Keeping an Open Mind on Your Spiritual Voyage A wise person once said, “There are many rivers that lead to the ocean.” And that couldn’t be truer of the many books on spirituality that are out there. When it comes to channeled teachings, there are more ways than one way to reach a place of enlightenment. When I talk about channeled teaching, I’m referring to any spiritual material that has its source on either the Astral or Causal Plane, the two dimensions of existence closest to our own. I received an email the other day that got me thinking. It was from someone who thought my book, The Instruction, was much better than another particular book in the same genre. Now, I’m not one to turn down a compliment, but I really couldn’t agree. I felt that my book wasn’t so much better as just different. There are many books that rely on wisdom from the other side to impart useful information to we mortals as we make our way through our lives. Some are overtly channeled, and cite non-physical sources as their inspiration. Not all spiritual writers, however, are aware of just how much they are interpreting messages from beyond our plane. They might be highly surprised to hear their work described as channeled. Like a river, some channeled material contains hidden depths and may require years of practice to successfully master, while others are easier to deal with, and can be navigated by a novice. One may take you straight to the sea in the most direct way possible, while the next follows a meandering, more scenic route, allowing you to enjoy the journey as it unfolds. Regardless of its complexity, channeled information is truly spiritual, and should always offer more than vague sentiments about light and love, or disempower you by trying to control you in any way. The question is how to determine what is both useful and genuine. How can you tell if something you read comes from a source that is truly spiritual, and is offered in your highest interest? The first thing to do is look for some sort of commonality. Edgar Cayce, the American psychic who channeled a mountain of material in the early part of the 20th Century, talked about reincarnation, the soul, karma, past lives, and similar themes that pop up all the time in other channeled teachings. The second is to look for a message of compassion and acceptance. All information that comes from the Astral or Causal Planes comes from a place of love. The third way to check out the veracity of channeled teachings is to engage both your intuition and your critical faculties. First, ask yourself, “Does it feel right?” If your gut feeling tells you it’s not the real thing, it may well not be. And if that doesn’t work, use the rational part of your brain. You may not have any immediate way of validating something, but if you’re told that Queen Elizabeth is an alien from the Planet Zrog, or that you can walk through solid walls if you simply believe you can, your common sense should tell you what’s what. You’ll notice that contemporary communications from guides on other planes frequently use the same or very similar terms. Read Esther Hick’s books in which she channels Abraham, or Messages from Michael, where the entity called Michael communicates directly from the Causal Plane, and you’ll find many of the words and phrases that Edgar Cayce used in his work. My book, The Instruction: Living the Life Your Soul Intended, was not wholly channeled. Once I had “downloaded” the 100 elements of the Instruction itself, the spirit guides I collaborated with encouraged me to illustrate their concepts in my own way, using examples from my sessions with clients. (I did, however, have the support and advice of my guides at all times, and some observations from them are quoted verbatim.) When it came to choosing words to describe aspects of the Instruction, my guides could be adamant. When I first heard the terms “advantage” and “risk,” which they use to refer to the positive or negative parts of each element in the Instruction, I thought they sounded more like something from an annual financial report than a book about the soul. My guides, however, wouldn’t budge, and advantages and risks it became. Roughly ten percent of the spirit guides I worked with on The Instruction were “Michael,” which is one reason I use some of their language, including the term “Causal” to describe elevated spirit guides on the plane beyond the Astral. Again, they insisted on it. In part, it’s an attempt to ultimately create a common language for such material. So, if all channeled information has a significant degree of commonality, and comes from roughly the same source, why does it look so different? The answer is that we’re all different. What works for one person may not work for the next. Esoteric teachings can offer exciting opportunities for research that appeal to Thinkers or more cerebral types. They look for information that is rational and presented in a linear or more logical fashion. More intuitive types prefer to do their exploration in a less structured way, and are more open to metaphors and analogies as ways to understand spiritual concepts. The important thing to remember is that one teaching is not necessarily better or worse than another. It may simply express fundamental spiritual ideas in a way that works for a certain group of people. And this applies to teachings such as that imparted by the likes of Eckhardt Tolle, Caroline Myss, and Marianne Williamson, too. Their words of wisdom may not be overtly channeled, but these individuals are bringing forth messages that have their source beyond this plane of existence. On your voyage to the sea of enlightenment, you may have to search around a little to find the river that works best for you. The secret is to be flexible. An open mind will help you get where you need to be in a way that’s best for the unique person you are.