One foot in this world, one in the other.
Have you ever come across the term 'indigo children'? I sure have. The term Indigo children is based on the work of Nancy Ann Tappe, a teacher and counselor who studied the human auric field. Tappe concluded that 80% of the children born after 1980 had a new deep blue coloured auric field, hence the were given the name “indigo children”.
Pia Richardson described indigo children as having an above average intelligence, being emotionally sensitive, intuitive or even psychic, and generally feeling different from those around them. Indigo children have an aversion to bright lights, and are highly sensitive to sounds, pain, and extreme temperatures.
Based on statements like these, the mental leap from indigo children to autistic children (now mostly adults) is not a hard one to make. I bet books have been written that demonstrate how autistics are actually, really star children, here to lead by example and bring balance to the world.
As romantic as this sounds, and believe me I wish I was capable of fulfilling such an important role, it doesn't quite hit the nail on the head, does it? Well why not? Because these indigo children are also described as somehow knowing that they belong here on earth, just as they are. They are born knowing and feeling that they are special, and they want to be revered. Indigo children are said to have a higher sense of self-worth and confidence.
I don't know about you, but I am none of what is described in the second half. I don't have a high sense of self worth, and even though I can perfectly feign that I am confident, I really am anything but. Also, the feeling that I belong on this Earth, just the way that I am, is absolutely unknown to me. I have spent my life trying to change who I am, so no, I don't feel I belong here.
However, there is something to the spiritual viewpoint of autism that I can't really deny and that's the connection most autistics have between this world and the next.
Quite a large group of autistic people that I have come across share some sort of interest in either death, the devine, religion and spirituality. We are somehow drawn to it. I can certainly say for myself that I have struggled with lots of strange and spiritual emotions and realisations that occur perhaps once in a year or even a lifetime for most allistic people, but which are almost a daily experience for myself.
Think of emotional states such as sonder, the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Whenever I look at my husband or friends, I'm almost always overwhelmed by the realisation that the other person, just like me, experiences a whole range of emotions, thoughts, ambitions, passions and so on. It's really quite a bewildering realisation, one that can really estrange me from those around me because it is sometimes hard to wrap my head around it. Here you are, and here I am, yet, I'll never be able to really get to know you or what you experience, simply because I am not in your body but in a body of my own.
Usually, the emotional state of sonder will lead to the state of onism, the awareness of how little of the world you’ll actually experience. No matter how hard I try, I can never truly experience what others are experiencing because they have a whole different mind frame, different memories, different experiences. Things I will never experience myself. Onism will often spark my daydreams. I see people on tv, people who inspire me or who interest me, and I know I'll never get close to experiencing what life is like for them. So I fantasise, I put myself in their shoes, I try to somehow experience their exciting lives, lives I know I will never be able to live, without having to even leave my own home.
Onism will often lead to two things. 1) Exulansis, the realisation that others will never fully understand you, the things are important to you or the experiences that have shaped you and 2) Catoptric Tristesse, the sadness that you’ll never really know what other people think of you, whether good, bad or if at all.
Exulansis and Catoptric Tirstesse (they do sound like magic spells, don't they?) can, in their own turn, lead to a feeling called Monachopsis or the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place. I believe we all have a deep yearning to connect with others. Especially autistic people, those who would rather do without small talk and would rather get straight to the point, often desire to be truly connected to others on a level far beyond normal social interactions. However, most of us instantly realise that we can't, at least not on the level we desire.
I often find myself wanting to 'merge' with others. This stems from a desire to truly understand the other person. Other people are often enigma's to me. Why they act the way they do or think the way they do, it can be baffling to me. Yet, I long so much to fully grasp their actions and thoughts, but I will never truly be able to. Our bodies keep us separate.
This wanting to truly understand others, goes beyond the regular chitchat, with often doesn't provide any fulfilling answers and raises more questions instead. And so, the chitchat becomes draining and meaningless, because a true connection doesn't require words. If anything, words take a way from feeling truly connected to someone else. I mean, think of the connection most autistics have with animals. No words are required and for some reason, we find it much more easy to connect with animals than we do with other people. Animals are more direct in their communication, more open to others, more accepting and more connected to their nature than pretty much every human I've ever come across.
So, amidst all the human chitchat in this world, I start to feel out of place, and I experience monachopsis. And monachopsis in turn will lead to another realisation that I haven't found a word for, so perhaps, if you know the term for this feeling, you can let me know. It is the feeling of wanting to go home.
Now, I don't mean home, like the house you live in. I'm not talking about a family that might bring you a feeling of coming home. I am talking about our actual home, as in the place we came from, our origin.
I have been reading a lot of stories about Near Death Experiences (NDE's) and the one thing all people who have experienced a NDE having in common is that they are, almost without exception, disappointed to have been brought back. They have all experienced what it's like to go be back 'home', a place long forgotten by most people in the living world. And they all expressed a desire to stay as the feeling of love and peace was of a level no one can truly experience here on Earth. When reading about NDE's, the feeling of disappointment for being brought back to life really resonates with me. It is as if I can still remember what is was like before I was born. Not in words, not in images, but in feelings and emotions.
I sometimes long to be dead. Not because my life is so terrible, even though it's hard sometimes, but because part of me remembers 'home' and longs to go back. Don't read this wrong, I do not have a death wish, I am terrified of dying. It is the ultimate loss of control. I don't want to die because I hate this life or because I have nothing to live for, on the contrary! But I do often long for the quiet of home, the peace, the warmth of an endless flow of love we can only experience when we are home. I long to remember the meaning of all or our lives and I take great comfort in the fact that most people who experience NDE's come back wiser, calmer and more balanced.
Do autistic people have greater spiritual insight? Are they more spiritually connected and gifted than others? I have no idea. But I do believe, personally, that our brains enable us to have experiences or realisations that might be more rare to allistics. If sonder, onism, exulansis, catoptric tirstesse and monachopsis are so common to me, than maybe these 'strange' emotions are also more common amongst other autistic people. Does that mean we have a greater spiritual potential? Maybe, or maybe it is a testimony of how different we perceive our world, how capable we are of understanding and piercing the human experience and how that experience can be puzzling, overwhelming and exhausting to us. If you never think about these things, you are never bothered by them. If you are faced with these experiences on almost a daily basis, no wonder that it is such a struggle to function and act as if all is 'normal', whatever that is...
Do you want to share your experiences? Leave a comment below this post and feel free to share.