Why It's Time to Come Out of The Closet About Our Collective Spirituality
I've come to the conclusion that the metaphysical is a lot like sex. Everyone thinks about it, but no one talks about it in polite company. There seems to be a sort of embarrassed shaming around being spiritual or experiencing spiritual events such as synchronicities, clairvoyance, miraculous healings and the like. You might hear someone say, “This is a little woo-woo but...”.
If you just start talking to people or studying popular culture though, you'll find so-called “woo-woo” stuff everywhere. For example, I was recently reading Navel Gazing: True Tales of Bodies, Mostly Mine (But Also My Mom's, Which I Know Sounds Weird), the memoir of comedian Michael Ian Black (whom I've always had a bit of a crush on.)
In one chapter Michael's mother is discovered to have a cancerous tumor and told to get her affairs in order. He writes:
And that's where the story gets a little weird.
A week or so later, as Mom and Sandy drove to the hospital on the morning of her surgery, Mom heard a voice. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say she heard A Voice, deep and male, the kind of 1950s Paramount Pictures voice that once commanded Charlton Heston to part the Red Sea. Like Moses, she alone heard the Voice, which delivered its message unto her and departed as inexplicably as it had come, taking with it the terror she'd felt since receiving her diagnosis, leaving in its place an abiding calm.
She turned to Sandy, “I just heard a voice,” she said. “I don't know if it was God or who it was, but the Voice told me the tumor isn't malignant.”
And so it turns out, after the tumor is removed, it is indeed benign.
Later in the book Michael talks about being ten or eleven years old, and hearing that a woman he'd once met was very ill and might not make it through the night.
After dinner I went up to my room and locked myself in the bathroom. I began praying, although the prayer I issued seemed unlike any I'd heard before. Instead of communicating with God, I was trying to reach out directly through space to the woman in the hospital. I tried picturing her lying in a hospital bed, stretching my thoughts out to her as I repeated, "You're going to be okay. You're going to be okay,” over and over. “A hundred percent better”, I whispered...
...The next night at dinner, I asked about the woman. Elaine brightened. “Can you believe it? She's out of the hospital. She says she feels a hundred percent better,” When I heard that phrase--”a hundred percent better”--I knew. My message had been received.
Just after reading this I happened to watch the pilot episode of the sitcom Crazy Ex-Girlfriend which had multiple nods to the concept of signs. First off the main character, Rebecca, who appears to be suffering from insomnia and whatever else is symbolized by the scattered pill bottles on her nightstand, gets out of bed and sees a commercial for some sort of buttery spread saying, “Ask yourself, when is the last time you were truly happy?” She sees the same advertisement again on a magazine on a co-workers desk just after learning she is being promoted to partner at her law firm.
Suffering an anxiety attack at what should be thrilling news she runs out of the office, and prays for guidance on the sidewalk saying, “Dear God, I don't pray to you because I believe in science. But I don't know what to do. Give me guidance.” (Oddly this is just like Michael Ian Black who calls himself a praytheist meaning, he says, “somebody who prays to a god in which he doesn't believe, hoping to find evidence for God's existence, which, if found, he will then dismiss”). Rebecca looks up and sees the advertisement a third time on a billboard. And just then her highschool boyfriend walks by on the street. Long story short she ends up rejecting the promotion and moving from New York City to her ex's uninspiring hometown of West Covina, California.
So, isn't that interesting? We have two people, one real, one fake, experiencing the metaphysical, yet decidedly uncomfortable with it. They prove my point that, like homosexual urges, supernatural experiences are totally normal, but they are not something that is seen as natural. I'm sure there are dozens more examples out there in pop culture. I'm sure you have had such experiences yourself.
My argument is that before we start defending our spirituality because it's not mainstream, we might want to consider if, in fact it IS mainstream, but this information is convoluted by the stereotype that it is NOT mainstream, resulting this queer habit of apologizing for nothing, like we're an insufferable oddball when referencing the mystical and the magical.
It's as if we're going around whispering to each other, “I know this sounds weird, and, like, I don't know what it means, maybe it was just a coincidence...but I farted last night.”
This is why it's time to come out of the closet and embrace our spiritual sides with pride. Also because “why” titles make better clickbait.