When I first started investigating I found myself in a strange place. Growing up, I very much believed in ghosts, psychic phenomena, and many of the other things that fell into the category of the “paranormal.” But having never had a definitive experience, I was still of two minds: the stubborn skeptic and the willing believer. It only took one investigation and one evidence review before I began to understand what it felt like to connect with that ethereal world.
But aren’t we all just a little Scully and Mulder from time to time?
As time went on our team began to investigate regularly. I kept a watchful eye on my own progress. What activity did I seem most likely to experience? How did my body react to places that were charged with paranormal activity? And while the phenomena ran the gamut (though there was a heavy focus on auditory phenomena), the way it affected my body stayed the same.
In places with high activity, I would feel lightheaded or a mild, throbbing head pressure. Sometimes, I would start crying for no reason. There was nor real emotion behind it, just a steady stream of tears (which is always fun in public places. Don’t mind me…I’m just crying.) A few of the spirits I grew to know well said hello by tugging on my heartstrings; literally. This would also evoke tears but these tears were connected to very strong emotions of gloom or just a general sense of being emotionally “touched.” Kind of like that Hallmark commercial that just gets to you.
Any time these things would happen Jamie would tell me “You need to ground yourself.”And while I knew it was a way to stop myself from getting all lightheaded and woozy, I feared it might lessen my sensitivity to the things I was experiencing. This, however, is not the case.
So! What does it mean to “ground” yourself? It’s really pretty simple. Grounding yourself means keeping a balance between your physical and spiritual bodies. Some of the symptoms you might experience when you are ungrounded include:
- A feeling of being ‘Spaced Out’
- Feeling sick
- Heart palpitations
- Eyes flickering
- Weight gain
- Static shocks
- Falling asleep when meditating
- Noise and light sensitivity
- Having brilliant ideas that never happen
- Arguing and unable to get your point across
At first, that last one didn’t resonate with me at all. But after giving it a moment of thought, I realized that there were many times during investigations, when activity was high, where I could barely form coherent sentences. My words came out all jumbled. I just couldn’t focus. Looking at that list, it paints a pretty good picture of what it’s like for me during investigations.
So…what do we do about it? The first thing I found that really worked for me was exercise. Before every investigation, it became my habit to go to the gym. I didn’t realize that I was developing my own little grounding ritual. All I knew was that my hour of cardio had become like a meditation for me. It would help me connect with spirit before the investigation even began. Sometimes, a bit TOO well.
I remember one time I was on the elliptical, chugging away, and I was completely overwhelmed by not one but several familiar spirits who all had separate messages for me. Why me? Because I was open to it. Why all at once? Because they rode each other’s coattails. Now, you would think that someone planning on ~hunting ghosts~ that night would be thrilled that they hunted her first but, I have to be honest; it scared the crap out of me. I had never experienced something so focused and intense. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. I do not consider myself a medium. But when you actively seek out the dead, you open yourself up to that communication and, unless you maintain the practices of someone who IS a psychic medium? You can’t always pick and choose when that communication will come through.
That experience helped me understand that “grounding” yourself does not lessen your connection to spirit. It improves it. It keeps you rooted in your physical body while you open yourself to the communication you seek. It strengthens you.
While exercise was my choice for meditation, it is important to understand that all meditation helps to ground you. My belief in meditation was much like my belief in ghosts when I was growing up: stubborn skeptic, willing believer. I made a lot of excuses over the years as to why I did not practice meditation. It was boring. It was hocus-pocus. I didn’t think I could do it “right” so I didn’t bother doing it at all. But believe me when I say, any amount of meditation is better than no meditation at all. Five minutes of laying quietly and listening to your own breath can do wonders for you, ESPECIALLY when you live in a society that values ~more, bigger, better, faster.~ That world never resonated with me and yet I was too afraid to try something different. It took me years to allow myself the belief that I just wasn’t cut out for the fast paced, compact, traffic-filled life I was born to in Los Angeles. Now that I’ve accepted it, I see that no one is. And while, over these past few decades, there has been a lot of buzz about “being selfish” or “taking time for you,” it seems that, by and large, our lives still run us when it should be the other way around.
There are a lot of guided meditations on YouTube. I’ve never really used any of them so I’ll let you explore the options for yourself. But, I have to recommend, if you want to try a guided meditation, take a look at SageGoddess.com. Located in Torrance, Ca., this store is run by an incredibly knowledgable woman named Athena. She imbues everything she does with thought and great energy. And broadcasts rituals through her website. Don’t let the term “ritual” scare you. For each one she chooses a god or goddess from one of many pantheons. And even if you know nothing about the archetype she has chosen, she will educate you in good, old fashioned, conversational English. And she will talk you down into a very peaceful meditation that frees your thoughts and quiets your mind. The information she gives is interesting. It gives you something to think about and you never feel alone during the meditation. And no, I was not paid to write this. I’m just really appreciative of my experiences with her and her shop. They have gotten me through some very difficult emotional roadblocks and I am very thankful.
Now that I have twisted your arm properly about meditating, I can move on to crystals. I can’t begin to tout the science behind them. I can tell you that crystals and minerals are like batteries, that they are supposed to foster a transference of energy helping you to create a balance. Again, this is an area where I find myself of two minds. But recently, I was swayed more towards willing believer. While at an event, I found myself overwhelmed with my own emotions as the room filled up with people. I could not stop crying. Tears streaming down my face, trembling. It was just too much. I HATE being emotional in public but all I could do was make myself as small as possible and hope to go unnoticed. Jamie was with me and she handed me a piece of garnet. And within a few minutes, I felt so much better. I was still crying but the panic died down. Now, I mention this because I have tried using hematite which is said to be a good stone for grounding. But it never really did much for me. Maybe I needed a bigger piece? I don’t know. All I know is that I could feel an immediate taking from that garnet. It helped balance me out so that, even though I was experiencing a welling of emotions, I wasn’t experiencing the side effects of worry, panic and fear over having such an outpouring in a public space. Even as I write this, I know that were I to read it, my instinct would be to snort at it with skepticism. But for those of you who suffer from panic attacks or social anxiety, could it really hurt to try?
I hear the jaspers are great for grounding too.
This has been my journey to connecting not only to spirit, but to myself; to broadening my spiritual tool kit and allowing myself to open up to some of the more new age concepts that old patterns of thought are quick to dismiss. I argue that such dismissal is hubris. And hubris is something we should all be ashamed of. I’m including some links to a few sights I found while researching this post. One of them provided me with that list of symptoms. There is some good information about other things you can do to help ground yourself. Because you can never have too many tools!
When it comes to paranormal phenomena, apporting (the ability to disassemble matter and have it reassemble somewhere else) is, perhaps, the one that baffles me the most followed closely by poltergeist (a noisy or, literally “pounding” ghost). And last week I had my own close encounter, the details of which left me shaking my head and pondering both phenomena from an uncomfortably personal perspective.
A common claim associated with hauntings is: “items go missing.” It is believed that some ghosts are capable of apporting objects like keys or jewelry causing them to disappear from the place their owner had put them only to reappear in another location. I have a really difficult time wrapping my head around this. My inner skeptic bucks wildly against belief. It’s one thing to experience objects moving on their own. I’ve experienced this more than once. I ~know~ this happens. But for a complex piece of matter to be disassembled and reassembled in another location? That’s CRAZY. (You’ll notice the term “crazy” becomes increasingly relative the more you delve into the world of spirit and the paranormal.)
Regarding Poltergeist, one of the things that makes this activity incredibly unsettling is that it is believed to be generated from a living agent. That means that these “ghosts” are created from suppressed emotions in conjunction with unacknowledged or un-channeled psychic gifts. When people say “Don’t bottle it all up inside,” there is a good reason. Negative emotions are like poison. They grow and fester when we refuse to deal with them. This is true for everyone. But for some with special gifts, this denial of self manifests in disruptive, other-worldly, ways.
Stacking. Another reason Poltergeists are so dang creepy. WAY worse than the big ol’ monster at the end! But maybe…not quite as scary as the clown.
Every Monday night I meet up with my best friend and we head to our favorite all night diner. It’s tradition. Date night with the wife, we call it. It’s the one night a week we can lay out all of our turmoil and drama on the table along with our eggs and toast and show it to the only other person on the planet who knows us as well as we know ourselves. Together, there is nothing we can’t tackle. And while we might not solve it with the expedience of an early eighties sitcom, we never fail to find a new facet or shed a new light on whatever ails us.
A couple of Mondays ago it was my turn to bring crazy to the table and I did so MOST epically. My ego was throwing the biggest tantrum, possibly, of my life. I was shrouded in a layer of anger comprised of hurt, fear, offense, abandonment, and most powerfully, panic. The culmination of a slow and slippery slope on which I embarked after a particularly shocking and damaging break-up that is now more than a year old, this Monday found me on the pinnacle of a breakthrough. But to get there, I had to traverse what felt like a forest of flame.
There really are no words to describe how ensconced I was in this torrent of negative emotion. Convinced I had been wronged that very day by another long time friend; convinced he had abandoned me, forgotten me, cheated and lied to me, I was pointing finger after finger at him whilst completely disregarding the three pointing back at me.
So there I sat in the sanctity of our Monday night, needing so desperately to tell my story to the one person who always “gets it.” Though I tried not to direct my rage at my oldest friend, knowing she is ~always~ there to listen and support, my words spilled from my lips with an indiscriminate venom. I was battling everything; myself, my emotions, my past, my future, and my friend. I could feel my anger spilling onto the table. I was a woman possessed. I could see her hackles raise in response to it. I could see her rein herself in, reminding herself that this was not about her, that I was not, despite how it felt, attacking ~her~.
As I was flooding the air between us with words I can’t remember, my fist came down on the table to illustrate a point and for the briefest moment, there was a silence in my head. Like I had left myself for just a fraction of a second. It all happened so quickly that I barely broke stride until my friend’s eyes widened and she looked down at the seat next to her. I stopped and said, “What?”
From the seat she slowly lifted her knife. Again, I said “What?” dismissing the incident as a result of the knife falling off the table. But I could tell from her reaction that she was already convinced that this was not the case. We took a moment to ponder it, but apparently, I was not yet ready for this night to be about anything else aside from ME. And after a little bit of consideration, I continued talking.
A week later, I was over myself and Monday night was once again a calm and balanced pursuit. (In the interest of staying on target, I will leave that journey for another post.) After a brief update of how I managed my over-ness, we shifted once again to what had happened with the knife. Though logic insisted it was nothing, instinct continued to argue we pay more attention.
At the time it occurred, we were both very aware that the knife made no sound until we heard the gentle thud it made when it landed. It had been perched across her saucer next to her coffee cup. After it fell, she put it back where it had been and I banged on the table a few more times to see if it would fall again but it didn’t budge. We tried this same thing again a week later and it yielded the same results. In fact, it did not budge when we placed it near the edge of the table either. After running several experiments, all with the same results, we gave up and started reconstructing what had happened.
I was facing her and, subsequently, the knife when it moved but I saw nothing. No flash of metal or reflection of light. No movement of any kind. It is ENTIRELY possible that nothing could have distracted me from my rage. But I did hear the thud as it landed on the seat next to her which came shortly but not directly after I hit the table. We also noted that both the knife as well as the saucer on which it was resting were several inches away from the edge of the table. This meant that in order for it to slip, slide, or fall onto the seat next to her, it would first have to hit the table which would make more noise than it made upon landing.
It was kind of like this only with a knife!
I had only experienced something similar once before. I was at lunch with Jamie and I was describing something (I can’t even remember what) passionately. I remember the feeling behind the words. I felt like I could lift up the whole world. Suddenly, her empty cracker wrapper slid across the table and into my fingers as I lifted them up. I stopped talking and looked at the cracker wrapper, slightly confused. WHY was it in my fingers?
Granted, a small wisp of cellophane like that could have easily caught a subtle draft. But the way in which it moved toward me as my emotions crescendoed and went right to my fingertips as I pinched and lifted struck both Jamie and myself as extremely odd.
Both the cracker wrapper and the knife incident were accompanied by the same feelings from both observers. It stopped us in our tracks. It made us try to figure out what happened. It sent us into disbelief. And it left us questioning an otherwise forgettable experience for weeks.
By now you are probably asking yourself what this has to do with apporting and poltergeists.
If we entertain the possibility that the knife did not fall off the table but was in fact moved, we are talking about psycho or telekinesis which in and of itself is fantastic enough. But to both of us, it felt like the knife disappeared from the saucer and reappeared an inch or two above the seat cushion. Neither of us saw or heard it move. It was just sitting there one moment and landing on the seat the next. It’s not something I expect anyone to believe for I hardly believe it myself. I’m still stuck somewhere on a sliding scale between “Oh yeah right” and “WTFWASTHAT!” But given my state of mind at the time, I do feel like if anything moved it, it was me. I could feel a surge of energy within me and it felt like it had nowhere to go.
And that leads me back to poltergeists. Regardless of whether or not I moved an object through the sheer force of pent up emotions and unfocused will, the feeling that I might have is enough to drive home the gravity of the resulting implications. There was undeniable power in that stockade of negative emotion. And something in me wanted this hoarding to continue.
As I was sitting there across from my support system, peering out through a heavy veil of bitterness and rage, I felt like I was battling death. While my life wasn’t threatened, it felt like my identity was. I felt crazy. The idea of moving objects with my mind would have been akin to the joy of finally having a super power were it not for the great cost at which it came.
That night in our diner, the night my emotions threatened to consume me, the night we both wondered if my rage was to blame for throwing a knife off the table, reminded me on a visceral level of how easy it is to become unconscious, to disconnect from my self. At some point I told myself I was too good to fall prey to such a thing. I knew too much about how people worked to become so unaware. And from there it grew.
We humans are powerful creatures, more powerful than most of us realize. We are connected to everything around us, wrapped in the fabric of space and time. Having had a taste of what it might be like to be so disconnected from my own heart that I could cause disturbances around me was quite a wakeup call. It made me wonder how deeply emotions need be buried in order to seek other, more uncommon ways in which to manifest. The knife helped me see the first subtle step I took to this end. Its silent descent cut through the rage that was drowning out the world creating an opening for self-realization. I’m just thankful it was an isolated incident, for as nice as it would be to have a “super power,” I can say now, after experiencing the trade-off, I feel much more empowered by taking responsibility for my own emotional state.
It’s been a long damn time since I’ve done a book report. Hopefully I have learned a bit more about showmanship since the days of: “The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, is a book about fighting between rich kids and poor kids….” I’m not sure my writing was that bad even then but, it ~was~ seventh grade.
Anyway, as much as I hope my writing has evolved, I KNOW my taste in books has, arguably, for the better. So here goes:
Synchronicity, by Dr. Kirby Surprise, is a book about rich kids and poor kids….. Just kidding!
Seriously though, I AM reading a book called Synchronicity: The Art of Coincidence and Unlocking Your Mind and it IS written by Dr. Kirby Surprise. And though it lacks the socio-economic commentary of The Outsiders, it has managed to captivate current me every bit as much as The Outsiders captivated seventh grade me.
I bought this book as a Christmas present for my brother. I swear it was on his wish list. And, in all honesty, when I purchased it, I knew it would take him forever to get around to reading it and I was curious about it myself. Why not kill two birds with one stone!
Now, ever the cynic, I went into this read with several reservations not the least of which was the author’s name: Dr.Kirby Surprise. As you can see by the picture above, I am not making this up. There aren’t too many doctors of anything that can instill confidence in their acuity once you find out their name is “Dr. Surprise” and, especially after you find out he is a forensic psychologist.
From the name of the author to the name of the author’s alma mater, which enjoys prominent placement at the bottom of the cover, I was almost done before I began reading. “The California Institute of Integral Studies” had me questioning: “Is that a real school?” A little research revealed a fairly clear picture. CIIS is one of many “private colleges” which is generally another way of saying “for profit” colleges that offer degree programs in several specified areas of study for a hefty price. Having gone to a school like this for my fashion merchandising degree, I knew the routine. The credits are not universal, meaning that they do not transfer to other schools. God forbid you should decide their methods are not for you and try to quit before you finish. You will still owe a ton of money but you will have absolutely nothing to show for it.
A look at Yelp revealed exactly what I expected: polarized reviews from one to five stars. If the program speaks to you, you’ll be happy enough. But if it doesn’t, you will be enraged.
As this yelp reviewer said: “Supremely inferior “institute” filled with phonies, “New Age” con-artists, incompetent professors with degrees from mediocre schools, and a very dysfunctional administration.”
Another reviewer said: “If you want to pay out enough money to bail out the auto industry in exchange for the profound academic reward of sitting in a drum-circle while listening to new age platitudes… If you are willing to carefully sift through academic material that ranges from the well founded and intriguing all the way down to proudly presented complete nonsense…”
But this was exactly what my warning bells were telling me. Thankfully, I didn’t go to the trouble of researching all of this before I jumped into the book. However, venturing into the first chapter did not help boost my faith in its content. This is where Dr. Surprise sets us up to understand that the subject of “synchronistic events” would hence be referred to as “SE.” Having read a number of books on the “Spirit Meets Science Spectrum” (I can make acronyms too) this pushed the odds that the book would favor new age cliche over scientific theory.
Now, I get the fact that “Synchronistic Event(s)” is a mouthful and that shortening it might simply be easier for us all. But I am always leery when “phenomena” are made more approachable in this way. And worse, when a whole language of jargon springs up around a subject matter that is debatable to begin with. I often feel like it is an attempt to brain wash me into believing what they say is fact. (Incidentally, this is how you can tell I have been studying the paranormal too long. Paranoia. Occupational hazard.)
After detailing my concerns here, I am surprised I started reading this book at all. But having not researched them or written them down, they were merely muttering to me and I was still willing to give the book a chance. At the very least, it gave me a way to pass the time during my tedious cardio sessions at the gym. And, I have to say, I am thankful that this was the case. By the time I made it to the second chapter, I was curious enough to continue.
I am now more than halfway through the book and I have found it to be both interesting and believable. The subject matter does walk the line between spirit and science. And the concerns which could have been warning me against drinking the good doctor’s questionable Kool-Aid turned out to be no greater than supposition.
Dr. Kirby surprise does a wonderful job of explaining his theories. He provides simple examples in a conversational manner that makes his writing relatable and builds the sort of trust that is required for the reader to set their own doubts aside, helping them to feel safe enough to muse right along with him without requiring them to “believe, or else.” In fact, chapter two is entitled “Don’t believe What You Think.” Here, he doused my concerns over the use of jargon and proceeded to highlight why we should all question even our own thoughts.
In fact, the pages are filled with intriguing ideas and the reader is left to decide whether or not they agree with what the author is saying. He acknowledges both religion/mysticism and science in his quest to detail his theories, focusing on the way they approach the subject matter.
“Philosophies and religions have positive aspects to be sure. But, all tend to declare the nature of your reality for you. A handy service if you would rather cruise the infinite universe of creative possibility on someone else’s autopilot program. The problem is, unverifiable beliefs limit the way you consider alternate possibilities.
Science has a matching problem. A yin to mysticism’s yang.Some followers of the scientific method have made science itself a religion of sorts. They take the easy, self-assured way out. Some devotees declare that their way of investigating reality is the only valid means of determining the truth. Some priests of physics believe that, until something becomes verified by experimental investigation, it is not true. The problem is, science isn’t supposed to work that way. The scientific method is a humble method. It tests one small, very specific set of conditions at a time. Then it asks others to test the same conditions again independently. If results are reliably producible, a small bit of probably true information is added to the knowledge base. Scientists tell themselves stories about reality, just as philosophers do. Good scientists know they are telling stories.”
So I spent chapter 1 ripping the man, the alma mater, and the method apart. But by chapter two I was intrigued. And by chapter three, I was hooked. I hope Dr. Surprise will forgive me because while I, admittedly, spent the first two thirds of this blog post voicing my doubts over the legitimacy of his work, I will likely be devoting two thirds of my time writing other blog posts inspired by it.
Written by Heather of EVP