If you believe neuroscientist David Eagleman, everything we can see, feel, smell, hear, and taste is created within our brains. That sandwich on your desk? Neurons firing. Shiny new car? Bam–neurons. Each of us creates our experience of reality individually using data acquired through our own unique experiences. In fact, the deeper science digs into the study of the brain, the more apparent it becomes that not only do we not know what reality really is, we can’t know what reality really is.
More and more people are discovering that there is not as huge a gap between practicality and mysticism as some would like you to believe. A quick study of Netflix’s documentary section can prove that science (physics, biology, astronomy) can be just as weird and freaky as mystical paths are perceived to be. And once we let go of our fear of that Big Red X, once we ease into our intuitive understanding and connection to the world we build with our own minds, we can find just as much practicality in our spiritual practices as we dare to create.
Quite often, when I’m mentoring new readers, they’ll ask me, “How do I know I’m not making it up?” Thanks to Dr. Eagleman, I can now tell them with absolute certainty, “You are making it up. You’re also making up the cards, the table, me, the question I asked, and the room we’re reading in. Since you’re making it all up anyway, why not just relax and do the reading?”
It’s really hard to let go of the “right vs. wrong” mentality as we delve into the world of spirituality. Growing up, most of us knew that committing to an idea usually resulted in one of a small number of outcomes:
- The answer is correct! (green check)
- The answer is incorrect! (red x)
- The answer is correct, but you failed to show your work. (-2 points)
As we grew more and more fearful of the Dreaded Red X, most of us learned to doubt our instincts and to second-guess our every decision. There are people so deathly afraid of being wrong at something they rarely do anything.
It doesn’t take long to notice as we delve into metaphysical practices that we are moving beyond the Land of Wrong and Right into the Wilderness of Complexity. That Four of Swords doesn’t always mean the same thing, and that rune has a completely different meaning in that context. The way she interprets dreams may be perfectly valid, and completely different from the way you (also validly) interpret them.
Mystical practices are a combination of learned knowledge and intuition. Yes, study the cards if you’re a reader. Learn human anatomy if you do energy work. Study the Kabbalah or practice visiting the Akashic Library or whatever you do. Put in the hours so that you have a strong foundation upon which to build your practice.
But at some point, you’re going to have to put down the books. At some point, you’re going to have to trust those neurons firing away to create a reality where you can actually help people. I have a friend who does energy healing and body work. He once told me that he gets really quiet during a session and feels where the problems are. Now, of course, he’s got the letters behind his name to prove his practice is more than just going on hunches, but even the trained scientist reveals that his work is as much art and intuition as it is science.
In every metaphysical practices, there are rules, structures, and traditions to be learned. These definitely have their place and are there for a reason. Just like a writer must learn grammar, spelling, and syntax in order to create a work of fiction, a metaphysical practitioner must learn the tools of their trade to in order to create a strong foundation. And just like the writer must eventually let go of those rigid structures in order to express their art, the practitioner must also move beyond structure in order to allow intuition and instinct their free reign.
It’s difficult. It’s scary. And yes, from time to time you’ll be wrong. The trick is to be as prepared as you can be in order to minimize the risk, while being as brave as possible in the face of uncertainty.
There is no right or wrong. There is only the truth you create.
This is not a practice for the weak of heart.