Saturday, July 27, 2013

Seen by half-light

In the periods of half-light at dawn and at dusk the everyday world becomes transformed into strange and fascinating shapes. Ugly things soften their outlines and sink into a background of subtle shapes. Ordinary objects become invested with a new grace, and, for a brief spell, acquire certain transient qualities which fade once more into practical realities as morning breaks, or darkness falls and blots them out.
... These periods of between-lights have a strange affinity with the psychic world, and to those who are familiar with the psychic life there is nothing unnatural about this affinity, any more than there is abut the dawn and the dusk in the physical world.

Phoebe Payne and Laurence J. Bendit,
The Psychic Sense

No one doubts that our mental life is divided into a perceptual category and a cognitive category. The first lets us experience physical sensations -- things we see, hear, taste, and so on. These perceptions seem to be arriving from outside of us, although obviously the mind must process them. The second category revolves around our thoughts, beliefs, questioning, and emotions.

Life would be a lot simpler if those two modes were all that affected us.

But "sensitives," or people with psychic receptivity, say we are in a continuous rainstorm of non-sensory, non-cognitive impressions from more-subtle planes of reality. Psychics are particularly impressionable to these phenomena. More often than not this is just a natural gift, not anything they worked to obtain, although they often have some bother trying to understand why they perceive things that others don't.

Psychics almost one and all claim that the rest of us share their paranormal receptivity -- we just ignore it. I think their special abilities feel so routine to them that they underestimate the barriers ordinary people have to overcome to even begin obtaining accurate conscious psychic impressions.

I've met a lot of psychics of varying degrees of development. There's no doubt that they have different skill levels. A few left me with the feeling they wanted very much to be channels for communication with the dead, pick up valid information about others' lives from items the subjects had owned, and so on ... but were kidding themselves. Still, the fact that psychics aren't equally talented doesn't mean paranormal abilities don't exist, any more than running is a fantasy because some can run faster than others.

Sensitives ask me why I'm talking with them or how I got interested in the subject. I can't supply a very satisfactory answer. At most I fumblingly try to express why I believe the paranormal, especially that involving extra-sensory perception, offers clues to a larger truth and reality than our senses or reasoning can. I add that I, personally, have no psychic faculties. Mind reading and taking messages from the departed are not up my street.

One, when I delivered that disclaimer, a psychic who was giving me a reading stared at me in disbelief. "You could be sitting in my chair," she said. "I've almost never met a client with so much receptivity."

I didn't agree then, and I still don't think I'm psychic in any way I'm conscious of. Well, all right, I seem now and then to pick up vibes from places -- usually when they make me uncomfortable, though there's no objective reason why they should. I'm oppressed by crowds, not just rowdy ones but some I ought to groove with, like customers at library book sales. Something about so many impressions striking me at once, hard to handle ...

With more study, and more living, since that encounter at the psychic reading I reckon I've reached a deeper understanding. We who aren't consciously aware of psychic influences in our environment still receive them, and their effects (especially  when we set up habitual defenses against noticing them) can scale from annoyance to emotional wreckage.

Those effects are hard to process because they feel like they're coming from ourselves, or the overt behavior of people we interact with. Many a time we take them for emotional states that we are responsible for, even if we don't know why.

Examples: Things are humming along but you suddenly feel depressed, or anxious. You can't pin it down to anything. It just invaded you.

You're checking out an apartment you're considering renting, it seems to be just the ticket. Yet ... it's not right. You don't even want to hear the rest of the real estate agent's sales pitch, want to get the hell out.

A rhyme dating back to the 17th century, concocted by an Oxford student:

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and I know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

Of course some of these feelings have matter-of-fact explanations, either stemming from the environment or an ordinary psychological stimulus. But according to many psychics, they could have nothing to do with us. We are unconsciously "tuned in" to metaphysical influences.

They fall into two main types: thoughts (or, some say, disembodied "thought forms") originating with living people; and projections from spirits on the Other Side. The latter may be deliberately malevolent, but evidence suggests the inner states evoked in us are more often fallout from the concerns, anxieties, or obsessions of the spirits.

People who cannot acknowledge such influences, or are simply unaware that they exist, are at an extreme disadvantage. Misinterpreting the possible cause, they look for it in all the wrong places: other people in physical reality they imagine are harming them, or as noted, some fault in themselves.

I have read that great relief can sometimes come just from recognizing that our unpleasant feelings may be external, thrust on us. It's not necessary (and probably impossible most of the time) to determine the source, and you might not want to even if you could. My own very limited experience along these lines suggests there might be something to the theory.

Constantly picking up emotions from others, in this world or from those who have passed on, seems to be most common among those with introverted or artistic personalities. While it may be their cross to bear, the load might be lightened by some study of psychical research and consulting a few psychics who can get a hit from whoever or whatever is influencing them. (In extreme cases, fortunately rare, corrupt spirits "attach" themselves to individuals.) I recommend seeing several psychics until you find one you strongly connect with intuitively, not just one you like or is impressive.

Finally, in this half-light world, intriguing mystery and supernal beauty exist, which the sensitive person can benefit from while others miss it. "Ordinary objects become invested with a new grace." The fading of the light and its gradual reappearance take us deeper into soul, ours and the world's.


1 comment:

Frank Dineen said...

Another thoughtful, stimulating entry. Thank you. Just happened to have read a brief essay that speaks directly to the vastness lurking beyond our meager antennae. It's currently at the Daily Grail site, dated 7.26.13, and highlighted by a provocative photo of the Capitol in D.C. which incorporates the numberless wifi signals zipping about those venal precincts. You, with your clearly vigilant radar, may well have already come across it -- but if not, it's a bit of alright, and more validation, not that it's needed, for the matters whereof you speak.