Do you believe in Spirits who live among us in our day to day to lives? Do you think they are good or evil? Has their presence/absence ever bothered you?
As a child, I used to be obsessed with presence of Spirits in my home. Most days I was scared of someone/something out there whom I could not see, hear or even describe. It was just out there scaring the shit out of me. I used to hide under tables or in corners just trying to avoid them. No amount of counselling, parental support really helped me in those dark days. Most adults, outside of my immediate family, who knew about my condition labeled me “Crazy”. They tried to persuade me to believe that Spirits don’t exist. I could never understand these adults. For me the spirits were real; as real as these adults around me. How could these adults not see them or sense them? If they could not even believe what I was feeling was real, how could they even help me? It was in this process that I ended up shutting all the well-meaning people out of my life and sinking deeper and deeper into my lonely world haunted with Spirits.
I am not sure what caused this behavior or how it came to an end, but over some years I outgrew it and learnt to believe the spirits are just a figment of our imagination. It is our mind trying to make us believe something that it wants us to believe. Over the next years, some literature made me learn that children are actually much more sensitive about other forms of life around us. It is therefore, not unnatural for children to sense other beings around us that the adults cannot even begin to perceive. Some more years later, at a juncture where I stand now, I have learnt that everything is possible. I don’t know what I don’t know. If someone comes to me and tells me that they saw a Spirit, I would most likely believe that they indeed saw something that looked like a spirit to them. I would believe in their story and try and find the logic behind it, if it was worth my time.
In this context, I thought I was prepared to handle Spiritual conversations, but when it actually came up today, I was taken aback. After all, I hadn’t expected my own daughter to talk about it. As she cried uncontrollably in my arms, my mind went into flashback of my own childhood. The fear in her eyes was real. The unknown had touched her and she couldn’t explain it in words. It made her feel helpless, alone and in real danger. I had two options at hand – Option 1. I could deny the existence of spirits. Shake her a little and tell her to take a grip of life around her. This was what was told to me when I was a child. Option 2. I could believe in her and help her find a solution to her problem.
I chose Option 2. I could not run the risk of her closing out on me if I picked Option 1.
We talked about how she felt and if someone or something had actually hurt her. She admitted that even though something was out there, it hadn’t actually hurt her till now. It was just there. I asked her if she had any specific reason to believe that it was out there to hurt her. She again admitted that she didn’t have any specific reason to believe that, but she just felt it. I suggested that maybe in place of an evil spirit it was a Guardian Angel just looking out for her, making sure she was OK. Could that be a possibility? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that there was an Angel just walking beside her all the time? She admitted that it could be possible as well. I could sense that she was starting to feel lighter.
We changed the conversation to the worst case scenario; what if it was an evil Spirit trying to hurt her? We talked about strategies which could protect her. We tested some Taekwondo moves to see how she could be saved from getting pushed, punched or strangulated by the Spirit. I played the role of the Evil Spirit trying to strangulate her and she fought back with me. The strength with which she pushed back at me with a simple swing of her arm took me by surprise. I realized she could really hurt someone bad. I smiled at her and told her the same. We agreed that the next time someone tried to hurt her, whether Spirited or real, he or she will get back in real from her. She smiled and was assured that she was in no real danger.
I am still not sure whether spirits are real or not. I am not sure what causes children to experience such behaviors. Maybe it is their insecurities, or maybe there is actually something out there. I don’t know the scientific reason. All I know is that if my child claims to think that spirits are around him or her, I will not deny the existence. If they have a good enough reason to sense something, so be it. Let us start from that point forward and use the fear to see if it can be changed into a strength. For today, I think we succeeded. We might make small victories today and we might lose some battles tomorrow. It is all OK. Amidst all this, the most important thing I would want my children to remember is that no matter how stupid, lost or lunatic they might feel about themselves; they will always have their mother stand by them in all of it. I do not have Option 1 listed in my dictionary anymore.