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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ghosties and Ghoulies and Magic, Oh Yes!

All Hallows Eve is right around the corner. In Celtic tradition, that’s the date that separates the dark half of the year from the light. It’s a time for staying home with family. For introspection and regrouping. It’s also when the veils between the worlds thin, allowing spirits freer access to the living.
One of my problems with our modern, scientifically-based lives is all the traditions that have been tossed out as meaningless. I’m not religious in a traditional sense, but I am spiritual. So what does that mean? The least complicated definition I can come up with is I believe in something larger than my body and my mind. Something that ties them together. Whether you call it spirit, or the Collective Unconscious doesn’t much matter.

A working definition of gestalt, is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I think living creatures are like that. We are way more than neurons firing in certain patterns. It’s why no one has ever made a truly successful robot outside of Hollywood.

Our ancestors, superstitious as they were, had a much better understanding of the mystical quality of life than we do. Where we go racing to the Internet to look up explanations for things, they were content to accept the esoteric nature of certain events.

I’ve had enough odd experiences myself that I believe in the supernatural. Plus, I’ve had friends and patients relate hundreds of parapsychological events. Things that couldn’t possibly be explained away by science. Were we all victims of hysteria? I don’t think so.

On a deeply personal level, I don’t want a world where every single thing can be validated, explained or replicated using the scientific method. I like mysteries. It’s what drew me to depth psychology. Otherwise I would have stuck with cognitive behavioral interventions where you have patients journal and count things.

Not that writing things down doesn’t have a place in psychotherapy. It does because it’s a great tool to raise people’s awareness. But it doesn’t address the root cause of a problem. My observation is that problems have a way of cropping up with different names if we can’t figure out their origins.

Children are experts in the mysteries. But we drum the miraculous out of them pretty fast. Usually, by the time they’re around five, their wonderfully fluid imaginations have started to reflect cultural norms. Schools are just as guilty as parents. No kid wants to be different and they figure out pretty fast that talking about things that aren’t “real” is the kiss of death socially.

How about all of you? Have you had paranormal experiences? What did you do about them? Run like hell, embrace them, or some path in between.