A very close friend gifted me with the above book, The Art of Intuition, several months ago. This book has sat on my dresser, moved into the living room, and finally made it's way into my hands where I have been unable to pull not only my eyes but my heart and soul away from it. It's truly changing my life and giving me a new perspective that has been more healing than anything I've ever read before -- and I read a lot.
For the past several years, I have been adamant in classifying myself as an atheist. But as I have read through recent posts about my belief in The Universe, the idea that we are all connected, I have begun to understand that it's possible that my subconscious is trying to tell me that there may be a higher power of some kind. I am so open to psychics and tarot cards and palm readings and I even read my horoscope daily. What kind of atheist is that? One that feels so deeply connected physically, emotionally, and even spiritually to those around me, that at the end of the day I am sometimes exhausted from feeling so much. Is there such thing as a coincidence? Lately, I'm not so sure.
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud"
C. G. Jung
First some background. I stopped believing in the traditional sense of "God" as a result of suffering that I felt I had to almost spitefully endure. I felt angry and upset and even betrayed by this higher power who I felt should be protecting me. Isn't that what we do for those we love, try to protect them from harm?
The first bit of my anger strung out after I was raped in college, where I was put in the situation where none of my 'friends' believed me or had my back in any way -- I was totally alone on this path and the journey was so dark and unbearable that I actually tried to end my life. Thank goodness I was unsuccessful. But then, Senior year of College I was faced with another struggle where a young boy that I grew up babysitting passed away tragically. These two events really chipped away at my belief system and made me question everything I had been taught.
Then, a few years later one of my very good friends committed suicide - and that felt like a physical backstabbing. When my God-Brother, Mitchell, became sick and needed a second transplant... I was done with this idea of ''God'' -- obviously I was alone on this journey and there was nobody there looking down on us, how could there be? How could a higher power who supposedly ''loved'' us, allow this much pain and suffering? After my divorce, I was finished with all of it.
I decided later that I hated God. The idea of a higher power made my stomach turn, and it became easier to deny his/her/it's existence then face the simple truth that suffering is a part of life. In the words of Bendrix, one of my favorite fictional characters from the book The End of The Affair, I said to this ''higher power'' I hate you as though you existed. And that was that, I was an atheist.
But as I begin to see how my life is unfolding, I'm beginning to realise that I don't know everything. I'm beginning to realise that my belief system is founded upon an emotion that is utterly toxic. That in order to break free from my suffering, I need to let go of the hatred and anger and depression and physical pain it has caused me. I cannot allow other people or events to dictate my life -- I cannot allow hatred to take over my soul. I cannot allow those who have caused me pain to hold me back from true happiness.
So back to this book. This mantra. This map to self discovery and trust and letting go of expectations about how life should be. Because if I am honest with myself, my struggles and my pain have allowed me to empathize with those around me in a way that I wouldn't trade for anything. As much as I've hated ''God'', I've never been so in love with humanity. And the more love that fills your spirit, the less room there is for negativity and sadness.
"Nothing in the world is single; All things by a law divine, in one another's being mingle''
I am realizing very quickly these days that we are all connected and that some things that I have shrugged off as ''coincidence'' may actually be much deeper than that and deserve more thought. I recently started dating some one who is very in tune with his spirituality. The first night we met, he told me about visions he had seen that later became a reality in his life. He told me about remembering his home where he lived as an infant. Times when he had talked to his father after he had passed, and gotten physical answers which cannot be explained any other way than spiritually.
I, too, have experienced similar events. I remember in high school I was extremely depressed and I whispered a plea to whatever or whoever would listen for even the slightest bit of comfort, and I physically felt arms wrapping around me and an overwhelming sense of calmness filled my body. I also get feelings deep inside my chest when people I care about need encouragement or support or love or safety -- I sense their need, reach out to them, and am in utter shock and disbelief when they say ''this was perfect timing, those words were exactly what I needed at this exact moment.'' I have vivid dreams about loved ones who have passed on, and the messages they send me seem so real that they send shivers up my spine. Are these all coincidences?
Yesterday I was in a coffee shop reading a local magazine when I came across an article about the astronaut Edgar Mitchell and his creation of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). I came home with a deep desire to pick up The Art of Intuition, and felt my stomach tighten as the very chapter I began mentioned this very person and institute. Instantly, I knew that what I was about to read was going to be something that I needed to pay special attention to. It was a gut feeling that was so strong, so fierce, that I looked up from my book and told Jon jokingly about this ''ccoincidence,'' only for him to say there are no such things as coincidences. Hm.
As I began reading, hours passed within a matter of minutes. I was sucked into the authors words about gut feelings, intuition, reading auras, feeling others emotions, and communicating with animals. I stopped several times to share what I was reading with Jon, and every time I was shocked and almost confused that he didn't find any of it to be crazy. We began talking about a story my mother told me about my Nana and Grampy. She said that growing up and even after her and her sister moved out, my grandparents would take a bath together each night at seven o'clock -- this was there time together to unwind from the day and really focus on each other. They would run the bath and then play a music box which to my knowledge my grandmother still has today, even though it hasn't worked for years. My grandfather passed away, and on the night of the anniversary of his death the music box began to play at exactly seven o'clock. How can you explain this without admitting that it's possible than my grandfather was sending a special message to his lover, letting her know that he was okay?
Yesterday, as I read each page, I had a feeling in my chest that I still cannot shake. For the first time in a long time, I have begun to acknowledge that simply dismissing a higher power of some kind does not have any effect on if that higher power exists or not. Maybe this higher power isn't a long haired, birkenstock wearing teacher named Jesus. Maybe it's something far more complex. Maybe my idea of The Universe is that same higher power that my mother preaches about on Sunday mornings, only we are experiencing it in a different way that is individual and specific to us.
She talked about how most people who are able to see and feel and touch things that others cannot, are simply those who are in tune with themselves. And the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I sometimes sense when one of my three dogs needs one on one time, that I sometimes communicate with people in a very real way through dreaming, and that the conversations I have had with nature (trees, water, leaves, flowers, the breeze, the sky, pebbles, etc) aren't simply a fantasy. I realised that maybe the plants in my office are growing so well, to the point where people come to visit just to see them, because I actually do take time to talk to them. I do take the time to touch their leaves, feel their energy, and transfer my love into their roots. Am I crazy, or is there actually no such thing as a coincidence?
More importantly, how can I be this open to spirituality and still claim myself as an atheist? Suddenly, I am aware that there is so much more going on in this Universe than I was even aware of, because my soul has been so cluttered with anger and hatred.
I don't know what to call myself, and maybe that's what spirituality is all about. But I now have a desire to let go of this negativity that has been building and building, and allow some room for possibility and belief and maybe even a miracle or two. For once, I think I am beginning to understand what it means to truly listen to myself and the importance of strengthening my own intuition.
For now, I am opening my mind to the possibility that there may not be such a thing as a coincidence. I am opening my mind to the possibility that maybe, things will be okay for me once I make more space in my spirit for love and openness. That maybe, just maybe, there is safety in not knowing everything.