Reflections: Mind Reading

I think I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking: “Why is he doing a post on mind reading?”

I’ll tell you why.  It’s because I have a friend who is receiving cognitive behavioral therapy, and is quite frequently accused of mind reading. In cognitive behavioral therapy, mind reading is the cognitive error in which an individual believes that they have [falsely] identified what another person is thinking. The process is projective of negative internal states of mind, and therefore maladaptive.  For reasons of projected low self esteem or worthlessness, an individual might think: “That person thinks I’m stupid,” or, “That person has already decided they would never give me a chance, so what’s the point in trying,” or “They think I’m undesirable, so there’s no point in trying to talk with them.” Cognitive errors may be relatively common. But I think it would be a cognitive error to overgeneralize maladaptive thought processes as a case against telepathic and intuitive states.

There are a range of intuitive process that are not always easy to articulate.  Sometimes what we call intuition is the subconscious perception of body language, or the perception of subtle cues in our environment.   Sometimes what we call intuition is the successful anticipation of circumstance from past experience and association.  But I think most of us have experienced the phenomenon of becoming aware that someone has placed their attention on us (I read that a street-wise technique for following someone undetected is to avoid looking at their body, and only glance at their shoes). Sometimes intuition does actually seem to link minds.  I’ve experienced it many times, experienced it and let it go.  I have been informed by the process, but I do not expect or desire that I can force the process at my own personal will or whim.  That might make me a guilty of my own form of overgeneralization.

Here’s a generalization that may be true: anyone who claims to read minds at will with 100% accuracy is pulling at your earlobe.  Don’t be surprised if they also manifest a quarter that they earlier picked from your pocket while complimenting your physical features.  Once we’ve cleared the air – and our field – of grandiosity, we can begin to pay attention to the ways the world flows around and through us.

Over the years I feel I have become relatively empathic.  When one becomes empathic, thoughts sometimes come through with the feelings of connection.  It’s not always a good thing – feeling another person’s pain can be difficult.  Before I retired, I frequently would intuit situations at my job.  Sometimes this was difficult to bear, but it made me better, more able to occasionally perform the alchemy that repaired a circle.  These were situations in which I had influence by virtue of job title.  To empath what I cannot influence would seem to do little good to either the situation or myself.  But when I feel an empathy or connection with a negative situation over which I have no influence, I can at least practice compassion before letting it go.  Then I’m letting it go with the compassion in tow.  I often can’t tell if that makes a palatable difference, but do feel there is not enough compassion in the world.

It is good practice to follow the links that seem to flow through our minds, determine what is from our own mirror and what might be an extension of our connections with the world.  Some connections come more easily; these may be our primary relationships.  Some connections are habitual, perhaps because we are so open or have extended contact.  Some connections are instructive, reinforcing a desired view of the universe.  Mindfulness should inform us what comes through our best integrity. Ultimately, the best mind to read is that of Spirit and the connections with our higher self.

The following is adapted from Gathering My Life into Feathers:
In life, there are individuals who are better at “seeing,” and others who excel at “hiding.”  I think the sorcery of our culture is to occasionally obscure truth.  An example of this would be advertising.  At any rate, I think that our daily intuitions are blocked or channeled based on the interaction of seers and hiders that surround us.  In addition, I believe that our personal boundaries serve to enhance seeing in those to which we’re close, and enhance hiding from those that we wish to shut out.  And there are individuals whose personal boundaries are naturally poor.  Take the following example.  In 1986 I was working with a young woman of Korean descent named Linda. Linda had been adopted by an American family as a very young child.  She was a young adult when she was living in our apartment-training program – diagnosed with borderline intelligence and borderline personality disorder.  While she was quite personable, she was always having or creating a problem.  This was a woman who universally would have been described as “without boundaries.”  On occasion, I played cards with Linda.  One day, on a whim, she picked up a random card and asked me: “What card am I holding?”  I could see the card in my mind, like when my dog Po flashed a picture (the process of animal communication is fully explained in another section of the book).  “The Queen of spades.”  Somewhat surprised, she took another card.  “Nine of diamonds.”  Then another: “Jack of hearts.” She was open and playful, but by the third straight correct response she became a little guarded.  I could feel her close up a bit and suggested we not play this “guessing game” anymore.  Even so, on other days we were playing cards, she would occasionally hold up a card for me to guess.  I was never wrong.

How is that on every occasion, given odds of 1 in 52, I was right?  The answer is that I had some seeing ability, and she had no hiding ability.  Couple that with the fact that there was a therapeutic bond between us, and the outcome seems almost inevitable.  As she increased suspicion and became less playful, her hiding ability would have increased a little, so I terminated the game.  From a therapeutic point of view, I was not worried about her developing paranoia from my ability to “see” into her mind.  The game created a positive transference that was neither here nor there in determining a therapeutic outcome. She worked with us over a year, which was far longer than she had previously worked with anybody.

What this means is that we should expect the possibility of telepathic contact or intuition with people whom we trust and are open towards.  We are less likely to experience telepathic contact or intuition with strangers or people we don’t trust.  In other words, if the magician and psychic debunker James Randi had been playing cards with Linda and myself, I probably never would have “seen” those cards correctly.  He would have “hidden” them with his strong negative intention to debunk.  I wonder what other sorts of creativities are blocked by James Randi types.  We might call them an anti-muse, priests of convention.  I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t make good therapists.

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