There’s a good reason you are attracted to the unknown. Seeking the unexplained, the supernatural, and paranormal are part of our nature. Why does our culture place such an emphasis on discounting and ignoring the paranormal? Shouldn’t we learn to love this aspect of our nature?
If you Deny or ignore something, it doesn’t go away. Pretending something doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away either. You can’t pretend something in or out of existence. Denying, pretending, is a waste of time. These aren’t the most sophisticated strategies, but they work on a great number of people.
Guess what? Our culture dominated by Western religious beliefs and they want to pretend along with them. They want you accept what they tell you. Similarly, they tell you who and what to hate and to fear. They want you to stay within their boundaries. Because when you do what you are told, you are much easier to control. They make everything outside of their established boundaries taboo. But is ignoring it or pretending it doesn’t exist a good strategy? We don’t think so.
What is the Supernatural?
The supernatural includes everything that doesn’t fit nicely in the definition of normal. (1) That leaves a lot of room for abnormal experience. If we see something unusual, we try to place it within the normal frame of reference. We each have a unique worldview. So if two people view the same event, one person sees an alien spacecraft the other sees an angel. Our dominant cultural narrative teaches us what to classify as acceptable.
What is a Supernatural Experience?
When we explore the unknown, does this provide a break in perception? Perhaps so, but often the mind mis-classifies them because of our expectations. So, we must find a way to see through our expectations, because expectations distort reality.
“Harmonizing religion and science makes you seem like an open-minded and reasonable person, while asserting their incompatibility makes enemies and brands you as militant. The reason is clear: religion occupies a privileged place in our society. Attacking it is off-limits, although going after other supernatural or paranormal beliefs like ESP, homeopathy, or political worldviews is not. Accommodationism is not meant to defend science, which can stand on its own, but to show that in some way religion can still make credible claims about the world.” — Jerry A. Coyne
What happens when several people have similar recollections of the event? 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. 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 you hear voices when you go to the bathroom. 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 exciting encounter, while another might see it as grounds for psychological evaluation. It is common for us to either ignore or mis-classify the paranormal experience. Our culture programming behind the mis-programming of data. Religion uses this programming to trigger our fight, flight or freeze reaction, because when we are afraid or angry, we are easier to manipulate. They honed the techniques of groupthink manipulation, which today’s propaganda outlets like Fox News use sway public opinion. Have you been a victim? (2)
The main strategy of Western theology is ignoring the supernatural and paranormal. If something happens that doesn’t fit into their paradigm, they say it didn’t happen or, if it did, it was caused by evil. Things like aliens, Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster are difficult to fit into theology. So ignoring the paranormal is their normal tactic. Of course, their holy books contain accounts of supernatural events, but they say these supernatural events are part of the past and can no longer occur in the modern era. All of this theological camouflage does not help. Paranormal events occur today. Exploring all things unknown is a part of spiritual discovery.
Explore the Unknown and Expand Perception
The need to find answers for things we don’t understand is the impetus behind science. It’s also the driving force behind our need to explore new territory. When we face and challenge our fears, we are in effect challenging our beliefs, our worldview. (3)
If there are things we believe which do not align with reality, it presents an opportunity for us to expand our perception. If we take this opportunity, then we grow, if we shrink back because we are afraid, then we do not grow.
“Ignoring the supernatural and paranormal is a mistake. The opportunity to explore the unknown is often an Eureka event, 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. So, we must learn how to investigate this phenomenon.” — Guru Tua
We don’t have to wait for these events to present themselves, we can seek them out directly. Our consciousness provides us with ample resources to delve into the world of otherworldly experiences.
“Meditation and the Shamanic Journey refine and expand our awareness. So, it is not uncommon for the spiritual explorer to perceive things outside the realm of normal experience. Severe trauma can shock someone into phases of perception, but most of the time, they are not ready for such experiences. Guides, or shamans to assist people in understanding these breakthroughs.” — Guru Tua
Joseph Campbell has a quote that relates to this phenomenon. He tells us the psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with much delight. The key is not jumping into the deep end until you have learned how to swim. The Shamanic Journey is a process that provides the full range of depth.
It’s important for use to pay attention to these glimpses into the other realms. The Mystic and Shaman have long understood that there are other planes of existence. They ready for our exploration if we accept the challenge. As you undertake your spiritual journey, you might encounter things like spirits or spirit guides. These things don’t fit into our modern worldview. You’ll need to create room in your worldview to accommodate them.
A simple journal can be the doorway to the subconscious mind and helps us understand how the culture frames non-ordinary reality. Often, these brief observations begin to form a pattern. This could be a message of great importance to the traveler. It may be as simple as glimpsing a shadow form in your peripheral vision, or you may have Déjà vu experience that causes you to stop and pay attention.
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, why this 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 the paranormal 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?
We have the power to define the world by our own parameters. Do you do it?
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.
The Cost of Ignoring the 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, which takes us to the next logical question.
Overlooking the experience of unknown phenomena is a missed opportunity. You don’t know what doors of perception and understanding await you unless you take up the challenge and starting exploring and investigating.
Learning to Love the Supernatural and Paranormal
If you encounter something unusual, stop and observe. Ask yourself some questions about it. Take advantage of any opportunities to explore. Push back against fear and superstition. Learn to make friends and love the paranormal and supernatural instead of being afraid of it. You’ll be glad you did.
(1) Supernatural : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernatural
(2)Free will and paranormal beliefs: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00281/full
(3) Paranormal Belief, Thinking Style and Delusion Formation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8273333/