When we hear or read about telepathy or telepathic experiences, often they are mentioned using just that one word, telepathy, with no descriptive attached to the term.
In experiments that date back to the 19th century, researchers have achieved interesting results that seem to go a long way towards validating two types of telepathy: these are termed as "instinctual", or feeling-based, and "mental", or direct mind-to-mind communication.
There is also an ancient body of spiritual tenets called the "ageless wisdom" teachings which asserts the existence of a third type: the teachings refer to this as "spiritual", or soul-to-soul telepathy.
in order to get started here, I guess I should touch briefly on the standard definition of telepathy (this will only take a second!), and then I'll tell you a little about the first of the different types. Hopefully I'll also be able to give you a fairly clear picture of just how widespread the belief in telepathy is. It spans cultures from all corners of the globe, and although it isn't always referred to by the term best known to us, it has been considered, and utilised, for many centuries.
WHAT IS TELEPATHY?
Telepathy is a term that was coined in 1882 by Frederic Myers, one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research. Its formal definition is "the communication of information from one mind to another, independent of the usual sensory channels." Telepathic capabilities seemingly exist not only in humans, but have also been observed in animals- Rupert Sheldrake has done some fantastic experiments around the concept of animal telepathy.
There are two kinds of telepathy that have been defined by researchers- let's have a look at those..
have you ever had a feeling- we often call it a "gut feeling"- about a person or a situation, that later turns out to be correct? This is a good example of instinctual telepathy. According to many cultures, the seat of instinctual telepathy is the solar plexus.
HAWAIIAN KAHUNAS AND "AKA"
While researching various cultural beliefs on telepathy, I came across a fascinating article on the "Kahunas", Hawaii's native priests, and their beliefs regarding telepathy.
The Kahunas believe that telepathic mesages are conveyed via the solar plexus of the sender, and are detected by the solar plexus of the receiver. They believe that the "aka" (or "etheric body") of one person sends out a thread of aka substance- which they describe as being a sticky, silver thread- from their solar plexus, which then connects to the solar plexus of another. Telepathic messages are conveyed via these threads. Aka threads can be sent to strangers via a glance, or a handshake.
The message is first received by the "unhipili", the instinctual or "low self", and is then relayed to the "uhane", the rational or "middle self", where it "rises in the mind" like a memory. When repeated telepathic contact is made, these threads of aka accumulate, and become a thick cord, which creates a strong telepathic bond.
THE KALAHARI BUSHMEN, AND "THE WIRE"
The Bushmen of Africa's Kalahari desert hold similar beliefs regarding telepathic communication. In "The Sense of Being Stared At", Rupert Sheldrake mentions an incident related by Sir Laurens van der Post in his book "The Lost World of the Kalahari".
On this particular occasion, when van der Post had been out hunting with some bushmen, he found that those who had stayed behind in the camp, 50 miles away, knew not only that the hunters had killed an eland (antelope), but also knew when they would be returning to the camp. Sure enough, when the hunters arrived at the camp, the people were already singing the "eland song" and were preparing to welcome them.
When one of the Bushmen was asked how this was possible, he said "they know by the wire..we Bushmen have a wire here"- he tapped his chest- "that brings us news". The Bushmen compare this wire to our telegraph system.
AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINALS, AND "MIWI"
The Australian Aboriginals believe that their "miwi" makes it possible for them to communicate telepathically. Miwi, a Ngarrindjeri tribal word which translates as "soul", or "instinct", is located in the pit of the stomach, and is passed from parent to child. It's considered to be present in everyone, but is particularly strong in their medicine men, or "clever men", who use it to cast out illness and visit with the spirits of the dead. A strong miwi also makes it possible to predict future events.
THE JAPANESE, AND "HARAGEI"
The Japanese also believe that the solar plexus is related to instinctual, non-verbal information. Traditionally, Japanese businessmen will often use "haragei" or "belly talk", to size up a potential business partner or proposal.
The word is derived from "hara"- or "belly/guts", and "gei"- "the art of". Many older Japanese businessmen take pride in depending on haragei when making important business decisions, and a business deal will often be called off if the haragei is not harmonious.
Young Japanese businessmen are often told that in their twenties they must develop their minds, but in their thirties, they must develop their "hara".
WESTERN CULTURE AND INSTINCTUAL TELEPATHY- THE "BELLY BRAIN"
In our culture, the term "gut feeling" is often used to describe our instinctive feelings about a person or a situation, and it's well-used in the business and also the law-enforcement communities. Businessmen may often say they "trusted their gut" in making certain decisions, and law-enforcement detectives refer to it as their "blue sense".
In 2004, researchers Dean Radin and Marilyn Schlitz conducted an experiment at the Institute of Noetic Sciences with 26 couples, to try to determine if the gut response of one person could be felt by the other.
In one room, one half of the couple, designated as the "sender", was shown a series of images designed to evoke positive, negative, calming, or neutral emotions. In another room, the reaction of the "receiver" was monitored by electrodes placed on the heart, skin, and stomach muscles (solar plexus area).
The researchers found that the stronger emotions experienced by the sender- positive and negative ones- did produce measurable responses in the receiver, and concluded that the gut has a "belly brain", with a perception and intelligence of its own.
This concept has also been backed up by medical research, it seems.
It was first theorised in the 19th century by German Neurologist Leopold Auerbach, and that research was rediscovered in the 1990's by Dr. Michael Gershorn, who wrote a book about it called "The Second Brain". This second brain is composed of the billions of nerve cells in the digestive tract, and some medical researchers now believe that the "belly brain" is the source of unconscious "gut reactions" that are then communicated to our primary brains.
Rupert Sheldrake has written two books relating in some way to instinctual telepathy, and has conducted a large amount of research, with both humans and animals, that goes a long way towards scientifically validating the phenomena. Sheldrake and his associates have collected over 5000 case histories relating to instinctual telepathy. He summarizes this research in "The Sense of Being Stared At", and calls this instinctual type of telepathic communication "part of our evolutionary heritage, an aspect of our biological, animal nature".
So there's a bit about the first of the defined or hypothetical types of telepathy. Next up- "mental telepathy"..Do stick around for that, and do share your thoughts in comments if you wish!
See you soon!