Have you ever had an inexplicable surge of feeling? Have you ever had thoughts that seem alien to you? And what about impulses? Have you ever had impulses to do something that you would normally feel quite reluctant or completely opposed to doing? Do you ever have inexplicable aches or pains? If you do not, have you worked with someone who has, or do you know someone who does? And how do you explain these things?
I think that telepathy provides the simplest explanation in many situations. I am not alone in this; however, even today, after people have become very much more accepting of telepathic communication as a reality, there are still very few who a willing to speak publicly about their experiences, let alone openly to work with their clients or patients on problems to do with telepathic sensitivity.
This would not matter, perhaps, if the consequences for some people were not so serious. People have died as a partial result of his. For example, one young man spent his adolescence going from doctor to doctor in search of some explanation for and help with inexplicable and at times excruciating pains in many different parts of his body. No-one could help him. In the end, given then current information, it was quite understandably decided that the origins were emotional. He was then referred for psychiatric help. But to no avail. Despite many hours of help, his pains continued. He became more and more desperate, a condition that was far from helped by an increasing tendency of the part of his helpers to define him as neurotic, hysteric or schizophrenic. By his mid-twenties, he was preoccupied with his continuing pain, sometimes immobilising himself. Eventually he was hospitalized. The full force of modern mental health technology was then brought to bear to help him: discussion groups, OT groups, ECT, medication, trial leave. All to no avail. His pains continued, as did his preoccupation with them. A short time before he suicided, he spoke to a friend of mine. He had tried everything, he said, and was as bad then as he had ever been, maybe considerably worse. My friend, who had just attended a workshop I was conducting on some of the subtle ways we communicate and some of the consequences of this said, "I think that what you have been saying applies directly to this man. I wish I had known at the time."
My overall purpose in writing this article is to share more widely a little of what I have learned over the years as I have worked with people who have been having some of their difficulties stimulated or aggravated by telepathic sensitivity. The relief experienced simply from hearing this information frequently brings spontaneous tears. And over and over again, people have approached me to say things like, "I'm glad you've talked about this, I've had all sorts of experiences,but haven't been game to talk about them; I feel very relieved to know that they are normal;" or"I've been told that this sort of thing is crazy; I didn't think it was and I'm glad you don't think it is either."
In late 1976 and early 1977, I took what seemed at the time to be a considerable risk. I began to talk openly about telepathic experiences I had been having with some of the people with whom I had been working intensively.
I had been having experiences which seemed crazy and bizarre. In all probability, they would get me defined as schizophrenic by some people. In fact, this did happen, although fortunately the psychiatrist defining me in this way was not assessing me for hospital admission at the time. Rather he was a participant in a workshop I was conducting on schizophrenia. His diagnosis of me as paranoid schizophrenic was his best attempt to cope with the fear he experienced in response to some of what I had been saying. And his fear is not unusual.
Many people are scared to acknowledge the full extent of telepathic influences on their lives. They act as if it is not there at all; they act as if it is only gifted people who can or do experience it; they believe that it is only under special circumstances that they a likely ever to experience it; they talk about telepathic occurrences as oddities; they try to explain them away using words such as "coincidence" and descriptions, statements of hope really, such as, "I don't believe in that sort of thing - there is some conventional explanation that we don't know about yet."
This is all very well for them. They can cope with their beliefs and feelings in whatever way they need. But their responses are singularly unhelpful for people, many people, who, as I was when I started to talk about these things, are having a great many difficulties in their lives, either because they do not know about this dimension of communication, or because they are too scared to talk about it for fear of being defined as crazy. And this fear is no fiction.
I have worked with a number of people who were put into hospital by well meaning psychiatrists for symptoms which were the completely explicable result of telepathic sensitivity, people who were evidencing no other symptoms. The main thing they learned out of these experiences was that it was a very bad idea to talk about what they were trying to deal with. They got no acknowledgment of the reality of their experiences, got no practical help in dealing with the very real difficulties they were having with them, and began to believe that they might be "crazy"because authoritative people such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and others, all stated that they were or acted as if they were "crazy".
Nowadays, people a more secure about owning the reality of telepathic events in their lives. During my workshops, many more people than before now give public descriptions of their experiences, rather than afterwards seeking me out for private discussion. Nor am I generally defined as crazy any more - still a little odd to some, maybe, but not crazy.
Yet there is an enduring difficulty. So little has been written about the subject from the point of view of dealing with it in everyday life, that we have no established language or understanding,either to explain what is happening at these times, or to help people deal with problems they maybe having.
In the last few years, I have created a model that helps me understand some of what seems to be taking place in telepathic experiences. I have included four aspects of this model. My goal in doing so is to provide you with four labels to support the process of developing a vocabulary for the subject. They a "sympathetic responses", "sending", "demanding", and "the safety valve effect". At this stage, I consider my understanding of each to be very rudimentary. I regard these labels as a little more than useful aids, therefore; I do not believe them to be descriptions of the way things are.
If you take a tuning fork, strike it on something so it starts to vibrate and then place it on a hard surface beside another tuning fork of a matched frequency, the second one will start to vibrate without being struck. A great many telepathic events seem to be like this. One person experiences something and another resonates to the experience. The second person responds in sympathy with the first.
Examples are many. I will recount one particularly powerful one which has important implications. I rose one morning some years ago. I was feeling relaxed, alert and was looking forward to an enjoyable day. I had been having a fairly stress free period in my life with no particular problems concerning me, so I had nothing to cause me any distress. Nevertheless, within two hours of getting up, I was feeling profoundly depressed, more depressed than I had ever felt in my life. I had certainly been depressed before, but never like this. Life did not seem worth living;even the smallest things flung me deeper into the pits of an all encompassing pall. My only solace seemed to be my alarmingly compelling thoughts about killing myself. Never before had I had such thoughts, hence my alarm. I was caught up in the experience, yet also very much aware of how alien it was to me. It was some hours before I slowly allowed the thought to occur to that maybe my depression and associated thoughts and impulses were not mine, that, maybe, I was resonating to someone else. (At this stage, I was far from confident that this sort of thing was true.) I began to search my mind for who, of the people with whom I was working, could have become so profoundly suicidal. The name of a woman occurred to me. Later that day, I managed to contact her and discovered that she had been extremely suicidal for the period during which I had been affected.
Common experiences to which people have had sympathetic responses include pains, visual imagery, tactile sensations, olfactory and gustatory experiences, voices or other sounds, and the full range of feeling (emotional) responses. In my experience, many so called hysterical symptoms can be validly attributed to this type of event, as can many so called hallucinations and delusions.
Sympathetic responses may occur without any apparent intent on the part of the recipient. On the other hand, using an ability to respond sympathetically to others, people can seek contact with another and experience what is happening with him or her.
We can also send impressions to others. Again examples abound. Two relatively complete descriptions will suffice.
First, I have a friend who was once travelling in Europe with her daughter, while her husband was in the USA. They were in the throes of considerable marital strife at the time. During the trip, the daughter noticed some red weals on her mother's throat and remarked about them to her. Her mother had felt nothing, but noticed how vivid they were and that they looked like finger marks. She also noted the time and date. Upon returning to the USA, she checked with her husband about his activities at this time. While initially somewhat reticent about telling her, he eventually told her that at the precise time she had noted the marks, he had been in a therapy session imagining that he was strangling the life out of her as a means of expressing his anger. Obviously at some level, she had responded to his "fantasy" attack with a real and consistent physiological response. The other example relates to the suicidal woman already mentioned. As soon as I thought I knew who was upset, I began to send her messages and support, leaving them fairly open ended just in case it was not her. I said (in my head) the sorts of things I would have said to her had I been with her: "You can get through this without killing yourself; I valued you; no matter how bad things seem at the moment, it is worth going on and you can solve your problems." I kept this up for some time, along with the fantasy that she, or whomever else it might have been, was receiving what I was sending. There was little change for a while. But then, defying what I thought was possible, I felt the depression deepen even more. I redoubled my efforts. (It is worth noting again that I was doing this with some considerable skepticism, as I had not learned to trust that something real was occurring at these times. In part, I thought that I was probably just trying to avoid dealing with an issue that was too hot for me to accept as my own.) Quite suddenly, I experienced a lessening of despair, however, and I sensed a turning point had been reached. Over the subsequent two hours there was a gradual and marked lifting of mood. Eventually, I was only aware of residual depression of quite manageable proportions. I made notes of all that had transpired. In my later conversation with her, she said that at the time I had experienced the depression at its deepest, she had parked her car on a railway line and was sitting waiting for the train to come. But then, quite unexpectedly she had started to think that there was some hope after all, and that she would be able to work things out. She had driven off the line and had felt very much better quite quickly.
I and others have been on the receiving end of a very wide range of such experiences. They have varied from being intensely positive to malevolent, excruciatingly panel experiences. As in the example, it is possible to be quite active in sending these sorts of impressions.
The third kind of event concerns what happens when one person seems to be able to elicit a response from another person, and do so telepathically. Sometimes these responses are so characteristically different from people's normal behaviour that they are moved to comment that they do not understand why they reacted as they did. However, when their responses are within the normal range for them, there external origins can go completely unnoticed.
Again two fairly detailed examples will illustrate what I mean. The first concerns a young woman who left a group one night, well before it was timed to finish. She was very upset, although not upset enough for me to think that she should be chased. She had been gone for a few minutes. I had continued to work with other members of the group at the same time as thinking about her and wondering what would be the best way of helping her. Then I thought, "I'll see if I can get her to come back and get held; at least she could learn that physical contact can be helpful when she is upset." With that thought, I projected to her the thought, "You might like to come back and get held." As I thought this, I had the distinct impression that she was near the tram stop which was about five minutes away, something that I could not have known with any certainty had I tried to work out what she would be doing. She walked through the door in another five minutes and said, "I thought I could come back and be held." I later asked her where she was when she had decided to return. She said that she had been waiting for a tram when she had thought of the idea. The second example concerns a man in his mid-twenties. He had been driving his car along a suburban street when a young boy road his bike into the car. The boy was unhurt, but his bike was damaged. While talking to him after the accident, my friend had compelling impulses to hit him angrily. He could not remember having reacted in such a manner before. He restrained himself, but asked the boy whether or not he would get into trouble when he got home. The boy said that he was really scared that his father would beat him.
This type of thing also explains to me why some people seem to have others responding to them in particular ways that are hard to explain when only their overt behaviour is taken into account. Have you ever known people who could walk into a room and, without appearing to do anything overt, have everyone in the room feeling significantly more or less comfortable within minutes?
As with the other experiences mentioned, these experiences cover the full range from the very desirable to the very undesirable.
Safety Valve Effect
The safety valve effect is something that I have observed many times. I believe it is at the basis of many things that people do with each other.
What seems to happen when we relate to others is that there is a trade off between them and ourselves about who is going to be the outlet for what. Each of us has particular feelings,thoughts, impulses etc. with which we are most and least comfortable. In relationships, we tend to be willing to express the ones with which we are comfortable and to inhibit the expression of the ones with which we are uncomfortable. But when we do not express something that has been activated inside us, the "energy" from the internal event has to go somewhere. It does not seem to disappear, just because it has not been expressed.
Actually, it seems to wait around until someone expresses it. If this is true, then any two people will be relating, as it were, in a cloud of unexpressed, unacceptable feelings, thoughts etc. The nature and thickness of the cloud will depend on just what has been stimulated between them, what they have expressed for themselves, what each has expressed for the other, and what others may have obliged them by expressing in lieu of them both. This dynamic seems to be particularly obvious in intimate relationships, although I believe it operates in all relationships.
As a child, I learned that it was not-OK to feel or express anger. My major option when angry was to become tired. However, this did not always work because I would sometimes be provoked to anger when I was too physically activated to use tiredness to close myself down. At these times, I would do controlling, oppressive things until someone to whom I was attached became angry. It did not matter very much what they were angry about. As soon as they became angry, I experienced relief. At times the relief was so intense that an "involuntary" smile would spread across my face. I could feel the release of my own tension, not because someone else was expressing symbolically something I was feeling and not allowed to express, but because they were actually expressing the energy I had generated, and so were relieving me directly. It was only after I recovered the ability to feel my own anger and then learned to express it that I stopped doing this and realized what I had actually been doing for so long.
All sorts of experiences can be shifted around in this way. Sometimes the shift is conscious, that is, the person initiating it wants it to take place and knowingly sets it up; sometimes it takes place outside our awareness. In my experience, the majority of such incidents take place outside our awareness.
We are servicing each other automatically by this means. With this in mind, it becomes a salutory experience to review the attitudes, behaviour etc. of the people with whom we associate. My impression is that much of their value to us and an important part of why we continue to be involved with them is that they are providing direct outlets for the experiences we are inhibited about expressing for one reason or another. In my own life and in my experience with everyone with whom have I worked so far, this has turned out to be true, despite my and their earnest and convinced disclaimers that such a thing could not possibly be true.
This amounts to saying that we may be the outlet for other people's issues without our knowing it. Moreover, it means, if true, that we all help each other maintain a "comfortable" balance. Investigate for yourself. Next time you are in a group of people which has been meeting for sometime, become aware of who expresses what feelings, who expresses what ideas, who acts in what way and who has what types of perceptions. Also, if the opportunity arises, observe what happens when someone who is the usual outlet for a particular type of thing is not there. Does someone else takeover? Or is the absent person included in some way in fantasy? If it is possible you might like to find out from the absent person what he or she was doing and experiencing fact the time of the group's meeting. It would be interesting for me to find out whether or not this person continued to service the group in absentia. This is definite possibility.
Some Generalisations and Conclusions
I have developed several generalisations and drawn some conclusions over the years. I find these valuable while working with people on these issues. Space does not allow for the inclusion of the material on which I have based these; however, I think it important to state them. If you are sceptical, you can apply your own tests.
First, there is a telepathic dimension to our communication which significantly influences the outcome. This is obvious to those who have developed their awareness, but not so clear to those who have not. Intense experiences seem most likely to occur between people involved in intense loving or hating relationships. For mild experiences in the normal range, all that seems necessary is a willingness to be open to those involved.
Second, belief seems to be all important. People who believe that telepathy is real, or that they are telepathic are very much more likely to be aware of telepathic events than those who do not believe either of these things. It is worth noting that people do not have to believe something for it to be real to others. Dogs respond to the "silent" whistle blown by a person who is incapable of hearing it. The dogs know it is real; the person could be excused for having doubts.
Third and related to belief, people who trust their own experiences seem more likely to develop telepathic sensitivity than those who do not. Many of us have been taught slowly but surely to doubt the validity and accuracy of our experiences. We have learned to believe that we do not know clearly what is real unless we or others have applied the principles of empirical science to what we think. However, while scientific validation is a form of validation, it is only one form and for many things is not the best form. For example, I do not need a replicated experiment in front of a panel of scientists of proven reputation to know that I had intercourse with my wife this week and that I enjoyed it. Moreover, given my inhibitions, it seems very unlikely that I would enjoy it in front of witnesses. So such research would in all likelihood indicate that I did not enjoy intercourse were Ito submit to such testing conditions. Much of the research into telepathic events seems to me to have been similarly designed to interfere with what it was hoping to determine. (Despite this much has been validated.
Fourth, babies and young children seem to be very open to telepathic communication and influence. By this I mean that they are most obviously effected by such factors and, once they can talk, will give startlingly accurate information when encouraged to do so. Further validation of this is provided from assessing the capacities of very sensitive people. To a one, they appear to be capable of responding and reacting in ways that are typical of babies and young children. This is why I believe many people with regressive tendencies, especially people with psychotic disturbances,seem to have so many telepathic experiences.
Fifth, the content of telepathy is as varied as, if not more varied than normal communication. Popularly thought of in terms of the transmission of thoughts, ideas or images, my experience is that it can involve thoughts, feelings, impulses, perceptions, sensations - any experience a person is capable of having.
Sixth, the intent to contact a person telepathically seems to be an important ingredient. Without intent to do so, people do not seem to connect. They may not be aware of their intention,however.
Finally, people can develop their sensitivity. This is not something that has to diminish with age,nor something that cannot be heightened although already diminished. Also, people can learn to deal with problems which result from telepathic sensitivity. These things may require their obtaining some special information and learning to apply it. Nonetheless, they are definitely possible. Moreover,people can learn to use telepathic methods to support other more conventional communication, or to do very much more than this.
I am currently satisfied that these things are valid and true. They have been supported over and over again in my own life. And while, at some time, I may discover that they not true or that they need modifying substantially, I currently find them useful as working principles.
Many people have problems with communication, with managing their thoughts, feelings, impulses and the like when they are with others. It is helpful for many of these people to know that what they are experiencing may not be theirs alone, that it may have originated in another person. This does not relieve them of the responsibility of having to deal with it themselves, but it does help them understand what is happening, where before they may only have had an intuitive idea at best that all was not what it had seemed to be.
Coxhead, N.: Mindpower, Penguin Books, Hammondsworth, 1976
Ostrander, S. And Schroeder, L.: Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain, Bantam Books, New Jersey, 1970
Schwarz, B.: Parent-child Telepathy, Garrett Publications, New York, 1971)