There are reasons people are attracted to the unknown; it’s part of our nature. Shouldn’t we learn to make friends with it?
If you ignore or deny the existence of something, it doesn’t change reality. Pretending something doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away. Similarly, you can’t wish something into existence. If it’s not there, pretending it is, is a waste of time.
The dominant culture doesn’t want us to get comfortable with venturing into uncharted territory. That makes us easier to control. Anything outside of the established definition of normal is taboo. But is ignoring it the best option?
It is reasonable to conclude that pretending and ignoring are not effective ways to handle reality. Discounting unexplained phenomena is a mistake. These occurrences deserve investigation.
What is the Supernatural?
The definition of supernatural is expansive, and it includes anything that isn’t common, “not normal,” or paranormal.
If we see something unusual, we automatically try to place it within our frame of reference. For instance, two people view the same paranormal event. And, to one person, will see it as an alien spacecraft. The other person will see it as an angel. Our dominant cultural narrative teaches us what to classify as acceptable.
What is a Supernatural Experience?
So, if we encounter the unknown, is this a breakthrough in perception? Perhaps so, but often the mind misclassifies them because of our expectations. So, we must find a way to see through our expectations because expectations distort reality.
What about when several people have similar recollections of the experience? Is this a breakthrough in perception? Perhaps those who see aliens or ghosts are glimpsing something beyond the veil of ordinary reality? One thing is for sure.
Many people have supernatural and paranormal experiences, but these are only acceptable within specific social groups like religious services. People “hear” from God, Saints, or Spirits at Church. But if you tell people you hear voices when you walk in the wilderness, they send you for psychiatric evaluation. The same thing happens when you tell people that you hear voices when you go to the lavatory. Acceptance of experience is conditional. So, should you explore the unknown? Yes, but be aware of with whom you share. What is a supernatural experience to this person? One person might see it as an interesting encounter, while another might see it as grounds for psychological evaluation.
There are two reasons we either ignore or misclassify the paranormal. Our culture programming is one reason. It could also trigger our fight, flight, or freeze reaction. Then again, perhaps it’s a combination of cultural programming and our instincts?
Ignoring the supernatural and paranormal is the overarching strategy of Western culture. After all, the experiences of the unknown do not fit neatly into the modern Western worldview. Most supernatural and mystical experiences aren’t predictable. If it doesn’t fit into their paradigm, then it must be “evil.” This position contradicts their own “sacred texts” containing magical beings and supernatural events.
Therefore, to reinforce their belief system, they need to explain these occurrences. They say these supernatural events are part of the past and can no longer occur in the modern era. We know from experience this isn’t true. Exploring all things unknown is a part of spiritual discovery.
A Breakthrough in Perception
“Ignoring the supernatural and paranormal is a mistake. Much of what we call the unknwon is a breakthrough in perception. We glimpse something that doesn’t fit our worldview. Normally, our worldview filters out much of what is actually here to perceive. We need to learn to explore the unknown.
Meditation and the Shamanic Journey refine and expand our awareness. So, it is not uncommon for the spiritual explorer to perceive things outside the scope of the ‘normal’ experience. Severe trauma can “shock” someone into phases of perception. But most of the time, they are not ready for such experiences.
There are few guides, or shamans to assist people in understanding these breakthroughs. Joseph Campbell has a quote that relates to this phenomenon, “The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.”
Pay attention to these glimpses into the other realms. The Mystic and Shaman have long understood that there are other planes of existence ready for our exploration. As you undertake your spiritual journey, you might encounter things that don’t fit in ordinary reality like spirits or spirit guides.
Here your journal is of great importance as these glimpses into non-ordinary reality can form a picture. Often these brief observations begin to form a pattern. This could be a message of great importance to the traveler.” — Guru Tua
Encounters with The Unknown
When you encounter something outside the normal realm of reality, stop and ask yourself some questions.
- What is a supernatural experience? What does it mean to me?
- Why am I having this experience? What is the context? Why now, at this time and place?
- Is this encounter similar to other meetings, or is it something new?
- Does this experience fit into any pattern?
- What emotions does this event bring up (fear, awe, curiosity)?
- Ignoring supernatural and paranormal experiences isn’t an option for me? If so, why?
Another critical point to remember is we are mystical beings. It is our nature to explore and push the boundaries of reality. These types of events are occurrences beyond the limits of everyday reality. But what is normal? Who gets to define the boundaries of normal? Who decides that paranormal experiences need to be avoided or ignored?
These encounters can be breakthroughs in perception or signs of mental illness. It is sometimes difficult to tell them apart. In either case, we should explore them. We should examine their source and why we fear them. Ignoring these experiences is a mistake. They are opportunities to see what’s behind the veil.
Ignoring the Supernatural and Paranormal
Ignoring something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Our expectations taint our perception. So, enhancing our powers of observation is vital. Another thing we need to do is remove the roadblocks of “belief” that create our expectations. And, this will take us to the next logical question.
We Make Friends with the Unknown?
If you encounter something unusual, ask yourself the appropriate questions. We are spiritual beings living within a finite biodegradable container. So, we should take advantage of any opportunities to explore. Push back against the superstitions of the cultural narrative. Learn to make friends with the supernatural and paranormal. You’ll be glad you did.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia