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The Lesson of Forgetting

Written by: Michelle Belanger

Your subtle body is a natural and indivisible part of your being. As such, its sensory capacity is also something very innate to you. As incarnated beings, it is natural and right for us to be both body and spirit. Because our subtle selves are as much a natural part of who and what we are as our physical selves, we are not born repressing our awareness of an entire half of our existence. This repression is something we slowly learn.

Think about the children you have interacted with, especially very young children who are just beginning to discover the world. There is always a sense of wonder about them, and it seems as if they perceive a world very different from the one we adults live in. Their world is filled with possibilities, and there is no question in their mind that magick and spirits and a myriad of other fabulous things are entirely real. Children often speak with and react to things that don’t seem to be there. As adults, we smile patronizingly on, amused by the ignorance of children who believe in imaginary friends. But what if these children are reacting to things that really are there on some level we’ve forgotten how to perceive? What if, instead of growing out of ignorance, we grow into it as we age?

This is, unfortunately, exactly the case where our subtle senses are concerned. When we are young, we haven’t realized yet that it’s perceived as wrong and unhealthy to freely interact with this side of our natures. We take everything we sense without questioning it, because we live in a moment of purity that is the eternal now. It is only as we “grow up” that we begin to learn how to repress our subtle senses, often forgetting we even had them by the time we are adults.
There are a couple of reasons for this dissociation with our subtle selves. A prime reason has to do with the culture we’ve been raised in. Here in the West, we’ve grown up in what is called a monistic materialist paradigm, which is to say that the majority of people believe that physical reality is all that there is. According to this way of thinking, there is no duality to nature, such as the duality of body and spirit, and the only things that are “real” are those that can be measured, quantified, and perceived using the five physical senses.

This means that all of us, regardless of how in tune with these senses we may be at the start of our lives, are gradually encouraged to repress this sensitivity from childhood onward. We are told that there are no such things as spirits, that we cannot see “colors” around people, and that it is impossible to hear other peoples’ feelings or thoughts. What parents fail to repress in us, our peers at school often succeed in, for no one enjoys being the “freak” or the outsider that everyone teases for being strange. Although many teachers get into their profession with the intention of cultivating individuality and encouraging creativity, the school system as it stands, especially in the United States, can be very repressive to the individual, often promoting stable, but faceless conformity.

Once we reach adulthood, if we continue to have sensations that have no apparent basis in physical reality, we typically seek a medical or psychiatric explanation. When there is little acceptance of subtle experiences and even less information that’s widely available on the subject, it becomes very simple to rationalize the sensations away or, if they are exceptionally persistent, medicate ourselves to the point where we do not notice them anymore.