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About The Book

Who Do You Think You Are?
Have you ever wondered who you really are and what you are doing here? Believe it or not, the simple truth is that everything you want to know is already inside you. Renowned psychic and bestselling author James Van Praagh has learned a lot through his amazing ability to communicate with the spiritual realms, and in Looking Beyond he shares with teens what the spirits have taught him, including
  • The real deal about soulmates (hint: you have more than one!)
  • Why you have the parents you do
  • What the heck spirit guides are and how to use them
  • How dreams can increase your creativity
  • Ways to develop your sixth sense
  • The lessons you were born to learn

Looking Beyond gives you the tools you need to uncover the power, strength, and talent to fulfill your unique destiny. If you would like to begin the journey to discover the real you the person you are meant to be just turn to page one and let Van Praagh show you the way.


Chapter 1: Spirits in a Material World

Look Inside, and All Will Be Revealed

I See Dead People

When I was a young boy, I used to see ghosts all the time, like the kid in The Sixth Sense. It was like one giant ghost party around me. I used to see people standing in my room just as I was going to sleep. Sometimes, they would pop up when I got into trouble. It wasn't scary or creepy like in the movie, though. Actually, it was quite the opposite. My ghosts had kind faces. They were gentle, not spooky. Mostly, they were family members who had died, like my grandfather or aunt. They just wanted me to know that they were watching over me like guardian angels.

To me, these ghosts appeared as solid forms with heads and bodies just like everyone else I knew. The only difference between the living and the dead was the beautiful glowing light that surrounded the ghosts. And when the ghosts spoke to me, it was a mind-to-mind communication -- no one ever moved their lips.

Frankly, I thought my ability to see ghosts was pretty cool. I was quite innocent, though, and thought everyone else could see ghosts, too. It wasn't until I was hanging out with a few friends and told them about my ghostly visions that I found out I was very different. But while my friends thought I was ready for the loony bin, I didn't think of myself as a freak. I knew in my heart that what my friends were saying about me was not true. They couldn't see ghosts, but I knew what I saw, and I knew it was real.

I didn't have a clue about how life really worked until I understood why ghosts appeared to me. It was a pretty simple, yet far-out, idea. It certainly didn't fit the picture of life that I was being taught. Time after time, spirits impress upon me the idea that all of us, dead or alive, are purely spiritual in nature. We are not human beings, but spirit beings in human bodies.

So, in this book, I want to share my thoughts about how life really works, what I have learned from all the spirit beings who have contacted me. If we all knew who we really are, we might have a better understanding of ourselves and others.

Who Do You Think You Are?

How many times have you looked at the stars and wondered what lies beyond them? Could there be other life in far-off galaxies? Could there be alien life forms right here on our planet? Of course there are. Wasn't that what they were trying to tell us in the movie Men in Black?

But have you ever wondered who you are and what you are doing here on this planet?

My take on this whole question goes like this: You and I are students in one giant classroom. Like those "men in black," you and I are here to uncover the truth underneath these alien bodies we are wearing. It's simple for me to say, but finding out who we are is something people have been trying to figure out for a long time.

Just think about a time when you went along with a friend's idea just because you thought you wanted to be part of the crowd or to look cool to the others. Even though inside you felt that it really wasn't what you wanted to do, you did it anyway. I've been there, too.

The first thing I learned from spirits was to pay attention to feelings. Our emotions and intuition, those voices inside, have something to tell us. Too often, especially as we get older, we put such feelings aside and rely more on what we see and hear, not to mention the influence of


others on us. In this book, I am going to stress the importance of feelings: paying attention to your feelings is one of the best ways to help you learn who you are and what's right for you.

Feel Everything You Can

It takes a lot of courage and honesty to follow your own feelings about things. Think of feelings as the road map, and your life as the journey. Feelings can guide you to all the right roads, on-ramps, and off-ramps, as well as the rest stops in between.

Everyone feels differently, so no one can tell you what you are really feeling or how to feel it. Still, identifying your feelings and how they are affecting your behavior may be difficult at first. Sometimes, it just seems easier to go along with the popular consensus. I don't know many people who want to rock the boat or stand out in a crowd. However, if you pay attention to your feelings, especially when you don't want to follow the crowd, you will begin to understand what makes you uniquely you.

Let's Hit the Road

So now, with that being said, if you would like to begin the journey to uncover the real you, step right up and grab some supplies. Let's find the spirit being that is lurking around in your body.

Soul Supplies

  • Courage to question the world as you see it
  • Feelings to know who you are
  • Honesty to stay true to your feelings
  • Imagination to create whatever you want
  • Questions about what you allow into your mind and heart
  • Faith to believe in your feelings and thoughts when no one else does

Last, but not least, be ready for some reality checks to help you along the way. How are you going to know what reality you want if you don't know there are many to choose from?

Now, step up to the starting line.

The real you journey starts here.

Signpost #1: The world is not as it seems.

Life Is Only a Game

The Matrix is a movie that made us think differently about our world. For those of you who haven't seen it, the movie is about people who are going about their everyday lives, until one day they realize that life is just a projection of a computer program called the Matrix. Things seem real, feel real, but in fact every human being is controlled by the program. People are kept docile and compliant, sort of like mindless slaves who cannot think for themselves. Sound familiar?

However, Keanu Reeves's character is quite smart and soon learns how to maneuver through the computer game. One of the ways he does is by not believing everything he sees. Because he can manipulate the program better than most, the others think that he's "the one." The movie plot thickens as one of the rebels turns traitor and decides to join forces with the Matrix. This leads the others to an all-out tug-of-war against the Matrix in order to free the human species from enslavement and deception.

The movie definitely struck a chord in everyone who saw it. Most of us want to break out of the "reality" of our lives and transcend our limitations. If life is a game like the Matrix, then we all want to know the truth, so we can play it better. We want to be aware of the bullets and bullies so that we can get out of their way. Everybody wants to tap into extraordinary possibilities and perhaps even be "the one." So how do we do it? The first step is to start seeing the world differently.

Cell Phones, Microphones, and All Those Crazy Electromagnetic Waves

The energy waves that make our cell phones, TVs, and microwave ovens work are invisible to the naked eye, even as they move through the universe all the time. A hundred years ago, we didn't know much about this energy, and didn't even dream of these devices, but we use these things every day without giving them a second thought. The same type of energy waves that connect us instantaneously today existed back then, too. It took someone to see the world differently in order to discover this energy and put it to use.

While we live on earth we occupy physical bodies. It's the way we get around on earth. Our bodies keep us from crashing into one another. Think of your body as your home, and you are the spirit being living inside it. Your body is merely ENERGY made of molecules -- atoms, electrons, protons, subatomic particles -- that kind of stuff you tend to forget after the chemistry exam, but the same kind of stuff that makes your cell phone work.

In fact, the whole universe is an energy field. This energy moves at various rates of speed. In the physical world of matter, where we reside, these molecules move very, very slowly. That's why our bodies and the rest of the physical world appear solid.

In the higher spiritual dimensions, however, the energy moves very quickly, and physical bodies are not necessary because they could not contain the faster-moving energy. That's why spirit beings are invisible to us; they flash by us faster than our physical eyes can actually see.

This energy is a powerful force -- it is what you and I are made of and where we come from. THIS ENERGY IS THE REAL YOU. That means we are not just material girls...or guys. We are spirits living in a material world.

So, the REAL YOU is actually camouflaged by your body. The real you is actually a beam of light, pure energy, vibrating in different colors. You can't see this beam of light because your body is so dense. Some people, like me, can see it. I see colors around people all the time. I see their auras.

Sometimes you can see this beam of light, too, when you look into someone's eyes. You see their soul's light shining out. That's what attracts us to one another.

Do You Measure Yourself by Your Jeans?

Most of the time, we think of ourselves as limited human beings because all we see are our bodies. And let's face it: our bodies can do only so much. The mistake is that we identify ourselves AS our bodies. We think our bodies are the whole enchilada. Don't get me wrong -- bodies are important, because they transport us all around the planet. They want to keep on ticking so the real you inside can enjoy life.

Still, we do spend a lot of our time and energy worrying about what we look like. It doesn't take much for bad hair and pimples to spoil a perfectly good day. I know it's no fun to break out when you're about to go on a special date, but believe me, no one is paying attention to your zits when he or she is looking into those soul-filled eyes of yours.

By focusing on the body, we spend much too much time judging ourselves and others by outward appearances. Why waste time critiquing others based on whether or not they're wearing the latest Tommy Hilfiger jeans or Reebok Iverson basketball shoes? It's easy to be impressed by a nice-looking package, but it's the gift inside that counts. The real reason we want to look good is to feel loved and accepted for who we really are.

Spirits Living in a Material World

If everyone is a spirit being, what about the people you don't like? They're spirit beings, too -- everyone is energy, and this energy is vibrating all the time. It travels from one person to another. Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

Some people have a lot of anxiety, fear, and hatred; some are light and free and full of fun. Energy changes depending upon each person, and all that energy affects you. Start paying attention to the people you hang out with. We are all in the game together, and everything and everyone in your life is actually here to teach you something about the real you, so see if you feel good or bad when you are around them.

What's the Point?

We all have been tricked into believing that we are limited beings -- limited by our own minds and what we think is important on the material level, things like clothes, grades, dating, looks, popularity, and so forth. Just remember that you are really not what you appear to be. You are an excellent, unlimited light being. That is the power of your spiritual self. The more you realize that you are a spiritual being in human form, the more you become aware of your energy force, and the more you are prepared to deal with life on a human level. You have the ability to change any condition in your life. What an energizing and empowering realization!

When you feel empowered, you actually feel like jumping up and dancing. You have energy; you feel in control of your life. You become a powerful force. Things that once seemed overwhelming -- getting good grades, talking to your parents, getting a date with someone you think is terrific -- are not so hard.

When I was a teen, I didn't have much direction in my life. I wish someone had given me a clue as to how life really worked. If I had known I was really a spirit being in human form, I might have had more confidence in myself. That's what I hope you get from this book -- a sense that you are a great person, filled with incredible abilities and the power to accomplish what you want. You can do this, no matter what other people may want you to do or be. Yes, there are pitfalls and problems. Don't let these things overcome you. Use this guide to foster an I can do it! attitude in the exciting game we call life.

Copyright © 2003 by Spiritual Horizons, Inc.

About The Author

Photo Credit: Jeanne Strongin

James Van Praagh is arguably the most famous and successful spiritual medium of our time. He has been a featured guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, and countless other television and radio shows. He lives in the Los Angeles area. Visit his website at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (April 6, 2010)
  • Length: 176 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781439146576

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