Ghosts, black magic and superstition... we are fascinated by the
paranormal, as any book list will show. The human state is much
nearer to the spirit world than most of us care to acknowledge.
We are a spiritual entity; our body unwittingly clothes a spiritual
element and we are powered by the spiritual faculty of intuition;
and this extra-terrestrial experience of awareness regularly manifests
itself in our physical world.
On a BBC Nationwide programme recently a Brazilian psychologist,
Luiz Gasparetto, entered a trance state and proceeded to paint 21
pictures in some 75 minutes. Some were painted upside down, some
with both hands simultaneously. Every picture bore the unmistakable
style of old masters, from Toulouse Lautrec to Modigliani, VanGogh
to Picasso. The speed, variety and quality of the pictures defy
explanation, but millions of viewers witnessed this feat which was
conducted under strict studio conditions. The pictures were sold
Gasparetto is a psychic artist. He has no artistic training, yet
he can draw with both hands at once, in the dark, in 30 different
and immediately recognisable styles. He is one of many psychic mediums
who can 'channel' communications from a wide variety of deceased
MUSIC IN SPIRIT
The London housewife Rosemary Brown writes music for long deceased
composers like Liszt, Chopin and Brahms - producing work in their
definitive style in a feat far beyond her elementary musical skills.
Most have been performed in public and all have been acknowledged
by musicians worldwide for their authenticity. In the meantime,
numerous instances of automatic writing are recorded, some even
authentically signed by authors and poets from centuries past. While
we can't jump to conclusions about the source of these extraordinary
phenomena, the sincerity of these quiet and usually private people
cannot be questioned. We cannot question, either, the fact that
an energy we call spirit, that is, without physical form, is constantly
present in our world.
Sometimes this takes other forms. There are many well documented
cases of twins suffering simultaneous emotional experiences throughout
their lives which inexplicably span both time and space; and of
mothers' sudden and unexplained knowledge of their children's imminent
danger. Telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance and premonitions, not
to mention out-of-body experiences, synchronicity, and a host of
altered states of consciousness induced by psychedelic drugs, breathwork,
prayer, meditation and hypnotism, all demonstrate mankind's spiritual
In animals this 'sixth sense' is taken for granted - in a dog's
nervous response to a psychic or haunted environment, or a rat family's
precognition of disaster when they will all suddenly vacate a doomed
ship days before it sails.
Far up a lonely track in the Scottish Highlands, I once visited
a remote, abandoned shooting lodge; the atmosphere of that unhappy
house was hostile and unwelcoming. The two lurchers with me refused
to enter the house. I camped in the house with two friends while
the dogs whinged and growled and spent the night outside. Later
I discovered the cause for the dogs unrest - a murder victim had
been concealed beneath the foundations, some fifty years before….
We both indulge and fear the occult. We are both curious and
denouncing, and yet we engage in prayer, convinced that our spiritual
utterings will create a physical response in our world - which they
often do, as much for psychological and physiological reasons as
for those phenomena we call miracles. Just as the mind shapes Light,
the frequency of universal energy, so the mind can shape our present
and our earthly future. Collective prayer, the combined energies
of aligned groups, multiplies this force with often spectacular
results. We can heal ourselves and others of terminal disease, paralysis
and physical malfunctions; we can perform miracles....
Pilgrims flock to traditional shrines, to places of spiritual hope
and healing. The fervour generated in shrines like Lourdes, Medjugorie
and Mecca is a powerful experience which cannot fail to engage the
deepest of human feelings. The atmosphere is imbued with a sense
of hope, love and expectation. Personal identities are elevated
to collective awareness and human values ennobled. In this rarefied
state pilgrims pray for forgiveness for all their transgressions,
perceived and real, and pray for their sick and their dying, and
for peace in their societies and success in their wars.
They unite in a common energy, and this energy can manifest itself
as physiological power. Illness is most often an unsolicited response
to trauma and an unconscious cry for love. The emotional charge
of this spiritually aligned group can invoke this love and the sufferer
may be released from the full burden of illness. A problem shared
with the collective energy of prayer can answer this cry, negate
the trauma and trigger recovery. Such is the beauty of love and
the great energy of our poorly conceded spirituality and our ill
developed power of healing.
In Arabia I have witnessed the fervour of peasant pilgrims making
their once-in-a-lifetime visit to Mecca. Mountain people from Afghanistan,
Pakistan and Yemen assemble alongside Somalis, Eritreans, Philippinos,
many of them illiterate and most quite ignorant of the outside world.
Sometimes their pilgrimage is collectively financed by their fellow
villagers. Some suffer immense hardships on journeys that can take
them months or even years, but the delight on their faces as they
near the Holy City tells of a joy which elevates them above the
limitations of their humble origins.
Healing ministries, deliverance services and the so-called Toronto
Blessing17 can all trigger amazing biological response, all fired
by sudden changes in our spiritual outlook. These do not prove the
existence of some beneficent (or in the case of deliverance, malevolent)
force, only our willingness to submit to higher energies in search
of spiritual alignment. Prayer is the word we use to invoke these
energies, and participatory ritual is the vehicle that triggers
17Whole congregations are observed to fall down in the aisle, laugh uncontrollably, weep and speak gibberish. Participants describe the phenomenon as the 'coming of the Holy Spirit'. Since the first occasion in Toronto, up to 4,000 churchgoers in UK have had the same experience. The established church dismisses the occurrence as mass hysteria.
Prayer is generally devoid of a common goal and more often devoid
of a spiritual goal. Inherited traditions die hard, and most Western
religions, and some Eastern ones too, are preoccupied with the worldly
excesses of sin and sex. They spend too much time talking about
the sins of the world, of unharnessed gratification and moral impropriety.
Sin becomes the public enemy that unites the faithful, and in our
condemnation of sin we forget to embrace the unjudgmental face of
spiritual maturity, clearly missing the point of prayer and the
healing energy of Love.
Eroticism and sexual ritual has played an important role in religious
development through the ages. The Tantric forms of Hinduism advocate
sexual union, generally through yoga and coitus reservatus, to commemorate
the male and female gods of the universe, Siva and Sakti, who together
represent our dual experience of mind and body, spirit and matter18.
Taoism elevated coitus reservatus, (sexual union un-interrupted by
orgasm), into an ethic of righteous living.
18 The Kamasutra is the historic guide to sensual pleasure, love and the good Hindu marriage. This renowned work dates from the 3rd century BC
Enabled sensation, heightened through ecstasy, is a recurring
theme among mystics and saints of the Christian world. Fasting in
the rarefied atmosphere of a mountain top, prolonged meditation,
deep concentration in prayer, sense deprivation and self conditioning
all lead to forms of ecstasy which sharply define our experience
of spirit and matter.
Traditional Christians loved to declare themselves sinful, wallowed
in self recrimination, denigrated sex and spent long hours nurturing
the martyred child of their own immaturity. They relished telling
their god how awful they were, how unworthy, how lowly, and they
prayed for salvation.
Many Christians retain a lingering conviction that a stern and
judgmental god can be pacified with repentance. The tradition of
penance clashes with modern social teaching... an innocent child
born to endure the preposterous concept of original sin will be
unlikely to shed its preconditioning, so powerful in a developing
child, and to turn the concept around into self love and the life
long regeneration of its spiritual potential. This cult of blameless
burden can cause lasting trauma to sensitive recipients and lifelong
guilt to the remainder.
Grovelling ingratiation speaks of the confused perspective of one
who has yet to accept his rightful place in the Universal hierarchy,
and accept the joyful responsibility of his godly nature. Just as
we feel 'good' after running a 10 mile marathon, pitting grit and
determination against apathy and worldly excess, so also the grit
and determination of our prayerful penance feeds our flaccid brain
with physical fatigue and unwarranted emotional expenditure, while
doing nothing for our spirituality, which waits eternally for us
to embrace its rich reality and to spread spiritual energy throughout
our life and our world.
PRAYER AND THOUGHT
Prayer and its modern partner, Positive Thought, do not quench
our anxieties or defuse our unconscious strife. All too often prayer
attempts to bury our emotional problems, to subjugate them to a
higher power or to self delusion. But that higher power is within
us, in our own soul, which will not be silenced by prayer alone.
There is no shortcut to spiritual maturity; we are born wanting,
by our own pre-carnate choice, that our wants and needs may lead
us to our own reality. Not through a dictated notion borrowed from
an ageing book of words, but the vibrant knowledge of a living spirituality
which belongs to us all.
Christian and Jewish cultural interpretations are confused and
man made. No god ever advocated pain, penance and retribution; these
are the unreasoned words of power-starved teachers beating their
recalcitrant followers into religious submission, with talk of salvation
and other hints of psychological coercion. People are easily led
and a burden of responsibility must fall upon some of the more vociferous
missionaries, the born again zealots and the evangelists who sometimes
forget the real message of our religions.
Growth is all about expansion of the soul. Many lesser religious
teachers order restriction, denial and subjugation of the soul,
usually for their own ill-formulated objectives.
The message of all religions is clear; it can be summarised as
'the ennoblement of human values, manifesting as spiritual love'.
It is only the words used by different religions to engage our attention
that gives rise to division, misinterpretation and confusion.
So our religious aspirations should embrace a clarified perspective,
a change of goal... instead of feeling guilty and inadequate we
should accept our spiritual heritage, cherish our godly capacity
for love, compassion and forgiveness and ensure we are not held
back from our spiritual destiny by unlived negativity, unexpressed
emotion and an inner anger for our unquiet unconscious mind. Our
prayers should seek to exploit our strengths and our spiritual gifts.
Our Positive Thought must set workable and achievable goals - goals
which cherish growth, nourish self love and spread the light of
The channelling of harmonious vibrations into the aura, the etheric
body or energy centres is called healing. The spirit- guide, Gildas,
proffers the charming reflection that: "any hand, offered with love,
is a healing hand". The power and energy passed from one human to
another, by whatever means, triggers activity in our psycho-spiritual
self, and healing results at one or more levels.
Healing is not limited to the physical realm. We have a human energy-field
or aura, (well demonstrated by Kirlian photography) which spiritual
healers can treat with non invasive methods. These methods include
the channelling of concordant resonances into the subject's unbalanced
At a healing session in London recently, a healer friend showed
me the power of this channelled energy - a broad blight, bright
scarlet, ran down the centre of both arms, terminating at his hands
- indicative of a sudden and tremendous energy transfer. The healer
was exhausted, the patient was healed; the treatment was free.
Prayer is a channel to the higher self and to the universal collective.
But much more than this, prayer is a channel to our inner self,
and in prayer, contemplation and meditation lies our slot for spiritual
refreshment and psychic renewal. Pray for healing, pray for spiritual
strength, pray for comfort in bereavement, in distress. Pray for
others by beaming our unique energy to them, by bathing them in
beatific light. By praying for others we pray for ourselves. Pray
for the ego's union with our spiritual depths and a growing experience
of the energy we call god, wherein dwells our redemption, our liberation
and our salvation.