In the early stages of human history, the world around us seemed alive and full of strange powers and hidden realities. Early peoples created mythologies and developed skills and attitudes to help them connect with the good and avoid the bad powers. They made up a language of gods, spirits, angels, etc., which they used to communicate with the motley higher powers. This is how things were until some Europeans in the 17th century invented modern science and technology.
Science is an awesome human achievement; but the type of science that has become dominant in the Western world has serious problems.
The spiritual imagination was demoted in status if not destroyed. We also witnessed the death of traditional ideas of what is sacred. Instead of a sacred mountain we have a sacred right to violate the mountain for the sake of profit. Instead of a sacred river we have a sacred right to own an arsenal of guns to protect our river.
The spiritual imagination is invaded, invalidated, and practically pushed toward extinction. But a new mentality leads to a new mode of physicality, one of rampant exploitation of natural resources for empire and personal profit. The result of this desacralized assault on nature has unleashed an unprecedented climate crisis that threatens world civilization.
H.H. Price (1899-1984), an Oxford University philosopher, thought that modern Western civilization is the most unspiritual in human history. He was therefore interested in psychical research, which he thought might help us understand spiritual realities that modern science has left in the lurch. Are there ways we can re-connect with our lost inner life?
Price devised an experiment to test what I will call his creative unconscious. It’s an experiment anyone can try. You come to a question, an issue you have to deal with, but you don’t have an answer. You could use some help. Price suggests you pose the question to your subconscious self just before going to sleep. But part of the request is that you ask for a specific time in the morning for the response to come. You must prepare, poised for a response at the appointed time, say, ten in the morning, with pencil and paper handy. Price reports that on average he would get a useful response whenever he tried this seven out of ten times.
Persistence may be required, but the idea of such an experiment could be a way to launch an interesting friendship. I mean a creative friendship between our conscious and subconscious minds. The essence of it is to learn to converse with the higher intelligence within us.
I’ve been exploring this idea and noticed several things that made me wonder. About a month ago, for example, I woke up in the morning and started to make the bed. I had barely begun when I looked at the sheets and for no conscious reason instantly removed them from the bed and decided at once to throw them into the washing machine. (Not the way I would ever begin a day.)
I went downstairs and got a surprise. Water all over the floor and a large sink near the washing-machine was just starting to overflow. I fixed it. Had I not gone downstairs, my entire basement would have flooded before I would have noticed anything. My subliminal self prompted me to grab those sheets just in time. Coincidence, one might say, but I doubt it; something out of the blue was pulling on me to go downstairs.
The personification of paranormal power is a way to release the power. The great powers are vain and like to be named. So it’s a good idea to personify the creative intelligence you’re trying to communicate with. If you’re religiously inclined, this should be a snap; just introduce yourself to your guardian angel. If not religious, be inventive—use anything to charm and hang your focus on. I like to personify my subconscious self—gateway to Mind at Large—as simply, “Big Mike.”
There’s a simple but important point I’m trying to make. If it’s true as Price said that we’ve been bullied out of rapport with a great and mysterious source of creativity within us, then we should do something about it. We should at least learn to knock on the door of our unknown selves, and not be too afraid if the door swings open.