A Long Strange Trip, Part Nine: Deeper into the Mystery (October – November 2015)

 

 

 

 

While my experiences with the spirit of (my deceased girlfriend) Christina have made me very happy in and of themselves, they’ve done a lot more for me than just this! Indeed, they have led me deeper into the mystery of God. Even when these experiences raise doubts or questions in my mind, they seem to have this positive effect.

From time to time I have wondered whether the spiritual Christina is consciously aware of these experiences, or whether they are all “in my head.”

The first time I had these thoughts (sometime in October of 2015), I asked God for more clarification. “God, I’m curious about something,” I said. “Are these experiences with Christina actually happening? Is she aware that I’m experiencing her presence? Or are these just memories I’ve brought back to life?”

It doesn’t matter, said God. For one thing, this is the way Christina would have wanted you to remember her. Plus, there’s really no such thing as time, spiritually speaking. Memories and present experience are pretty much the same in the spirit world. There is no past, present or future there.

As I was reflecting on this, I began to have an out-of-body experience. (This was the second time this has happened to me, and it was way more intense than the first.)

At first it seemed like I was watching myself from above. Eventually my spirit moved out even further, leaving time and space altogether. I saw my whole life – past, present, and (some of) the future – as if it were all happening at once. Amazingly, I was completely at peace with it!

After this I felt my spirit merging with God, as if the two of us had become one. For a brief moment I seemed to be omnipresent, seeing everything happening in the world at once. I saw wars and famine, but also scenes of great beauty and kindness. I can’t really put into words all the things I saw; there was more going on than I could possibly comprehend.

After this I didn’t see anything, but I felt myself floating through the cosmos for what seemed like several hours.

This must be “eternal life”, I thought; not living forever, necessarily, but living outside of space and time in complete detachment.

When my spirit “returned” from its journey, I realized only a couple of minutes had passed; but it felt like I had been gone for ages.

As I thought about these things, it became clearer to me than ever that I was saved by grace alone. God had shown me a peace and joy I had never known, and I had done nothing to deserve it!

I wasn’t living a holy lifestyle, nor was I doing much for social justice; and I wasn’t seeking deeper union with God through prayer or anything like that. I was just going about my daily life, trying to hold a job and kill my pain in whatever ways I could; and in the midst of this God gave me such a vivid glimpse into eternity that I knew without a doubt I would never be the same.

A further realization that came out of this experience is that all things are one. I have come to believe that everything has the Holy Spirit in it, and we aren’t really separate beings, as we like to think. Instead, we’re all part of a “universal consciousness” that pervades every living thing.

This was verified for me when I went for a walk in the woods one day, and felt the spirit of Christina emanating from the trees. The love I felt was so strong I had the urge to literally hug the trees!

While there are Scriptures that hint at this kind of experience (Luke 19:37-40; John 10:29-39, 14:8-12, 17:20-26; 1 Cor 8:4-6; Eph 4:4-6; Col 1:15-20, etc.), it’s usually associated more with new age beliefs or Eastern religions like Hinduism than it is with Christianity. Nevertheless, my experience shows this to be true in ways that are so vivid that I can’t deny it.

I’m coming to see that when Christina told me she was everywhere and could see all things, she may well have been right! At times I feel her presence welling up within me, as if she’s hugging me from within; other times I sense her presence outside me, like she’s watching me from somewhere else.

Could it be that the dead are both immanent and transcendent? That they live within us, in our own consciousness, but also watch us from beyond? My experiences seem to indicate this is at least possible.

Certainly the Bible teaches that God is watching over us (Heb 4:12-13, etc); but it also suggests that the dead watch over us (Heb 12:1) and are aware of earthly realities (Rev 6:9-11). And in my experiences with God and Christina, I often feel both watching over me at the same time – united, but also distinct.

In November of 2015, I started going to a meditation group at the First Metaphysical Church in Davison. This was very different from any church group I had been a part of. There’s very little (if any) shared doctrine in this group; and practices that most Christians would consider “occult” (divination, astrology, psychic readings) are actively encouraged.

While most of the people in this group aren’t Christians, they are very spiritual people; and I have felt the presence of the Holy Spirit (who I have come to call Sophia) more strongly in this place than anywhere else I have worshipped recently.

To my surprise, I have found that I’m just as comfortable worshipping with pagans and new-agers as I am with fellow Christians. In fact, I think I would rather worship with spirit-filled pagans than I would with “wooden” Christians – no matter how correct the theology of this latter group may be!

As I continue to walk deeper into the mystery of God, I see myself changing in many ways. I’ve been eating less meat lately, aware that Sophia is present in animals just as much as She is in people. I see beauty everywhere – in nature, art, music, and even architecture – which I was blind to for so long.

I’m beginning to see that divine goodness is present everywhere, even in the midst of suffering. We just have to see another level of reality – another world being worked out right in the middle of this one.

All of this has led me into a much more intimate relationship with God. I find that I’ve been praying several times a day, often without even thinking about it; and almost every prayer seems to be answered!

I don’t know why this is suddenly the case for me, but I’m glad I have found it. While I still struggle with depression and anxiety, these aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be; and I’m almost certain I will never return to the place I was a year ago.

 

(Coming Soon – Theosis, Shamanism, and the Loss of all Fear)

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