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Why Spiritual Experiences Are Questionable

Updated on August 29, 2020

A lot of people have spiritual experiences at some point in their lives. And each of us interprets those in their own way.

Now, I will never claim someone is just making it all up. I will always assume that they really had this experience. What I question is their interpretation of it. Why? Because I have loads of experience myself, and know we can train our minds to give us any experience we really want to have, and I know how the human mind works, and that it can be influenced by all manner of things, including a cup of coffee.

When I was a small child I was raised to believe in the Catholic god. I even wanted to be a priest. At 6 I found out there was more than one belief. How was that possible if there was only one god? And who was right? I was devastated to discover no one knew. Everyone just had faith theirs was right. So I promised myself I'd figure it out. And that's what I dedicated my life to.

My first experience happened when I was around 7 or 8. I was laying in bed singing a weird little song I head at school. "Jesus Christ all mighty, a mouse ran up my nighty. Bit my tit and made me shit. Jesus Christ all mighty."

Apparently Jesus was mad. I saw a shadow pass the room of my door and felt like Jesus had left me. But I felt like god still loved me and had a purpose for me, so I'd be ok even if Jesus couldn't forgive me..

As a teenager , after having gone through most denominations of Christianity, I turned to Buddhism and eastern mysticism. I studied ,meditation and eventually trained myself to reach all the states the guru's talk about. I reached states of bliss, feeling at one with the totality, a state of just knowing/understanding. And I even trained myself to have out of body experiences. I could teach others how to do it and could eventually almost do it at will.

It was the late 1960s early 1970s, so after I learned how to do it all though meditation alone, I started experimenting with Lsd, magic mushrooms, peyote, etc. Never for recreational purposes. And sure enough they enhanced the experiences immensely. During an out of body experience on mushrooms Jesus told me it wasn't my time to die, I had too much yet to do, and I was thrown back into my cold clammy body.

I had many experiences I was sure meant that there is an afterlife. When leaving my body I experienced a wonderful feeling of coming home, as if that was the real world we would all go to upon death.

The drugs made me look at myself and my flaws. I was on the verge of sleep one night when I felt three spirits hovering over me. They were arguing. One wanted to kill me. Another said I was ok and would change my ways. Another was of both minds. I knew what they were talking about. There were bits of my personality I wasn't happy with and was trying to change. In the end they decided to give me a chance. I never saw them or felt them again, and I managed to change some the behavior I wanted to modify.

Another strange experience was a kind of esp. Again, half way between wake and sleep, I heard the phone ring. I was sure I knew who it was. Someone answered and I told them what to say with my mind. The person was asking for me. I thought about meeting them the next day at a specific time and place, which the person on the phone repeated exactly and told the person on the other end that he'd inform me in the morning. He never did. I was skeptical but went for the meeting the next day and sure enough the person I thought I was on the phone the night before was there.

I even created a demon/spirit with a friend of mine. We had heard of an experiment done at Berkley U in the USA. They got a group of people together to make up a person with a background etc, and then they supposedly talked to it as if it were there. Eventually people felt like it was actually there. And eventually they supposedly got it to move a table. I think they called it Charley. However, I don't know if any of it actually happened. But my friend and I decided to recreate the experiment.

We never gave it a name, and we never felt anything was really there. However, we had a visitor come over with his girlfriend. We never said a word to anyone about what we had done, and everything was going fine until we all went in to the room we had been experimenting in. The girl almost instantly started to cry. She left the room right away saying that as soon as she entered she felt a weight pushing down on her and a presence in the room.

We were both shocked but said nothing. We did invite others over and got mixed results. Some people seemed to feel nothing, while others (2 out of 6 after the first) felt a weight on them that made them afraid. We didn't know what to think.

Six months later I moved back out east. I moved into a commune with 13 people. I took the basement for my room. One day when I came back from work a good friend that lived there was standing at the top of the stairs obviously in distress. He told me that as he was walking down the stairs to do his laundry he felt a weight pushing down on him and a sense of fear took him over. He dropped his laundry basket and was afraid to go back down there.

I was stunned. Had I brought it with me 3000 miles? As I went down I still felt nothing. But I thought, if I created this by talking to it, I might be able to get rid of it the same way. So I did. I told it I had created it so I could make it go away. After several hours I felt like it was gone. I invited my friend down and he was fine.

So after all those experiences and so many more I haven't mentioned I should believe in spirits, esp, god, Jesus, etc. But I don't, and I'll tell you why.

Again, I was able to achieve all the states gurus talk about except one. I never could levitate. That bothered me. Had I been able to do achieve that it would have proven that the mind alone can manipulate the world of matter. And then I discovered that most of the gurus who claim to be able to do it were faking it.

I also started experimenting with states of mind and found out I could just as easily experience living in middle earth or an Alice in wonderland world, and experience them as if they were ultra real. So as I started studying the mind I began to see that it was all probably a form of self hypnosis. But that doesn't explain everything. Still, it showed me clearly I could have any experience I wanted. Thus, what was really going on? Were any of my experiences "real", or just in my head?

I was still under 20 at the time and started studying science like an obsession now. Two discoveries made me think I was on the right track. First of all Dr Persinger of Laurentian U in Ontario Canada discovered that if he used an EM pen on people's heads in just the place he could make people have spiritual experiences. Some spoke to god, Jesus, demons, aliens, Buddha, a dead relative, the person they had just met in the waiting room, etc. One said he had the best sex of his life.

One can say, ok, so who is to say the experiences weren't real? Sure, except the people who said they talked to still living people who didn't recall any such experience happening to them, which puts all of the experiences in doubt.

He also discovered that two weeks before a major earthquake, EM spikes in the area, possibly being responsible for people thinking they were abducted by aliens etc in those regions. And his most recent research seems to indicate that if all brains were tuned to the earth's magnetic field, ESP would be inevitable. We'll see.

The second clue came from physics. It's well known that we can write/store information on/in anything from a rock to EM waves like radio waves. We can store sound and visuals. All we need is something that can read it/play it. What if human emotions could write themselves on the environment? It's always said that only people attuned to the supernatural can sense it . What if certain minds have an easier time reading/playing back environmental information similarly tuned minds created?

That would explain my experience with the spirit we supposedly created. Only certain people reacted. Others felt nothing. It would also explain ghost experiences and even things like deja vu.

Energy is never destroyed, only transformed. Therefore, upon death, all the energy and atoms that were us dissipate and go on to join other systems. How much info about us is written on them? If a few atoms join an apple or anything else someone eats, could that info be read by certain minds? They would think it was their own experience they were remembering. Maybe even from a past life.

These things need to be researched, and experiments done. But the beauty is they can be tested unlike some other possibilities which can't.

So why are some people sure they speak to god and he speaks to them? Well, that too is probably mind. We have two main parts of the brain: a conscious layer we use for deliberation through language, and an unconscious part that uses emotion.

The subconscious is actually not unconscious at all. It's what most animals use to think. And it's also our auto pilot. When a ball is coming toward your face, if you take time to think it's going to hit you. But you don't. Depending on your experience you will reach out and catch it or move out of the way. Then you'll praise yourself for how good you are, even though it was an automatic response. And rightly so.

When you learn to ride a bike you think about every little move and usually fall off a few times. The more you learn the less you have to think about it. In fact, if you over think it, you second guess yourself and may fall off again. Everything we do well, we do on auto with consciousness as an overseer/quality control . So experience/learning can alter auto response.

The reason I know that you can live on the subconscious alone is that that's where you go in meditation. All those states of mind I mentioned, including out of body experience requires you shut down your conscious mind. One thought in language and you're back out of the state or back in your body.

Yes, you still feel emotions and think, but in a form I call non-thought. It's all feelings and feelings of understanding. But no conscious thought.

Now, if you ask a question, the subconscious will throw up an auto answer. How accurate it is depends on your training in that area. Sometimes it's dead wrong.

A question was asked of a few thousand math and physics students: A ball and bat cost a dollar and ten cents. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much is the ball? They were told to give the first answer that popped into their heads. Over 95 percent got it wrong, and most of them gave the same answer: ten cents. Try it on your friends. I only met one person who answered correctly, and they taught math.

So what does all this have to do with talking to god and getting answers? One thing I learned as a troubleshooter was that if I came to a problem that just stumped me, I'd consciously forget about it, relegating it to the subconscious. How many times have you heard the phrase "let me sleep on it"? After a while an answer appears as if out of nowhere.

How many times have you heard a writer say: "oh, the story just wrote itself"? Or "the song just seemed to write itself."? In the bible, Moses says to god: "you got the wrong guy. I wouldn't know what to say." God gets miffed and asks him who he thinks puts words in his mouth, and tells he'll lead him through it. In fact, many religions claim the gods taught them how to make wine and bread etc. After all, new good ideas seem to come from elsewhere. The ancestors didn't believe they could come up with novel ideas on their own. Even one native I spoke to said that they are still taught that new good ideas are the gods teaching us.

So if you prey and get an answer, chances are it's coming from your own subconscious, not from elsewhere.

Now, do I still believe in god and Jesus etc? No. I practice lack of belief. I believe nothing. That also means I don't believe there is no god. No one knows and no one can know. So belief one way or the other is just a wild guess.

And there are just too many possibilities that even if we have what we think looks and quacks like a duck, it may not be a duck.

In logic one will always get the right answer relative to the original premise. But for the answer to be fact, the premise must be a fact. If I say: All men wear baseball caps. John wears a baseball cap so he is a man, or John is a man so he wears baseball caps, I'd be right according to my premise, but wrong because my premise isn't fact.

In science your math can be as logical, pretty, and compelling as it likes. But unless it can be validated by accurately predicting/matching experiment it's wrong. And if no experiment can be done, it's nothing more than a wild, though perhaps educated guess.

There is no such thing as mathematical proof without the math being first proven by experiment.

So when it comes to god, spirits, the supernatural etc, unless they can be proven all spiritual/supernatural experiences and their interpretations are questionable. It doesn't mean they are not fact. It just means anyone claiming they know their interpretations are fact is lying to themselves and you.


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    • Slarty O'Brian profile imageAUTHOR

      Ron Hooft 

      11 months ago from Ottawa

      Good question. But when I was talking about instinct I was talking about why and how people of the past came up with good new ideas but believed those ideas came from outside themselves, like from the gods putting ideas in their heads etc.

      If you have a plumbing problem you can't seem to solve by consciously thinking about it, often other aspects of your experience may have a solution; and that solution often seems to pop up out of nowhere when you're driving home or at dinner or whenever you aren't thinking directly about it.

      You're talking about intuition/seeing. And yes, it's probably a related mechanism. That's my point, there is so much we don't know.

      You probably have enough experience to have to have come to the conclusion that it isn't all just coincidence, and I agree it probably isn't. But how it works not known yet, so assume it's supernatural would wrong at this point; you probably agree. There are too many other natural possibilities.

      It's funny. All my life I've come up with ideas about the universe that end up being proven true by others. It's as if when I think about it, it gets transferred all over the place and picked up by others who are also looking for the same answers.

      Part of this is obvious: Every time there's a new invention it's usually been invented independently by several people at around the same time. Bell was actually the third person to invent the phone but the first to patent it. Things need to be in place, though. Electricity had to be discovered and understood along with a dozen other things. Often only then can you even conceive of it.

      It seems almost like when all the elements are in place, things almost invent themselves.

      So, again, I mentioned that DR Persinger seems to think that if the human mind was tuned to the frequency of the earth's electro-magnetic field, esp would be inevitable. Who's to say our thoughts don't in some way leave us? Who's to say we can't pick up other people's ideas the same way. We'd think they were our thoughts, and in a sense they would be.

      So much for my opinion that our good or innovative thoughts don't come from elsewhere? I was thinking of outside gods or spirits intentionally teaching us. This would be like getting information from food as I mentioned in the hub.

      And of course, there's the quantum world where everything is connected and were you get strange relationships between particles over long distances that look like a faster than light communication. And of course there is quantum field theory where all things are intimately connected. Strange, isn't it? The Buddhists and Hindus have been saying it for centuries. I've experienced it. Science has proven it a dozen ways even before Field theory.

      Could your intuition be at least partially due to a quantum connection? Interesting idea and one I certainly wouldn't be surprised to find out is true in one way or another. In fact, I'd be more surprised to find out it isn't.

      A lot of people experience a lot of things and so I have no problem accepting that phenomenon are not all just imagination and coincidence. But because we can't either prove nor falsify that the supernatural exists we need to first look for natural answers. And again, everything I've suggested is speculation based on current science.

      I don't care what the truth turns out to be. I just want to know what it is. And yes, I agree. Everyone has the potential to gain knowledge and understanding. Some of us live for exactly that. No religions, books, or gurus required

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      P.S. I had to make a run to the store just now and looking for my car keys I realized they were not on the bookshelf here, where I usually put them. So, I thought: they gotta be in the jeans I was wearing the other day.

      I went to my closet and checked the side pockets only to find a receipt and some change. Haha!! At that point I thought: I haven't looked properly on the bookshelf I guess so, I came back here and searched again but the keys were still not to be found.

      I had to stop the nonsense, clear my mind and ask: "Where are they?" The answer was immediate: "back pocket". Yes, they were in one of the back pockets of the jeans.

      The answers to absolutely everything are out there and we can get to them if we have the right "touch". Haha!! : )

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      "If you know nothing about the subject and have no related experience it's not going to help." - I'm sort of interested in this part.

      I call myself a Seer. My grand-mother was one as well, although she was infinitely better than I am at it. What I mean by "seer" is someone who can "see" things through time and space.

      Like, knowing my father's car keys where in his inside pocket and not in the snow where he was looking for them. Or, a couple of months ago when I literally saw the number "180,000" when thinking about the death count in the US. There are things I can get to know if I change my perception by shutting down the world so to speak. The chattering voice has to be silent and then, I can just know things.

      Now, it is indeed easier for example find things which are my own. With my own objects I can almost feel them and know if I am moving closer, or further away from them. Haha!! It's nuts but fun at the same time. So, that would mean that the more experience I have with an object, the easier it is for me to "see" it.

      But I have done this with people who are lost in whatever circumstance: at sea, or on a hike, or just vanished, etc. I can know if any given person is still alive, or not. That I go by feeling but either way, it's a "knowing", although I know nothing about these people. So, my take is that Intuition does not depend on one's experience. Or, it does in terms of the experience of one learning how to know which one is the Intuitive answer and which one is just the guessing ego but that's it: we can know anything without knowing anything. If that makes any sense.

      Well, danke schoen for the conversation! Glad You doing alright. "And that's a fact." : )

      Stay safe as well and all the very best!

    • Slarty O'Brian profile imageAUTHOR

      Ron Hooft 

      11 months ago from Ottawa


      Thanks for reading.

      Yes, the subconscious is intuition. Again, it's all based on auto response. We do have genetic predispositions, so we have likes and dislikes we inherited as well as other traits.

      Experience/learning can change them. And that's what sleeping on it is all about. The subconscious has better access to all of our experience and memory than consciousness alone.. So consciously forgetting about and relegating it to the subconscious allows the conscious mind to calm down and allows the subconscious to sort it out and come up with a solution based on your knowledge.

      If you know nothing about the subject and have no related experience it's not going to help.

      But we do it all the time without actually sleeping on it. Someone comes to you with a problem. You listen and try to make sure you understand. You're perhaps a bit confused at first, and then suddenly an answer hits you.

      In this case you didn't have to figure it all out taking time to think it all through logically step by step to come up with the answer. It appeared. Not out of nowhere, not from outside self, but directly from the self; the subconscious part of the brain.

      So yes, everyone has access to their subconscious and those auto answers. You have many different kinds of experience and predispositions, and as you know, combining experiences often comes up with innovative answers.

      So whether you're auto answer is true or functional or innovative or dead wrong depends on your unique learning mixed with your unique predispositions.

      What ever works for you is, of course, fine. You don' have to validate anything. That wasn't the point of this hub. I don't have any problem with people believing what they want. I only object to people trying to sell their beliefs and interpretations as fact, when there is no way they can know that taking all things in consideration.

      People can tell me what they experienced, how it made them feel, and how they interpret it. But don't tell me your interpretation is fact unless you can prove it.

      Again, it might be even if you can't prove it. But it may not be. No one knows whether gods exist or not. Souls, ghosts, etc, etc. Maybe, maybe not.

      Hence I can't believe anything. It's fact or it isn't. And if we can't prove it either way it's a guess. True or not we don't, and often can't know.

      Great to see you again though. And that's a fact. Hope you and yours the best in these trying times. Stay safe. ;)

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      11 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      I don't really care to validate anything from the Spiritual World. What works for me, works for me and I'm good with that. Proving things to others never attracted me. Hence, I do not care for experiments, or science to validate spirituality.

      "Now, if you ask a question, the subconscious will throw up an auto answer." - I am interested here if You are thinking of the word "subconscious" as "intuition". If not, what are the differences for You in this context of "getting answers" from somewhere.

      And would not all of us have access to this "source of answers", if "let me sleep on it" is applicable to everyone?

      Very interesting piece of writing. Thanks for putting it together. Cheers!


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