Ben H. Swett

Background (revised 21 April 1999)

In July, 1997, René K. Müller, webmaster of Spiritual Consciousness on the World Wide Web, asked me to consider teaching some classes or courses in SpiritWebChat (SWC). I would rather lead a seminar than deliver a lecture, so I tried that approach and have found it works fairly well.

In a lecture, one person talks and everyone else listens, so it's a lot like reading a paper. In a chat, several discussions are usually going on at the same time, so it is difficult to follow any of them.

A seminar is a guided discussion in which the leader briefly presents an issue or question, invites everyone to respond to it, and then presents another issue or question. At times, the leader may invite questions or ask someone to expand on a previous response.

Concept (revised 21 April 1999)

These seminars are open to anyone who wants to attend. Each seminar will explore a stated topic. Each meeting will be a one hour guided discussion, followed by unguided discussion of the topic. There will be no fees or other charges, no grading system, and no predetermined "school solution." Selected portions of the meeting transcripts will be posted on this site -- but not if they contain a statement such as "off the record".

Groundrules (revised 21 April 1999)

Courtesy is expected. Instead of attacking what others believe, say what you believe -- or politely ask others to explain what they post. Please keep your posts reasonably brief, and please don't get into off-topic side conversations. Please use the private message function to send greetings to new arrivals and to "whisper" in class once it starts. That way the text is easier for everyone to follow, and it is easier for me to clean up the transcript afterward.

History of chatroom changes

René discontinued SpiritWebChat (SWC) on 14 June 2002 in order to focus on other activities. Mike (Awenydd) created a new set of chatrooms at allpathways.com in June 2002. I continued these seminars in allpathways from time to time, but not on a regular basis, because editing the transcripts was taking too much of my time. Mike discontinued allpathways in February 2004 and created another set of chatrooms named GroveChat, which he renamed Innis-Dubh (Black Isle) later in 2004, but eventually most of the people who had gone to SWC went elsewhere, and so, after keeping it online for five years, Mike discontinued Innis-Dubh in 2009.

Seminar Transcripts

01. Spirit -- What are we talking about? Various meanings of the word "spirit" and associated terms, to include dictionary definitions, religious and philosophical traditions, and members' preferences. Purpose is to clarify terminology for personal use. (1997-08)

02. Soul -- What is a soul? Why is a soul said to be valuable? Why do we have two different words, for "soul" and "spirit"? Do animals have souls? What about tasty terminology such as: immortal soul, lost soul, he sold his soul, save your soul? (1997-08)

03. Karma Klatsch -- Concepts or doctrines of Karma, Kismet, Predestination, "The Will of God", etc., with attention to the results those doctrines produce. (1997-09)

04. Which way is up? -- Orientation in spiritual space requires some sort of directional reference system. But incarnate beings living on the surface of a spinning planet tend to point over their heads and say, "That way is up" when it is actually "out" (away from the center of the planet). (1997-10)

05. Spiritual discernment -- How can we tell a good spirit from a bad one? Are there other categories? What are some useful criteria for discernment? What doesn't work, and why? (1997-11)

06. Attributes of Deity -- This subject is mainly an argument with some long-dead theologians. What are the logical consequences of believing various theologies? (1998-01)

07. Miracles -- What is a miracle? What's the difference between major and minor miracles? Can people work miracles? or only saints? or angels? or God? What is the difference (if any) between miracles and magic? (1998-01)

08. Apocalypse -- What about the end of the age? or the world? or the human race? An exploration of some of the various predictions, prophecies, prognostications and speculations. (1998-02)

09. Understanding ET's -- People continue to report experiences with Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO's) and the beings that operate them (ET's) including telepathic and physical encounters. What do you think about all this? And why? (1998-03)

10. Circle of Self-Control -- To what degree do we (or can we) control our selves? To what extent do we "create our own reality"? Our own destiny? What does "free-will" mean? How does it work? If you wish to do so, please feel free to share any tools for self-control that you have found useful. (1998-04)

Review -- A quick look at the last four seminars, in case there was something else someone wanted to address or expand upon in those subject areas. (1998-05)

11. Spiritual Connections -- An exploration of active, functioning, non-material communication between individuals. Do you have such connections? What experiences have led you to believe so? Can you establish or activate them at will? Can you tell whether they are real or imaginary? (1998-06)

12. Questions -- This topic could be called "The art of asking and answering questions." It is part of the art of learning and teaching, and thus of dynamic living. What do we mean when we say "That's a good question" or "That's a good answer"? How do we (each of us) understand and apply this art? (1998-07)

13. Spiritual Healing -- To investigate healing of the physical body, spiritual body, conscious and subconscious mind, this-life and past-life memories, etc., with focused discussion of a variety of spiritual healing techniques and methods. (1998-09)

14. Faith -- What is faith? Some relationships between faith and logic. Scientific faith. Religious faith. Tests of faith. Faith in what? or whom? Participants will be asked to avoid their own doctrines or dogmas, and instead share some insights by which anyone may build or refine a personal faith. (1998-11)

15. Past Life Regression -- As a way to search for previous causes of present problems, and as a way to look for lessons previously learned that could be of benefit if remembered now. To include some guided discussion of various techniques, risks, scenarios, and choices. (1999-01)

16. Facts vs Values -- An exploration of the origin and nature of good and bad, right and wrong, moral and immoral, ethical and unethical, important and trivial, valuable and worthless, etc. (1999-01)

17. Maya: the swamp -- An exploration of confusion, illusion, deception, and delusion. (1999-04)

18. Solid enough to walk on -- An exploration of experience, evidence, testimony, and authority, as bases for belief. (1999-05)

19. Super -- Various concepts of "above" implied by words such as super-natural, super-man, super-human, etc., as tools for thinking about the question "Which way is up?" (1999-09)

20. Spirituality and/or religion -- Many people say they are spiritual but not religious. Many people seem to be religious but not spiritual. What is your understanding of these two concepts? (1999-10)

Hiatus -- Took a break (hiatus) while SWC was being reprogrammed, but several people came at the regular time anyway, so we discussed the meaning of hiatus. (1999-11-20)

21. Going within -- What does the instruction "Go within" mean to you? We hear it a lot, but what does it mean? Who or what goes? Within what? How? Why? What can be done this way? (1999-11)

22. Courage -- What is it? Where does it come from? Where does it go when it's gone? Various types of courage. Relationships between courage and hope, fear, love, wisdom, etc. (2000-01)

23. Beauty -- What is beauty? Where does it come from? What can be done with it? Is there an underlying reason why some things are beautiful and some are not? Is it all just cultural conditioning? Is there any such a thing as a sense of beauty?

24. Chatroom disrupters -- The stated purpose of SWC chatrooms is to provide places for discussion of spirituality, but a lot of what happens isn't discussion, and all too often people post things that are negative, ugly, malicious, disruptive. What can be done about that sort of behavior? (2000-02)

25. Joy -- An exploration of various types and degrees of joy, ecstasy, bliss, etc. External versus internal sources of joy. What is meant by the verbs: enjoy, rejoice, exult, etc? Why do some types of joy turn into sorrow, and some types of sorrow turn into joy? And what can be done about that? (2000-05)

26. Impromptu -- The word impromptu means without preparation; done quickly to suit the occasion. It emphasizes readiness and spontaneity. In this case, two questions: Do people treat you as you treat them? If not, why should you (or anyone) practice the Golden Rule? (2000-07)

27. Psychokinesis -- An exploration of a testable type of psychic power. Sorting out rumors and myths, fakery and fraud, fact and fiction. Design of experiments to include the psychological nature of psychic powers. Implications of having psychic powers. (2000-07)

28. Precognition -- Various examples of "knowing beforehand" and more specifically, knowing something before one should be able to know it by normal thought processes. Discussion of how this can happen, and what we do and don't understand about these experiences. (2000-08)

29. Care-giving -- Sharing and discussion of attendees experiences: as care-giver in cases of severe or prolonged illness; in caring for care-givers; and in care-giving or caring for care-givers over long distances. To include the spiritual aspects and implications of these experiences. (2000-09)

30. Seminars -- The time has come for me to reduce my committment to these seminars and do some other things with my life. Would you like to continue meeting even though I can only be here once in awhile? If so, what do you suggest about leadership? topics? transcripts? (2000-11)


31. Dreams -- Leader: FRAML (2000-Nov-18)

32. Thanksgiving -- Leader: Ben (2000-Nov-25)

33. Marriage in the context of spirit -- Leader: guitarist (2000-Dec-09)

34. Past life or discarnate attachees memories?  -- Leader: FRAML (2000-Dec-16)

35. Holidays Party -- Leader: Ben (2000-Dec-23)

36a. The power of prayer (1) -- Leader: FRAML (2001-Jan-06)
36b. The power of prayer (2) -- Leader: FRAML (2001-Jan-13)
36c. The power of prayer (3) -- Leader: FRAML (2001-Jan-27)

37a. Duality (1)  -- Leader: Ishtahota (2001-Feb-03)
37b. Duality (2) -- Leader: Ishtahota. (2001-Feb-10)

38. Elemental -- Leader: None (2001-Feb-17)

39. Trusting -- Leader: None (2001-Feb-24)

40. Accidents -- Leader: None (2001-Mar-24)

41. Guns -- Leader: None (2001-Mar-31)

42. Blessing -- Leader: FRAML (2001-Apr-07)

43. Open Forum -- Leader: None (2001-Apr-28)

44. FRAML's Return -- Leader: None (2001-May-19)

45. Care Hints -- Leader: FRAML (2001-May-26)

46. Knowledge and Wisdom -- Leader: FRAML (2001-Jun-02)

47. Portal -- Leader: LEGS and FRAML (2001-Jul-28)

48. Pop Quiz (an exercise in discernment)-- Leader: Ben (2001-Aug-04)

49. Acceptance of Others -- Leader: guitarist (2001-Sep-08)

50. 9/11 Attacks -- Leader: FRAML  (2001-Sep-11)

51. Blessings Received -- Leader: FRAML  (2001-Nov-24)

52. Moral Relativism -- Leader: greyman  (2001-Dec-01)

53. Johnny Jihad -- Leader: None (2001-Dec-08)

54. Spirituality of Ageing -- Leader: FRAML (2002-Jan-19)

55. Live This Week -- Leader: FRAML (2002-Jan-26)

56. Military & Spirituality  -- Leader: FRAML (2002-Feb-23)

57. The Ides of FRAML -- Leader: FRAML (2002-Mar-16)

58. When Souls Go -- Leader: FRAML  (2002-Mar-23)

59. Memorial Day -- Why?  -- Leader: FRAML (2002-May-25)

60. Last Seminar In SWC -- Leader: Ben (2002-Jun-08)

61a. Crossroads (part 1) -- Leader: Ben  (2002-Jul-13)
61b. Crossroads (part 2) -- Leader: Ben (2002-Jul-20)
61c. Crossroads (part 3) -- Leader: Ben (2002-Jul-27)

62. Spiritual Temperature -- Leader: LEGS and FRAML (2002-Aug-24)

63. Leading Seminars -- Leader: Awenydd and FRAML (2002-Nov-16)

64a. Angels (part 1) -- Leader: Ben (2003-Feb-15)
64b. Angels (part 2) -- Leader: Ben (2003-Feb-22)
64c. Angels (part 3) -- Leader: Ben (2003-Mar-01)

65a. Surprise (part 1) -- Leader: Ben (2004-Feb-21)
65b. Surprise (part 2)  -- Leader: Ben(2004-Feb-28)