Human beings generally live with their minds externalized. That is, they are taken over by the usual movements of thought concerning one’s image in society, wanting more money, security in relationship, the safety of one’s relatives, being in the good books of God, and so on. Though such concerns have some legitimacy in life, to be lost in them brings about a serious malady. It causes people to mentally wear out and lead a life of mediocrity. They may console themselves by thinking that they are being very religious but that is an escape from facing the reality of one’s slavery to conditioning. People who sense this become serious about understanding the hidden issues of life and apply themselves to discovering the deeper springs. Such people consider the paranormal phenomena as one source of help in their exploration and become capable of receiving the esoteric messages from them.
When we are neither believers nor non-believers, there is nothing to be defended emotionally. We are alert to the adage, “One believes what one wants to believe”. There is freedom from what may be called ‘the preferred conclusion syndrome’. This brings in certain psychological release and augments a mental state conducive to wonderment and exploration. There can be then a non-verbal learning and non-accumulative understanding. These imply a direct awareness that would be untouched by the preferred conclusion syndrome.
Coming across paranormal phenomena, either in oneself or in others, it is good to be open-minded about it. If we are emotionally attached to a belief system or consider ourselves to be non-believers, then it is difficult to have the insight and receive the messages from the phenomena. Usually, such freedom is difficult for the conventional mindset. Based on our preconceived notions, the habitual neurology would push us into being judgmental. It is good to be alert to those proclivities. Simultaneously, it would be helpful to have the attitude of a tempered skeptic that guards us against being naive. It is a kind of tight-rope walking, isn’t it? Once we are deeply eager to delve into the area beyond the apparent, the right kind of psychology would establish itself spontaneously. In contrast, if we merely let our reasoning mind sit in judgment over the issues, our movement towards the truth will be thwarted.
Having looked into the above aspects of our psychological response, we also notice that, to know the truth of any matter, it is good to be patient; stay tuned to the matter allowing us to have as much information as possible. That way we give our intuition a chance to tell us what the truth is, or can be.
When we approach life with a spirit of exploration, we move away from being a conformist. The conformists look for a shield against life through clinging to a system that promises satisfaction and security. That kind of playing safe prevents them from adopting adventurous attitudes in life. Further, they would also be afraid to explore into the hidden aspects of life because they may come upon something that can demolish their belief system. However, if we can make a radical departure from that mindset, we would find many issues in life elevating us to higher levels of perception.
One of the areas where abundant help is available for moving into a dynamic disposition in life is that of the paranormal phenomena. They take us away from being wound up with the conventional neurology that relies on the conformist attitude and move us on to the Beyond. The inner freedom that results from paying attention to the messages of paranormal experiences lays the right foundation for Natural Spirituality. Two of the concomitant factors here would be: (1) Stable peace of mind and (2) A cosmopolitan outlook of universal compassion. In contrast, the conformist attitude leads to division among people and the consequent conflicts. In the following paragraphs, we look into some of the paranormal experiences that can expand our awareness. Such expansiveness takes us into higher dimensions of living that is sorely missing in the conformist world of today.
The Out-of-Body Experience (OBE): Here the consciousness leaves the body (even when the body is normal and healthy) and moves into the cosmic space. The brain, with its conditioned response, no longer interferes with the perception which is reported to be ‘pure’ and non-verbal.
The Near Death Experience (NDE): Same as OBE, except that this takes place under conditions of severe pain, trauma or clinically dead conditions. The awareness expands limitlessly and one finds oneself to be part of a harmonious whole. In quite a few of the episodes, the experiencer sees the long journey of life across many incarnate and discarnate periods. This takes away from them the claustrophobia in time and the fear of death. Zest for living increases and the person becomes deeply interested in understanding the many facets of life. Imbued with unconditional compassion, they apply themselves to helping others on their journey.
Hypnotic Regression: By going back in memory through hypnotic regression, one is able to access memories that are not limited to the brief span of time of the current life. These expansive spiritual-self memories include remembrance of past lives and the experiences and lessons accrued in the “Between-Life” consciousness. Through hypnosis it is possible to consciously realize that we are spiritual beings in human form, not human beings struggling to become spiritual. Memories of past lives help one free oneself from problems in this life consequent to understanding the genesis of such problems in past lives.
When we pay attention to the messages of the above three paranormal phenomena, we get to know something about our essence: (1) We understand that the idea of considering ourselves as separate individuals is an illusion; we see ourselves as an integral part of a universal force or energy. (2) Our essence is deathless and has no beginning and no end. (3) Fear of death arises due to the assumed individuality. (4) The time as we perceive it on earth is also an illusion. (5) Unconditional love flows towards everyone, irrespective of to what nationality or religion the person belongs. (6) A quote from a NDE episode: “There will be freedom from this physical temple we are temporarily bound by, and a final merging with the Light in all its beauty, silence and wisdom” (Patricia Bassett, IANDS newsletter, Vol. 31, No. 1). From this it is clear that no one is condemned; the associated understanding makes us look at all beings with empathy and compassion.
So, in conclusion, shall we chime in with Shakespeare in Hamlet and say, “Neither a believer nor a non-believer be, for belief oft belies you and the Truth.”! Related topics are covered in the website: http://spirituality.yolasite.com ; some references are suggested below for further reading.
- 1. Website of ‘Out-of-Body Experience Research Foundation’ : oberf.org
- 2. Book: ‘Reflections on Life After Life‘ by Raymond Moody
- 3. Book: ‘You Have Been Here Before: A Psychologist Looks at Past Lives‘ by Edith Fiore
- 4. Book: ‘Conversations with God‘ by Neale Donald Walsch
- 5. Article by Kurt Friedrichs in ‘What Vedanta Means to Me‘ edited by John Yale.