No, you did not read that wrong. This is an article talking about other people’s realities, not other layers of our reality.
Recently, a friend posted a thought about her reality and how it seems that everyone that she knows insists that their own reality is validated, but then they refuse to acknowledge that her reality is just as valid and valued. This is a very simplistic discussion regarding acceptance of other people’s reality.
We operate on worlds and in planes that are constructs of belief. It makes them very subjective and very hard to quantify. Some quantification can be done simply through having been there or experiencing that for yourself, but the majority of this subjective reality is generally not open to being viewed by others.
You can view any reality, and you can translate that experience into a similar experience that another may have, but it is nearly impossible to experience another’s reality completely.
Cases like this most often vex those who are not in a magical community of some sort. Hearing about how one person visited Middle Earth and talked to Gandalf the White to gain some information on a spell, while also hearing from another that they went to the City of Brass and spoke to the Efreet there, makes most people who haven’t had similar experiences question the sanity of the speaker.
The basic problem is, what is real? How does one define reality? If you base what is real on what you have directly experienced, then how can you judge the reality of someone else’s experience that you have not had yet?
I think when it comes to accepting another’s reality, we must remember that we cannot completely judge it. Certainly if someone describes a scene to us with characters and beings that is an exact description from a fantasy novel or a movie, then we must take the rest of what they say with a grain of salt. But when there is a vivid description of a place that may or may not exist in other worlds that the speaker has interacted with, then we have to, as mature magicians, accept that they did have the experience they describe, no matter how odd to us.
Does this mean that we must buy into their reality wholeheartedly? Not at all. It is possible to accept that someone else had a specific experience without accepting the experience and the resulting changes in personality completely.
For instance, I can describe to you an adventure during which I went to another plane and caused changes in the peoples there, such that they went from being a single sex into being a typical dual sexual role. From there I can describe the consequences of that and the fact that they saw me as some sort of god.
Now, you can accept that I experienced it without accepting that it happened. The whole experience could have been a dream I had, it could be a fantasy I had, and I could also be making it up out of whole cloth.
This is where your judgment as a magician must play a role. You know what you have experienced and what you have seen. It is possible that you have seen something similar and can accept the adventure I describe with few reservations. But it is also possible that there is no way you can see that I had that actually happen to me, and so, you can reject it totally.
However, as a matter of courtesy, you should be able to accept that I believe it happened.
Acceptance of it happening does not mean that you believe it. You can have a healthy skepticism for what happened. If there is not any counter evidence that it happened, or if I am rational in all other ways, then it would be better to accept it and move on.
What this boils down to when we get rid of the extraneous stuff is “did this event have an effect on me?”
In most cases, the answer to that question is going to be “yes.”
It is this way for most magicians. The experiences we go through as part of our training, our self-study, and our practices are going to sound insane when we communicate them to others. This is why we generally don’t speak about these events to those who have not been through similar experiences.
Saying to another magician that you hear voices speaking to you will generally have them suggest shielding techniques or a banishing ritual. Saying the same thing to those who are not magicians will probably have them quietly calling Bedlam Asylum for the nice young men with the “I-Love-Me” jackets.
Did this event have an effect on you? Absolutely. Generally, events like these are the ones that have us believing in the Unseen, anyway. Therefore, our own personal acceptance of those events is paramount to our practice in a very real way.
So why is it that so many magicians can’t accept that others had seminal events like this happen to them? I cannot count the number of times that someone on a list brings up an event like this as a way of presenting magical “credentials” of a sort, and the rest of the list starts from the perspective of “no it didn’t happen,” and then proceeds to rip the event apart in various ways.
Why can’t those who are doing the ripping simply say, “Okay, you had this experience,” and move on? What is it about others having an esoteric experience that is so threatening? It’s not fluffy-speak to talk about these kinds of experiences among those who might have had the same experience and to get some more information and guidance.
They’re not asking you to buy into their whole philosophy of life, nor are they using that seminal moment as more than an interesting event to share. Would you question them to the same extent if they had an LSD trip and saw God? How about if they had a major revelation during sex? Or how about having a life-altering event happen while meditating in the barn?
If those events can be treated with disdain and incredulity, then they should be. But many major religions would have to change their foundation myths. If the events that created major world religions should be treated as sacred, then why can’t the experiences that another has had while in trance be treated similarly?
The fact of the matter is that no one’s reality is the same as anyone else’s reality. The reality I live in, where the people on the other side of my email account are just as important to me as blood relatives (and whom I would sacrifice more for than my blood relatives), is not the same reality that the CEO of TransAmerica is going to be experiencing in his office in San Francisco. Neither of those realities are going to be the same as the reality that a farmer in Africa lives with. None of those are going to be the same reality that Queen Elizabeth II lives with either.
Every one of you creates and carves out your own little pocket of reality where some things are important, and other things simply aren’t affecting you at all, and thus are of no importance. It is awfully hard to get a starving peasant in Russia interested in global warming, or to get a rich 20-something Jet Setter who has never been to a war-ravaged country interested in the danger of land mines.
The same holds true for magicians. There are going to be events and entities that are important to me that hold no meaning for you. That doesn’t mean that I hold them less sacred or real. It means that I have had a different set of experiences than you did, and that our paths are different.
Giving a “bye” to those who have different takes on the same situation is one of the first steps in a courteous exchange. It allows for those who have had vastly different experiences to come together and to discuss other topics at great length, enriching each other. It doesn’t mean that you have to buy the delusions of another, but you must treat their life-altering moments with the same sanctity and reverence that you ask for yours.
That means accepting other creatures they call upon, as well. Yes, I understand how odd it is to be speaking to their “invisible friend.” I have had a few awkward moments where I was forced to talk directly to a being I wasn’t sure was there, but I got over it. If you wish to gain something from the fleshy person you are interacting with, then accepting their Guides, Spirits, Totems, and so on as real is like accepting their spouse, children, and pets as real. It is simply kind and polite to do so.
©2007 by Daven.
Edited by Sheta Kaey.