ONE OF THE FIRST CONCEPTS one must accept “on faith” when embarking on a spiritual path is that of a soul being separate and distinct from the physical body that contains it. Not only is this one of the fundamental similarities shared by many of the established religions of the world, but it is also one of the few places where the New Thought movement is wholeheartedly in agreement with the religious establishment. There is much discussion surrounding how and when a soul enters the body during birth, and ultimately what happens to the soul after death, but there is a general agreement that the separation of soul and body is both fundamental and regarded in a positive manner.
However, there is substantially less agreement surrounding the fascinating subject of what happens when more than one soul inhabits a single physical body. Part of the reason for this dissent is the negative connotations associated with the concept of possession. For years, Hollywood horror films have sensationalized the event of a body being taken over against its will, which is akin to a forced metaphysical assault.
The kinder, gentler sibling to possession is known as a Walk-In. It is accepted that a Walk-In stems from an agreement between the two souls, oftentimes made before the physical body is born. From a human perspective, what this means is that a body is “taken over” when the previous inhabitant is finished with their time on Earth and is no longer interested in continuing on.
Those familiar with Walk-Ins describe the initial experience as a distinct shift of personality or thought patterns following a traumatic event or miraculous recovery from a severe illness. The subject is subsequently less concerned with their own challenges, and uncharacteristically begins to show a preoccupation with the burdens of others. Walk-Ins are further described as having an inner poise or quiet radiance and are genuinely interested in helping humanity, without establishing overly close ties with individuals. They also tend to emotionally distance themselves from previous friends and loved ones.
It is understood that Walk-Ins come to a host body for two fundamental reasons: the first is to help the individual complete their tasks on Earth that they were not willing or able to do; and secondarily, to accomplish the Walk-In’s own work on this planet. This work is typically more focused than a traditional soul’s work, which is why utilizing a body that is already mature is desirable for a Walk-In. And although the learning opportunities inherent in being born, developing language and motor skills, and accumulating childhood experiences are significant, it is believed that Walk-Ins tend to fast-forward past these experiences in order to “get on with it” and begin their work without enduring the nascent lessons of being human.
When Ruth Montgomery published her seminal book, Strangers Among Us, in 1979, she stunned the spiritual community with the assertion that not only was this previously fringe concept more common than had been imagined, but people in prominent positions of power were subjects of Walk-In experiences. In her book she names Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin and Gandhi, among others, in a long line of influential Walk-Ins. She goes on to explain that not only are Walk-Ins attracted to substantial positions of power, but many are working quietly among us in all levels of society.
What’s ironic is that although some religious organizations denounce Walk-Ins as having malevolent intentions on par with possession, the very same organizations tout a fundamental shift in consciousness that happens to their followers when they begin to perceive a soul within their body that is previously unfamiliar to them. For example, in Christianity this experience is named awakening, Buddhism calls it bodhi, and Hinduism refers to it asmoksha. And although these experiences are described in unique ways, what is common is that there is a profound shift in consciousness when the mind acknowledges the existence of a soul that was not perceived before. In fact, Christianity asserts that pivotal event stems directly from the act of “inviting Jesus Christ into your heart,” which could be perceived as similar to the “agreement” that is made with a Walk-In.
There is much work to be done in the field of metaphysics to help us comprehend how experiences that are common to us all can be understood and shared with one another. This is one of the main reasons why I was compelled to write and direct the feature film Walk-In (Hay House DVD, October 1, 2013). I am fascinated by how these occurrences define our relationship with ourselves, our loved ones, and ultimately the world around us. And I hope to provide a catalyst for discussion about one of the most profound challenges that affects us all: how to come to terms with having a spiritual experience in a physical body.
Scott Blum is an author and the co-founder of the popular inspirational website DailyOM. He is also a successful multimedia artist who has collaborated with several popular authors, musicians, and visual artists and has produced many critically acclaimed works.