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Belief in Psychics

I have a joke when I can make an informed guess about someone, I say some people say I’m psychic and some people say I’m psychotic. It’s just a bit of a laugh and generally goes down well but it does illustrate we can all add up body language and other things to make informed guesses about other people.

I have a colleague who genuinely claims she is psychic and does professional readings etc. I’m not sure how I feel about it but my partner is a believer and I’m not sure about hooking the two of them up for a reading.

Personally I believe it’s just a case of cold reading but what do you think and how does it tie in with Buddhist practice? I know it should be a case of me respecting other people’s practices but at the same time if I go to one the meetings they’re going to be ‘using’ the ‘spirits’ my departed nearest and dearest and I find that quite offensive.

Comments

  • I’ve often thought that what might be called mind-reading in Buddhism may be mind-theory sharpened by closer inspection of one’s own mind.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    I think there is often a difference between the way seem and the way things really are.

    In my own life I experience things and gain insight into others that certainly seem like it is some sort of psychic phenomena. But is that what is actually happening or is that just the way it seems because I'm not aware of some of the factors involved?

    There is a story of a fireman who was up on the roof of a burning building. A strong feeling that him and his men needed to get off the roof. A moment after they did the roof collapsed. Reflecting on the experience later the fireman realized his feet felt warm, so his experience was working in his subconscious to let him know the danger.

    So I think many "psychic" phenomena can be chalked up to some sort of subconscious awareness or knowledge of the world. People communicate a lot non verbally, so maybe any psychic sense of people is a subconscious awareness of that communication, or in some cases someone with conscious awareness of the indicators using that to pose as a psychic.

    Having said that I'm not convinced that everything can be chalked up to that, so maybe there is something to it. But most who do believe get carried away and start believing any little thing is due to their powers or some kind of a sign.

    SnakeskinBunks
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran
    edited February 4

    @person, the fireman’s experience is how I’d define intuition. I’d agree it’s a subconscious awareness and would add a sensitivity to feelings. Apart from our eyes, our other senses never close. There’s an ever flowing stream of information. Without some subconscious filters, so many details would overwhelm our conscious mind. But the mind still processes those details at subconscious levels and uses feelings to communicate scenarios we should be aware of. Hence, we may get a “bad feeling” about something or a “good feeling”, but won’t know why.

    I’ve experienced coincidences that may be chalked up to intuition or subconscious processing. Once a roomy and I simultaneously decided to make Ramen Noodles. We were in separate rooms and neither of us had eaten them for awhile. My first thought was 'Who read whose mind?' Then, it occurred to me maybe there was a subtle odor that reminded us both of Ramen Noodles.

    Another coincidence, however, has no rational explanation beyond just a coincidence. One evening I had talked on the phone with a friend in another state. She had way too much running around the next day. The following morning, I texted her a brief summary of the Tortoise and the Hare. She received it while driving and slowed down … just enough to bring her car to a screeching halt when she looked up from the phone to find a fn tortoise crossing the road. It gets even better. She later texted me telling me what had happened. I received her text while walking in the park. As I read it, a rabbit ran across my path.

    Scenarios like that are what make coincidences coincidences. They could be suggestive of a broader intuition, but, you’re right, some may get carried away with those notions or abuse them. Individually, though, we don't have to make up our mind either way. Just developing awareness and sensitivity to feelings, I think, covers both bases.

    Edit: grammar.

    person
  • Belief in Psychics

    Yuk!

    silver
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    IMNSHO, I believe that people who are psychic are just more in tune with their intuition than most. I also believe that coincidences are more often than not, synchronicity with everything when you - consciously or sub-consciously - find that "sweet spot" with being mindful as per the Dhamma teachings.

    Snakeskin
  • CarameltailCarameltail UK Veteran
    edited February 5

    I think stuff like belief in that is unhealthy. Though I mean I guess the only way is to try out and test these things. It hasn't really been proven by anyone to exist although even if it did I guess it is very hard to at least by standard science methods.
    I see with a fair proportion of psychics you will see their mind and way of thinking is very fuzzy so they aren't exactly working from a healthy mindset imo.
    Also often there are many psychics that pick up very generic info which is just enough to be convincing. Intuition in itself is good but that is different from being psychic.

    In terms of psychics who do stuff with spirits, I think the spirits they contact could be some kind of illusion, a healthy person would pass on rather than hang around like that. Either that or at least some psychics are just being deceptive.

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Carameltail said:
    I think stuff like belief in that is unhealthy. Though I mean I guess the only way is to try out and test these things. It hasn't really been proven by anyone to exist although even if it did I guess it is very hard to at least by standard science methods.

    So even if it could be proven you wouldn't be willing to believe in it anyway. Is that right?

    In terms of psychics who do stuff with spirits, I think the spirits they contact could be some kind of illusion, a healthy person would pass on rather than hang around like that.

    What's the difference between psychics and spirits? I'm genuinely curious here as I don't see how people who brush off psychics and others associated with them as "fuzzy and not in a healthy mindset", can then accept spirits at face value. Does that mean you believe anyone the can interact with spirits?

    silver
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited February 5

    Belief in Psychics
    Personally I believe it’s just a case of cold reading but what do you think and how does it tie in with Buddhist practice?

    @FairyFeller

    You may find this of interest...

    Nechung Oracle

    "When Padmasambhava consecrated Samye Monastery with the Vajrakilaya dance, he tamed the local spirit protector, Pehar Gyalp, and bound him by oath to become the head of the entire hierarchy of Buddhist protective spirits. Pehar, later known as Dorje Drakden, became the principal protector of the Dalai Lamas, manifesting through the Nechung Oracle.
    According to the Dalai Lama, "Tibetans rely on oracles for various reasons. The purpose of the oracles is not just to foretell the future. They are called upon as protectors and sometimes used as healers. However, their primary function is to protect the Buddha Dharma and its practitioners."

    On a personal level I think it's all in the mind...AKA Psyche

    Also a place where Self Fulfilling Prophecies happen ....

    Kundo
  • I was a complete skeptic until I visited a spiritualist church some years ago ( I went with a friend who was interested ). There was definitely something going on - maybe more like mind-reading than contacting spirits, but something.

    personKundo
  • CarameltailCarameltail UK Veteran
    edited February 5

    @dhammachick

    What I say is things need to be clearly shown, however I do not think belief is the way to go with this, it is about understanding things for yourself.

    I don't think spirits exist as they think they do but only as illusions and deceptions. (I do have more views on that but it takes some explaining. But one type of understanding is that supposed earth bound ghosts are just energy imprints rather than the more popular view that they are actually spirits ) There is stuff going on with psychics however especially regarding to this spirits thing I don't think they are really doing what they think they are. Psychics work within personal beliefs where they themselves often are mostly unquestioning of what they do, it seems like they take things too much at face value.

    Different psychics are often contradictory of each other, suggesting what they do is
    part subjective perhaps and some what unreliable at least. Maybe they do have insights of some sort but there is also a lot of false dawns. There are examples of people using psychics for missing people cases and its quite dodgy.

    Also when certain sorts of psychic has random uncontrolled visions of the future is this rather not troubling to you? They haven't genuine control or understanding of these happenings, and not a really calm clear mind. In extreme cases there are a sub set of psychics who have perceptions and a mind set close to what some psychiatrists could potentially diagnose as schizophrenic or similar, where they can't tell reality and fiction apart. Things start to blur here. It doesn't represent everyone however it shows what can happen at the extreme with some people with such perceptions at least when totally ungrounded.

    I can think of the equivalent in Buddhism to describe deceptions for example, the Mara as I think that these are just distractions to enlightenment and self realisation. I have had my fair share of deceptions and harmful thoughts. What is still important is that you are in tune with your real time world, whats happening around you and within yourself. I still think intuition is important however not in the psychic sense.

    lobsterHozanperson
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Carameltail said;
    Different psychics are often contradictory of each other, suggesting what they do is
    part subjective perhaps and some what unreliable at least. Maybe they do have insights of some sort but there is also a lot of false dawns. There are examples of people using psychics for missing people cases and its quite dodgy.

    True.

    Also when certain sorts of psychic has random uncontrolled visions of the future is this rather not troubling to you?

    Why? I can't "fix" everyone I find troubling. Although I understand your POV.

    They haven't genuine control or understanding of these happenings, and not a really calm clear mind.

    A trait we all share at times.

    In extreme cases there are a sub set of psychics who have perceptions and a mind set close to what some psychiatrists could potentially diagnose as schizophrenic or similar, where they can't tell reality and fiction apart. Things start to blur here. It doesn't represent everyone however it shows what can happen at the extreme with some people with such perceptions at least when totally ungrounded.

    True. I know some people like this.

    I can think of the equivalent in Buddhism to describe deceptions for example, the Mara as I think that these are just distractions to enlightenment and self realisation. I have had my fair share of deceptions and harmful thoughts. What is still important is that you are in tune with your real time world, whats happening around you and within yourself. I still think intuition is important however not in the psychic sense.

    Thank you for your reply _ /\ _

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Personally I believe it’s just a case of cold reading but what do you think and how does it tie in with Buddhist practice?

    Some practitioners choose to believe in it, and may seek out fortune tellers and the like

    .... Whilst others don't.....Just practising the Dharma is magic enough to help guide the energy flow in the right direction...

    It being a case of "Mind over Matter"....and "Ehipassiko" seeing for oneself .... Thus have I heard :)

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Veteran
    edited February 5

    @dhammachick said:
    IMNSHO, I believe that people who are psychic are just more in tune with their intuition than most. I also believe that coincidences are more often than not, synchronicity with everything when you - consciously or sub-consciously - find that "sweet spot" with being mindful as per the Dhamma teachings.

    I looked up synchronicity in this context and found a wiki about Carl Jung’s development of the idea. It’s a much more developed idea, that stands like a counterpoint to casualty, than my vague notion of a “broader intuition.” :lol: I also found his book, ”Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle”, on archive.org and downloaded it for free. It looks intriguing. Is this the concept of synchronicity you’re refer to?

  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    I believe there are people who believe they are psychic.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @JaySon said:
    I believe there are people who believe they are psychic.

    I consider that to be on topic, given that this is the premise upon which the entire thread is based.... :3

    JaySon
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    Maybe there are psychics, maybe there aren't, but I'm pretty sure all these namaste people with their heads in the clouds aren't. If anyone is psychic, I'm betting he or she isn't talking about the moon's gravitational pull and how it affects the emotional state of we earthlings at various times of the year.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @JaySon said:
    I believe there are people who believe they are psychic.

    And I believe that we are all psychos :) (suffering from varying degrees of psychosis ...;) including those who 'believe they are psychics... If you don't believe me...here take a pew....

    ...see for yourself......

    JaySonKundosilver
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    @JaySon said:
    I believe there are people who believe they are psychic.

    And I believe that we are all psychos :) (suffering from varying degrees of psychosis ...;) including those who 'believe they are psychics... If you don't believe me...here take a pew....

    ...see for yourself......

    I suppose you're right. Logically, there's no reason to ever be angry, fearful, hateful, or afflicted. We are all delusional, the self a figment of the imagination in all of us, permanence a figment of the imagination.

    Shoshin
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Snakeskin said:

    I looked up synchronicity in this context and found a wiki about Carl Jung’s development of the idea. It’s a much more developed idea, that stands like a counterpoint to casualty, than my vague notion of a “broader intuition.” :lol: I also found his book, ”Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle”, on archive.org and downloaded it for free. It looks intriguing. Is this the concept of synchronicity you’re refer to?

    Yes. It's a very interesting idea.

    Snakeskin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited February 6

    @JaySon said:
    Maybe there are psychics, maybe there aren't, but I'm pretty sure all these namaste people with their heads in the clouds aren't. If anyone is psychic, I'm betting he or she isn't talking about the moon's gravitational pull and how it affects the emotional state of we earthlings at various times of the year.

    That much is true... most people who proclaim to be psychics are charlatans. However there’s a few gifted people who maybe can do a little more. I once knew a man called Fritz Meesters who styled himself a ‘magnetiser’, who was about to manipulate the pain in someone else’s body by hovering his hands over them at a distance of about 20 cm.

    I don’t have a lot of faith in siddhi powers.

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    >

    That much is true... most people who proclaim to be psychics are charlatans. However there’s a few gifted people who maybe can do a little more. I once knew a man called Fritz Meesters who styled himself a ‘magnetiser’, who was about to manipulate the pain in someone else’s body by hovering his hands over them at a distance of about 20 cm.

    Reiki

    federicaKerome
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