When I was growing up, I alternated between living with my atheist, almost nihilist father, and my very spiritual mother.
My dad would dismiss out of hand anything supernatural, while my mother was almost too eager to believe in anything supernatural.
Of course, when you are a child, you want to believe in fantastic things. You want there to be magic in the world. So, that’s what I gravitated towards.
I absorbed the things my mother taught me about reincarnation, channeling, astrology, tarot, higher selves, spirit guides, chakras, and every other spiritual and new age thing. I believed in it wholeheartedly. However, I was very frustrated because it seemed that my mother and other people were able to hear their spirit guides, talk with their higher selves and get physical signals like a twitch or movement of some kind that would signal communication.
Every time I tried any of this, I heard nothing. I saw nothing. Nothing happened. I would try like hell and sometimes would just make stuff up so that it would seem like I was having these experiences, but inside, I was distraught that all this seemed to be blocked from me.
I never had visions, heard any voices, or anything like that. I could work myself into a state where I thought I was, but it was really no different then when I would daydream. Nothing overwhelmingly profound happened.
I did have one experience in my early 20’s where I felt like I was one with everything, like some kind of mind expansion. However, I’ve had a similar sensation from drugs. The fact that I wasn’t high at the time doesn’t exclude the possibility of a flashback. There are perfectly natural explanations for that feeling that suffice to explain it without anything spiritual.
Even that experience, while intense, was not anything really extraordinary, like seeing god or hearing a voice or seeing a big light or anything like that. It was more of an extreme lightheadedness.
When I would try to channel, I would never actually hear anything that sounded like it was coming from anyplace other than my own mind. I would have to struggle and just say things that sounded spiritual to try to fool myself into thinking I was channeling, but I never actually had anything come out of my mouth that anyone else couldn’t say.
Plus, I noticed that we often used to ask for protection from bad things happening to us, yet bad things happened no matter what we asked for. It’s like it made no difference if there was a spirit guide because it wasn’t doing anything. I never experienced anything that could not just as easily have been coincidental. Nothing miraculous, to be sure.
In short, no matter how much I believed, I still never had any evidence. I used to say that I knew for a fact I was right, and that there was a creator and a higher self, but I never met them.
I thought that I was somehow spiritually defective. Like there was something wrong with me. No matter how desperately I asked for answers, I never heard anything. I desperately wanted to communicate with something spiritual, but nothing ever talked back.
I began to realize over time that most of what I was into was a psychosomatic delusion. I was forcing myself to believe in things that just weren’t happening, just so I could claim to be spiritual.
When I started getting interested in science, I kept finding things that either provided a natural explanation or totally disproved many things I believed in. One after another, my beliefs were falling away and being replaced by facts. For those things which couldn’t be either proven or disproved, I became comfortable with not knowing, rather than making an unsubstantiated claim.
I had always claimed that the truth was far more important to me than any belief, and then I was put to the test of that. All the beliefs I held so dear for so long were being challenged the more I read about science. Science was backed by hard evidence, my spiritual stuff was not. I had to make a choice: I could either believe what I wanted to believe, or I could accept the evidence.
Now, I am atheist. In a way, it’s a great relief. I no longer feel burdened by wondering if I am on the “right path” or if I’m living a spiritual life. I have much more peace and comfort with science because when I talk about the things I know, I have evidence to back me up. As for the things that lack evidence, well, no one can honestly claim to know the answers. It’s much more preferable to simply say “I don’t know, as I haven’t seen any evidence” rather than making something up or buying into something from spiritual or religious books that have no corroborating evidence to support them.
Plus I find myself much less judgmental than when I was spiritual. When talking with people who believe what I used to believe, I have seen how I used to argue and what I used to think about people who weren’t “spiritual enough” or weren’t “evolved”. We are all evolved. Buying into spiritual ideas doesn’t make one a better person, and I have yet to see one shred of evidence of anyone with more than a double helix of DNA. In fact, I dare anyone who claims to have had their “12 strands of DNA restructured” to go to a genetics lab to prove it.
If there’s anything I truly regret, it is having wasted so many years of my life waiting for “Spirit” to make things happen for me and waiting for a “sign” or the “right time” to do things. There is so much more I could have done under my own steam.
© 2015 William Suphan
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