Some of my early experiences in meditation classes involved seeing colours behind my closed eyelids when we were supposed to be focusing on the breath. I grew to recognise these classes as a bad fit for me when the teaching monk (coaching at least 40 students) said such phenomena were experienced by only advanced practitioners after years and years. Well, I didn’t fit the mold, chafed at the limits on my ability, and questioned if single-pointed focus and Boddhisattva visualisations was all there ever was. My meditation and spirituality stagnated until I learned chakara meditations from a new teacher. It took a shift for me to be willing to try things outside of what my (up-till-then Buddhist) teachers were teaching, but it was a shift sorely needed because I had become rigid in my beliefs and the worldviews I was willing to accept.
If I had been unsure about having to recognise beings outside the Buddhist pantheon, such as angels, archangels, fairies, aliens (warning: aliens!) and gods, I laugh now thinking about the cognitive dissonance I’d had, wanting badly to know these beings existed but not allowing myself to because (1) they were not Buddhist and therefore not real, and (2) I couldn’t see them and therefore they were not real. My worldview did not allow others to have experiences with these beings either, because those other people had to be crazy, or very imaginative. Self-delusional. Perhaps all these things I appear to encapsulate now. (There’s a point for me journaling all this, stick with me.)
What I didn’t want to admit was that I wanted to love and see these beings, to believe and live in a magical world, but there was nowhere for that love to flow. In negating for myself the possibility that positive supernatural beings existed, there was a hurt in myself that I “soothed” by attacking others without the same doubt. This is what shadow projection is.
(A note about reality: It is my feeling that whatever what a person wants to believe will be true for that person, but only with complete integrity and internal consistency. I feel atheism vs religionist debates are distraction, presenting false dichotomies of belief in a universe full of possibilities. Skeptics–if any are reading this–ask for proof where not everyone can provide it with the current technology. Just look at the scientists working on models of reality; the rest of us have even less to go on. “Evidence” for any stance can be found the way light can be wave or particle, it’s just more pragmatic to choose whatever the heck you want to believe–accepting that they are choices–and work out all your internal kinks until what you have is 100% what you love and will put your trust in. To each their own, and only their own.)
Meditation is a tool that can accomplish many things, but only if you are open to learning, trying out different meditations, having patience and being utterly honest in what you want and what you’re feeling. You also have to be ready to feel like you’re just groping in the dark, for a period of time. Having the right teacher helps. Whatever your reasons for pursuing meditation, you do reach a point you accept complete responsibility for your thoughts and how you feel, recognising that both these have energies, or are energies that affect you and your wellbeing.
Which brings us to subtle energies within ourselves and the world around us. Once you’ve gotten accustomed to your own energetic patterns during meditations–your internal space–you learn to recognise things that are either not you, or that are awry inside of yourself. Perhaps my Buddhist teachers were right in that some people don’t get to this point until after years of meditation, but we may be cheating ourselves if we don’t recognise now that these abilities are within reach, with just knowledge and effort. Dealing with subtle energies, recognising them and the untold effects they have on us day-to-day is a step toward recognising how rich and wonderful this Universe we inhabit really is. And that the richness and wonders are present within ourselves too.
I came to hear a story of how an avid Buddhist would meditate before bed every single night, but meditating in hotel rooms on work trips had become harder; in certain “spooky” rooms, scary images would enter her awareness and get her heart racing. The advice given to her by her teacher? Don’t meditate in the dark. First time I heard this story, I was short of a desk against which I could push my head. It was my thought that the woman in question was staying in hotel rooms with earthbound entities (a common enough phenomenon to those who are clairvoyant). I’ve had several Buddhist teachers; and I generally respect more those who acknowledge the supernatural world than those who think the jury is still out. The path to Buddhist enlightenment consists of clearing obscurities; Let me say this: one’s third eye is also going to open along the way. Subtle energies start to be perceived, meditating or not. A light switch, to me, is not the fix to problems encountered in the subtle world. (It would also be interesting to consider what the woman was supposed to do if the power was out.)
The culture we grow up can be rather limited and disempowering in what we are allowed to believe. Pitting one’s experience against a skeptic is always draining and ineffective–we are all at different sensitivities and with different talents and abilities (don’t let anyone tell you different). You go much further honouring and validating your own experiences by finding others who know what you’ve experienced, rather than hanging about those who want to invalidate your experience for one reason or another. This took me years to learn.
Those who know what you’ve experienced will share their coping strategies and tools.
And like the woman in the hotel rooms, I had also been encountering negative entities earlier and more often than I encountered (with conscious awareness) more positive ones. Again, this is part of our mass culture: We create and share more stories of encountering powerful adversaries (see the horror genre especially) than we do of loving and beneficial beings. Having pursued fiction writing in the past, the reason for this is obvious: Stories without powerful adversaries are BORING. But the danger is that we’ve told these stories so often in various forms that we often forget to create and honour equally powerful forces (internal or external, both or the same) within our reach, that can help us overcome challenges. (It’s also been easier to believe in horrors than in our own divinity–because that is what the mass programming allows us to see.) Then we create beliefs in the real world that the urgent global problems we face are too big for us to solve. We instead put our attention on mass entertainment, spectacles that teach us to wait for superheroes, alien invasions, and gods with their own agendas–almost everything except internal realisations and small but meaningful changes that we–the “common” people–can put into action.
Not everyone needs agree with me, but my point is that mass culture has made it easier for most people to subscribe to fear, self-destructive habits, external saviors, and despair. Quick results and short-term pay-offs. Drama and special effects. Violence as solution. Spectacle and adrenaline rushes. When the most powerful and life-changing realisations have better chances coming from the whisperings of our guides, positive beings of the highest light, our Higher Selves and our own heart–but perhaps only if we know how to reach and recognise these subtle but powerful energies inside ourselves.
Whatever we ignore has the power to take us by surprise. We empower ourselves more effectively by opening our eyes and exploring worlds previously unknown.