Sunday, November 17, 2013

What Causes Paranormal Experiences?

It is important to emphasise that I was what one might call sound in body and mind at all times when those experiences occurred!

I had no mental health problems, and was leading a productive life, holding down responsible jobs and earning a steady living, with normal relationships and friendships.

It would thus be inconsistent with the overall conditions of my life to put any of my paranormal experiences down to mental health difficulties, which can produce delusions or psychotic episodes. For five years during the 1980s, I worked in psychiatric hospitals as part of a mental health team, so am conversant with the conditions which can trigger mental illness and what its manifestations can be.

I do not know the primary cause of paranormal experience any more than anyone else does. But I have come to some conclusions regarding the more obvious, immediate triggers by reflecting on my own thirty-seven experiences and finding that almost all of them, and in particular the most dramatic, had clearly identifiable common factors.

Those were that I was in transitional states in my life and/or away from home in the UK, or abroad in unfamiliar environments. In Part Five: Mediumship – Lagos, Portugal 1992 and Funchal, Madeira 1999 - I had additionally been under considerable stress prior to departing on holiday.

Intriguingly, eighteen of them, and the vast majority of the ones I experienced as the most powerful, occurred in the autumn. Perhaps as the light of day recedes in the Northern hemisphere, the light of rational consciousness weakens, making the intrusion of other types of consciousness into one’s ‘normal’ reality more possible….?

Under these circumstances in which my ‘normal’ context was disrupted, it would appear that I was therefore more susceptible to ‘jumping’ or eliding from one state of consciousness to another, where I crossed ‘normal’ boundaries and experienced states or events which according to the canon of reductionist science, could not have happened.

It is interesting to note that of those manifestations which could not have happened, over half of them were witnessed or shared by my husband Ian, one of the most reasonable and rational people one could imagine.

In reflecting on what consciousness, apparently capable of level and shape-shifting, could possibly be – not a question which the best minds in history have ever answered either! – I have come to the view, based on reading and experience, that consciousness is a property not of the human brain, but of the universe as a whole:

Physicists spot shape-shifting neutrinos

and there are, as Stuart Holroyd so succinctly puts it:

“...different experiential realities...accessible to different states of consciousness”(16)

The whole of our history past, present and future is in some way which we do not yet fully grasp, part of this universal consciousness. Quoting Ervin Laszlo again:

“...At the cutting edge of the sciences, a new concept of the world is emerging. In this concept all things in the world are recorded and all things inform one another. This gives us the most encompassing vision we have ever had of nature, life and consciousness...”(17)

The ancient concept of the Akashic Record states that there is a “cosmic reservoir of information and memories”(18) storing records of everything that has ever occurred, which can supposedly be accessed by gifted psychics, for example Edgar Cayce, the ‘sleeping prophet’.

Technological sophistication has now evolved to the point where anyone on Earth with a computer and a phone line, broadband or WiFi can very easily, via search engines, access a vast range of information which is being added to with every second that passes, all over the world.

We cannot see, taste, touch, smell or hear the specific energies which hold this information, or perceive its location. But it is there, and ‘real’, albeit within a non-sensually detectable reality.

As our consciousness slowly evolves and our technological capacity widens and deepens, we have historically created metaphors and paradigms through which our perceptions of higher realities can become more sophisticated and comprehensible.

Perhaps the computer and internet revolution of the last decade or so has provided us with a tiny ‘chip’ as it were, upon which the light of developing scientific consciousness can be focused to provide us with a more up to date view of the vast hologram which is our universe and/or Multiverse?

Many other people have also realised the similarities which exist between the paranormal concept of the Akashic Record, and the scientific fact of the internet information bank, easily accessed with the right apparatus.

Within this large context, the human brain can be seen as functioning as a kind of radio, tuning in to different levels and states of consciousness. What we by common consensus call ‘reality’ is the level to which our brains are tuned in the ordinary course of things on planet Earth.

But there are times, in my case usually caused by disruption to my ‘normal’ life pattern, when the tuning ‘jumps’ or elides into a level or levels which connect us with those kinds of experience which are regarded as impossible from the perspective of the prevailing materialist paradigm.

A wonderful example of this type was featured in the journal Self & Society in 2002. It occurs in a fascinating article titled “A RELUCTANT MYSTIC: God-Consciousness not Guru Worship” by John Wren-Lewis. The author describes how, at the age of nearly sixty, retired and with a distinguished career as a scientist behind him, he had spiritual consciousness “thrust upon me...without working for it, desiring it, or even believing in it.(19)

It was 1983. The author was in Thailand, in a hospital bed, hovering between life and death, having eaten a poisoned sweet given to him by a would-be thief. What happened next, a ‘near death experience’(NDE), he describes as follows:

“I simply entered – or rather, was – a timeless, spaceless void which in some indescribable way was total aliveness – an almost palpable blackness that was yet somehow radiant.”

His return to life, as the medical staff gradually won their battle to save him, was not in any way accompanied by the typical NDE’s classic sense of regret or loss at having to go back to the world of the everyday. It was, in fact, “nothing like a return….more like an act of creation whereby the timeless, spaceless Dark budded out into manifestation”. Furthermore, the experience was “indescribably wonderful.”

Moreover, this heightened awareness did not leave him. A permanent shift, without any effort at all, into what he calls “God-consciousness” caused him to do further reading and research beyond accounts of NDEs into the “once-despised world of mystical literature and spiritual movements”.

But he rejects the notion held by experts in many religious traditions that the path to God-consciousness, or Enlightenment, or Nirvana, or Oneness requires years or even lifetimes of intensive spiritual effort. After all, he’d been handed “the pearl of great price on a plate” without ever seeking it, and found God-consciousness to be quintessentially ordinary and obvious – a feature emphasised by many mystics.

In his case, as in my own, his ‘normal’ life was disrupted at the time of that experience. He had just retired, was abroad, and was poisoned to the point of death.

This intriguing case shows that even atheistic scientists can be pitched from the only reality they think exists, into a dimension outwith ‘normal’ space and time whose eternal existence the mystics of the world have affirmed and documented orally or in written form for milennia.

As the atomic physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer wisely puts it:

“These two ways of thinking, the ways of time and history and the way of eternity and timelessness, are both part of man’s efforts to comprehend the world in which he lives. Neither is comprehended in the other or reducible to it. They are, as we have learned to say in physics, complementary views, each supplementing the other, neither telling the whole story.”(20)


16 The Arkana Dictionary of New Perspectives

17 Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything

18 The Arkana Dictionary of New Perspectives

19 Self & Society Vol 29 - Number 6 - Feb-March 2002 Issue, pp 22-24

20 Stuart Holroyd ‘The Arkana Dictionary of New Perspectives’ published by Arkana (Penguin Books Ltd) 1989, p 154, quoting from Lawrence LeShan’s book The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist: Toward a General Theory of the Paranormal

© Anne Whitaker 2010 - Reprint permission granted to Phantoms & Monsters / Astral Perceptions