How Do You Know It’s Real?

How Do You Know It’s Real?

By Matthew Joyce

When I talk with people about the interactions I have with spirit guides, ghosts, and other nonphysical beings the single most common question I receive is “How do you know it’s real?” or more accurately “How can we tell that the experiences we’re having are real and not something that we’re just making up.”

My answer is that you have an internal sense of when you are making something up. Chances are you don’t think that you are making up the words on this page. You can tell they are coming from an external source. But if you pause for a moment and think about what you want to eat for your next meal then you are using your mind to make something up.

You’ve been making this distinction for so long that you do it naturally and seemingly without effort. So the issue isn’t so much about your ability to tell the difference as it is about getting comfortable with idea of perceiving nonphysical beings and receiving information through channels that you’re not used to using. You develop this level of comfort the same way you did in the physical world: through practice with external and internal validation.

The Two Ways to Validate Experience

External validation is when someone or something outside of yourself helps you validate that you are having an experience. If a friend touches you on the shoulder both of you feel the contact. If you drop a red ball on the floor and it bounces back up, both you and your friend can see and hear it happen. You and your friend can confirm for each other that the experience did indeed happen.

But you can also confirm the reality of your experience by yourself. If you let go of the red ball and it falls to the floor every time, then you are externally confirming that gravity works the same the way every time. This is what babies are doing when they drop toys on the ground. They are learning about physical reality through external confirmation.

Internal confirmation is something that you know for yourself and no one else can or needs to confirm for you. For example, if you are hungry you feel an internal sensation that someone else can’t and doesn’t need to confirm.

Similarly, when you love someone you know it without any need for external validation. In fact, external validation is impossible. The people you love can observe how you behave toward them but they can’t confirm what you are feeling in your heart. Fortunately they don’t need to. When you are in love you don’t need any external validation. It’s an internal experience and you don’t need anyone to confirm that it is true for you. You just know it.

How to Use Internal and External Validation

So if you want to know whether you are just making something up or if you’ve really connected with your spirit guides or a deceased loved one you can use internal or external validation, or some combination of the two.

Let’s say that you want to know whether your contact with your deceased grandmother is real or not. You can use external validation and ask her to tell you something you would not otherwise have known and then you can verify it later. Or you can use internal validation and know that the experience is true without needing anything or anyone else to confirm it. For instance, your grandmother might give you some advice that was so unexpected, yet so in character for her and so appropriate to the situation that there is no need to seek any validation.

Whether you use internal or external validation is a matter of choice. Most often it will depend upon the circumstances at the time. With practice you’ll grow more confident in your abilities to connect with the nonphysical world and you will need less external validation to know something is real. Just as after a lifetime of experiences in the physical world you need little external validation to know that a red ball will bounce when you drop it.

Knowing for Yourself

Ultimately the answer to the question “How do I know it’s real?” comes from you and not from me or anyone else. So take some time to practice with internal and external validation for yourself, and then you’ll know when it’s real for you.

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