Tuesday, February 07, 2006

conversations without boundaries

My father used to tell me this story. A long time ago he traveled to the remote countryside of Ukraine. One time he was staying in an old stone house. In the middle of the night he was awakened from his sleep by very strong vibrations. The walls trembled and the screechy light fixture wobbled back and forth. He would have assumed that it was an earthquake, had it not being for the fact that such things never happen in that region.

The morning came, and all shaken up he came downstairs for breakfast. Local folks were already there, munching away on their scrumptious country meals. Trying to appear unaffected, he mentioned some shaking he felt at night. Unflustered they casually reported that an old lady has died during the night. Then added: “This is a stone house -- it must have been hard for her soul to get out.”

Just like that. To them, the passage of a soul was a completely natural thing, and they saw confirmation for it in their daily lives. There was no reason why such event would not be a normal topic of conversation.

Nowadays we do not notice or acknowledge things like that. The modern world has been so overwhelmed by science, that anything not within its immediate domain is labeled “impossible” or “supernatural” and is swept under the rug. It is expected that all “spiritual” issues are to be discussed in church groups or amongst like-minded friends only.

And so we can’t go to work, sit down at a desk, and casually tell a coworker that we saw a ghost in our room the other night. At least we wouldn’t if we wanted to keep our jobs long term. And we can’t have an open discussion about how we had a vision of a long-deceased grandmother.

Are we not missing out on something? Like finding out that our “supernatural” occurrences are not as exceptional as we think? Or that this world has much more miracles than we officially account for?

If the house is shaking, why pretend that it was an earthquake, when no other house in the city felt a thing?


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