The Veil Between the Worlds Is an Illusion

Holy Names Academy-sans veil - Copy

A Story for All Hallows Eve

On a bright Autumn Sunday afternoon I went to the high school where I taught to print and photocopy a lesson I planned to teach the next day.  Such is life, or lack of life, for a teacher!  The school was a four story turn of the century building, with innumerable nooks and crannies…great for young girls wanting to escape class.  The halls echoed my entrance on the first floor, alerting me to the fact that I was alone.  I didn’t care.  I was on a mission!  Ensconced at the desk in the teachers’ workroom on the third floor, I set myself to printing my handout.  NOTE:  This is 1984, the era of dinosaur computers and I am not, by nature, a practical person.  The printer would not print.  For twenty minutes my attention was riveted to that printer, nothing else.

Finally, success!  I whipped out the paper to take it to the photocopy machine, turned toward the open doorway, and froze.  Just inside the open door of the office across the hall, sat a young woman.  She was a 1960’s Joan Baez kind of girl, complete with straight, long, black hair, mini skirt, and even go-go boots.  I couldn’t move.  I had stopped breathing.  As if on cue, I heard a calm voice within me ask, “Why do you presume you have to be afraid?” and I blurted like a bullet, “Who are you, what do you want?”  At the sound of my voice, her diaphanous image disintegrated, like individual pixels on a screen separating from the picture, and I no longer saw her.  But I felt her presence.  It was benign, nothing sinister about it, but she was still there.  I decided then and there that my students could very well do without the assignment I had set out to print, and I fled the building.

“Why do you presume you have to be afraid?  Because Hollywood told me so.  Another ten years brought similar experiences, the fear dissipating with each one.  I started to read.  I worked with shamans.  I wrapped my unscientific brain around the most basic concepts of physics and saw how they related to spirituality.  I had always believed that we live on somehow after death.  Now I understood that the voice within me had come from this “Joan Baez” girl.  The shaman suggested that perhaps she only left because I had interrupted her quiet time.  During the week she put up with 250 teenagers.

My spiritual practice around the afterlife has evolved to include an intentional awareness of the presence of spirits in my daily life.  I invite them each day to guide, protect and companion with me.  When I write, preach, guide or discern a path, I chant a mantra, “Come good spirits, come.  Show me the way.”  I invite only those whom I can welcome, and protect myself from those who are not welcome.  The veil between the two worlds is getting thinner for me with every passing year and every encounter.

I am convinced that these are normal, everyday experiences, open to everyone.  Today is All Hallows Eve, a time when the veil is said to be at its thinnest.  Honor your dead with flowers, candles, and maybe a little chat.  Do you have a “ghost” story to share below?

 

Believer or not, this podcast from Snap Judgment, “Innocence Lost,”  is guaranteed to entertain, enlighten, or frighten someone: http://snapjudgment.org/SpookedV
 

An All Hallows Eve Story: The Thin Veil

Golden Kiss2

An All Hallows Eve Story:  The Thin Veil

On a bright Autumn Sunday afternoon I went to the high school where I taught to print and photocopy a lesson I planned to teach the next day.  Such is life, or lack of life, for a teacher!  The school was a four story turn of the century building, with innumerable nooks and crannies…great for young girls wanting to escape class.  The halls echoed my entrance on the first floor, alerting me to the fact that I was alone.  I didn’t care.  I was on a mission!  Ensconced at the desk in the teachers’ workroom on the third floor, I set myself to printing my handout.  NOTE:  This is 1984, the era of dinosaur computers and I am not, by nature, a practical person.  The printer would not print.  For twenty minutes my attention was riveted to that printer, nothing else.

Finally, success!  I whipped out the paper to take it to the photocopy machine, turned toward the open doorway, and froze.  Just inside the open door of the office across the hall, sat a young woman.  She was a 1960’s Joan Baez kind of girl, complete with straight, long, black hair, mini skirt, and even go-go boots.  I couldn’t move.  I had stopped breathing.  To use the vernacular, if I may, SHE SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME!  As if on queue, I heard a calm voice within me ask, “Why do you presume you have to be afraid?” and I blurted like a bullet, “Who are you, what do you want?”  At the sound of my voice, her diaphanous image disintegrated, like individual pixels on a screen separating from the picture, and I no longer saw her.  But I felt her presence.  It was benign, nothing sinister about it, but she was still there.  I decided then and there that my students could very well do without the assignment I had set out to print, and I fled the building.

“Why do you presume you have to be afraid?  Because Hollywood told me so.  Another ten years brought similar experiences, the fear dissipating with each one.  I started to read.  I worked with shamans.  I wrapped my unscientific brain around the most basic concepts of physics and saw how they related to spirituality.  I had always believed that we live on somehow after death.  Now I understood that the voice within me had come from this “Joan Baez” girl.  The shaman suggested that perhaps she only left because I had interrupted her quiet time.  During the week she put up with 250 teenagers.

My spiritual practice around the afterlife has evolved to include an intentional awareness of the presence of spirits in my daily life.  I invite them each day to guide, protect and companion with me.  When I write, preach, guide or discern a path, I chant a mantra, “Come good spirits, come.  Show me the way.”  I invite only those whom I can welcome, and protect myself from those who are not welcome.  The veil between the two worlds is getting thinner for me with every passing year and every encounter.

I am convinced that these are normal, everyday experiences, open to everyone.  Today is All Hallows Eve, a time when the veil is said to be at its thinnest.  Honor your dead with flowers, candles, and maybe a little chat.  Do you have a “ghost” story to share below?

Reep and Sow

What a paradox it is that in autumn we harvest, yet, if we want spring flowers and crops, we must also plant.  The spiritual life is a paradox of continuous planting-harvesting-planting-harvesting.  Spiritual practices, like compassion and conscious living bear fruit in acts of justice where we learn what more there is to plant.

God-Seed green

  rita h. kowats 10-24-14

Waiting for the Fog to Lift

Waiting for the Fog to Lift

 

When it fogs in October
People say, “It’s thick as pea soup out there!”
When it fogs in our souls
We pull up a stool to the hearth
And watch grievances bubble to a boil,
Thickening into an opaque blend
Of anger and resentment or fear and pain,
Depending on the available spices
We add to the mix.

Just as fog bides its time,
Confined by purblind eyes
We must stop stirring the pot,
And wait in the soulfog
For Spirit to restore peace.

 

© rita h kowats

 

Stained Glass Windows

Nature's Stained Glass Window

 

“…have you ever found God in church? I never did.
I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show.
Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me.”

Alice Walker, The Color Purple

 

Stained glass church windows:

Illuminated wall decorations
Held in place by rigid frames,
Enshrined in static magnificence,
Controlling light for their own sakes.

But nature,
In infinite
Enfolding and unfolding,
Is the light.
Dynamic and undivided
She freely flashes colors
From her essence,
Layer upon layer
On unsuspecting pilgrims
Who stop by to
Be.

© rita h kowats 2014

My muses for this piece are the incredible photo by Juneau nature photograper Lynn Schooler (https://www.facebook.com/lynn.schooler?fref=photo) and the work of innovative physicist David Bohm.

Chris Highland (chighland.com) just drew my attention to this piece, John Burroughs at the Canterbury Cathedral . You may enjoy it.

http://books.google.com/books?id=HSAZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=John+Burroughs+at+the+Canterbury+Cathedral&source=bl&ots=PDd15r4n58&sig=nsWg-sRTEGg893kWpIpMT7usbBc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=noUwVNwMgt6gBOXXgogD&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=John%20Burroughs%20at%20the%20Canterbury%20Cathedral&f=false