Saturday, April 14, 2012

Vision Discernment: Psychological, Psychic and Supernatural

"Thus saith the LORD of hosts, 
Harken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: 
they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, 
and not out of the mouth of the LORD."
Jeremiah 23:16 

Visions seem to me to be able to be divided into four basic types: psychological, psychic and Supernatural, either Divine or Demonic.  One of the most important things about having these kinds of experiences is being able to validate them and also understand what they are.  Hence, the value of a Spiritual Director.  Well, SDs are hard to come by these days, so, really, we need to depend on one another, to share what we experience and how it makes sense to us.  This post is my attempt to do that.

Psychological: One form of this occurs as "flashbacks," common to people with traumatic experiences and PTSD.  They really do have a full "3-D" experience of being back in the traumatic moment.  There are also hallucinations associated with serious diseases like schizophrenia, but not all who have visions are schizophrenic.  In fact, just being able to coherently describe a vision kind of rules out schizophrenia, as part of the diseases is the inability to string together three coherent sentences in a row, pretty much.  I think of psychological visions as those that are generated by something physical in the neurology of the individual, which would include drug-induced visions in someone otherwise healthy.

Psychic: These are also related to neurology, IMO.  Not everyone is able to receive a "full immersion" vision experience.  Even those who can, I believe, need to be in a state where a condition exists of allowing the input.  Like in meditation, or narrow focus, like driving or watching TV.   These happen because they are able to happen and science is finally developing some theories about the energy fields generated by consciousness that we tap into.  This means that having the vision doesn't necessarily  "mean" anything.  The experiencer just has information others don't, like having more acute hearing you would hear a greater range of sounds.  I also believe they are fairly uncommon and that most visions that are not purely psychological are catalyzed by  supernatural sources.

Supernatural:  I use the word to refer to any vision "facilitated" by those not in Time.  God, people who have passed, angels, or agents of destruction.  (The Church separates these things into "supernatural" and "preternatural" but I want to write more generically here.)

That which comes from Light and Love is about communication.  There is a message, either for the experiencer (most common) or to be passed on. I think we need to take the Jeremiah quote into account here when we think of interpreting these visions.

"Carol," who posts as Anonymous, has related a rather horrifying and recurring vision.
It is a curse to me and I wish God had never shown me the things I have seen!!! Dead bodies everywhere,fire in the sky,and hurricanes,peoples eyes bleeding and death everywhere.Churches destroyed and desolation.I try to be opptomistic,Julia,but it seems perhaps my sister got the better end because all i have is suffering.Sometimes i wish I were dead,because no matter how many times I go to confession or receive Jesus in the sacrament,the visions will not leave.
What is she, or we, to make of it?  First, check on the web and you'll find a lot of people with these same kinds of visions: massive destruction.  Is this new or is this a way the Liar attacks us often?  The internet makes it so easy for people to make their experiences public, to find one another and share.  Before the internet, it could have been as common, just not known.

But we need to, I think, factor in things like Akita (approved) and the similarity of the personal visions and premonitions across cultures.  What's also true is that psychics for over 100 years have been predicting certain occurrences in this time period that include massive destruction with a huge reduction in population and drastic climate change.  If we factor in the unapproved but consistent with the scenario messages of the early Medjugorje visions, we might conclude something pretty big and bad is coming our way.

But why would a vision recur?  Is that a message?  Could it be the Liar just trying to make someone lose hope?  Could it be the Holy Spirit driving someone to a deeper life of prayer to make the impact of the devastation as small as possible?

There was no one more psychic and spiritual than Padre Pio in recent history.  He told us
"Do not tire yourselves over things that cause worry and anxiety.  Only one thing is required: to lift up your spirit and love God." 
I think Jeremiah was relaying a message from God we all need to listen to.

Is it possible that 7 billion + of the earth's 8 billion could perish in a cataclysmic event over the space of a few years?  Sure, ask the dinosaurs.  Could Vesuvius blow it's top, middle and bottom in a huge explosion and send up a 25 mile high plume of fiery material that would fall back to earth and turn the whole of Vatican City into a big smoking ash heap overnight?  Possibly.

But all those people are going to die, anyway.  Of old age or disease or drunk drivers or some other way.  And if the Vatican and all in it disappear, there are rather a lot of Bishops and information and copies of documents all over the world and the Church can't actually be destroyed, can it?  People getting together and scaring each other and becoming obessessed with why or what or when isn't at all useful.  It's not what Jesus said to do.

Life's eternal.  Right now.  If all of the terrors of these visions people are having are completely correct, if the predictions of Akita and Medjugorje come to pass, so what?  Our job, in good times and bad is to show forth the image of Christ to one another.  To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, to show compassion, mercy and forgiveness.  That's our job, it's our only job, it's always going to be our job.  Our job is prayer.  Let's not let anything distract us from it.
"Be cheerful.  Jesus will take care of everything.  Let us trust in Jesus and our Heavenly Mother, and everything will work out well.
                                                                                     --Padre Pio

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