Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
I’ve resisted posting on this topic for many years, because I’ve been down this path as a teacher and I wanted to explore other things. But I’ve gotten numerous requests over time to address this topic directly, and I have done a lot more research in the intervening years, so here goes:
Psychic ability is not a physical skill. It’s not like shooting a basketball or kicking a soccer ball; it’s strictly a mental/emotional activity and has no physical counterpart beyond what you feel. It is not a mental skill, like learning to play chess because your mind can wander during the game and you can switch rapidly to different mental and emotional states without even being consciously aware of it and not affect the outcome of the game.
Psychic ability however, is another kind of skill entirely. It requires identifying and holding a very specific mental/emotional state for a period of time. One of the first problems with this is that because there is no physical equivalent, there can be no instructions on how to do this or any indication from anyone else that you have got it right. No one else can communicate exactly what the correct state of mental/emotional mind is for you to access psychic ability. It’s like someone trying to explain the color red to you. It is an irreducible thing that you have to experience for yourself to understand. Unlike the color red however, no one can point to a universally understood descriptor to communicate the idea.
So in order for me to communicate the idea of how to develop your psychic ability, I have to talk around it. First and foremost on the list is understanding the theory behind psychic ability, so I will start there:
The prevailing theory of mind; that is to say the one held by academia and science in general, is that consciousness is produced by the brain. This is called materialism and without getting into specifics, I’ll just say that it has been disproved six ways from Sunday. It is impossible philosophically, it doesn’t match the evidence and most importantly, psychic ability makes no sense under this theory. Under materialism, psychic ability has the appearance of being a super power, which it decidedly is not.
Understanding psychic ability requires dumping materialism in favor of a different approach. The most parsimonious available theory that allows the existence of psychic ability as a natural state of affairs is that consciousness is a part of physics. That is to say, consciousness is fundamental to the universe. This idea has been around in various forms for thousands of years.
I have several posts on the subject, two of which I have linked to:
Here’s what I’m driving at: If we look at consciousness as being fundamental to the universe, then psychic ability makes sense. Consciousness is part of physics, so of course we will see consciousness affecting physical reality. The rest of reality will blend seamlessly with consciousness so that you can’t really separate them. There are experiments in physics which support this idea. In fact, if you look at quantum physics a basic fact becomes obvious: There is nothing in physics which prevents the existence of psychic ability.
This relates to developing your psychic ability in a significant way: it says that the brain does not produce consciousness, but is rather a filter for it. That is to say that our consciousness exists independent of our brains and can be neither created nor destroyed. it also strongly suggests that the brain function is to limit and focus consciousness.
Psychic ability then, is not a power, but a sensitivity. That is to say that it is developed through tuning and focusing. How is this different from ordinary tasks? In order to develop psychic ability we must increase our sensitivity in order to boost the signal. However, anyone familiar with radio knows that as you boost sensitivity, you also boost noise. Psychic ability functions this way. You have to increase your sensitivity to increase your psychic ability, and this also increases the noise.
What do I mean when I say sensitivity? I mean mental, physical and emotional sensitivity. You have to be open yourself up to all three and it isn’t always pleasant being more sensitive. The most important thing to realize about this sensitivity is the noise it creates. This bears some discussion:
Crack open any book on developing psychic ability and chances are the first thing you’ll be told is to have a quiet mind. Psychic ability is about tuning into and focusing on the desired information and in order for that information to get in, other things in your mind will have to be pushed aside.
When attempting to engage in telepathy, clairvoyance or other forms of psychic ability, mental noise is sure to come up. The mind is an active place and there are always things to think about. I can practically guarantee that as soon as you attempt to quiet your mind, you’ll suddenly remember important things that were in the back of your mind. This is normal. We all have lives and not all of it revolves around psychic ability. Keep a piece of paper handy and if something you need to remember comes to mind, write it down for later. That way you’ll be able to forget about it for the time being.
Mental noise also comes in the form of daydreaming. Daydreaming is a bit more complicated because it has a fear element to it. I’ll address this under “emotional noise.”
When you quiet down your mind, your body follows suit. This is also the time that you notice your aches and pains and stress that are kind of blocked out most of the time. This can also be related to emotional noise.
By far the greatest difficulty to developing your psychic ability will be your own emotional noise. Turning up the sensitivity also makes us more emotional. Here is where we all run into subconscious resistance to using psychic ability. This resistance is normal and nothing to get upset about. We all have a degree of emotional pain and raising our sensitivity makes us aware of emotional pain that we would just as soon forget. Memories of everything we ever did wrong; insecurities about nearly everything; doubt about our own abilities all surface when we are raising our sensitivity, so they have to be dealt with and there are a variety of ways to do this. One thing to remember is that when your fears or your wandering mind get the best of you, that’s normal. Just take a deep breath and refocus when that happens.
A lot of methods come down to somehow shoving it all aside so that you can continue working on your psychic ability. And that works, up to a point, but once you’ve unearthed deep and painful emotions they can never be shoved all the way down again. If you’re not prepared for this rather nasty side effect, it can seriously disrupt your life and a few people have even been driven crazy this way. Take it seriously.
You will have to occasionally face these deep seated fears to take the pressure off. Generally meditating on them in a comfortable space by calling the fear to mind and then allowing yourself to experience it (by breathing through the fear.) will help immensely.
Now that you know that there is noise to contend with, hopefully you’ll have realistic expectations about what you can accomplish. Psychic ability is about quieting down the noise enough to let something through that naturally occurs. The exact frame of mind you’ll need is something you’ll just have to experiment with, but there are a few guidelines along the way to point you in the right direction.
There are several things that have to happen simultaneously: receptivity, non judgment, intent and focus are all states of mind that enhance psi. It is a lot like improvisational comedy, so I will use it as an example:
Your first idea is your right idea: You cannot censor, filter or think about the things that come to mind. This slows down or stops the process.
Always agree: Most people don’t know this about improv comedy, but agreement is funny and disagreement is not. If your partner says to you “Hey fellow elephant. Move over!” you have to agree that you’re playing an elephant. “Ok, I’ll move over but don’t break the barstool . . . again. And stay away from my peanut bowl.” Psi is much the same way. Agreement with things that come to mind will bring clarity, and disagreement will kill it.
The magic happens once you’re in the flow: The beginning of an improv comedy scene is rarely funny, but when people get into a zone with each other, it can switch to being hysterically funny. Likewise, with psi, things don’t always happen right away, but suddenly the magic happens and you’ve accomplished something noteworthy. Flow, by the way, is a legitimate psychological term.
Improv comedy has a loose structure of rules that allow a great deal of creativity to go in whatever direction the ideas take you. The rules function as the intent and then the players focus on what they’re doing and go for it. Which brings me to the next point:
Commit fully: In improv comedy, you’re standing in the stage wings, the audience has all of their attention focused and you have no idea what to do. The person standing on stage though, needs you to come out and get things rolling. You have to go out there, with your blank mind right now! Don’t hold back. Treat it as though you’re jumping off a cliff. Once the decision is made, you’re going forward and there is no turning back. for better or worse, you have to DO SOMETHING! And surprisingly, once the decision is made, the avenues of exploration open up and things begin to flow. Psi is a lot like that.
It also works much better in groups than it does individually. Even two people is better than just one. Some experiments have yielded impressive results from group settings.
In general, you’ll be drawn to some types of psi over others. Some people are clairvoyant, some are healers, readers, some do telekinesis; the list is long. Generally, you’ll feel more comfortable with the kind of psi that works best for you. It’s something that you have to discover on your own. It’s also not unusual for people to do more than one type. Just remember: distraction is very common and having trouble getting the right frame of mind and holding it is also common. If it happens, don’t despair, just take up where you left off and continue until you run out of time.
If you want to know more, there are about a bazillion books on the subject, not one of which I’ve read. It seemed unnecessary for me. Ideally, find a group to meet with. This seems to work best. You can do this fairly easily on meet up. Here’s the link: http://www.meetup.com. Good luck to you. If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I’ll address it when I have the chance.