Should I press on with an
explanation, there is the risk that I may be associated with the
new-age movement and the dreadful assumption that my
spirituality consists of astrology, crystal healing and sidewalk
It's detailed, convoluted in some places, unresolved in others, and yet, in my opinion, describes a reality more magnificent and comprehensive than any offered by organized religion.
I'm certainly not alone...
I would venture to guess that this also describes the spirituality of many of my readers as well.
If you are anything like
me, it's not easy to square these beliefs with everyday life.
Incorporating knowledge from a wide variety of sources is the hallmark of this movement, as well as the understanding that beliefs derived from these sources are always up for scrutiny and revision when better evidence comes along.
Unlike the static
of religion, our beliefs may (and
should) change as we integrate more evidence and experiences.
From EVP technicians to philosophers to Psi researchers to hospice workers and near-death experiencers, we are united by our desire to study a hidden reality that is revealed through small glimpses behind the veil.
It requires the participation of tens of thousands of people who each hold a small clue or piece of the overall pattern.
Together we can begin to
see the tapestry of this larger reality take shape, even if the
image that emerges looks different in the details to each of us.
I appreciate the freedom to chart my own path, but I still have a deep yearning for spiritual guidance and fellowship, two things provided by organized religion that is absent from my experience.
This desire for
guidance and comfort has grown considerably since my best
friend's passing in September after a long illness.
They are not what you
might think of as 'warm and fuzzy', at least in my experience.
Want proof that our lives aren't all that important once we are out of the body? Just read any near death experience.
Once out of the body, nearly everyone describes little interest in the emergency unfolding below and feels emotionally detached from the life they have just temporarily separated from.
Even mothers with young children have had to admit, with great shame and regret, that the love of their children couldn't compete with the fantastic feeling of love and unity they experienced 'in the light.'
It seems like once we are high on the feeling of connection with the 'source', enjoying the great lack of fear and insecurity that was with us every waking moment on earth, we no longer have that sense of intensity about our earth lives that we do in the body.
And why should we?
Once we know that death is an illusion and that all pain is temporary, our compassion toward the suffering on earth is somewhat dulled. I compare it to the limited sympathy we have for small children who cry when they are made to eat broccoli.
It feels like a great
injustice to the child, but we know that their "suffering" is
temporary and ultimately, broccoli is good for them even if it
tastes bad and smells worse.
The point of our life, according to the concept of soul contracts or spiritual agreements, is to grow spiritually by meeting specific pre-arranged challenges, so adversity is part of the design.
A good life is achieved by meeting those challenges, adapting, growing and maintaining an ethos of love and service to others.
The role of spirit guides
is to steer us toward our intended challenges, not away from them.
Certainly, we can choose to make our own lives more miserable than
they had to be, but that choice is honored as the product of our
free will, and unless our choices will seriously derail us from what
we wanted to accomplish, spirit guides won't intervene.
When she was out of her body, she was excited by the prospect that as a result of her injuries, she might lose sight in one of her eyes.
Back in her body, however, Sudman,
Sudman goes on to describe a kind of "deranged" double-awareness:
It is somewhat comforting to know that at some point I will no longer be traumatized by the suffering I've endured on earth, but,
To the religious majority, safely confined in their orthodoxy with it's ready answers, I am pitiable and lost.
I'm adrift in agnosticism. Undefined. "Spiritual but not religious". And while I feel I may be closer to the truth than most, I am keenly aware that this "truth" can be quite inconvenient at times.
I share this discontentment with those who have been there and returned.
According to researcher P.M.H. Atwater, near death experiencers require an average of seven years to integrate their experience and often feel the crushing loss of separation, depression and a desire to return to the light at all costs.
This feeling of spiritual abandonment is acute, and while I've never been to the 'other side' that I know of, I can only imagine how cold life must feel to those with conscious knowledge of what they are missing.
Eventually, NDErs will come to appreciate the positive changes that occur in their lives as a result of their experience, such as loss of the fear of death and the importance of being loving and compassionate.
The knowledge is
hard-won, though, since it requires almost dying to achieve this
enlightenment while on earth.
Maybe her higher self did, and I wrestle with the possibility that we agree whole-heartedly to submit a portion of our consciousness to lives of pain and suffering without any explanation or reassurance that there is a larger purpose behind it.
Do the ends justify the
means? I hope so, but it feels rather cruel.
In this, I have some hope of succeeding this trial of earth. There are answers from the spirit world available to help remind us that hope is not lost, but one must seek them out. And the answers they give don't relieve us from the difficulty of life.
I thought that searching
for spiritual truth would make it easier to face adversity, but the
reality is that
spirituality is no panacea, no
escape from the inevitable truth that life-is-hard.
We create our reality, face our challenges and then hopefully one day.... one glorious day.... we will abandon our body like discarding an old coat. We will wake as if from a terrible dream.
We will find ourselves in the light saying,
And in that new state of
bliss, we will not look back...