Why I believe in evolution, reincarnation, spirits, and karma.
My interpretation of those words might not be the same as yours, but I’ll try to explain:
I’ve written about my own spiritual journey from being raised as a fundamentalist Christian to my present state — atheism. Some people go as far as to call themselves a “non-theist” which seems awkward to me, but denotes a belief in something other than a deity.
Just because I’m an atheist or a non-theist doesn’t mean I’m not spiritual. It just means I don’t believe there’s a God who decides to involve himself (or herself) in our daily lives. The challenge, for me, is to be clear on what I do believe. After all, atheism does not wholly define my belief system. In fact, it barely skims the surface. It’s only one aspect of my total spirituality, which I will attempt to describe for you below.
To begin, I will say there is evidence of the spiritual world all around us, if we’re willing and able to see it. Some people can’t see it at all. Some people can see nothing but.
I believe in spirits, including but not limited to disembodied human spirits, animal spirits, and the spirits of all living things. I believe they exist because I’ve seen, heard, and felt the familiar presences of family members and friends that came to visit me after they gave up the ghost.
I have received many visits from friends and family after death. My friend Joe came to visit me after his death not once but several times, and his presence was independently corroborated by my young daughter. My beloved Pop-Pop was at the foot of my bed the night of his funeral when I was five years old. My grandmother came to sit on my bed one morning more than a year after she passed. Their essence remains, even if their bodies are gone. And when they visit, I recognize them.
I believe that all of us are interconnected. Sometimes we have the ability to see the connections clearly and sometimes we don’t. But there is an energy that streams through and around us. Certain charismatic people can harness that energy to inspire others to follow them.
When someone is particularly sensitive to that kind of energy — i.e. an empath — they feel it the strongest. I discovered in the past year that I myself am vulnerable in this way — that’s why I know this energy exists. If you’re sitting next to me and feeling down in the dumps, I can usually feel it, too. I’m also super sensitive to Reiki therapy.
I believe that karma is real — but I think the word “karma” is just an expression to describe what really happens in real life. You get out of life what you put into it. You reap what you sow. You earn what you work for. And if you don’t treat people with kindness, you’ll find yourself out in the cold.
I believe in evolution, because evolution makes sense to me. For all of us, every day represents change — and each day adds up until the compound progress becomes significant. We have plenty of fossils in our museums that have captured the evolution of man, animal, and plant life over time. And we know that we continue to evolve as human beings, even now.
Let’s look at life expectancy for example. One hundred years ago, the life expectancy for adult males was 36.6 years, and females were 42.2 years. Unbelievably, life expectancy has almost doubled, and in my lifetime (1979 to present), the male life expectancy rose from 70 to nearly 77 years, and the female rose from nearly 78 years to 81 and a half.
Evolution also makes sense to me from a practical standpoint. As humans, we don’t stay the same, day in and day out. Our bodies grow, fill out, and then begin to decline, and then we die. Our minds go through a similar cycle. I believe our bodies — like our spirits — are recycled. I don’t believe we were created by a deity and expected to be the same thing for all time. We are dynamic creatures. We grow. We change. We die.
I believe our souls will leave our bodies and enter another living creature when we die. This means that death is not — nor has it ever been — the final chapter of our lives.
I believe that when we die, our spirits are recycled the same way our bodies decompose and would turn into dirt if we would let them. I believe being recycled and reabsorbed into the world’s spiritual energy is consistent with other patterns of life. I believe this because I have had numerous experiences with a distinct “past life” flavor, and I’m not done exploring that side of my life yet.
For me, there is no one religion that gets everything right, and I have not been able to settle on one religion for that reason. However, I think there are certain teachings within religions make universal sense, and I tend to hold onto those. I’ll find a passage in a book about Islam that makes sense, and then I’ll hear a phrase during a guided meditation that also makes sense. Some people accuse me of “cherry picking” my beliefs from many religions, and to them I am happy to say: “Are you kidding me? Do you eat ALL THE CHERRIES? Even the ROTTEN ones? Because I don’t.” I find the metaphor of a whole religion being a half-rotten bowl of cherries to be an accurate one.
And guess what? We can all cherry pick our beliefs. Because what you believe right now is largely based on how you were raised and how you were exposed to different aspects of faith and religion. And once you learn more about other belief systems, you may see that all is not as you once thought. Or you may become even more devout in your original beliefs. IT’S YOUR CHOICE.
I’m still a wandering, wondering idiot, but I try to focus on what I feel and see instead of worrying about what other human beings say I should believe.
Keep searching, friends! What do you believe?
Esther Hofknecht Curtis, MSM-HCA is a freelance writer living in Dover, Delaware. Follow her on Facebook — go to https://www.facebook.com/TheArdentReader19977/