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Current Update as of September 19, 2004

Inspired by The Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies

Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.

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The Lifting of the Veil

Henry Reed


(Atlantic University)


(An Entry in the Alexander Imich Essay Contest on the Question,

"How will the undisputed recognition and acceptance of paranormal phenomena ("Psi") transform present religious movements and accelerate the spiritual progress of Western Society?")

How will the undisputed recognition and acceptance of paranormal phenomena ("Psi") transform present religious movements and accelerate the spiritual progress of Western Society? Such recognition and acceptance will, I believe, spark a disruption in Western Society, actually a spiritual crisis somewhat akin to the apocalyptic "end of the world.". Religious movements will be challenged to help people deal with the crisis.

The entry of "Psi" into the public arena will be the final straw in an historical development, already well underway-the death of boundaries. Psi will dissolves the final boundary, the divide between individuals. It will reveal the operation of an underlying unitive consciousness. What will become of the individual in a world of oneness? For some people it will inspire "rapture" but for others it will cause "rupture." Hereís one vision of the "lifting of the veil."

The crisis of boundaries, accelerating in recent times, is occurring on two levels. First, boundaries are dissolving as our awareness grows of the ways in which our lives are inter-connected. Boundaries separate us to define and give individual entities autonomous and independent areas of activity. Lines of interconnected influence breach this separation and create inter-dependence.

Secondly, boundaries are dissolving as the reality we live in shifts from being a world composed of material things, which have boundaries, to a world composed of events in consciousness, which do not. This second shift may seem quite abstract but nonetheless is having powerful effects upon our lives. The historical response to these two trends provides some basis for predicting the response to the acceptance of Psi.

The web of life has always been an inter-connected unity without boundaries. The western world first acknowledged this interconnectedness in the study of ecology. Rachel Carsonís book, The Silent Spring,1 is often credited with initiating the ecology movement by creating an awareness of increasing pollution on the planet. Our awareness of pollution has only slowly affected how we live, through a painful, confusing process.

Individually, we filter our water to protect ourselves from unwitting intake of unknown hazards. Although we do not wish to be adversely affected by the actions of others, we are slow to change our own actions. Itís one thing to not litter in public, but why canít a private landowner dump waste oil on his own property? When someone upstream pollutes the water, however, people in the downstream country suffer. Because pollution does not respect legal boundaries it challenges the meaning of private and the legitimacy of political sovereignty.

When governments try to deal with the issue of pollution, they confront the obstacle that each country has the perceived legal right to do as it pleases within its own boundaries, just as individuals believe they can on their own land. Today, the problem of global warming stimulates international cooperation while revealing the difficulty in achieving it.

Judging from the problem of pollution, to realize that we are inter-connected and that what one person does affects every one else brings more tribulation than celebration. The first stage of public response is the desire for personal protection. Next is the attempt at governmental regulation, only to encounter the reality that the problem is so interwoven with our way of life that it is hard to find an entry point to gain leverage on the problem. International disputes donít move toward resolution until the problem becomes so severe that cooperation becomes the last resort. Creative individuals invent new methodologies that respect both human nature and the sensitivity of the problem. A new world is slow to come.

Pollution or contamination comes in many forms. As our society evolves, new forms appear. While diseases have never respected political boundaries, the discovery of AIDS has alerted us that we can no longer take for granted the continued existence of biological boundaries. As more people become interconnected on the internet, there develops the problem of spreading "computer viruses." The "Love Bug" catastrophe is one example that got a lot of publicity, destroying the valuable data-bases of many individuals and corporations.

To give one final example, the events of September 11 show us that an "open" society is vulnerable to the threat of terrorism everywhere. As the government tries to protect us, we discover that there is no specific "border" through which terrorists infiltrate. It can arise from within our own lifestyle. The spread of anthrax through the postal mail sorters was a case in point. Government efforts to create a society safe from terrorism are proving to have consequences almost as detrimental to our lifestyle as terrorism itself.

In many ways, the modern world is becoming increasingly threatened by unwanted contaminants that respect no boundaries, thwart attempts at personal protection, confound notions of individual and political sovereignty, and ultimately demand fundamental changes in the way we live, especially in the area of cooperation and mutual respect. Ultimately, the solution will come from international cooperation to bring out world peace and equitable standards of living.

Itís easy to use these examples to speculate about the impact upon the world of the recognition of Psi. Being telepathic for one another, one personís thoughts and feelings will find their way into the thought stream of others. Since telepathic influences are often silent, invisible, and undetectable except by extraordinary means2, how can we filter our minds so that we are not affected by other peopleís moods? How do we protect our own behaviors from influence from other peopleís motivations?

Research bears out the fact that people do have such fears of Psi because of a concern for the invasion of privacy, the loss of secrets, loss of the ability to deceive others, and the fear of losing oneís mind in the confusion of everyone elseí thoughts and feelings.3 The "co-dependency" movement, with its concern for "how can I be close to you without losing me?" and its attempt to help people who are "too sensitive" to other peopleís feelings suggests that humanity has already been struggling with how to cope with the problem of boundaries between minds in what might seem to be a chaotic sea of intermingling influence.4,5

Whereas we all might enjoy having our minds telepathically enlightened by the creative thoughts of others, no one wants to be influenced by evil. Perhaps Psi can be used to track down those with evil thoughts. Such an idea is the premise of the recent movie, Minority Report, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, where a group of governmental "precogs" use their precognitive ability to detect who might commit a crime in the future and then arrest that person. Legal "due process" can not withstand the power of Psi.

There are many other implications of the acceptance of Psi that would dissolve the social and legal structure of life as we know it. When we view Psi from the point of view of individual entities who are unwillingly interlocked in a web of thoughts and desires that threaten their individual autonomy, spontaneity--in essence the very sovereignty that defines them as individual human beings--then there is a panic, a revolt, an attempt to deny this inter-dependence by personal protection and persecution of others.6 Research has confirmed, for example, that denials in defense of the revelation of a secret has been a significant motivation to suppress the evidence for Psi.7

This fear that Psi invokes is, in essence, a spiritual crisis in the experience of the sanctity of personal identity. As long as a person experiences oneself through the lens of the spatial material world of time and space, one experiences oneself as a discrete "thing," living on inside of a boundary, with controlled access to a world "outside" that boundary. Involuntary interconnectedness threatens the sanctity of the boundary between inside and outside. Here arises the panic.

Another historical development has threatened the consciousness of "things" and the boundaries that define them.8 The advent of atomic energy, for example, caused more than the fear of pollution by radiation. It has changed our awareness of the nature of materiality. Electrons, long assumed to be the basic building blocks of matter, proved to be as much an event as a thing. They can be in two places at once and communicate with each other instantaneously, affecting each other at a distance at a speed faster than light. And, to make matters even more ephemeral, what transpires with these electrons depends upon the consciousness of the observer who wants to know whatís happening! Reality is but a thought, as one physicist claimed.9

The nature of "non-local" reality has gradually leaked into our vocabulary, stretching our imagination beyond the boundaries of rational thought.10 It is affecting our thinking about, but not yet our experience, of reality. Except for science labs, it has not even begun to affect how we deal with our world. Yet it has provided the development of an underlying philosophical worldview that is ready to embrace our world as it dissolves from being a thing, to an event, and now to an idea.

This shift has been paralleled by the transformation of the industrial world into to a service oriented world. Making things is gradually being assigned to robots and more people are employed in the service economy. The most significant services being provided are not those dealing with material things, but with information. Whereas we used to exchange things, we are gradually making the shift to the exchange of information. We are beginning to live in an age of information, with resulting challenges for boundaries. For example, what is the true nature of a book?

As long as it takes a lot of material resources to produce a book, the boundary of the book will be defined more by its material reality than its informational reality and copyright law is sufficient to protect the "intellectual property" that the book expresses. With the development of the electronic age, however, where the entire contents of the Encyclopedia Brittanica can be copied onto a DVD disk in a manner of minutes, current copyright law is insufficient.

Todayís newspapers frequently contain news of developments in the music industry about how to protect the intellectual property of musicians when their songs are freely exchanged on the internet. Examples abound that information seems to defy boundaries. Microsoft, the global information management corporation, asks of you, while displaying a computer monitor, "Where do you want to go today?" In the world of information, travel does not mean moving through physical space, but instead it means to explore information, to go on a "head trip," even allowing children to explore information their parents wish they wouldnít.

Although we are living increasingly in a world of information, and consciousness is gradually replacing matter as the medium in which we live, we are slow to adjust to this change. We use physical metaphors to describe events in consciousness. We strive to achieve "higher consciousness," but few can explain why the word "higher" describes a desired improvement. Most significantly, people use the word, "open" to describe events in consciousness, such as "an open mind," or "opening to creative ideas" or "opening the heart to love" or "opening to spirit."

Itís OK to use spatial terms to navigate in a world of things, but when applied to the realm of information it creates a trap for consciousness. When you "open" your mind, you risk that undesirable stuff will "come in." Ask people who meditate, for example, and chances are excellent that some people will report that as they begin meditation, they surround themselves with "light" for "protection."

To "open oneís mind" doesnít mean to open some shutter, but to adopt a flexible attitude, receptive to new ideas or experiences.11 Ford Motors recently placed a full-page ad in USA Today, announcing, unwittingly, the new paradigm of the information age, "A good idea has no boundaries." Everyone wants to experience good ideas, but who is to experience the bad ideas? What is to determine what a person is to experience?

The answer to that question lies ultimately with the person, not external influences. Brain research, for example, invalidating the simple camera model of consciousness ("information comes in and creates experience,") now favors the more sophisticated idea that the brain itself creates an interpreted experience for us, as a virtual, holographic reality.12 People will not experience anything that is not in their repertoire of potential responding-people create their own reality, in other words. In kindergarten we used to say, "It takes one to know one." Metaphysical thinking has the principle of affinity: "Like attracts like." Or from the Talmud, "We donít experience the world as it is, we experience the world as we are."

Research on individuals having unwanted psychic experiences-having dreams of crimes, for example-has provided evidence that these "external" events symbolically mirror certain buried memories within the person that seek healing, as in a "return of the repressed."13 Research into group telepathic dreaming suggests that one way in which psi operates is that dreamers seek out other peopleís secret shames in an attempt to resolve their own.14, 15 Thus, the problem of psychic pollution diminishing the autonomy of the individual does not really exist in the same way it is commonly feared. Rather, a world of increasing psychic influence would intensify and heighten the tendency for what is unconscious to become conscious, destroying the boundary that people have created to allow themselves to experience as their manageable identity.

Thus the solution to the dilemma of "psychic invasion" is to make the transition to a different definition, a different vision, a different experience of the individual self. How to come to know ourselves to be ourselves, yet one with the whole? Here is where religious movements can help, for in the common roots of their various traditions they have the Perennial Philosophy: "Thou art That."16 It means a certain oneness or mirrored identity between oneself and the perceived "world out there." Eastern religious philosophies have not emphasized a boundary between the world "out there" and the person "in here", but rather have placed the flow of consciousness to be the seat of identity.17

Our interconnectedness in consciousness is not new, it has always been there. What is new is that developments in technology, in transportation and communication, and in economics has made our behavioral world a unified one. When everyone was thinking and acting locally, there was not the necessary context for worldwide Psi. But with the growing behavioral and experiential interdependence, in our developing global economy, where there is no escaping the fact that one personís actions affects another personís experience, we have the situation ripe for global Psi effects.

Studies involving Transcendental Meditation, for example, show that a large group of meditators are able to reduce the crime rate while they are meditating en masse.18 On the other hand, evidence from the Global Consciousness Project, located at the Engineering Department at Princeton University, found that immediately after the September 11 terrorist attack, there were dramatic effects upon their psychokinesis-sensitive instruments located around the world.19

For some people, the emergence of global consciousness will spell the rapture that some religious groups have predicted. In the "Left Behind" novel series,20 empty clothes are found in chairs, depicting the people who were "raptured" and left their bodies. I can see this as a symbol of those people who were no longer identified with their bodies, with their material existence, and came to live their lives in consciousness, singing the body electric in a virtual world of information.

Others, however, would be ruptured, as their own self-hatred would be amplified by the hatred in the world, their own anxiety multiplied a million fold by the fear in the world. Edgar Cayce, a psychic who envisioned such a time, predicted that only those at peace and harmony with themselves and others would survive this transition gracefully.21

Naturally, there will be an initial attempt to find ways of protecting people from psi contamination. Moving beyond tinfoil hats, to lead lined homes, to electronic force fields, people will resort to "positive thinking" and make "reminders of personal identity" a contast mantra. Even as government moves against mental polluters, it will become illegal for people to feel afraid, because their fear spreads. But peopleís emotions can not be controlled. So what can we do? The government will hire positive, loving people to pray, like a "Love Corps," dedicated to spreading the emotions of love and gratitude, as if love itself could eradicate the negativity in the world which so many people cling to in a self-defensive obsession.

Religious movements will have to reposition their emphasis on a story about a deity, to a more general Gaia approach, to "all that is" or "life" as the unifying, intelligent dynamic. But more importantly, there will have to be a focus on the individual, but not upon "saving" their interior, private selves, but upon transforming their involvement in the worldís feeling.

Loving others will of course be an ideal. Even more important will be using Psi to develop compassion for the dark side of others, leading to healing. Instead of seeing the unacceptable experience as invader of the ideal, and trying to keep it imprisoned in some walled-in area of consciousness, weíll have to create healing processes that are sensitive to the buried cry for help hidden behind such negative experiences.

What can religious movements do to turn this crisis into a spiritual emergence? We can look to indigenous cultures for ideas about how a society might function when Psi is taken for granted. On the negative side, in cultures where something akin to Santeria is widely practiced, fear predominates, for in such cultures everyone perceives themselves susceptible to the "evil eye" of others, and curses abound.

On the other hand, in certain Native American cultures, the value placed on respect has no boundaries, extending beyond the personal even into non-material realms. Lessons might be learned from Peyote ceremonies, for example, to see how to help people assemble to adapt their consciousness to a harmonious relationship with unseen forces.

Above all we will have to focus healing efforts upon suffering, because it will be seen as the worst pollutant of all. When one person suffers, we all suffer. Each of us suffers from wounds to the sense of self, each of us have aspects of our reality diminished, leaving some of ourselves in hiding, in a personal purgatory of self-hatred, shame and guilt, emitting psi signals intensifying the suffering of others.

We will need images and symbols that can be used to create stories, myths and rituals that will help us move through these challenges and celebrate the positive side of our unitive awareness, fostering love and acceptance around the world. We will need spiritual ceremonies in which Psi is harnessed to help people discover and heal their collective pain. We will need creative ceremonies to allow the emerging public Psi to follow constructive paths.

Something like the Catholic churchís use of "high magic," modernized into a global, technological shamanism, employing live TV and radio, must be enacted to evoke transformative world events in consciousness. Some new symbolic psychodramas may be "channeled" from our expanded realm of information,22 leading to new mythologies that can revitalize religious movements to provide needed services.

Some claim that the past resistance to Psi is because there has been no scientific theory with which to understand it. Non-local reality is providing the theoretical basis23 and now the most probable reason for continued resistance is because it spells a radically revised vision of what it means to be human. It expells us out of our separate existences in a material world and into a new world of shared consciousness.

The veil by which we have hidden our perceived sins and our wounds from one another is lifted by the increasing reality of Psi. Religious movements will have to harness Psi in the service of helping us to become comfortable as an intimate human family, honoring the human condition in diverse manners of expression.

References

1 Carsons, R., Silent Spring. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1962.

2 Rhine, L. E., The Invisible picture: A study of psychic experiences. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1981.

3 Tart, C. T., Attitudes toward strongly functioning psi: A preliminary survey. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1986, 80, 163-173.

4 Aron, E. A., The highly sensitive person: How to thrive when the world overwhelms you. New York: Broadway Books, 1996.

5. Whitfield, C. L., Boundaries and relationships: Knowing, protecting and enjoying the self. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, 1993.

6 Reed, H., Intimacy and Psi: An initial exploration. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, October, 1994, 88, 327-360.

7 Reed, H., The ESP factor: No secrets from loved ones. Venture Inward, 1991, 7(2), 18-21; 48-49,

8 Settegast, M., Mona Lisaís Moustache: Making sense of a dissolving world. Grand Rapids, MI: Phanes Press, 2001.

9 LeShan L., The medium, the mystic and the physicist. New York: Viking, 1974.

10 Dossey, L. Healing words: The power of prayer and the practice of medicine. San Francisco: HarpersSanFrancisco, 1993.

11 Csikszentmihalyi, M., Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

12 Goswami, A. The self-aware universe: How consciousness creates the material world. New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1993.

13 Reed, H., Transpersonal counseling for intrusive psychic experiences http://www.creativespirit.net/
noboundaries/batteredboundaries.htm
, 1992.

14 Eisenbud, J., Psi and psychoanalysis: Studies in the psychoanalysis of psi-conditioned behaviors. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1970.

15 Reed H. & Van de Castle, R., The dream helper ceremony: A small group paradigm for transcendent psi. Theta, 1990, 16(1), 12-20.

16 Huxley, A. The perennial philosophy. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.

17 Wilber, K. No boundary: Eastern and western approaches to personal growth. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications, 2000.

18 Aron, E. & Aron, A. The Maharishi effect: A revolution through meditation. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1986.

19 Nelson, Roger. Terrorist disaster, September 11, 2001. http://noosphere.princeton.edu, 2001.

20 LaHaye, T. F. & Jenkins, J. B. Left behind: A novel of the earthís last days. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishing ,1995.

21 Thurston, M. Millenium prophecies: Predictions for the coming century from Edgar Cayce. New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 1997.

22 Hastings, A. With the tongue of men and angels: A study of channeling. Fort Worth, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1991.

23 Radin, D. The conscious universe: The scientific truth of psychic phenomena. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997.

 

 
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