The fifth in a series venturing beyond the veil of the obvious. The point of this series has been to illustrate, drawing upon actual events in my own life, situations and occurrences which cast definitive doubt upon the conventionally accepted rational materialistic worldview. I hold that the only honest and plausible explanation for the kinds of events depicted here is that the realist consensus is wrong and must be replaced by a spiritual worldview — and it is at our collective peril that we persist “forward” wearing our status quo blinders. The previous episode can be found here. A useful explanatory orientation to the entire series with links for each episode is also worth seeing.
“Acquaintance within the human kingdom is limited spiritually. The soul which has crossed over has contact and can make links only with those human souls, whether still alive on earth or deceased in yonder world, with whom he has already been karmically connected somehow on earth in the previous or in an earlier incarnation.” – Rudolf Steiner
After the Funeral
It was nearly a week since my mother had died, passing on New Year’s Eve after some months of illness. Specialists had curiously misdiagnosed her symptoms, many of them cognitive or behavioral. Of her three children I lived the closest and spent her period of decline often accompanying her on doctor visits or ordinary chores, for she had lost some of her independence. It was a draining time, emotionally, though I think I did not consciously grasp all this. Not until driving home alone after the funeral. And I had a few days off to do little but listen to some music, think, and look out the window at the wild forested hillside across the road and the mountain ridge trailing into the windy distance to the left, and south.
I wouldn’t say she and I were especially close, but we were certainly nowhere near estranged either. We’d become friendlier in a casual way during her later years, able to joke about past foibles. Sometimes in phone calls she’d want to know the “Woodbury News”, but I’m notoriously bad at gossipy small talk. It was okay though. Once the engine was started she did much of the news reporting while I remarked and laughed. And she was happy with this. Being the oldest of the siblings, I was pre-appointed executor once anything inevitable happened. She’d remind me once a year or so, about the safety deposit box and the process and instructions. I’d always hush her and say we have a quarter century before any of that stuff.
But that day it was time, I decided. To begin. I sat on the carpet close to the wide paneled window before nature’s panorama with a few of her key effects before me on the floor. A manila envelope, her wallet, and a cute little woven red coin purse she always kept. And my black and white executor’s notebook where I tracked any and every thing which came up while I sorted out her affairs. Work gifted me the entire week off; I could ease into it. I’d alternate between making progress with the will and effects and staring outside at the beauty of the setting. It had become misty; a cloud was descending like a shroud; a snowstorm was coming.
A Stirring Among The Trees
I looked inside her coin purse first. A single penny, an extra key for something, and a tiny folded note which I opened. It was an official thank you and blessing from a nun who ran a charity north of New York City. Apparently my mother had contributed $25 every month from her pension. For years. I had no idea. Thinking about her, I turned next to the wallet. She’d lived alone for some years, widowed. I remember her fearful, on the bed, talking with me right after my father passed, confiding that she’d never been alone since age 19 and had no clue what to do. Somehow, I was inspired enough in that moment to offer her a trip to Ireland the following summer — land of her ancestry where she’d never been. It held an aire of mystery and lure for her but she was deathly afraid of flying, and would never venture alone. It gave her hope and a sense that life could still have unpredictable newness when I told her, and I felt glad. Even though travelling with my mother for a week or two felt impossibly foreign to me. But seeing the smile come to her eyes was reward enough. She had friends sprinkled about, from the old days. But mostly she lived for her descendants and wanted constant news of their affairs. Especially the granddaughters. The fog thickened slowly, and cold air moved within it in a swirling pattern, beginning to distort the outlines of the now bare trees on the slope.
I found a local library card in one slot. She liked biographies. I made a note to myself, I’d have to check her night stand for any books to return. Something emotional lived in the card when I cradled it in my palm, I cannot well describe it. Staring at her signature, I slipped a tiny bit into her person while touching it, glimpsing what was still childlike within her. I felt a wave of unsentimental sympathy towards her. Humans doomed to die. An uncharacteristic warm gratitude pervaded me. It seemed a peculiarly intimate moment. Something made me look up and glance outside again for a long while. Dusk was wanting to spill over the horizon, and the individual trees were starting to obscure. There was one in particular that my eyes were drawn to. Not too tall or thick, among a group of others, with a distinctive bending twist in its main trunk. It held my gaze a moment and caught my thoughts, silencing them and all conceptualizing. I’d likely seen this tree in passing many other times, in all seasons, but never taken special notice. But now it bore a curious animation. It compelled my attention. I noted a striking similarity between the tree’s specific way of shaping itself and the slightly stooped gait my mother had developed in the final months of her life. It was incredibly poignant and suggestive in the mist. I experienced an instant where it was not immediately clear to me whether I was beholding the tree or an image of my mother in the distance. Then, still without judging or thinking, but wrapped in warm sympathies, the tree/mother began to approach me!
It dislodged from its location on the slope, maybe fifty yards away from me. It disentangled from its symbolic gesture as bent and twisted tree and revealed itself as being, with force and intention, yet aphysical. It evaporated the gulf between us, passing through the window into my living room, slowing directly in front of me. I do not know how, but I know this was crucial: I maintained somehow an utterly sanguine and matter-of-fact stance towards this entire phenomenon despite its undeniably extraordinary quality. Nothing varied regarding my attitude of warm sympathy and open regarding. There was no fear or surprise or discomfort on my part — simple sympathetic observational acceptance. I know in hindsight that this is why the experience was able to continue. My end of the spiritual bargain, if you like. But it was not deliberated in the moment, which seemed timeless or altered, timewise. It simply transpired.
It was no longer visual in any way. Nor was there sound. Nothing sensory in terms of physical sensations. The closest thing I perceived was a kind of warmth. But it was not physical warmth or temperature. It was an emotional warmth, a broadcasting or radiance of demeanor. It paused in front of me for a brief instant, as though out of politeness, to assess my receptivity. Then it came forward and moved through the boundary between myself and the outer world… it passed inside me. At this point, maybe even very slightly before, it became clear to me that this manifestation consisted of three beings. It was a spiritual presence which I was encountering. The middle being was without doubt the individuality who was my mother. I sensed her in a way I cannot describe except to say that I recognized her — her presence, her quality, her being. She was expressing love and warmth, kindness, appreciation, and support. On either side of her were two supporting beings, who were more powerful and larger but extremely unobtrusive. Their sole function seemed to be that of supporting her and effecting her visitation to me — something she would not have been capable of without their assistance. They were not human. Helping spirits of some form. The entire episode lasted at most sixty seconds, from the initial stirring in the trees until now. Maybe even half that. I felt this kind of desire for a final greeting and well-wishing towards me from her. I was glad of it and conveyed as much. Then I felt the entire trio pass through my back, briefly occupying the space behind me, before they evaporated into nothing, leaving only the physical living room and myself sitting alone within it. I had no need to turn around; I sensed everything non-physically. A slight warmth of the sort I described lingered inside and around me, as things very quickly returned to normal.
It was as though I’d witnessed a muffin popping out of a toaster — that mundane. But in fact, the spiritual essence of my recently deceased mother had just paid me a farewell visit, assisted or conveyed by two supporting beings. A very close visit, in fact. Right inside my being. And it all was “opened” by some unusually graceful and sympathetic feelings towards her while sitting alone with her will, while noting an ephemeral similarity between her form and that of a fog-shrouded tree. It was 100% unexpected, unsought after, unusual in my previous experience, and seamless in the timestream of my afternoon. Life just went on.
What Realists Cannot Know
What happened, and how? I had occasionally read reports of visitations in various forms by deceased relatives before. Likely so have you. Personally such accounts have almost always felt disappointing to me. I mean easy to dismiss and not palpable enough to compel my wonderment. That is partly why I have tried to retain both the vividness and mundanity of my experience in this narration. Some such accounts are legit. Many go untold to the world at large. It is not as if I need convincing at some level that people who physically die persist in some form of existence afterwards. I have long intuited that this must be the case, and operate accordingly to the extent I can. But tales of mediums, seances, psychics delivering messages ‘from the other side’ for fifty bucks or so have always left me unimpressed and uninterested. Access to the spiritual must be personally achievable for it to have any real meaning at all; it must be unmediated. We must simply lack the capacity and technique as of yet. And the psychics seem retro and backwards to me, not forward-looking or representative of a desirable human evolution. It seems to me that authentic spiritual experiences are currently given as a kind of occasional grace, and that such things will increase in the future. But the understanding necessary to act as a favorable foundation within contemporary human souls is deeply compromised, even consciously opposed, by the exclusively technical, scientific, and rational mindset. Be mindful that I said exclusively. This has to change within modern culture, then a new opening can be envisioned. The slowness and resistance to such a change forms a direct contributory line to practically every global social crisis which plagues the present moment. Including covid, for example. End of sermon, for now.
“Death is unreal, that’s the way that I feel, there’s more to be revealed… lovers and friends meet again and again, on the dear old battlefield.” – Robin Williamson
Thanks for reading about my supernatural adventure. Special thanks to those readers who have formed no judgements about matters mentioned herein and who instead are committed to living with the ideas and thinking about them. No hallucinogenic agents of any sort were employed at any moment during any of the events described within the “Adventures in the Supernatural” series of writings. May you be open to your own supernatural adventures, while taking care to retain your clear-eyed reason and mental sobriety, to protect yourself from delusion.
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What an extraordinary experience! And a lovely parting with your mother. It reminded me of my own caregiving of my mother before she passed and the moments after, looking through her things, which she had been whittling down, so there would be little I’d have to dispose of when the time came. Nothing like what you experienced though.
My own brushes with the supernatural have been on a more ghostly and alarming scale, which I’ve written about on my blog—growing up in a haunted house and other strange and frightening experiences as a young mother. But working at a spiritual level, I was able to work through and out of these “visitations,” and have been free for a long time now. I believe in the spiritual more than the supernatural, but I do believe that some people are more open to ;them, perhaps because we are also more open to allowing them to pass out of our lives and are unharmed by them. Or as you have been, blessed by them .I think of them more now as layers of reality that co-exists with what we normally consider “reality” but which some of us have more access to than others.
Whether they are “real” or not, is another question, as is the question of what “reality” actually is. Since I believe, as do many neuroscientists, that all existence is a form of consciousness, perhaps we are experiencing projected forms of our own consciousness. While others may not experience them, they remain as “real” as what is generally accepted as and experienced as “reality” by most humans.
Hi Deborah, and first off, my truest thanks for absorbing and reflecting upon what I’ve written! I entirely agree with you that ‘spiritual’ is the apt descriptive word for things like this as opposed to ‘supernatural’, and that is surely how I look upon them. I used the word ‘supernatural’ for several reasons: to attract people in a tongue-in-cheek way (as can also be seen from the blatantly cheesy illustration headers), and to put the challenge to the strictly naturalist readers who are more comfortable simply disregarding things like this.
I’d be keen to read of your own experiences if you’d like to give me some links or refs to them. As to their reality… my conviction is that they are basically hyper-real. In other words, I was more awake and perceptive during these brief moments than in the usual functioning moments of life. So, I think we are evolving towards them.
The question of what consciousness is, how it happens, and so on is a very interesting one, and I have long been pretty attuned to it. I do not think of neuroscience techniques as a particularly useful avenue for explaining or exploring it. The reason is simple: neuroscience will and can only consider the physical elements, and consciousness and all subjective experience is fundamentally not a physical phenomenon. So the tool is wrong from the outset. And that is because materialism rules at present as a worldview. I do not think it likely that any of the experiences I have written about were projections of my consciousness, as you have proposed. if so, then all other ‘normal’ conscious experiences would have to be projections as well. But I see no reason to presume their unreality. I experience green; I experience sourness, chillyness, a rough surface, a C-sharp piano tone; and I experience a tree morphing into my mother’s spirit and coming to encounter me. There is no question that one is more legit than another without some other explanation. 🙂 Happy New Years!
I loved this ❤️ Your description, while not written purely to evoke emotion, did exactly that. The spiritual experiences we have that are on the fringes of our personal daily realities seem to be linked to emotional needs, perhaps not fully known to us. There’s my two cents.
Having had my own special experiences, having developed my own perspectives on such things, I value this a tremendous amount. I love reading others.
Thanks alot, EC. I know what you mean… I adopted a kind of dry tone, but the mere vividness of it has to induce deep feelings if one is not snoozing. And you certainly are not snoozing 🙂 Please know that your 2 cents are always exchanged for numerous dollars in my economy. I have had similar thoughts at times to what you suggest: feelings deeper than we can estimate may act as openers. I think the same about deeply hidden will impulses too. ❤️
the way you parted with your mother and the way you reflected on it had been the essence of peace, which is what we all value and treasure, and which is what eternity ultimately means. Still from the peace I could feel the subtle emotion. Good read.
xie xie 🙂
Thank you for this skillfully written piece of your unexpected spiritual moment with your beloved mother. I would like to commend you, not just for the super conscious ability to experience this extraordinary, extra sensory connection with your dear and deceased mom, but for the ability to describe it to us. — How noble a mother she must’ve been for her to wish to pay you another warm calling and to reassure you that she is still with you and that you must find comfort in that. — Yes, we must be open to meaningful messages from another realm, whether explicable or not.
I receive your warm words as a lovely gift, Steph, and feel grateful for them and you. Delighted, as always, when you take in my thoughts and give back. I am particularly glad this writing has found its way to you. My being is always lifted by your brief visits.
Im so sorry for the loss of your mum. I had a similar experience on the night my elder brother was killed on December 25th. He went out and I was at home sleeping and I suddenly saw him pacing back and forth in my room. I guess he was trying to tell me that he had been killed but I felt like I was just imagining things. Anyways long story short, he went missing on December 25th 2016 and we found his body on in March 28th 2017. A very sad experience for my family, his spirit was so restless until we found his killer
Wow. What a night to depart one’s life! And how empty it must feel for you that it happened due to a murder. It is interesting that his source of restlessness was removed once the murderer was revealed. Thanks for writing to me about this. 🙂
Don’t worry about my loss — it was already more than 15 years now, and it feels quite calm and natural within my soul.
It is well with you. Time they say heals all wounds. Many thanks sir