I once heard a religious teacher say he could read other people's thoughts, but didn't do so because "it would be like opening their mail." Skeptical, I filed away the quote and kept an open mind.
Now neuroscientists, who have become the high priests of science, have proven that thought is a material process in the brain, which they can detect and interpret in real time through FMRI machines.
That means that 'my thoughts' aren't sealed inside the skull, as we tend to believe. Is it possible that especially sensitive human beings can 'hear' what another person is thinking, especially if their thoughts are directed at them?
I've since had experiences that verify the validity of telepathy and other phenomena, including a frightening experience of shape shifting, something for which Australian Aborigines have been known.
On that occasion I took a woman with whom I had begun a relationship backpacking. Since Jan had never stayed overnight in the wilderness, I carefully planned the trip to not overwhelm her. Little did I know that I would be the one that would be overwhelmed with primal fear.
We hiked in seven miles or so and camped below the bank of a high country river, which had no chance of flash flooding. Things were going well after setting up camp and having dinner. We sat around the fire and talked, as humans have done for tens of thousands of years.
I don't recall the reason for the argument, but we had our first and only quarrel. Though I was miffed, I still wanted Jan to have a good experience on her first backpacking trip, and suggested we go to sleep.
She agreed and went up the shallow bank 25 meters away to pee. It was a moonless night, and when she didn't return after nearly ten minutes, I grew concerned.
I waited a couple more minutes and called out to her, "Jan, you OK?" No answer. I called out again, more urgently. Still no answer. Fearing that something had happened to her, I stood up.
When I did, I was sure I saw animals the size of wolves along the bank. I'd done a fair amount of backpacking alone, and had never experienced such primal fear as I did that moment.
Afraid both for her and myself now, I shouted, "Jan!" An eerily calm voice came back from right in the middle of the imagined wolves. "Yes," she said tauntingly, drawing out the word in a malevolent way.
Viscerally reacting to the unknown trick she had played, I shouted back, "What the hell are you doing?"
We talked for hours, and she admitted that she had a secret ability, since childhood, to project images and manipulate people's thoughts. She told of incidences with roommates in college that I would not have believed if I hadn't experienced her powers myself.
Do you do this intentionally?
"Yes," she replied, "especially when I'm angry."
And you were quite angry after we argued tonight, right?
Still thinking it had to be my own fear and imagination, I pressed her for more evidence, and she provided it. Suffice to say I saw again that "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy," or science.
I inquired into whether this is what is meant by "shape shifting," the supposed ability of some indigenous people to take on the appearance of animals.
"I'm sure it is," she said evident pride. Though we had cleared the air, I slept lightly that night, ended the trip early, and the relationship shortly thereafter. Her powers were invasive and manipulative, as probably all occult powers are.
Why should we discount and dismiss the possibility of telepathy, thought transference, and shape shifting (more accurately, image projection), while accepting that science is now able to read and manipulate our thoughts and emotions?
Neuroscientists maintain that "thought is a vast network of neurons firing all across our brains." They are in the early stages of accurately translating these patterns, though only if the person in the FMRI machine thinks about a certain object or feels a certain emotion.
Neuroscientists still don't challenge the greatest redundancy in the English language, and perhaps human consciousness itself however: "My thoughts."
There are just thoughts. Privacy is another matter.
The idea and feeling that thoughts are 'mine' is a deeply mistaken thought/emotion, one that is the source and perpetuation of division, conflict and fragmentation, inwardly and outwardly.
A much more important question than how thought operates in the brain is: What happens when the neurons aren't firing, when memory, recognition, words and images fall silent?
When thought is completely still, and the brain is fully alert and attentive, the brain is like a very sensitive antenna.
What does it pick up? Watch thought into silence and you'll see.
60 Minutes follow-up, "Scientists are using MRI scans to reveal the physical makeup of our thoughts and feelings"
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. email@example.com
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