Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
Even at the age of fifty one I am still asking myself that question. And I still don’t completely have an answer, although I’m quite a bit closer than I was twenty years ago.
It all started with being a very sensitive child and being very eager to please, as so many highly sensitive people are. Somewhere along the way, I learned that pleasing people drew praise, while pushing for my own needs to be satisfied met with resistance. The former became my focus while the latter became secondary.
Can any person though, really define themselves according to what they do for others? In my case, the answer is no. It’s actually very painful personally to do so. Reflexively being focused on the needs of others has reduced my sense of self worth and most importantly, reduced my ability to follow my own passions and left me with less than my own full support of my own dreams. In that position, no one can help me; it is impossible to help a person who cannot help themselves.
I can tell you upfront, that it is impossible to confront this reality when you are in the middle of it. I know from personal experience that the pain of unfulfilled dreams can be very, very strong. Strong enough, in fact, to be blotted out of the conscious mind and relegated to a small holding cell deep within the subconscious. the pain resides tucked away where I don’t have to confront it.
The price of putting that pain away has been the creation of two faces. One is the face that I put out to the world, and the other is the one I don’t look at.
The face that I put out is easy to describe because it is all ego; I’m propping myself up and trying to look good to the world so that I can be accepted. I’ve put myself in a box that the world understands and can relate to. It’s all egos interacting with each other while our real selves starve in a small corner of our minds, occasionally peeking out when conditions permit.
My ego face is of a self assured, self employed handyman who is great at his job, great with his customers and secretly better than other people. (This is, of course, quite a pedestrian outlook. Psychology studies have shown that this sort of thinking is the norm.) My ego explains away the fact that I do not stand out from the crowd in any extraordinary way. They just don’t know me . . . yet. I project myself as tougher, smarter and more on the ball than most others despite the fact that this doesn’t quite jibe with reality. I live in a very good neighborhood and I am constantly exposed to people who are better off than I am.
I cannot stand to look at the sheer ordinaryness of my life, yet there it is; I struggle to pay the bills each month, I write a blog that is doing pretty well, but not fantastic. I have more than one book that I have not finished and a house that I have not finished either. My yard is a mess. Yet I still maintain the conceit that I am somehow special. That is the power of the ego.
Then there is the internal face. This comes along with the whole psychic ability package, I think. It is the ability to know that there is a man behind the curtains, moving the levers and maintaining the illusion of power. It is here that my real power lies and this is probably where I can have any claim to uniqueness. I have always had the gift of clarity about myself; I am unable to maintain any sort of pretense about myself without eventually being aware that I’m doing it. I am also aware of the energy I have to expend to maintain that facade, which is considerable. I know that this is not an ordinary talent.
I see myself in my moments of frustration when I cannot “see” anything; I see myself when I know every step to take towards the right decision and I make every move with absolute certainty. I see when I have made mistakes and then gotten myself caught up in the drama those mistakes caused; I know, for example, that my recent problems with my truck are an extension of how I’ve been feeling about myself.
Lately, I’ve seen that I don’t know who I am. The ego face has been slipping and I don’t know the person who has to emerge from this. I have never fully believed in my ego, having always had the ability to see it for what it is, but I have also never fully engaged the person behind it. I am not the sensitive new age guy, nor am I the tough, but sensitive guy. I am a leader, but I am not entirely a leader; I am creative, but not entirely creative; I am intellectual, but not entirely intellectual; I can be goofy and funny, but not entirely goofy and funny. The same goes for spirituality.
I just can’t get into any single slot and call it home because these definitions just don’t fit. I have tried them all on for size at one time or another, and they sit uncomfortably on me. In my personal life, the difficulty is that one door is closing; I’ve been a handyman for many years now and it seems that whatever I was getting out of this has come to a close and it is time to move on. This struggle has carried over into truck problems, which have kept the most essential piece of equipment I own, out of my reach for the better part of a month. There is a connection between how I am feeling and how my truck is feeling. It started when the truck refused to start one morning. I took it into the shop and they could find nothing wrong with it and gave it back to me. I drove it away and drove it right back, barely making it before the engine died.
Days later they finally discover part of the problem and fixed it. I went to pick up the truck and the ignition wouldn’t work. The lock tumbler had jammed and had to be replaced. I came back the next working day and drove the truck away, only to drive it right back again. The problem was only partially solved. Then the owner went on vacation and nothing happened to my truck for a week. Meanwhile, I had to beg and borrow to have transportation that would also take my tools. I still don’t have my truck back yet and it’s been in the shop for the better part of a month.
We’ve been going to the same mechanic for years and this has never happened before. This is an externalized demonstration of what is going on inside of me. Problem not solved. Eventually, this will work itself out, but for now, I’m left without an identity.