Review: There Are No Goodbyes by Paddy McMahon
Guardian angels occupy a cherished place in our spiritual psyche. As children, the last thing Irish youngsters did was pray to their guardian angels, "to rule and guide, amen".
In adulthood, we've implored them to find fickle things like parking spaces and lost wallets and to get us safely through bumpy flights. However, talking to spirits that have 'passed over' was a different matter altogether. When you're dead, you're dead has been our mantra.
Enter Paddy McMahon (76), whose new book explores where people go after they die and which has emerged a surprise bestseller in just two weeks. McMahon, a former OPW civil servant from Co Clare was, at his own confession, totally surprised 32 years ago to suddenly find himself developing the ability to communicate with spirits through his spirit guide Shebaka and Margaret Anna Cusack aka the nun of Kenmare.
Last year, when Paddy set out to write this book on what happens to us after we die and how we can communicate with loved ones after they pass away, he had no idea what a personal journey he was about to embark on and it is this personal element which put Paddy's philosophy to the test in an extreme way.
Paddy's only son Brian was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he died on August 9 last, aged 46. While Paddy no longer feared death as he had as a child and as a young man, he was "torn" by Brian's impending demise. While his son tolerated Paddy's beliefs about life after death and guardian angels, Brian came from the 'when you're dead, you're dead' school of thinking.
"I was deeply concerned about the state of confusion that Brian would inevitably find himself in if he passed on believing that there would be only oblivion", explained Paddy. However three months before he died, Brian opened up and Paddy explained his understanding that "life continues after death and that the key to how it continues lies in our ability to be open-minded".
Open-mindedness is the key word here to completing Paddy McMahon's 269-page book which includes advice on how to communicate with your guides and why you should hand over your problems or challenges to them.
He acknowledges that while the whole concept of talking to spirit guides and guardian angels can seem far-fetched to some people, he sets out to help readers see the "apparent conundrum of life and death in a light-hearted and wholly reassuring way".
The author outlines an exercise on how to receive their help by imagining yourself in a circle with your guides and feeling the flow of unconditional love around the universe.
The book is not morbid even though it looks at issues like bereavement pain and considers meeting souls on the astral plane, a common description of where we go while our bodies are asleep.
Reclusive by nature, Paddy previously wrote under the pen name Patrick Francis and was hesitant drawing the publicity spotlight on himself but his raison d'etre for writing this book was "not to leave this physical dimension without sharing the information about the after life passed on to me by friends in spirit".
As for his son Brian, he delivered on his promise to his dad to let him know how he was getting on after he passed away nine months ago.
"After Brian's passing, he quickly communicated that he had arrived safely. I felt his presence and I was very pleased that he had no trouble getting through to me. I usually ask for some little evidence, no matter how mundane, just to make sure that it is not my imagination taking over.
"One of the big differences between life on earth and life in spirit is that humans exist within a linear timescale with a past, present and future, but in spirit it is simply a continuing present," says Paddy.
Discussing his own sense of mortality, Paddy says he wants to "hang on here for another while, even though life would be much easier for me without the physical constraints of old age.
"I think we all know in our hearts that we have chosen to be born into physical life for special reasons peculiar to ourselves and that we don't want to leave until we have completed whatever it was we came to do."