Email: Help with an Exorcism (6.5.2017)

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I received today, an unexpected email from the UK entitled ‘Help with an Exorcism’. As this email contains private information from ‘D’, I will not post it here (but I am posting my email responses to it). This email explained that the individual in question (and their family), suffer from a ‘generational’ curse, which they interpret as ‘demonic’ possession. ‘D’ (who is intelligent and sincere), explained that doors open and tables move on their own, (together with other objects), and the family ‘hears’ demonic voices. ‘D’ further explained (in a subsequent email) that the family had sought medical assistance, and that as the family is open-minded, they had also consulted Islamic and Hindu practitioners – with the spirit bothering them being described as stronger than a ‘Djinn’. Of course, although I respect other people’s experiences and opinions, and listen with a compassionate ear – this does not mean that I necessarily subscribe to what they think. I do acknowledge, however, that ‘fear’ is a great motivator in human affairs, and that once a mind-set is in its grasp, the individual concerned can suffer terribly from its presence. I do not ‘believe’ in ghosts, spirits, demons or gods for that matter, and interpret such notions as being the products of an over-active imagination, often inspired and encouraged by archaic systems of theistic worship (which usually includes the ever-present threat of ‘divine’ or ‘demonic’ punishment). Furthermore, it is my considered opinion that such entities can be cleared-up by a radical transformation of the functionality of the human mind, which (providing the individual is healthy), can be produced through meditation and other forms of mental discipline and specific forms of education.  Obviously if mental illness is involved, the issue might be as simple as a chemical imbalance causing all kinds of unwanted and distressing experiences. Of course,I have never met ‘D’, but I offer here a highly ‘generalised’ response to her plight as an indicator of how logic and science can be applied to the paranormal. I very much view my approach as being one of the use of clarity of thought, as a means to over-come disturbance of thought. Below are a number of my emails to ‘D’:

Subject: Re: Help with an Exorcism
Date: Saturday, May 06, 2017 09:12
Dear D
Thank you for your email.
Have you considered medical help? Belief can be a powerful stimulus – but the human mind can be subject to all kinds of dysfunction. The reason other methods have not worked, may be because they are non-medical. Will power at a distance cannot affect the inner workings of a mind (or ‘minds’) that is generating certain impulses of a disturbing nature. Of course, this non-religious approach may not be what you are looking for, but I think it is worth consideration.  I suspect that science is the answer – and not theology. As for the Buddhist philosophical approach, the Buddha teaches that all experiencable states are generated by the mind of the individual – and that when a group experiences visionary perceptions – each individual in the group is internally creating the conditions for said projections. Your problem ultimately stems from the outer material conditions processed by the inner workings of the mind – change those outer material  conditions and what the mind has habitually generated will change. These are my initial thoughts and I am open to further discussion on this matter.
Kind Regards
Adrian
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Subject: Re: Help with an Exorcism
Date: Saturday, May 06, 2017 10:19
Dear D
Thank you for your interesting reply.
For what it is worth, I have studied paranormal activity for over a decade, and have not found any genuine cases of paranormal activity. Generally speaking, an individual (or group) state that they can see, hear, taste, smell, or otherwise ‘feel’ sensory stimulus that is not discernible by an objective observer. In other words, what they think is happening is internally generated and has no correlation to the material environment. On the other hand, as is easily discernible in popular entertainment, many misconstrue physical phenomena as having a non-material basis. A door opening on its own, for instance, can be viewed in any number of illogical ways – including invisible spiritual forces ‘making’ it move. However, if you are immersed in a theological view of the world, material science will seem illogical, and theology will seem correct. My scientific words will come across as ‘not understanding’ your plight, and my view of theology as being illogical, as denying an eternal truth. I can assure you that I am doing neither. I must advise you, however, that genuine Buddhism is a perceptual science and not a religion. It does not accept a god concept as being central to creation, and advocates a logical approach to the interpretation of existence. Meditation strips the mind of greed, hatred, and delusion, and allows the ‘enlightened’ practitioner to perceive a) the empty nature of the mind ground (or perceptual essence), and b) the fact that there is no eternal ‘self’ or ‘soul’. As the Buddha rejected superstition, generally speaking Buddhist monks and learned lay-follows do not recognise the theistic concept of an ‘exorcism’. However, in some places such as Thailand, for instance, on very rare occasions, a Buddhist monk might recite a Buddhist sutta at the bedside of someone who is psychologically and/or physically ill, in the hope that by hearing the words of the Buddha, the (usually very poor) person can straighten their mind and purify their karma (or ‘willed’ thoughts and activities). You sound like a very well educated and sincere person, and if we can move beyond one another’s initial differences in approaching this matter, perhaps our communication can generate somekind of benefit.
All Best Wishes
Adrian
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Subject: Re: Help with an Exorcism
Date: Saturday, May 06, 2017 10:32
Dear D
Just a thought – have you contacted the Society for Psychical Research (SPR)? This is UK based and I am a Member. This organisation studies paranormal activity and might well be able to offer you the kind of advice and help you require.
Tel: 0207 937 8984 – Email: secretary@spr.ac.uk
All Best Wishes
Adrian
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Subject: Re: Help with an Exorcism
Date: Saturday, May 06, 2017 11:18
Dear D
Thank you for your interesting email.
May I enquire as to your ethnic-cultural background? My family is Anglo-Chinese and although I look European, other members look Chinese – but we are united by a common cultural approach. We practice Chinese Ch’an Buddhism and our root teacher is Master Xu Yun (1840-1959). Ch’an penetrates the ’empty mind ground’ and returns all senses to their non-perceptual root. This clears-up all perceptual matters – as all ‘stills’ in the mind and body. As demons are linked to activity of the deluded mind – any apparent demonic possession also ceases. This is why the Buddha spoke about all kinds of gods and spirits in the unenlightened stage – but stated that they all cease to be generated in the enlightened state. Yes – any number of beings can exist in the unenlightened stage – but do not exist (in a dualistic sense) in the fully enlightened state. Certainly, once greed, hatred, and delusion are uprooted, there is nolonger any negative energy for ghosts and spirits to be created in the mind, body or environment. On the other hand, as delusion is over-come with loving kindness and compassion, even in the deluded state, demons can be struck down with the sword of wisdom. The question is ‘who’ knows this?
Best Wishes
Adrian
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Subject: Re: Help with an Exorcism
Date: Sunday, May 07, 2017 05:12
Dear D
Good idea! The SPR certainly has many decades of experience dealing with this type of phenomena and may well be able to assist or advise you in a manner applicable to your needs and situation. Perception and experience are the essence of human existence, but of course, there is a scale of sensation that spans happiness, neutrality and suffering (to varying degrees). Being stuck in any of these modes of sensation can be problematic, even more so if the perceptions and sensations are of a highly fearful, strange or unusual nature. Whatever the case, and regardless of any outcome in this matter, I think it is important to recognise that perception is as much inwardly generated, as it is a matter of external sensation.
Best Wishes
Adrian
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