- "There are times in the life when the soul says, 'ET, go home, I don't like it here, it's a terrible squalor nasty place, and I wanna go back to Heaven...I wanna go back to the Garden of Eden, and merge back into the Whole, and God's eternal grace.' But I can only have that I if I die, but I wanna live, so I choose not to do that. At that point we begin to look for something in this world of reality to take the place of connecting with GOD."
I've allowed this statement to rattle around in my head ever since, weighing its validity from time to time, and I've never found cause to reject it. In fact, I've found it's the key to understanding many of my behaviours and some of the situations I've found myself in.
Of course, this statement is based on the assumption that a body has our soul 'installed' at some point during conception. A reiki practitioner once said to me, "Your body is not who you are; it's just a vehicle." I remember those words very clearly, and when I heard the ET statement, this experience came rushing at me like one of those movie epiphanies that ends with the camera focused only on the character's eyes, leaving me a little dumbstruck.
The ET statement is also based on the idea that there is a separation between the spiritual world and the physical world, and that we as human beings have the unique capacity to inhabit both simultaneously. This is something C.S. Lewis first introduced me to while reading The Screwtape Letters. Unfortunately, our modern existence revolves mostly (completely, in most people's cases) around pursuits of worldly gains, and not entirely because we have a choice. Screwtape writes that inhabiting both worlds comes at a cost: we lose our understanding of the spiritual world. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try, though. It's true that I could choose to focus solely on tuning my spiritual radio back to the Divine Channel, but I've grown up in a life that requires some degree of material success to provide for and maintain the other gifts I've been given from God: notably this body here that sits typing, nourishment enough to keep it healthy, the means to become and remain employed, a warm bed to sleep in at night, and the people who love me. Ironic, I dare say, but I'm sure it's all just part of the Plan. Not knowing, and having no control anyway, makes faith so much easier.
A spiritual man (one of the few I've ever really trusted) once told me he believes babies have memories of God when they're born, which totally jives with the concept of soul 'installation.' Eventually, of course, these memories fade, due both to the enormous worldly experiences we have growing up, and also to the teachings of the people surrounding us who have become 'seasoned' (wearied) and therefore willing (though unknowing) agents of Pantheon of Worldly Pursuits. Even when a human being grows up knowing God, that knowledge is always subject to the interpretation of those human beings who raise him or her, which, in my experience, always seems to be some self-interested perversion of true faith based on exclusion of those who disagree or believe differently, or don't match some description of the thing one finds oneself to already be. Zappa was right when he said we are dumb all over.
It's a terrible, messed up world we live and grow up in, but we're not completely hopeless. The ET statement reminds us that we all have the secret decoder ring to make sense of it all: our soul, and that if we listen, we will have the knowledge we need to make it through. I don't just mean survival; I'm talking about actually thriving in both the physical and spiritual worlds. We were all put here for a reason and given a unique Gift with which we were intended to make the world a better place. As I teach my children, it is up to each one of us to discover what that gift is, develop it, and then make good on our end of the bargain by using it for the betterment of the world (and people) around us.
Easier said then done, I know...but I'm trying. Even if I hadn't spent years developing this philosophy, there's almost no chance I (or anyone) would get it right on the first attempt. I've held many jobs and had many successes and failures, all of which only contributed to my understanding of the whole ordeal. We are only blind, feeling our way around a huge room to find the thing that feels just right, occasionally bumping into others who are blind, sometimes believing we've found what we were looking for, sometimes giving up and settling down wherever it was we stopped searching last. Sometimes we get up from a place we've been resting and continue the search, much to the anger or disappointment of those around us.
And all of that is okay. I don't believe we are meant to know right away what our intended role is, and I also believe if we don't get it right this time around, we're given another chance, and in between times we do get to go back to where we came from, and have a moment of rest with our creator before we're dumped back into the maelstrom.
There will be no disclaimer with this post. Even if I was formally educated in theology or philosophy or psychology, I don't think any of these professional fields includes what I think I've learned in my brief time exploring my own space in both the physical and spritual worlds. I don't claim to know what works for others, only what has been working for me, and I'm not interested in anyone's judgment of that. If I'm completely off the mark, so be it, but even if I'm driving myself off a cliff, I know I'm at least providing for a few very important people along the way, raising them up with love, having fun and enjoying each other's company, and encouraging them to develop their minds, thereby enabling them to ask those same questions of themselves that led me to my own conclusions. Even if I'm wrong, maybe they'll get something a little more right, and that will make it all worth the struggle.