My Night in a Graveyard.
Posted on February 17, 2010 by Ted Harlson
If I learned anything that dark night, it was the need to seriously question cultural indoctrination. Bad ideas are buried very deep. The daily eclectic, damaging mix we hear every day is cultural reinforcement aimed at our willingness to believe in lies, fantasies and ghosts.
The following made it clear.
It was 1:30 am and my eyes were tired from reading. It was a warm summer night so I went for a walk to refresh myself. About forty minutes into my walk on this dimly lit road I noticed an embankment about 30 feet down. There were plenty of trees, but I also detected a pathway. I was curious where the pathway might lead. I heard a creek flowing farther back.
The embankment was steep, full of tall bush and weeds but I jumped over the guard rail and slid down the embankment, working my way past the bushes and weeds. I followed a path and walked towards a yellow lit lamplight. I suddenly realized I was in a cemetery!
Headstones were everywhere. Surrounded by the dark night I moved towards the lamp light. Past the graveyard was the black, winding creek with moonlight reflecting off the ripples. It was very dark and quiet.
I laughed to myself for landing in this situation. Then I got serious. I stopped and I listened to my body, my mind and felt this nagging emotion creep up.
It was a deep quiet fear arising in me but I was also more curious to read the headstones so I moved forward.
The headstones had similar inscriptions of deceased people remembered with everlasting remembrance and love. Some were very poetic and quite creative. Whoever these people were, they were loved by their families – at least when they died, I mused to myself. A lot of good the thoughts will do the dead person now. He will never know it.
Many of the people really did believe with their references to God on the inscriptions. Some didn’t. Those who believed in God stated the dead person was now with angels or now in heaven. Others simply wrote loving thoughts of remembrance.
I paused for I kept feeling this lingering fear and it seemed embedded, a part of me but I kept looking around. I saw that people took their beliefs with them to the grave. I pondered the effects such beliefs might have on surviving generations. Will my country be better off or worse off because of these people’s misguided beliefs in the supernatural? Legacies have influence. What kind of legacies do people leave? These carried their beliefs past death but I didn’t know how much was genuine. The stronger the belief stated heaven, the less sincere it seemed. These final inscriptions did however convey their set view of life.
Perhaps they had never thought of or avoided fundamental issues and this is what they ended up with, a mystical view on a headstone despite a very real death. Then it’s crucially important to get one’s epistemology right, I surmised.
As I was pondering these things, my apprehension was again noticeable. It was vague; subconscious. It was noticeable enough that I decided to focus on it completely. I decided to identify my fear and its cause! Identifying this feeling would enable me to understanding why I had this apprehension.
There was no one in the dark graveyard but me, the street light I was under, the creek, the moonlight and silence. A slight wind and rustle of leave broke the stillness.
I sat down on a headstone to think.
I began by differentiating between my thoughts and what I was sensing, what was inner and what was out there? I focused on what was “out there” first.
There was nothing physical to fear. The creek was a creek. The pathway was just a pathway. The grass was just dark grass. The surrounding trees were just moonlit trees. Shadows were absence of light. These objects were still there as in daylight. The headstones were just headstones. The dead were dead, buried. The moonlight was dimly lighting all the physical shapes. There was silence apart from the ripples of the creek. I am alive. They are dead.
“Out there”, I thought, is the base of all knowledge.
The creek, pathway, grass and graves, exist in an ordered, lawful way. Each element, each different thing acts according to its nature and only according to its nature. A rock is rock like. Water behaves as water. A rock cannot get up and walk. Nothing acts out of the ordinary. The dead can never rise. Everything is ordered and lawful, according to its nature. The nature of elements and laws of nature are absolute and cannot change. Things are what they are and nothing else. Existence and identity are the same reality. Reality is fixed, things exist as they are and nothing else. My looking and listening was sharp. This was the way I confirmed my thoughts. “If seeing is not believing, then thinking was useless as well.” I could see the shadowed trees. I could see the dim light. I could see the pathway and headstones. I could hear the creek. I could perceive all these things as confirmation knowing. I could feel and tear the grass with my hands. I was relying on my perceptions – as all humans do.
A dead person can never raise out of the grave, not even a Jesus Christ, if there ever was one. I thought about how ridiculous the idea was.
All the holy scriptures of any religion are untrue if they assert stories pretending the dead do rise, or spirits exist. Religion is untrue if it pretends A is not A. This was how I was thinking. I went to the ultimate, broadest, primary, – the mental base of all thought, “existence exists.” I said to myself, “This exists” as I looked around and that’s that!
The entire universe was anchored by, “existence exists”, not ghosts exist. No spirits exist, but existence exists. Reality is unchallengeable. Existence is the base of all knowledge, all proofs. Oh yes, that was how I was thinking, not hoping it was true, but knowing it could not be otherwise. My consciousness is to merely identify and affirm reality, not create reality or to imagine what doesn’t exist.
To deny existence is impossible – “Even here”, I thought, “In a graveyard.”
Reality is seen, physically felt or heard. I also reflected on my perceptions. They do not interpret reality, but grasp awareness in with their several forms; eyes to see, nose to smell, ears to hear, etc. I trust my perceptions.
Only through our perceptions can humans know anything. Concepts follow the nature of things. Ideas are higher level, but perception is the only method of anchoring knowledge to reality.
From existence, I moved to identity; things must exist as something. Everything that exists has identity. I thought. “But how many agree with this yet believe in an unidentifiable God? Or believe that things don’t have identity by believing that miracles happen, or that horrors can happen such as ghosts suddenly appearing to haunt them? How many believe “holy” scriptures that deny the absolute of existence? The real.
I was still trying to identify my private fear.
I had by now, isolated my fear as part of my consciousness and not, “out there” in reality.
The source of fear then was deeper in me. It had to be in my mental processes. Focusing more on my thinking. I identified my fear as a “possible action – possible danger” rooted in the following form, “What will happen? What might happen? If nothing out of the ordinary can possibly come from “out there” then what action did I fear from possible motion?
Keeping the major difference between reality and my mind, I understood it was my memories that brought the images and thoughts of ghosts, gods, and spooks coming out of the graves or appearing before me from the dark. I focused even more on my surroundings.
The thought of “getting away from here” crossed my mind so I decided to focus on this specific deep fear and face it head on to identify its source.
I purposely listened harder and more intently. Each noise I heard in the darkness, – a rustle of leaves, or unidentified noise, I willfully turned toward it to identify it. By turning away or, “getting away” I would have not faced this fear. Any shadowy shape that I imagined a human form, I walked towards – to identify it. (I purposefully headed toward anything that might make me fear). By this extroverted method, my fears diminished. Shadows ended up being just leaves and bushes, and more nature.
Yet in spite of identifying the darkness of reality, there remained a very deep apprehension. This quite fear felt a part of me. I determined to identify it completely. I was still groping for the root.
The deep root of fear was culturally induced memories I had not questioned! Those memories were not the only guilty culprit. My programmed imagination was also guilty of projecting the memories into future possibilities in the form of, “What if this happened? What if that happens – as I’ve heard? I know reality is an absolute, yet what if a ghost does appear?
The, “what if” is the reason so many are afraid of being alone in the dark.
I remembered back to passages from Holy Scriptures telling of the raising of the dead or Holy Scriptures telling of angels, spirits or devils.
That was it! As a child I was indoctrinated to believe the holy book was true, – the dead as living, the living as dead and spirits as real or evil spirits able to torment living humans. These teachings were a form of brainwashing that remained. As an adult I had never seriously questioned them.
Even though I now profess not to believe in God, gods, or ghosts, these old, old unquestioned stories still haunted me tonight. They haunted me not because they were true, but because as I gave up the beliefs of the mystics, I had never mentally and directly confronted those fallacies. I held them as false superficially, but never deep down identified how they were wrong and to discard them and fully realize only, “only existence exists.” This night I was directly refuting the old mystics – with reality and identity. Tonight I affirmed reality by adjusting my conscious awareness only to reality, and rejecting fabricated memories of an old corrupt, indoctrinated past. The bible or any other old religious creeds were wrong by virtue of reality.
My most surprising identification was yet to come. As I was looking at my surroundings, and in spite of my denial of religious indoctrination, I still had this foreboding, “…in spite of all your logic, in spite of all you think, still what if…” What if something, a living dead did appear? What if…
What if something did exist that I was not aware of? Though greatly diminished, I still felt the creepy, deep fear.
The, “what if” phrase was an action possibility. The identification of its source surprised me with its simplicity.
My mistake was leaving the door open just a little, “I could be wrong.” However upon examining this, I felt a little foolish leaving this possibility open. I had to do better than expect to lean on vague generalities or causeless doubt. My senses were telling me all I needed to know. I honestly felt a little foolish open for something to occur. I had already confirmed reality.
My foolishness guilt, thus fear was the attempting to pretend that something could occur in the face of a lawful existence. My guilt was my own attempt to “create” something (unknown) contrary to the evidence here. Objective reality is absolute.
That was the cause of this final doubt of reality – and thus lingering fear. Part of it was the religious creeds I had learned as a young adult, sure, but the actual root of my fear was contemporary. It was so simple, I laughed!
It was the multitude (I mean thousands!) of movies, shows, TV presentations, fake documentaries, and stories told me since I’ve been old enough to understand words. Modern living is full of supernatural stories, heavenly, funny or evil! This constant anti-reasonable, anti-existence bombardment has negative influence.
Ever since I was young, everybody, including my parents beat into me (by peer pressure or bluff) the belief of a holy God, of angels, of devils, of ghosts, and of strange things, out of the ordinary things happening – that could never be explained.
Unidentifiable, “occurrences” are all over TV, movies, people stories, and in the holy books of every religion – in every variation you could imagine! Endlessly, everywhere you look, you’ll see a massive sales job of the super natural or sub natural.
The underlying theme of culture today is: A is not A. The underlying theme is; reality is not what it seems.
This mental corruption is everywhere from crude TV evangelists to sophisticated treatises proclaiming the futility of the mind or existence acting abnormally.
I sat still sitting quietly focusing on when and where I accumulated my fears. When I fully identified the cultural source of my fear in this graveyard the lingering doubt of reality vanished. My fear was something quite real which came from doubting my mind, not from anything supernatural. Doubting reality was the real source of the quiet fear.
I now felt at peace. Nothing could happen out of the ordinary, out of the natural. There is no super nature, no supernatural. Any guilt and fear people feel is from doubting reality. Faith is a source of all mental deviation whether it is faith in other people or faith in God, gods or ghosts.
My deep fears vanished as I identified its source as fantasy memories, bad mental conditioning, cultural re-enforcement, corrupt and empty words, creeds and contemporary stories that intentionally don’t comply with reality. Some were just stories and movies, but too many are purposeful indoctrinations, religious or cultural lies! There are so many.
I heard fantasy stories told ever since I was young and what devastation! How many other innocent children have such mental devastation put on them when they have not yet anchored to reality. These elders are worse than dictators. They crush innocent minds by filling them with terror. That is most of the population of the earth!
So that’s that, I thought to myself. What an effort one has to go through to gain normality. I left the scene satisfied with what I learned. It was almost 3:00 am by now, so I headed back to my place to write these notes.