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A while ago, Ona talked about how, in secular western society, people still have mystical experiences, we just never talk about them:
It’s funny how alone and weird these [mystical] experiences can make us feel. For many people in the world (outside of secular western culture), having a meaningful dream, getting divination, making offerings to the ancestors, or having a communication from a spirit are just accepted parts of human experience. What I’ve found is that many people in our modern secular western culture also have these experiences, but there’s this public agreement that it’s crazy and weird, so no one talks about it or people feel ashamed and alienated by it. But I’ve run into person after person who once they realize I’m not going to call them crazy admits to all kinds of spiritual or mystical experiences… and these are conversations I’ve had with very “normal” or even “square” people – businessmen, college educated professionals, down-home working men, suburban housewives, etc. Often they say they’ve never told anyone before, because they were afraid people would think they were nuts…
This happened to me twice in the past week, with two new friends. Both are “normal” people — one’s a historian, the other is a psychologist, and neither is involved in paganism or mysticism or even particularly involved in mainstream religions. With both of them, I was uncomfortable bringing up my background in energy healing, and downplayed it, simply saying that I “do energy healing.” And both responded by sharing mystical experiences of their own that I never would have heard if I hadn’t opened that door.
One gets psychic intuitions and communication from “ghosts,” which I put in quotes because they could just as easily be non-human spirits, psychic intuitions coming through as visions, or something else. And I feel guilty dissecting the experience as I tell you about it, because I think that’s part of what isolates us: In secular western society, we want to explain these experiences in terms of accepted models, rather than accepting the experience on its own terms.
The other friend had a profound healing experience. She had just gotten out of a traumatic relationship, went to a spa for a few days, and in addition to the massages and baths, got energy healing with great results. She doesn’t normally talk about this, but once she knew I would accept her experience, she was eager to share.
I don’t know that there is a moral to these stories, except that I’ve now seen for myself that Ona is right. (Was there ever any doubt?) Lots of people have these mystical experiences, we just never talk about them publicly. Which is sad and isolating, particularly for people trying to make sense of mystical experiences they’re having right now. And it makes me want to be more open about my own experiences, now that I know that I’m fairly likely to discover the other person has their own to share.
I wish there was some symbol we could wear on a necklace to signal to other mystical-experience-havers that we want to share, but that wouldn’t stand out to non-mystical-experience-havers. Any ideas?If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.