Heaven, spooks and a psychic called Sue: why the real answers are found through the things we CAN know

I can’t know if there are such things as God, heaven, ghosts and aliens. So, the question of believing or not believing seems an irrelevance; believing in something without evidence seems just as imprudent as declaring that it does not exist (without evidence).

Someone I used to know, Claire, was once at a turning point in her life and a friend gave her the phone number for a spiritual guide called Sue (#truestory).

Now Claire started off cynical and says she was trying to catch Sue out. But by all accounts, as the conversation progressed, Sue knew things about Claire which she couldn’t possibly have known. She gave her messages from dead relatives (though they were quite antient relatives) and knew things about her immediate family.

I found all of this very strange – the idea that it’s possible to know things through psychic power, or that dead people continue to exist in another realm. I have, in particular, a lot of questions about the practicalities of the latter. The thought of continuing on for eternity seems a bit grim. And if you were given the chance to say something to a living descendent, what on earth would it be? They live in an age completely unrecognisable to you.

And when they say that the dead are ‘at peace’, our dead selves can’t be the same as our living selves because being human is quite a muddled and melancholic condition. Similarly, real life relationships are no bed of roses. You might love someone even though they are hard work. Long-term relationships take continued thought and work to make sure that you appreciate each other and life is still balanced and happy. How does all of this work in the afterlife?

Anyhow, Sue went on to give advice about choices Claire had made in the past, and what she should do to be happy in the future. She talked about Claire’s past relationship and said that he wasn’t good enough and hadn’t appreciated her. Then she said that in the future, she saw Claire in France, happily married with children.

Now Claire never quite admitted that there was any connection, but within 12 months of the spiritual guidance, she had moved to France. Four years later, the rest of the ‘prophecy’ came true; she met a man who she later married and they had children.

So what do we make of all this? Well firstly, four years is a long time to wait around in France before your husband and kids come along, so I’m not entirely convinced. But the biggest problem with this advice was that if Sue really knew everything, then she’d know who Claire was as a person. Yes, Claire’s past relationships had been a bit of a disaster but you can’t just blame the other person for not being ‘right’; lots of relationships can work if there’s enough honesty, respect and kindness. Claire had, at times, been quite a difficult, and even malicious, partner.

And if she’d known who Claire was, Sue wouldn’t be telling her that chances of happiness come from moving to a more exotic location, or even from man and child. Her chances of happiness probably come from not searching or expecting so much, but accepting more. And from being more honest in relationships, rather than being tempted to play a game to get what she wants.

We don’t know what we can’t know, but the things we do know can be incredibly useful and informative. We should not overlook them. Whoever Sue was or is, even if she can name relatives or details of your private life, if she really wants to help people to be happy, she’s barking up the wrong tree. I still don’t know if her talents are real, but you have to ask what value is this stuff to us anyway? We are surely better off living in the here and now.