A Christmas Visit

Copyright 2012 D.E. Lamont

The prospect of death can be terrifying or depressing and for some can make living and life seem worthless. After all the greatness and creativity and pleasure that human beings can enjoy and invest into life, it seems the greatest bad joke of the universe that our awareness and our participation in life can simply be cut off forever.

Perhaps you, like many others, were taught that when your life stops, you stop – that you cease to exist and your awareness is gone. That is, after all, what our bodily senses and perceptions seem to indicate.

Others try to get you to accept it. “It’s a natural part of life,” they say. But the whole time you’re thinking that that really doesn’t help at all or make you feel any better.  Who wants to feel good about death?  For that matter, who wants to accept it, under any circumstances?

Well, maybe that really isn’t what happens. Maybe something entirely different occurs that has nothing to do with either ceasing to exist or going to heaven and floating on clouds and playing harps for eternity (no disrespect to religion intended).

Throughout the world, many religions and many people believe and have believed for uncounted ages that humans are really “composite” beings consisting of a soul, or spirit, and a body. Many also believe that the mind is not part of the brain, but part of the spirit. The spirit is immortal; it goes on existing through eternity, and so does the mind and the personality that is you.

A physical analogy for the spirit is electricity, which powers machines and electronics. It is obvious that when someone dies, something has left the body. Its source of power is gone. That something, many believe, is the life force – the spirit.

What the spirit does after the body dies may be somewhat different in each case, but it is not necessarily true that you are automatically sucked up into a dark tunnel with a bright light at its end.

I have personally had a few direct experiences with spirits. The most spectacular and wonderful such experience was a night shortly before Christmas back in the late 1980s.

I lived in a dramatic 2-story-tall apartment in West Los Angeles with a spiral staircase leading up to a small bedroom loft.  I had decided to decorate the apartment for Christmas by wiring faux pine garlands to the railings bordering the loft area and also down the spiral railings for the staircase. I began fairly late in the evening, and cut off pieces of green wire twist-tie from a big roll I had, to fasten the pine garlands to the rails. (Twist-ties are wire wrapped with plastic, used as fasteners around loaves of bread in the U.S.)

As I worked, I had the wistful thought that it was too bad that nobody but me would see my decorations, since they were looking so pretty!  I didn’t have plans for anyone to come over that Christmas – but I wanted to decorate anyway!

After I was done with the garlands, I used more twist-tie to put little clusters of bright red holly berries along the garlands.  I was upstairs when I finished, so I surveyed my work from above, then dropped the by-then largely undone spool of green twist-tie – which then looked like a big spiral spring – down to the floor through the spiral staircase. It fell on the carpet under the stair case.

I then busied myself straightening up in the loft. At one point I heard a noise downstairs – a definite medium-soft “thunk” of something hitting something. It gave me a start, because nobody was in the house. I instantly discounted it, because it wasn’t something that should have been possible, and kept working.

A little while later, I went downstairs to clean up, intending to pick up the loose roll of twist-tie I had dropped onto the carpet.  But it wasn’t there!  I very clearly recalled having dropped it through to the carpet and noticing how it unwound, looking much like a big green spring.  I was bewildered, to say the least.

I looked around, and then I spotted it. The roll of green twist-tie wire was sitting in the middle of my old wood eating table. And no longer was it a large disarrayed spiral resembling a spring. No! Instead it was rolled up tightly and neatly in a little spool and secured with a clever tie that I didn’t even know how to do!  It reminded me of something a seaman would know how to do. 

I became pretty creeped-out then, because I KNEW I hadn’t done that.  I nervously searched all through the apartment, checking everywhere to make sure nobody was there. There was nobody there and all the windows and the door were locked tight. The only possibility was one which I was
not entirely ready or able to accept, and it took me some time to buck up my courage and get used to the idea. And that was that I had had a disembodied visitor with remarkable capabilities, able to manipulate physical objects. 

While still somewhat nervous about it, I also felt shy, because I wasn’t sure whether he might still be there. I decided to address him (I felt that he had once been male), in case he was still there, and thanked him/her for wrapping my twist-ties back up and for coming to visit me and show me that he had been there.

This experience was so amazing and hard to believe, yet impossible not to believe, that it changed my overall view of things. It confirmed for me utterly, once and for all, the existence of the spiritual plane. I had seen for myself (and heard for myself) that a spiritual being was real – a personality that could indeed act and make himself or herself known to us. And could move objects without the need of a body!  It was a confirmation on a different level of what I had already believed, and it meant the world to me that my visitor had come to visit me and show me this truth in a whimsical and instructive way.

A postscript to this story:  As I was standing there thinking about what had occurred, I remembered that earlier in the evening, when I was downstairs and before I had started decorating, I had been walking toward my office area when I suddenly felt an overwhelming rush of love and loyalty for a certain very wonderful friend who had passed away a few years earlier.  My emotion was very powerful, and I felt just like I had walked right into a pool of intense love.

Standing there, as I recalled that event, my eyes misted over and I thought that perhaps, just maybe, my beloved old friend had been my unseen visitor that night. And that indeed, someone very, very special had come, after all, to see my Christmas decorations.

So, I would ask you, is dying the end of us?

I think not.  

D.E. Lamont

A Virtuous or Spiritual Life: All Seriousness and No Fun?

What do I mean by “a virtuous or spiritual life”?  I’m not here addressing holy sisters, priests, monks, apostles, or full-time religious devotees. Instead, I’m talking about most people — those who want to live a good, productive life in keeping with their dreams, goals and the spiritual and moral/ethical values they hold dear.  In other words, possibly you! 

So, perhaps you’ve wondered, to live the best life I am capable of, must I have a serious attitude and engage in serious endeavors most of the time? When I engage in some light diversion is it an omission or a transgression? In order to stay on the straight and narrow and keep going with my projects and purposeful activities, must I omit pleasure? Would seeking to enjoy myself and have fun be a betrayal of my goals and purposes?

Some of the most revered spiritual leaders teach that a light heart and capacity for enjoyment and pleasure are part of a balanced life. The Dalai Lama, one of our greatest modern spiritual leaders, sets such an example, as he can often be observed to be smiling and laughing as he engages with others.

However, in the following passage, philosopher and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard puts these concepts in the clearest perspective. This is my favorite statement about the human need for pleasure:

There is therefore a necessity for pleasure, for working, as happiness can be defined, toward known goals over not unknowable obstacles.  And the necessity for pleasure is such that a great deal of pain can be borne to attain it.  Pleasure is the positive commodity.  It is enjoyment of work, contemplation of deeds well done; it is a good book or a good friend; it is taking all the skin off one’s knees climbing the Matterhorn; it is hearing the kid first say daddy; it is a brawl on the Bund at Shanghai or the whistle of amour from a doorway; it’s adventure and hope and enthusiasm and “someday I’ll learn to paint”; it’s eating a good meal or kissing a pretty girl or playing a stiff game of bluff on the stock exchange. It’s what Man does that he enjoys doing; it’s what Man does that he enjoys contemplating; it’s what Man does that he enjoys remembering; and it may be just the talk of things he knows he’ll never do.Man will endure a lot of pain to obtain a little pleasure. Out in the laboratory of the world, it takes very little time to confirm that.

And how does necessity fit this picture? There is a necessity for pleasure, a necessity as live and quivering and vital as the human heart itself. . . . The creative, the constructive, the beautiful, the harmonious, the adventurous, yes, and even escape from the maw of oblivion, these things are pleasure and these things are necessity.

from Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, by L. Ron Hubbard, (c) 1950, 2007 L. Ron Hubbard Library

I recommend you get this book so you see the entire context.

Have a day filled with good cheer!
D.E. Lamont