A Message From “The Family”: Seasons of the Soul

There are many seasons in the soul. Some are fresh and green; others, old and brittle; others, a rampage of hungers and searches for satiation. When one is caught up in a wash of internal seasonal weather, one can feel cast adrift, out of control, spinning into unknown waters.

At such times, Knowers—those for whom reality is best perceived [and dealt with] via spiritual, religious, intellectual, or scientific practices—often seek to stand back from their [emotional] experiences, observing them [from a distance], whether in meditation or scientific study. Other Knowers may seek to avoid getting in touch with their internal experiences [at all], sometimes even going so far as to insist that humans have no internal consciousness; that consciousness is an illusion manufactured by the chemical factory of the brain.

Consciousness deniers frequently seek solace in their intellectual constructs, which reduce the world to biological process, and treat emotions as no more meaningful than sparks emerging from a car battery, mechanical problems that distract from the broad tasks of pattern assessment and phenomena analysis.

There are Doers, [those for whom reality is best perceived as a series of practical problems to be solved or tasks to be accomplished], who also treat internal experience as unworthy of contemplation, unless they can see its practical applications for survival, task completion, and biological needs gratification. “Of what use is a feeling unless it triggers action of some kind?” these Doers may think. So for them, Love is not real  unless it is expressed in giving another objects of value, enjoyable shared [physical] experiences sexual and otherwise, and enhancement of physical and economic stability and power.

For Feelers, reality is what is experienced internally, and Love is an internal sensation of longing, belonging, and consolation. What to Knowers is a pattern of understanding and identification with the Other, and to Doers is a relationship useful for creating mutual external experience, to Feelers [is what fills the emptiness they feel at their core].

–Channeled October 14-21, 2017

 

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Rand_holding_light     I’ve worked as a psychic in Santa Fe and nationwide for many years. Around 20 years ago I was invited to attend a local skeptics conference. I was interested because I had long thought intuition and reason are both crucial to a balanced understanding of psychophysical phenomena, and I had been yearning to find a group that honestly and without bias investigated paranormal claims, experiences, and practices. To me a “skeptic” was an honest seeker of truth, in contrast to a “debunker,” an ideologue whose mind had already been made up, and whose purpose was to reveal as fake or erroneous a practitioner and his or her practices.
     When I arrived at the conference I sat with my host in the audience. The leader of the conference, a distinguished looking academic type, called the meeting to order and introduced me as the guest speaker. I politely informed him that I had not been told I was the guest speaker; I thought I had been invited as just another attender and observer. I noticed that he had on his table a compilation of fliers and other literature I had posted on bulletin boards around town to advertise my workshops and services; there had clearly been planning involved in the event.
     The conference leader acted confused and surprised that I had not been told I was to be the guest speaker. I glanced at the man who had invited me—the husband of a client—and the grin on his face made it clear that he was enjoying the situation. (I later realized that he resented the work I had been doing with his then-wife and that this was a form of retaliation meant to lower me in his wife’s estimation.)
     They invited me to give a demonstration of my trancework. I explained to them, essentially, that I was an agnostic spiritualist—that I did not know anything for sure about the existence of the paranormal—and I informed the group that I told my clients that I did not speak from any spiritual “authority.” A woman politely asked me if she could take my pulse as I did my trance; I told her I did not like being touched when I was in trance. Another woman asked me if my psychic abilities were proven to be imaginary, would I be willing to give up my career as a psychic? My honest answer was, “I hope I would have the courage to do so.”
     I attempted a demonstration, and it was a complete disaster. I felt surrounded by a 6 foot high, 6 foot thick, impenetrable wall. Absolutely no impressions of any kind reached me until the very end of the session, when I picked up a few mini-“hits” about two of the men in the audience. One set of impressions I received spontaneously, about a man’s popularity with his young students; the other set of impressions came as a response to a question that later proved to be a complete fabrication. At one point I saw an elderly man at the back of the audience staring at me, and the look on his face was pure unmitigated contempt. When I was done, I saw the delighted looks on the faces of a number of the audience members, and it was clear that I was not in a skeptics group, but in a debunkers group, and that they had gotten the experience they desired.
     After the meeting I was ignored by everyone in the group, and left quietly. A week or so later one of the audience members interviewed me privately, and although he was very polite, it was clear from the questions he asked, and the details he dropped about himself, that he was a conservative Catholic who believed that spiritual guides were Satanic deceivers promoting humanism above the revealed doctrines of the Church. Later he wrote a letter to the local paper claiming “Rand Lee may be the only honest psychic in Santa Fe,” a reference I believe to my hope that I would have the courage to quit my profession if proven a fake–and though some might take this as damning with faint praise, it did console me a trifle that at least one person at the conference did not believe I was a charlatan, just self-deluded.
     It took me many years to regain my confidence in my abilities. But I learned from this experience that (1) when I am in an altered psycho-receptive state my critical analytical faculties are offline, and I am unable to detect when I am being conned or lied to; (2) that I cannot read through my own fears—I must feel safe in order to relax and get objective impressions of my audiences; (3) that I cannot read people who do not wish to be read; and (4) that I have the right to say “No” to any situation aimed at humiliating me. I see now that I should have refused to give a demonstration at that meeting, and called out the man who invited me for his act of passive aggression. Not to have done so was, I fear, foolish. I regret that decision to this day.
—October 2, 2017
I’ve recently come across a very enlightening website that addresses the issue of honest skepticism vs. the current fashion in verbally abusive online pseudoskepticism. The site is http://www.skepticalaboutskeptics.org.

Do You Believe In Fairies? Clap Your Hands

Spoiler Alert: Last night, on Netflix, I watched a British film called “Hippopotamus”. The main character and narrator is a  late middle aged British critic whose sardonic skepticism is equaled only by his sense of personal failure and self-loathing. In the film, he is called to an aristocratic country home to investigate rumors that a younger son there—the critic’s godson—has developed supernatural healing abilities. A man, a horse, and several women have been reported as cured of life-threatening illnesses when the boy laid hands upon them.

“Hippopotamus” is well scripted and well acted. The main character’s acerbic wit both appeals and appalls. But the ending is predictable. The critic—a former poet plagued with writer’s block for decades—unmasks the “healings” as a con on the part of the boy: one of the women dies, and the others’ symptoms return, except for the horse’s, who turns out to have been suffering from nothing worse than a hangover brought on by lapping up an alcoholic beverage accidentally dumped into its water bucket by the critic.

There is a happy ending of sorts: the boy admits to the con; is reconciled with his father, whom the con had been designed to impress; the critic’s writer’s block dissolves; and he starts making poems again. But the underlying assumptions of the film are what I’ve come to expect from modern secular media: there is no God; “miracles” are simply chance occurrences explicable by natural law; and anyone who believes in God, the supernatural, faith, or life after death is a self-deluded lamebrain.

True confession time: The movie depressed me. Against all experience and true expectation, I had deep down hoped that the main character would at least have been left with some doubts about the certitude of his materialism. When the hope was dashed, my ancient doubts concerning the true nature of my own mystical and psychic experiences rose up chattering. This is nothing new—my mind has always been a house divided, rationalist on one side, mystic on the other—and when such dark moods descend on me, I feel like a charlatan who has wasted his life living in a dream world.

Oddly enough, when I go into trance, or throw the cards for a client, or am in the presence of others who have had mystical experiences, my doubts recede, and the quiet joy of knowing that Divine Love is real, and that we are all,  ultimately, safe, returns.  But when I am alone in my flat, at night, it is more difficult to recapture that startling sense of peace I experience in the day.

This dualism is in part inherited: My father was an agnostic and purported rationalist; my mother, a high church Episcopalian who taught me from an early age “If I should die before I wake, I pray my Lord my soul to take.” I always felt torn between them, to the point where, as a child, I taught myself to sleep on my back rather than on my left or right side, because Daddy slept on the left side of the bed he shared with Mommy, and Mommy slept on the right side, and I felt if I chose right or left I would be siding with one parent against the other.

Tonight, as I lay in bed suffocating beneath the dread that the materialists are right, and that my mystic experiences are nothing more than brain farts, I could understand how some people believe in demon oppression or soulsucking negative thoughtform attacks—because I felt attacked, not by demons, but by the overwhelmingly pessimistic materialism of modern secular intellectual culture. And the thought came to me: You don’t have to give in to these doubts. You have a choice, based upon your experience, to believe in spirit guides, nature spirits, ghosts, reincarnation, soul travel, ESP, Tarot, channeling, and other manifestations of nonlinear consciousness, or not to believe in them. Which choice makes your life run more smoothly while not violating either your reason or your intuition? Choose now.

My lifelong difficulty reconciling my father’s agnosticism with my mother’s emotional religiosity was predicted, many years ago, when I was a sophomore at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. I developed a crush on a bisexual upperclassman who dabbled in the occult, inspired by the characters in John Fowles’ The Magus. One day, while in a pot-fueled trance, he predicted that I would spend my life standing on the crossroads showing the way for others to follow, while never taking that path myself.

Tonight I say: I choose to believe that life is more than a molecular dance, wondrous though that dance may be. Tonight I choose to believe that Spirit is real, and that my experiences of It are glimpses of a truth underlying, upholding, and surrounding the truths of physical reality. To put it another way, words deliberately chosen to irritate the the sophisticated atheist who lives inside me: tonight I choose to believe in fairies. And if you choose to believe in them, too? Why, do what Peter Pan invited us to do when Tinker Bell lay at death’s door. If you believe in fairies, clap your hands. •

 

On Chance As A Face of God

stained_glass_spiralA good friend gave me an intriguing Christmas present today, a book entitled, The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day. The author is David J. Hand, emeritus professor of mathematics and a senior research investigator at Imperial College London. His book aims to explain, via statistics, how the uncertainty that lies at the core of Nature gives rise to statistically mappable, wildly improbable, seemingly miraculous events. “The universe has laws which describe the way it works,” writes Hand, “… The same applies to exceedingly unlikely events. The Improbability Principle is my name for a set of laws of chance which, together, tell us that we should expect the unexpected, and why.” Some seeming improbabilities arise, Hand says, from “fundamental aspects of the way the universe is constructed;” others, from “deep properties of what we mean by probability;” still others, from the mechanism of the human brain as it expresses itself in human psychology. Events that we deem improbable, says Hand, only seem so because of errors in our research or thinking; once those errors are corrected, the improbable is revealed as probable.

Probability interests me, because as a psychic, I’m in the business of sussing out the probable for clients. A client comes to me and asks me what her chances are of finding a loving partner through (let’s say) Match.com. I throw the cards and they say, “Success!”, or “NO way,” or “Um, it might work, but…” If you stop the reading there, you leave the client more or less a victim of fate. But if you ask, “Why is success predicted here?”, or, “Why is this absolutely the wrong approach for her?”, or, “What can she do to maximize her chances of making this work?”, then you get information the client can really learn from and use to make decisions that will load the deck in her favor.

I am severely challenged mathematically, so I cannot and probably never will be able to give you a fair assessment of his research, thinking, or worldview. From a cursory flip through the material, however, it seems clear that, as a statistician, he is convinced that everything has an explanation consonant with mathematics and impersonal physical law. In other words, from Hand’s viewpoint, the fact that you happened to get a client who paid you by PayPal the very day you had run out of money for food was not the result of a supernatural entity answering your previous evening’s pleas for cash, it was the logical outcome of a complex series of events, some of which you had a conscious part in (such as having sent out a Thanksgiving card to all your clients wishing them a good year ahead), some of which had to do with the time of year (post-Christmas letdown), some of which had to do with that client’s choices and circumstances (end of year stimulates desires for a new start), and some of which were entirely accidental. According to this view, then, your getting paid right when you needed it most was not therefore necessarily evidence that a loving Higher Power exists who responds to your pragmatic needs when asked, but only that, sooner or later, given your many years in the psychic business and your wide reputation, it was inevitable that some client would have called you at some point after Christmas, and it just happened to be on the day you needed the moolah. So this would make my attributing these events to a loving Higher Power not the result of faith rewarded or intuition triumphant, but fantasy thinking arising from my very human need to imagine an Invisible Sky Daddy who will take care of me when I am in trouble.

On the other hand, one of the Major Trumps of the Tarot deck is The Fool, which in my experience represents serendipity—chance—as one of the faces of God; that is, chance as one of the ways Divine Love expresses itself in spacetime. The laws of probability and improbability are built into the mechanism of spacetime by the great consciousness of All-That-Is, Who exists both within and outside of spacetime simultaneously (since spacetime is an expression of Itself). So everything about me—when I was born, the family into which I was born, the troubles that led me to get involved in psychic work, the clients I’ve attracted, my difficulty saving money, my making myself available to Spirit, my asking for some cash, the souls I connect with as clients, what happens next week, what happens when I die—while not predetermined, can nonetheless be seen outside of time by the Divine as a complete, fully faceted, jewel of event and experience bound together as the artwork that is me, in this life, this time around.

Or maybe not. •

(The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day. New York: Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, copyright 2014 by David J. Hand; paperback, 269 pages, $17.50; ISBN 978-0-374-53500-1)