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CNN Larry King Live

James Van Praagh Discusses His New Book; The Power of Thought; Defining Love

Aired May 16, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Good evening. Good show tonight. Old friend James Van Praagh is with us and then a major panel discussion on lots of topics. James, of course, is the famed spiritual leader and co- executive producer of "The Ghost Whisperer". I got that right.

His new book is "Unfinished Business: What the Dead Can Teach Us". What the dead can teach us, James?


KING: How?

VAN PRAAGH: Well, it's been 25 years, Larry, and for 25 years I have heard messages from spirits for so long about regret and about forgiveness, about guilt. It's information they want to impart upon the living. So the people in the world, in the earth, when they pass over they don't have to go through the regrets. They want them to live life in a way where they can live a joyful life and not have any regrets, not have any should'ves, would'ves or could'ves. Because there's so much regret when we pass over, wouldn't it be better to have that knowledge when we're living on the earth.

KING: How did this come up?

VAN PRAAGH: You know, I've been doing these books now for a long time and I wasn't planning on doing another one until the spirits wouldn't leave me alone. They said you've got to write a book about our messages we've given you for all these years. All these years, all these messages, we want to help the living in different ways.

So the reading of the book, all of these incredible messages, I mean, wild messages ...

KING: You're printing the messages?

VAN PRAAGH: The messages that I've heard and it's changed people's lives and it's really a manual for how to go through guilt. When everyone dies there's always guilt and regret and so forth and we just want a way to get out of it.

KING: How do you know this isn't - we've asked this before but it's been ...

VAN PRAAGH: We ask it every time ...

KING: How do you know it's not hallucinatory? In other words, your own thoughts, your own feelings, very smart, very bright. I'm not saying you're conning us. You believe it. But they're not there. You're there.

VAN PRAAGH: Whatever method it takes to get the message through, the information, the communication. I don't know how that communication works but I know what the result is. For instance. The other day I'm reading for this man and your son Michael's here and he said thank you for tattooing my name on your chest and the man freaked out and he goes oh my God, he rolls up his shirt and it said, "My beloved son, Michael."

I don't know how it comes through. This is what I'm getting in my head. I think that we have to realize we're more than our consciousness. We're more than what we're conscious of and we're bigger than our physical body. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience.

KING: Do you ask them where they are?

VAN PRAAGH: I ask them where they are but again ...

KING: Can't be the first to ask, where are you?

VAN PRAAGH: ... they're all around us.

KING: Where - where? What form are you in? I mean, I'd go nuts with this talent.

VAN PRAAGH: Well, it's another dimension so we're asking to measure another dimension with our physical laws which is hard to do because we're looking at it from a physical point of view, from a third dimensional point of view.

KING: What are some of the most important factors we need to address in living a life better. This help us ...

VAN PRAAGH: Forgiveness, number one. Forgive people. It's very important that people have to realize that people do certain things, they don't know why. But to sit in judgment of somebody, it's easy to judge somebody, but we don't know the motive behind why the act happened. You don't know someone - for instance, there was a situation, in the book I talk about this, girl was abused by her uncle and she was abused by him, why did he hit me? She couldn't trust men her whole life. Couldn't love men, why, why? We found out this man when he was young he was abused. Now she didn't know that until much later on in her life.

We never know the back story and it's important to know the back story but you have to forgive. Because you don't know why people go through certain things. You don't know a person till you stand in their shoes.

KING: A lot of people find that hard to do even though it's a very Christian-Jewish thing to do.

VAN PRAAGH: You know what? It's living life with - the best way you can. Bringing love, that energy of love if you will into any situation you can, whether you're right or wrong doesn't matter. But it's using that energy of love.

KING: But we have a lot of, as humans, guilt, right, fear and regrets. We're going to do some regrets later. We're going to show you a few people about things that they regret.

VAN PRAAGH: Most people have regrets.

KING: Are all those things bad to have?

VAN PRAAGH: I think, Larry, I think they are tools for learning so I think we as spiritual beings come back on this earth to learn. I think this is our school room and we come back with challenges, we come back with lessons and guilt, regrets, forgiveness, that's part of those lessons. How you have to forgive somebody. What about those regrets? What has that taught you?

I also say that when the dead go, they inevitably leave without giving us gifts left behind and we really have to have the courage to open up that gift and find out what's inside. What do they teach us? What do they teach us? What do we carry on in this life from them?

KING: What about karma?

VAN PRAAGH: Karma is a little (ph) cause and effect. And it's very true. We've all had it. It's all energy. So what you give out you receive back. And it's very, very true. Even though you don't see energy, energy exists and thoughts are real things. We talk about that, thoughts are energy. They are a higher frequency. And what you give out, that energy you give out, you will get that back.

It's almost like, think of it as creating a portrait, a picture, OK? Painting. And you're creating that painting with your actions, with your thoughts, with your words. When you pass to the spirit world, you'll see how you lived your life. You'll see all the thoughts, all the words, how you treated another human being and you have to feel also how you treated them.

KING: Are you with those people?

VAN PRAAGH: You're with your loved ones. The love bonds created on this earth continue on. So all this is love, there's only love - I say this, it's very simple for people who are watching this. Life is about a series of choices. All choices are based on two things, either love or fear. That's all there is. That's all there is.

So it's easier to choose love than fear. Even though we're sometimes programmed to use fear.

KING: The book is "Unfinished Business: What the Dead Can Teach Us About Life". James stays with us. We've got more great guests ahead.

Is the life you're living now the result of your thoughts? My thought is stick around and find out.


KING: We're back on this special show tonight featuring James Van Praagh whose new book, "Unfinished Business: What the Dead Can Teach Us" was formulated in the first segment.

Joining us as well now is J.Z. Knight, the founder of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, her newest book is "Last Waltz of the Tyrants". Debbie Ford, life coach, workship leader - workshop leader, rather, and author of "Why Good People Do Bad Things" and Michael Beckwith, founder and spiritual director of the Agape International Spiritual Center and author of "Spiritual Liberation: Fulfilling Your Soul's Potential".

In each of our segments tonight we're going to delve into a different topic. In this one it's thoughts.

We'll start with James. In your book about thoughts as having power, what do you mean? Thoughts have power.

VAN PRAAGH: I think thought is energy. Everything is energy. Molecules that move. And thought is real. When you think of something it's actually very tangible. And it's like this. We are - thoughts are like bullets and you think of something, it goes right to the target. For instance, someone's thinking about you, guess what? Their energy is going to come right to you. That's what thought is. It's energy. It's real.

KING: Do you believe that, J.Z.?

J.Z. KNIGHT, MEDIUM: Absolutely. I mean, thought is the architecture that creates energetic reality. Energy is not just energy, it carries information.

KING: So what do I do, Debbie, with that knowledge? OK. Thoughts have power. So?

DEBBIE FORD, LIFE COACH: So, you have to watch your thoughts, every single thought and see, are you thinking thoughts that empower you, that make you feel strong, that send love out to other people or are you thinking thoughts that make you feel insecure and weak and fearful and if we became aware of our thoughts all of the time, we would be directed, as James was saying, we'd be directed to other choices, new actions.

KING: But Michael, we have thoughts all day long.


KING: I have a thought right now. We have thoughts every second.

BECKWITH: Absolutely.

KING: What do I do with that?

BECKWITH: Well, a thought is a unit of mental energy and as James was saying, it transmutes itself into perception and ultimately experience. So turning within is not just sitting down and meditating and praying, turning within is being aware of the thoughts and noticing what thoughts are emerging from a world, from a transitory world of fear, doubt and worry and what thoughts are emerging from inspiration.

Now when an individual is observant, just observing the thoughts that are fearful or doubtful, they begin to lose their power, they begin to realize that those thoughts are not us and we begin to have dominion over that thinking.

KING: Are you saying, James, that a bad thought, just a bad thought, is a bad thing?

VAN PRAAGH: I'm saying thoughts is life. Thoughts are life.

KING: But a bad thought is a bad thing ...

VAN PRAAGH: It's an energy. Love or fear, here we go again. So it's the thought you're creating. It's the energy you're giving out to the world. And yet be cognizant of the thoughts. What light are you giving out to the world? What are you sending out to the world with your thoughts or your words?

KING: What's the harm, J.Z.? What's the harm in a bad thought?

KNIGHT: Well, if our thoughts create reality and our reality is a program that's in our head and if we continue to run destructive thoughts, the fact of the matter is is that we create the reality that harms. We create the incidences that cause us difficulty and harms other people.

Thoughts are things. They are not incidental. They make reality.

KING: Debbie, I'm driving in a car, someone cuts me off. My thought is I'd like to kill him. Then it's gone. He drove off and I drove off. So what's the big deal?

FORD: Yeah, you take a deep breath. The thing - you can think, well, I could have done that too. Because we've all cut somebody else off.

KING: But the thought was not harmful.

FORD: But you're ashamed of it.

BECKWITH: But when you have thoughts you're either releasing toxic or tonic chemicals to the body temple.

VAN PRAAGH: (inaudible)

BECKWITH: So if you're having a thought of peace, of love, forgiveness, then there is tonic chemicals that flow through the body that increase your immune system. If you're having chronic thoughts, fear, doubt, worry, hate, you're releasing toxic chemicals. And that's harmful to the body temple.

KING: In a sense, James, you believe the life that we lead is a compilation of our thoughts?

VAN PRAAGH: I certainly do. I think we materialize our thoughts. I think right now we are exactly what we thought about before.

KING: J.Z., can we control our thoughts?

KNIGHT: Absolutely.

KING: Really?

KNIGHT: Absolutely.

KING: Thoughts that go through your mind you can control?

KNIGHT: Well, any more than you can control the program on your computer. Because I see brain as computer and I see our personality, our thinking mechanism as a program. We actually can choose what kind of a program we want to run mentally and create the reality of the emotion that we feel subsequently from that. But yes, we can. And in fact we should.

BECKWITH: And I think also it's being mindful, it's learning to be mindful, being aware of our thoughts and not just having them and throwing them out there. You must be aware of the thoughts that come out of you.

KING: There's a power in a positive place (ph).

FORD: And it's really important that if you have negative thoughts that you don't beat yourself up with more negative thoughts because then you're going to wind up in a worse position than you were when you had that negative thought in the first place.

KING: Our next segment is regrets. What is your biggest regret?

Here is some of your favorite celebrities' regrets in 60 seconds.


KING: Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention. Sorry. I like quoting Sinatra. Anyway, here are the regrets of some famous celebrities.

Is emotional baggage weighing you down? Our experts take on guilt and fear, next.


KING: James, in your book you describe how emotional baggage consists of guilt, fear and regrets. OK, why are regrets bad?

VAN PRAAGH: Well, as Debbie was saying earlier about - you have a trace with what you've left the world and how you beat yourself up over and over again, if you regret something, you have to acknowledge it. Acknowledge that you're sorry that you did this but you learned from it hopefully. If you've learned from it, next time the same situation comes up you'll react differently. It's all about how you react to a situation.

And I think that regrets teach us things.

KING: J.Z., you've had regrets, right?

KNIGHT: Everyone has. Yes. And I'm glad to be counted amongst those who has them.

KING: Are regrets good?

KNIGHT: Yes, they are. And the art of looking for purposeful good in your mistakes is the art of the pursuit of wisdom. How do we know that we're wiser unless we've entered and made the mistakes that we've made? And - but to harbor for lifelong - for a life regretful that we did something is living in the past and we cheat ourself out of a future.

KING: It leads, does it not, Debbie, to guilt.

FORD: It leads us to guilt, it leads us to fear, it leads us to low self esteem, it leads us - I love the line that the guilty seek punishment. And when we hold that guilt inside and we have regrets and we're feeling bad about ourselves, over and over and over again. What do we do? We do other things to self-sabotage so I think it's imperative that people make amends, that they did something bad to somebody, they do something to clean it up, to feel better about themselves. So that they can live on.

KING: Michael, any pluses in guilt?

BECKWITH: Other than lessons that you learn. If you keep living in the past, it's because ego trip. Look how guilty I am, look how bad I am. And it's just like saying look how great I am.

KING: How do you overcome that?

BECKWITH: Overcome it? Through observation, through not allowing the guilt, the shame, the blame to run you. You become aware when it's there. You bust it. You identify it. And then you place your attention on living a more inspired life. People that are guilty are living in the past.

VAN PRAAGH: You know, I want to say something, Michael, also about that. We have right now this moment. The past has already happened.

KING: Right.

VAN PRAAGH: And there's nothing you can do to change that.

KING: (inaudible)

VAN PRAAGH: The future's not here, right? So you have right this moment to be mindful of and we can shape this moment right now because we can be aware of my thoughts and how we're living at this moment right now and that's all we have. FORD: And I think once people learn a lesson from something in the past, they can digest it, they can move on, they can let go and I think that we don't realize that school - that life is a school ...

KING: J.Z., how do you overcome fear?

KNIGHT: By facing it. And fear of course is its own animal. By addressing our fear ...

KING: We all have it.

KNIGHT: Everybody has it. It's innate and it's part of our instinct. It is to address it, to make it known to ourselves. Fear in itself is a monster. Oftentimes when we find the solution, or we find the answer to what we're afraid of, it was a no thing. It's fear itself. Of the unknown.

A lot of people are afraid of the future. That's why they live in their emotional past because they're uncertain who they'll be in the future.

KING: How do you overcome guilt, Debbie?

FORD: I think finding the lesson, seeing what you have to learn, seeing - you know guilt is usually a result of not wanting to feel the pain. We have guilt because we don't want to feel the emotional pain but how do we get through emotional pain? We address it. We see why did I do this?

KING: Catch-22.

FORD: Yeah. It's a catch-22.

BECKWITH: But oftentimes, people who stay in the guilt, they are trying to beat themselves up before some version of God that they have beats them up.

VAN PRAAGH: And they get bigger and bigger and bigger and it's just they are (ph) lessons.

KING: James, how can we learn all these things after we die?

VAN PRAAGH: That's why we're here today. I wrote this book now so people learning could learn from it.

KNIGHT: Not everybody who dies is wise.

KING: I hope not.

KNIGHT: No, that's not true.

VAN PRAAGH: You have to have the courage to look inside yourself and really look at yourself, who you are as a spiritual being, have to look (ph) at experience and what lessons are you learning this time around? What's it going to teach you? Are you going to learn from the lesson or are you just not going to learn? It's wonderful opportunities every single day.

FORD: The biggest thing is to fall in love with yourself. You know? If you're not on your side, nobody is going to be on your side. Life is a gift. Death isn't a gift. Life is a gift. To fall in love with yourself, to be on your side allows you the art of perspective, allows you to live a happier life. Being aware that what you think creates reality.

That's caring about the life that you are.

KING: Do we create our own surroundings?

BECKWITH: We create our experience of reality. Most people don't experience reality, they experience their thoughts about reality. That which is real is eternal, it's forever. It's never been born, it will never die so the thoughts act as a filter and we end up experiencing that filter and we think it's real so people as J.Z. was saying, they project their fear onto a future.

KNIGHT: It's true.

BECKWITH: They end up creating defense mechanisms and coping mechanisms to not feel that when instead they can turn all of that energy into enthusiasm, live life to the fullest, live a life of inspiration and creativity, gain the lessons from the past and move forward.

KING: Do our emotions hold back our potential?

FORD: Yeah.

VAN PRAAGH: Sure, you bet. It holds us back because as we were talking about, that's all you're seeing, you're locked into that old emotion.

KING: How did you all learn this?

KNIGHT: What produced the chemistry inside of me that caused me to feel guilt, that caused me to feel happiness, that caused me to feel sadness and fear, what caused that? Something I was thinking, some reality. Experience. How we make tangible thoughts real is the experience of them in the physical world, the replay of that, is how we feel about it. Every thought that we experience is connected to chemistry.

KING: Addiction, does everyone possess some type of addiction? Rehab starts right after the break.


KING: Our next subject in a series of subjects with this outstanding panel is addiction. First, what is addiction? You've been in four rehab centers, right?

FORD: Larry.

BECKWITH: (Inaudible)

KING: She told me that.

FORD: I've written it in many books. So addiction to me was - when you're addicted to something you will choose that over choosing a great life. You'll give up your joy, your power, your potential, a drug or a drink, or shopping.

KING: It owns you.

FORD: It owns you.

VAN PRAAGH: And I think it numbs you. It numbs you from life. And like you said, dealing with life on an every day level and making choices for yourself. You have this addiction which, it's in charge, that is your life.

KING: If I'm addicted to something - I'm addicted to baseball. Is that bad, Michael?

BECKWITH: First of all I want to jump in on addiction. When people are addicted, there's something - there's a payoff they're getting from it.

KING: Right.

BECKWITH: There's an underlying emotion or feeling and they think that it's in that drink or they think that it's in baseball or they think that it's in whatever. Now going to a baseball game is not an addiction, but if you're addicted to baseball and that's the only way you're getting your happiness from, then that's a counterfeit happiness.

KING: Ah, that makes it addiction. Going to the game isn't.

BECKWITH: Going to the game is OK.

KING: But if you ...

BECKWITH: But if you have to go to the game for happiness, then you don't understand the real meaning of happiness.

FORD: If you can't show up for your work or you can't be there for your kids because you have to go to the baseball game ...


KING: Do we know causes, J.Z., why people get addicted to things? Do we know why?

KNIGHT: Because they get an award from it. Everyone is looking for a sense of joy and purpose and happiness, the mythical happiness. And it's actually a neurochemical process that happens in our brain and in our soul. On their biology of addiction, what happens when we keep going after happiness, just like an addict goes after alcohol, just like a drug addict goes after drugs, there are people who are addicted to joy, they're addicted to happiness, they're addicted to pain and sorrow, so they can get the reward of being happy, they've accomplished something on the other side. It's actually a pathology and the pathology means that we've now created our body to where our receptor sites in our cells need this chemical to live.

VAN PRAAGH: I think we lose our sense of self. When our sense of self inevitably becomes that, getting that fixation, if you will, that happiness, that joy, which is false, it's a falsehood. And addiction in a way (ph) also is a tool to help us to get to know ourselves.

KING: Why is it so hard, Debbie, to cure?

FORD: Because I think when you - for me it's a process of the soul. It's - when you have an addiction it's usually because you need to break open and step into some - I would never be who I am if I hadn't suffered from my addiction so I think that it's hard because we do believe, like Michael says, that happiness lives in whatever we're addicted to. And - but it's really a - to me it's a lack of self esteem. It's feeling worthless, powerless, out of control and so we're just searching and people are doing it and say it (ph) everywhere.

KING: (Inaudible)

FORD: Yeah, looking for love in all the wrong places because it's external rather than (inaudible)

KING: There's - I want to get this right. There is physiological addiction, like dependence on substances, medicine, illegal drugs, alcohol. Psychological includes compulsive gambling, sex, eating, shopping. In dealing with these, is it different to deal with alcohol then to deal with the gambling?

BECKWITH: I just think it's a self esteem issue, is what it is.

KING: (Inaudible)

VAN PRAAGH: (inaudible)

KING: Addiction is addiction.

KNIGHT: Addiction is addiction.

BECKWITH: Addiction is addiction. It's an imaginary hole that's in the individual, they're trying to fill it with something external. Some people are addicted to excitement because they haven't yet matured to understand that enthusiasm is different from excitement. Whether it's psychological or whether it's physical, it's the same thing.

KING: And a good (ph) side of it.

FORD: Yes.

KNIGHT: It's called the human condition. Without emotions that give us the payback of creating reality by our experience of it, we would not know what any of these emotions are. The problem is that oftentimes people fill their life with how they feel. They determine their worth on feeling up or feeling unworthy by feeling down and really all neurochemicals. And it's a matter how we cure it, we change what we think.

VAN PRAAGH: I also think that it's also the people that surround us or the family and friends and again, I want to say it's lessons. These are lessons in life and what a wonderful opportunity to teach compassion to our family and friends and people who look after you and love you and want you to help love yourself but not looking at it as addiction but curing it.

KING: Do you think, Michael, it's always been around, you think there were addictions in ...


KING: Revolutionary times. Jefferson. Washington.

BECKWITH: I think whenever there is unconsciousness, when people don't know who they are, when people don't know they are absolutely loved by the universal presence then there is some form of addiction because someone is going to try to find happiness or joy outside of themselves.

KING: But don't times affect it? The place? When - does the Internet add to it? Or cell phones ...

BECKWITH: It adds to that but all stresses are really internal. The same two people can be walking down the same street with all of the noise, with all the bars, drugs, whatever. And one person will be in one world and another person will be in a totally different world based on their interior awareness, based on their intentions, based on their own awakening.

So it doesn't really matter what's outside, it's really the internal triggers.

VAN PRAAGH: (Inaudible)

FORD: That's why the healing process starts with abstinence. It always has to because then instead of it being about the outer world, all of the sudden you have to find - What James is always talking about and Michael's writing about is that internal place ...

KING: Are you always an addict?

BECKWITH: She's addicted to oxygen.

FORD: I'm addicted to you, Larry.

KING: It's incurable, Debbie.

Forgive and forget. Is it something you're able to do? Or are you the type who holds a grudge? Learn the art of letting go when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with this great panel. This topic in this segment is forgiveness. James, you say that besides love, forgiveness is the most powerful spiritual tool we possess. Why?

VAN PRAAGH: I think that it goes right to the core of our being. I think forgiveness is an example of love. For sure. And I think that we are loving, spiritual beings. That's who we are. We are divine beings and I think love is part of our property of who we are and forgiveness is a component of that.

KING: Why is it so hard, J.Z.?

KNIGHT: To forgive someone else?

KING: Yeah.

KNIGHT: Because of our pride and arrogance and yet he's correct when he talks about that we are -we are divine individuals. We love things in the life. Love is the glue that holds things together. When we tear it apart is when we don't forgive.

KING: Let's say you had your life savings with Mr. Madoff. Do you forgive him?

KNIGHT: I think that you can forgive him. I think that it takes a while. We don't want to minimize it. There are emotions that come up, they are healthy emotions, you should be angry if you lose your life savings but there is something to learn here. There is a new way of life to be birthed and I think that's why we hold on.

We don't believe that there's a better future for us so if somebody hurts us or takes something away from us, we believe that somehow it is going to diminish our future and the exact opposite is really true.

VAN PRAAGH: I was just going to say in the book there's a story exactly about this man who comes back and he's a spirit and he talks to this lady and he apologize for taking her life's savings and spending it all. And he said what he had to tell her was when he grew up he had no self worth. And this was his way to gain all that worth.

I think when the ego is involved, God says yes, our ego says no. So I think the ego has the power (ph) of forgiveness.

KNIGHT: I also like to tell people, Larry, that you know, why, why give up your future by holding on to an incident in your past? Your life should be more important than holding a grudge.

KING: Do you feel better, Michael, when you forgive?

BECKWITH: Absolutely. All forgiveness is really self-forgiveness. You're actually releasing the resentment, the animosity, which as J.Z. is reminding us, actually has an effect on your body temple. It blocks your creativity, it prevents you from seeing reality.

KING: Debbie, it's the number one thing Christ taught, is it not?

FORD: It is and we all need ...

KING: Why do so few people not practice it?

FORD: Because people think that somehow they're right or they're better because they hold on to some resentment. The ego wants to be right at any cost.

BECKWITH: There's an old, I guess, Native American statement that says unforgiveness and revenge is drinking poison, hoping that it will hurt the other person. And this is what people think. They're going to hold on to this resentment, this animosity, and they really think it's going to help or hurt the individual that hurt them.

VAN PRAAGH: And it's also true when you think someone else is wrong and you're right, you feel empowered. You feel (inaudible) person.

KNIGHT: It is. It's an empowering thing but to forgive someone is the ultimate love and it's the ultimate self-empowerment.

KING: What happens when you don't forgive, Debbie?

FORD: You get old, tired, sick, depressed, angry.

KNIGHT: You lose. Yeah. It's freedom, it's cutting the cord, it's saying maybe I don't love what you did and maybe I can't condone your behavior but you're over there and I'm going to be free.

FORD: Totally.

KNIGHT: I've been friends with a woman who was in the Holocaust and she was in a concentration camp and when I met her, the first thing I said was how did you forgive, she said, "I would never give Hitler another moment of my life."

FORD: Bravo.

BECKWITH: She didn't have energy to send him, right? That's exactly right. Absolutely.

KING: Do we also forget?

BECKWITH: Well, we're not committing a lobotomy here. We don't have to forget. In other words - it doesn't have the emotional hit that it used to have so it doesn't come up in your mind every time. As a matter of fact, when true forgiveness takes place you begin, as James reminds us here, you actually begin to see life through that person's perspective. You actually see why they did what they did and you understand, even though the perception was limited, you actually understand why they did it.

So true forgiveness not only eliminates the emotional baggage, the emotional hits that we get, but you begin to see life from their point of view. You don't forget it, you forgive it.

VAN PRAAGH: And you learn from it which is the important thing.

KING: Is there a relationship between forgiveness and ego?

VAN PRAAGH: Well, yeah, as I was saying before, I think when you're in your ego you're shut off from forgiveness because you're so caught up in your stuff, your own tower, that it gets in the way of forgiving freely, unconditionally and actually the only way to forgive is unconditionally. And learn the lessons that it's teaching you. You have to look for the lesson and have the courage to see it.

FORD: Because forgiveness is a process of the heart. The head says, no, no, no. How could I do it? And that's the hardest. That's why unless - I believe that unless you find really the gift, like what could I learn from this? How could I step into my next level of greatness? What could I create? How could I share? How could I make this world a better place because of this event? Then you're free.

KING: Wouldn't the hardest thing to forgive be to forgive someone who harmed your child?

BECKWITH: Oh, absolutely, it'd be very difficult.

KING: I think about that as impossible.

BECKWITH: Well, I don't think - people have done it. People have lost loved ones and have absolutely opened their heart to forgiveness because forgiveness is the dynamic act of self-empowerment. You're not going to allow what someone else did to determine your destiny.

KING: No matter how painful ...

BECKWITH: No matter how painful it is, you're not allowing someone else, what they did, to take away your unfoldment (ph).

VAN PRAAGH: Some of the worst experience in life, situations we go through, let's say murder, or murdered my children. It's hard to say this but they are some of the greatest lessons and you want to grow and evolve the most from that situation.

KING: Easy to say when it hasn't happened to you.

KNIGHT: Exactly.

KING: That's the hardest thing.

KNIGHT: But forgiveness, you know, can you forgive and forget? I always tell people that the principle - don't worry that you can't forget it because in - therein lies the lesson in forgiveness. That's what makes us wise and makes us understanding.

KING: Do you believe in karma? The women of "The View" will give us their thoughts in 60 seconds.


KING: If you're good, do good things happen to you? What about when bad things happen to good people. Let's hear the thoughts of Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar about karma.

Is there a natural, universal law, cause and effect? We'll delve into that possibility next.


KING: We're back. Let's reintroduce the panel. J.Z. Knight is the founder of the Ramtha School of Enlightenment and the newest book is "Last Waltz of the Tyrants". James Van Praagh, our famed spiritual leader, co-executive producer of his own television show and new book, "Unfinished Business: What the Dead Can Teach Us". Great looking book, too. Debbie Ford, life coach, workshop leader and author of "Why Good People Do Bad Things". And Michael Beckwith. Founder and spiritual director of Agape International Spiritual Center and author of "Spiritual Liberation: Fulfilling Your Soul's Potential".

What is karma? James?

VAN PRAAGH: Karma is the law of cause and effect. What we talked about earlier. What you give out you get back. It's an energy. It's how you use that energy and a lot of people think karma is just negative. Not necessarily.

KING: I've heard bad karma, good karma.

VAN PRAAGH: Bad karma, good karma. It's what you do with that energy. How are you going to control that energy? Love or fear? Here we go again.

KING: Give me an example of it, J.Z.

KNIGHT: Well, whatever you think - rather than karma and cause and effect, whatever you think you're going to create reality because your thoughts are the architecture from the quantum field that creates the reality you're about to experience. So whatever you think - if you're thinking that you feel better today, your temperature will go down, your ...

KING: Mind over matter.

KNIGHT: Totally. Well, mind over matter is mind as matter. It's not over it. It is it.

KING: How does karma help us?

FORD: I was going to tell you a karmic story. I'm driving, my son, 14 years old, says mom, just cut in front of everybody, go there. And I cut in front of them and I'm like, what am I going to do? What's this going to cost me? Three minutes later somebody runs into the back of my car. That was instant karma. If you learn from it ...

KNIGHT: But we have that all the time. We see it every single day for just a glare (ph) in our life what we think happens to us.

BECKWITH: Karma can only determine starting points, it can't determine our destiny, however, and so you may have put out a lot of negative energy and you may - it will create a starting point for you but your destiny is determined by the attitudes and also your character.

KING: But it's come to mean, people say, you'll have karma with you or you have good karma or almost a fact of attraction to someone else, you'll have a connection from somewhere. Is that part of the karma world?

VAN PRAAGH: (Inaudible) general term, if you will, karma. But I think it's great that it's being used because at least people are using it. So I think it's an energy, energetically, there's an attraction to somebody. Everybody has that. Go into a certain building or room, and they feel I don't like this house or this place, or people, I love this person that I'm meeting for the first time.

KING: Why is that? Karma?

VAN PRAAGH: It could be karma, it could be lifetimes together, many lifetimes together, we just have an attraction or not be attracted.

FORD: Or futures together.

BECKWITH: Or futures together (inaudible) happening simultaneously.


KING: Can you prove it exists?

KNIGHT: Ask him.

KING: Ask ...

KNIGHT: (Inaudible) will tell you it exists. Observation of any energy field that collapses into tiny particles of matter will tell you that's (inaudible) not a theory.

FORD: And good karma, we've all experienced it. We do something good for another, we reach out, we allow somebody to walk in front of us, we do something and all of the sudden we feel great the next day or we are - it makes us feel good about ourselves. We have an internal judge. We don't have to worry about the outer world judging us.

BECKWITH: That's right.

FORD: We have these scales of justice inside.

KING: James talks about a bumper sticker he read. Can any of you explain the quote, "How you treat me is your karma, how I react is mine."

BECKWITH: Absolutely. We don't need to experience how someone else is treating us. We only experience how we're treating someone else and how we think about them and what we say about them and when you begin to understand that, you're now empowered. Most people are walking around allowing the tail to wag the dog. Someone doesn't like them, someone says something about them, and then they take that on and experience it.

KING: Does it cause you to be a fatalist, James? Oh, it's karma.

VAN PRAAGH: No. I think that you're in control. Once you're in control of your life, what happens to you is a whole different world.

KING: Do you believe in fate?

VAN PRAAGH: I believe in certain things. I believe in destiny points. I believe that we have a blueprint before we come back onto this earth there are certain lessons we have to learn in certain situations.

KING: Back on (inaudible).

VAN PRAAGH: Yes back on this (inaudible), I've been here many, many times, Larry. We've done this before many other lifetimes.

FORD: Don't you remember?

VAN PRAAGH: Larry, come on.

KING: (inaudible)

VAN PRAAGH: You've got to go within to remember. That's meditation.

KING: Do you remember?

VAN PRAAGH: I do remember several lifetimes. I do remember several lifetimes. I remember many lifetimes I was a general of a war and I was responsible for killing many people and I asked why I'm coming back - that was the answer why I'm coming back in this lifetime helping heal people, the answer was because in several lifetimes, I was in charge of killing people.

KING: You realize that's unprovable. Do all of you believe in this reincarnation concept?


BECKWITH: Without a doubt.

VAN PRAAGH: I believe in eternal life ...

KING: (inaudible) die.

VAN PRAAGH: I know there is eternal life ...

KNIGHT: We are divine beings that life is cyclical and that the body dies but the spirit continues on. We're indestructible. If God created us from God and God is indestructible we're made of that stuff.

KING: (Inaudible)

KNIGHT: Well, you can call it anything you want to, Larry. Where we started from.

BECKWITH: And reincarnation is just one thing within infinite possibilities.

KING: You can see it - you can't see it, rather. Some people can see it.


KING: The most possible - or powerful thing there is. The possibility and the power of love. Next.


KING: Is love definable? J.Z.? What's love?

KNIGHT: Oh, my God, you ask me this question ...

Love is a mystery born in a now evolved in time and when I say what is love to people, I say you're love, love is the glue that holds you together.

KING: You say in your book it's the strongest healing force.


KING: What does that mean - (inaudible) romantically.

VAN PRAAGH: Not sexually, that's fine ...

KING: (Inaudible) romantically, (inaudible).

VAN PRAAGH: Emotionally, that's fine. Love is - it is. It's the glue that brings people together. It is our energetic being. Who we are, we are loving beings. It's a natural sense of energy.

KING: It's also painful.

FORD: Also painful. It can lessons (ph) and I think ultimately love starts inside, knowing who we are more, not just an emotional being but a spiritual being. And when we're there we can over - love, we can tap into that love and we can overcome anything. I mean we can overcome the greatest tragedy if we remember that who we are is really birthed out of love.

KING: And compassionate is a part of love, isn't it?

BECKWITH: Compassion is one of the highest forms of love because it is the understanding of the lack of understanding.

KING: Do most people have compassion?

BECKWITH: I think if people evolve or grow, they grow into compassion. Some people don't have it. Some people have it.

KING: Children have it. BECKWITH: Children seem to have it naturally and society breeds it out of them. Through high commercialism and materialism they become stingy or whatever the case may be.

KING: Why does love - J.Z., I'm talking about romantic love. When people think love they think romantic. Why does it bring so much pain? If you're in love with someone, that person has tremendous power over you. Whereas if you're in like, not so much power.

KNIGHT: Because - it's my definition that I think people are held together with love, that they are the light of love within them and then when they create reality, they are loving that into life. When you love another person you are seeing in that person all that you see in yourself. You cannot see in someone ...

VAN PRAAGH: That's right.

KNIGHT: ... of something you're not. So you're in love with yourself in another person. When that person shows you a side of themself that isn't a side of yourself, that inflicts pain and you can't see yourself anymore, that's the pain. I can't see me anymore, I can't love this reflection that I'm ...

KING: What about (inaudible)

VAN PRAAGH: One of the greatest lessons we can learn about love is that the people in our lives that we have the hardest times with, the adversarial people in our lives, people we just can't get along with. They are our greatest teachers. They are teaching you something about yourself. (Inaudible) yourself is not whole.

KING: What about jealousy? Is that love?

BECKWITH: No. Jealousy is wanting to have what someone else has. Envy is not wanting them to have what they have. So envy is jealousy on steroids and so it comes from a great sense of lack of self love and appreciation so it's not love. And a romantic that you're talking about, that's a sweet sentimentality. That is not the most powerful presence in the world. Real love is a total givingness, unconditional, without agenda, that we evolve to through ...

KING: Are you saying you don't think romantic love is strong?

BECKWITH: No, I'm not saying it's not strong. But oftentimes it's addictive and oftentimes as J.Z. was reminding us, it's really a projection. You're projecting the best part of you onto another person. Only to be oftentimes disillusioned later on to discover that they don't really have those qualities. Those qualities were the qualities you were putting on them.

So it becomes a wonderful life lesson.

VAN PRAAGH: One thing (inaudible) Larry that that's just a small aspect of you, that romantic love. Maybe that's just one small aspect of you as a spiritual being, as a soul being, that's one small aspect, romantic love. But love is much, much greater than that. KNIGHT: I think jealousy is a lack of self love to where we are trying to manipulate our life to put things in front of us to show us something beautiful about ourselves and we've not made it so we're envious of other people who do well.

KING: One of the (inaudible) of love, Debbie, people in love feel that they own the other person.

FORD: And that's why jealousy comes up because when you think you own somebody that isn't actually love.

KING: That's not love.

FORD: No, that's not love, it's possessiveness, it's need, it's control, it's - and it feels like love to many people because most people never really learn to love. They at a very young age got cut off from true, pure love where you go deeper with people.

KING: What is that feeling James? What do your people - you have to find them (ph). What do you people tell you, what do they tell you about love?

VAN PRAAGH: Well, they say love is the greatest energy there is. The element that we have that we are loving beings, that is an energy we have and that we come back on this earth to find that expression, every single day in every situation that we put ourselves into with one another, we have to learn the expression of love. (Inaudible).

KING: One or two words you would say to someone to lead a good life?

BECKWITH: We're here on the planet earth to perfect our loving so if you go through the process of forgiveness and perfect your loving you're going to end up running into happiness.

KING: Debbie?

FORD: Love yourself. Learn to love every aspect, dark and light, because ultimately that's all you're here for and if you love you then it's easy to love you.

KING: J.Z., quick.

KNIGHT: You are the greatest mystery, start defining what it is.

KING: And here as we began, the final word to you, James.

VAN PRAAGH: I just say love one another so you have no unfinished business when you leave this planet.

KING: Thanks to you all, terrific hour.

(Inaudible) and the news continues right now on CNN.