A Personal Tussle With Heaven
In recent years I have on many occasions felt lost and alone and fiercely doubted that heaven is real. Sometimes there is a personal trigger for that doubt. For example, things in my life aren’t turning out as planned or I’m disappointed or hurt in some way, but more often than not the trigger isn’t personal but related to what I see happening in the world around me. Even as I type this, news is breaking of yet another inexplicable crime – in this case, the brutal murder of a seven-year-old girl.
My heart flies out to the mother and father and family of that innocent child, but I also can’t help but compare this horrific reality with the message of a spiritual life being one of unconditional love, light, beauty and joy. Where were the love, light, beauty and joy for this angel baby? Why would spirit allow this to happen? I try to shut the questions down, but the harder I try the more they scream at me. A seed of doubt has been sown and I am helpless to do anything about it. And as the doubts gather strength, my belief in the message I am trying to send the world weakens. I’ve devoted my entire life to researching and writing about the very real possibility that heaven exists in this life and the next. Yet almost every day the reality of hell on earth feels more likely. Perhaps those who don’t believe in heaven have got it right?
I’ve got an open mind and feel it is important for me as a spiritual writer to be aware of the beliefs of sceptics and atheists. I want to understand where they are coming from and, more often than not these days, I can actually see their point. I recently read a book called The God Impulse by Kevin Nelson, which argued that belief in heaven is simply something hard-wired into our DNA not because it is real but because it makes us feel better. According to Nelson there is absolutely no proof of an afterlife, but believing in spirit is something to be encouraged because it can bring comfort and strength and help us cope with grief. The argument that heaven is no more than a biological impulse is a logical one and on days when the voices of doubt are screaming at me I wonder if there might be something to it.
I’m hoping you haven’t been too shocked by my frank admission that I sometimes have great doubts about the existence of heaven. And you may wonder, after what I have just said, how it is possible for me to still fiercely champion the voice of spirit in the way I do and have done in my books, blogs and social media – where visitors draw comfort and hope from my conviction that heaven is real. Admitting now that sometimes I lose that conviction could have devastating consequences, but I want to reassure you that if I ever reached the point where it felt dishonest to write such words, I would stop.
I’ve been writing about heaven for over twenty years and during that time I have had pauses but I have never stopped believing completely. This is because on every occasion, just when I feel that enough is enough, I see the light again. Time and time again, whenever darkness and doubt threaten to overwhelm me, something always happens to convince me that I am on the right path and my doubt isn’t the end but an awakening, the darkness before the dawn. I will have a vivid dream of a departed loved one that is just too realistic to dismiss. An afterlife sign will reassure me. I will receive an amazing story from one of my readers. I will read about something uplifting in the news. Or there will be a sudden and inexplicable shift within me that I know deep down is coming from spirit. Heaven calls out and my faith is renewed and stronger than before.
With amazing clarity in those moments of absolute conviction I see that I am trying to understand heaven in human terms. Grasping why bad things happen to good people is something I will not ever understand in this life, and for good reason – because if I knew all the answers I would stop evolving spiritually and become complacent in the spiritual and human sense. For example, we know that a woman screams in pain during childbirth, but we aren’t too concerned because we know it is because a baby is about to be born. In much the same way, if we knew why there was suffering, we would probably become equally nonchalant about it.
My periods of darkness and uncertainty also remind me that there is tremendous power in doubt because every time I doubt I am forced to try and find new answers or insights and in the process I do what I was born to do – I grow some more in spirit. I am reminded that doubt is a powerful spiritual awakening and that I am here on earth not to go to heaven but to grow to heaven. Sometimes growth, or shedding old skins, hurts.
There is always a wonderful return to love after periods of doubt. I see clearly that even when I doubt heaven is real it is very much alive within and all around me and drawing me closer. Like everything in life, I know that this beautiful clarity is temporary and in due course, I will probably feel lost and confused again, but I trust myself enough now to know that however hard it gets, and however much I doubt, I will pull through. The pain and sense of isolation will pass. I will continue to grow in spirit even when I doubt.
Do you ever doubt the existence of heaven? What moments in your life has reminded you of the afterlife? Leave a comment below!
To read more about the afterlife, see Answers From Heaven.