Many of you are aware, from reading my book that I grew up with little formal religion, something I have come to see as an advantage as it allowed me to be open-minded to all sorts of different beliefs about God, the afterlife, reincarnation and such. I was not indoctrinated with any notion of sin or hell and yet I had a clear sense that I needed to not hurt others, treat others as I wanted to be treated. I always considered myself a “good person,” someone who God, if there was such an entity would look down upon kindly. Occasionally, I would beg “God, whoever you are” for something I was desiring, like a new bike, or permission to go to a party. I felt foolish having these little “chats” with God, and refused to think of it as praying because that just brought up scary images of kneeling on hard pews in darkened cathedrals and flimsy leather covered bibles that made no sense with all their numbers and italics and 6pt type. And yet, I had this picture of some “dude” up there granting me my wishes.
In college, the very notion of God and Jesus was put into a new light by my sociology professor when he started talking about the flaw in any collective belief system that designates a “God” in the likeness of man, as being separate from man. From that time forward, I became more cognizant of what we often hear now as a “oneness with God,” that we ourselves are our own Gods. I was happy that the lines of communication to the powers that be just got a whole lot simpler. Still, when I was pregnant with my first child, I asked silently that she be healthy. I don’t know who I asked, it was just a prayer of sorts, to the universe at large. I made a similar plea after the Towers fell and there was still a tiny envelope of hope that Arron might have made it out alive. “Please,” I begged, “bring him back to me safely.”
Oddly, when he didn’t come home safely, I wasn’t angry at God, or the Universe or even Al-Qaeda. I was angry at tangible things like New York City, the buildings, George Bush, the lawnmower and sometimes, no, make that most often, my kids. How can you get angry at a Universe?
But as the anger began to clear, I found myself thinking things like “it was just his time,” or “it was his fate to go this way.” I couldn’t fathom where this idea of fate had come from, though I suppose like anyone, I had often wondered if we were free agents in this life, or if there were some invisible trajectory that we were following, more or less, towards some pre-defined destiny. Before Arron’s death, I was very much in the free-agent camp. Afterwards, I was less clear. Discovering books by psychic Sylvia Brown provided another solution to the problem â€“ a pre-destined fate that we each had a hand in creating before we arrived in this lifetime. Now this idea was fun. Possibilities abounded. I ran with it.
As I attempt to wrangle sense out of my curious life of psychics and “signs” as provided by Arron in his cozy afterlife, I find myself butting heads with this slithery notion of belief. As I sit in sessions with Lisa receiving amazing messages from another world, I can’t help but wonder about the need to believe, to trust that what is coming through is from a world that we don’t really understand, can’t scientifically prove even exists. In my curiosity to know more about belief, I found a book called “The Belief Instinct” by Jesse Bering, a Belfast based “evolutionary psychologist.” Although I have no idea what an evolutionary psychologist is, I am curious. His main hypothesis is that, as humans we are hardwired to believe in God and other unknowable forces. He theorizes that all belief stems from a distinctly human trait known as “Theory of Mind” which enables us to guess at the thoughts and intentions of others.
I have only just received this book, but I suspect that Bering’s hypothesis will put a bit of a stake into the heart of my paranormal wanderings. Yet still I’m curious. I want to be able to include in (what I hope will be) my book, all sorts of viewpoints. Already my agent has poo-pooed my interest in psychics, insisting that they are just people who are well tuned in to others’ minds, and who simply tell people what they want to hear.
All very well and good, but I’ve had enough readings from psychics now to know that they often find the weirdest details to tell you about, things that were the furthest from my mind when I was having the reading.
So off I go down another rabbit hole. How fun is this?