It is my belief that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience and the more we understand that, the more in touch we will become with our true authentic selves. Let me be clear that believing our soul lives on, in my opinion, has nothing to do with whether or not there is a supreme being or a god. Over the years I've been able to separate the two beliefs and have come to understand they are not mutually inclusive. With that said, what I’m talking about here is the soul.
Believing that we are just these mortal bodies, and that after we die it’s over, can have one of two effects: Effect one is, we either say, well none of this matters anyway so why even try since in the end we all just die. Effect two is, we say, this is the only chance I have to make a difference for myself and future generations, so I’ll do all I can to help this planet and her inhabitant while I’m here. Of course, effect one has the potential to perpetuate narcissistic behavior where we never care about anyone but ourselves, since with only the span of 70-100 years to worry about, why not do whatever and suffer the consequences. It gives us license to harm ourselves or others without regard, because after all, in the end it doesn’t matter anyway, right?
Effect two, makes its proponents feel more of an urgency to do what they can in their limited time to make a positive difference. They often live without being saddled with any kind of ideological dogma. Religious ideology to someone who doesn't believe in god or a soul, is cumbersome. There are too many rules which distract them from what their main intention is, to do all in their power to leave the planet better than they found it, unencumbered by rituals and beliefs that would otherwise slow them down. Some religions go so far as to perpetuate the idea that a soul that wasn’t obedient in this life is doomed to eternal torment. Not having that kind of spiritual extortion hanging over their heads, allows non-believers to freely give back to humanity without an agenda, and without worrying about ideology at all. Simply living by the golden rule is their guiding principle.
When we add a spiritual component to our belief, however, we have more than just physical concerns for ourselves and others. We begin to see a certain cause and effect in our lives which goes beyond “what goes up must come down.” We begin to see the law of attraction active in our lives, which demonstrates how the energy we put out into the universe returns the same kind of energy to us like a magnet. In other words, like attracts like. It’s a cosmic law that has no real explanation in the physical world.
It may be easy to understand simple laws of physics such as gravity, inertia, and even the idea that in order to grow muscles you first must damage the tissue. The strain put on muscles time and time again by body builders through weight lifting is the very action which allows their muscles to grow bigger. Each time the muscle tissue is damaged, the body’s natural reaction is to grow it back stronger. But how do we explain the same concept in metaphysical terms? How do we explain that each time we make a difficult choice there is a corresponding effect energetically. For instance, when we resist engaging in damaging behavior like abusing alcohol, drugs, resorting to violence, overeating, etc., are we making the urges stronger because we aren’t getting to the actual root of the problem, and so like the saying goes, what we resist persists? How do we change our energetic thoughts so we no longer have such urges that we feel the need to suppress? This is where the energy of spirituality comes in.
Believing we are more than these bodies and that our actions, and even our thoughts, have real consequences in the tangible world is transformational. It creates AHA moments when the lights go on and we see the correlation between what we were thinking in one moment, and what happened in the next. My first awareness of this type of phenomenon was when I was around 15 or 16 years old. I had a boyfriend I was crazy about and was waiting at home for him to call one day. The minutes, and then the hours passed without the phone ever ringing. I finally got mad and my entire focus shifted. I said to myself, that’s it I’m not going to wait around for his call, I have better things to do. And in that instant I no longer was attached to the outcome. I truly didn’t care whether he called or not. And then the phone rang. What shifted? What made him call right then and not before I’d had that energetic shift? I have countless similar stories that demonstrate this same thing: That as soon as we detach from an outcome, the outcome we initially wanted presents itself to us. Obviously this isn’t proof of the soul – or even close. But it’s a compelling argument that energetically and beyond known physics, something else is at work that’s a little more difficult to explain.
There are many ways to describe what some call the spirit. Dr. Rick Strassman wrote a book called DMT: The Spirit Molecule, after he conducted years of experiments using a hallucinogenic drug called N,N-dimethytrytamine, or DMT. Dr. Strassman concluded after all his research that a compound that exists throughout nature and in humans in tiny amounts called DMT, may be the spirit molecule. Participants in his experiments claim that it opened them up to be able to experience without filters the grand cosmos in all its complexity and even in some cases, commune with beings from other realms. Not having read the book I don’t want to comment any further on it, but I did watch the documentary, and it’s a compelling idea: That hidden deep within the layers of our DNA resides a molecule responsible for allowing us to see beyond our physical senses and possibly transcend time and space.
Great sages, shamans, mystics and religious leaders throughout history have been promoting the idea that we are more than these bodies; that some part of us lives on after we die and that what happens to us is far more spectacular than we can imagine. How do they know this? What proof do they have, or what experiences have led them to this belief? Some who have had near death experiences – NDEs – claim their experience took away their fear of death and made them more loving and compassionate human beings. Non-believers in the scientific field cast off those claims as the mind going through some kind of electrical surge as the brain is robbed of oxygen. Then when an attempt to revive the dying person is successful, their stories of white lights, tunnels, and meeting loved ones who have already passed on, are only memories being brought to the forefront of their dying consciousness. It’s interesting that most who have had an NDE claim nearly identical experiences and come back from the experience changed in so many ways – and usually for the better.
Native Americans have a Vision Quest. Young men (and probably women too) who want to prove themselves and gain insight into their life’s purpose, go out on their own into the wilderness without food or water, putting themselves in almost unbearable circumstances, to hopefully experience a vision from a spirit or animal guide. That guide then becomes a source of strength and power to them throughout their life. And I've heard that most who set out on a Vision Quest are not disappointed.
During difficult times, people from all cultures have experienced what they perceive as the miraculous, or Divine intervention. As I ponder the very experiences in my life where such things occurred, I no longer simply attribute it to some divine being lending a helping hand, but I see a far more logical, and what I consider rational explanation. And that is, that the very energy we emit when connected with like energy has a symbiotic effect and can alter outcomes. Again – like attracts like. That’s why prayer works. If you have enough people praying for a common goal and their energy is aligned with their intended outcome, miracles can and do happen. The rub here is, the energy has to be aligned and not just the mind. We can think until our brains hurt; but until we align our very essence through our energy with the stated goal, the outcome will be random. What we don’t consciously choose to manifest will manifest by default. In other words, if one has a negative outlook and believes nothing good ever happens to them, that is exactly what they will experience because it’s what they are energetically creating.
Choose to think positive thoughts and then move those thoughts into feelings and see what happens. Remove negativity from your thinking and detach from any outcome, and simply trust that if you align your actions with positive thoughts and do the work necessary to manifest your intended goals, you will see amazing results. Take note of your thoughts and the events which follow them. Sometimes outcomes are immediate and other times the effect may manifest days, weeks, months or even years later. But consistent positive energy builds on itself and has a snowball affect. This is not to say we need to ignore all the bad stuff, or dig a hole in the sand to bury our heads from the pain and trials of life. Being authentic and connected completely, body, mind and soul, requires that we view all experiences as opportunities to learn. Oriah Mountain Dreamer, one of my favorite writers and philosophers, expresses this best:
"I want to know if you've touched the center of your own sorrow, if you've been opened by life's betrayals, or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain."
I believe that what makes us real is our soul. It's the glue that binds us to one another in energetic terms. It's what animates us and makes us feel rather than just think. You may disagree, and I honor that. I will also even respect your belief that we are only these bags of bone, blood and flesh, IF you choose “Effect two” from above, and view this life as the one shot you get to make a difference. But if per chance you fall into the “Effect one” camp, I challenge you to uncover the real you. The one connected energetically to everything else and see, perhaps, if feeling that cosmic connection doesn’t change your mind and your life. There is a reason most of the world’s population, whether Buddhist, Muslim, Pagan, Christian, etc. believe we are something more. And the first step to understanding why, is being open to the answer.