Imagine a spirit world sort of like Friends…

Screen%20Shot%202014-01-24%20at%202.34.42%20PM.jpgOne day, I will get around to writing about some unusual things that have happened to me since I started meditating. Not today, though.
For now, I’ll just say that there have been some out-of-the-ordinary experiences.
Those occurrences led me to do some reading I might not have otherwise sought out.
So I may have read some books by Sylvia Browne, a well-known and much contested self-described psychic. (Perhaps you recall her from her frequent appearances on The Montel Williams Show. Please don’t judge me.)
Why in heaven’s name would I tell you this?
For the purposes of today’s post, I’m fessing up to some out-there bedtime reading because I find one of Ms. Browne’s ideas useful.
Here’s the idea: Spirits live many human lives. When they’re hanging out between earth adventures, these spirits are in heaven enjoying behind-the-scenes knowledge of everything. They are completely whole, healed and happy. Also, they appear to be about 30 years old.
So, according to Sylvia, in spirit form, your great-grandfather, unborn grandchildren, Elvis and Abraham Lincoln all look as fresh and youthful as the cast of Friends.
Okay. Is that true? Not true? No idea. Not important right now.
How is it useful, you ask? Well, let your imagination wander around in this magical land of enlightened 30-year-olds for a bit. Fill the scene with your loved ones all delighted to see each other and eager to compare notes on how the most recent lives played out. You may find your own uses for it. I’ll share one of mine.
When I’m at a loss for what to do or say next in a parenting show-down, I take a mental breather in 30-something heaven.
There, I might picture my thirteen-year-old daughter and forty-one-year-old self as omniscient, deeply loving peers with equally fantastic skin tone. In my mind’s eye we observe the scene below, knowing that both players are doing the best they can at the time. As seasoned observers we fully understand every extenuating circumstance in play. We are aware of all the social conditioning, misunderstandings, fears, desires and blind spots that factor into the moment. There is no need to argue here. Nobody in the Central Perk of the sky has to defend or prove themselves.
From this perspective, I can imagine asking my same-age child how she would like me to handle the situation. What can I do to help you here? Push you to go to dance class? Free you from your iPhone? Let you make your own mistakes? Offer a suggestion or keep my mouth closed?
I don’t actually get an answer. I’m no Sylvia Browne. Still, my next move does feel calmer and wiser than it might have if I hadn’t briefly shifted my perspective. Power struggles are lonely. Problem solving from this new place feels collaborative and respectful.
You might want to dwell in Thirtyville as you drift off to sleep, chatting up your favorite souls on an elevated, level playing field. You could even test out an encounter with that rat-fink-so-and-so from you-know-when. Maybe when you meet in the land where all is already forgiven you can just laugh and hug it out.
There’s another part of the soul-system-according-to-Sylvia that I find both bracing and motivating. She mentions that some spirits are closely entwined and live out several lifetimes together, occasionally reversing roles as parent and child.
If picturing your child raising you or you raising your parents the next time around inspires you to do anything differently, you may want to keep this notion in mind.
I’m not saying that I believe in the many lives of spirits. I’m just offering a helpful mental exercise for living as gracefully as possible this time around. Give it a try. It may or may not be your only chance.

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