How to Think by Xenia Marie Ross Viray


I am often fearful that folx will say I see too many psychics.

Let me explain something about healers and psychics.

Psychics are like translators.

Not only do the have access to different libraries, they also have different sensibilities, just like any other translator who efforts to communicate a feeling or idea from another text, and sometimes from another culture.

The dominant culture in America in 2019 is very much affected by linear thinking. We expect there to be clear lines between facts and not-facts; we don’t see how this in itself is a choice about the nature of reality.

Quantum physics shows that on a subatomic level, “unknownness” is part of the fabric of our reality. We can know how fast an electron is going. Or where it is. We cannot know both. Knowing one thing obscures the other, or at least this is how I understand the Heisenberg principle.

Reality is a construction of the mind. We all own the way we assign meaning to this world. Say, you are a very “common sense” person who doesn’t believe in anything, but science. I think this comes from a noble place of wanting to be very “sure” and it’s not a point of view that I disrespect on any level. But I think the task of the person who thinks this way is to ask:

Where did I learn about what is rational?

What did I learn about what is scientific?
Who taught me about what is polite and acceptable behavior?
What is the inherent bias built into certain languages? (i.e. Tagalog, the main dialect in the Philippines doesn’t have gendered pronouns and in Alaska, the indigenous have many words for snow, because it’s all relevant to their culture.)
Who funded my education and what has that entity demonstrated as its principles?

There are so many spaces to ask questions and to investigate what is really going on, who is making the decisions or pulling the strings in your world and also who you give authority to.

Maybe you read a lot of science journals? (Who funds them? There are actually quite a good many scientific journals that publish based on charging a fee, and then get quoted in the nightly news.)

I like to think the best textbook to understand the nature of reality is Nature and Nature documentaries. Here we see dolphins using sonar, bats using echolocation, animals that are born knowing how to walk, fungi that takes over Amazonian insect’s brains. Is this not the most mystical, symbolic and also scientific demonstration of life’s possibilities.

And yet, we ask the question, what does it mean?

We have so many biases as human beings; I was raised to be proudly Filipina but also to worship our colonizer (Spain and then the US) and to adhere to American standards of beauty that were completely unnatural. We center whoever has the power and controls the airwaves. So naturally we do this with our understanding of reality. We assume that whatever we can’t see or explain isn’t of value. We anthropomorphize our animals because we can only empathize with that which we categorize as human or human-like.

And as much as we understand that there are micro biomes in our guts, and on our bodies, we still emphasize that reality must only be experienced on a scale that we can perceive.

We, human, cannot rationally come to an definitive conclusion that we are the masters or rulers of this planet or this sphere of existence. There is so much evidence that allows for different points of view. Different legends, stories, deities, philosophies, sciences, arts + other frameworks for thought.

As humans, we praise whatever we can read and verbalize. What can be written, intellectualized, canonized and sold to the privileged or the exceptionally-giftedl in the form of degrees.

Here, success and intelligence is so often attributed to those who have the most stuff or have compiled the most money, despite the quality of that person’s life, their relationships, or their ability to serve the collective in a meaningful way. (Here we praise the CEO’s who work for companies that the American public had to rescue from financial collapse - because they essentially persuaded us to be entangled with their success through the stock market, but I digress.)

I bring this up because we need to learn to trust ourselves and one another and we aren’t ever going to do that when we live with the dull knowing that we are constantly giving value to external systems of belief without being critical of their ideologies.

I might understand this intellectually but I don’t really understand it in my body; When I touch it, I think about the softness of some parts and what I ought to do to be more confident. It’s so simple that we know it’s all about perception and love, but to embody this truth, it’s really hard if it doesn’t come naturally.

So back to psychics.

I FEEL, have felt, ever since my first encounter with a psychic that I am here to advocate for psychic experiences and truths to be considered. Not lived or ruled by; not to become new “truths” held by someone external to us, but like all possible types of information, to be considered.

We have all been to doctors we don’t like; we have all taken medicines that don’t work. We have all followed instructions that were linear to a T and found out that, while we learned a lot along the way, the linear did not produce the interior or exterior results we had promised ourselves. We did those things on faith. And yet we mostly do not admonish all of Modern Western medicine. We don’t admonish every education system. And hopefully we don’t admonish ourselves and our own judgment. We are always collecting information and bumping up against the unknown. And yet, so often I found when someone dips their toes into understanding the metaphysical, if they have one unfulfilling experience with a healer, they dismiss an entire cosmology of modalities. Or if the healer doesn’t create an instant shift in their lives or an easy.simplified answer, they don’t understand the point. (Alas, we cannot turn to ways of thinking that incorporate mystery + humility when we seek solutions that we can consume like pills.)

So the question becomes, how do we learn to practice being our own authority?

For some of us who in our twenties considered ourselves so artsy fartsy, we sought out others on the fringe, but still within the realm of the rational: other artists who we could look up to because they made their living with their art. Musicians and filmmakers, who while not popular, had cult followings and criterion collections. We sought new and more specialized information - but this was still upheld in its authority by it’s own miniature versions of the dominant culture. It’s own world of agreements and consensus, just smaller and more niche. and more snobby. (sometimes)

We loved their strange ideas, their ways of opening us up to new ways of thinking and being… and yet still allowed for this divorce between the art and the artist. One made beautiful films but destroyed their loved ones, abused their staff, or their bodies or their minds or their spirits…

Or maybe we leaned into another system of belief: Became enraptured by existentialist philosophy of Buddhist teachings. We went to ashrams or took up yogic teachers or went to the jungles and trained with a Shaman. But still, we were seeking something with a lineage outside of us, unsure if this foreign or indigenous way of thinking was "ours” or not and we learned traditions that involved, again, taking certain steps in a certain order, being ordained, indoctrinated or welcomed.

I did all of those things in a way; I plan on continuing to do them. But I don’t like to be embedded in a group context. It scares me in its energetic similarity to going to public school. I want to ask myself, what do I know for sure, and what do I know inside and how much information can I gain and and who can I trust to speak the truth.

For me, the most impactful way to open my eyes and at time heal my heart is psychic knowledge.

It opens me up to looking at my life from such a detached and faraway perspective that there are not one, but many lives to consider. It makes me understand how I view “mistakes” or missteps. It gives space for my gut feelings or the ideas that certain people resonate /don’t resonate with me for reasons I cannot totally understand.

Each psychic is like an entirely different continent. They have lineages, tools and ways of seeing that are not the same, but often interrelate. I also, in moments of confusion, often realize that there are patterns and threads that repeat over the years. I keep books of notes about the themes and how they evolve and how my feelings about them evolve.

The other way is through prayer and meditation with myself. Having a practice of going outside and trying to feel into situations to understand what’s happening with new eyes everytime. This one I practice in small doses, as I am not a fully powerful in my boundaries on this day that I am writing this, but it also helps. I basically allow my sensitivity to open in familiar situations to see new things.

Yet another way is having frank and honest conversations with my friends about what I am experiencing; about hive-mind culture in the spiritual world where it is assumed that just because we all like to meditate we have the same views on politics look up to the same teachers. About appropriation and how it interacts with the belief that we all have many lives. About the contradictions we face as empathic people who do not want our nervous systems to be frayed, and yet feel a deep responsibility to the collective and the harm that is down on a systemic level, even by our peers and potentially ourselves. This requires intimacy and aloneness, this parsing out of truths. If you believe it’s all divine, then you have to make a conscious effort to see all information as relevant .And if you don’t believe in the divine, then you have to make an effort to see all information as relevant, as well.

Life doesn’t fit into these neat little compartments; one idea or emotion spills onto the page of your heart and every time you pull a thread, it seems to unravel yet another. And yet, here we are, with all of this desire for knowing the world and ourselves. Can you have it in your heart to not guess what this will look like and have judgments about how it goes? Can you hold yourselves and others in the warm light of our vulnerability and compassion?