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Today’s Top Tweet – Can you petition the Lord with prayer?

I was happy to see this (tweeted) web page today. We need more talk about parapsychology. Awareness and intelligent debate about parapsychology and its link to spirituality (and nuttiness) could help those overly invested in the medical perspective on self and others.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-psychiatry. Far from it. Medications can help, short and maybe even long term. But anyone concerned with their overall health would be wise to consider alternatives. Different approaches might enable some to discontinue their meds. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but over the long haul. And that would be a good thing. Not only would their bodies like it. Others on our planet would be happier too (see Drugs in the Water).

Glancing over the articles in today’s tweet, I see a problem that often crops up with parapsychology research: The method does not match the madness, if you’ll pardon my pun.

A Japanese man bowing in prayer at the Kamakur...

A Japanese man bowing in prayer at the Kamakura shrine. from original to remove black space (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take, for example, intercessory prayer. One article concludes that intercessory prayer has no verifiable effect on health. But this begs at least two questions:

  • What kind of intercessory prayer?
  • What kind of health?

Intercessory prayer takes different forms. One is vocal (or internally vocal) and the other is more contemplative and quiet.

For me, the latter is more effective. I often liken vocal prayer to using a squirt gun to put out a fire, while contemplative prayer is more like rolling out a heavy duty fire hose. Kids play with squirt guns. Adults risk their lives with fire hoses.

Mind you, all prayer is good and we’re all different. At the same time, I think there are differences in power between vocal and contemplative prayer.

But I could be wrong. Only God knows for sure.

The second question – What type of health? – is actually related to the first.

Intercession may not be visible to everyone. But I believe it helps us, psychologically and spiritually. And contrary to what some religious people say (especially those who pass themselves off as saints while behaving more like angry nuts), I believe intercession is a multi-directional interpersonal dynamic. It’s not just one-way.

Intercession may involve degrees of effectiveness but my analogy of squirt guns and fire hoses is only that. An analogy.  Life is far more nuanced than putting out a fire.

And it takes all types to make life complete. 🙂


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Today’s Punchiest Pin – Close to the edge… but not over

Image via Pinterest

Variety is the spice of life. Instead of Today’s Top Tweet we’ll look at Today’s Punchiest Pin.

David Bowie passed just over a year ago. I didn’t mark the day because, well, I busy doing other stuff. But I knew it was either coming up, around, or had just passed by.

This morning I read this excellent (pinned) article and found a surprising fact:

The World of David Bowie

The World of David Bowie (Photo: Wikipedia)

Bowie got really paranoid at one stage of the game.

But he also got out of it.

How many artists, creatives and seekers have gone a little too close to the edge but luckily pulled back just in time? My guess is a few more than most of us are willing to admit.

The funny thing about paranoia, in my opinion, is that it might sometimes be based on a very loose, distorted or misunderstood truth. The drug user or imbalanced person senses something dark and scary in their social and perhaps spiritual environment but egregiously misinterprets what they’re picking up.

When paranoid, a person lacks the usual analytical skills for assessing unpleasant or frightening impressions. Fear feeds on fear, so sometimes things escalate. This can lead to the emergency room or, better, chilling out on a friend’s comfy sofa. Sometimes I think it just depends on whether we have a good support group or not. Other times, we might have a life path and undergo difficult, challenging experiences for some greater, good reason.

Only God knows for sure. But in my view a little insight and care can go a long way in prevention.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Another juicy one from the parapsychology corner

Today’s top tweet happens to be my only tweet today. Truth be told, I’m deeply engrossed in trying to figure out xubuntu, which is a Linux operating system. I have installed it parallel to Windows XP on an old laptop (which I’m using now). So right now my mind is on tech stuff, not the news.

Having said that, I will always be interested in the possibility of hostile spies and parapsychology.

See ya’ll in a day or so once I get xubuntu working with my wifi. If that is… 🙂


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Today’s Top Tweet – Undoing that silly stereotype about Western “materialism”

Almost an Angel

Almost an Angel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s top tweet relates to the silly and insulting idea that the West is a spiritual desert while Eastern or Middle Eastern countries are an oasis of spirituality.

I heard this propaganda a lot in India during the mid-to-late 1980s. Hopefully the Indian people have changed for the better since then. Last time I was there it was the early 1990s, so I can’t be sure. But my guess is that India, with its tech explosion, is also undergoing a self-reflective renaissance. Not just navel gazing and playing “guru of the world” but rather, a real, honest hard look at itself.

I have no idea about Middle Eastern countries. I have never had much interest in them. Even as a kid, I remember skipping over the news about the Middle East. To me, it mostly seemed dark and depressing.

As for spirituality in the West, all I have to do is walk about 10 minutes to my nearest Catholic parish and I am filled with the Holy Spirit and the heavenly joy of the Eucharist. For those unable to appreciate that, the Mass might just seem like so much sitting and standing. But for me and literally billions of others around the world – to include Western countries – it’s so much more.

So I do take objection to this man’s claim that the West is a spiritual desert. To draw an analogy, a fish underwater cannot see nor appreciate birds in flight.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Charlie, our paranormal witness

To start off the New Year I thought I’d discuss today’s top tweet using a fictional, gender-neutral person called “Charlie.” I’ll also use a literary device from my school days: S/he.

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So Charlie is a bit of nut. Or maybe not. It might depend on how we look at it.

S/he believes that “big picture” patterns appear over time, especially in the form of recurring numbers. S/he knows about Carl Jung’s idea of synchronicity, and that Jung gives the example of recurring numbers. Charlie also realizes that Jung never advocates actively looking for synchronicity. For Jung, synchronicity just happens after we make a choice.

Choice and the idea that synchronicity occurs after making choices distinguishes believers in synchronicity from

  • Religious fanatics who believe they see signs in everything and make choices on the basis of those alleged signs
  • Frightening mad persons who do bad things because they believe they see signs or recurring patterns telling them to behave a certain way
  • The paranoid who tragically hurt themselves or commit suicide because they believe they see patterns indicating that the world is out to get them

As for Charlie, s/he is only human and learns as s/he goes along. S/he used to believe that perceived recurring numbers were proof that s/he was on the right track, cosmically speaking.

But one day a friend said something that complicated things. The friend said “Charlie, what if you made a different choice and a different series of patterns came up?” This made Charlie think, which is usually good.

Maybe there is no single life journey or path, Charlie thought. And maybe every time I make a choice the universe splits and different Charlies live out parallel lives.

This idea makes Charlie a bit uneasy but s/he has read the Seth Books and all that subatomic physics, Dancing Wu Li stuff.

Charlie knows it’s a big mystery out there.

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Having read some psychology books, Charlie also considers the possibility that s/he is unconsciously selecting these numbers while ignoring or playing down a lot of other numbers that pass by.

“Of course,” most would say.

But Charlie doesn’t think it’s quite that simple. S/he still feels a sense of confirmation when numerical synchronicity arises, even after thinking and analyzing the phenomenon from different angles. Sometimes s/he even wonders if angels or other spiritual powers guide us toward meaningful coincidences.

After all, Charlie is just a person. Unlike the worldly wise, s/he tries to be humble and remember that there’s still a lot to figure out in this great mystery called life.

About the Author

Michael Clark’s PhD thesis is entitled, Synchronicity and poststructuralism: C. G. Jung’s secularization of the supramundane. He likes to think about things but believes that the intellect is, at best, an aid to spirituality. 


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Today’s Top Tweet – TED allegedly bans Rupert Sheldrake’s critique of science

I haven’t checked to see if this claim is actually true. But my impression of TED is that it’s for people who think they’re bright when, really, they’re just very average. So I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.

US Army via Flickr

US Army via Flickr

Just after graduating I wrote a snailmail note to Dr. Sheldrake about Indian dogs who hung out near my student digs, probably because we fed them scraps. These dogs seemed to be able to sense rival dogs a long time before they actually came into our visual field—like, at least 10 minutes before.

Maybe it was just super-fantastic hearing or sense of smell, I don’t know. But I and another guy considered the possibility that our friendly dogs were picking up the rival dogs via heightened intuition.

I mentioned this to Dr. Sheldrake because he’d just published a book called Dog’s That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home. Dr. Sheldrake’s reply was cordial and respectful, which was a very nice change after dealing with “professor night.”


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Today’s Top Tweet – Earth at night

OPINION

Part of me is tempted to go into the usual New Age preachy theme about how we’re all one and if we just came to realize this, there would be no war, no senseless killings, no crazed truck drivers, no hostages fearing their death…

Image via Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

But honestly, I don’t think it’s that simple. I believe there is evil in the world and that it furiously wants to sow discord. All you science-bots out there who think a new pill can save humanity can believe what you want. But I think you’re wrong. I don’t believe evil will ever be eradicated. And those who can recognize the difference between good and ill must take a stand.

Jesus talked about prayer and turning the other cheek. And in the ultimate sense he’s probably right. But in the course of history, if every good person merely prayed and turned the other cheek, I don’t think humanity would last that long. Evil would sweep the globe in a very short matter of time.

While no one perspective can solve our global problems, I do believe that the total dynamic is tilted toward the good. That means all the forces in existence, taken together, including pacifism and activism, will turn things out the right way.

This isn’t blind belief. I have reason to believe in an all-powerful God. Yet I realize not everyone does. To me, that’s their poverty, not mine.