Imagine this: You are standing alone in your room. The lights are off, the blinds drawn. Your door is shut to any light that might be illuminating the hallway. Suddenly, you feel a presence with you in the room, and see a flash of violet light out of the corner of your eye.
Your reaction? You immediately fire up your computer, and send the following to your spiritually open social media friends: “I felt and saw this presence in my room. Do you think it was actually there? It was probably just a stress reaction/figment of my imagination. Any thoughts?”
In the past couple years, I have seen questions like this posed on blogs and facebook more times than I can count. Every time I run across a “can I trust what I’m experiencing” question, my response is an emphatic unequivocal “YES,!” So what are my thoughts? I suppose you will know, whether you like it or not. 🙂
The events behind the question are always slightly different, but the sequence of things and the form of the question itself are the same: So I have broken down the explicit and implicit inferences that I have discovered to be common among all instances of the process.
• Someone has an experience of hearing, seeing, knowing, and/or feeling someone or something which does not have a physical or corporeal origin.
• The person has a strong sense that she is being visited by her grandmother, is seeing an angel, or is experiencing something of a spiritual nature even if it’s not entirely apparent who is there and why.)
• If the person is uncertain about, or fears the possibility of their being a spirit world, she will experience cognitive dissonance.
• This is usually really uncomfortable, so the person tries to harmonize her experience with her beliefs as fast as possible.
• Very quickly, often unconsciously, the person runs the experienced perceptions and sensations by the scientific and cultural paradigms that she has either personally accepted or vicariously adopted.
• The person cannot readily come up with a physical explanation.
• The person decides to ask a third party whether her experience is really her experience.
• She is hoping for a validation of her strong intuition, but is also hoping to be wrong. So she explains her experience while making sure to minimize or dismiss it.
I can’t deny the discomfort of experiencing something that does not readily fit into your already established belief system. What baffles and saddens me is how quickly people dismiss their experiences, distrust their intuitive knowledge, and hand the authority to determine the veracity of their reality to someone else.
Over time, doubting the validity of your experience can lead you to lose confidence in your ability to reliably participate in and assess the world around you and undermines your trust and belief in yourself. Worse still, routinely seeking external validation of a personal experience is incredibly disempowering. It is one thing to ask for someone’s opinion or interpretation of a situation you are experiencing. It is quite another to ask someone else to determine for you whether the very thing you experienced actually occurred.
Take the following physical world example. If you had an experience of there being a rock in front of you,
you might ask someone’s opinion about the kind of rock or whether it was safe to climb, but you wouldn’t rely on someone else to determine for you whether or not the rock was really there. (In fact, what would this mean? If someone else insisted there wasn’t a rock but you could still see and touch it, would it make any sense to give them permission to change your mind?)
In the instance where you are asking for an interpretation or further information, you still have the final say on what you will believe and accept. In the second instance, you are letting someone else dictate to you whether your experience happened, what it means, and what you should believe about it.
This is not to say that you can’t interpret an experience, spiritual or otherwise, incorrectly. But, While it is possible to misidentify a person from the spirit world or misinterpret a message that is being shared with you, that doesn’t call the existence of the person or the fact of an attempted message into question. You experience seeing a rock when there’s a rock around to see, just as you feel a noncorporeal person’s hand on your shoulder because this is exactly what is happening. You might find out you are mistaken about the kind of rock, or the identity of the person, but both continue to exist regardless.
There is a vast amount of knowledge already within us. Perhaps it is there because we have accumulated it over lifetimes, or it has been passed down from our ancestors. Perhaps it is there because we are all interconnected, no matter the world we live in, and that interconnection is vaster and more intricate than we could ever imagine. Whatever the reason, within each of us is the truth by which we guide ourselves and live in integrity with who we are. Out of that seed of knowing we grow: but not unless we can trust our first-hand perceived experience of the world.
So, the next time you get the strong feeling that your grandmother is visiting you, don’t make yourself miserable by dismissing an entire way of knowing and telling yourself she’s not there. You won’t be the only person who is grateful that you’re not doubting yourself anymore. I am sure that your grandmother will also be happy that you finally noticed she is still a part of your life.
If the experience you are having is still hard to believe, sit quietly for a while. Ask yourself what is true. You can trust your own experience: you are the expert on it, after all. You don’t need to give your power away to anyone. You already know.
7 thoughts on “You Already Know”
Very interesting, Éilis. I think we are often brought up in a way to doubt ourselves, so it becomes a natural first reaction. We diminish ourselves before those we perceive to be more knowledgeable. And we have become such physical beings, believing only what we can actually see or touch. The other senses, and so much of our brains, don’t get used. Mind you, even knowing this, it’s still hard to let go and believe and accept. This is what science has done. In many ways it has limited us. It dismisses completely whatever it can’t explain, so as much as it enlightens us, at the same time, it also throws us into ignorance.
Oh, I should add that conventional religions have added to this too.
I completely agree, Ali. Science has been responsible for wonderful, amazing things, not to mention has given us an incredible understanding of the world–to the extent we can measure and theorize about it. I honestly think that we will one day find a scientific or naturalistic explanation for the world beyond this one, and our ability to communicate with people on the other side. I suppose that’s why I’m a spiritual world realist, I admit to somewhat inventing that term. 🙂 In any case, yes, trusting and believing experiences outside the norm is often culturally and socially discouraged, so we’re conditioned to either not take such experiences seriously, or else to fear them, or else block our ability to have such experiences because you literally can’t perceive what your mind is convinced isn’t at all real. It’s sad that so many people are conditioned like that, or end up struggling with what to believe, but I do think it is changing and more people are recognizing that there is much more to what we can know and perceive than we’ve conventionally been told.
I think people’s attitudes are definitely changing. There is a lot of cruelty and hardship in the world, caused by mankind, it has to be said. In the face of that, we need to know there’s something more, better ahead of us. To my mind, we are all energy, which can be transformed, but not unmade. So by that reckoning, there has to be something else. The names we use don’t matter. Essentially, it’s all the same. But I am not knowledgeable in such matters. Its just my own conclusions.
I’ve been lucky to live in a family where most of us see these experiences as commonplace. All of my grandparents visited me after they passed, as well as other family members. One of them even made me call another family member to let them know they were all right – I’ll never forget the feel of the hand on my shoulder, pushing me to make the call.
That’s been my experience. Whether others believe it is up to them – however, to me it is what it is. 🙂
You’ve definitely been very fortunate, Helen. 🙂 I feel like I was also lucky. My parents haven’t had many such experiences as far as I know and didn’t immediately validate them for me when I was a child and had many spirit children I played with every day, but they never discouraged me or dismissed my experiences either. So many people are told that what they are experiencing isn’t real, or something is wrong with them, and so very young they lose or block out their innate ability to interact with those on the other side. I’ve honestly wondered whether something similar would happen were the majority of the people in the world to decide to tell their children that a certain birdsong or color didn’t exist–would we stop hearing and seeing what’s always been there? My guess is that we would. We know so little about how the brain interacts with reality.
Yes, it’s a fascinating thought, isn’t it? We are taught as children, as you say, so your viewpoint would definitely be shaped by your experiences growing up. I think we are both lucky we lived in families that didn’t discount that type of experience 🙂