(The following unpublished material comes from a group of “inner teachers”, channeled by Ellen Meredith, author of Listening In: Dialogues with the Wiser Self. Calling themselves “the Council”, these teachers invite us to consider and define our spiritual practice in very personal terms. They are non-denominational in their affinities, and generally work to promote a grounded, balanced approach to spirituality through everyday activity and creative expression. For a definition of the “three selves” - Wiser Self, Talking Self, Earth Elemental Self - click here .)
“Psychic abilities are ridiculed, denounced, pooh-poohed, and disbelieved by many in your culture, and overly revered or feared by others. And yet they are just part of your basic equipment, like seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling.
“What does it mean to be psychic? It means to use your intuition. It means to read the movements and constellations of energy. If you aren't physically blind, then you are able to use your eyes to pick up light and color data, and use your mind to interpret those data as visual images. Being psychic is also a matter of picking up energetic data and interpreting them.
“What makes psychic perception seem strange is that energy is "invisible". In some ways, psychic reading is more akin to hearing than it is to seeing. The data you are reading are not as concrete as the objects you see, nor are they always physically present.
“For many centuries now, your judeo-christian culture has carried a great fear of unseen forces. Magic, psychic intuition, spiritual healing, and many mystic practices were considered the work of the devil because they were not understood, and because they were used by rival political and religious factions. The fear of psychic abilities was directly connected to a general fear of the so-called "feminine", intuitive aspects of human nature.
“But as scientific thinking has evolved, it has moved closer and closer to an understanding of the universe that is similar to that of mystics and occultists. With the invention of radios, for example, you no longer needed to be physically present to hear something. Sound could be carried to you invisibly along the air waves. And with the invention of televisions, you no longer needed to be present with an object to see it. The visual data could also be transmitted through the air waves, and presented to you upon request.
“Energy, too, can be perceived without the constraints of time or place. It can be recorded, transmitted, and picked up at a distance, because it works through a principle we call resonance. Although your physical universe appears to be linear and concrete, your energetic universe is not. A mind that is resonating at a certain level, or in a certain way, can be heard or "read" by another mind which is tuned to read that resonance of energy, no matter where both minds are located geographically.
“Each event, each human endeavor has its own resonance, or set of resonances. Each element, each metal, each organic substance also has a certain resonance. Many of these have been measured and categorized by your chemists and physicists. There are Geiger counters, electron microscopes, and a host of other tools which have been developed to help you read the energies and resonances of the physical realm. But you have instruments built into your mind and body which will allow you to read these same resonances, and also the resonances of human mind and spirit.
“So how do you activate your ability to pick up resonances? It is easy. It is a matter of asking your mind to stop filtering out psychic data. Just as your mind filters out thousands of sounds your ear picks up, which you do not choose to attend to, your mind receives lots of energetic data that it basically ignores. Occasionally you have flashes of intuition or sudden insight that seem to come out of the blue. In fact they come out of this part of your mind which was never entirely quashed.
“Psychic powers, or the perception of resonance, increase whenever you engage in an activity that requires you to "listen" with your mind. Meditation practice, for example, generally leads to a heightened awareness of the energy resonating around you. When you quiet your active thinking and turn off your logical faculties for a time, what emerges is your Wiser Self resonance, your links within the web of connection, and the sense-messages that your mind has not yet learned how to categorize or interpret.
“You sometimes hear psychic awareness described as a side-effect of meditation. It is seen by some traditions as a distraction on the path toward spiritual awareness. But we don't see it as a distraction. We see it as a tool, like the eyes, ears, tongue, nose and nerves are tools for you in this dimension of reality.
“Psychic powers also increase when you do artistic and creative work, inviting your mind's eye to activate, welcoming the muse to animate your inner vision. Since your imagination is a prime instrument for registering your psychic sense perceptions, any attention you pay to it increases its flexibility and scope.
“Any work which requires compassion -- counseling, nursing, healing, mediating, communicating -- also greatly stimulates and calls forth your psychic abilities. When you reach out toward others to understand them, to see their way of being more clearly, to feel their pain or joy, to tune into their resonance, you increase your ability to use your psychic powers.
“Each time you fall in love, or fear someone, or want something from someone, you send out mental feelers to perceive what is happening with that important other. Each time a friend goes on a trip, or a loved one is in a risky situation, there is a part of your being listening in to their resonance, and monitoring it on a subtle level.
“In other words, psychic sensing is a far greater part of your everyday use of your mind than you realize. Those of you who drive cars may be aware of how frequently you use your internal radar to supplement your visual attention. Those of you who are in relationships may be conscious of the amount of telepathy that goes back and forth in silent communications.
“If you want to develop your psychic abilities, it is not just a matter, then, of activating these abilities. They are already fairly active in many of you. It is a matter of learning not to block out the data, and then learning how to interpret it. A young child needs to learn how to correlate the visual data she is getting with her emerging mental understandings of the world. You too, need to learn to correlate the psychic or energetic data you receive with your understanding and emerging wisdom about the world.
“There are two levels where it is fruitful to work on this. First is the level of "reading" energy itself. Do you feel it speeding up, slowing down, blocked, moving, "tight", loose? How do you characterize the energy you can perceive emanating from a person or situation? This is analogous to the work the eye does to collect light data.
“The second, more crucial level of using your psychic instrument is learning to read the meanings or tone of what you are perceiving. This is analogous to the work your mind's eye does in interpreting the visual images into vision. What is that quickened energy telling you? How can you characterize that blockage, or tightness? What images, sensations, or related experience does this energetic perception invoke in you?
“In order to make use of your psychic abilities more consciously, you need to develop a vocabulary for it. Just as some teen-age boys have difficulty understanding and working with their emotions because they don't have a vocabulary which allows them to identify and characterize what they are feeling, you will have difficulty using your psychic faculties wisely, unless you develop an adequate vocabulary.
“What is an adequate vocabulary? It is a set of words, images, and concepts that allow you great flexibility, subtlety and scope. You are working to communicate with your Earth Elemental Self, which is your receiver for energetic data, and which understands things in symbolic, sensual ways. It takes great subtlety, and some humility, to translate this symbolic language into verbal language.
“For example, when you tune into a friend's energy, and ask: "how is my friend feeling?", your earth elemental receives a complex and multifaceted sense impression. If you are trying to receive this message on a mental scale of "one-to-ten", then you are going to only receive a small part of what is being perceived.
“Similarly, if you try to "read" someone's energy as an image, then you are left interpreting that image to your linear mind. And there is much room for error. If you ask, "how is my friend doing", and receive the mental image of a fish swimming upstream, just what does that image tell you? It is only over time that you become deeply familiar with the way your own mind works, and the meaning of your own personal lexicon of images, sensations, and symbols.
“Many people use tools to help them pick up energetic information. This is not cheating, any more than it is cheating to wear glasses to improve your visual acuity. But it is important not to mistake the tool for a conscious source. For example, a pendulum can help amplify physical and earth elemental energies. So you can ask a pendulum, "Is there silver down below me in the earth?" and get a yes-no answer. You can also ask a pendulum to amplify your body's energy, and tell you whether there is a tumor blocking your ovary. The pendulum, held in the hand of an earth elemental, can amplify earth elemental knowing.
“The pendulum, like glasses, can not make judgement calls. You can't get a clear and accurate answer if you ask the pendulum whether you should stop eating sugar. What you will get in that case is a yes-no reduction of whatever complicated earth elemental responses you have to this question. Asking a pendulum to advise you is a little like visiting a wise guru and saying "I want you to teach me the meaning of the universe, but I will ask the questions and you can only answer yes, no, or maybe." As a tool it can be useful; as a vocabulary it is extremely limited.
“The Ouija board, too, is an extremely limited tool. On the one hand, it can help you to get in touch with entities and spirits, and reinforce your own sense that "someone is out there". On the other hand, asking the wise beings of the universe to advise you through the Ouija board is something like asking William Shakespeare to compose his sonnets using alphabet blocks. It is a limited and unwieldy tool, and is most likely to invite limited and unwieldy thinking.
“Other tools, such as the tarot cards, the runes, the I Ching, and astrology, offer richer more subtle vocabularies. When you ask the universe for insight into your problem, and you draw a card that has a whole universe of associations, history, and images to offer you, your interpreting mind is given more scope and potential for hearing what it needs to hear. But the cards, the runes, the I Ching and your horoscope don't really speak to you, any more than your glasses see. They are tools used by your mind for communicating with your Wiser Self, and with other teaching and healing entities. It is only when you treat them as tools, rather than oracles, that they are able to yield rich and helpful results.
“Your psychic powers are there to serve you, just as your language abilities are there to serve you. They are a faculty that you can use in order to deepen your compassion, your sense of connection with others, your ability to communicate and commune with others. They are not there so that you can dominate, control, or manipulate others. If you find someone using psychic insights to extort money from you, or meet a psychic promising to use her powers to make someone do something for you, or hear someone so proud of his psychic awareness that he violates other's privacy and insults their judgment and choices, then that is not a skilled or healthy practitioner -- that is indeed a quack.
“(As an aside, we wish to point out that just because someone is psychic doesn't mean she or he is wise, any more than someone who knows how to read the printed word with beautiful pronunciation necessarily understands the meaning of all texts. To become a skilled psychic reader takes as much practice and work as to become skilled at reading, understanding and knowing how to interpret poetry. Because there is still so much lingering superstition and suspicion about psychic work, it is difficult for someone with highly developed natural intuition to get appropriate training and support to learn to use this gift wisely. It is difficult for people seeking help from a psychic to know whether that person is a quack or a wise and grounded counselor. We suggest you check your practitioners’ “credentials” as best you can -- read their written materials, ask them what ethics they use in their practice, find someone who can recommend them to you, ask them what traditions or belief system they adhere to, find out if they have been trained. )
A Note about Sensitivity
“Many of the friends we meet in body complain of feeling "attacked" or bombarded psychically. It is true that when you develop this faculty you are more sensitive. There are many people in your culture who are unconscious of their telepathic communications and who frequently "broadcast" their pain, discomfort, desires, judgments without taking responsibility for them as communications. This can be extremely uncomfortable for someone who is an intuitive and sensitive "receiver".
“It is useful to install an imaginary "dimmer switch" on your psychic awareness, learning to turn it on and off to a certain extent when you wish. You are able to do this with your vision by shutting your eyes. And you are able to shut off your hearing by switching your attention elsewhere. The technique is similar in protecting yourself psychically. Focus your attention elsewhere. Visualize a screening mechanism which just gently deflects unwanted data. Clarify in your mind and heart which data you truly want to receive. Often the poor bombarded seeker is one who is ambivalent -- she wants to be as highly psychic and sensitive as possible, but she doesn't like feeling sickened by the overload she has allowed into her system. Being a psychic receiver is more a question of assimilation and tolerance for information, than it is a question of being able to get psychic "hits".
“Your psychic faculty is the part of your mind which allows you to feel and perceive your participation in the inner web of connection. Sometimes the Talking Self needs to block out this faculty in order to maintain her sense of self, and her sense of separateness, which is one of the tugs of her nature. If you honor this need, to shut out the energy of others when Talking Self requires it, then you are more likely to find the willingness and means to opening to your greater powers as well.”