We often hear the expression “think outside of the box.” This phrase is a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally, or from a new perspective. The phrase refers to novel, creative and open minded thinking. Many people like to think that they are capable of this type of thinking but in reality it is our first instinct to refer to our storehouse of preconceived motions when we are trying to wrap our heads around most things, especially things we do not understand. Human beings are given to wanting to know everything, explain everything and put everything into a box and label it as something we can understand. Such is the nature of mankind. This kind of box thinking occurs with many things but especially in the paranormal field, and with everyday people that experience paranormal things. When they experience or see something that does not make sense to them people tend to try and fit it into their cultural, religious or folklore belief classifications almost instinctively.
For example: Let’s consider just one small odd anomaly. Many people that have seen something that looks like a small winged luminous being will tell me they saw an angel or a fairy. Very rarely does someone tell me they saw a bird spirit. Why not? Why do most people not conclude that possibility right off the bat, and instead assume the angel or fairy classification. If you consider that some of our most popular religions teach that only man has a soul or spirit, and that animals are lesser beings, it becomes clear as to why few assume the animal spirit idea. We are conditioned to believe certain things and draw our conclusions from that conditioning. Another thing may come into play also and that is our desire to observe the things that back up our beliefs, and/or support our fantasies. In the case of the small winged glowing entity, the angel supports religious belief and the fairy supports magical and folkloric beliefs. The bird spirit might be the simplest concept but it is not as magical or spiritual as the angel or the fairy. Another “In the box” type thinking also exists among men of science and that is also limited thinking, in a way. The science minded person might conclude that the small winged thing was a trick of the eye or the light playing off the wings of a real bird and making it look luminous etc. The science minded person will not even consider anything out of the realm of what they already know or can prove. Having seen many an animal spirit, I myself have that possibility in my storehouse of possible explanations, because I have committed that to my list of possibilities. In that respect my “box” is somewhat expanded but even I have my limits we all do. We all fall victim to limited consideration at times, that stem from all the things we have heard, read, been taught and conditioned to believe or assume. All of those things play in to our conclusions when we are seeing or experiencing something beyond what we perceive to be normal or commonplace. When we encounter something “paranormal?”
Most people think of a ghost or spirit as either a dead person or some entity of either a heavenly or hellish origin. If they see a small, black, amorphous shadow they often assume it is a child spirit. What if it was just an animal spirit passing through? Most of our archetypal images in regards to spiritual entities are in human form in one way or another. Angels are depicted as beautiful human beings with wings and glowing halos. Demons are most often depicted as grotesque, bestial looking humanoids as well. Fairies are depicted as little winged people with pointy ears, gnomes as tiny men, and mermaids as at least half human, but with a tail. Most of our religious entities and folkloric beings are in some kind of human form. This comes from our desire to relate to and understand them as well as our conditioned thinking that we are the highest life form. Most of our spirit entities seem to always be depicted as beings that are similar in structure to us. We also tend to apply this rule to other worldly entities of all kinds that are supposedly in possession of high intelligence. To exemplify this consider that most supposed extraterrestrial sightings feature humanoid type creatures but with green or grey skin, maybe some large strange eyes, but still in an upright walking, humanoid style form. When it comes to all things in the realm of the fantastic or paranormal it often seems to be about us or related to “us.” We are by nature it seems, very self focused in just about every way.
In the physical world here on earth there are endless kinds of creatures all looking very different from each other. We have fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals of all sorts, shapes and sizes. The only two creatures here that look humanoid in form are us and the great apes. That is two species, compared to millions of other species that look totally different on many levels. Life here is about as diverse as it gets, yet when we think about anything related to the “other worlds” whether it be the spirit realm or the space realm, we always seem to apply our own form to it in one way or another. I think this is thinking inside the box because these other realms may be just as diverse as our earth world.
As a paranormal investigator I study the spirit world and at times cryptozoology. In three decades of spirit study I have seen, heard and recorded an endless amount of animal spirits. I never had any doubt as to animals having a soul or spirit but if I did, that was put to rest long ago. I use the animal spirit topic as just one thing, to make my point. Even just this one thing opens up a whole new world of possibilities to consider when it comes to paranormal experience of spirit entities. How much more that is out there is beyond our current state of acceptance or understanding? What if the human being is not the be all and end all of creation or evolution? What if we only hold this idea in our own limited and somewhat self important perceptions?
We think inside the box in other ways as well. It comes down to simple black and white. Black is dark, white is light. Black is evil, white is good. That which comes with light is of benevolent origin, and that which appears as dark shadow is of negative origin. What if any spirit entity can appear as either a shadow or a luminous light being according to its stage of manifestation or the conditions during which it manifests? We ourselves cast a shadow on the ground or the wall behind us, so does that make us negative entities as well? Matter exists in many forms and we have no idea just how many ways it can manifest, yet we stick to our comfortable in the box thinking. Even today with all that science has given us to consider many people are still just more comfortable with what mother culture has taught them. This sophisticated science is hard for many to wrap their head around yet folklore and religious imagery is easy to relate to and comprehend. To think outside the box however, requires us to admit that even “science’ does not have all the answers. This brings u back full circle to the blankest of blank walls doesn’t it? Well yes and no…there is a saying: “Man is most ignorant of that which is most manifest.” The answers are all around us and sometimes we overlook the most obvious things. Paranormal study has to be able to drink from the well of science and known information but at the same time it has to acknowledge the things that we can observe again and again that do not fit into that box. We have to look to whatever form of communication we have with the other world for some of these answers as well. We have to consider that chances are the other worlds out there are just as diverse and complicated as this one, and that folklore and religion are biased, simplified and exclusive to us and only us, as human beings. We need to learn to think outside the box of all of these things and open ourselves up to many concepts, ideas and possibilities even if they are uncomfortable or cast doubt into our perfect, structured mode of perception. We need to stop arguing our independent views based on these preconceived notions, and stop trying to back up our own cultural and religious stance on things for awhile and really observe with a truly open mind. We need to learn to admit that there is more we don’t know than we would like to accept.
Let’s just for a moment take note of something that is “most manifest”…note this theme: The earth is round, cells are round or globular, as are atoms, molecules, eggs, the sun, the moon, our eyes, and a myriad of other things related to life energy and even the organs we sue for visual perception. This theme cannot be ignored as it is obviously manifested all around us. This circle theme seems to be connected to all things alive or energy related, so why do we try to fit everything into a “box” in the first place. A box is square. The box is a very human creation and it is this same creation that limits us in our perceptions and mode of thinking.