As a child, you probably learned very quickly to “turn off” your open-minded, open-eyed view of the world. You learned that dreams weren’t considered real, and were things to be dismissed. You stopped running off benches, believing you could fly if you just intended hard enough, because adults paid no heed to superpowers. Adults (likely well-meaning adults) took hold of your world and crumpled it up like a piece of paper according to their rules, discouraging you from writing your own story upon it ever again.
When I was young, I was interested in magic, in deity, healing, talking to spirits/ghosts, and running off benches believing I could fly. I had very powerful dreams — all nightmarish to some degree (not to get into it now, but the adults in my life were not well-meaning), and all so vivid and meaningful that I still clearly remember today things I dreamed when I was about 4.
But dream discussions between kids and adults tends to be limited to proclamations of the unreality, and consequently, utter unimportance, of the dream world. In the “real” world, the only magic tolerated turned out to be lies, as my father explained to me very seriously that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Toothfairy were all just games for little children, and that once you got to school-age, you’d better know the truth or you’d get made fun of.
Once, when I was about 7 or 8, I proudly told my disinterested mother that, having accidentally hurt my hand at school, I was able to make the pain go away by self-healing and thinking about what the pain “really felt like”. Her reaction made certain that I never mentioned such things again.
Around the same time I was marveling at the nature of consciousness, which was like seeing through a movie camera, except you could only ever see your own life, and wasn’t it fascinating that all the other houses in the city had other lives, other consciousnesses in them — all separate, unable to tap into each other? I tried to explain this to my sisters once, but it was clear that this kind of thinking wasn’t acceptable. The kind of thinking that I thought was the most meaningful was considered by the adult world as the least meaningful.
By the time I was ten, school had also helped to change my magical, 4-dimensional world into a bleak 2D one where everything had a scientific answer — except all the things that didn’t, which you simply weren’t supposed to ask about. Nobody would like it if you asked why do we live on a big ball of rock, or why did the universe begin.
I became a very strict believer in science, and started to laugh at the very idea of magic.
It was a long time before my world could open up enough to get the magic back.
Life without magic was markedly out-of-balance, hollow and selfish and out-of-touch. But then, when shamanism awakened in my being, my whole heart leap up and said YES, like I’d known it forever.
Now, my dreams are meaningful excursions to other realities. I speak with all manner of spirits and no one can convince me again that they are not real. They converse with me, teaching me things I could never know otherwise. Now, I see energy everywhere — like auras around objects and people, or something like a shimmering, transparent smoke swirling in the air. The ghost of the previous owner of this house sits on the staircase. I pay him respects, and he slowly turns his head to stare at me — and I am not afraid. I know it’s real. Children do not have to be told that the spiritual world is a sham just so they won’t be afraid of ghosts and monsters.
It’s been a long time, but I think someday soon I’d like to run off a bench once more, believing in the possibility that I could fly.