Category Archives: Philosophy

G is for ‘Ghosts’. Do Ghosts Exist? An Interview with author and parapsychologist Callum E. Cooper.

Have you ever seen a ghost? Do you believe that ghosts really exist?…and if so, what exactly do we mean by a ‘ghost’?

In an interview with author and parapsychologist Callum E. Cooper, we explore what it is to believe, doubt, and personally experience the presence of ghosts and related paranormal phenomena from both ends of the spectrum of belief. Our interview is almost an hour long, so get yourself a cup of something hot and get comfy if you’re in it for the long haul!

Callum E. Cooper is currently based at the University of Northampton as a PhD researcher

esp, electronic voice phenomena, psychic, paranormal, psi, parapsychology, ghost, poltergeist, telephone calls from the dead, Callu E. Cooper, Cal Cooper

and lecturer of psychology. He is a member of the Society for Psychical Research, an Academic Member of the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies and a Student Member of the Parapsychological Association. His fields of interest include parapsychology, the psychology of death, human beliefs, psychological research methods and Egyptology. Cooper holds the 2009 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship (Parapsychology Foundation Inc) and was awarded the Alex Tanous Scholarship Award (Alex Tanous Foundation for Scientific Research) twice over, first in 2011 and then again in 2012.

 

paranormal, psychic, parapsychology, evp, spirituality, life after death

Click here to buy ‘Telephone Calls from the Dead’.

Until Next Week: Can you think of any experiments that would give you enough evidence to believe? I’d love to know if you’ve ever seen a ghost, comment below with your spooky stories!

Next Week: H is for ‘Happiness’.

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F is for ‘Forgiveness’. 5 Reasons Why Forgiveness is the Best Revenge.

5 Reasons Why Forgiveness is the Best Revenge.

Forgiveness Freedom

So, what is so great about forgiveness? Can we really forgive and forget? Have you experienced the healing power of ‘forgiving yourself’?

Someone wise once told me: ‘Unforgiveness is like punching yourself in the face and expecting someone else to feel the pain.’ That being said, why is it that we often find it so difficult to forgive the past and move on with our lives? The answer, I believe, is because we get caught up in the erroneous idea that forgiving equals excusing, condoning or giving pardon to other people’s past behaviour that has really hurt us. When we have been really hurt by someone’s actions, we become so angry, and feel so betrayed and vulnerable, that we just want revenge. Sweet and slow revenge!!

When you have been badly hurt, forgiveness is the last thing on your mind (it’s ok to admit this, you are human!) – you want the perpetrator to understand the pain that they have caused, and to suffer as you have suffered: ‘An eye for an eye…’ and all that. You are so wounded that you cannot forgive and that unforgiveness is a strong fuel that powers your desire for revenge. You feel entitled to vengeance and dishing out retribution feels to be the only salve for your inflamed sense of hurt. And yet…you do nothing. You are a good person and you do not want to go to jail so you resist the urge to batter the perpetrator’s door down with an axe! You swallow down your anger, your hurt, and your need to administer suffering as you have suffered. Over time you get sick, maybe you get angrier, maybe you can’t form meaningful and loving relationships because you cannot trust that you won’t get hurt again. The unforgiveness becomes your dark and poisonous companion who builds a re-inforced wall between you and your natural resting-state of peace.

But it’s not too late to break down that wall! What if I told you that you can achieve the revenge you seek in a way that really will make you feel better, and for which you won’t go to jail? What if I could assure you that it is forgiveness itself, that is the best revenge for past hurts?

‘But what happened to me was really bad. He treated me like garbage, I was abused, I hate this person, I really don’t think I can forgive them.’ I hear you say. If that is so, then the weapon of forgiveness will be even more powerful for you, if you learn how to use it. Get ready to take back the sense of peace that is rightfully yours! Here are some examples of situations that hurt, and 5 reasons why forgiveness is the best revenge…

1. Forgiveness is the best revenge because there is nothing more infuriating to someone who would deliberately hurt you, than you moving on with your life and being happy.

What happened? : My boyfriend of two years cheated on me. I forgave him and I thought that because I had forgiven him, I should take him back. He cheated on me again. I was devastated and hurt and broke up with him immediately. I now hate him, I hate myself fo being such an idiot, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to forgive again. Forgiveness didn’t work for me.

Take revenge! : Forgive him again. Don’t get confused and think that forgiveness means that you have to take him back- it’s not so. True forgiveness actually has nothing to do with condoning the behaviour of a cheating ex. It’s all about you. The extent to which you are willing to forgive is simply the extent to which you are willing to keep giving your cheating ex control of your suffering.

Forgiveness = Taking Control.

When you forgive, you acknowledge that you have been hurt, and you make the choice that hurt will not continue to define you in the present. Of course, you are entitled to grieve when you have been hurt; let yourself get mad, get it all out of your system, and when you’re done, visualize the offender in your mind and say. ‘I forgive you. I release you. I release myself from your control.’ (Go here for more on positive affirmations.)

2. Forgiveness is the best revenge because you’ll live a longer and healthier life.

What happened? : My mother abandoned me as a child. She left when I was 3 years old and I never saw her again. I have felt bitterness towards her all my life. I have often thought about hurting her the way she hurt me. I don’t think I could ever forgive her.

Take revenge! : For a moment, lets forget that this is about your mother. Let’s forget that forgiveness is about anyone or anything outside of yourself. I want you to think about yourself only. Forgiveness is a process that you can go through to bring peace, contentment and physical wellness to yourself. Being in a constant state of unforgiveness is really bad for your health. The emotions associated with unforgiveness cause chemical, hormonal and immune changes in your body which, over an extended period of time, can make you physically ill. Don’t let the past ruin your present and future health. Forgiveness is as much an important part of your healthcare routine as brushing your teeth and eating well! Forgiveness benefits your health in a similar manner to kindness. For an in-depth look at the science behind the health benefits of forgiveness and kindness, head over to Dr David Hamilton’s website.

3. Forgiveness is the best revenge because when you forgive, you take back your own power.

What happened? : My ex-boss was such a bully. Every day he made embarrassing remarks to me and singled me out from the rest of my colleagues when he felt like taking out his rage on someone. I put up with this for 5 years before being made to feel so miserable that I had to leave a job that I essentially loved. I’ll never forgive him for that.

Take revenge! : When you choose to forgive, this is the best kind of revenge because you re-empower yourself. This empowerment comes from recognizing that you have a choice: You can choose to continue to feel hurt, resentful and angry, or, you can choose to take responsibility for your reaction and work on being a person who forgives, even if it is difficult. Recognizing that you have a choice is truly empowering. Bullying is a terrible thing and it is understandable that you would find it difficult to forgive- but ‘finding it difficult’ to forgive is a whole lot better than having no choice at all. You can always make the choice to forgive and release all the tension and anxiety within you, that is embodied by unforgiveness. When you choose to forgive a bully, you release yourself from the feeling of victimization and you can begin to heal. What could be more empowering than that? Give yourself love and positive acknowledgement when you are able to forgive, it is a big ask.

4. Forgiveness is the best revenge because learning how to forgive protects you from Forgiveness dove monkeyfuture hurts.

What happened? : I got scammed! Someone hacked into my bank account and withdrew all my money 4 days before Christmas. I have 2 kids and if it hadn’t been for the generosity of friends and family, Christmas would have been ruined. These soulless thieves left me broke. The people who did this have never been caught and I’m having difficulty forgiving because there has been no justice.

Take revenge! : Forgiveness is the best revenge here because when you forgive, you make space in your heart for two very important questions. First, did you learn anything from this experience? Second, (and this is a hard one!) Is there anything positive that you can take from this experience? If you can forgive, you will be able to see what can be learned. Forgiving, here, has nothing to do with forgiving bad actions, you are using forgiveness for you. Can you imagine forgiving stealing to the extent that you are able to see something very precious in the experience? Visualize having a conversation with the thieves. In your mind say: ‘I forgive you. I know you act out of fear. I wish you love and I hope that you can overcome the things that make you afraid.’ If you are able to do this, you will discover within yourself, that you can protect yourself from future hurts simply by deciding to be a person who forgives. You can choose to be a person who forgives no matter what, and in doing so, you protect yourself from future hurts which are deepened and extended by unforgiveness. Practice forgiving now and you will be able to cope, forgive, and move on in future. Forgiveness can only make you stronger and less fearful when applied in this way…try it!

5. Forgiveness is the best revenge because it really is the cure for feeling sad, angry, frustrated and hurt.

What happened? : My father passed away several years ago. We weren’t on good terms because he was largely absent from our lives when my brother and I were kids. The times when he was around, he was violent and angry. He never apologized or admitted his mistakes and now that he’s gone, I still can’t forgive him. I don’t believe he was sorry and now I’ll never know.

Take revenge! : Some people who hurt you cannot apologize because they have passed away. Some people who have hurt you will not apologize for various reasons. If forgiveness was dependent on the apologies of others, human beings would have blown the world up already. Think of forgiveness like the antidote to a poison. It doesn’t matter how much someone in the past has tried to poison you with anger, hurt, fear, bad behaviour, selfishness, insensitivity etc., you can choose to administer the antidote at any moment. Let that moment be now.

Until Next Week: Practice forgiveness whenever you can. Start with the person in the mirror. You deserve forgiveness, you are a good person, you don’t need to be so hard on yourself. Look in the mirror, put your hand over your heart and say, ‘I forgive you’.

Saw something particularly horrible in the news? Close your eyes and say ‘I forgive you’. Get familiar with what it means to forgive, what it feels like, and why it’s important.

Have you had any inspirational experiences with forgiveness? Is there something that you have struggled to forgive? Comment below- I’d love to read what you have to share.

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Next Week: G is for ‘Ghosts’. I will be conducting a video interview with a very special guest. We will be discussing many aspects of ghostly phenomena…not to be missed!

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F is for ‘Fate’. What is Fate? (A Twist of Fate.)

What is fate, exactly? What does it mean to experience a twist of fate? Do you believe that you have a fate, a path of destiny that is pre-determined and laid out before you?

…and the big question is….

If fate exists, does that mean that you don’t have free will?

These are not easy questions to answer. Although ‘fate’ is a term that is commonly used in spiritual discourse, it is also a very serious problem for philosophy, psychology and physics:

In philosophy, fate is know as determinism.

In psychology, your fate is choices that you will make based on your social circumstances, which include: the influence of your parents, your religion, social status and education. This is known as your ‘life script’.

In quantum physics, the fate of any particle is inextricably linked to the fate of another particle. This is known as ‘entanglement’. Fate behaves very strangely on the quantum level.(Think Schrodinger’s Cat)

In this post, I will be discussing if fate exists in a way that affects the lives of you and me, and if so, how does it work?

The main problem with fate is that there is definite evidence to suggest that we live in a pre-determined reality (see above, and also just lots of reports of weird synchronistic happenings generally!) yet as we live out or lives, we have the definite distinct impression that we are making choices freely and without any bossy, imaginary force telling us what to do. We seem to exhibit free will: coffee or herbal tea? get up at 7am, or 8am? To move house or not to move house? Call an old friend, or no? Your choices are being made by you, and so your life is shaped by these choices, and these choices alone, right?…Well, maybe.

I cannot offer you a hard and fast scientific formula for the existence of fate, however I have had several interesting experiences that have led me to believe that there are things that I am ‘supposed’ to do whilst alive on this planet, and I call that fate. I often get the sense that I am being led past certain milestones or markers in my life that are not only pre-determined, but are pre-determined towards some purpose. The ‘markers’ are always significant and life changing, they appear to be deliberate and often turn out to be essential to my soul’s development. I get the sense that the frequent synchronicities that I experience serve a function- they conspire with the forces of fate to lead me (by some cosmic invisible soul-map) to people, places, thoughts, actions and lessons that I cannot choose to miss or forget.

I’m sure this all sounds very far-fetched and unscientific, and it is really hard to explain rationally, yet if you have ever experienced a twist of fate or synchronistic intervention, then you’ll know what I mean! It is difficult to shake the feeling that you are being deliberately directed through life, once you have experienced this kind of phenomena. As empirical evidence, I’d like to share with you one of the many synchronistic events that has happened in my life, that has given me the sense that fate is watching over me…very closely.

When I was 23, my mother gave me a book called ‘Looking Back’ by James Arthur Findlay. She told me that J. Arthur Findlay was a man who had very interesting experiences with mediumship and Spirit communication, and had dedicated his life to the study of psychic and mediumistic phenomena. Right away this piqued my interest, being exactly the subject matter I enjoyed reading about. Arthur Findlay was so dedicated to the study and development of psychic and mediumistic abilities that, when he passed away, he left his stately home in Stansted, England, to be converted into a school for psychic studies. This school is now called The Arthur Findlay College for Psychic Studies.

At 23, I was already working as a psychic medium. I found the idea of the college really appealing- I wanted to go to learn from the best psychic and mediumistic teachers, and to build a strong mediumistic relationship with people in Spirit. I asked my mum if we could go, and I chose a week-long course that happened to co-incide with my birthday. My mum (the kind and generous woman that she is!) offered to pay for my visit and tuition at the college as a birthday gift. When our stay at the college was confirmed, I thought I had better learn something about the man whose former home I was going to be living and learning in. So I settled down one day, with the huge tome ‘Looking Back’ that my mum had given me, and I began to read. The book was about Arthur Findlay’s life and was very interesting…I was surprised to read that he hadn’t come from a Spiritual background at all! A third into the book, I turned a page and there was a black and white photo of a church. I stared at it for a long moment…the church seemed so familiar to me. I felt like I knew that church very well. I was so confused. I turned the page and read on, and I couldn’t believe what I read…

I grew up in a small town in Scotland called Beith, which has a population of 6,300 people. I lived there and went to school there my entire childhood. Imagine my shock and surprise when I read, in a caption below the photo of the church, that Arthur Findlay had also lived in Beith for much of his adult life, before moving 400 miles away to Stansted, England. It’s no wonder that the church in the photo looked so familiar…I had walked past that church every day of my childhood! The co-incidence was uncanny. So uncanny that I recognized the experience as not being co-incidence. It was fate. I went to Arthur Findlay College, and on the walls were some of Arthur Findlay’s letters, addressed to and from addresses in Beith. It was surreal. My time at the Arthur Findlay College was amazing. I learned so much that has shaped my understanding of mediumship. I learned so much that I have applied in developing my connection to the Spirit world, and the experiences I had there crystallized the feeling that I’d had for a number of years, that I was supposed to be a medium- that it was my fate. I passed that fate marker, just by being open enough to allow, and follow, the synchonicities that led me to the college. I have come to accept and trust that the same lanterns of fate continue to illuminate my journey through life.

It is because of experiences like this that I do believe that each and every one of us has a fate. But I also believe that we have free will too. So here’s the theory…

Ok, so we live in a deterministic reality. There are pre-determined experiences that you must go through, so that your soul may flourish and extend itself in the most meaningful way possible. Despite this pre-chosen destiny, you still have free will in the following ways:

1. You do not consciously know the fate markers that you have chosen to pass in your life, so you are making free will choices simply because you are unaware at the time of making the choice, that the choice is leading you to your fate.

2. You do not know how/by which path/ in which way you are going to get there. So your destination (your destiny) is pre-determined, but you have many, many free choices to make as to how you’re gonna get there. I call this blend of fate and free will ‘The Matrix of Fate’. Here are some of my possible ‘fates’ and how I may come to experience them, using my own free will.

Fate, free will, determinism, destiny

The colourful dots are some experiences that the force of fate has guided me towards. All roads lead to them or through them, so my experiencing them is inevitable. I make free choices as to how I achieve these fate markers, but achieve them I must- many of my choices lead me round in circles!

Unitl next week: Meditate on the ways in which fear and doubt are so unnecessary because you are safe in the knowledge that you cannot make a mistake about your fate. You can choose the long road to get to the milestone: but you cannot miss the milestone. Allow that knowledge to comfort you and know that you don’t have to try so hard to make your fate happen. Relax: It’s coming! It must.

I’m excited to read your experiences with fate. Do you believe in fate or do you think you make your own destiny? Comments, thoughts and questions are welcomed. If you enjoyed reading this post, please do share it! Thank you!

Next Week: F is for ‘Forgiveness’.

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mind, psychic, psi, natural, nature

E is for ‘Evidence’. Do Psychic Abilities Really Exist?

I have a theory about how our psychic abilities operate. I do not know for sure, but my 20,000 readings have given me data to work with, time to ponder, and experience upon which to reflect, and my theory is the sum of these parts. I’d particularly like to share with you my thoughts regarding why it is that some people seem to be psychic, and others not. And why the scientific community has had such difficulty in agreeing whether intuitive abilities exist, or not. I’m going to draw upon some of the popular comments that sceptics and skeptics have made, and suggest another way to investigate the problem of inconsistency when it comes to collecting evidence about psychic abilities. That is to pose the question: Why do some experiments yield significant results which confirm that intuitive abilities exist, whereas other experiments yield no such results?

As I write this, I remember one reading that I did that I felt gave great evidence for the existence of psychic abilities, life after death, and the capacity for physical humans to communicate with non-physical humans. I was reading for a woman, discussing her job, when suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I saw a man in his 40s with thick black hair standing next to her. He told me that he was the woman’s father and he told me to mention the number 5. He put his hand up and spread out his fingers, like you would if you were trying to express the number five to someone who is out of hearing range. Now, I have learned not to interfere or argue with these experiences and just do as I’m told, so I stopped what I was saying and told her, ‘Your Dad is standing next to you. He has thick black hair, he’s in his 40s and he said that it’s very important that I mention the number 5 to you.’ A silence hung in the air for a long moment- I had no idea what she was going to say next. She stared at me, wide-eyed and unblinking, and all the colour drained from her face. She swallowed hard and begun to reach for her bag with a shaky hand. I asked her if she was alright and that I hoped I hadn’t upset her- I thought she was going to get up and leave! She didn’t reply, but continued to fumble around in her bag, and before long, she pulled out a photograph and handed it to me silently, before covering her face with her hands. I took the photo from her, and there he was, with his mop of black hair standing with his family. ‘Turn it over,’ she said from behind her hands. I turned the photo over and on the back was written, ‘Dad if it’s really you then say the number 5.’ The digit 5 was circled several times in black biro. She was shocked, but she wasn’t half as shocked as I was!

Being a student of philosophy, I am compelled to interrogate ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ that amazing and meaningful experience happened. ‘That’s just one occasion’, the skeptics amongst you may say, but this is just one example of the kind of repetitive phenomena that I, and other psychics, have had the absolute joy, amazement and bewilderment to be a part of over and over again.

So what’s the problem? Surely this would make news headlines and would be considered irrefutable evidence for the existence of psychic abilities? Well…not so fast. Whatever science says goes, and so far, the scientific community cannot agree on what psychic phenomena is, or if it even exists. In my opinion, the reason that science has so much difficulty ‘proving’ psychic ability under test conditions is two-fold.

First, because scientists have gone way, way off track with what the nature of psychic ability actually is and so many experiments are not fit for purpose.

Second, because, like quantum physics, observation, expectation, prejudice and belief influence psychic transactions, and thus, the outcome of the experiments. This is why the answer is always ‘inconclusive’ after a large amount of data is gathered.

People all over the world are experiencing psychic phenomena every day, and it’s getting more and more common, and of greater and greater significance to people’s lives. The proof is in the empirical data. Sceptics, skeptics and scientists need to admit that their findings are inconclusive at best, and resist the urge to say ‘psychic phenomena does not exist and we are going to prove it’. This is begging the question at issue. People who have experienced psychic phenomena are not anti-science. We trusted science when it told us that penicillin worked, and we all gave the thumbs-up when physical science said they desperately needed to build a Hadron Collider. We want science to have the answer. On the matter of psychic phenomena, we are not trying to be stupid or difficult, it’s just that science cannot falsify my experiences!

I believe that the reason that psychic ability experiments yield inconclusive results is because the scientific method requires that psychic abilities, if they exist, must abide by a law of nature, a formula, or a physical force that works by a set of rules…but why? Who decided that psychic ability takes that form? On what basis is this expectation founded? Every experiment surrounding psychic ability starts off by insisting that psychic ability be subjected to lab-based experimentation. This is a materialist view which requires that everything in existence be physically provable. However, there are, evidently, many, many things that exist that are non-physical, to which psychic phenomena is akin. Dreams, thoughts, love, interests, inspiration, and 94% of the Universe is non-physical, yet no one questions that they ‘exist’, so why are psychic abilities lumped into the ‘physical’ category? You can no more devise a lab-based test to prove the existence of psychic abilities than you could devise a repeatable lab-based test that proves I love my mother. There is no test for ‘I love my mother’. There is no formula that proves beyond doubt. There is no law that can be discovered to which ‘I love my mother’ abides, yet love my mother I do. So, if love were to be subjected to the same ‘repeatable-in-a-lab’ standards that psychic phenomena has been dragged through, science would be forced to conclude that I do not love my mother. Is science right to tell me that I don’t love my mother just because my love cannot be measured by the scientific method? ‘I’m sorry Lauren, I know you think you love your mother but we can’t find any formula that proves it and if you take a look at this graph, you’ll find that you do not, in fact, love your mother because there is no law that governs your alleged ‘love’ so give up this foolish idea ok?’ What an empty life that would be.

Psychic abilities are akin to a feeling, a talent, an artform- not a law of nature, so sceptical scientists need to stop trying to make psychic abilities fit into an irrelevant and erroneous mould, followed by self-congratulation for ‘proving’ that psychic ability doesn’t exist because it hasn’t met the conditions set by their unfounded and close-minded expectation of its nature.

Psychic abilities are easily influenced by a number of factors. Take this analogy:

An artist who is passionate about painting is contacted by a group of scientists who say, ‘We are not convinced that there is any such thing as art. We don’t believe that what you do is art, and we don’t like what you do. To prove that you are an ‘artist’ and that art exists, you need to come into this laboratory, get hooked up to a machine and produce your greatest work under a time pressure, and under the conditions that we set for you. As you do that, we are going to watch you, doubt you and attempt to disprove you. We will judge whether you are good enough or not. We are fit to decide if you are an artist. If you decline then we will tell everyone that you are not an artist and that your declination has proven that there is no such thing as art.’

Do you honestly think that this artist will be able to go to that laboratory and produce the greatest work of his life?! Of course not! Yet, these are the conditions, implied and/or explicit, under which psychics are expected to ‘prove’ their abilities.

Now consider this:

An artist receives a letter from a scientist that says, ‘We are really interested in your art. We are enthusiastic to understand how you produce your work, and we would like to do some research into what makes people believe so deeply in your work. We want to observe you in your own environment, over a period of time, to get a sense of how you work, and what inspires you and to find out if there’s anything new that we can learn about art through your process. We will treat you with respect and we will let you work at your usual, natural pace. Would you give us permission to do that?’

Do you think that this scientist is likely to learn something amazing about art, inspiration and how it is produced? Of course! This scientist may just get to experience this artist’s greatest work from inception to completion because he or she is working with the artist in situ, with open-mindedness and respect.

The frequency and accuracy of psychic phenomena increases with trust, support, encouragement and nurturing. It disappears with doubt, scorn, ridicule and a desire to prove that it doesn’t exist. If any scientist, experimenter, (or even client!) approaches psychic work with a heartful of scorn, condemnation and doubt, then they are never going to experience psychic ability at work. The existence of psychic ability is wholly subjective and depends ENTIRELY on the sum of collective bias. If the majority of people involved in the experiment are supportive, open-minded and encouraging, amazing things will be observed. If most people involved in the experiment are doubtful, scornful, desperate to prove the non-existence of the abilities and are inflexible with their methods then they will get exactly the result they are looking for: little to nil phenomena will show up. The psychic person is just like the artist, expected to produce his or her finest work, being watched by a roomful of doubting eyes, and when he or she fails, the skeptics (who secretly wanted to witness failure all along) give themselves a pat on the back and deem the case closed.

For any sceptics, skeptics, scientists, psychologists or parapsychologists reading this, try this:

Divide your existing data up into two categories: the experiment results of ‘majority of believers involved in experiments’ and ‘majority of skeptics involved in experiments’. You will see that the data findings are congruent with the respective ‘belief’ or ‘doubt’ sum of the group, not because anyone has been fiddling with the digits, or because of nit-picking at the method of experimentation, but because the mental expectation of the majority of those involved influences the outcome. Just like in quantum physics, observation itself, and the conditions of observation, affects the results, outcomes and evidence of psychic experiments, especially when that observations are being made by thinking beings who, knowingly or unknowingly, pour their prejudices and expectatons into EVERY STEP of the experimentation process, many of whom then go on to expect a replicable and unbiased result. It’s impossible!

I have one piece of advice for anyone who wants to experiment to discover whether or not psychic abilities really exist:

Experiment on yourself!

There is always room to doubt the findings, testimony and research of other people, especially if you are skeptical. The nature of psychic ability, like love or preference, is so subjective that the only data you can trust as being true (for you) is data you collect about yourself. Make your decision about what to believe based on that, because it is YOUR truth, and it’s the only truth you’re ever going to get. There is no objective number. There is no objective ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Psychic ability exists insofar as you will permit it to exist.

Check out this video of a well-known skeptic discovering his intuitive abilities for the first time:

Until next time: Practice psychic experiments with a friend whom you trust. Take turns at visualizing a colour. The person who is visualizing, ‘beams’ the colour across to the receiving person, who must write down which colour the sender was thinking of. Try it at different times of the day, at different locations, during different moon phases etc. and see if the results vary as to how many times you get it right or wrong. Whatever your findings are, you have permission to accept that they are true for you. I would love to know what you find and if your psychical connectivity increases over time the more you build trust between you both, and the connection to each other increases. Feel free to share your thoughts and findings by clicking on the comment bubble below.

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Next Week: E is for ‘Ethical Living’.

Come and gimme some love over at:

www.angellauren.com

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Get your daily love and happiness tweets @angellassie

B is for ‘Belief’: A Quick Guide to Vanquishing Your Limiting Beliefs.

We have all experienced the debilitating force of limiting beliefs, the most damaging of all being: ‘I can’t…’.

I hold an uncommon view about how the relationship between belief and knowledge comes to shape reality.  According to what I know spiritually, the belief/knowledge interaction is co-creative and co-dependent. Our beliefs are just as important as conceptual knowledge, and each informs the other.  Our reality is constructed from a dense and complicated web of beliefs and knowledge. Beliefs are powerful because they inform our words and actions, this is particularly so of the beliefs we hold about ourselves. We can harness the power of belief to create wonderful opportunities in our lives, but in order to do so, we have to learn to vanquish the beliefs that we hold that limit us. The following points are some things to consider when choosing what to believe…

Belief and knowledge are not separate things:

Without belief, knowledge would not exist. Everything that we know began somewhere, sometime, as a belief, a hunch, an abstract idea floating on the ether. Belief is the acorn from which the Oak of knowledge grows. oak tree

Albert Einstein famously said, ‘There is no logical way to the discovery of elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling of the order lying behind the appearance.’- Thank you Albie, they don’t call you Einstein for nothing! In order for a scientist to discover knowledge, the direction of study must be influenced by something.  The scientist must believe that their study is heading off in the right direction, so his/her intuitive belief is the foundation for whatever knowledge is discovered. See what else I have to say about scientists in this post.

‘I believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun.’  This belief fuelled study, expermentation and, importantly, determination, to find what can be known about the Sun and the Earth.  Without belief, without the sense that something will be proved, there is no direction or momentum towards knowledge. Considering this, it seems to me that the power of belief should get a little more respect than it does.  Einstein knew that beliefs are what propel us towards knowledge.  Without belief, we could prove or demonstrate no knowledge- we wouldn’t know where to start.  Think about it.  Most of the information that we consider to be true knowledge started off as a hunch, a belief, an intuition in the mind of a scientist, philosopher or mathematician.

Belief is as ‘real’ as knowledge:

Allegedly, the thing that makes knowledge better than belief is it’s relationship to truth.  When we have knowledge about something, when it is ‘known’ then it has to be true.  I disagree with this on most, but not all, distinctions between belief and knowledge- and my beef is with truth.

What is truth? Say, you and I are both looking at a colour. I say it’s green, you say it’s blue. Who is telling the truth? The colour cannot be both green and blue, but surely it is either green or blue.  Someone has to be wrong- or the concept of truth is wrong. If I see green from my subjective perspective then that is 100% true to me. If you see blue, that is 100% true to you, based on a lifetime of empirical information gathered from seeing that colour and others.  So with the exception of a priori truths (check me out, getting my philosophy lingo on!) it seems like the concept of truth necessary to engender knowledge actually looks suspiciously like a belief. I am not suggesting that knowledge is not true. I am suggesting that under some circumstances, beliefs deserve as much of a truth-bearing status as knowledge.

What can we really say is 'true' about this image?

What can we really say is ‘true’ about this image?

Belief and knowledge are equally real in that they both shape our reality. What we believe informs our conversations, actions, reactions, passions, emotions etc. What we believe shapes every part of how we act in our lives and that action occurs in reality. Belief and knowledge are synergetic- what we believe becomes what we do becomes what we know becomes what we believe and so on.  Albert Einstein said that, ‘The only source of knowledge is experience.’…and the experiences we have are caused by our beliefs.

We ought to monitor our beliefs and ask ‘why do I believe this?’:

Your beliefs hold the key to your actions, interactions and transactions. Making the effort to understand, edit, reflect upon and choose what to believe will change your life.  This is especially true with regards to your beliefs about yourself. The insignificance currently attributed to beliefs (especially in the realms of science and philosophy) allows them to sneak in the back door of our consciousness without us noticing. Beliefs take hold in our consciousness and begin to colour the way we understand ourselves and our life experience, often without us realizing that it’s going on!

Who gave you the beliefs you hold? Have you questioned them and thought them through? When you really consider it, how much do your beliefs about yourself shape the way you act in the world? Are you happy with that? Could you believe something different about yourself that would influence and cause a better life experience for you? For more on ‘what you believe is what you receive’ see this post.

I am very interested to read your thoughts about beliefs. Have you ever believed something and then radically changed

Your beliefs shape your reality.

Your beliefs shape your reality.

your mind? Do you feel like your beliefs are fluid or fixed? What do you believe about yourself right now? Do you notice any difference between what you believe and what you know, when it comes to the shaping and formation of your life?

Until next time, I want you to stand toe-to-toe with a limiting belief that you hold about yourself. See it in your mind and visualize it vaporizing. For one week (and forever!) replace that belief with a positive, loving and empowering belief about yourself and see what happens to your life. Then try and tell me that belief is less true and less important than knowledge!

Have a great week, and keep knowing what you believe and believing what you know!

I welcome your comments and questions!

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Next Week: B is for Books.

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A is for ‘Affirmations’: How they work and what to do when they don’t.

A is for AFFIRMATIONS: How they work and what to do when they don’t.

It was 2009-2010 and the recession was at its lowest ebb and so was I. For the first time in my adult life, I was without employment. My happiness levels and funds were as depleted as the job market, and I was unable to provide for myself financially. So I gave up my flat and moved in with my sister in an attempt to staunch my bank account’s number haemorrhage.

‘I’m never going to have enough money,’ I thought. ‘I’m never going to get a job that pays enough…there’s a recession, there are no jobs…I’m going to be in debt forever…my debts keep piling up’.

These were my affirmations and I practised them religiously. Day after day, these were the promises I was making to myself. I worried about money all the time, I talked about having no money all the time, and I convinced myself that my situation was never going to change. I was convinced that I was being judged as a failure, but really, no-one was judging me except myself.

I came to believe passionately in poverty, and with every day that I was without a job I thought: See, this is proof that I’m always going to be poor.  I didn’t realize at the time that my own limiting beliefs were making a challenging situation much, much worse. I was unable to see that I was lucky to have a sister who’d let me stay with her, and that I was getting to spend more time with my family. I couldn’t see it. I believed only in the ‘bad’ elements of my situation, and I received what I believed.

This went on for months, and my cycle of negativity had evolved into a downward spiral. Despite my negativity, I secretly held on to the hope that I’d be happy again. One day, this hopeful thought managed to force its way into my mind, like a glimmer of light, noticeable amidst the pervasive darkness. The thought that I might one day be happy again dawned on me, like the sun cracking over the horizon and dispersing an inky black night:

What if it’s my thoughts, and not the recession, that’s causing me to feel so unhappy?

When this realization dawned on me, the grip of my inner lack-narrative weakened. Previous to this, I hadn’t considered that what went on in my mind could affect the outside world. But as soon as I made the connection that my negative thinking was causing me to pick out only the events that would justify my beliefs, it resonated through me with the sort of chime achievable only by truth. I knew that for my financial situation to improve, I had to stop thinking so negatively about it.

A few days after I made this new promise to myself, I was visiting a friend in Edinburgh. As I left the train station, I noticed a bright white piece of paper loosely lodged in a crack in the pavement. It fluttered back and forth in the wind, as if it was waving to me.  The street was busy, and yet no one had noticed it.  As I got a few steps closer, I couldn’t believe my eyes: the piece of paper waving at me was a £20 note!

I picked it up and laughed.  It was more than a £20 note, it was a symbol of change.  ‘Thank you’, I thought.

****

An affirmation is a proposition that you think or say repetitively because you believe it to be true, however it is actually the repetition of the thought or statement that convinces your mind that it is  true. The process that you go through to convince yourself of the truth of a given statement is unbiased, it works the same whether the content of the proposition is positive or negative.

We are making affirmations all the time. Your life is the sum total of the beliefs you affirm. And you hold those beliefs because, in repeating them, you have assimilated them into your consciousness. Your consciousness adapts to comfortably hold the beliefs that seem true to you. The fact that you are reading this post probably means that you have spontaneously made many negative affirmations about yourself over the years. It has taken you a long, long time to believe what you do. So when you realize that you no longer identify with the beliefs you hold about yourself, it can take time and effort to change. What would you rather think about yourself and your life? Give those beliefs the same repetition that you gave the beliefs that you don’t want, and you will harness the power of the belief–>justification–> belief cycle. Having said that, it can be very difficult to change your beliefs because some beliefs are not under your conscious control. The mind is a miraculously complex entity that can hide nuggets of belief in your subconscious or in half-forgotten memories. For more on this, see my post B is for ‘Belief’. Sometimes, positive affirmations don’t work because the new affirmation comes into conflict with a deeply entrenched belief. When we try to affirm something that is opposed to a deep-seated, subconscious belief, the ‘superficial’ affirmation is not strong enough to change one of our core values, even if, consciously, we really want to change. And when it doesn’t work, we beat ourselves up even more because we failed to change, gave up, or lost the will to do our affirmations, and so the spiral of negative affirmations begins again. If this sounds familiar, try this:

To access the negative core belief and bring it to your conscious mind, ask the belief questions. Interrogate your negative belief. Listen to it and understand it. For example, say you constantly affirm that you are unloved and unwanted. On a conscious level, you know that this belief is crippling you. So you choose a new thought: I am desired and loved. You say it over and over, you write it out and stick it to your fridge, and the magic words are your laptop wallpaper. You work with the new affirmation for a few months and yet, you feel very little difference, and any difference you do feel is undermined by a voice within that chases the affirmation with a ‘yeah right, who could ever love you?’ You don’t really believe this crap do you?’ And you’re right back to square one. This will happen to many people who want to use the power of affirmations to change their outlook. Don’t beat yourself up if it happens to you. When you have a quiet moment, write down the negative affirmation that is deeply true to you. Take a few deep breaths and meditate on questioning the belief. Some good questions are:

Why do I hold this belief?

Is there a specific event that was the initial trigger for this belief?

Are there examples of times when this belief was true, when I felt unloved and unwanted?

Are there examples when the opposite was true, when I felt very loved and desirable? What did that feel like?

What does it mean to me to be ‘loved’ and ‘desired’?

Is there a way that I could love and care for myself more to help this new belief become true?

By questioning your belief, you change your relationship to it, and in so doing, you unsettle its ‘true’ and ‘logical’ place in your belief system, thereby making room for new beliefs. This method takes time and effort as you are trying to rewire your mind without the instruction manual! But keep with it, you’ll extinguish, or at least manage it, eventually and when you do, you will benefit so much from a more positive and empowering set of truths.

Some affirmations are easier to believe than others because we believe that some things are more accessible to us than others.  You may feel that a new car is much more accessible to you than true self-love.  It is only the fact that you believe that that makes it so (inception, anyone?) The only scale of difficulty in embodying positive beliefs is dictated by our beliefs about difficulty of attainment.

Here are some ‘positive affirmation’ ideas to get you started…

‘I’m sick of being fat, my cellulite is ruining my life!’

Becomes

‘I love my body.  My body is trim, beautiful and radiates with health.’

‘I’m never going to find love, why do guys always treat me like crap!?’

Becomes

‘I love myself.  I am loving, loved and loveable.’

‘*sigh* I hate my job, no one appreciates me.  I know I’m being underpaid.’

Becomes

‘I am inspired by my job. My efforts are rewarded and I am well paid.’

‘Why I am always skint? I hate having no money to enjoy life.’

Becomes

‘I earn ______enter amount here (I suggest £100,000, or why not a cool million?)_____ per year and I love my life!’

I would be so happy to read your positive affirmations. Leave me a comment by clicking on the bubble at the top right of this post.

Thank you for reading!  Until next week, enjoy exploring the You-niverse!

Next week: ‘A is for Angels’.

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