Tag Archives: discernment

Worthy to Sit at the Divine Table

Icon by Andrei Rublev, 15th century

I’m posting this on International Women’s Day, which is appropriate for reasons that will probably be clear to you.

Last time I told you about the powerful experience I had in the hospice while my mother was dying, where I felt that I was surrounded and embraced by uncountable beings who loved and supported me. This feeling of ineffable love continued as my mother stayed present with me over the next few days, and then the typical disjunctions and confusions of life took hold more again, in addition to the stresses of adjusting to her absence and dealing with the many responsibilities of her estate and planning her memorial.

We allowed nearly three weeks to prepare for the memorial service and the get-together for family and friends afterward. It was a massively busy period but also one in which I was able to contemplate important matters and to have deep discussions with friends and patients about life and death. A subject that came up was one that I’d been planning to write about anyway, the pervasive feeling of not being worthy and not deserving. It was on my mind the day of the memorial Mass, which took place on February 10, a few blocks from my house at Our Lady of the Assumption church.

I was apprehensive before the service, even felt like I was going into enemy territory. I had only met the pastor once and never heard the church’s singer before, and I had no control over the proceedings. But my family and I were welcomed warmly by the pastor and the deacon, the singer turned out to be one of the best I’d ever heard in our area, and friends gathered closely around us with great love and caring. My piano teacher played an organ piece right before the Mass, and as the last chords were sounding, the church bells began to ring with magically perfect timing.  I’m not sure if one is supposed to enjoy a funeral, but I did. It was everything it should have been, and we all felt sure it was just what my mother would like.

Some of us were feeling strongly that my mother was present and did in fact like the event. That sense of an atmosphere filled with myriad kindly beings visited me again. I had felt that in certain churches before, but for some reason I wasn’t expecting it at this one, which seemed cavernous and perhaps a little impersonal. The priest told us all, a little apologetically, that although people of different beliefs were present, we were going to hear about Jesus and get the standard Catholic experience. (Exactly as it was supposed to be.) When he said “Jesus,” I suddenly felt as if a cord flew upward from my head and connected with that loving presence.

Feeling that I was cradled in the love of my mother and the heavenly entities, I was busy communing ecstatically when I heard the words, “Lord, I am not worthy….” Wow. There it was again, stated flat out. “I am not worthy.” I am not good enough for God. I do not deserve to have the Divine be with me or within me.

And you know what? That idea rolled right past me and none of it stuck. I was completely immune to its destructive power. In every quark and photon of my being I knew that I was a child of God, a citizen of the universe, an integral and indispensable part of All That Is, however you want to put it. I was deserving of all the goodness that was pouring into me and I soaked it up joyfully and with profound gratitude and with absolutely no reservation. Not only was I worthy to receive the Divine, I was doing it right then and there and with no effort at all.

Later, as I am wont to do, I spent time rationally analyzing what had happened. I considered the fundamental contradictions embodied in “Lord, I am not worthy.” I read about the Gospel story* from which this line in the Mass was taken, and worked through a few different exegeses of it. (A nice scholarly-sounding word!) I could see where they were coming from, but I just wasn’t buying them. And this was new. Although I could still recognize my inadequacies perfectly clearly, a lifetime of existential guilt and subjugation to self-hatred had evaporated. What I knew intellectually had come to live in my heart. After years of struggle, I was at last ready for this radical acceptance.

Think about it. Even a moment of attention will show you how odd and backwards that “unworthiness” is, by doing no more than following along through basic Judaeo-Christian religious thought. God is supposed to be all-good and all-powerful, so surely God must have done a fine job at creating everything. We’re told that God looked at His creation and saw that it was good. Why, then, would human beings be total pieces of crap?

I am far from the only person to bring this up. When I was reading one of the articles on “Lord, I am not worthy,” which insisted on the truth of our not-deserving, I was pleased to see that a commenter asked, simply and directly, why we should disagree with the Creator’s opinion.

Now, suppose that God is a loving parent, as we are so often told. Imagine that you have a child, and you tell that child, “I love you, but you are really a mess, and you will never be worthy of my love no matter what you do and no matter how hard you try.” Only a twisted, psychopathic parent could say such a thing. How could an all-good God say it?

To an extent I’m oversimplifying, but this not-worthiness, this fundamental self-rejection that undermines us at a core level, is one of the most notable characteristics of mainstream religion, in our society at least.

There is another way.

The work of Fr. Richard Rohr, at the Center for Action and Contemplation here in Albuquerque, has been getting international attention. Fr. Rohr stays within the fold of Catholicism but at the same time is profoundly radical. His “Franciscan alternative orthodoxy” views our flawed humanity with great compassion, and constantly points us toward union with the divine, never into ashamed isolation.

Fr. Rohr’s recent writings have had to do with the concept of the Trinity. The idea of three-persons-in-one-God has never made sense to me, nor resonated emotionally, but he uses it to present a dynamic, moving, relational energy, a “divine dance,” rather than a static deity that doesn’t particularly interact with us or the universe. Referring to the painting shown at the top of this post, he wrote:

“In Genesis we see the divine dance in an early enigmatic story (18:1-8). ‘The Lord’ appears to Abraham as ‘three men.’ Abraham and Sarah seem to see the Holy One in the presence of these three, and they bow before them and call them ‘my lord’ (18:2-3 Jerusalem Bible). Their first instinct is one of invitation and hospitality—to create a space of food and drink for their guests. Here we have humanity feeding God; it will take a long time to turn that around in the human imagination. ‘Surely, we ourselves are not invited to this divine table,’ the hosts presume.

“This story inspired a piece of devotional religious art by iconographer Andrei Rublev in the fifteenth century: The Hospitality of Abraham, or simply The Trinity. As icons do, this painting attempts to point beyond itself, inviting a sense of both the beyond and the communion that exists in our midst….

“The icon shows the Holy One in the form of Three, eating and drinking, in infinite hospitality and utter enjoyment between themselves. If we take the depiction of God in The Trinity seriously, we have to say, ‘In the beginning was the Relationship.’ The gaze between the Three shows the deep respect between them as they all share from a common bowl. Notice the Spirit’s hand points toward the open and fourth place at the table. Is the Holy Spirit inviting, offering, and clearing space? I think so! And if so, for what, and for whom?
At the front of the table there appears to be a little rectangular hole. Most people pass right over it, but some art historians believe the remaining glue on the original icon indicates that there was perhaps once a mirror glued to the front of the table. It’s stunning when you think about it—there was room at this table for a fourth.
The observer.
You!
Yes, you—and all of creation—are invited to sit at the divine table. You are called ‘to consciously participate in the divine dance of loving and being loved,’ as Wm Paul Young, the best selling author of The Shack, writes.
The mirror seems to have been lost over the centuries, both in the icon and in our on-the-ground understanding of who God is—and, therefore, who we are too!”

In this view, we are not unworthy to receive the Divine— we are invited to sit right next to it, co-equal, at the same table. Imagine if all children were brought up this way instead of in the shadow of the Antichrist of guilt and unworthiness. The world would be transformed.

I would add one more thing: to me, the angelic figures in the painting look androgynous. The Trinity is not being shown as “three men,” but as three human beings— perhaps even three women.

Never let anyone tell you that you don’t belong at this table.

 

*The story is that of the centurion who asks Jesus to heal his servant, and trusts that he need “only say the word” and the man will be well. The centurion says that he is not worthy to have Jesus enter under his roof.

https://cac.org

http://catholicexchange.com/lord-i-am-not-worthy

http://www.fromwordstoprayers.com/2011/09/lord-i-am-not-worthy.html
‘What roof do we mean? We are temples of the Holy Spirit, and our flesh is like the “roof” of this temple. We know we are unworthy to be such temples, where God is present spiritually; we are even less worthy to receive our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.’

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“The Source of Our Life Is Not Within the Body”

Burning-Flame-Wallpaper technosamrat

I’ve been trading treatments with an excellent healer who does polarity therapy. She is extremely competent in reading the body, mind and emotions, and working with her has been fruitful. In early November we had a session in which something quite unusual happened.

At the time I had a minor illness and among other things my stomach was upset, with a stuck, pressured sensation in my upper abdomen. I was in the midst of telling the healer how, back around the time I started this blog, a friend and colleague stopped speaking to me because she was convinced that I was possessed by an evil spirit who was sucking my energy and that of my patients— the “Evil One” being none other than Fryderyk.  (As ridiculous as that was, I’d never been entirely able to clear the event from my mind.  Knowing that someone believed that either Fryderyk or I could be involved in such a thing and doing harm to patients was terribly painful.)

“Isn’t it funny how when spirits are being talked about, the lights flicker,” said the healer. That was in fact happening. Speak of the “devil,” there he was a moment later, intensely in contact with me.

 Fryderyk attempted to help with my stomach, and the two of them had a professional disagreement about how to go about it.  The healer had told me before that she felt that my solar plexus area was functioning very well, but “functioning somewhere else.” She’d been trying for a while to bring all my systems online in the physical world, and I’d been seeing improvements in my health and energy level. Now Fryderyk was trying to connect me more strongly to that somewhere else, she told me, and she didn’t think that was the right approach.  In fact, she felt it was bad for me. “He wants to keep that going because it’s part of how he communicates with you,” she added.

Well, it’s always heartening when someone else can see one’s invisible friends, and better yet, talk with them. I wasn’t privy to the conversation they were having, though. As it progressed, the healer stuck to her guns and refused to be intimidated by contact with a Famous Impressive Dead Person, telling him that she was going to continue as planned because it was the right thing for me. Fryderyk disengaged and left, and she finished the treatment.

I was left feeling nonplussed and uncertain.  The healer described the interaction with Fryderyk in terms that were all too much like what I’d been told in the past when my ex-friend stopped speaking to me.  She felt that he was being “pushy and possessive,” and her perception was that energy was being lost from my middle under his ministrations.  I have always experienced inputs of energy from him, sometimes very large and powerful ones, and never the opposite, so this was confusing and distressing.  The healer was doing her best on my behalf, though, and I trusted her ability and her sincerity.  I knew, too, that when doing this kind of work we must trust and act on whatever we perceive, even if it seems outlandish at times.  (I used to be afraid to mention the most outlandish and unlikely things I’ve seen, but I’ve gained confidence because patients generally verify them.)  If we second-guess ourselves– such an easy trap to fall into– we cannot accomplish anything.

So what could I make of all this?  I can theorize about what was “really” happening, based on a couple of decades of both giving and receiving this type of treatment, but I can only be sure, at least more or less sure, of the parts I perceived myself.  At any rate, I hadn’t had any sense of being harmed or being under any malevolent influences.  Fryderyk packs a lot of wattage and can come on awfully strong at times, so that I can imagine someone feeling that he is being pushy even if that is not his intention.  I can also understand why someone might see him as possessive, which I think was sometimes true of him during his Earth life.

When I went to bed that night, Fryderyk immediately showed up again, and I asked him what in the world had been going on. Fortunately, the cosmic WiFi signal was strong and we could converse far more clearly than we could earlier that day. I asked what exactly he had been seeing in my middle. He explained that although it felt tight and stuck to me, like an excess condition, to him it seemed extremely empty and in need of more energy, and that was what he had been trying to work with.

I heard, very clearly, “The source of our life is not within the body anyway.” He went on to say that I needed, actually, more of a connection to that source. He then proceeded to pour a huge amount of energy into my solar plexus, which I saw in my mind’s eye as a stream of beautiful, brilliant orange flames. It felt fantastically wonderful. After a while he moved to other areas and did a bit more work on me, which also felt extremely positive. I did not become instantly well, but for weeks I had much more energy to work with than usual, and my understanding is that his efforts contributed greatly.

“The source of our life is not within the body” was exactly what I keep hearing from various sources lately, including, notably, cell biologist Bruce Lipton’s book The Biology of Belief. The body is like a TV set, whereas you are the program. The TV set is not the program; it only brings in the signal so that it can be seen in the physical world. Turn off the TV, or break it— the program is still being broadcast, and it exists just the same, regardless of the state of the receiver.

Stay tuned.

 

Flame graphic available free at http://www.technosamrat.com

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When Is an Entity Not an Entity, and Does It Really Matter?

2012 Marigold Parade, Albuquerque

2012 Marigold Parade, Albuquerque

Día de los Muertos and my dear departed is nowhere to be found.  I am dispirited.  Dispossessed.  Ghostbusted.  Sigh.  But he’ll be back.  He always comes back– so far.

I’ve written a lot about the tremendous, invaluable help Fryderyk has given to me over the years.  My point in this post is going to be that no matter what They “really” are, the positive effects of spirit entities can be huge.

The most obvious and well-studied help comes to those who are bereaved.  I’ve been reminded of this lately by two of my patients.  One has been reeling from the death of a young family member for almost a year, and is still deeply enmeshed in the grieving process.  Other family members have started working with a medium in the recent past, and they’ve received clear and evidential communications that certainly appear to be coming from the deceased.  While this has not wiped out their grief, it has caused a definite shift toward healing.  My patient has not yet had this direct experience herself, but hearing about it has comforted her substantially.  I’ve read about this kind of thing many times, especially in connection with Induced After-Death Communication*, but this is the first that I’ve seen it in action.

Another patient, an 85-year-old lady, was musing about her deceased husband during her last appointment.  She is doing poorly lately in some ways, and she’s been thinking a lot about the fact that she “knows more people in the next world than in this one,” as she puts it, and what it may be like when she moves on.  She had a number of vivid sightings of her husband after his death, which she authorized me to share with you.  He had suffered severely from diabetes and all the worst it can do to a human body, including having his legs amputated.  She particularly appreciated seeing him in one piece in her visions, with both his legs intact, looking happy and healthy.  That was what she emphasized to me when I saw her last, that it meant so much to her to know that he was no longer suffering.

Here are a few of the notes that she jotted down for me about her experiences over the years:

“1998  No. 3… Walking towards me on Stillwell, I had Skipper [dog] walking to him… he had both legs, and he looked good.”

“No. 12, July 1999– Saw him, he was waiting for me with his arms open to me– made me very sad.”

“No. 14, Nov. 1st, 2000 (11 am)   I did not see him but I felt him there at 8711, I was by [daughter’s] bedroom and there was a distinct loud thump in the closet by his gun room– I opened the the door and found [other daughter’s] duvet comforter that we had been searching for.  I know he was there, I could feel him close to me.  His love reached out to me.”

“No. 15, Oct. 10th, 2004   I saw him just for a few minutes, he was very agitated and did not speak to me– it was the day [cousin] had a heart attack– he was running back and forth– I had not actually seen him in four years.”

Communication with the “dead” is so common that it barely makes a blip on my radar anymore, and it is relatively easy to understand– a dead person is fundamentally not so different from a live one.  But so many times Something or Someone is there and the situation is not nearly so clear.  There has been a spate of patients bringing in entities of one sort or another in the past couple of months.  I don’t mean that I was perceiving something around them on my own to begin with, but that they told me about it themselves and asked me to help them with it– fully expecting that I could.  If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that I’ve had terrifying experiences with a demonic entity and that I had no success whatsoever in dealing with it.  (See my post “A Case of Possession.”)  I haven’t tried to work with anything like that since, and I’ve pretty much assumed that I couldn’t.  However, apparently the universe has decided that it’s time I learned and that I have to get some practice.

A gentleman about my age complained of feeling attacked by other people’s negative thoughts being aimed at him, envy and resentment and similar discordant stuff.  He has a strong background in healing and spirituality himself, and is psychologically strong and capable of dealing with difficult people, but he couldn’t shake the feeling of being battered by these unpleasant intentions.  I took a look around him and saw a clear image of an arrow, like one might see on a sign, pointing downward toward his head.  It had definite edges and was almost palpable, appearing to be about a foot and a half long and a few inches wide, in a solid dark blue for whatever that’s worth.  I would interpret it as a thought form, but whether it had been created by the patient or by those who were causing problems for him, I can’t say for sure.  Perhaps I was seeing his perception of what was going on, or perhaps the image was formed by my own brain’s attempt to make sense of the situation.  At any rate, this was not a being with its own agenda so much as an energetic sculpture of sorts, and it was a relatively easy thing to clear.  The next week this patient reported that the feeling of oppression and negativity was mostly gone.

It was more difficult with another patient, a lady who has some particularly draining family issues to contend with, and who is very aware of her own usual spirit companions.  Fighting tears and looking absolutely exhausted, she told me that for quite a while she had been feeling like something was obstructing everything she tried to do, hanging around her and keeping her from moving forward in any way.  She had had no luck trying to get rid of it or learn anything about it.  While she was on the table, I looked and found something that gave me a genuine scare.  There was a mass of energy hovering over her chest, creating a heavy pressure.  It wasn’t directly touching her, but that was only because she was constantly pushing it away with all her might.  I joined in and tried to dislodge it, but it was a serious challenge.  It seemed really determined to get at her, and it pushed back with considerable force.  In this case, the thing seemed truly to be an entity separate from the patient, not simply a creation of her own.  But why would it be trying to harm her, and what could we do about it?  I used every strategy I could think of, asking what it was, what it wanted, whether it represented someone close to her, and so on, but I couldn’t find out anything about it and couldn’t get it to move.  Did it represent the difficult family member?  That didn’t seem to be the answer.  Had it simply hooked on to the patient because she was in a weakened and vulnerable state?  I never did get any clarity about what was going on.  Between the two of us we did manage to clear it away, though, I think through sheer brute force– not the way I would prefer to work.  It took everything both of us had to do it, but she did feel much freer afterward.   At her next appointment she told me that she still had the feeling that it was waiting around nearby to get at her again but that she’d been able to keep it at bay.  I am cautiously optimistic but more than a little unnerved about this experience, and will continue to monitor the situation.

++I broke off writing this to zip over to an Albuquerque Baroque Players concert, where Fryderyk made a liar of me by showing up during a set of Handel arias and sticking around for a good while, keeping me warm and contented.  Or perhaps I should turn that around and say that he confirmed that I was telling the truth when I said he always comes back.   I’ll never stay away long either, Fryc, I promise.++

The most colorful of the recent entity experiences came about during a difficult session with a very traumatized mid-school-age boy who has been through a life-threatening illness, someone with a huge imagination, a taste for and wide knowledge of mythology, and a family background that includes some shamans.  He and I were trying to find a way to work with his intense fears about any medical treatment, including the acupuncture he used to accept so easily.  As we talked, he suddenly exclaimed, “I see a demon in that corner!  There are glowing red eyes!”

Oh, crap, I thought, because when it comes to anything that might be a demon, I’m pretty traumatized myself.  The kid had already detected the dragon that sometimes people perceive around me, and I had other reasons to believe that his intuitions were right on track.  So I took him very seriously, and gazed at the area he was pointing toward.  Yikes, I was seeing the eyes too (in my own mind’s eye, that is).  Something was there.  Interestingly, he was pointing directly at my defunct clock, which is covered in a painting of a dragon with red eyes that stared straight at us, but the clock was hidden behind a little tapestry, being used to prop it upright.  The patient couldn’t have physically seen the dragon, but it may have contributed to the imagery that came up.

The glowing red eyes seemed independent of the dragon picture, though.  I tried telling the entity that it needed to leave, and it quite obligingly started walking away.  It looked to me like a flat black silhouette, with a round head with a serrated margin as if it had cartoon fur, and skinny stick-like limbs.  There was no detail other than the eyes.  The thing didn’t seem very scary, I was relieved to see.  On the other hand, as we continued to talk about what we were seeing and what the boy was feeling, and I worked at clearing whatever I could, it was still there, still appearing to be walking away but not actually getting any further from us.  There seemed to be no more progress.

It was as if we were having a shared dream and moving through it together.  Much like what happens when I do “normal” psychic work with patients, but not quite the same.  At length, the creature turned and came back toward us, setting itself directly in front of the boy.  I was alarmed, but then it turned so that it was facing away from him, its hands raised with claws at the ready.  It was trying to protect him!  We had tamed this beast and brought it into service for him, it seemed.  By that time it appeared positively cute and winsome to me, not threatening in the least.

My take on this was that the creature provided a way for this patient to crystallize his feelings into a form he could deal with, in a visual language he understood.  I’d like to say that there was a dramatic transformation in his PTSD, as I hoped at the time, but it turned out to be only one step in the process; he’s still very fearful.  I will be fascinated to see what develops the next time I see him.

Sometimes I’m the patient myself, and invisible beings come to treat me.  Usually it’s been my familiar musical being, or another entity who has been formally introduced to me in some way.  I’ve complained of not always knowing how to tell who is who.  I mentioned this to Christine the other day (see my post “Here Be Dragons”), saying that she is better at recognizing and distinguishing them than I am.  She laughed and said, “I think I just don’t care as much”– that is, it doesn’t matter to her which one is who.  Touché.  Perhaps I am too concerned with understanding intellectually.  But inquiring minds want to know!

In the past few months I have struggled with some new physical discomforts and difficulties that have slowed me down considerably at times, but I have also had a new source of assistance available.  I’m not sure exactly when it was that I started to be aware that there was an unfamiliar entity trying to make contact with me.  She– I had a sense of femininity for reasons I can’t describe– felt distinctly different from Fryderyk, who can come in with a good deal of force.  There was a feathery softness in her touch that wasn’t quite like anything I’d experienced before, surrounding me in the gentlest imaginable way.  I wondered if she might be defined as an angel.

One night in August, not long after my mother had been hospitalized and I’d been ill enough myself to make a trip to the emergency room**, I came home from an unusually long day of seeing patients in the western part of the state with my personal fuel gauge on E.  I’d been OK most of the day, but at that point I realized I had really done myself in and was in a state that was starting to get me a little worried.  It was hard to breathe and my chest hurt.  The angel or whatever she was made herself apparent and went to work on me right away.  Almost instantly I was out of the scary state and becoming much more comfortable, starting to feel normal again.  After a little while Fryderyk came in as well, and I was interested to see how distinct they were from each other.  Whatever they did, it put me completely to rights, and I was deeply grateful, especially since I was scheduled to go out to see my most fragile and difficult patient, an hour away out west again, the next morning.  I feel certain that I could not have managed that without their help.

I can hardly describe how momentous this was, despite my years of experience with Them.  What did I do to deserve this near-miracle?  How did I attract this wondrous being?  I have no idea.  I can only say that there is a kind of healing circle or chain in which someone supplies me with energy and I pass it on to patients and they pass it on to the people in their lives who are in need, and it goes on and on.

The next time I encountered this being, I tried my best to get a look at her and to ask who she was, but I got no insight whatsoever.  Within another week or so, I again had an energetic crash, not as bad this time, with the chest discomfort very prominent.  She touched a spot there  and the discomfort vanished instantly (and then was completely gone for weeks).  It didn’t even feel like she had done anything in particular.  Pretty slick!  By this time I was extremely curious, and I asked again who she was, dropping into a channeling state as best I could.

“I am she who is the embodiment of wisdom,” I heard.  Oh!  I thought.  Sophia!  I already knew someone who channels the goddess of wisdom.

OoooKkkk… here we are again with the same problem I had over contacting Kuan Yin.  A goddess.  Uh huh.  Right.  I don’t really know what to do with that concept.  Maybe something Mendy Lou told me when I described this experience will help, though.  She wrote, “But as for Wisdom, I think that it is not something that we can possess, but rather a thing which we allow to enter into us or perhaps come upon us….”  Maybe personifying Wisdom is not so strange.  But Sophia, as I am choosing to call her, seems very much a person in her own right rather than a personification.  I await further enlightenment on this matter– still, having made little or no progress with understanding it since I wrote about Kuan Yin and the beginning channeling class a couple of years ago.  I try not to worry about it too much.  I have Friends in High Places, and that’s worth a lot whether I understand it or not.

Wisdom and discernment are always needed and in all too short supply, but I think I can benefit from an infusion of wisdom even more than usual right now.  One thing I know is that I can’t run my batteries down to nothing all the time and expect someone to swoop in from the heavens and save me.  I still have to show some sense.  I am infinitely glad to know that They are watching out for me, though, and helping me to watch out for others.

Thank you.  Thank you.

*Information on Induced After-Death Communication can be found at the site of the originator, Al Botkin, http://www.induced-adc.com/ 

You may also want to look at my posts on IADC from March 2010.

**Nothing serious was found and they were able to reassure me a lot; my symptoms have been inconvenient and uncomfortable but there is no major threat to my health.

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My Second Channeling Class

I thought I’d already posted what I’d written about the second channeling class I took from Betsy-Morgan Coffman, but no, I’d let it slip by.  Sorry.  Here it is, just as I wrote it soon after the class in 2007.  Among other things, this account contains a great example of a spirit contact that seemed questionable and better not to continue.  For context, see my post “A Beginning Channeling Class.”  https://elenedom.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/a-beginning-channeling-class/

On September 29, 2007, I jumped back into the fray and took Betsy Coffman’s second channeling class, now affectionately referred to as “C2.”  For the most part, I still wasn’t really channeling when I worked on my own, and I didn’t feel very ready to go on to the C2 class.  I decided to try it and go with whatever happened.

We began by telling what we had gotten out of the first class and what we hoped to obtain from this one.  While some of the students were going like gangbusters and even doing formal readings for people, others expressed misgivings similar to mine.  They said that they still couldn’t clearly see or hear anything, and that while they were very much aware of entities being in contact with them, they often couldn’t be sure who those beings were.  I heard these things before it was my turn to speak, and so I already felt better by the time I was asked to describe my own situation.

I told the group that after the C1 class I had essentially gotten more of what I already had, especially increased empathic ability.  I said that had found myself working more as a psychic and medical intuitive than a channeler, meaning that I was receiving useful information and relaying it to patients, but I wasn’t getting that information from entities other than myself.  I had been in touch with various beings, but I generally couldn’t get verbal messages, and I often couldn’t tell one being from another.  I was hoping to develop more as a medium, I said, with clearer and more definite communication.

“I think you’ll be getting that, and a lot more,” Betsy replied.  She looked at me and announced that there was someone trying to contact me right then.  He was a doctor, she said, then added that he was in fact a surgeon.  I had just started feeling something going on at the back of my neck, a little toward the right, with a sense of a small area of a golden tan color, and I told Betsy that I was indeed aware of someone being there.

Betsy called upon her guide Orion, Jesus Christ, and Archangel Michael, as she always does.  The energy in the room got thicker, and I felt activity around my head, as at the first class.  The first exercise we did was also similar to what happened in the CI class: we were supposed to ask for three guides to show themselves to us and give us their names and a message.

I had just expressed a desire for more better mediumship with more verbal communication, but my experience of this exercise could hardly have been more opposite to my request.  The guides which revealed themselves weren’t even persons in any sense.  The first impression I received was of an evergreen tree, not a realistic image but more like a green paper cutout.  There was a deep green all over my inner field of vision.  I asked for a message, and it seemed to be, “Keep growing.”

Next, I saw an image of a stairwell on the outside of a stone building.  My view zoomed in on the stone, and I felt surrounded by a sandstone-like color and texture.  The stone seemed to permeate my body, and I felt strengthened.  “Solidity,” I thought.

I was expecting water to show up next, but instead I vaguely saw a yellow light, and thought it was the sun.  Rather than more light, I was surrounded by warmth, with no strong visual images.  The principle expressing itself seemed to be heat, not light.  I was perfectly happy with that, because I had been freezing the whole time in Betsy’s living room despite being wrapped in one of the blankets she had thoughtfully provided.  I stayed warmer for an hour or so after that.

Again, as at the C1 class, I felt awfully rushed during this exercise.  I was just barely bringing things into focus with each entity when Betsy moved on to the next, and when she had us finish up, I was still trying to figure out what was going on with the Heat being.  Yet, when we went around the circle and described our experiences, it turned out that some other students had received massive quantities of material in that short time.  I was the only one who complained of feeling rushed.

I couldn’t begin to understand why I might be hearing from elements of nature.  They didn’t seem to be nature spirits like, for example, the personified spirits of plants that appear in Carlos Castaneda’s work.  The only purpose I could imagine was that they were intended to shore up my physical structure.  If there was any purpose at all.  Did Orion send them to me?  Did I bring them in on my own?

We had another go-round before lunch, in which we were supposed to ask for our “highest, best, and easiest advanced channeling guide” and give a message.  As the other students did their work, I found myself a bit overwhelmed, receiving four different “stations.”  One was Orion, who I perceive as mostly white light with hints of iridescent, coruscating colors.  This was coming in near the top of my head, toward the front, and from the direction of the chair Betsy was sitting in.  Slightly lower and to the right, another energy was streaming into my head.  I thought this one was Michael, not because he was telling me so, but because the tone felt like what I had perceived earlier when Betsy called Michael to be with us.  A little lower on the side of my head was something that I was pretty sure was Fryderyk.  And still at the back of my neck was that patch of tan-colored light that I thought must be the doctor that Betsy had mentioned.

The tan color deepened to brown and spread around me.  To my astonishment, the area of color developed, like a photo, into a vision of a man with chocolate-brown skin.  He superimposed himself over the left side of my face and upper chest and my left arm, and I perceived him as if from the inside and the outside at the same time.  I could actually see him, with technicolor clarity, something that had never, ever happened to me before.  He looked to be in his mid-thirties, with very round cheeks and prominent eyes, a little like Louis Armstrong.  I heard the name “Bertram.”

Bertram, or whoever he was, was doing his darndest to get through to me.  He was practically jumping up and down and shouting, and he was putting a great deal of pressure on me.  I didn’t like it one bit, and I held on to Orion for dear life, asking over and over, “Is this OK?  Is this going to be a problem?  Should I be working with this guy?”  I couldn’t get a clear answer.  I didn’t have the sense that Bertram was evil or malicious, but he was coming on awfully strong, and considering my previous negative experiences, I wanted to be cautious.  I didn’t want to overreact or freak out, though, and I held a center of calm as best I could.

In the background I could hear Bertram telling me that he had not been able to complete his work on Earth and that he wanted so much to come out into the world and do more.  That probably wasn’t the best thing to say to me; it only increased my resistance and caused me to react like, “Not on my time, buddy!”  He seemed sincere and enthusiastic, though, and I wondered if my misgivings might be unfair to him.  He was positively bursting with a desire to speak.  I still kept my hold on Orion and on myself, refusing to let Bertram get the better of me, feeling like I was holding down the lid on a box of squirming animals that were all trying to escape.  I had to wait for my turn to channel before I could let anyone speak anyway.

I was curious to see what Betsy and Orion would have to say about the party going on around me, whether they would notice the multiple entities.  When my turn came, Betsy gazed at me and said, “There are three cords of light coming into you.”  That was true, assuming that Orion didn’t count himself.  I introduced the three other entities as apparently-Michael, a deceased friend of mine, and the doctor Betsy had seen earlier.  I described Bertram’s appearance and manner and gave his name, but said that although he wanted to speak directly, I was not going to let him do it, because I did not feel entirely comfortable with him.  I told Betsy that I was asking Orion for support.  I gave Bertram’s message about not being finished with his work and hoping to do more, but in my own words and without leaving my own persona.

I wasn’t really given any specific personal guidance about dealing with this, and neither Betsy nor Orion expressed an opinion about whether Bertram was on the up-and-up.  There was a discussion, though, about how it often happens that whole crowds of entities surround the channel, all clamoring to speak at once.  The advice was to ask Orion or another guide to act as a gatekeeper and let only one in at a time.

(This reminded me of something that Rosemary Brown had described in one of her books.  She mentioned that both Liszt and Chopin seemed to perform this gatekeeping function for her, organizing the work of the other composers so that she wouldn’t be overwhelmed.  At one point, she heard Chopin snap at someone in Polish, and she wrote down what she heard phonetically so she could ask someone what it meant.  It turned out to be, “You go away!”  I wonder who the intruder was.  Mrs. Brown also noted other instances in which Chopin acted protectively toward her, and this doesn’t surprise me in the least.)

So I was given exactly what I asked for, clear verbal and visual communication and a definite experience of mediumship, and I rejected it.  Figures.  But I felt that I was doing what I needed to do to keep myself safe.

Fryderyk either declined to push himself through all the noise, or he was overwhelmed by the other voices; at any rate, he faded out.  I did feel connected to him to some degree for most of the day, though.

At long last, much later than planned, we had lunch, which seemed to go awfully fast, since we all had plenty to talk about.  After lunch, there was one more exercise, for which two hours were allotted.  This, too, was just like the format of the first class; we were to ask each other questions and produce channeled answers.  I wasn’t worried about this part, because I knew that I was likely to come up with some sort of useful and interesting answers whether they were channeled or not.

While the other students were doing their stuff, I tuned into, or was made to tune into, the entity that appeared to be Michael, and I received clear words, so when I had the chance I wanted to tell everyone what he had said.  “I had Michael on the line a minute ago,” I announced.  “This is what he said: ‘Your questions are so small.  Enlarge yourselves!  Remember what you truly are!  You are not small creatures who live in buildings and worry about money.’”  I thought Michael’s comments were a little unfair, especially since after all we were only asking the questions for practice purposes, and I said so.  (One of the students had asked a question about a business she was planning and had received information about the building she would be using and the income her business would generate.)  “He sounds kind of combative today,” I added.  It occurs to me that whenever I have been able to bring through any clear voices, they have sounded forceful, maybe annoyed, maybe almost belligerent.  I expect that this says more about me than about them.  Michael’s pronouncements were not so different from those of Marie in the C1 class, although the “feel” of the two entities was totally different and one could not be confused with the other.

But then I had to be on the spot.  I did the dropping-into-the-heart thing and asked Michael to be present for us.  I could feel him strongly.  “We’re ready,” I said.

The first question came from a woman who was the head of a business.  She had an unusual appearance, which she had alluded to by saying that she looked and felt like a “hybrid” and didn’t fit in with her family, and I had been trying to figure out her exact ethnic background.  She said that she had been told she was to do something important in her home country, and she wondered whether she would be going there to live, staying in the US, or going back and forth.  She thought that perhaps she was meant to go into politics.  This brought forth a cornucopia of images, which, again, I felt like I was getting on my own, not being shown by any entity but her.  It looked like she was going to be a bridge between the two countries in some way.  I wasn’t sure exactly what sort of work she was going to do, but I felt that she was a kind of cultural ambassador or head of a social organization rather than a politician.  I could see her surrounded by crowds of people, who were delighted that she was there.  The people were holding banners with writing on them, which I couldn’t read, not because of a language problem but because the picture was too vague.  There were flowers all around, as if the event was some kind of celebration.  I also could feel distinctly that in this vision, her family was overjoyed to see her.  As things were in our mundane present, they missed her terribly; I felt this as a cord pulling on her, which she was resisting.  By my standards, this was a spectacular amount of vivid material.  I was pretty clear about it all, but I expressed myself diffidently and as if everything was a question, like, “Um, it’s in Asia?”

According to her feedback, I did pretty well.  She was from the Philippines, and hadn’t been there in 20 years.  She said that her family was always begging her to come and visit, but that she hadn’t wanted to do it.  It was a big family and she didn’t know a lot of the members.

The next questioner was a woman in her twenties who was wondering about her health.  She had recently developed a chronic fatigue type of situation, and wanted to know whether it was only because of the energetic changes related to channeling work and psychic development, or whether something was physically wrong.  This ought to have been right up my alley, but I didn’t get all that much information.  I did think that there was something physical going on that should be checked out, but I didn’t think it was serious.  I could see her reproductive system glowing with light, bringing itself to my attention, so I concentrated on that.  It occurred to me to ask, “Have you been pregnant?”  She hadn’t.  “Do you want to be pregnant?”  Heavens, no!  I kept scanning and found an energetic hole in her middle, around the solar plexus, so I asked about digestion and assimilation.  Other people jumped in with comments, and we all seemed to be seeing something similar.  Michael wasn’t telling me anything helpful about the problem, but he was pouring a great deal of energy into that deficient area.  I could see and feel it swooping across the room toward the young woman, and it looked like the hole was filling in and she was being strengthened considerably.  I wasn’t putting forth any effort myself.  I just described what I saw.

I was less impressed with myself after this second reading, but there was still some positive feedback.  The young woman had been having considerable difficulties with hormonal issues, and so far no form of medicine had helped.  And while she wasn’t thinking of getting pregnant anytime soon, Betsy had already seen a baby in her future.

I don’t want you to think I was intentionally shutting off impressions from Michael or anyone else and trying to go it alone.  I was staying open, or at least I thought I was.  Every time I made a statement, I checked with my “uplink” for clarification.  It’s very possible that I was receiving more input than I realized.

Betsy asked if Michael had a message for me.  “She worries too much,” I heard myself say, in an offhand, curt tone.  “Relax.  I’ll take care of it.”

I hate to ask personal questions in this kind of context.  I suppose I feel that I should be going after the answers myself.  But since I had to ask something when it was time, I came up with a health question.  (I’ve always got those.)  I said that although I had been getting stronger and stronger with the energetic inputs I’d been getting from Michael and other sources, in the past few weeks I had been sick a lot and still didn’t feel like I was quite right.  I asked whether I might have picked up something from a patient or been energetically damaged somehow in the course of my work.  The person doing the reading had trouble getting anything, and other people tried to help.  Everyone, including a Reconnective Healing practitioner who was in the class, felt that something was actually wrong, but nobody could put their finger on it.  Betsy told me that I could ask again later, but I was feeling so completely filled with good Qi by the entities around me that it didn’t seem like an urgent question anymore.

I needed two questions, and I had another that was bothering me a bit.  I told the channeler of the moment that there was someone who had been a close friend of mine, that we had become estranged, and that I was thinking of contacting her.  I wanted to know whether that would be a good thing or whether it would only cause my friend unnecessary pain and distress.  I was told that making contact would be fine and that “love would blossom” between us again.  I guess if I try it we’ll see.

The woman who did this reading for me hadn’t formally practiced her channeling skills for a year, but she described being in daily contact with a number of angels and saints, Michael in particular.  She had a particular difficulty, more than most of us, with having to sort through myriad entities and pull in a clear “radio station.”  She worked very slowly, taking an agonizingly long time to listen before making any statement.  I wasn’t really bothered by the wait, especially since I felt that I needed a lot of time for this work myself, but Betsy tried to find ways to help her be more efficient.  She reminded us that we are “on a three-way phone call,” and that we can request that the person ask the question some other way, find a clearer question, or add details, in addition to checking back with the guide spirit.  Restating the questions differently seemed to help some in this case, but this student never did get much of a flow going.  She felt frustrated, but she was undaunted, and she resolved to practice more.

Another student got stuck in visions of beautiful colors, which seemed significant but never yielded any answers.  Betsy stepped in and helped her get out of the psychedelic loop and move forward, and then she was able to come up with relevant and helpful impressions.

We put a lot of time and attention into this exercise, and every student’s session was interesting and enlightening.  Every one was unique, too.  A number of us were (apparently) dealing with the same entities, with Michael being popular as usual.  I noticed that the tone of “my” Michael was different from the Michael brought through by other people, and that their versions were different from each other.  I wonder, of course, whether we are all really in contact with the same entity, and whether we are accurately hearing from whoever that may be.  Perhaps it’s not strange at all that our own personalities color the interactions and the messages.  I do know that when I’ve spoken with other fans of Michael, they have described someone very much like the being I perceive.

There is always, always the question of whether we are getting anything real and true when we look for information this way.  Betsy made a comment that I took to  heart: “When it’s fear-based, it’s you.”  This must be meaningful in the context of the confused interactions I’ve sometimes had with Fryderyk, when I’ve thought I’ve heard something negative from him at the same time as I was feeling love and warmth.

I had been worried about falling asleep during the class, as I had during the second day of C1.  I’d gotten up extra early to attend the beginning of our Oriental Medicine Association annual meeting, then rushed over to Betsy’s, and I’m usually wiped on Saturdays anyway.  I got through the day just fine, though, and in fact I felt more and more energized as the class went on.  Queen Marie never showed up, but I saw myself in my queen-archetype guise, not as a beginning student, but as royalty from another country, as a master in my own right.  This has happened before, and I don’t understand it yet, but I like it.  I confess that, despite my fairly low level of skill, I am beginning to see myself as a power, an entity much like Michael and the other angels, saints, and avatars.  Maybe that’s just hubris, or maybe that’s the whole point.  That’s exactly what we are.

During the C1 class and in the days soon after, most of the entities I contacted insisted that I didn’t need them and that they wouldn’t be speaking through me on other occasions.  I remember being especially disappointed at hearing that from Kuan Yin, and sincerely protesting that I did too need her, unable to understand why I was being abandoned.  I think I understand now.  Channeling is not my primary function, and is not going to be.  I can receive information on my own more easily than I can through another being.  That doesn’t mean I can’t have friends in high places, though, and I still intend to pursue better communication with them.

Betsy mentioned that the rose I had brought her at the C1 class stayed in bloom and fresh for two weeks.

I slept through a lot of Saturday evening, after the class, and I’ve needed more sleep than usual since.  Nothing too strange about that.  I wanted to be alone on Sunday and kept away from any disembodied guests.

At one point I dreamed that I was taking a piano lesson with a new teacher that I was apprehensive about, and I concluded that he was OK and I should go ahead and work with him.  The teacher was a white guy with light brown hair (who does that sound like?), but I took the dream as being about Bertram.  I decided to give him a chance.  I called up Orion and asked him to put us in touch.  I did get a contact with the new guy, and I very frankly described my attitude about associating with him.  I told him that I had some seriously difficult patients who were not making good progress in their healing, and that I could certainly use his help, but that I needed to stay in charge of my body and I didn’t want to be pushed around.

My first opportunity to let Bertram get in touch with a patient was on 10/1/07.  I had no idea how to go about this, or what he might have in mind, even though I had done a good deal of healing work in the past with Fryderyk and other invisible helpers.  I held my hands over the patients’ bodies and told him he could come through and do whatever he thought best.  He was definitely there, but the contact was much fainter than at the class, and not a lot seemed to happen.  Maybe it was a decent first try.  If it’s true that he is a surgeon, I may not be at all the right partner for him.  As usual, I await further developments.

Not long after that, I concluded that I should not try to work with Bertram, although he didn’t do anything noticeably inappropriate.  I still didn’t feel comfortable, and it did not seem like a fruitful avenue to pursue.  I simply told him good-bye, and that was the end of that.


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Wait, Show Up, Enjoy

This post will continue the discussion of how to know whether the source you are communicating with is a reliable one.  In this case, I was given a concept that has proven to be so useful that I want to throw it in now and give you a chance to play with it, rather than waiting to include it in a longer chapter.

I’ve been practicing the slow movement of Chopin’s third sonata.  I don’t sound like this* yet:  http://www.box.com/s/e6ijt05ecfpzb1do9e3s 

As is so typical with Chopin, this piece contains much more than meets the eye or ear at first.  It had seemed fairly transparent to me in the past, but I’ve come to realize how little I really understand about it.  At a recent lesson, on 2/7, my teacher brought up a question about the phrasing of the middle section, which is not at all regular or predictable.  While looking at the piece that evening, thinking about this question, I felt that the cosmic WiFi was on, and I decided to ask the composer how he would like us to handle it.

As I may have said before, I am relieved, even while being confused, when I get a message that doesn’t make sense to me.  That means it’s unlikely that I’ve thought it up on my own– one check mark in the “probably genuine” column.  This was one of those times.  I heard something like, “Wait for the sound to occur, and then experience it as a complete entity.”  To which I replied, “Huh?”  I was sure I must have heard wrong.  This answer didn’t seem to have anything to do with the question about phrasing, and besides, how could I wait for the sound to occur, since I had to produce it myself?  I tried to clear the inside of my head, and carefully asked again, only to be given the same concept with slightly different wording.

I still wasn’t seeing the connection, but soon there was more.  I was told that I shouldn’t ask about the phrasing in linear terms because the music was three-dimensional, something that turned out to be true in more and subtler ways than I might have thought.  (Four-dimensional, really, but that’s a more modern concept.)

Then I found myself inside a sort of bubble or egg, pink-melon colored for some reason, that represented the sound.  I was inhabiting this warm, pleasant bubble of sound, and it moved with me throughout the piece, which was a kind of landscape or environment in which I could travel in any direction I wished.  The vision and its kinesthetic components were unusually robust, and felt almost like a physical substance surrounding me, even when I opened my eyes to try out playing sections of the piece.  The idea was that the piece was “already there” for me to experience– I didn’t have to actually play the notes in order for them to exist.

I never received any specific, prosaic direction about the phrasing, nothing like “this phrase ends here,” but I had plenty to chew on.  The next evening, when I played the same piece, things fell into place in a new way.  I realized that all I had to do was show up when it was time for the notes to happen.  I just had to have my hand over the keys at that time, and the notes would “play themselves.”  Next I tried the Fantaisie-Impromptu, where I’d been stuck at a speed plateau, and found myself going at nearly the required bat-out-of-hell tempo– for a while, anyway– without any effort.  One more reason to think the advice was genuine– it actually worked.  I hadn’t realized the degree to which I had been fighting each moment of my life as it arrived, existing in a state of tense and even painful anticipation, even though I thought I knew how to Be Here Now.  I don’t know how that habit got started.

You will not be too surprised to hear that I haven’t been able to stay in that new state of mind for very long.  However, when I’ve managed it, I’ve found that just about everything is easier.  I’ve tried thinking this way while driving and while dancing, for example.  When dancing is challenging and I feel I can’t keep going, I try to visualize the space my body needs to fill with each new move, and then to simply be there in the space.  I’m not wasting so much energy straining to get there.  I’m still experimenting, and probably will be for some time to come.

My daughter asked, intelligently as usual, “How does this relate to improvisation?”  Meaning that the notes are not “already there” in the same way that they are with an already-composed piece.  I’m not sure, and haven’t had a chance to ask, but I suppose it’s like my experience with dance.  Trust that the notes will be there when you need them, then show up to meet them, without struggling.

I’m interested to know if any of you have had this kind of experience.  When I mentioned it to a couple of my dance and movement teachers, they gave a decidedly “duh” response, because it was already obvious to them.  Maybe I’ve just been a little slow.

*I hope Yundi Li and Deutsche Grammophon will forgive me for posting this, since I am enthusiastically promoting them by doing so.

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Developing Discernment

Originally posted April 7, 2009 at Gaia.com

I’ve decided to join the blogging universe at last, and I hope my comments will be of use to you.  For the last few years I’ve been writing about contacts with the spirit world, with a special interest in those reported by ordinary people, people who are not recognized as psychics or mediums.  My patients and friends have often told me about such happenings in their lives, and almost every time, the stories have begun with, “I’ve never told anyone about this because they’d think I was crazy.”  So I’ve wanted to create a safe space for sharing these stories, a place where no one has to be afraid of being called delusional.  I’ve been working on a book for that purpose, and I’ve published a few articles.  Now I’d like to put some of the material out in this convenient, bite-sized format.

Recently a friend told me that she thought my main spirit contact was causing me serious problems and that in fact he was harming everyone around me.  She has no trouble believing that he exists- what she doubts is that he is who he says he is.  She thinks he’s an earthbound, low-life kind of guy who is only hanging around the Earth plane to suck energy from the living.  I know that’s not true- everybody who’s met him knows it- but there’s no way of proving it, at least not as far as I can tell.  However, I can compare my experiences with him to the obviously negative experiences I’ve had with harmful entities in the past, some of which I plan to recount later in these pages.

I would like to think that I have some level of ability to discern whether an influence is good or bad for me, but it’s hard to come up with definite rules for deciding.  If I had to teach someone how to stay out of trouble, I’m not sure I could; what I’ve been taught, and have taught my students as a Reiki master, seems inadequate.  It’s not necessarily true that, for example, visualizing white light surrounding you, or calling upon Archangel Michael, is going to keep you safe.  How do we develop real, reliable discernment?

Although I am still working on this question, there is one thing I can say with conviction.  The beings that are working for our good help us to expand, to grow into our larger selves; they ask us to make our own decisions and to take responsibility for ourselves.  The ones that are causing trouble try to keep us small, limited, and fearful, so that they can control us.  The last thing they’d want is for us to live our own lives on our own terms.  This is true for the regular, Earth-based people we meet in our daily lives as much as it is for nonphysical entities.  I’d say that if anyone wants to control you, embodied or not, get out of there as fast as you can!

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