It’s a subject I always come back to. How much of a role do our expectations, beliefs, thoughts and intentions play in our experiences in the physical world? I was reading a book called 2012 The Paranormal Cookbook (look for my review tomorrow) this past weekend when the question arose for me once again.
I truly believe that each one of us creates many of our own experiences in the physical world. Not just paranormal experiences (if we have them) but also our experiences in life. What is my reasoning? Glad you asked!
We all have filters. They are developed throughout our lives and for the most part, we don’t even realize they are there. Our filters are built out of past experience, world view, education, spiritual/religious viewpoint and a number of other things we encounter throughout life. It is these filters that allow two people to have the exact same experience and yet view it differently.
Let’s use a hypothetical example. Say that three people are standing together in a field, looking to the skies. Person A is a Catholic who has strong faith in the tenants of the Catholic church. Person B believes that they have had the experience of being abducted by aliens. Person C is a scientist whose faith lies in using science and logic to explain any and all observable phenomena.
Up in the sky, there appears a glowing orb of light. All three watch the orb in wonder as it shimmers as if with a light of its own and then disappears. What do you think each person experienced? Here’s my guess:
-Person A – a miracle that was a manifestation of God’s love (see the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima)
-Person B – an alien craft that might just be returning for them once again (see the experiences of alien abductees)
-Person C – a naturally explainable phenomena (this has, throughout my life, been my default response to the unexplainable)
If you still don’t believe that filters affect experience, then just go back to the most recent confusing conversation you had with your significant other. There’s a pretty darn good chance the confusion arose because you said, “I like your outfit” and she heard, “Those pants make you look hideously fat.” I have those types of conversations with Jim all of the time. Filters.
I believe that intention plays a role in generating experience. With the popularity of “think positive” programs like “The Secret” we see how intention and desire come into play. More people than ever are now using tools like positive thinking, vision boards, affirmation and visualization to create the experiences that they want in this world.
I’ve done this. It works. I frequently tell the story of being broke, sick, miserable in my relationship and hating my job. I sat down and wrote affirmations daily. Ten years later I came across those affirmations and it turns out I’d described my current life to the most minute detail in those earlier affirmations. Intention is a strong creation tool.
Another good example of intention is The Philip Experiment. I’ve talked about it before, so I won’t go in depth here. Suffice it to say a group of researchers set out with the intention to create a ghost – and they did.
Desire is a little different than intention. Often we are unaware of how much wanting something to happen can influence the outcome.
Another story from my personal life: My grandfather died several years ago. I loved him very much and really wanted to connect with his spirit. I had a very strong desire for this to happen, and immediately following his death I started experiencing odd things around the house. Lights turning themselves on and off, pennies appearing in weird places – all sorts of odd stuff. I have long believed that many of those experiences arose out of my desire to connect with my dead grandfather. How you interpret this is up to you. Did my desire cause him to come, or did it cause me to have experiences as if he was there, even if he wasn’t? The point is this – my desire very likely shaped my experiences following my grandfather’s death.
Ghosts of the Past
In this, I am not speaking of spooky spectral ghosts. I am talking about the ghosts and shadows that hide in all of us. Beliefs that we hold about ourselves that we may not even realize are there. Pain that we carry with us. I’ll give you another personal experience.
I spent a lot of years believing that I wasn’t worth a lot. I didn’t know I felt that way. If you asked me, I’d tell you I had a healthy self-esteem. I never looked inside of all of those dark shadows that lived inside of me, and I never listened to my internal dialogues that told me I wasn’t okay. But underneath that veneer of “self-esteem,” there was a young girl who believed she wasn’t worth $hit. Pardon my French.
That unrealized belief shaped much of my early adulthood. Looking back, I can see how it arose again and again – in my relationships, in my jobs, in my health, in my interactions with others. I got back what I projected into the world. It’s why I work so hard now on uncovering hidden beliefs I have about myself – because I don’t want to shape my experiences in that manner any longer.
What is it that you expect to happen? How often have you gotten exactly what you expected? Another for instance for you: I tend to expect paranormal experiences to be positive, cool experiences. When I encounter some unexplainable phenomena, that is usually what it is – a positive, fun, cool experience. A friend of mine has the expectation that most hauntings are dark and malevolent. I’ve never met anyone who has more horrifying encounters with spirits. My husband, Jim, expects ghosts not to affect him at all. They don’t.
The human brain is an amazing tool. I truly believe we don’t give it enough credit in how much it shapes the experiences that we have in the physical world. Does this mean that I don’t believe there is such thing as a true paranormal experience? I don’t know. I believe that I’ve had them. But I also believe that how I experienced such things came about largely in part because of my own personal psyche.
One more example: job loss. Three people have the exact same experience – they get laid off (three – hell – many, many, many people at this point). One person is devastated, angry and terrified. What will happen? How will I live? The second person is excited. Look at the opportunity that arises out of this! Clearly the universe has something better in store and will take care of me until I discover what it is! The third person thinks, well – it could be good or it could be bad. I’ll get by, although it may be difficult at times. It could create some cool new opportunities for me, but there might be rough patches, as well.
I am one of those three people. I won’t tell you which one. My experience, however, matched my belief when I lost the job. So did the other two people’s. It has been fascinating to watch – each of the three of us and how we’ve experienced our lives in the time following the job losses. Each of us got what we expected and believed we would get.
Expectation is a powerful thing. And when investigating the paranormal, it’s definitely something to keep in mind.