By Jack Lile
I was to be the cleric for a local Light and Sound service and thought it best to get a haircut. My longtime barber had translated (passed on) unexpectedly. His shop partner, Cheryl, had cut my hair on occasion, so I switched to her.
When I sat down in her barber chair, Cheryl asked the usual question: “How do you want your hair cut?”
I replied, “Just a light trim” and then added, “I’ll be wearing a suit this weekend and want to look nice.”
Even as these words were coming out of my mouth, I wondered, Why am I saying this?
I was soon to learn the answer.Cheryl’s Spiritual Questions
Of course, Cheryl asked why the suit, and we spent the next thirty minutes talking about Eckankar. She fired off some of the usual questions:
1. “Is it Christian based?“
“No, Eckankar is not a Christian-based religion.”
2. “Do you believe in God?“
“Yes, we believe in God.”
3. “How would you describe God?”
Knowing of her background in Catholicism, where God is described with the attributes of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence, I replied, “God cannot really be compared to anything in the human experience except that of love. In the ECK teachings, we simply say God is love.”
4. “Do you believe Jesus was the Son of God?”
“A son of God, but not the one and only son of God. We believe Jesus was a mortal man who had a spiritual mission to teach the love of God for mankind.”
5. “Do we have a Soul?”
“You don’t have a Soul, you are Soul. Soul is who and what you truly are, and as Soul you are eternal. Soul exists because God loves It (you).”The Big Questions: Karma, Reincarnation & Soul
Other topics were sprinkled throughout our conversation. We talked about karma and reincarnation before getting around to the really big questions. “What’s it all about? Why are we here?” Cheryl then asked.
I compared Soul to a very young child who only wants to serve itself by having fun and avoiding responsibility. So, like children, Soul has to go to “school” (also unwillingly) to learn the many lessons necessary to grow into maturity. Earth is such a school, and all of the necessary lessons are not learned in a single day or lifetime.
We played with the school metaphor for a while, and I introduced the concept of being a Coworker with God. I gave examples of some historical figures who gave service. She thought about it and then asked, “But when do you get to rest?”
I almost chuckled at the seriousness of her tone and replied with my own question: “When have you been the most happy?”
That question seemed to take her aback, so I followed with, “Were you most happy lying around doing nothing, or when you were doing something you love?”
She replied enthusiastically, “Yes, with other people.” Then I suggested that could be one aspect of being a Coworker with God.
Until this point, our conversation was mostly along a philosophical vein. Then Cheryl asked a question that was going to lead to a deeply personal revelation: “Do people reincarnate together and maintain a relationship?”
“Yes, through the bond of karma or the bond of love. But the nature of the relationships will change—as a mother one time and then as the daughter or son the next. There are many possibilities, but usually love is the bond.”Life-after-Death Encounters
By now, my haircut was finished. I was getting ready to leave, when Cheryl began to tell me her story.
She had twin daughters, Kathy and Katie, but Katie died from leukemia two years ago at the age of twenty-one. About a month after her passing, Cheryl awoke one morning at three o’clock with the full awareness that Katie had been there to say good-bye, as she was moving on.
Cheryl told me there was a most beautiful fragrance in the room. She got up and walked throughout the house, but the aroma was only in her bedroom. Too excited to sleep, she waited four hours to call Kathy, her other daughter, who was away at college.
As soon as Kathy answered the phone, Cheryl started to tell her what had happened. But Kathy quickly blurted out her story:
“Mom, you’ll never believe this, but Katie was here in my room last night. She was pulling on my toe to wake me up like she used to do when we were kids. I kicked her hand away, because I have a test this morning and needed to sleep, but she kept pulling. I finally woke up.
“She was here to tell me good-bye. The room was filled with a heavenly scent. Even my roommate could smell it when she woke up. Mom, it was real! Katie was real!”
Cheryl and Kathy knew that Katie, as Soul, survived death. The bond of love brought her back to say good-bye.
Since Katie’s visit, mother and daughter have been trying to find that fragrance in perfumes and other scents, but nothing comes close.
Usually I let my hair get rather long, but now I can’t wait for my next haircut so I can hear the rest of their story.