(I just found this in my writing files. It’s a bit blunt, but in keeping with my new love affair with honest self-expression, I’ll share it!)
I think the main concern scientific thinkers have with spiritual ideas like past lives and spirit guides, is that they are ‘not grounded in reality’. In fact, for most people who are standing firmly on the other side of the spiritual fence, the idea that something might threaten their sanity or rationality is positively terrifying. I absolutely agree. Our rational or sane mind is what keeps us operating in accordance with consensual reality. Without it, we are stuffed, to put it politely, yet bluntly. We need to keep at least one foot firmly on the ground, preferably both, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun at the same time.
There can, quite honestly, be a thin line between spirituality and insanity. Opening the mind often involves breaking down old belief systems that provide us with stability. On the other hand, it can also liberate us from old belief systems that were boxing us into a very narrow view of reality. Healthy spirituality is all about opening the mind without losing ones footing. In spiritual talk we call this ‘staying grounded’. To give you a really practical example, the client who meditates for hours everyday rather than working because her spiritual work is ‘more important’, is probably ungrounded. If she is also forgetting to eat, exercise her body, pay her bills and stay in touch her loved ones, then she is definitely ungrounded and her spiritual practise is part of an imbalance.
Another client might go on regular, week long meditation retreats, but the rest of the time, she is living a balanced life replete with fulfilling relationships and work, healthy food, exercise and plenty of rest. She talks to her spirit guides and believes in past lives, but she also manages her life effectively, is a critical thinker and meets her responsibilities with joy. This client is definitely grounded. She uses her spirituality to complement and enrich her life, rather than using it as a devise to escape from reality.
People who are ungrounded have trouble with their reasoning facilities. They simply don’t think in a logical manner and all of them tend to take spiritual beliefs too literally or too far. I have a nickname for these people: I call them ‘Cosmics’. This is borrowed from my stepfather who used the term in a derogatory manner, but my personal use of this term is a blend of fondness and exasperation, because some of my favourite clients and friends are Cosmics. They are frustrating and not entirely sane, but I love them anyway. Incurable dreamers with beautiful hearts and incredibly open minds, I learn so much from them but I feel sad for them because their lives don’t work, usually due to impracticality or mental illness.
Grounded (sane) spiritual thinkers always know where to draw the line. If, on the odd occasion, they stray and wander off with the fairies, they come back to earth again fairly quickly, sometimes gracefully, other times with a nasty bump. Not only do their friends, family and responsibilities help keep their feet on the ground, experience teaches them that staying connected with reality is infinitely more rewarding than disconnecting from it. Being ungrounded is ineffective and nothing lasting or useful comes out of it.