If you survey popular
literature, TV and movies today, you find so many stories about people
hearing voices, communicating with non-physical beings, and receiving
spiritual guidance for themselves and others. All this helps us
realize there’s more to life than purely physical reality and
materialistic pursuits. But the negative side is that it’s often the
blind leading the blind. Many sincere spiritual seekers get led astray
through false and sometimes harmful information.
What's most curious about
the current fascination with psychism and spiritual guidance is that
many people believe that anything from a nonphysical source must be
truth from on high. They mistake often distorted messages for truly
spiritual wisdom. No one accepts everything a typical man-in-the-street
has to say on a given subject. And since the non-physical worlds are
populated with beings who have varying degrees of spiritual wisdom, it's
best not to listen to just any nonphysical being, but rather to seek
out the wisest. If your Aunt Sally is dead, for example, would she
suddenly be any wiser than when she was living? If you didn't trust her
advice when she was alive, why trust it when she's on the other side?
messages can be compared to receiving signals on a radio receiver. While
a good radio picks up clear stations from distant places as well as
nearby, a cheap or old radio picks up a lot of distortion and static and
only gets stations nearby. Likewise, a relatively pure spiritual seeker
picks up clearer messages coming from a greater distance--i.e., from the
higher spiritual planes. This is not as frequent as we would hope. A
more self-centered or emotionally off-centered person picks up a great
deal of distortion and only gets messages from nearby sources--the
“astral planes” closer to earth where there is more garbage. This is the
more common “lower psychism.” (See chart at end for comparison).
It’s important to remember that your most
reliable source of information is your own soul or higher self. This is
the highest source of guidance for most people and should be your goal.
It’s best to only consult someone else for guidance if you’re feeling
totally stuck and not getting any clear answers from within. Guidance
from another person is not meant to take the place of your own
relationship to God and should never create dependency. It is merely
meant to provide guideposts along the path and to help you develop your
own inner guidance.
Guidance From Your Own Soul
If you are actively pursuing a spiritual path
and a life of service and compassion, and have worked on purifying your
personality, then you may receive clearer guidance from your own soul or
even higher levels, than from someone else. It's important to not
depend on someone else's guidance or become passive and surrender your
will. These are your most precious gifts: your intelligence and your
ability to make choices. The same is true as to your own guidance. It's
not healthy to take an attitude of "just following orders" when guidance
tells you to do something you don’t agree with. It's wiser to take full
responsibility for your life and challenge the guidance, especially if
you suspect it may be coming from an astral spirit rather than directly
from your soul. If you don’t engage your own will and responsibility,
the spirit might end up possessing you and ruining your life.
Examining the Life of Someone Receiving Guidance
The relative purity of someone’s life will
attract a message on the same level through the law of resonance. An
emotionally uncentered person who's motivated by ego, anger, fear,
greed, etc., will probably attract a similar type of spirit --perhaps a
non-physical busybody who's just looking for someone’s life to control.
Someone who is bored or unhappy with his/her life will also attract a
lower type of spirit. Negative emotions, wrong motivations, and
confused thinking will distort whatever message does try to come
through. Drug use will also tend to attract a lower spirit or distort
To determine the quality of the message and
the level from which it is received, it helps to examine your own life
or the life of the person receiving the guidance to see if s/he is
applying the information received and whether or not it has helped
him/her live a more spiritual life. "By their fruits you shall know
them," as the Bible says. Does the person use their guidance mainly to
help others, or to accumulate personal fame, money and power? A good
test is to ask yourself if you'd go to this person for spiritual advice
if he or she weren't receiving psychic messages. Do you trust this
person to be wiser spiritually than yourself, or is it merely the
glamour of psychic channeling that attracts you?
Unfortunately, someone may
start out well-intentioned, sincerely trying to help others spiritually
and so receive guidance from his/her own soul or from a relatively more
enlightened spirit. But then as a lot of attention and power comes his
or her way, and their personality is not pure enough to handle it, so
the ego gets inflated, and another spirit gets attracted. This second
spirit is usually a lower entity who may masquerade as the first spirit
and start subtly distorting the message and trying to control people
through guilt or threats.
So if someone doesn’t work
on purifying him/herself and use a lot of discrimination, accepting full
responsibility for what comes through him/her, s/he can easily become
deluded and end up deluding others and harming their spiritual lives.
This has happened many times and is the reason why most spiritual
traditions caution against this kind of “lower psychism,” where the
psychic is open to any kind of spirit communicating through him/her. It
can also lead to possession.
Sources of Spiritual Information
One of the reasons for the
lack of discrimination on the part of many psychics and those who follow
them is that we in the West have traditionally no background or cultural
framework to interpret non-physical entities. We Westerners tend to
consider anything non-physical as either God or the devil, with nothing
in between. But Eastern teachings hold that there are many levels of
reality or planes of existence between the physical reality and the
ultimate reality or God consciousness. Here are some different levels
where information can be coming from:
Messages from a person’s own subconscious "wish
life" or from what has been read in traditional religious sources.
Thoughts picked up telepathically from a teacher
or others on the physical plane.
Messages from spirits on the emotional or
"astral" plane-- which is full of confusion distortion, glamour and
flattery (called lower psychism)
Guidance from a person's own soul or inner
Divinity (called higher psychism)
Teachings given by a more advanced soul to
his/her student under training (which is only possible if the person
has already been receiving guidance from his/her own soul.)
Communication from a true Master (such as Jesus
or Buddha) to his/her disciple (this guidance is fairly rare).
Some researchers suggest
that most guidance is actually from a person's own subconscious or from
the astral plane, which is the emotional plane of illusion and
distortion. Only a small percentage may be coming from the soul level or
from spiritually advanced initiates or from a true spiritual Master.
Although many psychics believe they are channeling a true Master, in
fact they may only be contacting his/her "astral shell"--the build-up of
all the desires, longings, and devotional thoughts about higher beings
and Masters, which begins to take on a life of its own on the astral
plane. Or they may be contacting a lower astral spirit who masquerades
as a Master.
How can you tell which it
is? An imposter behaves quite differently from any real Master, as s/he
lacks love, and usually flatters or chastises his/her followers and
demands total obedience. A real Master leaves his/her disciples free to
choose—s/he only suggests a course of action, but never commands
obedience. Also, a real Master, by definition, has mastered all the
planes of earthly existence-physical, emotional and mental--and so has a
highly developed mind. Psychic messages that are an insult to the
intelligence of any thinking person could hardly be coming from a real
Master. It's often instructive to compare the quality, intelligence, and
originality of a psychic message with the inspired writings of the
world's religions, such as the Bible or the Upanishads, as this will
give a good indication of whether the guidance is from a high spiritual
source or not.
To find out what level the
information being channeled is coming from, it makes sense to "find out
what number was dialed. " In other words, what prayer or invocation was
used before receiving the guidance? Did the psychic ask for help or
protection from a higher spiritual power or just fall passively into
trance, opening up to whatever wanted to come through?
It also helps to get a
"reality check" from trusted friends about guidance received. This can
help prevent glamour and delusion. It's important to maintain a balanced
life of involvement in the everyday physical world and not to live
totally in the inner worlds as an escape. Whatever wisdom is gained from
the inner worlds must be applied in daily life, or else it's useless. If
the guidance is not integrated, it can lead to living in fantasy worlds
and ultimately to psychological breakdown. We are in this world for a
reason--to learn the lessons that physical life has to teach. The
important thing to ask about guidance is, how is it affecting your
relationship with your soul and with your relationships to others? Is
it helping your spiritual growth or is it just entertaining?
If you feel anxiety around
evaluating the reliability of your favorite psychic, it might be
reassuring to remember the law of resonance: you attract to yourself
what you are. People get the psychic they deserve. If someone is looking
for wealth and fame and later discovers that his/her psychic was on a
power trip, then as Ram Dass warns in Journey of Awakening: 'Remember,
at some level inside himself, [he] already knew. His attraction to this
person was his desire for power. His anger is nothing more than anger
towards himself ... In truth, we are only ever trapped by our own
desires and clingings." Someone who is sincerely looking for help with
spiritual growth and is already making efforts in that direction will
probably attract a more genuine psychic.
However, one of the
problems is that even the best of psychics with the purest life might
pick up some distortion, as no psychic or channel has a hundred percent
accuracy record in predicting the future. Nor is there any totally
accurate way of substantiating what is said about the present or the
past. So any psychic information needs to be evaluated intuitively and
with a large grain of salt.
Also, it's important to
recognize that the spiritual worlds are different from the physical
world and that time and space are experienced differently. Messages can
be misinterpreted, especially if they prophecy the future and if the
interpretation is made too literally, rather than symbolically or
psychologically. For example, a message about a tidal wave could refer
to being overwhelmed by a wave of emotions, rather than a warning about
an actual event.
How to Receive True Guidance from Your Soul
If you are concerned about getting true
information about your personal life from a psychic, you can prepare for
it by asking from your heart for the highest good and by being sure your
motivations are pure. You then can ask that the psychic channel the
words that your own Soul wants you to hear to further your spiritual
What techniques are most useful
in seeking guidance from your soul? The most effective technique is a
regular meditation practice. Although there are many types of
meditation practice that are helpful, it's always good to begin by
calming your body, emotions, and mind through regular, deep breathing.
The most important thing is then to raise your attention and energy from
your solar plexus center (at the navel) to your heart and/or head center
(sometimes called the "third eye"). If your energy stays focused at the
solar plexus level and you become too passive, opening yourself to
anything that comes into your awareness, you may just pick up the
feelings and thoughts of others. Or you may pick up an "astral" entity
who wants to influence you and who may not intend your highest good.
It's better to stay alert
and aware, not passive, and to lift your energy to a higher center (or "chakra"
as they're called in many spiritual traditions), and then to consciously
seek contact with your soul or Higher Self. This can be done through
prayer, visualization, invocation, or through the focused attention of
your higher mind. The important thing is the intention of contacting
your soul for guidance, and not contacting just any non-physical entity
If you suspect your own
guidance has taints of "astral" or lower psychism, then it's best to
close down your contact on the solar plexus level and focus instead on
contacting your soul through the heart and head centers. Meditation,
study and service will help purify your body, emotions and mind of
negativity. You can begin by strengthening your mind and developing your
will to consciously cooperate with God's will. You can practice
releasing your own preferences and opinions, and then ask your soul, the
inner Divinity, for guidance. It's important also to purify your
motivations so that you release any need for recognition and popularity.
Higher psychism is a response to the true needs of others.
If on the other hand,
you're concerned that you never receive any guidance, no words or
visions--even when you ask a question in your meditation--don't worry.
Many spiritually evolved people don't receive guidance in this way.
Rather, they are guided in the moment, in action. In fact, receiving
guidance implies duality and separateness--a split between the giver and
receiver--rather than being one with all wisdom. The true goal is to BE
the guidance, to embody it moment to moment.
In the end, the most
important thing about guidance is not just receiving information.
Rather, it's about learning how to think as wisely and as broadly as
higher beings do, to see things from their perspective. The more you ask
yourself, how would a higher being or a Master answer this
question?--the more you are developing wisdom within yourself and
becoming truly enlightened.
Guidelines for Distinguishing the Higher
Psychism of the Soul from Lower or Astral Psychism
(Guidance from the Soul and
Higher Spiritual Planes):
(Guidance from the
Astral Planes of Desire and Illusion):
1. Serves the good of the whole.
|1. Is usually only for the good of the
receiver (and sometimes at the expense of others).
|2. Focuses on helping others and is
inclusive, not separative; its purpose is service.
2. Flatters the ego of the receiver
and creates glamour, specialness and separation; often appeals to
greed and desire for power; purpose is often just to satisfy
|3. Creates love and inspiration and
empowers the receiver.
||3. May create fear, negativity or
feelings of unworthiness.
|4. Suggests or advises only; never
demands surrender of your free will.
||4. Often demands obedience and
surrender of your will.
|5. Never conflicts with your personal
||5. May conflict with your personal
|6. Recognizes a higher power (if
Christian, Christ; if Buddhist, Buddha, etc.)
||6. Often claims ultimate authority for
|7. Presents creative new information
relevant to your next step; often presents a new approach or new
synthesis of spiritual teachings, but does not contradict
teachings of the major world religions.
||7. Usually presents a rehash of old
platitudes that can be found anywhere and are generalities rather
than specifics; sometimes contradicts teachings of major
|8. Is usually short, to the point and
||8. Is often long and flowery and/or
confusing and contradictory.
|9. Is often a still, small voice.
||9. Comes as many confusing voices
competing for attention.
|10. Is conscious and controllable;
often is impressions that are then translated into own words.
||10. Is usually unconscious in a trance
state (mediumistic) and uncontrollable (such as automatic
writing); may happen at any time, even if inconvenient or
embarrassing for psychic, often frightening others.
|11. Is received through the head,
heart and throat chakras or centers, functioning in unison.
||11. Received through the solar plexus
|12. Emphasizes the personal effort
necessary for spiritual growth and the slow process of evolution
towards fully expressing your God-self and full potential.
||12. Often claims spiritual growth
happens with no personal effort and proclaims the half-truth that
we are gods and are perfect just as we are.
|13. Honors the sacredness of the
physical world as well as the non-physical world.
||13. Disparages the physical plane and