This post continues looking at what Bailey calls the “Problems of Guidance” that especially Probationer Disciples struggle with. This second post looks at these problems as they are connected to being guided by people no longer alive through the technique of channeling. Then, the post introduces lower psychic powers as compared to higher psychic powers and how the Probationer Disciple who is attracted to these lower powers can get into difficulty.
CHAPTER TEN: GROUP SEVEN, Part Four
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS LEVEL, CONT.
PROBLEMS OF GUIDANCE – CHANNELING
Channeling, or trying to receive communications from the dead, is something that has taken place probably for thousands of years. Especially those in Groups Three, Four and Five are prone to want to get in touch with those who have passed over, primarily to gain reassurance that their loved ones are not really dead. But, also to relieve their own anxieties about death having no afterlife. As for those in Group Six, they are much more likely to believe that there is no life after death. For this reason they will likely be skeptical of anyone who claims to be in touch with someone on the other side. As for those in Group Seven? Having grown out of Groups Three, Four, Five and even Six you might wonder why they are once again attracted to the process of channeling. Again, one reason is that they are again prone to believe that there is a Reality beyond what the five senses are showing them, which makes them open up to the afterlife and channeling.
But, what is channeling? The obvious answer is that is a means of communicating with the dead. But, on a deeper level what is going on with channeling really? By this I mean what is involved in the process of channeling and what are people really channeling to begin with? In my life as a teenager and young adult I remember reading books that were channeled, particularly from a man named Edgar Cayce, a woman named Ruth Montgomery, and a woman named Jane Roberts who as I mentioned before channeled a being named Seth. I also read parts of some other very famous books from channeled sources — the Koran (or Quran) and Book of Mormon — both dictated by the Archangel Gabriel (to Mohammad in the early 600’s and Joseph Smith in 1830). More recently, I worked with the teachings of the very popular Course in Miracles, another channeled book supposedly dictated to the author by Jesus. I was also trained in a series of teachings by a woman who claimed to be a “conscious channel” Lucille Cedercrans. By conscious she meant that she was never in a trance, but simply receiving telepathic impressions from various beings on the inner planes. And, some might say that Alice Bailey’s books were channeled, even though Bailey claims, like Cedercrans did, that she was a “conscious channel” who was always awake while the words were “dictated” to her.
In my early twenties I even made a few attempts at channeling myself, especially after the actress Shirley McClaine made the the idea of going to a channel very popular in her book Out on a Limb. Living in Southern California at the time, I met someone who went to McClaine’s channeler, Kevin Ryerson, who said she paid about $1500 for an hour long session with him. That might cost about $3000 an hour in money today. Because channeling was becoming so lucrative and increasingly common place, I decided to visit a few channels (who charged way less money), and overwhelmingly I was unimpressed. Having become more educated with a Master’s degree in Marriage, Family, Child Counseling, it was odd to me how these supposedly highly advanced beings, were just channeling information that could be found in most self-help, metaphysical, New Thought, and popular psychology books. Still, despite my skepticism, I had to admit that you couldn’t just throw all channeled teachings into the backwaters of psychological delusion. Unless you wanted to conclude that at least 2/3 or more of the world’s population, who have been influenced by channeled works, are highly delusional as well. That is when I shifted from wondering if channeling was or was not real, to asking the more meaningful question, when it comes to channeling, what exactly is going on here?
That is when I came to the conclusion that in a way everything we think and communicate is a form of channeling at some level. Looked at very simply, in some way ideas take form in our minds. Then these ideas are expressed in verbal, written, or visual forms. So where do these ideas come from? Setting aside for now that the person doing the channeling is just engaging in an elaborate hoax, I was appreciative of the fact that finally in Bailey’s writings I found an effort to give a more detailed response regarding where channeling may be coming from. Apart from one professor who I had in college, Arthur Hastings, who wrote a book With the Tongues of Men and Angels, Bailey was the only other person I found trying to understand what channeling actually is all about. Maybe that is because it is hard to discern or know. Keeping this in mind here is a condensed summary of Bailey’s hypotheses about what may be going on when someone is channeling someone. (See Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, pp. 488 — 492). (Note: some of my additional thoughts are in parentheses).
1) the channeler is giving voice to their own sub-conscious wish life (and because he or she does not want to own this wish life it is projected out as belonging to someone else, i.e. a channeled being); 2) the channeler is actually picking up telepathically on the thoughts of someone who is living and interpreting this as coming from a dead person. (An example of this might be when someone claims to be channeling someone’s loved one who has crossed over and is able to report details that only the living person would know, like a date they first met. It could be that the channel is getting the information from the dead person. Or, it could be that the channeler is reasing telepathically the thoughts of the living person next to them in the room; 3) the channeler is actually just drawing upon knowledge they acquired in a past life and is interpreting this as coming from someone who has crossed over because they don’t understand how else they might know such information; 4) the channeler is channeling ideas that they had actually tapped into while asleep, and acting as if these insights then came from someone else when they go into a channeling session; 5) the channeler is in telepathically receptive to thoughts and ideas on the inner planes, but because these ideas seem so strange to them (or beyond what they believe could be possible for them intuit on their own), they interpret them as coming from someone else;
6) the channeler is picking up insights from some aspect of themselves and interpreting them as coming from somewhere else to make what they say look more impressive to others. (I have seen this in a channeler who I knew personally, who came to a few of my talks, and then “miraculously” his “Archangel Michael” shared these same insights he has just learned from me in his next public channeling session); 7) the individual is channeling insights from his or her own soul; and finally 8) the channeler is picking up insights from people who have crossed over. Personally, I have always found Bailey’s ideas interesting, not only because she gives many different options as to where channeled information may be coming from, but because she emphasizes the importance of learning to discern where the channeled information is coming from and if it is even worthwhile to pay attention to. Usually Bailey suggests most channeled insights come from the Emotional Plane and are delivered through the solar plexus center. Here channeled insights are “purely personality grounded or focused… [including] even those of the highest astral or spiritual nature, plus the messages received from the usually beautiful subconscious of the average person upon the Probationary Path” (Telepathy & the Etheric Vehicle, p. 88). That explains why so much channeled information talks about how to get one’s wish life fulfilled (make more money, find a soul mate, get more power) since all of these drives are connected to the Emotional Plane. And, it helps us understand why most channeled information is mediocre and unreliable.
The Emotional Plane emphasis (where the personality is vying to the best), also explains the “my channel is more evolved than your channel” competitiveness that emerges so much in the channeling world. For these people it is not enough to simply channel a highly enlightened being like Buddha, Jesus, a so-called Master or even an Archangel like Michael. To one-up everyone ese they are now channeling not only one enlightened being, but several. Or, they are channeling not only enlightened beings from our planet Earth, but enlightened beings who are from our solar system or a distant part of our universe. Or, they start competing to channel beings who are not only from the 5th dimension, but the 12th dimension or 30th dimension (whatever that looks like, because typically the channel or the entity they are channeling has no clue what a dimension is in the first place). As usual even these super highly evolved beings from distant dimensions and even other galaxies don’t even possess the equivalent knowledge that an average university student on our own humble Earth might possess. That in and of itself should cause the average Probationer to resort to some skepticism.
Ultimately though, what may be more important than where did the channeled ideas come from, is what are the channeled ideas really conveying to us? To me that is the more fascinating question. But, that question itself can be problematic because we will answer it according to the level of consciousness we operate from. For those in Groups 3, 4, and even 5 they won’t have the ability to discern what level the information is coming from. Typically they will approach a channeler for either entertainment purposes, or to help them fulfill some emotional desire or need. For those in Group 6, their skeptical and frequently close-minded natures to anything that exists beyond the realm of logic and the five senses, will make them either discount all channeled material or see it all as fiction and fantasy. At the Group 7 Probationer level, there is again more openness to channeling and other psychic phenomena as being real, but Probationers are too idealistic causing them to lack discernment and become gullible due to a lack of real understanding of channeling and psychic phenomena. They may also become overly devoted to a channeler, the channeled entitities, or the channeled material (especially here on the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane) because it feeds Probationers’ feelings of superiority in regards to being associated with some special channeled material. Keeping all this in mind, it might be good to remember that just because some material is channeled, it does not mean that it is not useful. Yes, it can be important to discern where channeled material is really coming from. But, more important is learning to go beyond blind devotion to a channeled teacher or teaching, to discern whether the information being channeled is really helpful or even true. That is what Probationers have to learn.
Having briefly gone over Bailey’s attempts to understand channeling and the problem of guidance in this section, one of the ironies I want to highlight here is that most of Bailey’s writings could also be considered channeled works. After all, she herself states that the majority of her books were “telepathically dictated” to her word for word from someone she called the Tibetan, who also went by the name of Djwhal Khul (or DK as her followers like to call him for short). In all fairness, it seems to me that if we really want to steer clear of the problems of guidance, we have to be willing to put Bailey’s own channel under the same analysis we would put others through. For Bailey (or the Tibetan’s) devotee’s that is not an easy thing to do. There is simply too much idealism and devotion attached to believing everything Bailey’s Tibetan said is true, and that it all represents highly advanced work. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. The point is Probationers cannot advance beyond the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane, unless they are willing to be a little more objective and put all their sacred cows some further mental scrutiny. To let you know, along these lines I have written my own opinions regarding the reality or fiction of Bailey’s Tibetan. But, because it turned into quite a lengthy piece of writing I am putting it under a separate chapter hat will later be associated with this one titled, “Who is Bailey’s Tibetan or DK?”
THE PROBLEM OF PSYCHIC POWERS
Along with the problems of guidance, another difficulty that can emerge at this stage, is in conjunction with psychic powers. Though dabbling in psychic powers may happen at many levels, I have associated the problem of psychic powers with the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane because I believe Probationers in Group 7 are getting increasingly curious about them again on this subplane. Reacting to the Group 6 tendency towards skepticism, rationalism, agnosticism, and even atheism in regards to anything spiritual, Probationers want to seem more open-minded to unseen forces and realms. For this reason Probationers may be more likely to embrace areas of spirituality, like psychic powers, that they might have ridiculed or viewed as superstitious at the Group 6 level. And, again Probationers are more likely to be experiencing altered states that come about due to meditation practices or experimenting with drugs. They are unlikely to dismiss as unreal things that they have experienced first hand, and can use some level of their objective minds to analyze and even prove. Though Probationers can and do still give into blind devotion and belief, they are also have more desire to understand, test, and prove various spiritual phenomena as in fact real — a tendency that increases even more as we get to the next level of the 5th subplane of the Mental Plane.
Later in this book I will go into a lot more depth in regards to psychic powers — or “siddhis,” as they are called in the East. For now, at this stage of the 6th subplane of the Mental Plane, I am hypothesizing that not enough Probationers will believe they have a “problem” with psychic powers to begin with. They are still too idealistic and devoted to spiritual teachers, teachings, and practices to look more carefully at the phenomena they are experiencing. That are prone to want to possess psychic powers as proof of how special and spiritual they, their teacher, or teaching is overall. So when Bailey talks about how we need to let go of “lower psychic powers” (such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience), embrace “higher psychic powers” (such as active service, compassion, spiritual discernment, and comprehension), Probationers may have a hard time getting this. How can things like compassion be a “higher” psychic power? What is so extra-ordinary about that? Actually, as we shall these higher psychic powers that Bailey describes are actually quite extra-ordinary. They just don’t make for blockbuster movies as easily as Marvel superhero movies and the X-Men characters tend to do, which are tapping more into the magical and mythical tendencies of Groups 2, 3, 4, 5 that human beings consciousness level belong to.
It is hard for Probationers then to deal with statements from Bailey encouraging them to leave lower psychic powers behind. They do not see that those who use these lower psychic powers are essentially, “reverting to states of awareness and to conditions of functioning which were normal and right in Atlantean times, but undesirable and unnecessary in our day. He is recovering—through stimulation—ancient habits of psychic awareness which should lie normally below the threshold of consciousness.” (Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 474). Regarding this quote, as a reminder we are talking in the Bailey system not about the ancient city of Atlantis existing in some distant past, or about an Atlantean race even. We are talking about Atlantean consciousness, which is primarily dominated by emotional tendencies that color the mind’s ability to become more rational and discerning. And, according to Bailey, the over-whelming majority of humanity is Atlantean in their consciousness, a level of consciousness that is comprised of mainly of Groups 4 and 5 (and a little bit of Group 3). Again Probationers who make up Group 7 struggle with what Bailey calls “lower psychic powers” because these powers seem so real and fascinating. Telepathy, seeing at a distance (remote viewing), seeing things that others don’t see (clairvoyance) do have some reality at some level. Probationers are discovering that these things are not all make believe.
Bailey does not disagree with this. And, at some point she acknowledges that these lower psychic powers will once again be embraced. What she is saying, however, is a kind of “so what?” So what if you can talk telepathically to someone? That says nothing about the level of consciousness that is engaging in the conversation, be it using regular communication, or something more “telepathic.” I mean, I could tell you telepathically right now, “Go murder someone, or go jump off a bridge.” That is hardly a “spiritual” power. And, just like the X-Men, Star Trek, and Star Wars movies are showing, humanity is becoming a more psychic race. But, again that says nothing about the evolution of their consciousness from a spiritual perspective. Just take a look at our modern day technology. These days almost everyone on the planet talks to everyone else seemingly through thin air. I like to joke with people that in about twenty years we won’t need cell phones, we will just put them down and be clairvoyant and telepathic. We won’t even need satellite dishes or video cameras to help us see remotely around the globe. We will discover the way to do these things without technological props to aid us. But again, so what? If we are using all this “psychic” ability to just fulfilling our selfish, separative, tribal human desires and ambitions, than we are still not evolved beyond the Emotional Plane, which is where Bailey claims most of these lower psychic powers originate.
In fact, according to Bailey becoming obsessed with lower psychic powers can even mean that you are taking a backwards step in your spiritual evolution. Consider this. I once had a spiritual teacher tell me that what we call ESP or “extra-sensory-perception” is really “extended sensory perception.” What she meant was that as the nervous system is heightened and extended we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell in a more enhanced way. Take clairaudience for example. Clairaudience is the ability to hear what others cannot hear. Actually, bats are far more evolved at this than humans are? Should we regress and become bats? Dogs have a sense of smell that is much more enhanced that what humans possess. Should human beings regress can become dogs then? (Note: I am aware that for some people regressing to become a dog may seem like a step up for some humans. Alas, that may be true, but we are still not meant to go down the chain of evolution and become animals, no matter how partial you are to one of our divine animal friends).
Also, from a factual and rational point of view a large majority of lower psychic powers are completely inaccurate. When Bailey states that too often lower psychic powers come out of someone’s fanciful imagination and wish-life (See Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 474), she is suggesting that the Group 6 rational mind is being thrown out the window. To truly understand psychic phenomena you need to incorporate the rational mind and the Mental Plane and not discard them. To use an Integral phrase these lower psychic powers are “pre” rational, not “trans” rational. Meaning, that they pre-mind, or pre the capacity to function on the Mental Plane (to use Bailey’s model), where the ability to test and analyze the validity and accuracy of these psychic impressions exists. In fact, most psychics in our world today, refuse to be tested for accuracy, and may even take offense at the suggestion. The overwhelming majority of psychics tell us that they don’t have to be tested we just have faith in what they are telling us. And, those who challenge them are often considered too “ignorant,” “unevolved,” or “beneath them.”
The person who is pre-rational then is usually the typical psychic who remains vague and often feeds false promises and false hopes. Or, she may accurately tell you, “yes I see that your partner is having an affair with someone else.” But, again so what? Even if this person can 99% of the time identify people who are having affairs from people who are not, what good is this information really? Does that inform people how to act upon this information in a wise and spiritually helpful way? Does it teach them to examine why their partner is having an affair? Or, to understand why they attract partners who have affairs? Or, show them how to have compassion towards their partner who is having an affair, and then heal the relationship or leave it in a wise way? The human race will be increasingly facing this dilemma with our technological and psychic power skills being enhanced. But, even though before too much longer all of us will have the technological or psychic ability to listen to and see people’s conversations and interactions no matter where they are, id doesn’t mean that we will use what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch in a compassionate, illumined and spiritual way. It won’t give you the spiritual discernment you need to comprehend why your partner cheats in the first place. Nor will it give you the higher spiritual capacity to heal your relationship so it can be lifted to a happier and more loving level, where cheating won’t happen in the first place.
In conclusion, especially as people move into the stage of Little Chelaship (that includes the Aspirant Probationer stages) they will be prone to making too much out of lower psychic powers and become confused, duped, overly enthralled and misled by them. That is why Baily suggests we should let them go for a time, because if we put too much of a focus on them, they will cause us to regress to lower forms of consciousness (Atlantean or Pre-Rational), and not progress to where higher psychic powers, which include the Mental Plane and Rational mind, from a spiritual perspective are so very essential.
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