When I first had my spiritual experiences, I truly believed I was schizophrenic. I was raised in a skeptical household by a doctor and a psychologist. The spiritual realm did not exist in my world. Seeing or hearing things, even very beautiful things, meant one was crazy. I spent long hours and years talking with people and grappling with whether I was schizophrenic.
It was a long bridge to cross to believing in the spiritual world, but at the same time it was quite easy. We are spiritual beings. It only requires unlearning the attitudes we may have been given as children. Mine were very deeply learned because of the way I was raised, but they were not impossible to move past. It happened over time and after lots of questioning. It happened when I accepted my own experiences.
It helped to speak with people who were raised in different worlds that accepted a spiritual mindset, especially my stepfather, who came from a First People’s medicine tradition. For him, having an experience of God was a beautiful thing because it was the true nature of life. Listening to dreams was totally acceptable because dreams had meaning. Spirits and signs were all around us, communicating with us from the Great Spirit. His example and the example of others on the path were extremely helpful. In that way, I started to think of my connecting to a spiritual realm as a form of decolonizing myself and my mind.
What is the difference between schizophrenia and spirituality? One of my healers told me that people who are labeled “schizophrenic” have the door to the other side wide open and let anything in, be they positive or negative entities. People who are “spiritual” have developed practices around the other side to help them connect in a positive and helpful way. Many do so not for themselves, but in order to help others heal.
It’s ok to not be sure what to believe. It’s ok to work it out for yourself. It’s ok to question things you’ve been taught. It’s excellent to honor your own experiences.