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Saturday, 28 February 2009


"The following March, Mr. Linton had put on her pillow, in the early morning, a handful of golden crocuses; her eye, long stranger to any gleam of pleasure, caught them in waking, and shone delighted, as she gathered them eagerly together.
"These are the earliest flowers on the Heights!" she exclaimed. "They remind me of soft, thaw winds and warm sunshine and nearly melted snow. Edgar, is there not a south wind, and is not the snow almost gone?"

That beautiful extract from "Wuthering Heights" is so apt today, on the verge of March! After so much snow and ice and gloom this long winter, today there was a southerly wind and even a dawn chorus of spring birds singing so beautifully even before it was light.

March is such a wonderful time - and the pun on the name seems so apt! The march forwards after the long sleep of winter, the earliest herald of spring, or new life, of new birth of hope and wonder. Isn't funny how every year, when spring comes and the daffodils and snowdrops and crocuses surprise us - and still more, later, when the blossom begins to form - we notice it and comment on it and even strangers in the street look different because the sun has come out? It's like we never saw spring before. It's like everything being new forever...As, indeed, it surely is.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Ash Wednesday

T.S. Eliot's poem "Ash Wednesday" begins with what sounds to me like a parody...."Because I do not hope to turn again....
...Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice...

...Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death....

I am thinking of the meaning of the ashes that have been placed on Christians' foreheads on Ash Wednesday for centuries. What do they mean? What was the meaning of the words I heard as a child (and even recently) as the ash cross was placed there: "Remember, man, thou art but dust and unto dust thou shalt return."
But I am not. And nor are you.
Apart from the fact that I am not a man, so 'woman' might have been more appropriate, we are not dust and we won't return to dust. How can it be said by the same voices who read the Gospel that says: "You are the light of the world....You are the salt of the earth...Every hair on your head has been counted....You are the children of God!"
Latterly, for the most part it was changed to, "Repent and believe the Good News!" which is clearly far better. But why the ashes, really?
To remind people that they are sinners? Doesn't everything else proclaimed by churches drill that message home anyway?
It's interesting how they say people generally live up to what is expected of them. Wouldn't it be lovelier to hand people a candle at the beginning of Lent and say, "You are the Light of the World!" And then everyone could go out and 'let their light shine' instead of grovelling in the pits of being sinners.
T.S. Eliot's poem coninues:

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

'Not to be separated'....and, surely, the only separation between humanity and One Life that expresses that humanity, is humanity's sense of sin. It isn't the sin, but the sense of sin that separates humanity from the Divine, for the Divine, surely, has no sense of sin whatsoever.
So the ashes? Could a magnificent and abundantly giving Creator/Father/Mother/Source ever require people to so abase themselves?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

A Time For Every Purpose

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions," wrote Thoreau, "perhaps it is because he marches to a different drum. Let him step to the music he hears."
It seems that the most enslaving thing in the universe is stepping to the march of what goes totally against the grain, when being 'out of step' is too fearful to contemplate. There are people who feel like curling up and dying for making a social gaffe; even people who do not feel complete if they are behind their neighbours in some kind of technology. The common practice is to label everything and everyone so people fear certain labels and cling to others.
It seems, too, that this 'enslavement' has taken us totally out of step to our own music - the real music of the spheres and the seasons and who we really are. We rail against deadlines - how apt an expression is 'deadline'? - and are governed by someone else's time unless we move with the reality of the seasons and the Earth.
Nature knows this far better than we do. The trees don't bemoan the long winter. They shed their leaves and patiently wait for the spring. The tides don't bemoan their ebbing, they patiently wait for the moon to govern their flow. The planets don't rush to be up at dawn or be in bed at a certain hour. They continue on their paths quite naturally.
Animals don't worry about the hour. They don't look at a clock and think, "Yikes!! I need to go to bed; I have to be up in the morning!" or wake in the morning to a nasty ringing sound and have to leap out of bed. They go on following their inner guidance, knowing it is all alright. People have their own peaks and troughs; highs and lows. Some are night owls, some are larks but we forgot how to make allowance for that when we all decided we had to walk in step.
It might seem like a pipe dream to imagine it is possible for a world or a city to function on such terms. But it could! Many years ago I spent time in a convent in Rome. There, there was all kinds of work to be done - from sticking together cardboard boxes, picking grapes in the vineyards and working in the fields, giving lessons in the school rooms etc. etc. - but people followed their instinct; they worked in the cardboard bit, till they felt it was time to move on. Sometimes they dropped everything in order to go and visit a place. It was so 'free' and yet so orderly because everyone was working - without the drudgery that often is equated with work - and everything that needed to be done, was done.
This very famous extract from Ecclesiastes says it all,

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal ...
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance ...
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sow;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Expressions of the Divine

Four hundred years ago, Thomas Traherne wrote:
"You never enjoy the world aright till the sea itself flowereth in your veins; till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars; and perceive yourself tp be the sole heir of the world; and more than so because men are in it who are, every one, sole heirs as well as you....Every morning you awake in Heaven: see yourself in your Father's palace; and look upon the skies, the earth, and the air as celestial joys: having such a reverend esteem of all, as if you were among the angels."
It's quite strange that a man who wrote so metaphysically - and also wrote of many life times of experience - became an Anglican minister. Perhaps that was the only way for a spiritually-orientated person of that era to express himself.
His writings (virtually unrecognised in his life time) speak so clearly of the kind of wisdom that is becoming better known today. Far removed from the idea of humanity being the 'massa damnata' of Augustine's internal hell, or the worms in the dust who need daily to beat our breasts as sinners before some kind of unrelenting tyrannical God, he recognised the intrinsic worth of each person as an expression of the Divine.
This is something that endlessly intrigues me. It seems so bizarre that for four decades I believed in a beautiful God of love - one whom I sensed amid nature and amid the random and beautiful acts of kindness that we find by chance in others and in ourselves; one who lavishes abundance throughout Nature, who moves in cycles of seasons and tides - and yet I could stand before an altar each week, abasing myself as a sinner. What kind of parent/creator would want such a thing of a child? What kind of distorted Deity/idol have we been reduced to worshipping in that kind of religion - or worse, in the kind of religion that says, "Be a martyr and die for me!" or even worse, "Be a hero and kill my other children for me!!" Utterly anthropomorphic nonsense! If there is a God - and to my mind, everything in Nature and humanity assures me that there is, and more than that, suggests that God is utter beauty and love - can't we only begin to touch the hem of the garment of such great beauty by seeing that we are the offshoots/offspring/expressions of something so beautiful and touch on that same power of Love in ourselves? And to reverence all creation, all humanity and all the animals and plant and mineral kingdoms as expressions of that One Life?
Indeed, Thomas Traherne wrote so beautifully! Surely, everyone we ever meet is an expression of the Divine.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

A Fool's Paradise or....

Who invented the phrase of 'a fool's paradise' and what does it mean? If the alternative is a wise man's hell, I know which I'd rather choose.
Supposing the fool's paradise means wandering, apparently aimlessly, in woods, observing little creatures and snowflakes and stars, and the wise man's hell is earning money in routines we don't choose. Then, who is really wise and who is foolish?
Everything, for the past century or more, has come to depend upon money - and what is that? Some pieces of paper, some tin or alloy. But big banks and wise men have told us that we need to be wage slaves to get it or we can't survive and the most amazing thing is that we have believed it. And so it works....
Without those bits of paper or metal we can't do what we want to do. People queue up for lottery tickets, people work themselves to the bone and are shocked to the core when their supply of that stuff stops coming. Talk about addiction to the bits of paper and the bits of tin or alloy!
Why? How did we get to live like this? And isn't the current 'crisis' merely a throw-back to how things were when people were measured by their worth, rather than by how many bits of paper/plastic they had?
I want loads of the stuff - I really do. I want it to put my dreams into action because that seems the way of this world - you seem to need these bits of paper and plastic and tin in order to do what you want. In itself, though, it's utter nonsense. In the meantime, in a fool's paradise, there are insects and birds and trees and real life that is so much more absorbing and interesting than that nonsense about banks and money and bits of plastic, tin and paper. Above all, though, there is the sense that while governments go overboard with their health scams and methods of dealing with addictions, they quite forget that the sole cause of these addictions, is their own addiction to power and to paying homage to bits of paper. How bizarre!

Sunday, 15 February 2009


Mother Teresa of Calcutta wrote of seeing how your life was going by examining your hands. Your hands tell you so much about what you've done. Were they clenched in anger? Were they grasping? For most of us, I think, they have been dealing acts of kindness. Maybe that is tending someone in need, making a meal, maybe writing at a keyboard, maybe writing by pen, maybe turning pages of a book, maybe dropping coins in a collection...who knows. Hands are very much involved in whatever we are doing, and if our passions take us to academic heights, the hands that turn the pages have surely done great work. If they take us to great practical heights, the hands that sewed the stitches, cooked the meal, fixed the engine or tyre, have surely done great work. If they take us to great spiritual heights, the hands that opened in prayer/meditation, lit the candles, the sage or whatever else you use, have surely done great work. If they take us to great heights of love, the hands that soothed the crying child, washed the feet, changed the bed, cleaned the sores, surely have done great work. If, at this time, our work is introspection, even the hands that lit the cigarette, made the coffee, poured the wine, switched on the music, have surely done great work. Better that than signed the war manifesto, or beat or bullied or hurt, or were clenched in desperation - wringing hands of fear,

There's a wonderful song by 'Jewel' called 'Hands'....rt in any way....Our hands really are great symbols of what we're about.

There's a wonderful song by 'Jewel' called Hands

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all okay
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own...

...In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands

God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Linear & Circular

In the usual scheme of things, life is often compared to a journey from birth to death and whatever lies beyond. It's a rather clinical approach, don't you think? Supposing it's a circular or spiral movement instead of so linear, then life begins to make so much more sense.

In the olden days, long, long ago, when things were understood in cycles, before furlongs and linear measurements, there was a sense of mysticism and 'unknowing', which the scientific age did away with, because the linear thought of that era has to understand and explain everything - and what can't be explained or described is usually denied as nonsense or dismissed as madness.

The so-called 'age of enlightenment' meant introducing clocks and regulations that made people fit a pattern. Soon after 'enlightenment' came the industrial revolution, where people were compelled to move from their old farming methods to those which were artificial. That was the age of fattening cattle to create 'the biggest bull in Yorkshire' - the poor creature could hardly move but it was seen as a great advance to be able to force an animal to look so grotesque. People no longer went by the sun and moon; no longer were regulated by the earth and seasons as to when they reaped and harvested; when they rose and when they slept. Instead, people claimed the right to rule everything - times, seasons, a way that for 200 years has resulted in two major world wars, endless minor conflicts, the rise in heart attacks, strokes, stress-related-illnesses...

Of course, before, there were worse diseases - rickets and diphtheria and smallpox etc. etc. - but replacing one set of diseases with another is hardly progress. If we could - and I am sure we can - get over the idea of linear structures, of science 'conquering' nature, and work in harmony, of allowing people to move with the seasons and stop thinking we're in control and let things be for a while and go back to the cyclical nature that is really rules the roost, we could use science and the advances in medicine and technology in a very different way. The two could come together so beautifully, in accordance with the whole divine scheme of everything. If science stood in awe before art, and art stood in awe before science, and people were seen as expressions of the Divine....

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Inherit the Earth

There is a beautiful short poem by Robert Frost that encapsulates how we feel sometimes:

The rain to the wind said,
"You push and I'll pelt."
They so smote the garden bed
That flowers actually knelt
And lay lodged - though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

England right now seems to be the 'land of endless winter.' I think it has snowed everyday in February - and we so long for the daffodils and snowdrops that are normally out by now. Day after day, the news reports are filled with the usual horrors of child murders and neglect, the horrific accounts from the Australian fires and the interminable arguments about who is responsible for the so-called credit crunch. People seem a bit down in the dumps to say the least.

It all brings to mind one question, though. Suddenly everyone is angry with the bankers, the government...and, in my view, quite rightly so, but isn't there something else to see? In whom or what do we put our faith? Let's face it, all the institutions to which people hand over their power are proving to be very corrupt or unreliable. Churches hiding paedophiles; government ministers feathering their own nests while telling everyone else to tighten their belts; banks, to whom we go a-grovelling for a loan, turning out to have made far greater financial mistakes than we have. And the part that makes me smile is the hammered-home message about global warming (another excuse for another tax?).

Meanwhile, there goes Mother Nature in all Her glory. She goes by Her cycles - sometimes there are ice ages; sometimes there are ages of global warmth, and the idea that somehow 'puny' man, who arrived on earth long ages after the earth came into being, can damage her is the utmost in arrogance. Funny how She can bring the country (well, London!) to a stand-still in one blizzard, and even then people refuse to see that She is the powerful one. The floods, melting polar ice caps, the whole of it, for which those who view the world as their domain like to think we are all responsible really, in my view, need to get over their arrogance and start loving Nature and acknowledging that they don't rule the world at all. How much more blatant can it get before they see? Before we all see that the real truth and power lies within ourselves.

When Hitler planned to command the world, the people who followed him were not all 'evil' or anti-Semitic (to begin with). They were simply led like sheep and allowed themselves to be brainwashed. We have all spent too long believing that someone else knows better than we do; that there are those to whom we must grovel, or those in authority whom we must obey. Of course, this isn't a call to anarchy. We need order too, for so many varied minds and beings so live in harmony. But, really, let's get over the notion that we cannot trust ourselves. Let's grow up and put our faith in something better than those who seek power. Let's not see ourselves in a constant battle against Nature. Let's not see Nature as something to be conquered. Let's love Nature in all Her expressions - the animals (not gorging ourselves, to our own detriment, on battery-farmed innocent creatures), the trees (not cutting them down because a child might climb one and be injured??), the oceans, even the cold, snowy, wet seasons. We don't have to go overboard believing what some arrogant ministers would have us believe. We, surely, need to listen to our own voice and be our own expressions of what it is to be a Child of God/Nature/Life....Who we really are.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Indeed!

(Oh...since, from midnight last night all emails, telephone calls and probably internet posts now posted from England, and maybe our sneezes, hiccups and anything else we do, are being stored by our government - at an enormous cost in a time of economic crisis! and in a similar way to Soviet Russian bugging - I hope that which ever government department stores this one, you read it and enjoy it! Really, have you nothing better to do? Why not go out and look at the trees instead? You will learn a lot more there than here!).

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


On a cold morning, 11th February 1858, a fourteen-year-old girl, who lived in a disused prison cell next to the town's cess pit, went out with her sister and a friend to gather firewood. When her sister and a friend came to a stream, the girl, named Bernadette Soubirous, who suffered from asthma, was reluctant to take off her shoes to cross the icy water. As she deliberated about what to do, she saw, high up in a niche of the rock (where it was common to dump the town's sewage) a vision of a beautiful lady. Bernadette did what any Catholic of the era would have done, and pulled her rosary from her pocket. The Lady (as she called her) prayed with her. Thus began the miracle that is Lourdes.

I first went to Lourdes when I was 17 and the impact it made upon me was tremendous. The place appealed to everything spiritual and aesthetic - from the sense of holiness to the sheer beauty of the scents of the River Gave, the coffee, the countryside, the mountains, the sounds of the bells and chants and the water frim the spring and, above all, the love for one another - the sense of all that is beautiful. I went back 9 times. Some people return from there remembering only the ridiculous way that the merchants appear in the Temple. It's true. You can buy Our Lady of Lourdes ash trays and cigarette lighters, and sweets made from Lourdes water, and garish flashing images and all kinds of tat....if you want to. Or you can smell the river and sense the Grotto at midnight, with only the scents of burned out candles, the moon, the mountains and the beauty of a million undeciphered tongues murmuring prayers.

One time, I was there at the gypsy pilgrimage and, staying high up in the mountains where the gypsies camped in their beautiful caravans and lit bonfires and carried their statues of flowers down to the Grotto next day, was beyond belief beautiful!

My one difficulty with Lourdes now, is this: it's hugely controversial and might step on some toes. While I was there, there was a great sense of the able-bodied feeling good for helping our neighbours who were suffering. There is also the message that suffering is a good thing and something that God wants.

If that is so, how come Jesus spent His life healing people? More than that, telling people that their own faith had healed them. There isn't one single instance in the Gospel where He said that suffering was good. On the contrary, He implied it was solely the result of our own sense of sin. Rid yourselfnot of the sun but of the the sense of being sinful, and you are healed. God doesn't see us as sinners - crikey, what kind of Father/Mother would think such a thing of their child? That was Jesus' message. The distorted message of Lourdes is surely that suffering somehow pleases God. Bizarre??? What kind of God would want that? Never.

Miracles happen there. I have seen them happen and it is truly beautiful. It's so interesting that the whole area is around a site of even more ancient mystical springs and other beliefs. There is something truly wonderful about that place. It brings people of every nation together in a way I never seen anywhere else. The music, the scents, the feel of it all and the whole atmosphere are just lovely.

Bernadette's asthma, I think, could have been cured, had she not had a mind-set on it somehow being pleasing to God, and how He/She would only reveal Herself to someone who had to suffer for it in all kinds of unpleasant ways for the rest of her life.

If you have the chance to be in Lourdes, please inhale that scent of the river and grass and find your own way and your own sense of that lovely place....

Sunday, 8 February 2009


During the reign of Edward VII, the clocks in Sandringham were set half an hour fast as the king was so exasperated by his wife, Queen Alexandra's lack of punctuality. There are many clocks in this house and they all say different times, which is quite amusing. I wear a watch that stopped two years ago, but I like the look of it and it was too expensive to fix, My car clock is only right for 6 months of the year because I don't know how to move it when the hour goes forwards or backwards...and yet somehow I tend not to be late for things.

Time is such a strangely binding concept, isn't it? Before the advent of clocks and the idea that is was the same time in London as it is in Leeds or Edinburgh or Aberdeen, people were a bit more attuned to their own rhythms. The coming of the railways and the need to know when the train might come changed all of that (bizarre when you think how many times you've been standing on a train platform in the 21st century, wondering whether the timetable bears any resemblance to the time shown on the clock!). It was quite useful, I suppose, being able to make arrangements and so on, but, on the other hand (of the clock) it was nothing more than regimentation. Now, it's decadent to lie in bed after a certain hour, or dissipated to be up after a certain hour. Somehow it entered our psyche that time ruled us. Now we have to get up when the clock rings, chimes, blurts out, or the radio comes on or whatever other means we use on a Monday morning and we are slaves to time.

On a much bigger scale, time is used to enslave us into categories of age. Again, it's even more ridiculous. I know young men of 98, and I know old men of 25. I have seen girls of 80, and old women of 40. To take it even further, there are 'moments' (a time concept) when we step out of time altogether. Sometimes, looking at the sea, with nothing else in sight but the endless ocean, it could be any age, any era, the same steady tides, the same steady motion of the waves.

Tonight, yet again, it is snowing and there is a softness and silence about everything. Closing one's eyes to the buildings that clutter (or enhance?) the city, and seeing only the snow falling steadily, it could be any age - the ice age, eternity...the things we understood before we regimented everything with clocks, before the words 'late' or 'early' had been invented....And, since it's snowing, here's a lovely poem by Edward Thomas, which has nothing to do with time but is very beautiful:

In the gloom of whiteness,
In the great silence of snow,
A child was sighing
And bitterly saying: "Oh,
They have killed a white bird up there on her nest,
The down is fluttering from her breast!"
And still it fell through that dusky brightness
On the child crying for the bird of the snow.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

"Ecce Homo"

Here's a strange thing. There was a Man who came from Nazareth in Galilee ("can anything good come from Nazareth?" they said), who broke down every barrier and lived out of the box. He touched lepers, associated with prostitutes, befriended and respected women, broke the Sabbath laws, outraged the pious and was not afraid of blood.
For a long time the message of that Man was passed on undercover. It was distorted sometimes, but the gist of it remained the same. Miracles happened at the hands of ' 'ordinary' people, because they understood that His message about who He was, told them who they were, too.
A few hundred years later, the authorities - who were a bit superior to those lepers and women and people who bleed or sin or anything - caught on, on some pseudo-intellectual level, to the ideas of The Man and thought it worked. But, sadly, they didn't really take the time to get what He had said, at all. It went straight back 'into the box'. The message passed into the hands of politicians. He had to be labelled - Man or God? Oh, how they argued and wrangled and sat in their robes, debating it all on their intellectual level until they could tell everyone what to believe because they knew best - bizarrely forgetting that the message of The Man was that each person has that same spirit within him or her and is also an expression 'in the image and likeness' of the Life/God that comes into physical manifestation. Subsequently, the men in their robes were made into saints - which kind of means people to emulate. Hmm...
Meanwhile, most people got on with their lives. Those who received the message of The Man (or of other great teachers all over the world, according to their culture, for God is surely big enough to express through many people in many different ways) interpreted it according to their own inner light. But that wouldn't do at all for the councils and the men in robes who decided what was so. No, if you disagreed, you had to be killed (in the name of God, of course, which makes everything alright) or at least converted at sword-point. And, in the name of The Man who never had a council and whose words - according to the Jerusalem Bible - are translated as "on this rock, I will build my 'cabal' rather than 'my church', a long list of terrifying images could be invoked to scare people into accepting the council's ruling....the ultimate being damnation. Maybe we don't believe we will go to hell, but, if we are constantly told we are sinners and unworthy of our birthright as children/expression of God, it's the same thing.
The saddest part of it all, is the massive watering down of what He actually said. The 'good news' is translated as 'Jesus died for my sins.' (What sins were that bad??) and the message is simply, "Be good - but you're not really that good and if you think you are, you are arrogant so be sorry for being bad."
What did He really say? He said, "You are the light of the world." He said, "The works I do, even greater works, you shall do." He said, "You are the salt of the earth" and "every hair on your head has been counted..." Isn't God in everything? Do we need any kinds of council to tell us what is so, when we have the knowledge of our 'parentage'? And we so love an icon and to be sheep, that we walk away missing it all.
Ecce Homo - Behold the Man. If only we look in the mirror or at the person sitting beside us, or a tree, a flower, a sky, the snow and behold the true spirit within! Ecce Deus!

Thursday, 5 February 2009


What are ghosts? Restless spirits, unwilling to leave the earth and lingering between this and another level of life? Images imprinted on a particular place and playing back, like a video tape, through the ages? Or just figments of imagination of 'fevered brains'?
Throughout history, there have been far too many mentions of ghosts for them to be the last on that list, but I think, too, there is another explanation.
We are all surely more than our physical bodies or even our personalities. Sometimes it seems that the mind can spiral so far into other realms - it comes to some in music, to some in poetry, to some in love or moments of awe - there is far more to us all than meets the eye. We feel it and sense it in moments and afterwards dismiss it as 'a feeling' but there is that sense in all of us, I am sure. Often we suppress it or deny it because centuries of trying to measure it or explain it in scientific or intellectual terms is impossible and so often, what we cannot explain, we fear.
There are recorded accounts of bilocation. There are recorded accounts of people performing feats, which seem beyond human capacity, and we either think, "No, that's just wishful thinking," or, "I don't believe it," because it is frightening to realize the extent of who we really are and what is in us.
So...ghosts, I think, need not be people of the past, or people of the future. Only in our limited vision do we see time. As a physical footstep makes an image in sand or snow, perhaps our 'spiritual' footprint leaves images too, and now and again other people glimpse them. There is far more to everything than meets the eye, and we are all far bigger than we know.
In A.E. Housman's poem, "Far In A Western Brookland" there is the sense of that 'haunting' but, in this case, he is not being haunted - he is the living ghost.

Far in a western brookland
That bred me long ago
The poplars stand and tremble
By pools I used to know.

There, in the windless night-time,
The wanderer, marvelling why,
Halts on the bridge to hearken
How soft the poplars sigh.

He hears: no more remembered
In fields where I was known,
Here I lie down in London
And turn to rest alone.

There, by the starlit fences,
The wanderer halts and hears
My soul that lingers sighing
About the glimmering weirs.