Sunday, December 5, 2010

Does Being Psychic = Being Spiritual?

There’s an unspoken danger lurking in the metaphysical community … It is an assumption harbored by many seekers who procure the advice of the many practitioners within the psychic healing/communication and energy-working arts. That assumption: the psychic or healer has an advanced knowledge of spirituality.

The assumption springs from the ideas circulating around the nature of the work. Speaking as a medium, a client will oftentimes assume that if someone has the ability to communicate with deceased relatives, then that presents a picture of having a unique connection to spirits, hence the practitioner must have a more developed sense of spirituality. Additionally, if someone seeks the advice of other types of psychics, it is perceived that if such people can have “supernatural” access to information (past, present, and future) or able to “read the cards,” or can do things seemingly outside the bounds of normal western medicine, that this unique talent must mean the person is a spiritual savant.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let me explain.

Psychic abilities – or the ability to perform any kind of a task – does not necessarily reveal the inner knowledge or disposition heralded by the practitioner in regards to spirituality or higher wisdom. To say that any psychic, medium, or energy worker is an evolved spiritual person would be the same as saying just because a young boy can shoot a basketball through a hoop makes him an all-time athlete on par with Michael Jordan. Quite frankly, it doesn’t.

The first hurdle in this quagmire is to define what being “spiritual” means. It could mean many things to many different people. Those clients who walk in off the street may feel that being spiritual is about having a deeper sense of the unity and oneness among all things; an understanding of forces somehow “outside” the normal scope of human perception and our relationship to them; unlimited compassion; charity; an unending supply of grace; and lack of prejudice. Yes, each of these (and potentially more) are great qualities, but is it safe to assume that everyone who is a practitioner in the metaphysical community has them or engages in them? Someone’s perception of spirituality may also be black and white: it isn’t about unity among God’s creations, but really the perception of separation between good and evil, and how things stack up and the battle that rages between them.

In either case, can we assume someone working within the metaphysical community is an ultra-spiritual being? Not at all.

There are those out there who choose to use their psychic gifts more for ego aggrandizement and self-serving needs than for truly helping others and behaving in a pre-defined “spiritual” manner. There are those practitioners who do believe that because they have a unique ability, it makes them somehow a “better” person than someone without the abilities. They wear their talent on their sleeves, consistently drawing attention to it like a spotlight to the lead actor on a stage. It’s more about them and not really about the client or helping others. As a friend of mine once said, when it comes to purchasing services in this field: “buyer beware.” It’s one thing to go to a psychic and try and hear from a deceased relative, or get another perspective on the past, present, and future … It’s another to assume the practitioner is going to have some higher knowledge or wisdom to impart that’s beyond your own life and understanding.

Instantaneous wisdom and advanced spiritual knowledge is not something that just “happens” or is granted just because someone has some psychic ability or is working to develop in that field. Since we do not know exactly how the psychic signal functions, we cannot say that the ability itself is anything spiritual, in the sense that we’re talking about here; it is more of a function and doesn’t necessarily come with a plaque that reads “guru.”

Plus – and here comes the real downer – there have been numerous cases of fraud and deception throughout history when it comes to practitioners. Whether it be by deliberate action or simply naiveté, not everyone is legitimate. Some do take advantage of others; there are crooks and fiends in any type of business scenario, and the spiritual/psychic/energy healing business is no different. And when it comes to a field of endeavor where much of what is discussed has to be taken on faith because it can’t be physically proven (at least not initially, and even then the outcome may only be circumstantial and still not definitive), it makes it that much more difficult. Where do the bounds of reason and reality end and fantasy and outright falsehoods begin? It can be an extremely tough call.

There are human tendencies which do find their ways even into those fields where you would think such tendencies would be shunned: ego, ultra competitiveness … arrogance – those things you’d typically consider contradictory to spirituality. In the end, people are people, no matter what they’re doing, so we must be cautious. These things do exist in the metaphysical community – it’s one of the reasons I got out of doing psychic fairs many years ago.

In my opinion (take it or leave it), being spiritual is a choice, a way of being, and an attempt at understanding the relationships within all things in the universe and how it’s all connected. Again, that’s my definition … but guess what: the answers don’t just fall into place because I have some ability as a psychic.

We often talk about “walking the spiritual path.” Like any type of deliberate lifestyle, it requires discipline and a commitment to study, research, and – when it comes to spirituality – inspection of daily experiences in relation to a perception of the universe and creation; to become aware of how our lives unfold and are either supported by our hypothesis or how they aren’t, forever altering and becoming and learning more and more.

And it takes time.

To walk the spiritual path doesn’t simply mean the universe gives up all its secrets the moment you take your first step. To me, it’s constant work. Can we assume everyone in the metaphysical community is doing the work -- Steeped in the search for spiritual answers, or simply spouting what someone has told them or they’ve read about in a book? Is it work or regurgitation? And how do you know?

Experiences can definitely inform one about the nature of the universe … and, yes, psychic experiences can bring ideas and clues as to how things might be interrelated or what-not. But that doesn’t mean psychic equals spiritual (psychic = spiritual). Do all psychics pay attention to their experiences to glean what they can and learn more in regards to the nature of spirituality, or do their interests lie in showing off – getting from one client to the next, as if to say “look how cool I am! Am I not the greatest?” Is it possible that some walking the spiritual path may only be tiptoeing along, are shallow in their tread, and are not in the middle of the road but rather off to the side, looking to get more personal validation rather than learning and serving others? It’s a sobering thought.

Here’s an idea to help overcome this: No one needs to be psychic to be spiritual. A gardener, just by living and watching the seasons and their plantings could gain more knowledge and wisdom about the nature of life and spirituality than someone who talks to the dead. Someone who gives of themselves in love and compassion – who has no idea what the future might bring – may actually be living a more spiritual life (and thus have greater insights) than someone who can “read the cards.” Someone who watches what they eat and how they exercise may know more about bodily health and stress than someone who does energy work.

As the saying goes – “Never judge a book by its cover.” Though you may be entering a world where it appears everyone is walking a spiritual path and might have a deeper awareness of spirituality, the reality is – once you peel back the cover and start turning the pages, this may not actually be so.

The power and course and destiny of your life is always within you. In seeking advice from outside sources, don’t automatically believe, latch onto, or otherwise accept what you’re told without carefully weighing it within your life’s design, your mental framework, and your sense of being. And even if what we in the psychic/energy field tell you sounds good, cheery, gloomy, or even halfway intelligent, our perceptions are strictly our own and should never be used to supersede your own judgment. As you would be cautious letting your child stand at the bus stop with other strange kids (not really knowing what the strange kids are like), consider your mind, being, and spirituality in the same light when visiting anybody who presents themselves in such a glorious, amazing, and enlightened manner. Yes, they may be authentic … but then again, they may not.

As mentioned earlier, one slam-dunk at the basketball hoop doesn’t make you Michael Jordan. It takes years of study, practice, and commitment. Unfortunately, some are in it for the sake of appearances -- for personal validation to address their own issues with self esteem or other mania.

Remain true to you, for your life is your own, and you have to make the call. In the end, someone else’s advice is only an opinion to an alternative point of view or action. You are not required to believe it, accept, or act on it; it is only a possibility. In the end, your life is yours. It’s not about the psychic, the healer, or any of the others. They may provide clues, but they aren’t always the wise and powerful Oz. (Pay no attention to the guy behind the curtain).

Until next time,

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