I have been trolling through a mass of fragments of writing on my psi experiences – efforts I have made at recording them, and which have been abandoned in various stages of completion.
There’s nothing spectacular to boast about. I am not ‘psychic’ in the way that term is usually understood. I can’t simply turn on a performance. My experiences can be better described as an unwitting (and sometimes unwilling) sampling of a smorgasbord of incidents and examples. It was as if Spirit was intent on keeping me modest, never cocky enough to claim expertise.
Experience matters, because it is what influences what you think and believe. If you have had no significant experiences, a proposition that might seem suss to me might seem plausible to you. And a proposition that seems plausible to me might seem like wild nonsense to you.
It is never my intent to have you believe what I say – only to allow that it may be plausible and worthy of deeper inquiry and reflection. An explorer who returns from a distant and unfamiliar land can lie and exaggerate – as well as render faithful witness to remarkable things and places. An audience, without the means to verify his claims can only be cautiously enthusiastic. This is the peril we all face when encountering novel ideas.
I have learned to be very sceptical and cautious of claims of a paranormal nature. There are liars, pretenders and the self-deluded aplenty. Sometimes it is safer to not want a thing to be true; and test it severely. By that I don’t mean taking a position of denial and demanding proof certain be offered. That never works – and its arrogant and lazy. I mean allowing something may be true and engaging with it with care. The most dangerous situation to get into is wanting to believe. Not everything is what it seems to be.
The Point of Experience?
Sometimes things happen and years later I am still wondering what it was all about. Was it just a demonstration of power? Was it forcing me to think beyond my normal frame?
Quite a few experiences were useful in that they provided immediate real-world results. Others guided/pushed me in a certain direction that turned out to significant.
I want to make a point here. I have become attuned to the influence of spirit. Others may well have psi experiences and not see them as that. We all have theories about how the world works running in the background – and it may well ascribe a psi experience to an entirely different cause.
In the same way that learning a discipline like architecture, psychology or chemistry gives us a capacity to see some experiences in a more nuanced light, developing an animistic vision alters how we see, and interpret our engagement with our life experiences. You can do something similar through adoption of a religious belief. I am not keen on beliefs systems beyond them being an initial guide. Unfortunately, adherents to, and promoters of, belief systems tend to be deeply invested in them as a complete answer. They are not – for anybody with a hunger for unmediated engagement. This is why I prefer to think in terms of learning a discipline – and not adopting a belief.
Belief is necessary in a contingent sense. When we were growing up and at school we learned about the Periodic Table, and we had to accept this was real and valid knowledge. We had no way to evaluate it. If we didn’t ‘believe’, we’d find making progress in learning chemistry impossible. This is what derailed me with maths. When I was told that -1x-1=+1 I got stuck on the logic of the proposition. The maths teacher couldn’t explain it to me. Suddenly maths looked as irrational a belief system as religion. I regret that now. Sometimes being a smart kid can make you stupid as well.
We have to believe a bunch of things just to make life possible. But the difference between these necessary operational beliefs (the thing I called my car yesterday is still my car today) and existential beliefs about the nature of reality is vast. Existential beliefs don’t always directly impact your experience of being in the world on an operational level. Whether you believe in gods or magic does not impact day-to-day beliefs about the world at that operational level.
Now this is where things get interesting. The moral psychologist, Jonathan Haidt identified a sense of the sacred as a moral value often missing in progressives. Here he was talking about US politics. A lot of progressives are atheists. And many who retain some sense of religion have rendered it a background sentiment only.
The idea of the sacred includes things that are valued as well as things to be avoided. This goes beyond religion to include symbols, places and dates that are important to a sense of national identity. It also includes family, cultural and even personal domains. When religion and nationalism combine it can be a potent mixture. For example, there is a powerful persuasion in the US that the nation was founded as a Christian nation, which it was not.
Belief in the sacred does not, I think, go away among those who might deny the idea has any sensible meaning. Rather, it transforms into rational and abstract things like ‘science’ and ‘justice’.
Our ancestors needed a strong sense of the world they lived in. They ‘felt into’ the world of their experience using senses far more acutely tuned than ours. Europeans scoffed at the ‘primitive’ and ‘savage’ (two words employed to describe indigenous people in the 19thCentury, and the early part of the 20th) for their beliefs. These people were not ‘civilized’. This distinction is interesting.
The word ‘civilized’ essentially means town dwelling. The opposite was ‘pagan’ (a country dweller). Historically, as Christianity spread out over Europe, it took root in towns first, so the more distant rural communities retained their traditional ways longer.
But there’s a more important distinction. Town/city dwellers had less direct contact with food getting and became more involved in works arising directly from denser levels of human habitation. Differences between types of sensitivity became distinct. A city dweller did not need the acute alertness to the forest dweller needed to stay safe and find food and other necessities. Their senses were tuned to the human, and the human made. As these domains came to dominate, the natural diminished.
The human domains evolved in power and importance – and became pre-eminent as expressions of reason. The intuitive was channelled into art. The human dominated environment discouraged acute sensitivity, and relative insensitivity became the norm. Reason dominated intuition and subtle awareness. It was considered superior and anything else was dismissed as weakness of mind and superstition.
I am not suggesting our forest dwelling ancestors were all psychics, just more tuned and more sensitive to the world they lived in. Some would have been far more attuned and sensitive than others.
This is where a sense of the sacred comes in. Places in a landscape could be powerfully beneficial or detrimental because of the quality of the atmosphere of the place – its spirit. Objects can have their own potency too. But places and objects can have sanctity ascribed to them as well. A place where an important event took place might be designated sacred. An object can become symbolic – the Christian cross is a prime example.
Places can carry human induced potency – battlefields and cemeteries for example. These can become psychically dangerous places to be avoided, save at special times.
We call awareness of the subtle emanations of the sacred ‘psychic’, but perhaps it is better to say it is a subliminal awareness rendered conscious through a particular level of sensitivity. How that sensitivity is acquired is the question to answered. Whether it is of value should also be considered.
Whether and How
Let’s consider whether developing that sensitivity has any value these days. Most folk do perfectly well without it, or so it seems. But in truth there’s a huge sense of existential angst about.
There is sound evidence that humans do better where is some nature about – even a solitary plant confined to a pot. What is it in our nature that responds to the presence of plants and animals as if they are part of something essential to our wellbeing?
Perhaps being confined to the purely human shuts us off from the more than human dimensions of our reality. Cities are the very epitome of ‘civilization’. They are human creations for human needs and interests. At their worst they are a cacophony of overstimulation wreathed in a toxic atmosphere. At their best, nature is permitted in and nurtured.
But other-than-human is not just about the nature we can see. It includes the web of subliminal connections of all kinds. Research into trees shows that they are not the individuals we plant in our gardens and parks. They are knitted into webs of inter-species connection. Even our own supposedly individual bodies are, in fact, communities of unalike creatures working to the common cause of being our flesh and blood.
To be fully human, we must go beyond the homo-centric focus of what we do and think and make. We must remember we are members of a community, and our well-being depends upon the other-than-human and the greater-than-human, and their interaction.
Being mindful of, and sensitive to, those community members is, I think, a good thing.
The how, is easy, if you accept the above proposition. Be mindful. Be open to the sense of being a member of a community – and be a good community member – and a good neighbour.
I don’t believe in doing exercises to increase sensitivity for its own sake. Engaging in efforts to be intentionally more aware of your membership of the community is a different matter. This might be a good meditation theme, or something to affirm while in the garden, or on a walk.
A lot of my ‘psi’ experiences arose from contact with ‘spirits’ of some kind. This was never something I sought out consciously. In fact, it was often unwelcome and bewildering.
The nature of those ‘spirits’ varied as well. Some were what are called ‘nature-spirits’. Others seem to have been guiding spirits who never made their nature or present apparent to me on a conscious level.
I do firmly believe that we do have a community of souls or spirits with which we are connected. But that does not mean that they will flagrantly intervene in our lives. It also does not mean that any intervention or influence is absent, but rather something of we are simply not aware of at the time.
Don’t go looking for contact with spirits with careless enthusiasm. Over the years I have come across many instances where a desire to make contact has led to misfortune. I am not saying do not seek contact, just don’t leave yourself open for whatever comes along. There’s a difference between contact with spirit being a growth experience and pandering to one’s ego. It’s not always useful thing, and generally speaking, when it is it will happen without you pushing it.
I will repost my earlier essay on the theme. Do read The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts. It’s a fascinating story in its own right, as well as a cautionary tale.
I will post an essay listing my experiences soon. As noted, they are not spectacular – well, a few are. The point of sharing them is their variety and their impact on my life at various times.
My purpose is to awaken a deeper thinking about the subtle levels of awareness that we can develop to become more alert to the influences upon our lives.
Our lives are multi-dimensional in their expression. At any time, the influences of this material world interact with the influences of the subtle dimensions. Mostly we miss this interaction for two reasons:
- We don’t have a model of our reality that allows for the interaction.
- We edit out evidence for it because our self-talk is primed to materialism.
Our reality is much more subtle and multi-dimensional than we consciously experience – well most of the time.