If you have ever thought about whether there is life after death or wished to hear the voice of spirit in your life, Theresa Cheung, who has dedicated her life to the study of the unexplained and written many books on the subject, believes that we can all hear heaven call to us, if we know how to listen. Here she shares some thoughts – and an intriguing true story – from her latest book, Heaven Called My Time – Incredible true stories of heavenly encounters and the afterlife.
‘I believe in heaven. I know in my heart that we don’t die, and that our loved ones watch over us from the other side and speak to us on Earth in countless miraculous ways. Yes, near-death experiences offer the closest thing we have to ‘proof’ of heaven, but I believe heaven can also call out to us through a vivid dream, gentle touch, heartfelt smile, lovely song, mysterious scent, flash of insight, glorious rainbow, white feather, passing cloud, singing bird, puff of air, shaft of sunlight, kind word or deed, stunning coincidence, or anyone or anything in this life that for a fleeting moment of bliss takes our spirits out of this world. If you have ever experienced unexpected feelings of love, wonder, healing and joy, I believe this is heaven calling your name.
Things certainly haven’t always had this clarity for me. Even though I was born into a family of psychics and spiritualists – and can’t recall a time when I haven’t been drawn to the invisible world – there have been many times in my life when I have longed to hear, see or feel the eternal spirit that exists within and around us, but have only been met with silence. I’m sure I’m not the only one to experience this. Perhaps you don’t think you have ever heard heaven speak to you. Maybe you long to believe in heaven, but doubt often gets the upper hand. You may have experienced something you thought was magical at the time, but then in hindsight you start to second guess yourself until you aren’t really sure of anything any more.
Few people have had near-death experiences, or direct personal confirmation of life after death through a full-blown afterlife encounter that leaves them in no doubt that heaven is real (and I’m not one of them), so where does that leave the rest of us? Where do we draw our certainty and comfort from? How can we know for sure if we are hearing the voice of heaven or not?
I’ve had the privilege of writing about the spiritual life for many years now. During this time I have read thousands of stories about the afterlife and near-death experiences from people of all ages, backgrounds, religions and walks of life. I have also interviewed some of the world’s leading afterlife/spiritual experts, teachers, scientists and parapsychologists. In that time I have become entirely convinced that the afterlife is real, and have also come to understand that anyone, whoever they are and wherever they come from, can find their own unique way to communicate with heaven.
I have also noticed that even though the medium in which heaven chooses to express its soothing presence differs greatly in individual details and circumstances, all the stories remind us that what we actually see is not so very important. It is to the invisible that we need to look for meaning. The following story, sent to me by Nick, illustrates this perfectly:
I’m surprising myself by writing to you because I truly don’t believe in this kind of thing, but something has happened to give me pause for thought and I would love to know what you think.
About seven years ago, before the birth of our two children, now aged four and six, we had a stillborn baby boy called Michael. It was the saddest and hardest experience of my life. Fortunately we went on to have two healthy children after that, but it remains a scar on my heart. Something happened recently, though, to ease my pain considerably.
We have never told our children about their sibling in spirit. Last week our six-year-old son, Jake, came home from school one day with a gold star for his family file. It was just pictures and colours, and we laughed at the drawings of Mummy and Daddy on his parent page (we looked enormous) and the page for his little sister (she looked like a hedgehog), but then we turned the page and he had created a page for his big brother. I told him that he didn’t have a big brother – we have never spoken to him about Michael and no one else has either, on our request – but he shook his head and said he did. I told him again that he didn’t, and again he insisted he did. The drawing was the best of the bunch as it clearly showed a boy of around Jake’s age kicking a ball. I said to Jake that he had drawn himself here, and Jake again shook his head.
I decided not to press things and looked through the rest of the ‘Jake’s Life’ file. On the back page I saw a drawing that sent shivers down my spine. It was the letter M in very large writing. I asked Jake why he’d drawn it, and he said M was the best letter in the alphabet. I asked him why and he gave me one of those ‘are you a complete idiot?’ looks only young children can give adults, and said, ‘Because it just is, that’s why.’
Sadly, as we get older fear and doubt tend to rob of us of our natural ability to see magic in everyone, including ourselves. I love how readily children accept and don’t question what they see and hear. They talk in such a matter-of-fact way, without any doubt that what they are experiencing is real. We could learn a lot from their open hearts and minds about connecting to heaven.