Choosing to Believe or Not to Believe and What to Believe – Video: Spirituality for Bereaved Parents
Hi, I’m Marta Arce-Dubois, founder of Reconnexions, Support for Bereaved Parents with a Holistic and Spiritual Approach. In this video I’m going to talk about our choice to believe -or not to believe- in whatever helps us continue to live in the best way we now can after the death of our children.
What I Needed to Believe…
As many of you know, since my son Steven died, I have been on a mission: reading, researching, studying, doing psychic development and mediumship courses, and sitting in mediumship development circles. I have also practiced every form of direct spirit communication I have come across and I have trained and qualified in the therapeutic processes that have helped me.
This combination of spiritual reinvention, scientific research and therapeutic training is what I needed to convince myself that my son is still around me, that he’s well, and that I will one day meet him again on the same plane of existence. I couldn’t continue to live without those beliefs.
Decide Whether You Need to Believe
We each have to choose whether we need to believe in the afterlife and the survival of the soul. I know a few bereaved parents that don’t need to have any kind of spiritual belief. I also know that many of you are convinced that there is something else beyond this physical existence, and others really want to be convinced but are still sceptical, and that’s OK. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
Find Your Own Proof
If you need to believe, you’ll have to find your own undeniable proof, in whatever form you need it to be. I can share what I have learnt with you, what has helped me, but you will have to decide whether what I share helps you move one step closer to the belief system that will sustain you.
And however much we research, read, test, train, and realise that there is an enormity of irrefutable proof, a certain level of resistance, of scepticism, is still natural. Our conscious, analytical mind always struggles with believing anything beyond what we can perceive with our physical senses..
Choose to Believe
So, if like me, you have realised that you need to believe in the afterlife and the survival of the soul, and you have done what you need to find proof, every time you doubt, you can choose to push those doubts aside, because you know that they don’t serve you well. You can choose to open yourself to the possibility of believing.
Believing is a conscious choice we have to make time and time again, until our conscious mind is happy to accept this new reality, and maybe even for the rest of our life on Earth.
In other videos, I will share techniques that can help you quieten your conscious mind to allow yourself to believe and trust, and other techniques to help you reconnect with your child.
A Supportive Community
It is also important to be part of a community of like-minded bereaved parents.
Together we can choose to continue our bonds with our children. We can open our minds and hearts to believing that there is more to being human than a physical body, that we are spirit beings having a human experience, that our children are still with us, around us, aware of everything that goes on in our lives, that they are supporting us and guiding us, that we can continue to have a relationship with them -not in the way we would like- but still a meaningful, comforting, fulfilling relationship. It will take time and effort, but we can all do this, and we can do it better together.
And I hope that what I am going to share with you and the resources I am creating will help many of you start feeling the presence of your children more and more in your lives again.
Decide What You Need to Believe
But there is another important point I need to make. You need to allow yourself to choose the spiritual concepts that help you -not others- YOU!
We are all different, our upbringing is different, and the circumstances of our children’s deaths are also different.
I was brought up Catholic in Spain. When my son died, I had not been a practising Catholic for more than 25 years.
From my early 30s, I had started training in tai chi and qigong with a Chinese Buddhist teacher and I had read about Buddhism because I was curious about her spiritual beliefs.
A couple of years before my son Steven got sick, she had finally convinced me to become a certified instructor, and I did much of my instructor training and certification with other teachers that had come from China, from Beijing Sports University. I started to learn Mandarin Chinese, because a lot of the concepts they were teaching us were being lost in translation, and I also started researching Traditional Chinese Medicine and Taoism, because I realised that it was all intertwined.
Since Steven’s death, I have come across many other spiritual practices which have helped me: Spiritualism, Shamanism, Sufism, Wicca and other branches of Paganism are just a few of them. I have also taken a strong interest in Quantum Physics and in how its theory supports the survival of consciousness and the soul and in various forms of mind-therapies that I can adapt to support my new spiritual needs.
Decide What You Don’t Need to Believe
Today, my spirituality is eclectic. I have picked what helps me from each spiritual set of beliefs and I have discarded the rest. I believe there is much I will never understand while I’m on this Earth. I also believe there is something much bigger than me, than all of us. I don’t call it God, as it doesn’t resemble the god I was brought up with. I can call it Great Spirit, Universal Love, Creative Source, or anything else. It’s something that I feel is part of me, and I am part of it, but I can’t fully explain it.
I don’t need to call myself anything, and there are spiritual beliefs that help many other bereaved parents, which I don’t subscribe to, very specifically: soul plans and reincarnation. I can’t prove these concepts to myself and, for the moment, they don’t serve me, so I don’t need to believe in them.
I don’t believe my son’s work here was finished at 27 years of age, and I don’t believe that his cancer and all the suffering he went through was part of some higher plan we agreed to before incarnating.
I believe my son died because human beings are vulnerable, because he had the wrong set of genes, and because he came across the wrong doctors who kept dismissing his complaints until it was too late. I have much to forgive, for my own peace, but that is another matter. I’m working on it, but for now, I just admit to myself that it’s not easy.
I don’t believe my son died for some higher purpose, for the advancement of his own soul or mine, or so that I could discover my own spirituality. The advancement of his soul and mine may happen as a result of it, but I don’t believe my son’s death was a gift.
We Have Choices
I do know that, faced with the worst thing that could have happened to me -to all of us as human parents- I still had choices. I could choose to die -and I thought about it many times. I could choose to live a life of constant anger, unbearable pain and relentless suffering, or I could work hard for the rest of my life to live in the best possible way I now can in my son’s honour and memory. I chose the latter. And yes, I have had to discover a new spirituality, and there may be “gifts” that come with that, but they are hard-earned, and I would give them all back in a second to have my son back with me on this Earth.
And, whatever I believe or don’t believe, I will always miss my son and there will always be pain and longing, but today my grief is not as raw as it was in the early days, and I have learnt to honour it and observe it so that it can coexist with joy, hope and anticipation. I still fall into dark, deep pits of despair but, little by little, they are becoming less frequent, less deep, less dark and the light at the end of each tunnel is becoming brighter.
Trust Yourself: You Know Best
I am open to my belief system changing in the future, but if that happens, it will not be because anybody else has convinced me about anything. As I said before, we each have to choose the beliefs that help us to keep moving forward at each stage of our journey.
And I will never try to convince another bereaved parent of anything. If you are a Christian, Buddhist, Jew, Muslim, Pagan, a Spiritualist, or if you adhere to any other mainstream or non-mainstream religion or spiritual path, if you believe in heaven, angels, spirit guides, soul plans and reincarnation -or even if you don’t need to believe in anything- and that’s what helps you survive the death of your child, even a little bit, hang on to those beliefs -or lack of them- with nails and teeth. Trust yourself. Only you know what resonates with your soul, what serves you.
As always, a big hug from the bottom of my heart to all of you who walk this path we never planned to walk.
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