I often get these crackling feelings of 'been there, done it' even when I haven't been there or done it. Deja vu? Or more? Let me share with you a personal experience wth the paranormal that I once wrote about...
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The man in the checked suit looked like a greasy trader. His hair parted at the side and stuck to his head like feathers on a wet crow. Not the most inspiring fellow I’ve ever met, but as he intoned “R-e-l-a-x... close your e-y-e-s... imagine how light you are f-e-e-l-i-n-g...” I felt I was sinking in water. The moistness was almost palpable.
As I sat there transfixed, my limbs went numb and my eyeballs moved as though in deep sleep. I was somewhere in the 18th century, wearing a tiara on my head, standing on a mountain peak. Words, visuals came leaping out – the externals totally alien, the emotions familiar.
When I came out of self-hypnosis (for that is what it was) I was in a sweat and the faces around me a blur. They went up to the dais to say where their past life regression exercise had taken them. I had been royalty; lest it appear that it was mere vanity that wouldn’t allow for anything less, I had kept quiet about it. Days later, the dream’ continued to haunt me. So I looked up the appropriate keywords in the encyclopaedia, and was shocked to see visuals and social life patterns exactly like the ones I experienced. It was eerie, and it was exciting.
At first I had refused to go for the self-hypnosis, but then curiosity had won over cynicism. Or was it just that? Wasn’t there, somewhere within my psyche, a need to know? Why did I do extremely well in the tests before the session itself? Plain luck? Extra sensitivity? Coincidence? Was everyone in that room alike? Would those sprawled on the floor know that Monday blues wouldn’t disappear if they did belly-breathing? Who were those people? Would they find their fantasised haven whenever there was a real life problem?
My major woe was the lunch which was swimming in oil. While everyone was happily tucking into their food, I was busy squeezing the hell out of the pakoras (an Indian version of tempura?) between paper napkin sheets. Some smiled at me. I smiled back with that ridiculous pugnacious stance of balled fists, grease dripping from between them. There were the young, the old and the not too young, not too old, men and women, the elite as well as those from humble backgrounds. Did I imagine that at the end of the three-day course we would all be transformed into aliens with laser-beam eyes and horns visible only to the ‘inner circle’?
For one of the ‘healing’ tests an elderly lady chose me as her medium. I had to guess what was going on in her mind. I went into intense meditation and all I can recollect is that both our voices sounded like echoes.
She prodded me, “What do you see?”
I replied in staccato sentences.
“I can see a woman in her 30s with long hair, around 5’4” tall, light brown eyes....”
“Hanh, hanh, what else?”
“She’s standing in the veranda of a house facing the street. She’s wearing a simple cotton nightgown... and...” I hesitated.
“And, and what?”
“... uh... she has only one breast.”
At that point apparently they realised that my eyelids were twitching furiously and it took a while to bring me out of the trance. When I came to consciousness, the lady held me close and said that she had wanted the healing for her niece who had breast cancer, and the description I gave was spot-on.
Suddenly, I felt a shooting pain in my chest, my mouth went dry. I had internalised a stranger’s suffering. This is where we can ask why one has to resort to such things. I have not reached any conclusion. Some are blessed with a sixth sense, whether or not it can be explained scientifically. I am aware this can be construed as irresponsibility – how can one justify mumbo-jumbo in the Age of Reason?
I hate charlatans. I avoid superstitions. But does harmless belief cause damage? When we are in trouble or merely feeling low, we do turn to our families or intimate friends who give us advice based on what they think is good for us. Obscure totems and hypnotic techniques don’t only advise, indeed they make you feel independent. It’s ultimately a question of morale. You may touch only the superficials in your life because they offer temporary satisfaction, or you may plough their depths to find a way out. The problem with life is there are no simple answers and never simple questions.
The only option is to feel good for as long as one can in the best manner possible. It could be through crystals or catharsis. Few of us have the patience to look for the diamond in the debris or to wait for the phoenix to rise from the ashes. Besides, what can a soot-covered bird do to make us feel better about ourselves?
Like lust, there’s a lot to be said for seeking placebos. And each of us has a different turn-on.