- Concerned with sacred matters or religion or the church
- Concerned with or affecting the spirit or soul
- Lacking material body or form or substance
These days, spirituality is often used in preference to “religious,” as in “I’m spiritual but not religious;” but what exactly is it to be spiritual? Is it real, or is just another man-made concept – a projection of the mind? Is it perhaps just a feeling that there is something else, that maybe this life is not quite so black and white, that maybe after all, there is another life waiting for us, or that although our bodies die, “we” do not? That’s what we are here to investigate.
We all like to believe in something, and hold on to the remote possibility that there is more to life than just living and dying! We hope we will find our true purpose in life when we “cross over” to the other side; but what is this “other side”?
Some of us believe we have a soul, and the soul can never die: it being our life force, the thing that keeps us alive. But do you really believe we can exist forever, or could it merely be a hope we are not going to just slowly decompose in a hole in the ground, never to be heard of again.
- The immaterial part of a person; the actuating cause of an individual life
- A human being
“Spiritual” has become the new buzz word for the so-called “new age” community the world over. I found this out quickly when I went to live at a buddhist community in scotland for a short while.
“You know, alan, I’m a very spiritual person, I’ve always known that. I’m very in tune with the aura and the spiritual world in general.”
Unfortunately, when people use the word spiritual all the time I tend to tune out with what they are saying. I get the feeling that most people just want you to know they are something more than they seem, that they are somehow involved in a secret, hidden, other world that only the few have access to. All this talk of spiritualism really starts to make me wonder about the human race.
Now whilst I am fairly sure (although one can never be sure of anything) that matter and energy never dies – it transforms, like a rain drop falling as snow, then melting into water only to be evaporated by the suns rays – this is a process of the universe, of life, not of some special spiritual place.
The idea that Man retains his consciousness and his memory when he dies is, I’m afraid, just the good old mind projecting what it wants to believe. But that is not truth.
Whilst at the buddhist retreat, I met a lady who was obsessed with “angels,” and she told me that because I didn’t believe, I would never see the angels who were there to protect her. I asked her what would she believe in if no one had ever mentioned the word “angels” to her, which confused her somewhat.
“If you had never heard of angels would you still believe in them?”
“Errm, of course! What a stupid question,” she replied.
This is not about belief or disbelief. We are not here to argue whether there is a spiritual world or not, that would lead us nowhere. What I want to understand with you here is why we have become trapped into thinking about this spiritual world, and why we have to (a) try to convert people to believing, and (b) keep talking about it all the time. Ok, you believe that there is a spiritual life. Great. Enjoy your belief. You’re not harming anyone else as long as it stays in your head. It’s also great if you don’t believe that there is a spiritual life, fantastic! Just keep that to yourself as well.
But why do we have to keep talking about this?
For thousands of years, people have been trying to convert others to become believers in the “soul,” but as I said in the afterlife topic, if someone tries to sell us car insurance, we stop, question it, and question it again. With this spirituality stuff, one person mentions that there is a soul, and onto the bandwagon we all go. Do you understand what I am trying to say here?
For millennia, Man has been projecting this idea of a soul onto other people, telling stories of contact with the other side, of ghosts and poltergeists, demons and angels, but what is the truth of it? We have to investigate this ourselves thoroughly with an open mind, not conditioned by what others believe.
Ghosts and other worldly apparitions!
For as long as history has been documented, there have been stories of ghosts appearing, like poltergeists making pots and pans bang in the kitchen, throwing stuff about, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. There have been stories of people possessed by demons, and most people will be able to relate a story of ghostly contact that happened to someone in the family. My mother has one.
“On the night my mother died, I stayed in her flat. After a traumatic day I went to bed. As I was lying asleep in her bed I could hear breathing and then I felt a hand in my back. There was no one else there.”
My girlfriend’s mother recounted one to me just the other day.
“It was 2.20 am, and I was lying in bed with my husband and the phone started ringing. He picked it up and said ‘hello…hello,’ but there was nobody there. I later found out that my mother died at 2.20 am that night.”
Another scary story!
So what do we believe? Was my mother telling the truth, did her mother really come back and do some heavy breathing and place a hand on her back just to “reassure” her she was ok, or was it all in her mind? As my mother didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to her mother, did she secretly want her mother to tell her it was going to be all right, or did her mother, free of her earthly body come back and place her hand on her? What about my girlfriend’s mother? Was it just coincidence that phone rang at 2.20 am, or did her mother use the spiritual operator to make a “silent call” to her? I’m sorry, I can see I have now placed the seed of doubt in your mind and you are not sure what to believe!
Again and again, these kind of stories come up, reaffirming to us that there must be some truth in there being another world. But we don’t hear that many stories. There aren’t millions of these ghosts around all the time, touching people on the back and calling them up, and a lot of people die every day! So what’s really happening here?
Some people say that when we see ghosts it is because they are trapped between this world and the next, unable to continue their journey to the next world for some reason. Some people say we hear or see strange things the day our loved ones die if they haven’t had a chance to say goodbye to us. There are many explanations.
Some of these apparitions are obvious hoaxes, and some are apparently very real. I do not want to believe or disbelieve any of these stories because I have never seen a ghost with my own eyes.
One thing I do know, is that energy cannot die, it merely transforms, and if we are energy, then of course, we cannot die (in the physical sense yes, our bodies are only machines with a fairly short operating life). But we must not get caught up in belief of a spiritual world, as belief comes from fear.
Let’s try the ouija board!
How many people round the world have tried the ouija board (a board with the alphabet on it; used with a planchette to spell out supernatural messages), trying to contact dead relatives? They sit around the table, light some candles and turn out the lights, waiting in trepidation for the phone to be connected to the other side, sitting in silence, filled with fear. They ask a question and all of a sudden the glass starts moving and a message starts arriving via the inter-dimensional teleprinter!
I don’t know why people want to do it, but people want to get some message back from “the other side,” just to prove that there is an afterlife after all. But it all seems a bit clumsy don’t you think, what, with a glass moving around on a table, and three letter messages being spelt out, a bit like the medium who asks the audience: “Is there anyone here who has lost a relative whose name begins with the letter A?” Magically, someone’s dead husband’s name was alan! What are the chances of that?
I’m sorry if I am taking this all a bit less seriously than you would like me to, but that is the reason I am poking fun at you and all of this nonsense! Life is a joyful affair. If there is a spiritual world, should it not be even more joyful than this land, now that all who have passed on are free of desire, greed, fear, and hate. What do you think?
So can I ask you why we are so scared of ghosts, or even the idea of ghosts and spirits? Surely being contacted by the woman you were married to for fifty years should be a happy occasion, even if she does just drop in through the wall to visit you!
I’m sorry, but if life is funny, then why can’t the supernatural world be funny? Why do the religious people treat it all so seriously? If there really is a soul, and there is a god and there is a next life, we should be happy about it; joyful even, that we are going to be free of this body and we will be able to roam the cosmos in an ethereal body without having to pay the gas bill anymore. Surely that is something that should be celebrated?
But it isn’t projected like that by those in charge (religious organisations). This afterlife thing is projected as a very serious affair indeed, as we can see by the huge churches, temples, and mosques they erect, and by the obedience they demand in return for eternal salvation. If you don’t obey then you can expect no less than eternal damnation in hell! So we must look closely at this together, because the religions rely on fear to get you to conform to their way of thinking. We must break through this, and try to find out the truth of it.
It doesn’t actually matter if there is a soul, ghosts, or angels; what is important is to understand ourselves, our relationship to the universe, to nature, to water, to the animals, to the trees and see that we are as one with them.
We are the rocks and the sky and everyone else, there is no separation, no division between anything. There is no other world, there is just the whole. Other implies division. Do you follow what I am trying to say here? In describing ghosts or angels, or god or spirituality, we are separating ourselves from the universe, which is everything. Our blood is not our blood, our minds are not our minds, our skin is not our skin, it is part of the whole – all seamlessly inter-connected. It is time we accepted this, and stopped trying to prove that there is another, the other is us and we are the other.
So next time you talk about being a “spiritual person,” please realise that by labelling yourself, you are separating yourself from the whole.
The definition “spiritual person” means nothing, except maybe to impress others that you are in some way better than they are, that you are concerned with matters which are much more important than the lowly business of living. It is merely a projection of your mind wanting to become something more than it already is. Give up the illusion, and accept the wholeness that already exists. Everything is perfect.
by alan mcmillan orr
‘the natural mind – waking up’