Every day, I see new members posting here about experiences they claim to have had and asking for help, or explanations or validation. It is as if our educational system and the internet is evolving us to an expectation of answers always being available if you just ask. But, the truth is that if you do not learn to think for yourself and communicate well, you will easily be washed away by the first few challenges to your ideas you run into, or else will find others giving you all the details of what to believe. At the very least you will either get your feelings hurt or else end up not knowing what to think.
The answer is discernment and it is a critical skill for anyone, be they Occultic adventurers or sceptics. This blog is for those who are not sceptics primarily, so I will focus on those, but the principles are good for anyone, the way I see it and I have used this to flush more diverse happy crap down the commode of stupid ideas than many sceptics will ever take on.
The Oxford dictionary has two meanings for the word, though in practice you can find many usages out there. The first meaning is To judge well. The second meaning is Perception in the absence of judgment with a view of obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding. Merriam-Webster likens it to Discrimination and says "discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent."
I have been seeing spirits and things since as far back as I can remember. I was five years old when we finally moved away from the first house I remember living in dealing with a mean man named Robert who looked like a shadow person who tormented me mercilessly in dreams and awake until I was shown how to stop him from doing it by little bright children my size who were friends and did not like him. So, I was maybe four then? This was in the 1960s, so no internet, we were too poor for a TV, those were rare still anyway, and I was an only child and alone most of the time. There was no other help and no one to ask and when I did try, my parents could not see Robert and thought it was funny. This was traumatic for me, to find out so young that my parents were not as all powerful as I supposed as such a young and isolated child. I knew he was there. I never thought they were lying. This is hard for a child to deal with and the fear was that much worse. But, my little bright friends helped and he was made to leave me alone.
When I was older and more knowledgeable, I had to look back and decide what it really was. Nobody else anywhere can tell me that. No one else was there. My sceptic friends, if I asked, would only be able to say it was bad dreams, a child imagining fears. Sceptic trolls would say this is proof that even that young I was schizophrenic and need mental health intervention immediately. My most beyond the fringes believing friends would say Robert was a demon and my friends were angels. I never have asked, though, and their opinions, all of them, are useless as final verdicts go. What I had to do was decide for myself what happened, and I KNOW it was real, and I knew then as a child he was a man who had died in that ratty trailer we were renting who taunted me because I could see him and he did not like kids much on top of it.. I do not know today how I knew that, perhaps I was told by Robert or by the bright children. I certainly had never heard a ghost story, and did not read it online nor did I see it on television. It was a very different world then.
The first criteria I started using by the time I hit my teens was "does it work". What I did with the bright kids' help worked. Minor as it was, I understand now why it did and how. It was lesson one in the skill of Intent. I believed my bright friends, I did what they said, and it worked because of that faith and action of intention. All at the level of a five year old, using a penny of all things.
In my teens I had books about everything from palmistry to the Face on Mars to read at the library. Most of them were hyped up trash, to be honest. Most today on occultic or paranormal topics still are. But, I read them and mulled them over and learned to go by what I came to call my inner truth sense. I dumped a lot of it, kept the rest and kept living and as I came to challenges in life and used what I had learned I fell back on my first criteria. Does it work? If it did then it was maybe true. If it did not, I dumped it.
I had no one to talk to about these things, so there was not an ego factor or any desire to fit in to a group and go along with them and how they thought. I also was high IQ and busy studying at school and not patient with useless things that were not even pretty. There was every pressure in my life to NOT see things or pursue the Occult, unlike today when every other kid wants to be known as an empath or fuzzy or witch. I sought answers, whatever they would prove out to be, and if they worked I kept them and if they did not, I dropped them. I was very callous about it and those pretty things I kept anyway I filed in the "pretty" file, not the "this works" file.
To the young person of today looking for answers, I ask you to learn for your own sake to close your mouth, write your experiences down in a diary, and keep your own counsel until and unless you meet someone whose experiences you really trust to talk with. We are all on a personal journey we call life, and we experience it alone. When it comes to that, nobody but you knows how your journey feels and is as a reality. This is all the more true about anything paranormal. The journey itself is the point, and if you see a ghost, or have a weird experience, relax. It is normal. Even my sceptic friends can tell at least one tale about something odd they never got a good explanation for. If your experience is only this, then talking about it is probably fine. But, if it becomes chronic, be it seeing things not there to others, or what seem like psychic abilities, start that diary and go into it knowing this is part of the teaching in itself, what I wrote about above, "Perception in the absence of judgment with a view of obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding".
This means, you don't know for sure what it is yet, so you analyze it critically for meaning, does it offer guidance or seem to? What does it teach you if you accept it? Is that good? If it is true, then what does that do to what else you know already? You need to decide for yourself how to then judge it after answering questions like that.
You have to be your own best friend and very honest with yourself. If what you are experiencing is scaring you, if it frightens or is bad or tells you bad things, talk to your parents or an adult you trust about it. There is a saying "Even a stopped clock is right twice a day." So also I have to say that the sceptic, mean talking trolls also can be and you may be having a mental health issue and talking with a doctor or counsellor may be what you need, so speak up early and get that help. Needing it does not make you bad or weak somehow, it is simply part of your own journey and once you get through it gives you a wonderful experience you can help others with who are upset or feel badly for needing help. It can be a wonderful thing for you and may even guide you in a super way to help others and perhaps you will be a counselor someday too. The worst things in life can be turned around and made to work for your own happiness and to help others if you learn how to beat it.
If it is not scaring you and is not advising you to do bad things or encouraging you to change in ways you do not choose on your own, it might be a gift you have. It might be very common or rare. But, just like my advice for those who are scared, you still have to be smart and learn to use discernment and weed out viciously what you find to be less than true. In part 2 of this topic, I will share with you what I use when I find something new in information or run into a new "guide", and some good ways to find information to consider about your experiences, so read onward, please. I will post it in a couple days