Friday, November 22, 2013

Psychic Mediums: Real or Imagined? A window to a lively conversation with my husband.

Ever have a lively and animated conversation with your spouse or significant other on a topic you disagree on?  Here’s a look inside the window to a conversation my husband and I had.  Enjoy!

How do you feel about those who claim to be able to ‘talk to dead people’?  As professionals, they are referred to as mediums.  People who are a bridge between this world and whatever lies beyond this world after we die.  They are messengers.  They bring messages to us from our departed loved ones.  

It’s not hard to find mediums.  With the advent of the Internet and social media, all you need to do is a Web search and you’ll find a plethora of them.  There are famous mediums like John Holland and James Van Praagh.  There are those who have written books, have radio shows or are guests on radio shows and TV and even have their own TV shows like the Long Island Medium.  They speak at conferences and metaphysical or spiritual expos and conferences.  They assist law enforcement with unsolved crimes.  They are sought out by world leaders and the rich and famous as well as average everyday folk like you and me. They lead workshops and training so that you, too, can learn to develop your psychic gifts and communicate with the spirit world.  

My inspiration for this post is actually a discussion I had with my husband recently.  He and I have differing views on most topics of spirituality and metaphysics.  He is a self-proclaimed man of science.  He thinks very concretely and black and white.   I am much more open-minded.  While strongly rooted in science, I am also strongly spiritual and because of my own personal experiences, have come to better understand and believe many things I once did not hold true.  I see a lot of gray areas and colors.  Lots of colors.

I chose to go to a gallery reading with psychic medium John Holland last weekend at a local expo.  The cost to attend the 2 hour session was $45.  The venue held 400 people and it was filled to capacity.  I’d never seen John speak before, but I’ve read some of his books.  I've seen other mediums, both individually (private readings and information) and at a similar gallery reading event.  Not all of them resonated with me.  I did not go because I expected or even wanted my loved ones to ‘come through’.  I went because I wanted to experience it first hand.  John is probably one of the most gifted and respected psychic mediums out there and certainly one of the best known.  He was highly recommended to me. It was an opportunity I have not had before so close to home and so I went.

My husband was disgusted I ‘wasted’ my money on this ‘guy’ who ‘tells people lies to make them feel better.’  He feels he is a thief, preying on the bereaved.  He feels he and all mediums, use cold reading, verbal feedback, body language and emotional cues/reactions from the bereaved to make his readings seem honest, accurate and true.  He believes readings are generic and general and could apply to anyone. He feels these self-proclaimed mediums are collective liars are behaving in a destructive and morally irresponsible way because they can’t possibly be really communicating with their deceased relative and they charge people money.  Sometimes lots of money. Still, he respected my decision to go see him because it does resonate with me, and well, I was going to go regardless of how he felt about it.  It made for quite a conversation...

What struck me most about John was that he was very real.  He was personal and conversational, even though there were 400 people in his ‘living room’.  He has a fantastic sense of humor.  He explains the process and how he gets information as he does the readings.  He has no prior knowledge of the people he is reading for, at least in a gallery reading, in fact, he has no idea who he is reading for until he starts to share the information and someone claims it.   

Mediums or anyone with psychic gifts, receive information in different ways.  Some ‘hear’ things or have thoughts that are random and not their own, others ‘see’ objects or symbols in their mind’s eye and others literally feel sensations or emotions that are not theirs.  Sometimes they just know something.  A strong intuitive ‘hit’ or read.  Everyone has a psychic strength or gift, some more than one.  It’s learning to understand the information and how you receive it, and then deliver it with confidence that is the challenge.

I was quite impressed with John’s readings.  They were much more detailed and specific than I imagined they would be.  When more than one person ‘claimed’ a reading, he was able to sort it out with increased detail and without asking the person who he was reading for anything.  In fact he asked them not to give him more than what he might ask so as not to make it seem as if he was being ‘fed’.  

I also happened to be sitting next to a good friend who is a psychic and a medium in her own right.  She was getting much of the same information and telling me about it before John even said it.  Before you ask, we were in the second to last row waaaaay in the back, so no, he didn’t hear her.  :-)  It was validating for her and fascinating to me.  

Fast forward to a few days later, when my husband and I were having a conversation with a spiritually open-minded friend and he was once again expressing his disgust at the fact people charge, and get, money to ‘lie’ to people to make them feel better about their deceased loved ones.  The key points were as follows:

  • To his point that it’s either all made up, cold readings or taking advantage of someone’s grief and vulnerability I replied:
    • The bereaved seek them out, not the other way around.  I didn't have to go or pay money for him or anyone else to get a reading.  I freely chose to do that.  That’s the great thing about being human, free will.

  • To his point that it’s morally wrong:
    • Who is he to judge?  He is entitled to his opinion, as is everyone else.  
    • People have the right to choose.  What’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander, and that is perfectly fine.  Someone is only going to choose to go to a medium if they want to.  If they do, clearly they see nothing wrong with it.

  • To his point that they shouldn't charge money:
    • Why not?  I do angel card readings.  I get paid for those.  Am I also a fraud and morally irresponsible in what I do?  (no, apparently not, because it’s different)
    • Who is he to judge?  People choose to pay the money.  Whether they charge $5 or $5000, they don’t force anyone to choose them or their fee.  Once again.  Free choice, free will.
    • Kids sell lemonade and charge money.  Business is business.  

  • To his point it’s not scientifically proven:
    • Maybe not.  But there is a lot science can’t prove that we still hold to be true because we think it’s right.  Until it’s disproved.  Look at all the things we thought were true scientifically that were found to be incorrect
    • 2 words.  Quantum Mechanics.
    • Who cares?  People are looking for healing.  If they find it this way, it’s no one’s business but theirs.

  • To his point that it’s not possible (although he also claims anything is possible):
    • Just because he doesn't have those gifts or chooses to believe no one can have those gifts, does not mean it’s not possible.  He is not omniscient.  No one is.
    • He claims to believe in my clairsentience and claircognizance/premonitions.  He has heard my stories, some that had a direct ‘hit’ in his life, with people he loves and cares about.  So does he believe it’s possible or doesn't he?  If he believes I can have those abilities, why can’t someone else have that and more?  Or, is he lying to me that he believes me?
    • None of us know what we don’t know.  
    • Anything is possible.  It cannot be proven or disproved at this time
    • Who cares?  Again.  If the person seeking out the medium believes it will help them get what they need to heal, that’s all that matters.  It’s not about us, it’s about them.   

Ultimately, my argument to him was the bottom line is the bereaved often long to connect with their loved ones who have died.  They want to know they are OK and safe. They want to know they are watched over.  Sometimes, they just want validation of their own experiences. Maybe they have some psychic gifts that they are realizing and just want to learn more. Or maybe, they are skeptical and are looking to get ‘proof’ one way or another about the possibility of an afterlife and ability to communicate with a deceased loved one on ‘the other side’.  

Some choose to actively pursue a connection.  Mediums offer that connection.  There is nothing inherently wrong with that.  If it feels right to them, that’s all that matters. Are all of them real, honest and good?  Of course not.  I am sure there are self-proclaimed mediums who do not actually have psychic gifts, who cold read, who do very general and benign readings, ask you more questions than they give answers for you and who charge high fees for their services.  

There are also those who are amazingly gifted and they all deserve, just like anyone else who works, to be paid for their time and appreciated for their talents and gifts.  They deceased don’t have bodies or mouths, they communicate with senses, thoughts and feelings. The medium has to receive those communications and messages and simply deliver them, not judge them or try to make sense of them.  That’s the job of the person being read for. The ego of the medium needs to be totally out of the picture in order for a reading to be accurate.

So yes, it might be difficult to know if a medium is ‘good’ or not.  I've had several readings.  Some have certainly been very accurate and validating and by people who knew nothing of my history.  Others have felt too general or just wrong or I did not trust them intuitively.  Some have been so-so, with parts of the reading really making sense and others not so much.  I've been read on the radio (live, in studio) and by several others, some specifically for mediumship and were paid for their readings, some just sharing information as part of energy work or bodywork who also had psychic gifts, and others who just share freely because they feel they want or need to and know I’m open to it.

Certainly a 1:1 reading offers the opportunity for a specific connection and validation for the medium of their skills.  A large gallery reading, like the John Holland event, is more random.  Chances are high you will not get a reading at an event like that.  Like any job, there is a learning curve.  Many mediums were psychic and highly intuitive as children.  They saw colors and even spirits when they were very young.  They might have known things that were going to happen and then they did.  It’s easy to write it off as imagination or coincidence.  That way, we don’t have to embrace or admit the possibility exists they were right.  They really do see and hear dead people.  They are gifted.  Then the adults in their lives scold them, tell them they are wrong or medicate them.  It’s not until they are adults themselves and feel comfortable ‘coming out of the closet’ that they embrace their gifts and hang out their shingle to help others.  

Ultimately, we agreed to disagree.  A highly important skill for the harmony of any relationship!  One I highly value in ours.  The ability to communicate openly and freely, to engage in spirited discussion and challenge each other, hear each other and ultimately find a balance.  It’s not like I didn't’t know his scientific convictions and he didn't know I was spiritually inclined before he married me. :-)

My take home message was that no one has the right to judge the decisions or actions of another person.  This we agree on.  Perspective is everything.  We may not agree with them, but we are not them.  We are not living their lives.  We have not had their experiences.  Only they have.  Only they know what will help them heal and find peace.  It might be different than how we might choose to do it, but that doesn't matter.  They deserve and have the right to free choice.  We have no right to impose our opinions or beliefs on anyone else, for any reason. Regardless of whether or not mediums are ‘real’, if the person seeking validation, connection or healing receives it, that is all that matters.

And so, we left it at that.  He still doesn't believe it, but he has a better understanding of why others do and how it is a tool for healing.  An important life lesson for everyone is that we never, ever, have the right to judge anyone.  We need only worry about ourselves.  There is no right or wrong way.  Only our way.  


1 comment:

  1. Isaiah 8:19
    When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?