Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Think She Knows

Last night, after the short and loud people went to bed, I joined a group of my friends for some tea at local restaurant.

We were reflecting on the election and talked about President Elect Obama’s grandmother and how sad it was that she passed away without seeing her Grandson’s victory.

“I think she knows that he won,” one of my friends said.

This led us into a long discussion about what we believe happens to the human spirit in death.

We talked about various ways of thinking about it.

Of course, there’s the traditional notion of heaven and hell but, surprisingly, this wasn’t what specifically resonated or moved us.

One of my friends simply believed that death was the end, that there was no continuation of the life force.

“What’s important,” she said, “is what you do NOW to make the world a better place.”

Another friend talked about the space and time continuum between your past, present and future selves as well as your ‘God self’ – the highest and best form of yourself – the version of yourself that could be presented to God.

My friend Stephanie and I both shared a feeling that, because energy can only be transferred and not destroyed, life force must transfer somewhere.

“Maybe the spirit becomes wind or water,” I said, “or maybe, like Dante described in Paradiso, the soul experiences unification with itself and all things… turned like a wheel, all at one speed, by the love that turns the sun and all the other stars.”
[Okay, so I wasn’t able to actually quote the Dante text verbatim in this conversation, but my Grandfather always told me not to let facts get in the way of a good story, so humor me.]

My friend Gwen talked about consciousness.

We were, after all, speculating about whether, in death, Obama’s grandmother could have known that he won the election.

“There are these weird studies,” Gwen said, “where objects are placed on the floor out of view of surgical patients. After they wake up, patients that had a near death experience are able to report having seen these objects as they hovered over themselves. They wake up knowing about the objects on the floor. It’s hard to explain.”

There was a collective silence, a wondering.

“Maybe,” Gwen continued, “there is a transition period for the human conscience. Perhaps the body dies first but the consciousness lives on for a while and slowly dissipates over time to become part of nothing or everything.”

Though we had differing views about death and after life, we agreed that the things each of us believed had less to do with what was true, as there is no way of knowing, and more to do with what each of us needed to get by.



19 comments:

flutter said...

I am impressed by your conversations

manicmanicurist said...

I agree that we all need some sort of thought to get us by. It's good that you could all discuss your thoughts without judgement. Those are good friends. :)

Christina said...

Yes, awesome conversation! I'm jealous. But I really think that last paragraph says it all quite perfectly.

Laura said...

WOW - wish I could escape my short noisy people and have that type of wonderful discussion...

Sayre said...

Very interesting conversation... I rather like the idea behind "Defending Your Life", where you come back until you learn enough to move on to the next phase of existence. I asked my son once if he thought he was a new soul or an old one. He said he was new, but that he also new that mine was very old.

Sayre said...

"knew"

Jennifer said...

One of my favorite quotes - which I had to look up because I don't have it exactly memorized ;-)

"So much depends on our idea of God! Yet no idea of Him, however pure and perfect, is adequate to express Him as He really is. Our idea of God tells us more about ourselves than about Him." ~ Thomas Merton

Sounds like you have an amazing group of friends.

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

She knows. I'm a Dante fan myself.

I have a post up about my grandmother's wallpaper. As I walked at Versailles, she knew I was remembering her house.

Belief more than gets us by. When it's true belief you know it, because you can no longer just get by. Suddenly, the stakes are to high, for you and the world both. Belief moves you from your comfort zone, when it's real.

I find it hilarious, glancing down, that the code word I have to enter to prove I'm a human is evell. Get it? Like "evil." heh

ewe are here said...

I think I like the idea of a life force...

They're actually doing a study in hospitals over here about the leaving the body thing. They're going to put pictures on top of the shelves in the surgical rooms facing up, no one will see them from the floor... and should any one claim to have an out of body experience during the surgery, they'll see if they can identify what was on the pictures up there...

Gretchen said...

I think you and your friends have pretty deep conversations. When I get together with the neighboorhood hens, we usually gossip and bitch.

apathy lounge said...

Had a conversation about that very thing last night with two girlfriends. Were you there, too? Hey...today's my blogiversary! Three years!

Little Nut Tree said...

I am pretty impressed by the surgical patients thing.

Do you know any more about these studies?

furiousBall said...

also, what if "D-O-G" really spelled cat?

Vodka Mom said...

I was all set to talk about previous lives, Sylvia Browne and all that shit, and then I read furiousball's comment, and started laughing my ass off. Now, where was I????

Karen said...

and all this time I thought you were just a pretty face.

Jen @ Amazing Trips said...

That sounds like my kind of tea party!!

So, yesterday I was driving the children home from school and we saw a dead cat on the road. I tried to explain that the cat had gone to live with God, and then, told the children that several years ago - LONG before they were born - we had owned a cat.

Her name was LC and much like the cat that was squished on the road, LC had been hit by a car and mommy and daddy were so, so sad. (This is important discussion because I really want to drive home the point that they should NEVER run in to a road or street and they must remain very aware of vehicles around them at all times).

I was reminded of just how sad I was when we lost our beloved cat, and my voice cracked. One of my four-year-olds piped up, "It's OK Mom. I was there when LC went to live with God and she's OK."

So yeah. How about that kind of profound thinking from a four-year-old?!

All we are is dust in the wind?

I think NOT!!

JoeinVegas said...

Does this mean that great grandma is floating around up there watching over us, including that time you and K were in the process of making the short loud ones? Next time look up at the ceiling and say 'Hi' to whoever is watching over you.

ginger said...

An intriguing conversation and a delightful way to spend an evening. I only wonder... what kind of tea were you drinking? and do they sell it where I live?

much love to you.

Freddie Sirmans said...

Very interesting reflections, just browsing through.