|Beliefs about Spiritual Guides and the Supernatural
An Essay on Spiritual Guides and the Supernatural
By Peter Longley, M.A., Author of The Magdala Trilogy
Although the certainty of the written word in Scripture is today challenged by many attracted to a more scientific rendering of our relationship to God and our universe, the phenomena of spiritual guides and ghosts still haunts us. Despite our scientific knowledge, most of us experience miracles in life that we can only attribute, from our limited viewpoint, to Divine intervention. Sometimes, this comes to us in dreams; sometimes in instinct; and more often than most of us are prepared to admit, in hallucination or perceived ghostly encounters. Occasionally, these encounters can be found in all three forms at once. For those who believe in an omnipotent God guiding all our lives, there is nothing surprising about these manifestations of the Divine, and for the seeming majority, who doubt this Divine guidance, there at least remains mystery. The reality of unnatural phenomena breaking into our perceived normality of life effects us all one way or another, so much so that the firmest agnostic or atheist among us still holds lingering beliefs in the possibility of life after death. Until we pass through that portal we will never know, but can only be guided by the perceived explanations of religions, or the deathbed glimpses of other humans entering the portal, but not yet through. Beyond this, we are left with the miracle of Divine intervention in perceived dreams, instinct or hallucination, and in ghostly encounters that beg the question—Is this reality?
For Christianity, life after death has become merged with a human concept of Divine judgment. For true Christians, those who believe emphatically that they have been saved for eternity by their acceptance of the Divine love and salvation wrought for them by Jesus Christ in his sacrificial death upon the cross, there is only heaven—a hereafter in the presence of the risen Lord. For those a little more skeptical, but still believers in the omnipotence of God and His son Jesus Christ, there is a judgment day, based on the moral code as perceived by Christianity. There will be separation on death of the sheep and the goats. Those who have passed the moral test will be welcomed in heaven to sublime eternity, but those who fail the test will be condemned to eternal damnation.
Then, there are the scientists, some believers and some not, but most of whom adhere to the post-Einstein theory that the energy of matter is indestructible—the stuff of the universe goes on forever, even though it may change form many times.
I remember hearing a conversation within my own family that suggested that in heaven Adolf Hitler and Dr. Crippen, two of the twentieth century's most noted murderers, may well be sitting down to tea with my most sainted deceased relatives. Although, at first this might seem rather extreme, even insulting, and hardly fits a Christian concept of fair judgment, it is perfectly valid when seen from the scientific point of view. Science is not concerned with the morality of mere humanity or the religions of humanity, but with the indestructible energy that is our universe and of which we are all an integral part.
Modern science is also now concerned with a universe that is mathematically proved to be multi-dimensional. If we are not restricted in time, we can be that indestructible energy in all places at all times. This has deep implications when applied to our spiritual and supernatural experiences. Judaism and Christianity both have a long tradition of personal communication with God and His emissaries. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses all saw signs of God's presence in their present. Sometimes, these were natural signs and wonders, sometimes the perceived direct words of God, and often they were found in visions and dreams. The prophets, likewise, express direct messages to the people of Judah and Israel from perceived signs, words from God, or visions and dreams. After the Babylonian exile, the Jews adapted the Persian concept of angels and guardian angels into their faith, emissaries from God that Christianity readily adapted. The Graeco-Roman world into which Christianity was born, freely believed in Divine messages through natural forces, especially wind gusts, and the spoken word of oracles. Now, of course, much of this can be attributed to the superstitions of the times, but not all, and a lot less so in the light of our post-Einstein world of multi-dimensional indestructible energy. The spirit and dream worlds may be just as real if not more so, than our conscious lineal thinking limited to our brain in time. Were all the mystical experiences of our saints and martyrs just superstition? I doubt it, especially in as much as they were often accompanied by miracles—mystical changes unexplained by the science of their day, but now possibly verified by the science of our times. In theory, in a multi-dimensional world we all have access to past, present, and future, in an instant, and it is only the limitations and conditioning of our human brain that stops this access most of the time.
Some would say that Divine voices and visions through the ages have been the sincere result of those individuals' imaginations, prompted by their deep inner thoughts. If you contemplate long enough, no doubt you will become subject to the same illusion. However, this illusion is a lot more commonplace than most of us want to accept. I, personally, have never wavered in my belief that I heard the voice of God in a visionary experience that occurred when I was nine years old. In what is best described as a daydream, I saw a great wooden cross raise itself upward on the grassy slopes of the down land hill outside my schoolroom window. There was no image on the rustic cross, but it was of huge proportions and from it boomed a voice crying: "God needs you." I have always called this the moment of my vocation. The skeptic in me acknowledges a schoolboy link between the deep voice booming, "God needs you", and Lord Kitchener's famed First World War caption pointing at England's youth, saying: "Your country needs you." Yet, despite this skepticism I have never wavered in my belief that this was a turning point in my life. It came out of nowhere, yet it has guided my thoughts and actions from then to the present day. Many Christians have had similar experiences that they have considered 'their calling', and until we pass through that portal of death, we are not to know whether or not this was illusion or a genuine encounter with the Creator of all that is. And, although modern science can point to a multi-dimensional universe transcending barriers of time and mind, it still can not resolve the mystery of primary creation. In fact, on the contrary, today's science takes the creation story away from the Genesis human allegory to something far greater, far deeper, and far more mysterious—totally beyond our knowing.
Can Divine intervention enter our dreams? Mankind for centuries has considered this to be so, but all Divine intervention is being sensed through our religious conditioning and the intervention may not be Divine, but rather an intrusion outside our present experience created in the present from either the perceived past or future. This does not mean, however, that it can not create miracles in the present. My father was particularly close to my older sister. In part, this may be because my parents almost lost her to acute peritonitis in adolescence. In the 1950's, this was still often a cause of death. My father's aunt had died of this disease two generations before, and my sister's condition was such that the nuns at her nursing home placed relics under her bed in anticipation of possible death and in hopes of a miraculous cure. My sister lived, but became very shy and introvert, never marrying, and living with my mother and father until they passed on. My father was quite advanced in his spiritual thinking, firmly believing in the scientific view that the energy of all matter is indestructible, but nonetheless firmly entrenched in belief in an omnipotent creator God. Many times, my sister has felt that our father's presence is still there, looking out for her as he always did. Recently, in what was almost miraculous, my sister was crushed between two cars in an accident, so much so that neither car was damaged, cushioned from impact by her presence. We thought her legs were broken, but miraculously X Ray's showed no damage—just bruising. Of course, we were much relieved, but two days later, I suddenly burst into tears as I heard my other sister suggest my father's spirit had saved her. I would not normally have believed such a thing, but something deep within me told me that this was so. His energy is still there attracted by one of the most powerful agents—love. This might not have been primary intervention by the Creator, but it could well have been a manifestation of the bond between my sister and my father that is always there multi-dimensionally where past, present, and future are one. Such stories abound in human history, and sometimes the presence of a loved one is not just felt, but actually seen.
Shortly after I was married, my mother-in-law was killed in a car accident. I was present at a family gathering in Germany after her funeral. I do not speak German and was somewhat on the sideline as we sat in the courtyard of this old Schloss of Pong, my brother-in-law's home beside a river, reminiscing on our loved one under the night sky. I know that I saw Ursula Clemen's face looking down on us. It was not sad, or joyful, it was just a presence, and it faded in and out somewhat like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. I was the only person who saw her, but Ursula Clemen had been particularly happy to know me and as if in knowledge of her coming sudden death, just three weeks before had handed me this note: I am so very very glad and thankful to have seen you here in this world before I go into the higher world and to know how good it is for Bettine to have found you and will be connected with you in the light of Christus.
After a very happy marriage of twelve years, Bettine and I fell into some difficulties that ultimately led to our divorce, but the interconnection of that moment with her mother is forever—a supernatural intervention into our finite life experience.
Such stories abound in literature and in most our lives should we chose to reveal them. For centuries, most apparitions, whether through the dream state or perception, were attributed to Divine intervention. If not recognized from our life experience, we had a tendency to regard these as angelic visitations, or if negative, demonic visitations. These visitations were often used in literature to create a plot—a change of heart, of which one of the most famous must be the ghosts that visited Scrooge in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Dreams have been seen to be the cause of victories and defeats in battle that have created changes in the course of history, to have influenced marriages, purchases, and even test results. Sometimes, dreams have been seen as answers to prayer—ways that we have believed to be an answer in Divine intervention. In almost all our lives, at some time miracles have occurred—unexplained answers to our benefit or our loved ones' benefits, sometimes in answer to prayer and sometimes unsolicited. If the energy of all matter is indestructible, and therefore outside the strictures of time, such mystical appearances or ghostly apparitions, such illogical miracles—seemingly Divine intervention simply because they are not on our time line—may in fact be a greater reality than our restricted time line. Most of us, therefore, at least pay lip service to a belief in the guidance of the supernatural, at least in our deepest inner thoughts, even if on the surface we deride superstition.
Some religions already have a built in idea about continuing matter. Most Asiatic religions recognize reincarnation—a belief that the energy that was us in this life continues on in a future life until it reaches the same perfection as the Creator when finally it is merged back into the first cause energy—Nirvana. The difficulty with this concept is the reality that life-forms on the planet seem to increase at a faster rate than become extinct. This is especially true with reference to man, the species that even in most Asiatic religions is considered to be closest to the image of the Creator God. In earthly terms, the only way to reconcile this conundrum is to accept that the energy of matter moves both up and down a sliding scale of re-creation that has a similar purpose to Judaism and Christianity's Day of Judgment, except with a convenient get out clause that it might be better the next time round. The biggest challenge, however, to this type of reincarnation is the scientific challenge of mathematical multi-dimensions outside linear time. If we can be all things at once, encompassing the totality of our past, present, and future, that would include all our supposed life chances in one. We might, through our dream state, find access to perceived past lives or future lives, but in reality, if we are multi-dimensional, such creations are still only of the present moment. There are those scientists who then take this further and maintain that everything we experience, which includes the experiences of every other living cell we encounter, is actually only our creation in the now. This hologram does no less than make us the Creator God of all that is, multi-dimensionally forever.
Finally, we are forced to see how in a quantum physics world beyond linear time, the concept for Christians of Jesus as the Son of God enfolds. The incarnation of the Creator God in the form of a first century Jewish man in order to set the creation at rights with its Divine self, which is the very kernel of Christian belief, is a linear concept—part of the time-line of history, so much so that we actually use Jesus' birth as our dating process along this time-line. Jesus is the ultimate spiritual guide and the ultimate Divine apparition. Surprisingly, however, multi-dimensionally Jesus has and always will be that incarnation of God the Father. Second century philosophers without knowing they had the backing of today's scientific theories, could not have expressed this better than in the opening words of St. John's gospel—In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God, all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. Christians consider this to be the Divine mystery that makes the man Jesus, the Christ—truly God and truly man. A believer in quantum physics, however, might consider this not just to apply to Jesus, but to all men, as without the time line we are all the Word become flesh in an instant, and at one with the Cosmic Christ.
However, science is ahead of our experience at this point. Our human brain translates almost everything we experience in lineal time. So, for this reason, when miracles occur, dreams are manifested, 'ahaah' answers are found, prayers answered, and angels and apparitions guide us, I would boldly suggest that these moments of Divine intervention are those glimpses we somehow get, through our limited brain, into that multi-dimensional universe that belongs to all Creation. Because Science can not, and probably will not, ever be able to explain the primary creation of all that is, we can truly call these moments glimpses into the mystery of God. It is perfectly fair, therefore, for us to believe in the power of these glimpses into our relationship with the Divine as they appear in our linear thinking, and experience them fully in our perceived moment of linear time. Science is only a window, and at present a rather small window, into the boundless creation of the primal cause that we call the Divine.