Written by Ari Bouse
Have you ever seen the movie The Sixth Sense or heard the popular tagline from the film, “I see dead people?” It’s a powerful film and inspired a collective shift in human perceptual consciousness particularly.
Additionally, in his book, The Power of Myth, author Joseph Campbell differentiates the mystic and the psychological crackup by asserting something like, the mystic swims in the waters the crackup drowns in. Moreover, a good psychologist I used to work with expounded on that sentiment by commenting that the only difference between someone affected by schizophrenia and the rest of us is that “they see things that we don’t.” And I like the way another highly respected psychologist coworker summed up the Multiverse that we all live in by stating that “there’s more than one reality.” In meditation, we contemplate on the nature of reality being a multidimensional experience.
Specifically, it is important to normalize apparently extraordinary moments, including psychic phenomena. We all have these abilities because they are part of our human powers. Other creatures have them too. Like any talent, we all have varying degrees of aptitude in this area. But we can all develop our psychic skills, like we can do with any skill. Think about it, if you are practicing self care by eating before you get hangry, then you are peering into the future and influencing your trajectory with a form of clairvoyance. The unwanted dirge of hanger need not be a self fulfilling prophecy.
For example, some people are naturally gifted at empathy and others really have to work at developing this skill, if they even care to do so. For some, empathy is an intellectual process, like playing a video game or downloading a file that they really have to work at. For others, the experience comes more naturally, in the form of a heart centered feeling. Of course, we all can learn how to develop our ability to communicate this skill with each other. When you develop empathy, think of it as exercising your psychic muscles. And then think of communication with others about it as a mutual exchange of giving and receiving feedback.
I really don’t like labels, but as a human, I respect that we do have natural impetus to order and classify things. Some folks call people like me empaths. Of course, like anyone else, we can also be criticized for being gifted meddlers or overly sensitive, especially because there’s ego in the powers of perception. Besides, attachments don’t discriminate when we get identified with our labels. The desire to help can become an attachment and leave us feeling depleted and ultimately resentful.
In my case, it isn’t hard for me to sense energies around me, including the moods and emotions of others. I got in a lot of trouble in my early years because of how sensitive I was to the moods and emotions of those around me, including my own emotional reactions to them. But the more adept I get at quieting my mind, calming down and harmonizing with my environment, the more effective I am becoming in self regulation. When we relax, others tend to do so. In mental health, we call this co-regulation. We all need to do this now more than ever on our Planet and Universe today.
Furthermore, it has taken me a long time to learn how to differentiate between what belongs to me and what belongs to someone else. We should respect each other’s energy field or personal space bubbles. One of my favorite mantras to reinforce in my consultation as an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) is Q-TIP, or quit taking it personally. Easier said than done. But it is empowering to learn how to become less moved by other people’s stuff. An old mentor and friend taught me that.
While seeing things in my mind’s eye, hearing spirit or picking up unconscious forces comes naturally to me, physically seeing those that have left this Earth in material form does not. For some, this form of spirit mediumship does, and I honor their gifts. And then I experienced one of my spiritual awakenings at my grandma’s funeral, where I was in between the spirit realm and physical realm. In shamanism, this is called an alternate reality or extraordinary state of consciousness.
Many moons ago, my family asked me to speak at Grandmother’s funeral. During the experience of expressing some sentiments about what my Grandma’s presence meant to me, something felt different- a tremor in the Force, as Master Yoda might say. As I was speaking at the pulpit, I quoted some lyrics that I knew like the back of my hand from an old folk spiritual song called Satisfied Mind. But somehow, I forgot the lyrics and just paused to take some deep breaths and grabbed my heart shaped quartz crystal in my pocket for what seemed like an eternity. And then I remembered the way the Dalai Lama gently maintains a wide angle gaze by scanning the audience whilst connecting with people with his eyes. Checking with family members afterwards, it might have only been 30 seconds in linear time. They just figured I was having a “vision” because they know me.
Reflecting back, I became acutely aware of the scintillating sunlight shining down from the colorful prism of Catholic Church’s Cathedral skylight. The sunlight illuminated dusk particles that flowed down onto the center aisle of the church that reminded me of the old biblical story of the Parting of the Red Sea. I wasn’t raised religious but I am deeply spiritual and recognized that I was having a mystical experience. It was as if time stood still.
And then, I noticed a well put together elderly woman, gracefully entering the back of the church. Now you could have heard a pin drop, so I remember wondering to myself, this is odd- why isn’t anyone else noticing this woman arriving late at Grandma’s funeral? And then it occurred to me that this woman was Grandmother’s spirit. She had a unique style of dress and taste in clothes, particularly scarves, which she bore in this setting. She was in human form and looked as real as the living that were there to grieve her passing and celebrate her life. Funny, my Grandma used to joke about how she’d be late to (her) own funeral, to my Grandpa’s chagrin, because he was always jingling his keys and pacing around while waiting for her. In fact, he used to say in his 70s that if he could have all the time back he spent waiting for her he would be 47 years old. Grandpa was the kind of guy who thought you were five minutes late if you weren’t five minutes early. In this way, their relationship embodied the Chinese Yin and Yang symbol.
Looking back, I believe my Grandpa felt safe enough to tell us about similar experiences he had with my Grandma after we all went back home after the funeral events (our family is quite nomadic and spread out these days.) Shortly after her death, he would awaken in the middle of the night and see her walking around their bedroom, and then write us emails about his experiences. I believe that Grandfather was perceiving Grandmother’s residual energy field or spirit because she was hanging around to make sure he was alright, given that he was open to it. We all thought, including him, that he would be the first to go, not the other way around.
Finally, it appears that Grandfather was in a vulnerable position and unusually open and passive to spirit speaking to him in a way that he was ready for. Nature has a way of leveling us so that our coat of armor relaxes so that we can receive, regardless of how much psychic defenses and scar tissue we have fortified ourselves with. In fact, when it was time for Grandfather to leave the Earth, he felt more safe about letting go, relaxing his attachments to his body, fear of death, and looking forward to reconnecting with his ancestors in the spirit realm.
Text © Ari Bouse
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