in various ways that he specified. That had--it had an effect of reaching me in a way that nothing else had.
After that interview--actually even before I had heard that tape--my cousin had called me and told me the substance of it. I was already in kind of a state of expansive anticipation. When I got the tape, I sent it to my two eldest children, who are adults and living in New York now, and they listened to it. I said, "Is this me that he's talking about?"--and they both said: "He got you just right, Daddy."
They were so impressed that they both called Thomas Jacobson and made appointments for themselves, and I did too.
I talked to Dr. Peebles through Jacobson. Now in the second interview, he said, "you know, I think we've already been of service to you"--and he was absolutely right. I mean my attitude had evolved and improved, to the point where he said, "You know, I feel like your older brother." He said, "You're about at the end of your cycle of lives."
And I said, "Well, what do I do when it's done?"
He said, "You'll probably come up and be like me; you have this love of Earth and love of humanity, and you'll come up and help people. Even now you are a guide when you're between lives."
The effect of his words on me was activating, like an electric charge.
DON: Everyone uses that word: electric.
DR. WEISBERG: Yes, well, I've listened to a lot of tapes since that time. I have not talked to him again but I find that now I would like to talk to him again. I've been talking about him to some of my patients, and several of them have called him and each has had marvelous experiences with him.
The point of it to me is that it brings back another reality that is as true as the realities that we perceive around us. It helps us to redimensionalize our lives in holistic ways, sidestepping egotism and reductionism, that we have tended to forget or have been distracted from.
I'm very attracted by the position on evil, that it is a distraction rather than a positive force, because to me that is absolutely right.
You see, in my life I have had two or three encounter experiences. Each one has been very much on target with the Peebles tapes. Let me just mention one: about ten years ago, after a severe thunderstorm here, I had an experience--somewhere between fantasy and a dream--in which I was walking down the corridor of the Old Senate Office Building, which is beautiful inside. It is gorgeous, with high ceilings and fine plaster-work, and down at the end of this very long corridor was a room, and in the room was an electric-blue light, and there were fifteen to twenty people who I knew and who knew me and were very familiar.
They embraced me and they seemed to be saying, "Welcome"--and then there were kind of instructions coming out of the blue haze that meant, "You have to go back. Don't worry; it's just for a little while. You'll be with us again soon enough."
That, like other encounter experiences I've had, has given me a kind of a belief system that I haven't shared, until now, with many people--and I think that millions of people are in that category ... of knowing, of being a little ashamed and diffident about coming forward and putting that level of cognition, that level of realization and understanding, on the line--because we tend to be reductionistic, both in terms of our language and in terms of our customs.
So, on a personal level, I don't believe that everything Dr. Peebles tells us is complete, but I believe that everything he tells us is true. For instance, I wrote a paper recently on neurobiological aspects of growth and development in humans, and how certain psychological factors can negatively impact on the actual neurobiology in this kind of resonating parallelism that we set up. I call it synergy and point out that human development is not defined by nature or by nurture but from a combination of the two. I believe that to be true, and I think it ties right into the spiritual focus. I mean, Dr. Peebles does not suggest that we have to give up our intellects, but merely that we must deempahsize the reductionistic aspects of intellect, and use our minds to expand and integrate our experience in a more holistic way.
DON: Yes; I have felt for a long time that there is a wide, a very broad and deep public interest in that very thing, mainly because we have evolved into a period where we no longer find that much comfort from a pastoral concept of God, and we aren't really equipped to deal with the complexities of modern social structures.
DR. WEISBERG: Well, you know, that comes very close to something I've felt, which is that a period of major change, in terms of cognitive forms and style, comes when there's an inability of the social structure to give meaningful gratification of people's needs. The falling apart of the family, the escalation of divorce, the sense of anomie that has gotten so usual and regular in our society, lets us know that our margins have shrunk to the point that unless you are really quite an unusual person you don't get it, you don't get to the point of having a satisfactory and gratifying existence--and, that's the point at which, you see, an enterprise devoted to major change can successfully transform our lives. It's just a matter of which one it's going to be.
Paul Weisberg appeared unconcerned about heralding a "new age" of spiritual enlightenment. He dealt with everyday realities in his work, and he told us that there is a practical aspect to all this present-day emphasis on spiritual awareness. We need it in the same sense that we need food, love, and shelter. It is a basic human requirement, in other words, and it is one that has been overlooked or shelved in our race toward technological modernization and complex world politics.
Political revolutions are transformational. So is anarchy. So is social malaise. Let's not wait for that kind of transformational experience. Let's go for the good. Let's try to find out who we truly are, and what life is truly all about. We think that's worth a try. What do you think?
We spoke to many interesting and interested health care professionals who have experienced personal interactions with Thomas Jacobson, all of whom responded to our queries in terms similar to the views expressed above by Dr. Weisberg. Not once did we encounter a negative reaction or anything even approaching condemnation, dismissal, or disbelief. Some told us that they used insights gained via Dr. Peebles in their professional practice, and some have also referred patients for spirit counsel. Only a few, however, were willing to state their views for this public record, and that is understandable.
Copyright 1990 by Don and Linda Pendleton.
[Used with Permission]