This post continues the discussion on channeling and how we need to get clear about what it is and is not as we move into the Chela on the Thread stage and explore the Science of Contact. In this post I look at what the Ageless Wisdom and Integral teachings have to say about discerning what level contact through channeling comes from.

In the Ageless Wisdom teachings there is a lot said about channeling, or what is called the “Problem of Guidance.” Though we may become skeptical of channeling at the level of Group 6/Orange, only as we reach Group 9/Turquoise and the stages of Accepted Discipleship and especially Chela on the Thread will we have any understanding at all about what channeling is and isn’t. Until that time we will either discount channeling, or become glamoured by it as we approach it in a distorted way. Understanding this, we will now look at the various level, which the Ageless Wisdom teachings say guidance comes from. We will also look at what Integral has to say.

Once again if you are not familiar with it, here is the main chart of levels and terms.

Levels and Terms


To begin with I will post the eleven “types of guidance” mentioned in Esoteric Psychology, II pp. 487 – 493. As I did in the previous post my own comments about what is said will be in blue.


Therefore, it is of real value to us to study the sources from which much of this so-called “guidance” can come.  For the sake of clarity and impressiveness, I propose to list these sources very briefly and without any prolonged comment. This will give the earnest and intelligent investigator the opportunity to realise that the whole theme is vaster and far more important than has been surmised and may lead to a more careful analysis of the “types of guidance” and an understanding of the possible directing agencies to which the poor and ignorant neophyte may fall a victim.

  1. Guidance or instruction coming from the man or woman upon the physical plane to whom the guided person is, usually unconsciously, looking for help.  This is largely a brain relationship, electrical in nature, established by conscious physical plane contacts, and is greatly helped by the fact that the neophyte knows pretty well, exactly what his instructor would say in any given circumstance.  Telepathically picking up what someone they know might say to them who they know on the physical plane.

MY COMMENTS: Using the example given in the text above, what we are speaking about is what most people would call “intuitively sensing what someone you know would think or say.” This is a telepathic response with someone on the physical plane, meaning he or she is in a physical body. The common event of two people looking at each other and saying, “I knew you were going to say that” applies here. 

2.  The introverted attitude of the neophyte or mystic brings to the surface all his subconscious “wish life.”  This, as he is mystically inclined and probably aspires normally towards goodness and the life of the spirit, takes the form of certain adolescent tendencies towards religious activity and practices.  These, however, he interprets in terms of definite extraneous guidance, and formulates them to himself in such a way that them become to him the Voice of God. The person has certain desires and wishes that he/she wants “confirmed” by some sort of “spiritual” stamp of approval.

MY COMMENTS: These people in truth are only channeling their own sub-conscious. As the quote says usually out of a desire to feel important, or out of a need to have their “wishes” confirmed by the “spiritual stamp of approval,” they attribute their desires as coming from some high spiritual being somewhere else. Though I could mention many examples for this type of guidance, one recent and popular example of this may be Esther and Jerry Hicks of the Abraham group.  Jerry Hicks came out of the New Thought movement and was a long time follower of Jane Roberts who channeled Seth. As part of the New Thought movement he spent a good deal of time focusing on the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which focused on prosperity consciousness. Esther a conservative Christian, was being encouraged (some might say pressured) to become a channel the way Jane Roberts was. At one point Jerry threatened to leave her. Lo and behold, Esther started channeling and not one spirit, Seth emerged, a whole group of evolved spirits emerged known as Abraham. Luckily, because Jerry’s wish came true to have his wife be a channel, her marriage was also saved. True to form, the entire series channeled by Esther Hicks focuses on prosperity consciousness and having everything you want materially for yourself. Never mind the fact that global warming was rampant at the time these teachings were channeled. They gave the stamp of approval to Jerry Hicks prosperity consciousness, and made Esther and Jerry Hicks very rich. 

3. The recovery of old spiritual aspirations and tendencies, coming from a previous life or lives.  These are deeply hidden in his nature but can be brought to the surface through group stimulation.  He thus recovers spiritual attitudes and desires which, in this life, have not hitherto made their appearance.  They appear to him as utterly new and phenomenal, and he regards them as divine injunctions coming from God.  They have, however, always been present (though latent) in his own nature and are the result of the age-old trend or tendency towards divinity which is inherent in every member of the human family.  It is the prodigal son speaking to himself and saying:  “I will arise and go”—a point which Christ makes beautifully and abundantly clear in the parable. Just channeling old wish life from another life, though within that may be a divine impulse to move onto the spiritual path.

MY COMMENTS: This type of guidance asserts that reincarnation is a fact for it to make sense. Drawing from examples in Arthur Hastings book, With the Tongues of Men and Angels, it could be that people who were suddenly able to channel artistic talents like Luis Gasparetto (who supposedly channeled famous painters like Degas and Picasso), and mathematical talents (like Srinivasa Ramanujan), were in fact channeling talents as artists and mathematicians they developed in previous lives. This may also be true of Edgar Cayce who channeled remarkable insights on healing. Though we cannot know for certain if channeling past lives was what was really happening here, the idea that it might be is something to consider.  

4. The “guidance” registered can also be simply a sensitivity to the voices and injunctions and well-meaning intentions of good people on the path of return to incarnation.  The spiritual dilemma of the race today is causing the rapid return of many advanced souls to life on the physical plane.  As they hover on the borderland of outer living, awaiting their time to be re-born, they are oft contacted subjectively and unconsciously by human beings in incarnation, particularly at night when the consciousness is out of the physical body.  What they say and teach (frequently good, usually indifferent in quality and sometimes quite ignorant) is remembered in the waking hours of consciousness and interpreted by the neophyte as the voice of God, giving guidance. Tuning into voices and thoughts of those who are on the path of return. Again, important to look at the quality of what is coming through.

MY COMMENTS: Here the assertion is that the guidance is actually coming from beings from another realm. As it mentions, they are like spirits who apparently are trying to help. The key is to look at the quality of their advice. Though some of it may be of high quality, almost all of it is full of nice platitudes that you could read in any self-help book that was not channeled in a special way at all. The key is to forget about the fact that it was channeled and to read what is written on its own merits. 

5. The guidance can also be of an astral, emotional nature, and is the result of the contacts made by the aspirant (firm in his aspiration but weak in his mental polarisation) upon the astral plane.  These cover such a wide range of possibilities that it is not possible for me to enlarge upon them here.  They are all coloured by glamour, and many well-meaning leaders of groups and organisations get their inspiration from these sources.  There is, in them, no true lasting divine guidance.  They may be quite harmless, sweet, kindly and well-intentioned; they may feed the emotional nature, develop hysteria or aspiration; they may develop the ambitious tendencies of their victim and lead him down the byways of illusion.  But they are not the voice of God, or of any Member in the Hierarchy, nor are they divine in nature, any more than the voice of any ordinary teacher upon the physical plane is necessarily divine. Just picking up desire life of those floating around on the astral plane.

MY COMMENTS: A few things to note about the paragraph above. First, the word aspirant is used. In the Alice Bailey model this corresponds to her Group 7 level, which is Green in Integral. It also corresponds to Alice Bailey’s stage of Little Chelaship. Second, we see the words astral/emotional nature being used. This means there is not enough discernment in the mind to evaluate the channeled material accurately. It also means what is given is usually related to helping people heal on an emotional level. Or, the messages received may feed their emotional sense of desire and their sense of self-importance. What is important in the above paragraph is the notion that the channeled advise may not be any better than information you get from “an ordinary teacher on the physical plane.” In fact, it may even be worse. However (speaking from experience being around the channeled world), you often get to charge a lot more money saying the advice you are giving is from the Archangel Michael, the Pleiadians, or other exalted beings, than you do from an “ordinary teacher.” For example, I once had a client who happily paid $1500 for a half hour back in the 1980’s to hear a channel actress Shirley MacClaine made popular. He conveyed the advice to me and I was amazed at how simplistic it was being entirely along the lines of “don’t worry, things will get better.” 

6. The guidance recorded may also be the result of the man tuning in telepathically upon the mind or the minds of others.  This frequently happens with the more intelligent types and with those who are mentally focussed.  It is a form of direct, but unconscious, telepathy.  The guidance, therefore, comes from other minds or from the focussed group mind of some band of workers with which the man may have a realised or an unrealised affinity.  The guidance thus given can be consciously or unconsciously imparted, and can be, in quality, good, bad, or indifferent.Tuning into the thoughts, and not simply the emotional reactions, needs, wishes of those in physical incarnation.

MY COMMENTS: Here the channeled information is not coming from someone the person has a specific relationship with in regards to asking for help. For this reason, the information may not be help related. It also is not a brain to brain connection, which typically happens when you are in the same physical setting as the other person. Rather, this is called a mind to mind connection. It is more like the person is tuning into a field of thought. For example, if you are trying to pick up ideas regarding computer technology, you may get insights along these lines. But, the insights may not be coming from beings in other realms, but from the field of thought itself in this realm. To use a technology example, it would almost be like tuning into a computer programming conference by way of a satellite communication devise, only you would not need to aid of the satellite. You would simply be telepathically registering this on your own. 

7. The mental world as well as the astral world is full of thought forms and these can be contacted by man and be interpreted by him as conveying guidance.  These thought forms can be used by the Guides of the race at times in order to help and guide humanity.  They can also be used by undesirable entities and forces.  They can, therefore, be most useful, but when interpreted by any man as embodying divine guidance and as constituting an infallible leading (thus demanding and evoking blind and unquestioning acceptance) they become a menace to the free activity of the soul and are of no true value.

MY COMMENTS: This example is similar to what I spoke of in example 6. Only here instead of it being related to a specific group you may be tuning into, it would be more generic. For example, it might be the thought form world of music, or art, or business, or philosophy. These thoughts are all said to be hanging out there in the ether, much like an Internet you can access without the use of a computer. A lot of creative information comes from these realms. But, we are told, they turn into a difficulty when these thoughts are taken at an astral/emotional level (something Group 4 and 5 Amber is likely to do as well as Group 7/Green and Group 8/Teal). Then, instead of using the critical mind to evaluate the thoughts being picked up, they are accepted blindly. The reason it says this has no real value to the soul, is because in the Alice Bailey model the “soul” functions on the higher levels of the mental plane. This means someone has developed a logical (conventional) mind, and an abstract mind. The soul on it’s own plane means that soul discerns and thinks. It is not prone to gullible acceptance. 

8. Guidance can come, therefore, from all kinds and types of incarnate or discarnate men, ranging in character from very good to very bad.  They can include the help proffered by real initiates and adepts through their working disciples and aspirants to the mental and astral activities of ordinary intelligent men and women, including the emotionally and selfishly oriented person.  It should be remembered that no true initiate or disciple ever seeks to control any person nor will he indicate to him in the form of a positive command, any action which he should take.  But many people tune in on teaching being given by trained minds to disciples, or record telepathically the powerful thought forms, created by world thinkers or Members of the Hierarchy.  Hence the many misinterpretations and the so-called recorded guidances.  Men appropriate to themselves sometimes that which is intended for a group or a hint given by a Master to a disciple.

MY COMMENTS: Here we are told that we are tuning into people who are incarnate (in a physical body) as well as discarnate (not in a physical body). We are told that guidance, or information that we pick up, may be very good or very bad. It may come from someone who is evolved spiritually (referred to here as initiates and adepts, who are people at levels beyond what Integral speaks of though they hint at Ultraviolet and Clear Light as levels that might related to at least Group 10 in the Alice Bailey teachings), or not. As for if it comes from someone spiritually evolved, here is where we might run into trouble as a lot of glamour can get involved here. To make it less glamourous again use the technology analogy. Imagine you could listen into what the Dalai Lama or Pope Francis were saying to the people closest to them. As you hear this information you may think it applies to you, but it does not. The same is true of what is being talked about here. We tune in and pick up ideas and thoughts that are not meant for us and that we often do not really understand. Again the point is to use a high level of mental discernment (viveka as it is called in the Yoga philosophy). It also means you evaluate the thought or idea and don’t really care about if it came from some exalted being or not. 

9. Guidance also comes from a man’s own powerful, integrated personality and he will frequently fail to recognise it for what it is.  The ambition, desire, or prideful purposings of a personality may work down from the mental body and be impressed upon the brain, and yet the man, in that brain consciousness, may regard them as coming from some extraneous outer source.  Yet all the time, the physical man is responding to the injunctions and impulses of his own personality.  This often happens to three types of people:  (You are just channeling yourself)

  • Those whose egos or personalities are upon the sixth ray.
  • Those who have laid themselves open to the glamours of the astral plane through over stimulation of the solar plexus.
  • Those who are susceptible, for some reason or another, to the receding Piscean energy.

MY COMMENTS: Here you are primarily channeling your own sub-conscious. In short, you are channeling you!  As for the three types of people, I have not talked about rays, or chakras (like the solar plexus chakra), or astrological energies (like Pisces). Without going into all of this specifically, the sixth ray, solar plexus chakra, and Piscean type of person is often subject to emotional distortion. Again, there is a failure to really engage the mind and its discerning analysis. 

10. Guidance can come, as you well know, from a man’s own soul when through meditation, discipline and service, he has established contact, and there is consequently a direct channel of communication from soul to brain, via the mind.  This, when clear and direct, is true divine guidance, coming from the inner divinity.  It can, however, be distorted and misinterpreted if the mind is not developed, the character is not purified and the man is not free from undue personality control.  The mind must make right application of the imparted truth or guidance. Where there is true and right apprehension of the inner divine voice, then—and only then—do you have infallible guidance, and the voice of the inner God can then speak with clarity to its instrument, man upon the physical plane. Guidance from your own soul.

MY COMMENTS: When we talk about someone channeling his or her soul, we are again talking about being led by your own higher nature. The soul in the Ageless Wisdom teaching again resides on what is known as the “higher abstract plane.” The soul is analogous to a highly developed discerning and also loving mind. The soul, by way of the mind, contacts the brain. When that “channel” is clear (there is no static on the line so to speak), then what comes through is usually along the lines of deep and profound insight. When that channel is not clear, then the mind distorts what is being received and the idea is incomplete or muddied up somehow. 

11. Once this latter form of guidance has been established, stabilised, fostered, developed and understood, other forms of spiritual guidance then become possible.  The reason for this is that they will pass through or be submitted to the standard of values which the factor of the soul itself constitutes.  The awareness of the soul is a part of all awarenesses.  The recognition of this soul awareness is a gradual and progressive happening where the man upon the physical plane is concerned.  The brain cells must be gradually awakened and the correct interpretative response developed.  As, for instance, a man becomes aware of the Plan of God, he may regard that Plan as being imparted to him by a Master or by some Member of the Hierarchy; he may regard the knowledge as coming to him through his own immediate contact with a thought form of the Plan.  If he achieves and interprets this knowledge in a truly right way, he is perforce simply achieving recognition of that which his own soul inevitably knows, because his soul is an aspect of the Universal soul and an integral part of the planetary Hierarchy.

MY COMMENTS: As one becomes established at the level of the soul and stabilizes there, one tends to have a highly purified and awake mind. This is analogous to Group 9/Turquoise and Group 10/Indigo in the Ageless Wisdom and Integral systems. Only then can you make the “correct interpretative response” in your brain cells of ideas picked up. And, it will be free from glamour. First of all, the ideas you receive will be just that, ideas. Second, they will be related to service. For example, it might be how to cure a disease, come up with an invention, govern a country more effectively, influence the masses in a more loving way, create a beautiful piece of music that uplifts and inspires, and so forth. The point is, you receive the inspiration, you are grateful for it, you make use of it.  You don’t make a big deal out of it and where it supposedly came from. In a humble way you just offer it out and hope in some small way it helps the human race and other sentient beings evolve. 

There are other sources of guidance, of inspiration and of revelation but, for the psychological purposes of our present study, the above will suffice.


And, now these final thoughts. As you read the next quote below about what to do if glamours are kicking in regarding guidance, note that the main thing required is to develop the power of a discerning mind. That is why the quote talks about closing the solar plexus chakra (the emotional interpretation of what is happening), stopping the mystical life (which is referring to the emotional type of spiritual person), and develop intellectual and mental training. Only then can you discern what is going on. Only then can you avoid the problems of guidance that might come about from participating in channeling. 

Esoteric Psychology, II pp. 585 – 586

The prime difficulty of the natural psychic and of the man who is born as a medium is his inability intelligently to control the phenomena evidenced.  Lack of control of the physical powers is deemed highly undesirable.  Lack of psychic control should also be relegated to the same category.  The medium is either in trance or his psychic powers are brought into expression through the stimulation which comes from his contact with the group of sitters in the seance room or from a large audience.  In other cases, he is all the time living on the borderland of consciousness between the physical and the psychic or astral planes.  How can this be changed, provided the medium wishes for such a change, which is rare indeed.  In three ways only:

  1. By ceasing to be interested in the display of these powers, by refusing to use them any more and by this means causing them gradually to die out.  This leads to the closing of the solar plexus centre (and consequently of the open door to the lower levels of the astral plane) and the atrophying of that part of the inner mechanism which has made these powers available.
  2. By the transference of the attention to the mystical life and to the expression of an intense aspiration towards the spiritual realities.  This provides the new interest which eventually becomes dynamically expulsive of the old interests and thus tends to shift the life-emphasis away from the lower levels of the astral plane to the higher levels.  This also presupposes a tendency to spiritual orientation on the part of the psychic.
  3. By a course of intellectual training and of mental development which would, if persisted in for a sufficient length of time, automatically make the use of the lower powers impossible because the shift of the flow of energy will be into the centres above the diaphragm.  It is well known in psychic circles that mental training does bring to a close the psychic cycle.

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