All Together: The Living and the Dead
An Excerpt from Seeking Jordan by Matthew McKay, PhD
At the funeral, all eyes are on the coffin. As if the one inside was the victim of misfortune, struck down by some malicious fate.
Death isn’t bad luck, because there is no difference between the living and the dead. The one in the coffin is doing the same thing as the one grieving in the pew: loving and learning.
There is no difference between the living and the dead because the young have already been old, already taken a last breath, already watched planets die and galaxies collide. The one in the coffin is finished with this play. That’s all. And has taken everything learned back to “the whole,” back to the light.
The mourners go home. And while they grieve, the departed one is in the circle, greeting a brother from one life, or greeting a father, a daughter, a friend from others. Greeting a lover who left early, and a lover who in another play was left behind. Greeting the ones who were teachers, who were antagonists, who were protectors or protected. Greeting the one who ended a past life, who was a murderer.
The circle is always complete. We are always in it, and the funeral is an illusion. While souls actually experience no separation (just as Jordan is still with me), most human minds believe that the loss of the body is the loss of the person. And that if something cannot be seen, it isn’t there.
The human mind, having amnesia for all past lives, identifies each person (soul) with a single body. And if that body/person can no longer be seen, it is assumed to be gone. Lost.
But that isn’t the case. Jordan’s soul is right next to me, guiding me as I write this. Souls do not leave us, and the circle does not break just because that brilliant collection of molecules called a body is put in a box.
I know this, yet still I sometimes feel alone. I ask Jordan, and he explains:
The illusion of separation is perpetuated by religious images of the afterlife — an extraordinary realm so different from our planet that its inhabitants seem unreachable and lost to us. But again, it is the human mind creating fictions.
Images of the afterlife imbued with religious constructions of god and fantastic beings (for example, archangels and demons) are inventions of priests and holy men who attempted to make the journey while still embodied on Earth. Often aided by drugs or assaults on the body (including pain, sleeplessness, sensory overload, or deprivation), they saw in the “afterlife” what they wanted to see, what they feared seeing, or simply what their minds created in an altered state. The Tibetan and Egyptian books of the dead, the Upanishads, and the visions of countless mystics are examples of these journeys.
The Christian image of heavenly hosts singing god’s praises is also just a lovely hallucination. Such images — clouds and harps and angels at the gate — create hope. But paradoxically, they place embodied souls further away from those in spirit, making it seem that discarnates are in a place that’s sublime, distant, and inaccessible. These invented images hide the fact that departed souls are as much with us now as they were in life — perhaps more so, because now they are present as soon as we think of them. Telepathy covers any distance, instantly bringing souls together.
Souls in spirit love us as much as ever, think of us as much as ever, laugh with us at the absurdities of life, feel concerned about our pain, and celebrate our good choices. There is a simple reason for this. The relationship between living and departed souls is as deep, as vibrant, as committed, and as much in the present moment as ever it was on Earth.
This seems true to me. I am more in contact with Jordan now than I was at any time from when he left for college at eighteen until he was murdered at twenty-three. I consult with him often — about everything from family issues to personal choices. I send and receive messages of love and encouragement. And we are writing this book together.
I cannot hold or kiss my boy, which is a tremendous loss. But I can talk to him anytime, anywhere. There is no barrier — in this or in the spirit world — that can keep us apart.
The Struggle with Doubt
The only thing now standing between us is my own doubt. The doubt visits often, whispering that my conversations with Jordan are wishes rather than truth, and that all he has taught me is a fabrication, my own thoughts attributed to him. When in doubt, I withdraw. I seek him less. I feel frightened that I’ll discover something false in what he says, which will destroy my faith in us.
The doubt is unavoidable. I’ve learned that I must live with its whisperings even while I listen to Jordan. The doubt never leaves, because in this place absolute truth is hidden from us. Mother Teresa wrote that most of her life was spent with no sense of the presence of god. And whether or not the god she thought existed is really there, this dialectic remains: the quest for truth and the uncertainty are inescapably one experience.
Jordan says we are like shortwave radios, tuned to the frequency of some distant voice. Through the static, we pick up a phrase or two. We try to sew that into some coherence, but we have caught only a part of it. Through desire or projection, we may supply the missing words and get most of it wrong. But still we must listen.
I’ve learned one more thing about doubt. My need to send Jordan love and feel his love in return is bigger than doubt, bigger than the uncertainty and loneliness of living here without being able to hug my boy.
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Matthew McKay, PhD, is the author of Seeking Jordan and numerous other books. He is a clinical psychologist, professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA, and founder and publisher at New Harbinger Publications. Visit him online at http://www.SeekingJordan.com.
Excerpted from Seeking Jordan: How I Learned the Truth about Death and the Invisible Universe. Copyright ©2016 by Matthew McKay, PhD. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.newworldlibrary.com