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Honor in Concord: Seeking Spirit in Literary Concord

by Cathryn McIntyre

[The following excerpt is copyrighted material and is not to be copied or reproduced without the express written consent of its author.]

From a section called “Spiritual Reality” - Chapter Five

According to Mrs. Hill, the doctor, a man in his 60s, had died of a sudden heart attack in the apartment. I had news for Mrs. Hill, Dr. Roland was still there.

For weeks after I dealt with this reality by telling myself I was only imagining things. The kitchen door hadn’t just opened by itself and I hadn’t heard footsteps on the stairs in the side hall when no one else was home. Then one day I went to see George, my favorite Salem psychic, to report on the phenomenal progress I had made at locating the apartment in Concord that he had predicted I would find, only to have him announce with great amusement, “Hey, you have a ghost in your house!”

I would have appreciated this information more had it come out a few months earlier when George first predicted my move to Concord, but he had merely shaken his head at my protestations and assured me that Dr. Roland was a gentle spirit. “He just enjoys being there, he means no harm.” That may have been the case, but the idea that Dr. Roland was sharing the apartment with me was a fact that I couldn’t get used to. One night as I drove home from work feeling tired of this uncomfortable arrangement, I decided to try a method of ghost busting that was a standard and preferred practice in the new age community, a group to which I had long considered myself a member. Until I discovered the transcendentalists of Concord, it was only among the members of the new age that I could find anyone with sensibilities that were in any way similar to my own.

I began a combination of meditation and prayer, called upon Dr. Roland’s guides to come for him, and urged him to follow them into the light. Immediately, I could sense his resistance. Dr. Roland loved Concord and he loved this apartment where he had hoped to spend the next several years. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of days after he’d moved in before his physical demise and now his spirit was reluctant to leave. I pleaded with him and tried to make him understand that I could not go on living there with him and that since I had a purpose in being there, and since his life had in fact come to an end, it was time for him to move on. I assured him, of course, that on the other side he would be able to manifest and live in his own Quiet House, built on the very image of the one we both shared, and this seemed to convince him. By the time I walked into the apartment that night, I felt certain he was gone.

With the problem of Dr. Roland’s ghost resolved, I began to focus more each day on the task at hand. The living room was piled high with books that I had checked out of the Concord Free Public Library and libraries in the surrounding towns where books that were considered non-circulating and therefore not available for checkout from the Concord library could be found, checked out and taken home. I was spending so much time reading that after living in Concord for eight months I had written very little, still I introduced myself to the guide at Emerson House as a writer who was working on a book about Concord, and she was anxious to welcome me in.

¯ ¯ ¯

From Chapter Six

My private tour will begin in five minutes. If I want to sit in Emerson’s study, the guide tells me, she will join me there shortly. So I cross the hall and take a seat on the long, narrow colonial style sofa that lines the front wall of the room. It is a replica of the sofa that was here in Emerson’s day, and I sit quietly there as I wait for the guide and take in the look and the feel of the room.

I have come here to see Mr. Emerson, to see the man who once lived in this house and wrote in this room. There is no plainer way to put it and why should I pretend that my intentions are anything else? I am clairvoyant after all, or so I am told by every psychic who reads me, and if any remnant of Emerson or his family or any imprint from any moment in their lives remains in this house I am determined to connect with it. I have always had this ability to perceive things that most others cannot see. It is an ability that I have struggled for years to come to terms with. It is a certain strangeness that I have come to accept as manifestly me.

This strangeness, this mysticism is something that I see in Emerson and Thoreau. Their awareness of the spiritual presence in all living things is the very thing that draws me to them and to all of the transcendentalists. It is the reason I have come here to Concord. Concord is a special place, it is the birthplace of a nation, but it is also home to many who shared this instinctive understanding of spirit. It was not just a theory to them, it was a reality; something they could sense and feel.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the man who once owned this home, who once wrote in this room, and who welcomed into this room so many noteworthy individuals, Henry David Thoreau among them, is often referred to as “God in Concord” because of his own extraordinary vision of spirit, and it becomes clearer to me as I read his work, and that of Thoreau, that there is a similarly that exists between their understanding of spiritual reality and my own. They did not indulge themselves in the spiritualist fervor of their time in the way I indulge myself in the new age practices of the current day, but they also had this inborn sensibility that allowed them to connect to a greater spiritual truth. Emerson is remembered as God in Concord because he spoke of that truth and did not draw back from letting that truth be known.

And, as I come to terms with my own awareness and abilities, I know I can no longer deny the truth of my own experiences, no matter how unusual they may appear to be, or fail to share my own unique perceptions of life, if by revealing them it helps others to open themselves up to the magic that is possible in all of our lives once we understand that we are spiritual, not merely physical beings.

Spiritual reality is palpable to me. I hear it, see it, smell it and touch it. At times I am one with it, free from the limitations of the physical form and able to experience and interact with it and all it contains, but these moments are brief and I am returned to my body again, my present mission not yet done.

Cathryn McIntyre is a gifted writer, clairvoyant and a long time spiritual seeker. She is also an independent scholar of the life and work of transcendentalist writer, Henry David Thoreau and of the literary history of Concord, Massachusetts. In Honor in Concord: Seeking Spirit in Literary Concord she presents a weave of fiction and fact that combines experiences from her own life and images she draws from Concord’s literary past with a fictional story in which the writers of 19th century Concord are living there again in present day. It is through this mix of reality and imagination that we are reminded of the presence of spirit in our lives. We are reminded of what Emerson called the infinitude of the soul. Honor in Concord speaks to the soul within all of us and its life affirming message will resonnate deeply with anyone on a spiritual path.

Honor in Concord is available through online booksellers and can also be purchased through your local bookstore. For additional information including a complete list of bookstores where this book can be found, please go to: www.theconcordwriter.com

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