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If You Choose…

Grief will open the doors to the spiritual realm, if you choose.

Religions throughout time have built edifices in an attempt to help people know the spiritual realm, but it is still very much a mystery. The unsettling reality for most of us is that we feel a separation from that which is transcendent, a separation prosaically described as existing behind the veil. Some who are steeped in the certitude of a religion grasp the reality of the spiritual realm as truth, but don’t often, if ever, experience it. Others have a vague notion of the spiritual realm, but rarely give it any consideration; they think it is a possibility, but then conclude no one knows for sure, no one can know for sure. Still others are skeptical of the reality and place the very possibility under a vast umbrella of fantasy.

This covers the wide spectrum of human belief in an afterlife.

You have some understanding of the spiritual realm.

While it is not the purpose or point of this book to dissuade you from your religious and spiritual beliefs, understandings and proclivities, in order to illuminate the spiritual aspect of your grief, it is helpful to shine a light on the profound mystery of the spiritual realm. This illumination begins with a brief reflection on the astonishing, mind boggling complexity of life right here on this planet.

This complexity in the material world is everywhere we look. Science, the most powerful tool available to humans, has found no place in the known universe where, upon close inspection, it discovered… hey, look here, this is really simple. Quite the opposite. Everywhere we look we find a staggering intricacy and complexity in form, function and operation.

Here is a short detour that serves to highlight this point:

From out of trillions of possible examples, let’s take a peek at the “lowly” beetle. There are over 400,000 different species of beetle, accounting for one of every five species and they cover the globe. Evolution has tried, refined and tested beetles for millions of years and created an amazing animal. They have been used as jewelry, food, art, but more interestingly, when scientists begin analyzing beetle physiology, they find brilliantly engineered forms.
Countless innovative inventions have come from studying the beetle. For instance, the onymacris unguicularis, a beetle found only in the Namibian desert, has a unique way of procuring water. As dew enriched fog settles over the dunes in the morning, the beetle’s shell collects it, which it then slurps up. The Dew Bank Bottle replicates this ingenious design, and literally collects water from the air, which in arid environments could save lives. Another type of beetle’s feet—dense pads of tiny hairs—inspired the development of a new reusable and adhesive-free tape that is twice as sticky as other flat tapes. Physicists have also studied the metallic iridescent colors of jewel beetles, which reflect different wavelengths of light to produce an awe-inspiring shimmering effect. This has been used to develop iridescent paints, pigments, and even cosmetics. Still other scientists are exploring ways the beetle’s design genius could prove useful for engineering optical chips in ultrafast computers. The list of beetle inspired inventions and innovations goes on and on with no end in sight.

All this comes from a partial inspection of just one type of insect.

Again, this complexity is in all things in the material world: there are about 400,000 known species of flowers, representing a riot of brilliant colors and an astonishing variety of form; the microbes inside your intestinal track number in the trillions and each microbe is as complicated as the computations for the gravitational interactions of stars in the galaxy; the mating habits of baboons fill books; a single hectare in the Amazonian rainforest contains more tree species than the whole of North America, an innumerable variety of plants and animals, and most of these are still unknown; the entropic miracle of rotting wood in a forest’s ecology presents a byzantine complexity of multiple systems operating together…

And then, if we happen to look beyond our beautiful blue dot, our solar system consists of one medium sized sun orbited by eight planets, moons, asteroids, comets and meteoroids, which exists with over a hundred billion other stars and Sagittarius A*, our galaxy’s supermassive black hole inside the Milky Way, which is itself just one of trillions of other galaxies in our universe. Astrophysicists are now pondering the likelihood that our universe is just one in an infinite number of universes. Astronomy is the science of ever-expanding horizons and these words are a wholly inadequate understatement.

The complexity of the material world is quite beyond the limits of our individual comprehension, and this is worth your contemplation when considering the spiritual realm. Because, quite simply (small pun) the spiritual realm is immeasurably more complex than our material world, for our material world—the whole shebang—exists inside of the spiritual realm. Spiritual teachers tell us that there are infinite “layers” of the spiritual realm, like spectrums of light that go on forever and that you can travel up through the spiritual realm, encountering spirit community after spirit community but, like heading out in a spaceship to find the edge of the universe, you would never come to an end.

The spiritual realm becomes like a giant ink blot in our imagination; we can see anything in it. This is the mystery. There may be no light to shine on this mystery, except this:

The experience of transcendent hope belongs to all human beings, and it is especially meaningful and poignant for those of us who have lost a loved one. Connecting to your loved one in the spiritual realm is often the most profound, moving and transformative experience in a lifetime. It will not only change your life, but it can save it--lifting you from a cold and dark and lonely place to stand beneath the bright light of the sun.  

Your grief will gift you this, if you want it.

Here’s the important point for the skeptics among us: belief in this reality is not a prerequisite for this to happen, but you do have to want the experience. The experience will fuel your belief, and shape it accordingly.
It will be exactly what you need in order to know the energetic power of love and its transcendent reality. While for some the first connection to spirit arrives with a big wow, what we consider a religious experience, it more commonly arrives as a soft whisper. Like the signal from a distant radio station, you adjust, tune in, begin receiving.

As soon as you set the intention of connecting to your loved one, spirit begins searching for the best way to make this connection for you as an individual. What triggers a response—wonder, excitement, gratitude or a question mark—determines and shapes future connections.

All that is good in the spiritual realm manifests positively on the material plane; all that is good in the physical realm resonates powerfully in the spiritual realm. The two are mirrors of each other. This is meaningful.
It is why everything that works to connect you to spirit has powerful positive benefits in our material world: meditation practices; prayer; pranayama or breath practices; exercise, especially if the type of exercise comes in the form of a spiritual practice like yoga or martial arts; wellbeing practices, such as veganism, (especially as a byproduct of expanded compassion for our fellow creatures), fasting or caloric restrictive diets (health permitting). This is one of many reasons why developing your connection to spirit becomes a life enhancing choice.

This cannot be emphasized enough.

The converse is also generally true. Alcohol and drugs restrict consciousness and inhibit your ability to perceive the spiritual, especially in the beginning.  To initiate a connection, it will help if you refrain from alcohol and drugs as much as possible.

And understand that love is an energy. Too often our experience of love is narrow and restrictive; we think of it as a box of chocolate or a bouquet of flowers. People even think of love as a feeling or emotion. Love can cause feelings and emotions, but it is an energy.

Here is how you initiate the experience.

Return to the earlier loving kindness meditation.

Find a quiet time and a peaceful place. Close your eyes.

Perform the simple breathing exercise.

Conjure your loved one in your mind’s eye smiling back at you. Relive your most poignant memories. In detail.

Then, once again, imagine your loved one showering you with love.

Picture this love cascading over you as a glittering white light.  

Now ask them (out loud or silently) for a confirmation of their existence: Can you send me a confirmation that I will recognize as a symbol of your love?

Thank your loved one in advance.

Send the glittering white light cascading back over them. Picture them opening their arms to this visual image of your cascading love. See them laughing (or smiling) as the glittering white light falls all around them.

Repeat this loving kindness meditation every day, twice a day. This simple meditation practice trains, teaches and alters your consciousness for the connection that awaits you. The more you practice it, the stronger the connection grows.

Within a month, but often the same day, or the very next day, your request will be answered. You will experience a confirmation. How your confirmation appears varies widely from person to person. The connection is a fantastic dance between your consciousness and your loved one. It can also include the wider spiritual realm that supports you.

At first these signs can be vague and uncertain. Again, spirit is seeking the best way to connect to your consciousness. It is building a velvet bridge to you.

The first signs can be energetic. This means that as you are meditating, or thinking of your loved one, you feel a tantalizing tingling, whisper-soft electric raindrops brushing your skin. Some people experience this in a more pronounced way, even as goosebumps.

The energetic connection can also come in a buzzing sound in your consciousness. Hilariously, this can be very much like tinnitus, with the difference being that a spiritual signal is altogether pleasant, the buzzing is experienced as both external and internal and it disappears when you shift your consciousness to the external world.

Often it arrives as the energetic form of love washing over you. You feel love as a physical force and as soon as you realize what is happening, it intensifies. It is indescribable how this stream of energetic love ignites your consciousness as it cascades around you. You feel it physically, emotionally, spiritually. This can be so overwhelming as to drop you to your knees and wet your eyes.

You amplify these connections with recognition, gratitude and excitement. Spirit is looking for your response. This is what forms the initial link to your loved one.

For many others, perhaps most of us, the connection that first appears is synchronistic. You determine if it is a sign from its emotional resonance. These signs also tend to appear when you are thinking about your loved one, or conversely, when you encounter the sign, your consciousness connects it to your loved one. You might first feel wonder, then bafflement, then wonder again. You are asking, Is this a sign? The question is joyful.

George Bernard Shaw said, “Imagination is how God speaks to us.” This is deep on many levels, (hilarious if you are an atheist). Spirit uses your imagination to communicate. Even if it is not a sign and just a coincidence, if you take it is a sign, spirit employs this trick of imagination to strengthen the connection to you. The sign will soon be repeated or you will receive another sign.

Here are the most common signs that begin building this velvet bridge:

Music: Any music that connects you to your loved one and appears unexpectedly in your field. Your loved one’s favorite song, a symphony you heard on a memorable anniversary, lyrics that light your consciousness with new meaning.  You can use music to connect to your loved one. Play their favorite song or piece of music, while visiting memories of them. Ask for a connection. The music will often show up in your field in the following days.

Wild animals: birds, circling butterflies, ladybugs are common first signs; our loved one’s favorite animal. A beautiful fawn standing alone on your front lawn, staring back at you and something about the encounter with the animal is special or unusual and it resonates with mystery, even if it also has a question mark.  

Reoccurring symbols or repeating numbers appear in your field: beautiful bird feathers in unlikely places; a familiar scent; the word love; your loved one’s birthday written numerically on the license plate in front of you; a series of four leaf clovers; famously a penny from heaven, but with a date that has meaning to your life.

Dreams: Your loved one appears in a vivid dream. You know it is a form of communication when it happens. Again, it resonates differently than most dreams. The most common of these dreams is a phone call from your loved one, which symbolizes the desire to communicate with you. Your loved one will build on this.  

You will get more than one sign.

You can get a hundred or more signs. Some of us need this many.

Your loved one will use your consciousness to forge the bridge back to you; they are discovering what works. Your loved one wants this connection. It amplifies the light of love. They want to give you the lifesaving affirmation of transcendence. Their transcendence is also yours.

Your loved one desires more than anything for you to experience their love. They want to ease your pain of separation. They want you know their love is still here, that love is forever.

You have only to want it.