Nancy Hatch has done it again – in her usual wonderful and inimitable fashion. She posted (twice – here and here) recently on a broad subject that has re-stimulated the interest of many, parts of which have held and continue to hold the fascination of most living and breathing humans since the dawn of man. The Afterlife, Reincarnation, Rebirth, Renewal, Ghosts, The Great Unknown, etc.: is there anyone in the blogosphere (or anywhere else for that matter!) who has no thoughts, opinions, feelings and/or experiences on those weighty subjects? As you surely suspect, I am not among their number. I have lots of thoughts:
I begin with a little true story, that encapsulates some of what I believe: The parents of a 4-year-old boy brought home his baby sister. He was fascinated with this little one from the moment he saw her. He immediately began requesting and then insisting that he be allowed to spend some “alone time” with his sister without his parents’ presence. It was a request to which they were very reluctant to accede. After observing him spending time with the baby while in their presence, they decided that it would be all right, and allowed him into the nursery by himself and closed the door.
The parents stayed by the door and listened carefully to try to hear what was being said or done. He walked right up to her crib and said softly in her ear, “Can you remind me what God looks like? ‘Cause I’m starting to forget.” Makes me smile every time I think of it. Frequently I hear of children having memories of the time before their conception, and that the memory is lost as they mature.
The Great Unknown is of course just that: Great and Unknown. That does not keep people – least of all me – from speculating and inferring from what is read, heard, and/or experienced about the nature of the mystery. The many accounts of Near Death Experiences (NDE) leave no room to doubt that such a phenomenon exists; whether they are a true spiritual experience or a simple biological or chemical reaction to accident or illness is not proved or known.
I believe, first and foremost, that we are in essence spiritual beings, created by the Infinite God, in and for the sake of Love. Spirit is not confined to or in any physical form or environment, therefore neither are we. So I am fascinated with the huge realm of possibility that exists as to the “meaning of life” – our infinite life. Searching for this meaning, and trying to carry out that search are part of God’s plan for each spirit. While some of us might find that truth more quickly or easily than others (or feel that they have), it is still and all a long journey, and one that we all take. However, because I am unable to wrap my own meager mind around the concept of infinity, the whole subject of the infinite life is a mystery to me. I have no Final Answers. Not yet, anyway – but that doesn’t keep me from searching. I have come to the conclusion, however, that I am on the right track – for myself, at any rate.
I believe that who I am is the sum of my experiences. Believing that leaves me open to the possibility of reincarnation. At the same time, because I believe that my present life in the now is the most important, knowing who or what I was in my past has much less relevance to my path than who or what I am now. I am an aspiring Christian, and I believe that Christ was referring to that very concept of “the now,” when Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” It is around us always, and within reach, available to all.
Biblically there are at least a couple of instances that reflect a belief, at least among some, in the concept of reincarnation. For instance there was speculation that John (the Baptist) might have been the prophet Elijah come back to life. In addition Jesus was questioned about the man born blind, if he was perhaps blind because of the sins of his parents, or sins he committed (presumably) before he was born. Jesus neither confirms nor denies the theory in general, but offers a different explanation (See John 9:1-12). I believe the Bible is a very human document, while at the same time divinely inspired, and it offers insight into humanity’s growing understanding of the nature of God, reflected through God’s constant and ongoing revelation of God’s self. I believe that was most particularly accomplished through the life of Jesus Christ as the complete embodiment of God in human form – eloquently expressing God’s constant desire to be in communication and relationship with humanity – God’s creation. And God’s desire to be in relationship is still ever-present through the power of the Holy Spirit, in which God reveals his/herself in myriad and mysterious ways, including the “still, small voice.”
The outline above of some of my beliefs and the way I understand my growing relationship with God is by no means complete, nor does it adequately express the many feelings and ideas I have on the subject. As I continue to grow in faith and wisdom it is doubtless that some of my present feelings and understandings will change. I expect to grow in my understanding of God because I believe that God desires that for me – that God wants for me a joy-filed life. So be it.
I am also fascinated with the subject of ghosts and the nature of the afterlife. I have no firm convictions about those subjects, but I am quite willing to consider them, especially within the context of my faith and beliefs at present and in the now.
In Part 2 of this discussion, I’ll talk about the phenomena of ghosts, and NDE’s. I have my own personal experience of what I believe was a NDE that I will attempt to describe.
One of my favorite movies of all time is “Defending Your Life,” starring Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep. It is absolutely wonderful – funny and touching – and deals in a humorous way with the subject of reincarnation and life after death. Embedded below is a great scene about past lives (featuring a cameo by Shirley MacLaine!). Be sure and check out the other scenes available from the movie on YouTube. Better yet – rent the movie and see the whole thing from beginning to end!
Hope this Part 1 is not too much – that it will get you interested in continuing the discussion both here and on Nancy’s site – and that it is just enough. . .