“God is such a loaded term –
heavy with expectations and assumptions…”
It’s been a while now since I’ve written and everything has changed. All the weirdness, all the unusual experiences and even all the heart ache is starting to make sense. Ages ago we talked about fate – how you believed in it and I found it hard to accept that there could be anything as definite as a pre-ordained path or event. Now, though, I have to admit that although fate might not be the word I would choose, I have no doubt now that there is a non-physical part of us which has a better sense of what is right for us, and is steering us in that direction.
God is such a loaded term – heavy with expectations and assumptions, and colored with our own personal experiences of life. Did I believe in God? I was raised to believe in one so I suppose I always did in some way. But not actively. I didn’t believe there was a God in any meaningful way. I turned my back on religion as an adult and God along with it. And why not. There is so much to life that the last thing I wanted to be doing was contemplating a world beyond it. I couldn’t find any way of reconciling my own desires and needs with those of an external deity, so I chose to follow my own path rather than one laid down by others.
Without knowing it, this last period of my life has been all about discovering another side to myself – and to life – that I had long ignored. Right through the heart ache and pain, there seemed to be another force at work besides my own will. I think by giving up (reluctantly!) the struggle to work things out between you and I, this force was given more freedom to work its magic through my life and to steer me in a direction that suited me better. Perhaps you only appeared in my life to act as a catalyst – to move me on from the stagnation that had set in, comfortable stagnation though it was. Perhaps that was all you were ever meant to do and I just got the wrong end of the stick completely. That seems too fatalistic, though – words like ‘meant to’ seem to suggest that we have no choice in what happens to us and I believe we do, though which part of us makes that choice is something I’m having to reconsider!
I have come to accept that this force working through my life is God, uncomfortable as that acknowledgement makes me feel. Not God in the traditional sense of a being that sits somewhere apart from us earthly mortals making decisions about what’s right or wrong. I’ve come to understand God in the way that many native peoples do – as the conscious, creative, life-force of the universe of which we are part. Like the wind, we sense its effects but how could we expect to really understand something that is non-physical when we’re using the limited physical body to interpret our experiences? That would make no sense and yet that’s exactly what many people try to do. They look to science or logic to understand something that is supposed to be beyond the physical world – science and logic that depend on a rational, limited brain to dissect and explain phenomena. How could it hope to ever really prove to itself the existence of a omnipotent force. It reminds me a little of trying to explain the reality of adult life to a five year old – the limited frame of reference naturally prevents any proper understanding.
The thing is, when you really believe that you have a soul, everything changes. When you have a meaningful understanding, based on personal experience, of some larger force operating through your life, your perspective expands and so much of what we stress and worry about seems irrelevant. I’m not saying my pain is completely gone and I’ll be happy ever after. We’re all still human after all, no matter what we believe, and emotions are part of this world. But it’s like the reference points of life shift. Its kind of hard to explain, but let me try to see if I can give you a sense of the shift.
Take death for example. Most of the modern world sees death as this awful beast of a thing that threatens us all and we go to enormous lengths to avoid. But if we are spirit in a physical body, then death is, at its simplest, like taking off an overcoat. We don’t die – only the body does. And yes, that is sad for those who are left behind, those who have loved and enjoyed the company of the spirit who has left this world. But it’s not death except from the narrower perspective of this physical world. It’s more like a departure for greener pastures. When we say ‘how awful that X is dead’, we’re just projecting onto the departed our own sorrow at their leaving us. That’s if they actually ‘depart’ at all. Released from the limitations of physical life is probably closer to the reality of what it feels like – joy, freedom, expansion, rather than loss.
So when you look at life with that awareness, it becomes more like a play on a stage. It can be as light or as heavy as we want, but at the end of the day, we’re just taking part in a temporary drama after which we can drop the costumes and laugh about the roles we played. We might forget, sometimes, that it is just a play, and get caught up in the drama of it. But then we remember it has no long-term consequences on our ‘real’ life of the soul, except to help it develop, and we can relax a little and let it play out as it needs to with a greater confidence that all will be okay in the end.
I’m starting to sound like a right mystic! I’m sorry, Mark, if this is getting a little ‘out there’ for you. I’m not trying to convince you of anything – I’m just hoping you can get a sense of how much life is changing for me. One of the difficulties of one-way communication is that you can’t gauge where the other person is at. You might be finding all this totally fascinating, or wonder if I’ve completely lost my sanity. Or both! If the ability to hold down a job, look after my daughter and continue with my training as a healer are any measures of mental health, though, then I think I’m doing alright. On the outside, my life still looks pretty normal.
I think I value being able to write to you, regardless of your availability as an audience, because it’s one of the few times I get to tease through the changes that are happening in my life. Even those I’ve met on the shamanic courses aren’t necessarily delving deeply into the spiritual aspects of all of this. Many of them either subscribe to an already established view of spirituality or they are simply interested in the healing aspects of the course. I’ve always needed to find my own personal understanding, through my own experiences, and I’ve never been one to accept received wisdom. So writing to you helps me to articulate my experiences in a way that I can start to wrap my very befuddled brain around them.
I have loads more to share, Mark, but it’s getting late and I’m finding I need a lot of sleep these days – maybe making up for the insomnia I had for a few months, or allowing my body and mind to catch up with all the deep changes that are happening. I think I’m coming to the end of this sharing, too, so perhaps my next letter will be my last. It feels like it’s getting close to the time to say goodbye for now.
I hope life is treating you well, and that you’re happy.
Much, much, love,
(The Blog Novel of the Letters unfolds here regularly. If you’d like to be alerted as they are published, please just ‘follow’ my blog)