Channeling: real, unreal? Divine, human?

On my recent post about Mahatmas, someone commented that Ascended Masters sound a lot like spirit guides and that the main thing is they know more than we do.

Well, perhaps.

The main issue here, it seems to me, isn’t so much knowledge as wisdom. Science has given us plenty of knowledge and plenty of doubt to go along with it. What science cannot give us is guidance in our lives. Though it has to be said that psychology does help in that direction at least a bit.

Unfortunately the spirit world cannot be relied upon to give wise advice either. Psychologists are aware of this of course: psychosis and schizophrenia are both characterized by hearing voices. In those cases what the voices are saying is hardly helpful, let alone wise and true.

We had a mass murderer in the Netherlands recently. After his death the police took a look at all the files pertaining to him and made a report. One fact stood out for me: he’d been increasingly religious, he lost his job and then the voices became destructive.

What he lost with his job was all hope of a normal place in society. He turned to shooting innocent people in a shopping center.

Examples like that give the spirit world a bad name. From a theosophical perspective there are roughly five possible sources of inspiration:

  1. Lying spirits
  2. Nature spirits who know the dynamics of the area they rule, this can included angels and arch angels who stay in touch with the whole world. Rule is perhaps the wrong word here, but I can’t find a better. My sense is that these spirits are sort of the personification of the collective spirit of that area.
  3. Our own Higher Self: not all knowing, but the repository of all our own wisdom gathered throughout several lives.
  4. Mahatmas and other human beings who communicate clairvoyantly. These may be good or bad or indifferent just like ordinary human beings are.
  5. Last but not least: any of the above, mixed in with our own conditionings and expectations.

In short: channeling is no guarantee of quality. On the contrary it seems to me that any author hiding behind channeled sources is forgoing the human responsibility to judge for themselves. In other words: being led by a channel, a spirit guide or even God is a way of saying (as indeed many Christians do say) ‘I’m not strong enough, help me’. This is of course a self-fulfilling prophecy and unfortunately has been statistically shown to be of no help at all even in getting over addiction.

I studied what the early theosophists wrote about the White Brotherhood and the Spiritual Path. My first online project, The Esoteric Studies Guide, was the result.

The primary motive behind the work of the Mahatmas for the good of Humanity as a whole. Their most pressing consideration was motive. Selfish motive or a motive to help humanity.

I have to add that any claim to be in touch with the Masters is, within prominent theosophical circles, a disqualification of the very claim: it is thought that these days no messenger of the Masters would declare themselves publicly. Even if they would: the Mahatmas would make darn sure the messenger was going to speak for them, not some unconscious amalgam of sources, spirits etc. Which means that the channel would at least have had to meet them face to face and probably go through the kind of rigorous training Blavatsky went through, for years.
Let’s face it though: human masters would have email these days. The need for clairvoyant communications as a means of writing books and such seems very slight these days.

Let me quote Blavatsky herself:

There is a road, steep and thorny, beset with perils of every kind, but yet a road, and it leads to the very heart of the Universe:
I can tell you how to find those who will show you the secret gateway that opens inward only, and closes fast behind the neophyte for evermore.
There is no danger that dauntless courage cannot conquer;
there is no trial that spotless purity cannot pass through;
there is no difficulty that strong intellect cannot surmount.
For those who win onwards there is reward past all telling — the power to bless and save humanity;
for those who fail, there are other lives in which success may come.

Notice the values of courage, spotless purity, strong intellect and ultimately ‘the power to bless and save humanity’.

None of those values can be got by becoming a channel, because to become a channel is at best a way to let the unconscious speak out, at worse the road to dependence on impulse and grand sounding words. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a good thing to know what you’re unconscious is saying and it may even be a good thing to immerse yourself in it for a while, but ultimately the conscious mind has to gain enlightenment and it can’t do that by walking away from the responsibility of being alive.

As perhaps you all have noticed: I have not written for a while. That was because I was myself struggling with the temptation to become a channel. I could not write about spiritual issues before the choice was made. Wisdom Man: Banjo Clarke, an Aboriginal Elder reminded me of the value of real human wisdom. It may not be as ‘perfect’ sounding as channeled messages, but it’s a lot more practical and real.

26 thoughts on “Channeling: real, unreal? Divine, human?”

  1. Whether so called channeled information stems from the unconsciousness or from an entity is irrelevant..The information uttered has a certain quality if it’s genuine..and if one is in touch can discern..The information is the key..not the messenger.
    And as far as I understand enlightenment..It is the dropping of the so called conscious mind, which sees everything through adopted principals . How can it then observe reality ? It is because we can not see reality for what it is , the world is such chaos..

      1. With dropping of the conscious mind i mean the dropping of that the faculty we use to try and fit everything we observe to the principals we have adopted throughout life..If we develop the ability to see that ALL is merely perspective we gain the power to choose “objectively”..When we stand aloof we can see clear and make choices that have nothing to do with us but with the situation at hand..that’s my effort to describe enlightenment

  2. To see what Theosophy says about `channeling,’ one could read what Madame Blavatsky said about mediumship (the same as channeling.) She gave many reasons it was dangerous and unreliable, most of which you have described. Actually she recommended two works written from mediumship: _Light on The Path_ and _Through The Gates of Gold_. Apparently Taraka Raja Yoga, which Madame Blavatsky also said was important, may rely on mediums. So, it is not clear to me what Theosophy says (from its beginning) about mediumship. However, just about everything I ever read from mediumship seems like nothing compared to the classic/ancient philosophical/spiritual texts of the world, which there are enough of to last more than a lifetime (though they are not all translated–the Khyentse foundation is working on translating the Tibetan Buddhist Kangyur canon in the next 25 years, which is about 108 volumes… and then the Tengyur.)

    1. That’s why I struggled with this so long: because the early theosophical mediums did, according to Blavatsky, channel the Masters themselves. Even though they were mediums.

  3. Enlightenment stems from free thought and an awareness of both the unconscious and conscious mind. Accepting responsibility for our own actions and our own lives brings both empowerment and strength.

    The “secret gateway that opens inward” can only be discovered by someone that listens to their heart and learns to understand their thoughts and how they are creating the life unfolding before them.

  4. Hi Katinka,
    I believe that we need to have a balance of both spiritual and physical abilities. If we channel information and it doesn’t resonate with us then we should throw it out.

    I have found wisdom in channeled messages but I wouldn’t live my life entirely based upon it.

  5. I think the best analogy I have is falling in love. People do really, really shitty things because they fall in love–even murder. Does that make love bad? Nah. It’s just that you will experience it on whatever level you can experience it.

    If you, as a channel, are hearing “bad things” it’s probably because on some emotional level you are tuned to “bad things”. You can’t hear what you cannot hear.

    I think things like philosophical works ARE people who are channeling–it’s just a different sort of channeling. In fact, I think “any work ever done” is a form of channeling. (most definitely many of the ancient works) It may be that your channeling shows up with fine words–it may be that you hear voices, or it may be kermit the frog pops up in some zen costume and starts offering you sage wisdom. I dunno. All I know is that to recognize truth and the qualities it has is a matter of discernment–and ultimately truth can pop up from any source–even a lunatic can be lucid–and if “god” is everything, then god is also the lunatic by definition.

  6. I’d also add that wisdom tends to prove itself. If a guide tells you to go kill ten million people–I’m pretty sure most of us would say yeah–that doesn’t sound wise. Why would we say that? Because it is destructive and harms others. Is destruction and harming others something that “seems like” a good idea? Intuition says not bloody likely–and where does intuition come from? Here? There? God? A guide? Take your pick.

      1. Well, I wasn’t exactly speaking to YOUR experience, I just meant in general.

        I’d have to hear what you channeled to comment on your information.

  7. I don’t know, what you are trying to say in this post??
    I read 2 times but didn’t get.. what is the real message you want to deliver us.

  8. I wish I’d had the opportunity to read this post about a year ago, when I was weathering a crisis that was precipitated by my experiments with automatic writing. I was “receiving” reams of material that I believed was beyond my intellectual and creative abilities. That was all very well, but soon the writing started offering me very dubious practical advice as well. For instance, after I left my job at that time I was counseled not to worry about it or search for another, but just “have faith” and the right thing would manifest. Luckily I was able to shrug off my growing dependence on this voice before I sunk too deep in the hole.

    It seems to me now, looking back, that I didn’t trust myself to write with wisdom and insight; and so, to do so I had to sort of “allow it in through the back door” as if it was being done some higher agency. I abdicated personal responsibility, as you talked about early in this article.

    It was comforting to read this – and again, I wish I could have stumbled upon such shared experience back when I was lost in that confusion. I think there’s something very seductive about the idea of being a channeler; at least, there was for me.

    1. Yes, there’s something very seductive about being a channeler. That’s just it.

      In my case there wasn’t any advice I could not take. It was merely a sense that I had to stand on my own two feet – however clumsy they were.

  9. After 9/11, I had an experience that I believe was channeling. My hand was compelled to draw images unseen in my mind. I had no artistic ability prior to or after this incidences, but I’ve been told the artwork is quite good. In any case, I published it and am donating part of the proceeds in support of 9/11. I was drawn to the channeling discussion here on your blog and am very interested to discuss what happened to me with others. Some say it was self-therapy, a form of art therapy. But I really feel there was something more spiritual happening. It hasn’t happened since. Does anyone have any thoughts?

    1. Why should self therapy NOT also be spiritual? As I tried to say above, one of the sources of channeling can be our Highest Self – in which case channeling is an attempt of the system to integrate our Highest knowledge and insight into the whole. Nothing wrong with that, nothing ultimate about it either, but still legitimately spiritual IMO.

      And that highest knowledge includes – though it’s easy to forget in our individualistic society – a being in touch with what the collective needs.

      The problem is partly, perhaps, that we expect so much of the spiritual: it has to be divine, God Itself, infallible etc.

      When it’s merely us dealing with our issues, in touch with the soul of a time, it’s somehow not good enough. But of course it is good enough: it sounds to me like you touched upon the underlying meaning of 9/11 with your painting, found harmony in it, transformed the tragedy in dealing with it.

      That’s great. That’s needed. That’s spiritual too. It doesn’t require anything beyond that.

  10. Thank you. I suppose I’ve been looking at this as one experience or the other instead of realizing that it could be all in the same thing. What you said in your reply is very helpful to me, and I will be thinking about this as I move forward. My goal now is to share the images with as many people as possible.

    1. Katinka, How would I go about getting intouch with that higher self that came to me at the time of the 911 attacks?
      I would like to continue this drawing and receive messages

      1. Hi Linda,

        It seems to me that you should not get attached to the 9-11 channelings. You found a voice, but that doesn’t mean that it’s in your best interest to continue on that path.

        As I said above: it’s best to rely on yourself – when channeling happens it happens, but ultimately the spiritual path is about integrating the highest with the lowest. For most of us that means living with what is, as purely and rationally and kindly as we can. Whether that means channeling in future – I can’t tell you.

        However, taking an intuitive drawing class might be a good way to integrate your spiritual side into your life. But it’s very important to just let the result be – whether it’s as inspiring as those 9-11 drawings, or reflects more of your ‘before’ style.

  11. If Helen Schucman hadn’t taken notes from “the voice” she was hearing, we wouldn’t have “A Course in Miracles”. People receive information in different ways – actually, I have sent messages to others telepathically a number of times.

  12. Tuning into the non-physical and becoming a channel can provide enormous wisdom from the higher self, a guide, or other beings of a higher consciousness. However, it is easy to also channel beings of a lower level of consciousness. I’ve had both positive and negative experiences and highly recommend protecting yourself whenever you’re in a meditative state, before falling asleep or waking up. My favorite way to psychically protect my energy comes from Robert Monroe who founded The Monroe Institute. Visualize white light spiraling through you and think the following words:

    “I am more than my physical body. Because I am more than physical matter, I can perceive that which is greater than the physical world. Therefore, I deeply desire to Expand, to Experience; to Know, to Understand; to Control, to Use such greater energies and energy systems as may be beneficial and constructive to me and to those who follow me. Also, I deeply desire the help and cooperation, the assistance, the understanding of those individuals whose wisdom, development and experience are equal or greater than my own. I ask their guidance and protection from any influence or any source that might provide me with less than my stated desires.”

    Good luck!
    Elizabeth Rose

  13. May I suggest that, to get in touch with your higher self, you try using any type of meditation that works for you (e.g. repeating mantras or blanking out your mind). You might also try meditating while listening to The Monroe Institute Hemi-Sync tapes to more quickly get into the alpha or theta state, or simply ask for assistance from your higher self just as you’re falling asleep. Ask a specific question and pay attention to what presents itself the next morning as you’re waking up. You may see, hear or feel answers being given to you from your higher self, or from your guides. Keep a pen by your bedside and write them down immediately before you forget them. Ask and the answers will be given. Have faith that the answers will come.
    Wishing you great success!
    Elizabeth Rose

  14. I have found a lot in Theosophy, however I had issues with trying to define what is Theosophy to others, and defend what is or is not Theosophy. It all winds up being what each individual wants it to be most of, and that is a lot of different things.

    For meditation, which is another thing meaning as many things to each individual as there are individuals, and I shall leave alone for now what is an “individual”, but anyway, meditating, try walking barefoot in the country.

    I tried using alternative methods, adopting other ways cultures have done things. The incense, bells, objects and whatnot. But really, I was just fighting what is me, and trying to be something I was not. Me, I am actually the offspring of several European strains, and an American Indian strain, so I am a Euromutt, not much of anything “Eastern” in me.

    So walking seemed to be pretty natural to my Euromutt natural needs, and meditating comes easier through natural ways. Feeling nature ooze between your toes brings on all kinds of effects and ways to perceive things.

    I do miss the ULT on the West Coast. But I also enjoy getting out and about smelling the Roses and feeling the ooze of life squish through my toes too.



  15. I have the impression that channeling used to be a good way to communicate certain insights. Nowadays the channeliing has been hijacked to be used for personal purpose, not necessarily good for mankind.
    Blavatski put out a lot of advice, but always stressed to use your own abilities. And in the end only the truth abides.

    Let’s face it though: ‘human masters’ would have websites these days.
    (just a joke towards Katinka 🙂 )

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