Nowadays, it seems as if the world is full of “spiritual masters”. Anywhere you turn, you can find a teacher, a spiritual coach, a healer. I have no doubt that some of them are what they claim to be. I also have no doubt that some are not. These roles require a stable, well-developed consciousness, not to mention detachment from personal gain, power and approval.
What we often find nowadays is what I would call “New Age Insanity“. These are unstable psyches decorated with crystals, talismans, spells and Doreen Virtue cards. These tools are great as toys to keep children occupied and distracted, but are ultimately useless in real life.
Challenge Builds the Spiritual Core
Every tradition defines spiritual maturity slightly differently. Some rely on personal growth through practice, gradually achieving wisdom. Others value individuals who have had an illuminating experience that permits them to tune into a channel of uncorrupted Truth.
But what really leads up to this point? What makes someone balanced in their spirituality? Clearly one can have an enlightening experience and still be quite immature on many levels. After observing others’ energy fields and researching spiritual texts, I have made some conclusions.
We all go through an individual spiritual evolution of consciousness, which takes lifetimes. Most of the time it takes courage and willpower to stand up to the pressure of societal norms, egoic desires and endless pitfalls of wanting to stay in a safe comfort zone.
Esoteric schools of the past typically put disciples through challenges. These may have been physical or metaphysical and often involved considerable discomfort. This was done to either prove that they are worthy of the knowledge, or to train their will and energy body to be steady enough to prepare for more advanced practices.
An untrained and undisciplined consciousness has an unstable assemblage point. This perception-defining center moves uncontrollably throughout their energy field in response to their environment. People in this condition are easily swayed and controlled by outside pressure.
Their inner center, their willpower and basic inner strength are not developed enough to withstand fear-based tactics or anything they might call “negativity” or “darkness”, so they usually avoid it. Sometimes they surround themselves with New Age paraphernalia in order to feel safe. This is expected, as they still have not mastered their own fears at the basic survival level. They are more likely to be manipulated by a force that is stronger than them because they don’t have access to their own power.
A person in this condition takes a big risk if they choose to teach or heal. They are very likely to succumb to the lure of ego gratification, including fame, power and other forms of external validation. History is full of such examples.
Now that we’ve drawn a picture of unbalanced spirituality, let’s look at a healthy, well-developed individual. First and foremost this person is able to go within to find answers and recharge, they are fully self-reliant and responsible for what happens within, regardless of circumstances. They possess excellent concentration skills. Concentration is a basic prerequisite for working with the Spirit realm or for moving energy on any level.
Many people go to yoga, qigong, reiki or other metaphysical classes, but they don’t get a formative experience that creates the necessary foundation. They may get knowledge, but meaningful growth requires self-directedness. This quality often originates from prior lifetimes. A self-directed person, first and foremost, is able to (and wants to) see their own blind spots, and actively works with them. Positive affirmations and other techniques can calm the mind, but if you continue to escape from your own demons, you won’t get far, but you may get more and more confused as time goes on.
Not everyone has the necessary past-life experience. In the absence of self-directedness, we need a teacher. This teacher can’t be your friend, they can’t please your ego, this would be incredibly counterproductive. Many modern teachers overwhelm you with multiple practices per week, making it fun and entertaining, but this is not spiritual training. If your teacher is trying to please and accommodate you, there is an agenda, be that financial gain or simply a lack of strength in his connection to Spirit. He may be guiding you from a place of fear of loss. This may be a financial loss, a loss of approval, status or power.
A legitimate spiritual teacher helps you grow and is there to make sure that you don’t end up in a trap of your egoic patterns. They can see your progress and know what needs to be adjusted. They also know when to let you go, when you no longer require their involvement, just as a bird pushes her chicks out of the nest to teach them to fly on their own.
Once you have gone through all this and are indeed able to stand steadily on your two legs, where your inner weather is your compass, then you can say that you finally began walking the Path, which is indeed an infinite journey of self-discovery.
In today’s world, most of us have come to think of the mainstream medical approach as the only option. Palliative care (symptomatic relief), provided by highly regulated practitioners and big pharma, has been the mainstay for several generations. A pill or an injection can provide quick results, though not without side effects. Not to worry – there is another pill for those.
The individual plays little part in managing their health. Largely, she deals with choosing the provider and paying the insurance bills. It is not surprising that many of us feel disempowered to make intelligent choices on our own, preferring to defer to the experts. The experts, in turn, exist within a financial system that rewards disease more than health, regardless of their individual ethics. As a result, we don’t ask “What can I do to be better prepared for whatever comes?”, we ask “Who will save me?”
A Bit of History
Yet this has not always been the norm. For millennia, undisrupted cultures relied on traditional holistic healers. These practitioners went under many names, but were usually skilled herbalists. Certainly they attended to injuries and pathologies resulting from mismanagement. Their main tasks, however, were two: keeping their people healthy and educating them to that end. Thus their main focus was on prevention.
Ancient Chinese doctors were paid as long as their patients remained healthy. They would not get paid while a patient was ill. Moreover, doctors who performed surgeries were considered inferior, since they were unable to help their patients maintain their health by prevention.
Naturally, no doctor can prevent disease without the patient’s help, not to mention achieve wellness and quality of life. It would be very difficult to do so for an individual with an unhealthy lifestyle. This is where education comes in. Each individual must understand the relationship between their lifestyle and their wellness. This means nutrition, exercise, sleep quality/stress, mental and emotional health, and the list goes on. With those basics in place, a holistic practitioner can usually correct any remaining imbalances, if any.
So how did we get to where we are?
At the beginning of the 20th century, one highly influential report triggered a medical reform in the United States. In addition to denouncing non-mainstream practitioners altogether, it relieved physicians of the burden of preventative medicine. You read that right. The task of preventing disease in this country went to the field of “public health”. You can look up which specialists fall into that category yourself. Today, how many of them would dare empower individuals to forego pharmaceuticals in favor of managing their own health? To be fair, individual practitioners sometimes make this effort, even if they have to speak off the record. The system, however, has different goals.
Now I have a question for you. How much do you know about your own body, how it operates, how foods, supplements and medications affect it, both on a short and long term basis? My clinical experience suggests that most people have no idea, and they usually choose not to take responsibility for their physical health, surrendering this responsibility to the experts. By the same token, they don’t take responsibility for their emotional, mental and spiritual health.
I see two possible explanations:
They prefer the easy solution because they are inherently lazy.
Lack of education in personal responsibility, as would benefit the current system. This may seem simplistic, but there is little money to be made on healthy people. Moreover, conflicting sources clash for authority on the subject, confusing those who do try to make sense of things.
Let’s stop blaming each other and creating more chaos and hate than we already have. Emotional thinking does not lend itself well to long-term, sustainable solutions.
Try this on for size. You are responsible for your health, regardless of your genetics and your environment. Everything that you absorb will affect you in one way or another. In Chinese medicine it is said that excessive emotions are the causes of many acute and chronic illnesses. Diet and lifestyle are incredibly important in maintaining our health or slowly destroying our well-being.
For many centuries, there have been herbal remedies that have been used in every part of the globe to maintain health. Each location had their tradition to suit their climate and needs of its people. Chinese, Ayurvedic, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, take your pick. They are still practiced today and are very helpful for acute and chronic conditions. In fact, Traditional Chinese Medicine was used to treat patients through numerous pandemics in China. More importantly, all these traditions didn’t just give you a pill and send you on your way, they also educated you on what made you ill to begin with and how to prevent it in the future.
Now let’s summarize our current situation. We have a population with no confidence to maintain their health and immune system, and now we have a pandemic. Is it any wonder that the mainstream narrative is all about the “miracle injection”? It certainly sounds better than waiting for death to come find you. If you have been getting your news from mainstream media, then this may not be far off from how you feel.
On the flipside, what can the scientific community tell us about long-term side-effects? How will they compare with the risks of the illness itself, especially to an individual with a healthy lifestyle? It’s not possible to predict this.
It gets worse. Feeling vulnerable, the “mainstream” people will only feel safe if everyone else takes the shot. Now this goes from a choice to a mandate about what we do with our bodies. I don’t believe that this is the best that we can be.
Now let’s suppose for a minute that the injection is perfectly safe. What do we do for the next pandemic? Where is the sustainability? What if big pharma does not produce the next magic cure as quickly? What if that one has side effects? The only sustainability is in your own immune system, in your personal responsibilty. Your health is probably the most valuable thing you have. Why not take good care of it?
If you do not know where to find reliable and time tested information, I and many other holistic practitioners can suggest places or practitioners where you can learn more about the way you can improve your health and feel in charge of your well-being. You can also educate yourself by doing your own research.
When we first start out on our spiritual path, everything that occurs in our consciousness seems new and exciting. Many of us feel the urge to share this excitement, and we may do so by teaching those around us. Perhaps we even go as far as preaching, convinced that everyone needs our truth. This is simply human nature, and, as annoying as it is to others, this “minor” spiritual ego usually goes away after some time.
Eventually, we arrive at some variation of this golden rule.
Help must be requested, permission must be granted.
In a later phase of our spiritual evolution, we begin to notice our “accomplishments”. Naturally, it is the ego that notices, and it is the ego that then assigns itself status. This status is always defined in comparison with someone else, a level in some hierarchy. This form of Spiritual Ego is isually more peristent.
Having status grants us permission to teach more formally, to spread our “wisdom”, for better or for worse. What will matter at this point is how open we are to continuing to change, to growth, to re-evaluating our beliefs. If we are closed to new information, if our opinions of others are fixed, if we feel that our way is the best and our traditions are superior, then we’ve arrived at what I call “Rigidity of the Mind“. This is a nearly incurable disease that is much more common than we may want to believe.
Eventually, and, possibly, after much suffering, we arrive at yet another rule.
If I feel that I’ve achieved, then I’ve stopped evolving.
Following The Path
The more you walk your path, the more open and liberating your experience should be. The whole point of spirituality and religion is to set you free, not to limit your consciousness.
This is a process, and we all go through our ups and downs. As long as we are in a physical body, we will experience negative emotions, stuckness, anger, sadness, the whole gamut. But our practice can help us become aware and bring ourselves back to center.
Even that which we call “presence” of a teacher is no proof of their progress or accomplishments. Plenty of people have natural magnetism and charisma, and know that they can use it to their advantage. This happens quite often in Spiritual communities. We all have seen male teachers surrounded by female disciples, feeding off the attention they receive.
How To Tell
One sure sign of an Evolved person is their ability to follow the Will of God (or Spirit, or whatever you prefer to call it). They will do so even if it means that they cannot charge for their teachings, or if they have to abstain from teaching in the first place, in order to move along their own path. It doesn’t matter what realms you have been able to reach, or what beings communicated with you. If you begin to feel special as a result, you are in a downward spiral and you can very quickly slide back down.
If you chose to practice to impress others, to gain Siddhis, to escape from reality, this is never going to bring you closer to your Soul or to God. You can find warnings about this in scriptures from nearly any tradition.
It is better to start over again than to continue in the wrong direction. The Universe is ever-present to guide us and assist us in all our endeavors, as long as we are sincere and are willing to know ourselves, as long as we have the yearning to Know the Source of all.
The Buddha, Christ, Dalai Lama and many other well-known practitioners have something in common. They have brought change through their Presence or their teachings, but they are Servants of the Divine first and foremost. They do not expect to get paid, to receive compliments, or even to be acknowledged for their teachings. Most of them have the Compassion to feel the suffering of others, despite how difficult it can be and still continue on serving. They can move their own persona aside for the sake of the bigger picture or purpose.
Psychics and mediums tend to see a lot of requests for help with clearing negative programs, psychic attacks, curses, and the like. What are these things, really? Let’s look at several possible explanations.
Much ado about nothing
The first, and by far the most prevalent, is the “self-inflicted” option. Typically, the affected person begins by attaching a negative description to an otherwise harmless external event. This feeds some quantity of energy to the situation, inflating it. This, in turn, creates drama that can drag on for some time, often culminating in a visit to a psychic. Should this psychic happen to have questionable ethics, they may confirm the client’s worst fears and suspicions, pushing his or her nervous system further into fight-of-flight mode. This is good for business, since the client will now be willing to pay any amount to remove the “problem”.
In most cases, all it would take to remove this self-induced “curse” is a bit of self-care. Examples are sitting with yourself, meditation, going for a walk, the smell of your favorite perfume, taking a bath, exercising. These actions are often sufficient to clear the aura and return it to a more harmonious state. Typically, there is no need for a professional, or any external help. Additionally, this approach restores self-reliance and personal responsibility.
The second possibility is heightened sensitivity. Many people are so highly empathic that they perceive the states and moods of everyone around them. This can certainly be a gift, and it offers a sense of connectedness, but it can also be challenging, especially when people around us are going through their own difficult times. The aura of such a sensitive individual can be a bit more fragile and vulnerable.
This is not, however, a permanent condition. It is possible to retain the sensitivity while having a stronger auric field, feeling yet remaining unperturbed. Some time-tested practices to achieve this include qigong, pranayam, meditation, and even exercise.
The Dark Side
There is at least one other situation, and this one does call for a specialist. This is more common in Eastern Europe and certain parts of Asia, South America and Africa, simply because magical arts are still commonly practiced in those places even in modern times. There are practitioners who use these arts ethically, and there are those who do not. In my practice, I’ve had clients ask me to “magically” return their spouse or to take revenge on their business partner or romantic rival. My policy for such requests is a polite refusal and a gentle suggestion to see a psychotherapist. I know some practitioners who indeed do this type of work, with consequences for both parties.
If you are the target of a deliberate attack from a “dark” shaman, you would not just have a slight depression, or be in a bad mood for a day. You will indeed see that your life has gotten out of your control. Your family and pets might be getting ill one by one, even passing away. You will see a sequence of misfortunes and bad luck, one that can’t be traced back to your own actions. In this case it may very well be appropriate to see a specialist.
Deliberate attacks are rare. Most of us are simply swimming in a soup of everyday energy exchanges, interpreting them through our own lens, and, sometimes, making a big deal out of it.
First and foremost, our life is our own construct. We can blame our spouses, our circumstances, and even the pandemic for the problems that we experience, but that merely contributes to our own sense of powerlessness. If this perceptive system does not change, no amount of meditation and energy practices will bring about a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Every situation offers a lesson, and if we take this opportunity to grow through it, then we don’t have to suffer the endless karmic consequences, but instead can become wiser and more aware as life unfolds.
For many millennia, the psychic gift has been known as something mysterious, distant, unreal, even frightening. Most individuals rarely, if ever, come in contact with psychic phenomena. Largely, this is due to their early education, a structured belief system that is primarily based on concrete, left-hemisphere-centric mathematical vision of the world. Children are often capable of experiencing something beyond what their 5 senses tell them, but parents, religious influences, and society at large tend to suppress these abilities.
Psychics are seen as charlatans in modern society and, frankly, not without reason. Psychic advertisements are pervasive on the internet, promising love, money, a trouble-free life. Real psychics make no promises. They aren’t offering change, all they can provide is information and, optionally, support. The change is not up to them. They keep a low profile, they do not look very different from other people, and they rarely promote themselves. They just do their job, and clients that truly need their help will always find them.
That said, there are quite a few well-known historical figures who were known to possess extrasensory abilities.
In the United States, one of the most well known examples is Edgar Cayce, also known as the “Sleeping Prophet”. He performed 14,306 readings with an estimated 85% accuracy rate. A large library of his reading transcripts is available in a Virginia museum, still a source of inspiration for many.
Robert Monroe is another example, most famous for establishing the “Monroe Institute” in Virginia, with emphasis on the study of Out-of-body experiences. As a scientist, he brought a highly structured, experimental approach to the study of the world beyond the physical. His books have inspired many to explore that which lies beyond the confines of the ordinary mind.
Ingo Swann helped develop the process of remote viewing at the Stanford Research Institute in experiments that caught the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Baba Vanga, born in Bulgaria became blind at an early age but developed remarkable inner sight that brought her fame throughout her country and around the world. Even Presidents consulted with her on multiple occasions.
Wolf Messing was a psychic, telepath and hypnotist. He was born in Poland and did a significant amount of work for the Russian Government during World War II. He correctly predicted details of Hitler’s defeat.
Most countries employ psychics in their military and police forces. These individuals do not advertise their work and focus on helping governments locate dangerous items and stop terrorist attacks, although is it reasonable to suspect that psychics may be used in espionage. Some information about these projects can be found with some effort, while much remains confidential, both because it is unpopular in the modern scientific mindset and because exposure can be dangerous to the psychics.
Some well known research has been done by the Princeton University’s Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research group (PEAR).
What is psychic phenomena?
We can describe it as an ability to see, feel, hear, taste or simply “know” something that can not be picked up through the five major human senses. Scientists tell us that most people only use 10% of their brain capacity, but individuals who demonstrate superhuman abilities tend to have some areas of their brain more developed than other people. Young children usually perceive the world as an integrated, interconnected continuity. At a certain age, the little bridges that connect sensory input break down, and we begin to perceive everything as discrete external objects, entirely unrelated to each other. It is therefore reasonable to say that psychic ability is not something we attain but something we learn to forget.
Psychic children are those with above-average sensitivity, able to experience the vibrational matrix behind dense physical reality. Most of them remember being surprised that people around them cannot perceive the same thing. They are able to see the souls of their deceased relatives, they can tell that someone is lying to them, they can feel the pain of animals and even plants, they see the sadness hiding behind the smiles around them.
Only a minority of these children retain these abilities into adulthood, primarily because people in their lives convince them that it is all a product of their imagination, and they need to focus on the “real world”. At that point, there are two possible outcomes. Some children realign their perception to match that of their peers, while others fight back and stubbornly continue seeing the multidimensional reality that is all around us, refusing to become “Slaves” to the ever hungry “Machine” of the status quo.
People who continue developing their abilities are those who see it as an exciting pursuit, regardless of the amount of effort. For them, tuning their sensory perception, almost like tuning a piano, allows them to live a fuller life, providing them with an opportunity to play this “instrument” to its highest capacity and not settle for the limited state of consciousness.
Ethics associated with psychic work
On this topic I highly recommend a little-known French movie named Green Beautiful.
In my opinion, the importance of ethics cannot be overstated. For some time I was very hesitant to write this article, simply because I understand that some people would like to develop special skills just for their own ego gratification. Many people assume that someone with a “paranormal” ability is necessarily highly evolved, but this is not so. It is possible to develop an ability without becoming a compassionate person. Fortunately, the reverse is also true, and many spiritual schools consider personal (and ethical) maturity to be far superior to any ability. To draw a pop culture parallel, Yoda is on the side of ethics when he advises Obi-Wan against teaching Anakin, since the future Darth Vader lacks a solid moral foundation and emotional maturity.
Let us take a sober look at the consciousness level of our contemporaries. Most people, to varying degrees, are angry, cruel, sad, vengeful, and many cultural and ethnic groups continue to carry resentment from past generations of suffering. These are normal qualities on the path of personal growth, but that does not make them harmonious or beneficial to the world. Let us imagine that these people suddenly attain the ability to directly influence reality. What do you think would be the first thing that they will do? This way of life is not what we would want in the next evolutionary stage of humanity! If we all become psychic today with the level of consciousness that we have now, we will destroy this planet in a day, simply due to lack of an ethical foundation.
This is why that which I would call “True Spiritual Knowledge” has always been kept hidden, disclosed and practiced only in private circles and secret societies. I feel that even to this day, most of this information remains hidden from the public eye, waiting for the global consciousness to grow up.
While becoming an ethical being is the long-term destiny of all, those that intend to develop the broader vision of a psychic take on a much greater responsibility. It is important to walk with compassion, love and peace in our hearts, to drop this heavy baggage of grievances that we carry with us everywhere we go, thinking that we are somehow entitled to share it with the world! What we are actually doing is spreading dense, chaotic energy of violence and suffering all over the planet, perpetuating old stories that could have been put to rest long ago.
Let’s take Tibetans and many indigenous people around the globe. They have suffered greatly from various cruel actions of others, but many of them can still live with love and compassion in their hearts, praying for Peace, Compassion and Equanimity. Feel the essence of this Tibetan prayer:
May all sentient beings possess happiness and the causes of happiness. May all sentient beings be free of suffering and the causes of suffering. May all sentient beings never be separate from joy and free of suffering. May all sentient beings remain in equanimity free of attachment and aversion.
I feel that it is important to connect to our hearts, our Soul, to see nature as Sacred, to see Divinity behind every Living Being before we can be allowed to walk in Both Worlds.
Prerequisites for Psychic Development
Here are my observations on the necessary qualities and steps towards developing a greater-than-normal perception.
A boundless interest in the world. If a person spends all their time focusing on personal issues, be it finances, relationships, entertainment and social media, they will not become aware of the energy flowing around them.
An organized mind.
Most people can report that their mind is chaotic, restless and out of control. One of the most important qualities that a psychic individual possesses is the quietude of their mind. You can only begin perceiving other realms and expand your consciousness if you stop your inner dialogue!
Once you learn how to quiet your mind you need to learn to listen to subtle feelings in your body, noticing unusual sensations and trusting them.
Discernment. Learn to discern what is real from what is the product of your mind. It is important to face our illusions, fears and past traumas and release them. That can allow us to be a clear channel of Universal Consciousness and allow information to come in unobstructed into our awareness. A psychic’s job is not to interpret the information they receive according to their personal biases, it is to deliver it in its original state or as close to it as possible. The job of the mind here is to understand, to find words to convey, not to compare and corrupt.
Emotional Control. It is important to learn control of your emotions, because one needs to be able to sustain a clear and neutral consciousness to receive information from other people’s or object’s energy fields.
The rest is just a matter of fine tuning through practice. Learning never ends, and if we think that we have arrived somewhere or achieved something on our journey, it is time to get very concerned.
In my work I am asked to act as a psychic medium on a regular basis. This means that a living person (the client) asks me to act as a “medium” between them and someone who is no longer alive. There are two styles of mediumship that I am familiar with, let us refer to them as “active” and “passive”. The active style involves a psychic that is actively conversing (in a manner of speaking) with the consciousness of the target being and is then relaying the results of this conversation to the client. The passive style involves the psychic becoming effectively unconscious and giving up control of their body to the target being in a form of temporary possession.
In my practice I employ the “active” style. This is a personal choice, but I feel that remaining conscious, thereby retaining my ability to discern, is paramount. It is this discernment that is the focus of this article.
The typical mediumship client expects to talk to their deceased loved ones immediately. This is not too different from the typical owner expecting their car to get fixed when they bring it to a shop. What the owner does not expect to hear back is “I’m sorry, that’s not possible in the short term.” Even if the engine was blown to bits that are now evenly distributed over the interstate, the non-technical owner will still expect prompt and convenient results.
So when a hypothetical client named Anne asks to speak to her favorite uncle Jimmy, she does not wonder whether Jimmy is currently available to talk. Understanding this part of the equation requires some agreement regarding belief systems. Does Anne subscribe to the Judeo-Christian single-lifetime worldview? Does she believe in infinite (or even fixed-count) reincarnation? Understanding reincarnation will make the conversation easier. The reason this is important is that it raises a not-so-obvious question: What is uncle Jimmy doing when I try to establish communication with him?
The way I see it, there are several possibilities for Jimmy. Let’s name a few.
He may be living a relatively conscious Astral life, meaning that he is at the very least aware that he died and that this is a different world. You can also describe this as being “in between” physical lifetimes, and the specifics will vary a lot.
He may be confused over his death, having learned nothing while alive that would have prepared him for the transition. In this case he is probably stuck trying get back to what was, and, unfortunately, there is no telling when he will move on.
He may be living a new physical life. In this case, Jimmy may now be a teenage girl named Roxie who has little if any memories of being Jimmy and even less interest in the matter. Recall that you yourself are most likely a reincarnated Jimmy, and you probably would not be in any position to answer a psychic call while you’re busy living your own life.
This is by no means a complete list, but you can already see that it would be unwise to assume that you can always get in touch with any deceased consciousness. Yet I will try, and, interestingly, there are multiple possible outcomes:
Jimmy is not too busy and, better yet, has an important message for Anne. All is well.
Someone responds to my call and claims to be Jimmy. This is where discernment comes in. I can see that this is just a random lost soul that would answer just about any call. There are many incentives for non-physical entities to do this, but for the most part they are the same motivations that would entice a human being to pretend to be someone else. The living person, be it the psychic or the client, is giving them energy and entertainment. Enough said. This is why I prefer the “active” mediumship style, where I retain my discrimination.
Jimmy is busy. If he is currently physical, I may be able to see something about his current incarnation, or I may not be allowed to see it in some cases.
So how do I tell Anne that Jimmy is now Roxie who will not be chatting with her today because she’s on a date and couldn’t possibly hear me over the chatter of her busy mind? I start by telling the truth using option 3 above. Some people accept this, but here is what happens otherwise. Anne then tells me that I’m a crackpot medium because she feels Jimmy’s presence all the time, and when she went to see another medium just last month she had a pleasant conversation with him! Will Anne believe me when I explain that this is because of option 2 above, that the being she’s been sending love to is simply an energetic leech that responded to her call?
Would she want to believe that? I’m guessing not, and this is why many psychics will tell their clients only what they would want to hear. I still tell the truth, but I’ve learned to gauge how gently it must be delivered to each individual. In the end, I believe that Anne would be better off leech-free.
Once you are settled and your mind is somewhat under control, imagine that there is a stream of bright white light descending and entering the top of your head, filling every part of your body with light and energy that you require. Allow that energy to accumulate in your navel, because this is our energy storage, in Oriental tradition this center is called “dan tien”.
Now bring your attention to the bottom of your feet and feel how a flow of golden energy ascends from the core of the earth and enters your feet. Observe and guide this energy throughout your whole body, again allowing it nourish every cell of your body and then bring it to your navel. Mix the two energies in your navel, feeling the radiance and lightness that spreads throughout your body and the space around it and stay with it for a while.
Stay present, still aware of your breath and the energies that are flowing within you.
Now send love and gratitude to all creation, feeling the sacredness of this moment. When you are ready, open your eyes and spend some time in silence before you return to your daily life.
Practicing awareness and various spiritual practices will enhance your well-being and bring joy and freedom into your life, allowing you to be present and conscious with every word you speak and every breath you take. This is how we become creators of our life, stepping out of victimhood, taking our power back and saying “ Yes” to possibilities, taking full responsibility for who we are and what we have to offer to the world.
You may have heard this before, but we start self-discovery with the heart.
Many traditions place great emphasis on this center in the middle of the chest. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) this is the place of Shen (精神), or Spirit. It is the “Presence”, our sense of vitality and joy. It is said that when this center is open and functioning well, the person has brightness in their eyes, strong mental health and visible well-being.
In Indian Yogic tradition this center is called “Anahata Chakra”, also located in the center of the chest, and it is associated with love, compassion, and all aspects of being truly loving within and outside of the self.
The heart produces an electromagnetic field that is much stronger than the one produced by the brain, in fact it is thousands of times stronger. This organ pulses our existence into being, showing us that life is about sound and rhythm.
But what becomes of our hearts if we spend our lives worshiping the intellect, brainpower and logical thinking? Intellect allows us to assimilate and discern, it is an indispensable tool in everyday life. It permits us to collect, interpret and apply data. Without this ability, even a spiritual master would not be able to communicate well with their surroundings, nor would they be able to pass their wisdom to others. A well developed brain and rational thinking allowed creative geniuses such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein and NIkola Tesla to make remarkable contributions to humanity. All of them were rational thinkers, and despite their differences they all were able to make sense of great volumes of information in their work. There is another distinctive characteristic they share. They were driven, inspired, sometimes even obsessed, but they were all “led” by an invisible force, a force that used them as vessel, a means of communication, bringing information in the form of art or scientific discoveries to humanity at large. This fiery inspiration is born in the heart, it is the force that gives us purpose and a single-pointed direction.
The world of today seems to create a separation between the left and right hemispheres of our brain, between the intellectual and the creative, and we tend to assume that one is better than the other. On the one hand we have the scientifically minded, a group that asserts that only facts and rational mind can lead humankind toward understanding the nature of reality and all phenomena. The other side believes that intuition and feelings are paramount and that understanding reality should be approached as a quest for Higher knowledge and being. For the rational thinkers intuition is mysterious, and, if they accept its existence at all, it is something reserved for individuals possessing extrasensory abilities. Is intuition truly out of reach of mere mortals, or is this nothing more than a limiting belief? The answer can be simply in our own programming and relationship with the world. If we believe something to be worthwhile and possible, it usually is. What, then, keeps many of us from our dreams? Have we locked ourselves into a limited form of thinking and feeling that dictates how we interact with the world? This seems to be true for the overwhelming majority. The few who are guided by intuition learned to question the system and it’s “rules”. These are the children who ask endless questions and are never satisfied by the answers they get, invariably going on to do their own research. These are the people who are not okay with the way things are, and they can usually feel the suffering of others. They are driven to continue to investigate the causes of suffering and the ways in which they can help.
We all know how to train our rational minds, we were taught from a young age how to think, how to analyze and resolve logical dilemmas. What we were not taught is how to develop our intuition and perceive life beyond what our five senses are telling us. To do that we need to learn to concentrate on our heart center and our feelings. Some religions use prayers, chants, meditations, fasting, even volunteer work to accomplish this. These methods work because they turn off our logic and enable us to feel what is going on inside. We learn to spend time with ourselves without distractions. When we chant or pray, we align ourselves more with the right hemisphere of our brain, the part that is responsible for creativity, our feelings, emotions and intuition. This is why in the East various spiritual traditions have been using repetitive chants called Mantras for quieting the mind and for attuning oneself to the finer realms of consciousness. One of the examples is the Sanskrit mantra “So Hum”, which can be translated as “I am that”. Here “that” refers to all of creation, the one breathing us all into existence. This contemplative meditation is an opportunity to focus the thinking mind on the mystery of being and to reflect upon the interdependent nature of all phenomena revealed by the sages and later confirmed by contemporary physics.
Another way to connect to our intuitive nature is to practice meditation. Meditation helps us to connect to the deeper layers of the Self and see the world for what it reality is, unobstructed by our beliefs and impressions. It peels away these convictions layer by layer, revealing the Nature of all things. There is a common belief that meditation is too difficult for many people, especially for those whose minds are hectic and busy with concerns, worries and expectations. Although it is true that a state deep meditation is unlikely to happen on the first attempt (there are of course exceptions to any rule), it will gradually deepen with practice and positive intention. It can become an integral part of our daily life, a place where we connect to our deeper layers, resolve internal struggles and free ourselves from the endless sense of being hamsters in the wheel. We can learn to live in the present moment and to enjoy that moment, understand our struggles and failures in order to become stronger and wiser. There are many ways you can approach meditative practice. Many spiritual traditions suggest starting by finding a quiet place, where you will not be disturbed, perhaps decorating it in a way that elevates your mood and gives you a sense of lightness, kindness and joy. It need not be elaborate, some flowers, inspiring messages or images, candles or anything that will make you feel comfortable and motivated would go a long way. It is better to do it on an empty stomach or after a light meal. You can use various breathing techniques to quiet your mind, such as deep breathing, segmental breathing or Ujjayi breath. It can prepare you for a deeper experience, naturally changing your brainwaves from Beta state to Alpha, Theta and, finally, Delta. Delta state is usually achieved by advanced practitioners of meditation. Beginners can start with simple guided meditations or visualizations, these can act as a jump start and allow one to feel subtle flows of energies in the body and aura. Here is one technique that is easy to perform and it usually doesn’t take much to feel the effects.
These are my thoughts about the mistakes spiritual aspirants make on their path. Mistakes are probably not the most popular topic, yet I feel that it is relevant at this time, perhaps more than ever. Maybe “mistake” is too harsh, so let’s call it a “misunderstanding”. These misunderstandings often lead to disappointment and confusion. I have observed how people get trapped in their patterns and get locked into their perceptions, with the end result being a loss of interest in their own self development.
There is a plethora of information available on the subject of spiritual studies, including material on self development, energy practices and spiritual disciplines. How do we know which teaching is authentic? How do we know which teaching can lead us to increased spiritual awareness, understanding and wisdom?
In this century most information can be regarded as a tool for sensory entertainment, in other words, it is another way to satisfy our need for constant stimulation. To borrow from Yogic terminology, “Rajasic” tendency is a continuous need for sensory stimulation of the mind and body, a state where the mind is always stimulated and desires arise endlessly. Much of what is taught today is merely an expression of the Rajasic mind. Many people desire quick solutions and believe that more is better where it concerns spiritual information and various techniques and practices. I’ve encountered many individuals on a perpetual quest for more information, yet they never seem to “digest” what they read or practice. They merely collect new techniques, new rules, new systems. Many of them derive their sense of self-worth from the sheer volume of unintegrated knowledge they carry.
Catering to this desire for greater and for greatness, a lot of esoteric and spiritual schools now promote workshops and even daily classes that promise extraordinary abilities and long lasting happiness. How is this approach different from going to a mall and purchasing something new on a daily basis? Sure, it may bring some satisfaction for about an hour, but will it bring happiness? Probably not. If you have ever been to a yoga class, or even a meditation class, you may notice that people come and go, never noticing each other. Their only desire is to fix themselves, to feel better about their lives, often by means of escaping, at least for a time. They may succeed in escaping, but it is not a spiritual practice.
The Spiritual Path
What, then, is true spiritual practice and how does it work? I can only offer my own observations and what I have learned from being in the presence of those who truly walk their talk.
True spiritual path chooses you. You are being guided, and sometimes you have to make very tough choices along the way. Yes, you chose it before you were born and that’s why even the most strenuous situations and conditions can seem like a blessing to some while causing others to leave their path altogether. I have not seen one true Master or Teacher who didn’t encounter obstacles on their path or who could claim that their life was free of suffering and hardships. How can one become compassionate and wise if they never learned to be motivated by something other than their desires? They listened intently to their inner guidance, even when it told them to abandon all comfort and move to a place where there is no certainty or sense of safety.
So how do we get there? First we need to identify our goals. Having clear goals is critical in any endeavor, and will often determine the outcome before we take the first step. What is the goal? Why are we doing this? What is the real reason behind our intention to pursue this particular path? Some schools of thought claim that you will be given enough knowledge and energy to accomplish what you’ve committed to do. In other words, If you truly know what you want and possess a strong intention, all the necessary tools and information will be provided.
You may have noticed that people are very inspired when they are just being introduced to spirituality, but as time goes by, more commitment and perseverance is required, and the ranks grow thinner. The ones that remain have a strong goal that focuses their energy, allowing them to see their purpose amidst chaos. The ones that drop off do not.
Those of us just starting out on the spiritual path require a certain environment that is free from major distractions, from outer and even inner noise. Once the student advances in studies and practice, environment should become secondary and play little role in their inner life. It can be compared to the way we raise our children. At first, we keep them from harm, but at some point we need to trust that they can determine what is right for them. The same approach applies to our spiritual journey, and at some point we have to trust our inner guidance and the wisdom we gained through our practice. At that point we can trust ourselves to maintain our inner focus and openness, even when we encounter unpredictable situations.
Even with a goal, we may find ourselves asking: “What’s next? Why am I meditating and doing my daily practice? When can I really experience something miraculous, something that will prove to me that I am on the correct path?” The answer can be quite disappointing for some and yet is a relief for others.
For some it will be disappointing, because they start spiritual practices as a way to escape their not so “warm and fuzzy” reality. The grass does seem greener on the other side. They don’t realize that in order to be able to enjoy our existence anywhere, be it working on Wall Street or seeking spiritual wisdom and becoming a spiritual practitioner, we still need to face ourselves, our reactions and tendencies. Yes, there are moments of bliss that arise during practice, but going from these moments to a fully awakened life requires courage, self discipline and trust.
On the other hand, those who are genuinely interested in delving into their true nature by paying close attention to their thoughts, emotions, reactions and habits without expectations, those who trust the process and feel the guidance from within might actually enter a state that Yoga calls “Samadhi”, an all pervading awareness and self realization.
I am not suggesting that living a spiritual life is only accessible to a select minority willing to seclude themselves in a remote monastery. As with most things in life, living consciously, with greater awareness will require effort. The benefit is being able to experience everything in your life from the state of joy and wonder, where nothing is ever certain and anything is possible. You can be happy with little and enjoy simple things, including the proverbial flower blooming under your window or bird chirping joyfully on the warm summer’s day. It allows you to see beauty in all things, despite our mind’s effort to polarize and categorize.