MfL project: Heather Herbert

As is usual, I had a local support group encouraging and questioning me with my project about the Conversations with God books. At one point they wanted to know what I believed that made me so interested in that series. If you have tried to spell out what you believe, you’d know it’s not easy. When the meeting closed, I said to my husband – ‘Perhaps I could tell my grandchildren!’ – meaning I think that I certainly didn’t feel up to compiling anything weighty. When I woke in the morning I found it more or less compiled in my head. Obviously my grandchildren were young at the time – eight, four and three! – but I did get some thoughtful responses.

Letter to my Grandchildren

Dear Wywandy, Burraga, and Tully,

I was there to say ‘Hello and welcome!’ when each of you came out of your mother’s tummy and into this world — and who knows, you might be there to say ‘Goodbye’ to me when I leave it. But there’s no knowing for sure when any of us will leave it — so what do I want to say to you while I can?

I love you, love you, love you! and I’m very proud of each of you for how well you manage in not very easy situations — and how you care about and look after each of your parents, and other people.

All of you are lucky because you have parents who know that there’s a spiritual world around us as real as the physical one we see and touch every day, and who let that spiritual world help them to love you better.

We see this beautiful and wonderful physical world, and we can hear and taste and smell and touch it with our five senses. We can measure it, and use it, and eat it, and swim in it, and enjoy it in all manner of ways, and we are part of it. We can help keep it going well, or damage it in ways we don’t always realise.

Because all kinds of people explore and study and photograph it, we are getting to know more and more about this earth we live on all the time. Your encyclopaedias and other books tell you all sorts of things that have been learned about it.

With different kinds of telescopes and space ships we are also finding out more about what’s out there in the sky we look into at night — and how enormous and wonderful and mysterious the physical universe is. You might have seen photos of glorious looking galaxies, and of the millions of them there are. If you haven’t, Duncan could show you some.

Some people, like your cousin Robert, are studying the very tiny bits of energy inside atoms that are inside everything. We are getting to know more and more, and as we do, we are realising there are more and more things we don’t know. That’s how knowledge works:

You might notice that there are many different kinds of spider’s webs. That could make you wonder which kind of spider spins which web, or how they look after their babies. You could see about 50 baby spiders hatching out from a web ball, which might make you wonder what those babies eat until they are big enough to spin their own webs. Different people wonder about different things.

Also we each have a sixth sense inside us (intuition), that sometimes knows when someone’s coming, or knows that someone is sad or lonely or frightened and needs helping. It seems to operate out of our heart more than our eyes and ears. Sometimes we can feel our guiding spirits help us to be brave or kind or OK when things are hard. This world we know in our hearts is just as real as the outside world, and it’s what helps us to be gentle and peaceful and wise.

The great power that made all the universe and keeps it going (we call it God; other people have other names they use) is wisdom and energy and love itself — and made all the universe out of itself (because that is all there is) — so we are made of wisdom and energy and love, too.

We are made of that spirit stuff, and we have bodies to help us learn how to use it — how all of us spirits in bodies can best live together and enjoy this life, and relate to all the creatures on the earth and help it to flourish with us.

When our body wears out, or is killed by something, we go back into the spirit world where our guides live —and we learn more about everything from where they are, which is a bit nearer to God at the centre of things. We might become a guiding, helping spirit ourselves, or perhaps we might decide to go into another baby body and have another turn down here on earth some other time. Sometimes people remember things that happened when they were here before.

That all sounds pretty good, but you know that people aren’t always kind and gentle, and some horrible things happen to children and to all sorts of people, and to all sorts of creatures, and sometimes we ourselves do things that aren’t so kind, too.

We can understand better the horrible things other people do if we think about what’s happening when we do horrible things. We are hurt or scared or hungry or wanting something, or angry because someone we love is hurt, and we forget that the spirit inside us wants to help us, and their spirit wants to help the person who is hurting us — and that things will work out better the sooner one of us remembers, and shows the other how things can be.

Sometimes some people seem to be horrible a lot of the time, and that’s very sad, because usually they haven’t had much kindness, and they’ve forgotten we are all really spirit people made for helping each other. They can get all kinds of wrong ideas about how things work, and can make their world a miserable place.

We might have to stop them from hurting other people, or get someone to stop them hurting us, and keep them away until they remember the world works out better with respect and sharing. They’ll only remember that if we treat them that way, and that’s not always easy.

Sometimes people can get ill or hurt or killed because of the way nature works. We wouldn’t realise how good being well is if we weren’t sometimes sick, or what warm is if we weren’t sometimes cold, or what being brave is, if we weren’t sometimes frightened, and so on. We are learning all the time to understand more about nature — ours, as well as nature out there — and better ways to look after each other.

So life presents us with plenty of problems, and none of us is wise enough to solve them all. We have to put our heads and hearts and spirits together, and be very honest with each other — so we see what each problem is about as clearly as we can, to be able to do something about it. Then we have to use our spirit wisdom to be brave and strong to do it. It often won’t work out the way we hoped, and we have to keep thinking together truthfully to try again. It’s worth it — things do improve — and that kind of listening lovingly to each other is a big part of what life’s all about.

God is always loving us, and wanting to help us. She made all this universe and us, and wants to see it working well, and bringing us all joy. That is joy for her. God is not a person, but the great spirit that contains all the shes and hes and its — we just use ‘he’ or ‘she’ to talk about God more easily. God and the universe are really a long way too big for us to fully understand, but there are lots of clues to help us with this life we live.

In some parts of India some people greet one another by putting their hands together, bowing a little, and saying ‘Namaste’. It means ‘the God in me greets the God in you’.

So, Namaste, my dears.
I love you,
Heather

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