A Discussion on the Fear of
Psychic Phenomena and Jesas

from the OAS Email List

On the Order's email list we had the following discussion about the fear that people often have in regard to healing and psychic phenomena, healers and psychics.

Jesa Macbeth wrote:

We had a Go Away Jesa Party in Glasgow yesterday, and I broke the news that I'm probably coming back briefly in February/March. We were talking about the classes I might do then and a couple of people misheard one suggestion. Instead of "intuitive tarot" they thought I said "intuitive terror" and were most enthusiastic, then disappointed when they understood what had actually been said. When I asked what they thought a class on intuitive terror might be, they said it was obviously a class on handling fear of my classes/me.
I mentioned this to a friend by email, and he wrote:

>Run with it -- if they want "intuitive terror" give them "intuitive terror".
>You might discover a bunch about what you do and how people see it in the
>process of making sense of what to talk about and do for this sort of course.

Ok. I don't suppose I'll do a course on it (god/dess knows I've done stranger courses though, so I might), but it is something I'd like to think about. So, I'd like to ask you some things.
First, I have to say that it is difficult for me to take these claims to be terrorized seriously. I try, but it seems a very odd notion to me. But I've been doing this stuff since I was two, and maybe don't look at it (or myself) like other people do, and I need some help in understanding it. I'm honestly baffled by the idea that people, think it's reasonable (appropriate? right?) to be terrified of some of the things I fairly routinely do.
What do you suppose people are actually terrified of? Why? What's really going on?
Have you experienced this in yourself? Clients? Friends? Family?
If so, what have you done to cope with or transform it? For yourself? For them?
Thanks for your help...

Richard Wentk wrote:

>What do you suppose people are actually terrified of? Why? What's really
>going on?

I think it's something to do with needing a stable view of the world. Everyone is pretty much taught in a left-brain scientific materialistic way at school, and psychic, intuitive and emotional things are more or less relegated to the realm of 'myth' - i.e. things that aren't true, real or valid.
So when people come across something that challenges that, they get very antsy. It's not just a personal thing - firstly it's a feeling of betrayal and surprise, based on the understanding that everything you've been told about the world to date may actually be very wrong. And there's also a feeling of being completely lost, without landmarks or maps or ways of finding one's way around.
I went through exactly this process when I started playing with these things. Now I'm so comfortable with things like astrology that (as one friend put it) I'm the only person she knows who thinks that far too many traditional New Agey and pagan types are just too damn conventional, boring, and straight. :)
If most people start out with a strong left-brain bias, getting more of a right brain balance is akin to learning to read while grown up - it's possible, but it's also hard work and occasionally very painful. I think the amount of effort and challenge involved really shouldn't be underestimated!

>Have you experienced this in yourself? Clients? Friends? Family?

Work colleagues, certainly. One in particular who used to say 'Get a life!' when I'd mention astrology. Then he was present when a couple of extremely unlikely coincidences happened, and the last I heard he was experimenting with seeing a homeopath for a chronic condition he used to suffer from. And doing well, by all accounts. :)

>If so, what have you done to cope with or transform it? For yourself?
>For them?

Well, there are two options:
1. Just ignore the resistance, which often means ignoring the person. Obviously you can do this at work, but not in your personal life. But then in my personal life I can't think of anyone who isn't at least receptive to this way of living, so it's really not a problem. I would find it very hard to deal with otherwise, and don't really have any ideas how to go about this. Gentle persuasion doesn't help - it's more about how you live your life, I think.
2. Trial by fire. If people go through enough challenging (and - to them - improbable) experiences, eventually they start to see that it's a valid and useful way of experiencing the world, and that - dammit! - it really works. My feeling (and experience) is that once you get to a certain level of practice 'improbable' (or even impossible) events become the norm, so if someone spends enough time with you they're bound to share in those. Sooner or later the penny drops. At this point they either become fascinated, although usually it takes a while for the wariness to fade. Or they get very angry and leave. It's up to them...

Charlene Crilley wrote:

I can definitely relate to feeling fearful of the unknown and of being able to see and experience phenomena. Having things moving around and disappearing and appearing is rather unsettling unless you have some confidence in what is happening. I relate it to being much like learning the computer. When I first got my computer I was afraid to push all the buttons for fear it would break or some god-awful thing happen. The more familiar I became with it, the more confident I was and my fear diminished. Addressing the fear (everyone feels it at first) is a GREAT idea and it sounds like people have some passion for it.

Someone wrote:

Jesa, what an interesting subject! First off, I don't think anyone is actually afraid of "you and your classes". They are afraid of the unknown, or of knowing.
Fear of the unknown comes from the sense that anything can happen,and that unexpected things are often bad things. I think this is a nearly universal fear which comes from human experience - kind of a collective unconsciousness type of fear. Because of earthquakes, floods, tidal waves, famines, freezes, etc., I think the entire human race has a fear of things which are unexpected or unknown. There have been too many disasters for us to discount this type of fear entirely.
Another "intuitive terror" has to do with darkness and night. Because we are basically diurnal animals, unable to see well in the dark, we tend to fear things that we associate with darkness. Major religions have long associated "the occult", "the subconscious" and "evil" with darkness, so the esoteric, the private, and the psychic/intuitive became inadvertently associated with evil and taken into the "fear of darkness" syndrome. Of course, this was built upon by the modern churches who conveniently ignore the fact that religion essentially began arm in arm with the esoteric and with darkness, with the stories and poems and prayers chanted in the darkness of night as people "prayed" for the morning return of the sun. Never mind that we are now referring to intuition and spiritual growth as "light" and light working - there is still an accumulated body of thought and emotion which is embodied in the very languages we speak that associate "enlightenment" with darkness. Go figure.
Which brings me to the third and most personal source of "intuitive terror"... personal guilt. Each of us has something we feel guilty about, and which we fear punishment of one kind or another for, and this is another source of religious fervor. Here I can offer a personal example. I used to be quite suicidal (not anymore). At the time that I was suicidal, I was studying death and out-of-body experiences because I believed 'if you want to die strongly enough, you don't need to use 'props' (guns knives, pills) - you just need to will yourself to be dead.' I told this to a lot of people. One day I was in a dark room meditating on death when I suddenly found myself outside, looking down on my body - this was my first out-of-body experience. I thought I had succeeded, and suddenly realized that I didn't want to die after all! I was terrified, and within a flash, I was back inside my body! I have not yet succeeded in getting out again except in sleep. I think it is because I was so afraid at that time that I had actually 'willed myself to death,' and because I still feel guilty about that experience and about all the energy I wasted in getting to that point. I think if my first OOBE had been on a more positive note (I am not including here the near-death experience as a child because that was non-volitional) then I would not be so afraid and a lot of things would be easier for me at this point.
I think the topic of "intuitive terror" is very, very interesting and explains a lot of things about our culture and our problems, both personal and communal. Thanks for bringing it up!

Nadine MacLane wrote:

Here's my $.02.

>What do you suppose people are actually terrified of? Why? What's really
>going on?

I agree with Richard. There's something about using one's intuition that is really mind boggling to left brain types (speaking from experience). There's also a weird thing that happens in the learning curve of lefties. Learning in schools has always been comprised of a series of building blocks. Serious left brained people learn that they can master each step and move successfully on to the next. Intuition and right brain thinking are fundamentally different.
It's more like making soup. The more things you add, and the more you know, the richer it gets. It's not something that you can do a little bit at a time (first try just water and oregano and master that, for example). The whole learning process of cooking is more like the learning process of intuition. First you do things because people tell you to do them, and then you vary the recipe and begin to understand the relationships. (Interesting analogy I just made up. Maybe this explains why my husband, Jonathan, cooks so differently. But there's sense to it. He never looks at recipes, just adds things to the pot and guesses a lot, with some moderate success, but he'd certainly get better with practice. Unfortunately, cooking is very unlike intuition in that the results of intuition are a bit more difficult to see.)
The other aspect of this problem relates to separating the gold from the dross. There are a number of people who are intuitive but haven't developed the skill very reliably. They're listening to all the voices without any discretion. Those include the voice of the ego which is afraid of things or imagines the worst. Intuition can be scary then, because just as you start to trust your voices, they seem to instigate sabotage. The terror in this case is in the decision of whether to trust this fledgling intuition and believe the ego by mistake or not. It's kind of a no-win situation.

Eileen Inge Herzberg wrote:

I've just been catching up on the intuitive terror correspondence, and it's made me think about my own IT. Quite a few years ago I was visiting the Merry Maidens stone circle on a very dark night - suddenly, I heard voices and I stood there, petrified. At that moment I didn't know what scared me more - the idea that I was about to meet some people with bodies or people without bodies. It was a scary moment. But they were only ordinary people (with bodies). We had a chat and then went on about our business. I was disappointed...
Something is gently falling into place. The way I react to fear is to close down, shut off, run away, and I'm so successful at this shutdown reaction that I don't even realise that I'm doing it. I've got a horrible feeling that I suffer from intuitive terror and that I could be much more intuitive, if only I wasn't so scared in an unconscious, sleep walking sort of way. Hmmmm.

>What do you suppose people are actually terrified of? Why? What's really
>going on?

I suspect it's your ability to see people as they really are -- and I'm not sure what they find more terrifying - you knowing who they are, or asking them questions which could make them stumble on some hidden truths about themselves.

>Have you experienced this in yourself? Clients? Friends? Family?

My stepson Joe says that some of his friends were too scared of me to come round to visit him. I don't really understand why this should be - particularly as there was never a shortage of "brave" friends who practically lived with us!

>If so, what have you done to cope with or transform it? For
>yourself? For them?

I've just been slightly puzzled by it - can't really believe that anyone would be terrified of me - and like you, Jesa, I wonder why they're scared.

Jay Barnes wrote:

I am here due to two facts...1) the old answers to life's questions, though carefully managed and carefully followed, simply no longer work for me, and 2) because I have overcome my own "intuitive terror" at being here! This I submit as credentials to speak in the discussion at hand.
Someone spoke of fear of the unknown being attributable to the fact that unexpected events are often bad. I disagree in part. The unexpected, by definition IS bad, i.e., the event does not fit our worldview based on our possessed knowledge and it therefore is a threat to us even if the net effect of the event is for the better. The rational/objective approach to this event as inconsistency is acknowledgement of the threat and deliberate effort to gather more information. The subjective approach however, and by far the easiest, is to ignore the need for information and respond directly to the threat. This reaction is at it's most dramatic in post-traumatic stress patients, but it is only reduced in our normality, not eliminated.
That observation leads back to Richard's first point about our need for a stable view of the world and our avoidance by denial of the alienation that would have to follow our first realization that parents, teachers, churches, government, even our cultural icons, have all subscribed to a deliberate scheme of self deception. That fact brings us back to Someone and her undeveloped point that "they are afraid of the unknown, OR OF KNOWING" (emphasis added).
The fear of knowing, of knowing even a single discordant fact as a certainty, can be such a threat to the stability that we have so carefully orchestrated in our daily regimen that we will go to great and irrational lengths to ignore and deny that fact. If we'll do all of that for a single fact, then "terror" is probably not inappropriate as a description of confronting an apparent whole new body of knowledge. The greater the forced orchestration, the greater the need for stability, then the greater the perceived threat, and the more demanding and rigid our response.
True "stability" in our lives however, stems not from the forced external alignments that internalize the inconsistencies and in so doing destroy our inner voice, but in the internal alignments that give us that voice and the strength, freedom and desire to arrange external alignments as we choose. It was Jesa's mixture of compassion and rationality, the reflection of her own internal consistency and alignment as expressed in her articles, that caught my eye and now brings me to this mail list.
So, my advice to Jesa as response to the "terrorized"? If your head is rejecting what your heart is attracted to, then you are already aware of your need for alignment. Internal misalignment is the greatest threat to your personal well-being and happiness. If you reject knowledge out of fear, then you reject not me, but yourself...you reject the opportunity to control your life instead of having it controlled for you.

Someone wrote:

Bravo, Jay! I thought your comments were excellent, and I enjoyed your analysis of what I had said and your expanding on the theme. I agree with you, the very fact of finding out that the truth is something other than what we have believed can be very disconcerting, even terrifying. I tend in general to have skeptical first responses to many "spiritual" phenomena. But I have had enough experiences which contradict my childhood training and culturally-transmitted beliefs to feel that it is time to explore and discover what is real...or at least to discover what is not real. Even if it is sometimes terrifying to do this. And I really enjoy discussing these issues.

Felicity Bowers wrote:

On the subject of "intuitive terror" - I've recently been inspired by Nelson Mandela's inaugural speech which says something like "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond our wildest imaginings". I recently was having this conversation about why people (OK, men, specifically!) seemed to be scared of me and gave me a wide berth at times. Later, the group I was with did an incredibly powerful exercise in the aftermath of which I began to have a direct sensation of my own inner power (whatever that means). I noticed I was finding it pretty frightening! Perhaps I'm projecting what I'm not owning in myself?
Another illumination to do with this subject occurred last Saturday. I was teaching a class in basic Tai Chi exercises to people who'd mostly never done anything like that before. Two girls stood at the back and giggled very disconcertingly at intervals. I had to keep telling myself that although my Ego was sure they were Laughing At Me it was in fact an expression of the discomfort, terror, probably that they felt at being asked to drop deeper than their normal level of consciousness. At the end, they seemed to have quietened down a bit and one of them asked rather hesitantly whether it was usual to feel this funny feeling like electricity between her hands and was it all right!

A couple of comments on what Jay said:

>Someone speaks of fear of the unknown being attributable to the
>fact that unexpected events are often bad. I disagree in part.
>The unexpected, by definition IS bad, i.e., the event does not
>fit our worldview based on our possessed knowledge and it
>therefore is a threat to us even if the net effect of the event
>is for the better. The rational/objective approach to this event
>as inconsistency is aknowlegement of the threat and deliberate
>effort to gather more information. The subjective approach
>however, and by far the easiest, is to ignore the need for
>information and respond directly to the threat. This reaction is
>at it's most dramatic in post-traumatic stress patients, but it
>is only reduced in our normality, not eliminated.

Seems to me , if I understand this right, you are describing a classic solar centre way of relating to reality, in both its positive and not-so-helpful aspects. The solar centre's view of reality is to maintain conditions that have a proven record of making life livable. Each chakra has a different reality (and as we know there are any number of different realities), so what would happen if we met change from the heart's reality? This is presumably the shift that we are all working to bring about in ourselves, our students and clients.

>True "stability" in our lives however, stems not from the
>forced external alignments that internalize the
>inconsistencies and in so doing destroy our inner voice, but
>in the internal alignments that give us that voice and the
>strength, freedom and desire to arrange external alignments
>as we choose. It was Jesa's mixture of compassion and
>rationality, the reflection of her own internal consistency
>and alignment as expressed in her articles, that caught my
>eye and now brings me to this mail list.

You're basically talking about being grounded and centred, right? This was the subject of my first ever workshop with Jesa and struck such a chord (the missing piece in all I'd done before) that I'm still around.

Jesa Macbeth sums up:

Thanks, everyone! And, um, thanks for all the compliments (blush, blush - you know I'll get you for that ). Your letters are very helpful. To sum up then, oversimplifying terribly, what people are frightened of is of being truly seen, of having to break through old thought patterns and discover new ways of being in the world, of discovering the magic of the world we live in, of discovering their own power - and all of these are things that we think we want!
All we need to do to get over it is to be earthed, to be centered in our own centers instead of some socially-approved, but unnatural locus, and to accept the wonders as we find them, when we find them - which may be just a little more tricky than it sounds.
There is another thing that I'd like to write about in more detail later, but will just mention briefly here. Most psychic experiences happen in a relaxed, altered state of consciousness. We may have slipped into that state so gently that we didn't notice we were doing it. When something interesting and exciting happens, we tend quickly to go through transition from that relaxed state to a more excited, alert state. The physical symptoms of transition between states of consciousness are accelerated breathing and heart rates, brief mental confusion, and an adrenaline surge. If the transition is abrupt, these symptoms may be stronger than usual. We can interpret them as "fear" or as "excitement". The way we interpret them in that first moment is what they quickly become.
If I ever decide to do a course on Intuitive Terror, I shall have some very good ideas about how to approach it. (Thank you all!) My only fear about doing one is that the fearful would be too fearful to actually turn up - rather like the class I did on earthing and centering where fully half the class failed to arrive on the right night, trailing in on various nights over a three week period - some early, some late, but all disconnected from reality.

Finally, I want to repeat Jay's words (just to get into practice at following that particular piece of advice:
"If your head is rejecting what your heart is attracted to, then you are already aware of your need for alignment. Internal misalignment is the greatest threat to your personal well-being and happiness. If you reject knowledge out of fear, then you reject not me, but yourself...you reject the opportunity to control your life instead of having it controlled for you by your own fears."

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