You see it watching TV, scrolling through Youtube, reading magazines, and perusing books: Fraud, phony, charlatan, illusionist, mentalist, mind-reader, schemer.
These monikers are flung easily, many feel justifiably, at psychic practitioners. They are believed by many to be expert ‘con’ artists, wielding their tongues and weaving a manipulative web around their clients, the victims of their “real” motivation: Power.
And how is power achieved in modern society? Money. It is not for nothing that many religious anecdotes are cautionary tales, warning of the perils of spiritual ‘power.’ It seems paradoxical that there should be people with “spiritual power,” since such power would be an expression of the human ego, which is anything but divine. When culture prizes money and fame over spiritual evolutions, what is this POWER really about?
Whether a person exhibits the spiritual power of divine insight like an Abraham, Noah, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad, Dalai Lama, or the moneymaking power of business savvy like a Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Oprah Winfrey, the external manifestation of power has the same consequence: Influence.
The idea of influencing others remains the most powerful aspect of human society, its effects both innate and omnipresent. A recent survey of the wealthiest people in the world revealed that in many cases, those who have made fortunes have done so by influencing those already rich to invest in them and their lofty ambitions.
Noah, a film starring Russell Crowe due out this year (March 2014), reaffirms the continuing influence of biblical stories on Western culture. Noah’s story is a quintessential allegory for the way human beings fear the divine. According to the Torah, or Old Testament, Noah receives information from G-d that there will be a flood set to destroy all life in the world as a result of human disrespect of each other and denial of the divine. The argument is that in denying the divine on Earth, people have lost the desire to practice goodness on themselves and each other, thereby denying their own divine essences. Upon building the ark, Noah’s peers mock him and decide he has lost his mind. Noah’s family, while uncertain of Noah’s means of comprehending the ‘word of the Lord,’ support his decision because of his fervent passion and drive with regards to the ark-building project.
But the moral of the story remains a mystery, especially given today’s cultural climate. As a result of Noah’s unyielding faith and trust, his family is saved and they remain the only human beings left on the planet. On the surface, as Hollywood will surely have us believe through brilliant scenery, costumes, cinematography, production design, sound editing, and other artificial devices, the moral is clear: Have faith and you will achieve the ultimate salvation; lose it, and you will lose everything.
But is this clear on a deeper level? Have faith in what, exactly? Have faith that if you sense a divine voice, it is telling you the truth so be unwavering in following its advice? Have faith that even though you will seem insane to others, you will ultimately succeed if you have direct contact with G-d?
Unlike most secular stories, the divine element is intrinsic to Noah’s story; this is not a case of believing in oneself, the foundation of secular culture. This is not a story where Noah overcomes his insecurity, battles a disease, or wins the big game at the end. This is a story of Noah receiving an internal message from the divine and following it despite his external perceptions.
How does this relate to the psychic exchange? In 2014, biblical stories are understood by the spiritually inclined as parables of faith, and by the secularly inclined as arguments for spiritual belief or fodder for entertainment. The psychic in our culture is one of the few positions that can take both the spiritually invested and the non-spiritually invested into account in practice. To Noah’s family, who trusted his good intentions without being particularly close to G-d, Noah was behaving logically in accordance with his experience. To those outside Noah’s circle, Noah was a con man, a fraud, a phony, a charlatan, an illusionist, a mentalist, a schemer. Noah wanted to convince everyone that he was powerful enough to predict a catastrophic storm. He was manipulative enough to spend his time building a giant ark, just to add credibility to his ludicrous scheme. Undoubtedly, today’s Facebook statuses and tweets of Noah’s neighbors and acquaintances would reflect this:
@NOAH, STILL BUILDING HIS ARK #WACKO
WHAT A LUNATIC, WASTING ALL THOSE POOR TREES #EARTHDESTROYER
“NOAH’S ILLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION IS A PATHOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO A TROUBLED CHILDHOOD” – READ THIS ARTICLE ABOUT THE MENTALLY ILL MAN AND HIS DESIRE TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD.
Before the skies broke, sending the wet wrath of the divine over the Earth, what was Noah’s power? To the masses he was constructing a pointless artifice, a massive boat on dry land, surely under some dilution of logic. To his family, Noah’s sudden fervor in this creation must be the product of truth, for only then could his desire to complete it be so intense. Noah’s only power in this story, as far as others are involved (for what is power if not externally verifiable to qualify its degree?), his only strength, is intention. His intention to save himself and his family keeps his actions pure and reaffirms the validity of his experience for his loved ones, forced to act on faith in his intention. They knew that Noah stood nothing to gain from such a willful abandonment of logic, and so his intention must be pure. The entire credibility of his ego, his integrity, was at stake.
What man operating without the divine would risk his own name for the sake of arbitrary artifice? But to those without faith, there must be a ruse, because nothing is done unselfishly by man. In begging for their faith in his word, Noah does nothing more than incriminate himself as a nefarious enigma, a man whose selfish motives have yet to be revealed. For those without faith, the revelation of his intention came too late. His so-called delusion became their deluge, and the Earth was cleansed of impurity of intention.
This same abandonment of faith story is seen in the crucifixion of Jesus and any religious tradition of monotheistic values. It can also be seen in the stories of Galileo, of Socrates, of any artist or scientist ahead of his or her time. Psychics are terrifying people whose power can only be measured by intention, as psychic powers (like artistic powers) can never be quantified or systematized successfully. Much they way one can not compare the gift of painting to the gift of mathematical adeptness, one can not compare the gift of clairvoyance to the gift of prescience.
An intriguing word, prescience. To the mainstream science practitioner, the implication is that so ludicrous a concept must only exist before the advent of modern understanding. Literally, ‘pre-Science.’ To the psychic practitioner, the word calls to attention the core knowledge of humanity, when human beings knew only their intuitive connection to one another and the surrounding world. With all our modern powers, we have only distracted ourselves from our most basic form of science: knowing the universe as a working part of it.
Today we treat ourselves as external. We are just bodies that think. Everything else becomes super-external. Our only remaining truths are that there is life and there is that which appears devoid of life. In Noah’s field of vision, there is an ark in progress and there is the absence of rain. He built the ark planning for death, and it was not until its completion that salvation could occur. We spend our days delaying death, only to finally know life after we surrender to its uncertainty. Amidst a modern-day flood of information, a deluge of thoughts, our wisdom has remained antediluvian.
If all a psychic has is intention, what makes people so fearful? Money could be a factor in today’s society, as economy has rendered every public act contingent upon financial support. Why must psychics charge? Well, of course, the same reason anyone must charge. In order to participate as an active member of society, you must afford yourself a place within it and demonstrate to others that you are buying a place within it. Psychics who seek to participate are straddling two worlds at once, operating in two or more dimensions.
No one needs money when there is kindness, but kindness has been shunned as a product of displaced values. We now live in a kindness paradox. You must be unkind to acquire the money to practice kindness at an influential scale, a powerful scale. Psychics are a secular creation, whereby people aware of the divine in ways imperceptible to most choose to participate in mainstream society. This phenomenon is fairly recent, spanning barely a century through today.
The culture of bygone days did not presume the possibility that someone with gifts of divine knowledge would not become a member of the clergy or some monastic tradition. It took a growing culture of science for people to finally compartmentalize their divine abilities as something individual and potentially detachable from the influence of a greater religious community. People no longer need to fit themselves into a singular religious tradition in order to commune with others spiritually. But this uniqueness and individuality in spiritual experience has sent people back into fears of the ego. When there is a community to answer to, there exists the presence of accountability at all times. But a visit to a psychic at his home or her office places the burden of accountability solely on the seeker. Receiving meaningful information from a psychic can become the moral equivalent of experiencing religious ecstasy from reading a verse from scripture, and thus the fear of missing or confusing the divine is imminent.
If a Christian man can visit a Buddhist psychic woman and gain meaningful insight into his life, wouldn’t this compromise his religious beliefs? It only can insofar as the Christian man decides that his beliefs render him incapable of gaining deeper insight into his life. Those secure in their open conversation with the universe can comprehend the interconnectedness of all religious and spiritual traditions on Earth. The psychic whose intention it is to steal people’s money can not possibly trick clients into paying for very long, as their negative intentions always come through. All the information in the world can not take the place of positive intentions, of kindness. Those who seek to disprove psychic exchange believe they are doing a service for those who seek psychic guidance. In truth, the person who has received meaningful psychic guidance will only be hurt by someone attempting to invalidate their experience. The disprover’s negative intention always comes through in their unwillingness to accept the positive, often life-changing experiences of those who accept psychic guidance as naturally as a visit to a mainstream psychologist.
If a person gains meaningful insight into life through consulting a psychic, there is only benefit going both ways. The client recognizes the psychic’s desire to participate in mainstream society and pays whatever price he will allow himself to pay. The positive psychic offers the client whatever information comes through with the intention of assisting the person to walk the most productive path through life. If only the naysayers had recognized such intentions in the information of Noah, of Moses, of Jesus, of those capable of interpreting divine energy and spreading its wealth across the world. The Earth, when the day comes, will be a much more loving, peaceful place.