Four years ago I traveled to Peru, to the rainforest, where I spent ten days working with ayahuasca under the guidance of master shaman Juan Flores. Shortly after returning home I got seriously sick and was hospitalized for three days. The diagnosis was chronic Lyme. The day before my hospitalization, during my hospitalization and for a few days after my discharge I was being visited by spirits. (That is, spirits, as opposed to hallucinations.)
Spirits are not physical by nature, and as far as I know, they do not maintain a stable form, but they can appear to us in a form of their choosing, if they want to be seen. But they can opt not to be seen, which allows them more freedom to function energetically. For example, when I first became aware of the presence of these spirits in the rainforest, I experienced them as a shadowy turbulence, whooshing around with supernatural speed. (Even writing about them throws me off because they do not "belong" in this reality.) I am guessing that, by assuming a specific form, they are limiting their ability to function independently. The irony is, as I get older this(consensus) reality is thinning, becoming increasingly surreal to me. It never was very inviting as a place where one might plant oneself for a lifetime, and, I suppose, because I have always empathized with all the (flesh and blood) creatures that are being pushed out of it, I have often felt displaced, invisible, unwelcome and unwanted.
There are many places in consensus reality where I feel incorporeal and spirit-like because, quite simply, I don't belong there; I am an interloper, a visitor, an immigrant from some other place that is where I belong, that is perhaps not a place at all, but a sanctuary of being whose worldly analog might be found somewhere on Earth, but, until I find it, I must assume it only exists out of time and space. Don't misunderstand me. I am not interested in hanging out with spirits, much less being one, if that is my fate. What is happening is, I am trying to trust and befriend raw consciousness to guide me through this period of my life. If consciousness is truly a dimension, then, as one's consciousness matures, one must take the leap of trusting one's perceptions to lead the way and educate one's senses and sensibilities, to be able to go deeper when we might otherwise just languish, in my father's words, hungering for what is missing.
Some people don't have to wait for aging to soften them up to the viability of other realities. They are equipped with non-ordinary sensitivities like extra eyes and feelings that cue them in to these other presences and realities. The problem for these people is, if they don't repress or dismiss these special effects, visitations or intrusions, it makes life very difficult for them. It's like being invited to a tea party where all this craziness is going on and you have to just pretend that nothing unusual is happening, for example, that there is no door mouse living in the teapot.
The Western world has spent roughly 500 years exterminating ghosts, banishing spirits to heaven or hell and the last hundred and fifty years structuring the human psyche, consigning it to the head, dissecting and de-animating every life form, and the last hundred years certifying a rational scientific world, founded on the scientific method. It's very sad because the living spirit of the planet has tried so hard to coexist with the prevailing scientific attitude, but the human race seems to be, not just conditioned, but hard-wired to deny its own soul.
I have explored any number of ways to explain this but none of them suffices as a global explanation. If I add up all of them I can glimpse my answer but it's a messy answer, colored by my own sense of having failed myself, failed to acknowledge the mouse in the teapot. Failed to acknowledge my own personal legend. This sense of failure weighs heavily on me. It has taken its toll, and probably accounts for some of my chronic health problems and my accelerated aging. What about the chronic Lyme diagnosis? Well, there is that, but something had to let it in. This is where things get complicated.
There is no such thing as one cause. Such thinking is dangerously reductionist. There is no single, exclusive cause of anything, much less disease. The causes of illness are usually very subtle. For that reason, when we go about healing, we can't, and don't need to know why or how we got sick. The body-mind remembers, or, if you prefer, our entity remembers in its own fashion, because the psyche never stops experiencing and processing. If it helps to know how we got sick, the psyche will let us know, metaphorically or symbolically.