Most people see Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) as somewhere on the scale between Mildly Annoying and Major Pain in the Arse (US: Ass).

But when I see them at the door, or walking down the road, I am happy. I know that, within a few minutes, they will be backing away from me with fear and panic in their eyes. Because I don’t see them as brainwashed, robotic, joyless beings. I hail them as fellow seekers on the road to enlightenment who have been tragically misinformed. For me, talking to a JW is an opportunity to turn them away from the path of ignorance and darkness, and towards an open country of wonderful possibilities. It also gives me the chance to talk about one of my favourite subjects: Reincarnation.

When I first mention reincarnation, the leading JW’s eyes flash as they think they have found someone to talk to. Perhaps even turn. They typically ask if reincarnation is something I “believe” in – and that’s my opening.

You see, I’ve done quite a lot of reading around this subject and it’s not a “belief” – it’s an “understanding”. It something that, at the very least, has made my life infinitely easier to live. I won’t go into detail here, but I am 100% convinced of the reality of reincarnation as a process – and have a reading list to back it up. Some of these books are more exciting than others, but I list them for you here so that you, too, can be equipped to deal with JWs in the future.

JWs are not to be feared. They just don’t possess all the information available.

Journey of Souls, Dr Michael Newton

(About what happens between when we die and when we incarnate again – start with this one)

Destiny of Souls, Dr Michael Newton

(Not as good as the first, from memory, but sequels are never easy)

Children’s Past Lives, Carol Bowman

(Some great stories about kids who remember a previous life – superb)

Return from Heaven, Carol Bowman

(About kids who incarnate back into the same family)

Conversations with God Book 1, Neale Donald Walsch

(Very challenging for Christians, despite the title – very highly recommended)

Conversations with God Book 2, Neale Donald Walsch

(Seriously interesting – I remember this being better than book one)

Conversations with God Book 3, Neale Donald Walsch

(There are more, but the point’s been made by now – sequels again)

Many Lives, Many Masters, Brian Weiss

(Wasn’t crazy about this one, but some people love it)

Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn

(Wonderful book on meditation I lent to my friend Beth years ago)

This last book is a book on meditation and includes lots of different – and excellent – exercises to try. It’s included here because, to my knowledge, JWs are afraid of meditation. I dabbled in happy-clappy Christianity when I was growing up and we were told never to meditate. I suspect this is because, when you become still and quiet, you begin to question some of the things you’ve been told that don’t ring true. Christians might label this doubt or temptation and say it comes from the devil. But I don’t believe that for a second.

(Comments on this post might get interesting.)

Back in May 2007, I hinted at some books that have profoundly influenced my thinking. I said they “might be a bit New Age for your tastes” and left it at that. (What a book tease.)

But I recently got a message on a Popular Social Networking Service from a former colleague who said I lent her one of those books and it also had a profound influence on her. It just so happens that this was the book that started me off on a journey from the kitchen table in an apartment in Minneapolis to this old garden table in a yurt in the Dordogne.

Who knows where it could take you?

The book is called “Journey of Souls” by Dr Michael Newton. In a sentence, it’s about what happens between the point of death and the point of re-birth, using case studies from many clients under deep hypnosis to tell the whole story. Personally, I’ve always had a soft spot for reincarnation and it was great to read about the process in more detail. But it’s a touchy subject for a lot of people, so I’ll say no more about it for now.

The other book I’ll give you (it’s nearly mid-winter, can you tell?) is far less challenging. It’s called “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by the astonishingly named Audrey Niffenegger. You may have read this already, but I’m re-reading it now and it’s just as good the second time round. Unwaveringly brilliant (and unless I’m mistaken, a key source text for the current series of “Doctor Who”).