Suspension of Disbelief
I woke up at 5am this Saturday morning wishing with all of my heart that I was still asleep. Â But sleep was clearly not going to happen. Â My inner voice was telling me to write. Â “Just get up and write, Nora.” Â Many of you may not know (since you might know me through a blog) that I don’t actually enjoy writing. Â I like to talk. I like to think. Â I like to engage. Â I like to imagine. Â But I most definitely do not like to write. Â So when I wake up with urges to write, as frequently seems to happen these days, I fight myself all the way to the computer. Â (And forget keeping a journal by hand. Â It feels so slow and frustrating. Â I think my brain has become rewired to think in sync with writing on a computer.)
My first thought when I wake up these days isn’t ‘where’s ayrie?’ I don’t look at his pillow thinking that he might be there. Instead my mind instinctively starts searching my memory and my emotions to see if Ayrie visited me in the night through my dreams. Â He’s been so busy visiting other people that I wonder why he doesn’t come to me. Â I’m assuming that there’s a part of me that isn’t open but I don’t know what that is. Â My mind and heart are open. Â But there’s clearly a third portal(?) that isn’t open. Â I’m not sure what it is or how to open it so I keep trying new things to make myself more open to him. Last night I played the sound of a lake at night in the background while I slept because the sound is so beautiful and soothing to me. Â I want to learn meditation but am having trouble learning it on my own.
But, on the other hand, maybe Ayrie’s coming to me in other ways, through flashes of insight. Â Maybe he has a different plan for me.
This morning as I was searching my mind for recent signs of Ayrie my rational mind was telling me ‘You’ve really lost it. I don’t even recognize the inside of this mind anymore!’ You see, I truly used to believe that we are a miraculous assemblage of DNA, synapses and energy transformation but that once our bodies were dead, they were dead. End of story. No soul, no heaven, no afterlife, no spirit…. But in the last month it has become clear to me that I was wrong. Absolutely and completely wrong. So the rational part of me that I have lived with for 36 years is reeling. It doesn’t understand what is happening. It actively tries to seed disbelief. It’s a strange battle happening inside of me. And yet the part that now believes in spirit and afterlife is calm and unflappable. It has a sense of peace and truth on its side. While the rational side is sounding hysterical, desperate and closed minded…. but comfortable in the way that only something familiar can be.
What got me out of bed and writing (against my will in some ways!) three realizations that i want to document before they leave me.
The first is that I only have this rational voice because I happened to grow up in a country that idolizes science at the expense of spirituality. And to clarify, I didn’t used to know what spirituality meant. I (embarrassingly) chalked spirituality up to new-age, crystals, and fluffy talk.Â Wikipedia defines it this way and for the most part it resonates with the way I am starting to experience spirituality and I’ve highlighted the line that most resonates with me.
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of their being; or the â€œdeepest values and meanings by which people live.â€ Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop an individual’s inner life; such practices often lead to an experience of connectedness with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self; with other individuals or the human community; with nature or the cosmos; or with the divine realm. (click here for more)
I mean look at me. Â I minored in Biology. Â I have an MA in Research Methods. Â I am a doctoral student. Clearly research and scientific investigation are a strong element in the fabric of my being. Â The problem for me, as I see it know, is that I believed in science to the exclusion of all else. Â I scoffed at a spiritual world. Â And yet, if I had grown up in a different country, different culture, I may well have scoffed at someone like me who believed so narrowly in science and only science. Â So I am going to work at not needing to justify this inner journey that I am on to others or to myself.
The second realization is about time and space. Â Ayrie is visiting people with the message, “I am here, I am happy, don’t be sad, this is how it is meant to be.” Â In one night he was in the milky way (or the milk, according to Shiya) and in four people’s dreams (dreams that feel as much like visions or messages as dreams). Â I realized that Ayrie still exists but that he does not live with the same time and space constraints that we have. Â He seems to be able to be many places at once… and he can find people no matter where they are. Â He connects to us in a way that has to do with our energies? Â our souls? Â but has nothing to do with maps, roads, and geography. Â He also seems to be so much larger and more diffuse than a single human body, allowing him to be many places at once. Â All of the sudden I feel so earthly. Â I am realizing the limitations of a body connected to this world and the constrained way that we live in the universe.
The third… see? Â I got up to write about three things and I’ve already forgotten the third….
But I remembered a fourth so I’ll write about that one and I’ll be brief. Â I keep saying to people that Ayrie’s existence did not begin with his birth and did not end with his death. Â I’m sure of that but not much else. Â I mean, that opens a lot of questions… what did exist before? Â what exists now? Â Is this what people call a soul? Â If so, how does a soul come into existence? Â Does it ever cease to be? Â When does it enter bodies? Â And why? Â And only human bodies? Â Or all living creature? Â Is there a larger plan? Â Do souls have some free will? Â Or complete free will? Â Do souls know all other souls in the universe? Â Or are there some that they are more intimately connected with? Â Do we meet each other over and over in different ways? Â When our existence enters a human body, does it have a purpose? Â If so, what? Â Who chooses the purpose? Â I think you can see where I am going with this…. I feel that I know one thing as true that I didn’t know before and it’s revealed to me just how much I don’t know.
Oh, and the third thing. Â I still don’t believe in a god or God that has a master plan and who is pulling the strings in all of our lives, who hands out judgement. Nor do I believe in heaven or angels or any of the Christian language that isÂ prevalentÂ in our culture. Â What I seem to be experiencing in anÂ interconnectednessÂ thatÂ transcends time and place. Â So perhaps its the same thing but the words aren’t working for me… or perhaps its something different. Â I don’t know. Â But I do know that I don’t feel the presence of one almighty God. Â What I feel is something as big, as complex, as important, but more collective and less singular. Â Again, I am only grasping at words.
And with that it’s 8am and I am going to climb under the covers until Shiya wakes up.
“Home with God” by Neale Donald Walsh answers all these questions in a way you can now hear. I have the same beliefs of “God” that you do, and I found this book incredibly helpful. I know a lot of people are throwing reading at you left and right, so read it when you can. It is beautiful and will blow your mind…
Thank you Nora for sharing. Thank you so much…
I need to echo Jill’s sentiment that you’re being told to read this and that, but I’ll reiterate that you’re making me think of “By the River Piedra, I Sat Down and Wept,” by Paolo Coelho. (http://bookreviews.nabou.com/reviews/bytheriverpiedra.html) You’re also bringing “The Celestine Prophesy” to mind… Both speak to quieting the rational “other” that exists in each of us and cultivating one’s ability to connect with the Divine/Goddess/God/Oversoul, etc. “The World’s Religions,” by Huston Smith (http://www.amazon.com/Worlds-Religions-Great-Wisdom-Traditions/dp/0062508113)is pretty authoritative on many religions, including a chapter on “The Primal Religions,” which directly speaks to your thoughts on “Orality, Place, and Time” — two sub headings in this chapter being “Place versus Space” and “Eternal Time.”
My final suggestion for reading is “The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen Scientist,” by the Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman. This is a compilation of a series of lectures he’d given on “the problems in the borderline between science and philosophy, religion, and society.”
I’m glad you are sharing your thoughts. Have you made it to any grief meetings? or parents who lost children groups? I feel like if I had to deal with all these thoughts and emotions I would not want to always talk to the people who hadn’t been there..
It’s funny ‘rationality”. just now, trying to think about how to say my thoughts on this I realized a big reason why I don’t believe in a soul is just becasue I so want to (believe in it). ( like my desire invalidates the possibility of it being true). and that’s not really logical. It’s just carefully taking out the emotion part. But.. it is big, I agree if you start looking at it, I feel like it would be all living things. and then there is a line from a Jay Gould essay ( kind a biology philosophy writer) where he compares a cell in the human body to the earth in the solar system.. that commmetn that big looking way in and way out has stuck with me ever since I read it.