What do I believe? My best, oldest friend and spirit guide invited me to ask myself this question. I was seeking her advice, insight, answers to one or more of Life’s typical conundrums. And I could only respond with what I want to believe. Want. Desire. Wish.
What transforms intention into faith? For at least fifty of my nearly sixty years on this planet I have asked, begged, cajoled, and tried to trick God into revealing itself to me. I have beseeched any power of Spirit and All-ness to overcome the prejudices and skepticism with which I was raised, “Plant yourself in me. Grow in me.”
The majority of my inquiry has been a “push-me-pull-ya” of wanting to believe, unable to cross the hurdle of human reason. I know too much about the history of religion, ‘the Bible’, and mythology to embrace the popular formula of heroic God, proving tasks and magical powers.
And still, I have been on beaches and in woods and seen sun rays that commanded my awe and instantly ushered me to a ‘knowing’ of the interconnectedness of all things. What is that but sight? So, that has been my starting place, for lack of any other. That, and the visits of ghosts.
How is it I’ve had bona fide, swear on my child’s life, encounters with ghosts but cannot get a quick glance at the Holy spirit? I’m not the type to believe in ghosts, and I wouldn’t if I had not had several encounters from the time I was a little kid.
My first Ghost was incredibly memorable. I was under six years old. (This I know because we moved from the house where it occurred when I was six.) A Japanese woman in a pearl-colored kimono, her black hair shiny and intricately folded and arranged on her head, sat on the foot of my twin size bed in the room I shared with my older sister. I awoke under the weight of her, and I sat up. The room was dark except for her glowing form. She spoke what I knew was a foreign language, and later assumed was Japanese, quietly, emphatically.
We didn’t physically leave my bed, but she showed me the street upon which I lived with my family, rushing my awareness over moonlit asphalt, pointing at neighbor’s homes and imploring me…what? I could not understand her language, but I recognized despair. She dematerialized in front of me. Confused and slightly spooked, forever changed, I lay back down. I had seen a ghost.
The next ghost was not a personal visit. I just happened to see a ghost moving in a house where I was babysitting. It scared me beyond fear at first. But within seconds it was clear that the ghost was moving through space I just happened to occupy. He was a tall, old white man, wearing a buffalo check shirt and coarse pants. He seemed to be looking for the door to the outside. I didn’t engage.
I was with a group of teenaged friends when I saw my next ghost, and three of us saw the miasma of it/them. We had ridden our bicycles into the fields outside of town as we did most weekend mornings, exploring. We were riding along a dirt levee road, three of us in the lead of our gang of five or six. Ahead and to the left, something caught our attention. A soundlessness juxtaposed against our usual rabble and clicks of bike gears, and became a vacuum of sensation. A concentration of white gray translucent light rose up a few feet from the bank, swirled cloud-like, like waves crashing in on themselves, dipped again, almost touching the road’s surface, and swooped ‘away’.
Two of the three of us knew, instinctively knew, not guessed, we’d come upon what we could only term “a ghost or ghosts”. The third was shaken but immediately denied even the possibility that we’d experienced anything other than scientifically verifiable phenomena. “Swamp gas,” was the third’s final analysis months later. The experience had bothered her enough to keep her hunting for a plausible explanation.
Other ghosts have crossed my awareness over the years, sometimes voices overheard, sometimes forms seen, sometimes energy merely sensed. I argue with my senses, trying to fault my instincts. But, one cannot deny knowledge. And that is exactly what these encounters produce, knowledge. I know, as much as my intellect challenges my certainty, I’ve seen ghosts.
I want that knowledge of God. But do I truly believe? I sure want to.
Here’s what I’ve come to think:
We are the “Who”s of the Universe. Is there a Horton to our Whoville? Is Horton God? Yes! And no. I stretch my brain trying to comprehend a Truth I’m certain is. I’m certain there is All. All is the everything-ness of all-inclusive “Is”, “Was” and “Can Be”.
My sense is All is a current of energy that I can best describe as being like nuclear fission and fusion, the limitless capacity to regenerate itself both as greater and simultaneously more essential, both too explosively bountiful and so immeasurably infinitesimal that one single true thought can shift its direction, alter its velocity.
I believe Good is real, stronger and more immediate than all bad of all time and space. I believe the most heartless, destructive force cannot even land a glancing blow on the chin of Goodness. I believe there is Magic, free of will and predetermination, joyous eruptions of the dandelion’s seed head, riding a bee’s sneeze, feathered umbrellas of Life, traveling miles. I believe in the spiraling pattern of all things – ever expanding ellipses of beginnings intersecting endings from seed to solar system, sensience to soul.
I think this. I experience this. I am certain there is immortal truth, independent of human failing and achievement. And I observe the only Truth that can sustain all injury and remain whole, unblemished is Love. Where I struggle is imagining a purposeful embodiment of Love, a formed-of-function God.
I want to. I want to see an enthroned version of the shape-shifting conclusions I’ve come to. I want to hear God’s voice, see its form at least as surely as I’ve seen ghosts. Not because I need proof. Because I need to believe.