More Controversial Autism Spirituality
So, the previous post is about how I have found a connection with my Christian upbringing, my Christian Faith with my own Journey into Autism, but there is more to it than "just" that. So now I'm gonna "jump off the deep end" and try to verbalize my "heretical" insights. This may be VERY convoluted, so bear with me... I hope it doesn't sound too much like a sci-fi novel. Of ONE thing I am VERY, VERY sure: THIS IS STRICTLY A DESCRIPTION OF HOW I WRAP MY HEAD AROUND IT. IT IS NOT AN EFFORT TO PREACH OR SWAY. I am convinced that we each, separately and individually, must build a relationship with God that is inherently distinct and different. The way I know God cannot be the way you know Him/ Her. The purpose of sharing is to awaken insight, to define by comparison, to weave our journeys together into a Divine Tapestry.
I profoundly agree that Jesus was sent to Earth to solidify that bond between God and Man; I think Jesus was "sucked up" as a living being into the heavens, the realm of God. I think it just might be possible that God needed some "flesh" to cement/ create/ validate/ "magic-ify" that very real connection between our physical selves and our spiritual selves. Almost like God needed a piece of "dirt" to make the connection happen? I actually saw a show about the Shroud of Turin on the History Channel Easter weekend that kinda led me to this same place. The whole point/ connection of the show is tat we live in a "2 dimensional" world while an "invisible 3-dimensional" world exists around us... It left both me and my 5 year old unable to sleep because it touched something profound...
But I have some conflict about the linear nature of time. I am pretty sure that time is a physical? construct. I am not sure what the best word is... We clearly see the effects of time here, in this world. Plants and children grow, new buildings go up, old practices die, empires wax and wane, and mountains diminish. Whether counting seconds or eons, time most certainly passes for us. But the common belief of heaven is eternity. We expect to see lost friends and family, to lose all the pain associated with aging bodies and illness. "No beginning and no end" is a phrase I heard a lot at church as a child. God simply IS, always has been, always will be... and those ideas are pretty universal between ALL religions. So does that make time a human construct? Clearly God does NOT have to obey the "laws" of time; God transcends them... How can each life exist both "trapped" by time as well as "free" from it? What would the logistics of that be?
There have been Truths in my life that my deepest being recognizes without reservation. Convictions that I simply cannot explain to you why I KNOW they are true, except to say that at some place in my core, I recognize them. Like the term "old soul". Certainly it seems clear enough, but when I met an Old Soul, it was as if 2 Tetras pieces matched in my heart. People like Yoda, who just have more insight than one lifetime would seem to allow... Like the term "kindred spirit". There are people in my life, through out my life, whom I have "recognized" the very second I saw them. While I am known to be gregarious upon occasion, it's more than that. These are people I have instinctively known to not let slip out of my life, or they have kept showing back up in new, odd contexts, or I have been able to share and love them in the time I spent with them, clearly able to connect their presence with a new direction in my life path. Most CERTAINLY, these are the everyday angels we speak of. I see it as Proof that I am being woven into the Divine Tapestry, and there is no denying that I recognize these players...
So, I struggled as long as I can remember about trying to decide "why was I here?" What purpose could this life have? Why did God spend time combining this selection of matter with the knowledge I posses? The "typical" teenage questions of "why me?" turned into "why THIS me?" Why did I have to live in California? Why did I have to watch my father leave for work every night knowing it was another night he may never return? Why did I have some people as friends, but not others? Why did I have to have certain physical ailments that inhibited my lifestyle? Why did I feel compelled to some choices, but not others when the "logical" examination would not match? How did I know the day I visited my university that I needed to be there (I still had 5 more to visit)? Why did drugs and alcohol not look attractive to me? Why did I always feel like I had to marry my husband, as if there simply was no other man on earth (even when he was a dolt and jack#$% - how did I know that guy was gonna grow up and have exactly what I needed)? How did my "nurture" combine with my "nature" to create a me?
I came up with 2 answers that Rang True for me:
1) The process of living is the process of learning. I am here, exactly where I am geographically and in time, because this is the place God needs me to be to learn or do whatever it is He/ She needs me to do. Too many events in my life, both tragic and triumphant, have worked out P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y for it be other wise. While it is well and good to say that my upbringing "taught" me to look for silver linings and learn from mistakes, the reality is that I am VERY strong-willed, and have been VERY thick-headed about some decisions. When I persisted in a path that was NOT my role in the Divine Tapestry, I paid for it. So every experience I am brought to, every choice that must be made, every door and window that gets knocked on, every rough patch or smooth sailing, all are there to inform me, to teach me, to make me into whatever it is God needs me to be. I believe in my deepest of hearts that each person is created for the purpose of growth. How, where and what God's task for them is, is between them & God, but that is why we are here - to learn.
2) There is WAY more to be learned than can be mastered in one lifetime. Holy Smack... I have enough on my plate working through what I get dished to even consider the lessons in all the stuff I haven't tried yet! How can there be SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many people on Earth, and SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many different experiences that I could learn from them ALL?! The magnitude is overwhelming. Clearly I, this me, the body I am in now, is NOT meant to encompass them all. I get to learn from my tiny dot in the Big Picture, just like everyone else does (because the Divine Tapestry is not mine.... the plan is bigger...). How can I reconcile this idea of "old soul", of a "returner", with my conviction that we are each singularly and solitarially exist to complete a distinct spot in the Big Picture we don't see?
This is where the time thing comes in. What if....? What if the time does not exist to God? If Time is "permeable" for God, then all our "manifestations" could be at the same time spiritually even though they are at different times materially... What if...? What if God is over "there", and He/ She sends us over to learn, and we don't get it? Wouldn't He/ She send us back, to try again? Don't we deserve that chance? But, if time doesn't exist "over there", then couldn't our "second" shot actually be earlier in physical time? or later? I mean, if you had a Divine Plan, wouldn't you want to mix it up so old souls could teach new souls, or so new souls could remind old souls? Would you want to have a bunch of novices at the start and then just old fuddy-duds at the end? - But wait, we are saying there IS NO beginning or end.. it's just a continuous looping cycle....
The cyclical nature of time is apparent in the study of history. We see it in fashion clearly. James Madison studied it in empires to inform his creation of the Constitution. Empires wax and wane, and archaeologists are surprised to find ancient civilizations that harnessed similar technologies to today (like flush toilets in Pompei, or aqueducts in the Andes, or the Chinese circumnavigating the globe over 100 years before Europeans did). We are baffled by mysteries like the Easter Island heads, or the Great Pyramids, or the Anasazi Pueblos... My Padrino (godfather) and I spoke on the new discoveries being made about ancient civilizations in South America - mummies freeze-dried in the Andes. And he said to me: And those are the youngest mountains on Earth... IMAGINE THAT! My soul stirs to be here in Appalachia, and geologists have proven that this range was once connected to the British Isles... Funny how Southern Appalachia found itself settled predominately by the Scotch-Irish... or is it? My genealogy goes back to Scotland. What if it's even older than THAT?
Another Dutch Uncle spoke to me about the "path" of souls. I knew him as a traditional Jew, as in we had to cook Kosher meals when he visited. I don't know enough about the man or the religion to tell you how these ideas fit into his relationship with God, but he described to me a book he'd read that proposed that souls travel through time, through existences, as "family groups" - that we keep seeing each other again in new relationships, working out new ways to know and care for one another. Funny that he instinctively knew that I would be receptive to that idea when he knew my parents would not. Interesting that a man who does not and wishes to never have children, an academic who served in the Army with my father, a man who certainly has been a blessing to me and my family even though I have been in his presence maybe 20 times my whole life felt compelled to share that idea. Even more amazing how as soon as he said it, I felt the words become... solid, for lack of a better description... in my very core. I had the physical sensation of seeing Truth. (Boy, I wish I could explain that better.)
I sought to learn about and compare many religions, trying to find the grains of Truth that comparison would highlight - something MANY people do, academics and not. There are connections I made about peace and conflict, about sharing and hospitality, about learning and progress that I am not even listing here.
And then I had an Autistic son. He CLEARLY has some insights and abilities that are ... untraditional :)
I will go into ESP stuff later, but he has orated some incredible thoughts about God. Understand that he was baptized in a traditional Lutheran Church, and that while my husband accepts that I know God in my way, he does expect his children to meet God in a traditional way, in the ELCA, with all the ceremonies and common experiences that entails. We go to Church on most Sundays, we have only ever attended ELCA (Traditional) Lutheran churches or Episcopal churches with our children, we do VBS and Sunday School, have many books on bible stories and I use Christian biblical parables to help explain concepts and set rules for my children. I have told him on MANY, MANY occasions that his differences are a gift to him from God, that he is distinct because he needs to not hide his light under a basket, that only by being exactly who he is can he be a part of the Body of Christ, play his role in the whole being of God's plan. We have discussed that God is loving and forgiving, and more powerful than anything else, that Our God is a God of Love, that God is Love, and that love should guide every decision he ever makes, big or small. We have talked about stewardship, and that God created the plants and animals for us to manage, and use - that it is OK for us to eat living things as long as we are thankful for the gift of that life, and wise and kind in managing it. (Yes, before the age of 7 we have had some all out battles about not being "able" to eat meat or plants because they are alive. You tell me what he is "sensing"...) But there are many times when he will offer a rebuttal to our exhortations, tearfully, intensely describing to us how what we are saying about God cannot be true...
He tells us that God does not "exist" because, He is broken into tiny pieces that are inside each and every person. My son asks us how God can be bigger than his nightmares when He is broken into tiny pieces...
He tells us that God is not "powerful" because, we are God, so how can He be stronger than we already are...
Mostly the arguments are about the "size" of God, whether or not he is "big", but there have been lots of discussions about eating or using living things.... It is easy and nice to academically dismiss these statements, his passion, as an acute misunderstanding of an underdeveloped mind - that he is just too young and cannot comprehend the magnitude of life - that he is trying to make sense of all the disparate chunks/ pieces he hears, those paradoxes of Christianity.
But what if....? What if I were to entertain the notion that his insights are valid, that he is compelled to share them to help inform MY understanding, just as I am compelled to show him how I know God? What if he has touched on an understanding that is Truth is his heart?
This is where the "psychic"/ "intuitive" piece comes into play. I will elaborate on specific experiences we have had in another post, but I have witnessed evidence that my son can touch the minds of others, that he can communicate without his body, and that he touches/ sees a reality that is beyond?/ above?/ next to? where he physically exists.
Sometimes the stuff he says is like a sci-fi novel... and what if it's True?